Tag Archives: Cobault

Dusting Off The Old Blog, Fancy Chickens and Finishing

Oh dearest much-neglected Blog, even the spambots have forgotten about your presence!  I find it a source of amusement and wry disappointment that the only search terms still bringing the rare visitor are “fancy chickens” (my number 1 search term, I’ll have you know) and today’s best one: “hot girl falconry”.

But this is supposed to be a writer’s blog!  About writing!  Not that I ever stay on topic, as noted by the aforementioned search terms.  But this is why my poor blog has been ignored so much recently, I simply haven’t been writing.  However, today I’ve sat down with grim determination to plow ahead with Cobault and make headway towards actual progress.

It should be easy.  If “should” was ever an indicator of something actually being what it “should” be.  I’ve already written Cobault, after all!  But I wrote it slapdashedly, in a month, and the resulting narrative was rushed, lacking complexity and depth.  As one might expect.  Its initial 30-odd pages were alright, written in that optimistic high of a new project that seems, in my experience, to create the most exciting and dynamic prose.  In reality this is because you haven’t had time to get caught up by twisty plotlines, you rarely introduce all the characters that you’ll be juggling right from the beginning, and you can set up everything without having to worry about its distant labyrithian conclusion.

In short, you’re just fooling yourself.

So I kept those 30-odd pages roughly as-is and have been trying to go from there.  I also liked a certain section of my original conclusion, specifically a character I brought out for that purpose, as well as the resolved dynamic of my main characters whose love story was to be as natural and tragic as Twilight‘s Edward-Bella was farcical and banal. Which is saying a lot.

In short, I had a beginning and I had (parts of) an ending.  It’s that tricky between bit I’m working on now, where all those twisty plots reside and all my characters frolic so.  Although it feels more like they’re twiddling their thumbs and waiting for me, rather that frolicking.  I sometimes wish that my characters would just take form and play out their drama for me, so my task could be simplified into simply recording and not inventing.

Inventing is hard!  It’s messy and slow at times, fast and confusing at others.  I try to think, “How can this be interesting???” and find myself puzzling for actual months while my characters stay poised in limbo.  This is what was happening during my hiatus.

I should say, inventing isn’t hard at all – it’s inventing something good and worthwhile that’s the hard bit.  I could rush out another month-long session of panicked writing, but it wouldn’t be an improvement on my first hurried draft, merely its sibling.  I know I can write, but write well?  And after I write what I think is excellent prose, will it still be excellent in a day/week/month/year from now?  Subjectivity is a bitch, because I keep changing and so does my writing – which is a good thing, I grant you – but it means that my drafts are in a constant state of flux.  Nothing gets finished, because I’m not finished!

So this begs the question – will I ever finish a novel???  I have four novels, all of them “completed” but none of them finished.  I have to find a point where I’m satisfied in the here-and-now, and then just let it go.  Is this possible when I’m never satisfied?  I suppose I’ll have to learn to be.

The Boys of Cobault

In yesterday’s post I talked a lot about Wollstonecraftian feminism and how it pertained to Euphemia, my female main character in Cobault – but what about the boys?

Algernon is my male main character, and I’ve realised that he represents an unknown quantity, contradictions, in a world where everything has to be quantified, documented and labeled.  He has no family, and even his surname, Black, is a lack thereof.  He’s working class, but he’s literate.  He’s naive, but he has this all-encompassing power.  A talent that even, itself, has no name.

Together with the group of lower class boys Algernon befriends, they are that educated poor who refuse to play the part “assigned to them by nature”.  They choose to defy their place in the societal structure, and work towards becoming successful on their own intellectual merits.

And to highlight that defiance, there is a group of unpleasant, spoiled rich boys who are part of a club, “Academy for Academics”, which seeks to rid the institution of these lower class and female students who sully what they believe the Academy should stand for.  They, alongside society itself and the sprawling influence of the patriarchal company, Endicott, are the villans of the novel.

The ringleader of “Academy for Academics”, Arkhaven, is a character I’m hoping to develop properly enough to illustrate his complexities.  His motives are at once terrible and understandable; he only wants to prove himself to an abusive father, and he hates all women as a reflection of his feelings towards his victimised and weak mother.  Rage, violence and desire have become twisted together in his mind and, as the abused becomes the abuser, he terrorises prostitutes.  He’s the sort of person you can see becoming a serial killer, Jack the Ripper style.

Arkhaven’s cronies are his peers, other boys from influential families, over whom he’s in control and is masterful at manipulating.  They all share the same belief in the inherent superiority of the wealthy class, and the feeling that women and the lower classes need to be kept in their respective subjugated places in society.  They try to enforce this, feeling like martyrs to the cause of maintaining the reputation of their class and the patriarchal system.

Their usual victims are lower class boys and girls, but then they’re faced with Euphemia.  As a girl from high society, she presents even more of an affront.  She’s one of them, throwing the system on its head; as the most threatening Other is the Other that looks like the Self.  Confronted with this threat, Arkhaven becomes obsessed with destroying her.

I’m at the stage in my re-writing when I’m still building up a lot of this conflict.  In my first writing of it I glossed over far too much and simplified things that shouldn’t have been simplified.  I also rushed into the story at break-neck speed, so I’m currently trying to pace the whole story much more sensibly.  But as the first draft was in fact a NaNoWriMo novel, I guess that’s only to be expected.

I’m really glad I’m taking the time to fully explore what I’m trying to get at through writing Cobault.  These recent posts have been helping me focus and refine my vision of the novel.  However, I also just need to get stuck into continuing to re-write.  There’s only so much research you can do before the research itself actually hinders the writing process!

Why My Life of Crime is Over Before it Started, and Feminist Explorations: My Love for Mary Wollstonecraft, Explained

I spent 45 minutes of my afternoon in a UK Border Agency Public Enquiry Office, getting my fingerprints scanned and photo taken (for the second time in 6 months!).  The rest of my day was mainly spent getting to and from said Enquiry Office as it was in some grim outer region of Glasgow.  And now I’m realising that I’ll never be able to commit a crime here and get away with it – not with this stored biometric data!

Either that, or I’ll just invest in gloves and masks.

My incipient criminal career aside, I’d like to talk about my dear and beloved feminist hero: Mary Wollstonecraft.

I’ve mentioned her in previous posts as part of the inspiration for Cobault, and I’ve decided to go back and read her Vindications of the Rights of Women to sharpen my recollection of those arguments I might be employing.

First of all, I have to say how much I adore this woman.

Wollstonecraft had absolutely no time for the idiotic fainting women of her time.  She writes:

In the most trifling dangers they cling to [a man’s] support, with parasitical tenacity, piteously demanding succour; and their natural protector extends his arm, or lifts up his voice, to guard the lovely trembler – from what?  Perhaps the frown of an old cow, or the jump of a mouse[…].

She goes on to say:

If fear in girls, instead of being cherished, were treated like cowardice in boys, then we should quickly see women with more dignified aspects […] would be more respectable members of society, and discharge the important duties of life by the light of their own reason.

Education is a big part of Wollstonecraft’s argument, as she sees the current system as a total failure to women and girls.  Interestingly, she finds that this is also the case with the poor, and that many of her arguments apply equally to both marginalised groups.

“Educate women like men,” says Rousseau, “and the more they resemble our sex the less power they will have over us.”  This is the very point I am at.  I do not wish them to have power over men; but over themselves. In the same strain have I heard men argue against instructing the poor; for many are the forms that aristocracy assumes.  “Teach them to read and write,” they say, “and you take them out of the station assigned to them by nature.”

I’m now realising why the struggles of my high-born Euphemia, seeking to get the sort of education which Wollstonecraft recommends for a woman – that which exercises her reasoning and not her sensibility – is mirrored in that of my lower-class characters.  I’ve either absorbed this argument or found the same parallels myself, and though I’d like to claim the latter it’s much more likely to be the former!

Either way, I find that the essence of what makes Euphemia tick as a character is explained in the following:

When do we hear of women who, starting out of obscurity, boldly claim respect on account of their great abilities or daring virtues?  Where are they to be found? – “To be observed, to be attended to, to be taken notice of with sympathy, complacency, and approbation, are all the advantages which they seek” – True! my male readers will probably exclaim; but let them, before they draw any conclusion, recollect that this was not written originally as descriptive of women but of the rich.

Indeed.  And so we’ve discussed Wollstonecraft’s belief in education, but then it follows that after that education women need to be allowed to gain employment of their own, to support themselves and not rely on getting a rich husband for monetary necessity.  She writes:

Girls marry merely to better themselves, to borrow a significant vulgar phrase, and have such perfect power over their hearts as to not permit themselves to fall in love till a man with a superior fortune offers.

Euphemia’s father tells her an allegorical tale of a girl he knew of during his boyhood in the Academy, who was pursuing the foolish “education” (finishing school, really) that all girls of any means choose to undertake in their society.  But when her family fell on hard times she was forced to marry some rich scoundrel just to support them.  Misery ensued, quite naturally, and Euphemia’s father tells her that his wish for her education is that it could prevent such a situation occurring to her. He’s a secret Wollstonecraftian himself!

And most of this novel was written some two or three years after reading Vindications, having not gone back to reread it until just now!  I’m realising just how much of Cobault, it’s plot and characters, are dependent on the writings of this 18th century feminist, and how much of an impact she has had on me.  To the point of subconsciously aping her arguments in my own fictional world!

Unfortunately for me, Wollstonecraft scorns novels, as:

Novels, music, poetry, and gallantry, all tend to make women the creatures of sensation, and their character is thus formed in the mould of folly during the time they are acquiring accomplishments […].

Oh well.

Thank You, Adventures in Advance Planning and Ode to a Bunch of Grapes I Bought Today

Thank you all for your support of yesterday’s whine!!  I feel a lot better just having said it all, and actually woke up this morning with renewed determination to write Cobault.  I’ve now re-read all that I had written and re-written previously, editing and notating as I went.

Now I’m trying to do at least a little bit of advance planning for the rest of the action, since I realise that one of the harder things to do as an amateur writer is to handle the passage of time.  In an effort to not write an endless litany of every character’s movements in tedious minutia, I’m outlining the essential events and I can fill in more detail later if need be.

To address the main part of my whine, however, I’ve decided to do some research.  There’s an important central event I still need to rewrite so I’m trying to find some literature, particularly of the time of Wollstonecraft to tie into the feminist ideas I’ve already used, that deal with similar themes.  This way I can trick my subconscious into making some interesting parallels that my conscious mind wouldn’t have thought of!

So all this bodes well, generally.  I’m sure I’ll continue to have periodic wobbles of Blah from time to time, but that’s just how it is.  You can’t be creative, and thus exposing your most private thoughts, hopes and dreams to all and sundry, without a bit of self-doubt from time to time.

And thank you in advance to anyone who talks me down in any of these future moments of doubt and woe!  You’re the best!!

I think I will intersperse different kinds of posts from time to time, however, to break up what kind of writing I do.  Maybe this way I can keep myself from getting too bogged down and depressed about feeling like a current project is getting stalled.  I can have breaks and come back to it refreshed.  I’ll take your advice to heart, Ali, and perhaps do some some literary reviews and Odes to Inanimate Objects.

I’m starting right now, with:

 

Ode to the Bunch of Grapes I Bought Today


Juicy Orbs, your skin conceals

Spherical refreshment

To burst forth with succulence.

 

Why then, I ask, do you seek

To hurt me so? Hiding demon

Seeds which choke and anger me.

 

Devil’s own fruit! I love you so,

Except for those vile attributes.

Why must you possess them?

 

When I purchased you from

the store your packaging proclaimed:

Seedless! What lies!

A Bit of a Whine

I’ve nearly utterly failed to write here today (Wednesday, though now it’s technically Thursday) despite not posting Tuesday either, what with carnivorous birdy play-time.

The reason is that I’m having confidence issues.  Again.  Joy.

I’ve not been writing these past couple of days, and if I’m not writing then I’m not able to post about writing.  I don’t even find myself with a witty anecdotal diatribe to fill in the space.  And because I’ve already written a post about what I term “Writer’s Blah”, I felt like posting a second would just be whining.  And make me look desperate for someone to just tell me I’m awesome to puff up my feeling of self-worth.

Which I kind of am – but don’t do it!!!  I would hate for anyone to comment: “But you ARE awesome!!!” because that’s totally not what I’m getting at.  It’s a totally different kind of vindication that I need.

Let’s get to the gist of my problem:

I know I write well.  But I don’t write well enough yet.  My heroes are authors like Philip Pullman, Neil Gaiman, Ursula Le Guin and all these others whose novels have always blown me away.  Novels that link beautiful prose with ideas, the sorts of ideas that make you think for weeks, maybe years, long after you’ve finished.

A good story is still necessary, in my mind, but to be something really interesting there needs to be more beneath the surface than just that.  This is where I find that what I write needs to be at the intersection of “literary fiction” and “genre” – both plot and concepts matter to me, and pretty much equally.

So right now I write decent plots, some lovely shading-on-purple prose (mauve prose, if you like), but where are my thought-provoking ideas?!  So far I’ve attempted:

  • Exodus – a retelling of the story of the Biblical Exodus, but apart from some use of gender, race and the theme of the Other, I never really pushed through to anything significant therein.  The Other will always be one of my favourite topics to thread through my novels, but I just haven’t gotten it right yet.
  • Cobault – deals with gender and the Other again, with Wollstonecraftian feminism (which is rather too old-school to be earth-shattering), and class struggle (see above).  Maybe back in the time of Maria: or, the Woes of Woman I could have been onto something.  Not so much in 2011.
  • The Long Road Home was just silly.  A romp through reworking fantasy cliches, plot-driven for the most part with some coming-of-age YA stuff thrown in there.  Fluff.

So when I think about His Dark Materials, when Pullman essentially turned Milton’s Paradise Lost on its head and praised mankind for the very thing Milton damned it for, I think – what the fuck have I been doing with my time???

And don’t get me wrong, I’m not looking for a true Original Idea – I know that’s a long hunt for an imaginary quarry – but I’m holding myself to the high standard of these authors I esteem and hoping I can pull something together that’s inventive and creative with whatever ideas I choose to explore.  It’s just not happened yet.

And I’m seeing the massive gap between my novels and those novels I love.  It’s a depressing abyss.

I had to remind myself recently that all these writers are far older than I am, and were well into their middle age before the works they’re best known for were written.  I know I have time to work all this out, and to feel truly proud of what I’ve made.  But it’s very hard to keep motivated when faced with disappointment in yourself, regardless of what your logic and reasoning tells you.

These are the feelings that make me want to drop what I’m currently doing and pursue something else, an instinct I’ve posted about before, hoping that the next idea will have greater merit than the last, but am I wrong to do that?

I thought I was, and thus I’ve been trying to persevere with Cobault as it’s my most well-realised story, the furthest along towards actual completion.  Do I stick with it or do I give myself free rein to try something new, in the hope of uncovering something that makes me feel the abyss is slowly closing, however infinitesimally so?

Algernon Stares, JK Rowling Needs Balls and Some Discourse on Realistic Love Stories

Another randomly selected excerpt from Cobault, for your reading delectation:

*

“Someone catch your eye?” Bertrand nudged him with a sharp elbow to the side. Algernon staggered, off-balance and unprepared. He hadn’t realised he was being so obvious, but then again he had been staring.

“I’ve been trying to work out who she is,” he felt the need to explain. “She seems different from the other girls at Eastward.”

“She is different,” the other boy informed him gravely. “High-born, I’d wager. By the start of term I expect no end to the gossip concerning that one.”

“What do you mean?”

“High-born girls don’t live in dormitories, they live in fancy boarding houses with their fancy friends,” Bertrand was beginning to slur his words, and drained the rest of his wine before snatching up another glass off a proffered platter. “That this girl, fancy as she is, lives at Eastward – well that’s a conundrum, my friend. There’ll be a story, and the story will soon be all over the Academy like wildfire, mark my words.”

Algernon watched as the girl in blue smiled at someone in the crowd, and how that smile froze as its object turned away. “A conundrum,” he agreed, echoing his friend.

“That means puzzle, farm boy.”

“I know what it means, and I’ve never worked on a farm,” he retorted.

“Could have fooled me. Manners like yours belong in a pig yard. Staring after strange girls – shocking behaviour.”

*

So let’s talk about love.  More specifically, love as it’s portrayed in popular films and literature.

The Husband and I were watching (SPOILER ALERT!!!) Harry Potter: The One Where Dumbledore Dies (/SPOILER ALERT!!!)  and both of us couldn’t quite get the Harry-Ginny dynamic.  It just seemed thrown in there.  Ron-Hermoine make sense, it was built up properly, but for H-G it just seemed an afterthought tossed in because JK Rowling couldn’t stand to let her main character be lonely.

Get some balls, JK Rowling!!

Personally, I would have loved to see a lonely, angst-ridden Harry – the lone Chosen One in the face of evil, blahblahblah, doomed to wander lonely as a cloud that floats on high o’er vales and hills… you get the point.

It would have been better.

But ultimately, the H-G pairing just wasn’t very believable.  And unrealistic.  What are the chances of everyone pairing off so perfectly, getting married, having kids – and oh look the kids are friends too, how sweet.

Blech.

My favourite love story of all time is from His Dark Materials.  It was perfect.  Realistic not in the sense that the events in the story could occur in real life, but realistic in the sense that the relationship between Lyra and Will is believable and seems to grow naturally.  And the ending is tragic, beautifully so, but exactly as it should be.

So I’m confronted with the feeling of utter humility I always get when I think of how much I want to emulate Philip Pullman’s amazing trilogy.  Sheesh, makes me want to throw out everything I’ve ever written and put my heart and soul into something worthier.

Ahem.

So that’s what I’m trying to do.  I want to make a realistic, beautiful, tragic love story that doesn’t necessarily have a happy ending because life doesn’t have a happy ending. The end that it has is the end that it needs to have, regardless of sentimentality, fairness or hope.

And that’s why JK Rowling needs some balls.

Cobault, an Excerpt in Which Drunken Tomfoolery Occurs

I’ve taken yesterday’s post to heart, and am seriously working on Cobault as the novel I intend to turn into a glittering, finished manuscript worthy to represent me as a writer to the publishing world.  And by reading it from the beginning, editing as I go, I’ve realised that I actually like it – Writer’s Blah be damned!

Huzzah!

So with that, I give you an excerpt in which my main character, Algernon, gets drunk and lots of puns happen.  Yay!

*

“Listen,” it was two hours later, and Bertrand was into his fifth pint, “Alg-, Alerg-, Alergininon. My friend. I want to help you, you know that, right?”

“I know, I know,” Algernon replied, enjoying the feeling of lightness he hadn’t known since even before the cave-in. Perhaps his whole life. But then again, he had never been drunk before.

“Good. I’m glad you know, because I know. I know a lot of stuff, you know? Ha! But you Know stuff I don’t know! So let’s try to know each other’s knowing, er, knowledge. Okay?”

“What the hell are you talking about?” Colin started to laugh at Bertrand, making the table shake.

“What I’m saying, boys,” Bertrand addressed the group, “is that I’m going to teach our boy Al-, Aler-, Allerg-. Fuck. I’m going to teach Al, here, how to name shit and do shit the way they want him to. And then he can teach me how to Know shit. It’s a perfect trade-off!” He drank to his own ingenious plot.

“What if I can’t teach you to Know?” Algernon was slowly remembering what that blue-eyed twat of a professor had told him. “I think you can’t Know unless you Know, you know?”

“No!” They all started laughing again.

“Oh, shit, we’re drunk.” That set them off again.

“What time is it, anyways?” Colin tried to read the clock mounted behind the bar. “I think it says its half past seventy, but that can’t be right.”

“Half past seven, idiot!” Denny chastised him with an elbow to the ribs.

“Aw, shit. We missed dinner,” Ned frowned, deepening the folds of his chin, and everyone laughed. Of all of them, Ned was the one who could use some missed meals.

“There’s a fry-up down the street,” Durstram suggested. “They do a good fish fry.”

“Ooh, but I want chips.”

“They have chips, too.”

“Ok, lads. Into the breach!” They all stumbled out onto the dark street, its street lamps dim in the gloom.

“I think it’s this way,” Durstram pointed, and soon they were tripping down the cobbles, causing the few pedestrians nearby to cross over to the other side of the street.

“I think I like the Academy,” Algernon mused aloud. “Why not?”

“Why not!” Shouting the words like a battle cry, the rowdy group disappeared into the night.

*

I haven’t made it to where I’d left off in my rewriting, taking my time as I am in rereading and editing as I see fit, but even in what I’m doing now I’m feeling some progress being made.  Which is fabulous.

In other news, I’m learning that a hot water bottle can replace putting the heat on.  This money-saving tip was brought to you by poverty and the letter Q.

(20)11 Is One Of My Favourite Numbers

And thus I should take the time to consider a New Year’s Resolution.  I don’t usually bother, reminding myself that New Year’s Eve/Day doesn’t really mean much when the Gregorian calendar we follow today is an arbitrary system of measuring time.  Why not just pick any random day to start a new venture, turn over a new leaf, etc., when New Years itself is a random day?

Except that as humans we like to place importance on these arbitrary things and are more likely to stick to something in such a case.

So having said all of that, I do think I’ll make a concerted effort to do something worthwhile during this coming orbit of the Earth circling the Sun.  Ideally, I’d like to have a publisher-ready manuscript prepared.  But maybe I’ll go a step even further:

By January 1st, 2012, I’ll actually send a manuscript to a publisher.

So I’ve got 365 days to do this, and do it properly.  And 11 really is one of my favourite numbers – 2011 let’s get cracking!

A Return to Cobault, More Blah and Extreme Writing

*

Far in the wild North, in the mining village of Lanrik, a young boy was born into unusual circumstances. He was naïve in all things, save for a singular gift his naivete led him to believe was commonplace.

*

Those are the very first sentences of Cobault.  I’ve come to realise that I need to get stuck into writing it again, otherwise I’ll never finish its second draft.  As I’ve mentioned previously I’ve been stuck in the middle of some fairly major rewriting, but I’m still feeling more confident in this novel than any of my others at the moment.

Yes, I still have my Writer’s Blah, but I need to get over that and just write – easier said than done!  I say that having just opened the document, scrolled to the last written page, read the last sentence… and then promptly minimized the screen to write this post instead.

Oh well!

Anyways, I’m hoping to get myself back into enjoying it again.  Writing my last novel I found a trick to keep myself interested in what I was writing (because if even I, the writer, can’t be bothered continuing, why on earth would any prospective reader?!) which was mainly to think, “Well what could happen NOW to spice things up?”

The only problem with doing that to Cobault is that, since I’m in the middle of a rewriting and not having my first go at the plot, I need to make sure all the plot lines can lead back to the end I’ve decided I still like.  It’s just this pesky middle bit, you know that silly bit in the middle of a novel with all the action and drama and suspense, that was needing a major overhaul.

You hear that noise coming through your computer screen?  That is me, screaming.

Anyway.

Ok, so here’s my plan:  1) Read the whole goddamned thing again, so I can get back into the swing of things and not forget important bits.  2) Make an actual OUTLINE (gaspshockhorror) of what I need to write in said middle bit, and how to tie it back to the end again.  And, 3) WRITE IT.

Sounds simple, yes?  If only it were so.

I’ll let you into a little secret of mine:  I never plan ANYTHING I write ahead of time.  It just happens as it happens.  And it’s exciting that way, because ever you don’t know what’s happening next.  Plot-twists can be as much of a surprise to you as they would be to anyone else.

It’s like Extreme Writing – look, Ma, no outlines!

But now I’m thinking there’s a time and a place for Extreme Writing.  Mainly, in the first exhilaration of a New Thing, when you’re giddy and lightheaded with the joy of new places to explore and new people to meet.  You get this Eureka! moment when things just naturally come together, or when you realise something that your characters knew all along.

It’s fabulous.

But then, perhaps in this second run of editing you need to be a little more circumspect.  You’ve had your wild run, and now it’s time to tame the Beast.  Of course, the wilder your first run was, the harder it is to rein it all in.  And if whole sections need to be excised, well then you need the delicacy of a surgeon to replace them with something new and connect it all up again.

And I’m about as delicate as a brick through a window.  I’m working on it, honestly.

So I know what I have to do.  But it’s so much harder to actually do it.  I’ve realised that my biggest hurdle in becoming a Real Life Published Novelist isn’t to do with my creativity or the actual talent I have for writing – it’s all about disciplining myself and teaching myself how to write a novel to the best of my abilities.  Getting through all the stages, not just the first initial, wild splurge of ideas that becomes a first draft.

So wish me luck – I’ll need it!

Writer’s Blah

I wouldn’t exactly call what I’m going through right now “writer’s block”, it’s more like “writer’s blah”.  Usually when I get this my reaction is to want to wipe the slate clean by starting a new project.  And this is why I have three rough drafts and no shiny, completed novels.

Blah.

What happens is that I decide, with all the best intentions and positive outlook, to start working on one of those drafts again.  Lately it’s been Cobault, which is the most put-together of the drafts despite being in the midst of massive rewriting.  I open the document, skim through to where I left off and back track a chapter or two.  By reading what came before, editing as I go, I generally get into it easier.  However, lately I have been reading what came before and thinking to myself:

“SHITE.”

It’s shite.  I’m shite, this is shite, he’s shite and she’s shite.  I start to mentally plan just how much re-rewriting I have to do, overload my mental circuitry and minimize the screen in panic.  As a result, I’ve stalled.  Ever since finishing The Long Road Home, which I was at first really pleased with during the process but then afterwards I realised, no, that’s shite as well.

This needs to stop happening if I’m to get anywhere.  I just need to relax, stop judging myself and just let the words flow, shite or no shite.  But they’re just not flowing, stifled by my cries of “Shite, shite, shitey-shite!!” that would make my husband concerned for my sanity if indeed these shouts were vocalised.  I’m telling myself that I need to just Do It Or Else, but the Or Else part fails to be truly threatening because I know I’m bluffing.  Or Else what, mind?  You’ll make me mindlessly surf the internet and scour Failblog for three hours?  That’s just what we do already, you lazy, unemployed lump of grey matter!

This is also why I’ve been so dedicated to updating this blog, as a sort of penance for not really writing properly.  As if to be presenting these posts like offerings at the altar of my counter-productivity, hoping to satiate the little demons in my head who prod me with vicious little guilt-sticks.

BLAH.

I’m hoping that I’ll get more productive now that I’m going to be volunteering two days a week with holy-crap-amazing birds of prey at Raptor World, part of the Cupar Deer Centre.  I always find that the less I do the less I want to do, so let’s see if I can swing that cycle of nonsense the other way ’round.  Today I’m off to go buy some waterproof trousers, as I’ll no doubt be scraping raptor poo off of various surfaces in rain, wind, hail and snow.

Is it weird I’m looking forward to that?  You can tell I’ve been most terribly bored.