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12 Books in 12 Months

writing books and blogging about it

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horror

Confessions of a Short Story-er

Writing short stories is a very different experience to novelling.

The main issue is that in an ideal world a short is self contained – you can’t have too many threads because it gets confusing.  Over the past 9 months I’ve got used to bashing out big, sprawling narratives that rabbit on and keep introducing new characters all over the place, safe in the knowledge I can rescue the salient points when editing time cometh.

However, I’m finding I can’t hide behind hazy future editing time when writing a short story.  Obviously I can point out in a pathetic sort of way that it’s a first draft and it will change a bit in the edit, but if the whole notion is crap I can’t junk one bit and expand a subplot.  There aren’t any.

Which leads me to a confession: so far this month, I’ve been going back and editing things.  I can’t help it.  I physically can’t bash out a wee story at 1.5k and move on – I feel compelled to re-read and change bits.

In my defense, I haven’t given up on anything and I’m mainly only changing phrasing here and there.  The most I’ve deleted completely is a paragraph.  But technically it’s against the NaNoWriMo keep on keepin’ on spirit of the project, so I thought I should come clean.  After all, when the trust is gone what do we have?

Speaking of NaNo, it has occurred to me that if I’m drawing a graphic novel (or more likely a comic) in November I almost certainly won’t be coming up with 50k of text to go with it.  I haven’t decided on a story yet, and drawing a page takes considerably longer than writing one.  So what should I do?  Write out the storyboard and dialogue and leave the drawings for some other time?  Or sit NaNo out this year?  Answers on a postcard, please.  Or in the comment box, which is easier and doesn’t cost anything.

What Are You Afraid Of?

image found at http://terrencemccauley.blogspot.com/

I’ve now had a whole lot of horror story suggestions which are all fermenting away in the back of my brain (although I still don’t have 31 so am happy to take more – just leave a comment) and last night I decided to put a little bit of research in to speed that process along a bit.  Whilst some story ideas spring to mind fully formed without provocation, others need more help.

The first comment I had was from the enigmatic stranger behind 1 Story A Week, who fears being infected with a virus that makes his own flesh the only thing he can eat.  I think that’s a pretty logical thing to be afraid of, if a bit unlikely.  Anyhoo, the first search term I put into Google was ‘infected with a flesh eating virus’ and most of the results discussed a condition called necrotizing fasciitis.

Continue reading “What Are You Afraid Of?”

The Other McShay

Not long after I started writing this I realised it was not going to be a traditional horror story.  But on the plus side, it’s quite short. 

pic found here http://girltalksloud.wordpress.com/

Nobody ever had anything nice to say about Batty McShay.  But there again, Batty McShay didn’t have anything nice to say about anyone either, and they do say that you ought to lead by example.

The example Batty set was not a great one.  She ate her food in an obnoxious sort of a way, chewing with her mouth wide open and never cleaning her teeth after.  She sat and pleated her leg hair when you were trying to tell her something, or sometimes she just fell asleep then and there and would claim later on it was your fault for having such a monotonous voice.  She had a necklace made out of garlic and onions which she wore only when visiting quiet places full of people too polite to tell her to go away – mainly libraries and monasteries.  And she always took a pad of post-it notes wherever she went so that she could make ‘kick me’ signs to plant on people’s backs.

There were several reasons why Batty was the way she was, but the main one was probably the fact that her dead father lived in the attic and sang her jingoistic songs of the old times at the top of his voice.  That sort of thing will drive anyone to distraction if it goes on for long enough, and the old duffer had been dead for twenty years.

Continue reading “The Other McShay”

The Nephrop

Short story the first.  On Sunday I went to St Andrews to convene with my family on the grounds that birthdays were had by my dad and my brother and it was a good middle ground on which to meet.  After lunch we went for a drink at the Whey Pat, whereon I was entranced by the mad design skills of the Real Ale Society (there’s a university society for everything you can imagine at St Andrews because it’s not the most happening of places, so one’s own entertainment must be made).  This story was inspired by their poster.  Oh, and the word ‘nephrop’ means lobster in Latin.

Continue reading “The Nephrop”

Helpful Resources

Further to my Procrastination? post, I thought it only fair to put up some more links to interesting sites you can read on the internet instead of writing 12 books in 12 months.  I like to think that reading people’s websites is a bit like people watching, ergo totally like researching characterisation.

Well, I didn’t think of it like that til about ten seconds ago, but it sort of makes sense actually.  Anyway, get your eyeholes around the following:

Billygean – a very funny and open blog about living with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.  The writing in this is excellent – there’s no sort of ‘oh, poor me’ stuff to make you feel uncomfortable, rather it’s warm and engaging and often very funny.

Pictures for Sad Children – webcomics.  Funny webcomics.

Dystopian Fuschia – a bit like my Daddy Long Legs site, this has all kinds of bits and pieces on it.  The focus is humorous comment on telly.  Not for those who like Russell Howard, though.

Hope you like these, and have a nice Easter weekend.  I will be writing a bit (1,747 words done so far today), but I’m not sure how much.  This is at least in part because I have Stuff To Do.

To elaborate, for no very good reason, tonight I’m heading out to the Cameo Cinema’s second night of horror (which will run from 11pm till around 7am tomorrow); then getting the train over to Fife tomorrow to have a picnic in the rain with my family.   Sleep is for the weak, after all.

Oh, and I’ll have to watch the first episode of Doctor Who anywhere between one and several times.  Well, those sci fi and fantasy novels are due any day now…

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