|Any port in a storm.|
You have to imagine me smiling to myself as I write this post. Not one of those ‘I’m the bee’s knees’ smug grins, but a gentle ‘groovy’ crescent on my lips. (I am making it a personal campaign to get groovy back in our everyday vocabulary.)
Three novels published in one year, by Joffe Books, is surely a cause for celebration. It’s also a point, amid the excitement and that long, deep breath, to take stock and do my own, belated thanksgiving.
Standpoint took eight years from page one to publication, Line of Sight around three and a half years, and Cause & Effect about a year. That’s not indicative of anything other than my thought process.
So, have I learned anything?
Well, only the obvious, which still merits repeating.
1. Persistence pays off. Keep writing and you end up with more material.
2. Never underestimate the importance of luck. One of my muses likes to whisper a Han Solo line from time to time: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=nN9xsFUsPqM
3. As long as you’re paying attention, every new page / story / book will be an improvement on the previous one.
Has anything changed?
1. The muses know where to find me now, but I still have days where I have to work at attracting their attention. That’s okay; I know they have a lot of people to visit.
2. I look at stories a little differently now. Often, they seem more like themes, ideas and characters that need to be worked through on the page – like a puzzle.
3. I defend my work less now. Don’t get me wrong, I love it when people enjoy my work, but disapproval does not spell disaster.
Has anything stayed the same?
1. The truisms are still true!
2. Writers are defined by writing. It’s as simple as that.
3. Some days are easier than others.
4. A good notebook makes for an agreeable companion.
5. There is no such thing as dead time.
6. I’ve yet to find out how a ‘real writer’ lives. It’s all a construct and my idea of living authentically (or writing authentically, for that matter) is peculiar to me.
7. I’m still hungry for experience, for my writing to take me into new situations. (TV and film people, are you listening?!)
Where do I go from here?
1. Back to the blank page. I have the outline for book four in the Thomas Bladen series, and for the one after that. They’re both really linear at the moment, but the meat on the bones will develop as I work on them, and the feedback from other writers remains invaluable. Like books two and three, each book deals with the some of the consequences of the previous book. There is no comfy reset button – much like life.
2. My standalone dark comedy, Scars & Stripes, is in circulation.
3. I was serious, earlier, about looking at how Standpoint might be dramatised. It’s all dreams and faery dust right now, but I have a couple of ideas about how to proceed.
4. I have a blog post coming up on the site of a hugely successful British author, in early December, which I’m already tingly about.
5. I’d like to go through some of my old, angst-ridden notebooks.
Did I feel like a dick when I came up with the title ‘Triple Crown’ for this blog post?
Absolutely. Especially as I needed to look it up on the web to see which sport it was associated with. (Turns out it’s rugby union…who knew, apart from Sarah Campbell?) But this year has represented a triple victory for me – overcoming doubts, inertia, and my tangled first drafts.
Thomas Bladen’s back and his life is about to get complicated.
Now available here: