Thursday, 3 June 2010


I’ve been writing on outrageous whims lately, which is never a sensible idea. There is an ADHD part of the writer’s brain which seizes upon an idea, ANY IDEA – for they may never have one ever again – and milks it to death as fast as they can. The results are often baggy and undisciplined.

I have fallen prey to this condition. Last week I started an ill-advised story which began to grow. And grow. Soon I found myself with 10K and wondered whether I had a novel on my hands. I didn’t WANT another novel, you see, but I went along with the story, and began concoting elaborate plot ruses to shape it into something substantial.

The crippling doubts started after I wrote a synopsis, and around midweek the story descended into the usual whimsical-surreal-postmodern fare that functions as my autopliot. After some feedback from Arthur Scargill, the potential messiness of this mother became apparent. The whole endeavour required greater thought, planning and intellect. Well – it required a PLAN. One of those certainly helps before writing a novel.

Last year, I tried to write a novel in a day. It was, erm… not a remarkable success. The end result helped me to pinpoint my failings and defaults, and taught me the importance of pacing oneself and not assaulting the keyboard like
Skeet Ulrich in the original Scream. These recent whims have been something of a step backward, so I must control them!

I have earmarked the writing contests I want to enter, performing exegeses on the guidelines, and made a note of publications I would like to submit work to over the next few months. I am also collaborating with Gordon Brown on a novella celebrating Britain’s bigoted women. The working title is Brown’s Bigots, which I’m not happy about.

So the question remains – how much is too much? I take great care over most stories (unless I’m on a deadline), but I’m not a writer who spends weeks agonising over things. I don’t have the stamina, nor the compassion. I’ve decided to PLAN CAREFULLY each piece of work from now on. To pinpoint its exact purpose, its potential effectiveness. I don’t want to waste time on stories that end up as vacuums, as bum fodder.

But enough about me. I’ve heard you lost weight? Oh really? No, he didn’t! Well, I wouldn’t take that from anyone, I don’t care if he’s your brother. Yes. Yes. Yes. A turnip? Really? Yes. Mmm-hmm. Umm. Listen… I have to go now. Sorry! Bye bye bye, love you!


  1. I was hoping I could elaborate on the turnip. We simply must do lunch.

  2. Oh, you could do better than that! Why waste your talent on stories already plastered over the tabloid press? I suggest MAKING the news, rather than adhering to them. You should write a novella for every British PM since the war. I'm thinking Blair's Bawds, Major's Mistresses, Thatcher's Trollops, Callaghan's Call Girls...

    I'd wait a few years before I published Cameron's Cocottes, though. No point kicking a man who is already down...

  3. I envy your Whimmy! Send some my way...

  4. Nooo! I'm not really writing an expose of Brown's fave bigots. Although I'm sure some lovely ghostwriter who would like a pot of cash will be soon. And I'm impressed at your political knowledge, by the way.

    Hello the other two. Turnips for all.

  5. You're NOT?!? Wow, you REALLY had me fooled there... [dang this writing format where irony gets lost faster than a sock in the washer]. What you should be impressed at is not my political knowledge, but my googling abilities. And my synonyms. Also found by googling. I believe that earned me a turnip or two.

  6. *giggles*

    Though I don't put much store in it, have you ever considered... moderation? Maybe you don't have to write a whole book in a day, but could commit to about 2000 words for a month...

    You don't need an anal retentive rigidity plan, but can... you know... sort of have a small idea and run with it?

    I love how you present the problems though... And Mari IS smart, isn't she?