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Tuesday, 12 November 2013

How Many Writers Get Up at 0600h On A Winter Morning?


Looking north over the upper Tyne valley
Sometimes everything just falls right. After a spent at my desk, hunched over the keyboard and occasionally looking to see a wild, wet, storm-tossed landscape, I woke on Sunday to a beautifully calm morning with the sun shining and not a cloud to be seen. The miracle was that it lasted all day as we took a gentle walk with friends along the south side of the Tyne Valley.

 

We were even able to sit with our backs against a dry-stone wall, our faces to the low sun, and enjoy a good old-fashioned bread-and-cheese lunch with a flask of hot coffee to follow.

Having had my head buried in this sci-fi book for four months now, I was taken aback last Monday when I suddenly found myself writing what might just be the climactic scene. It was odd how it kind of crept up on me – and somewhat alarming, in that I was only at the 69,000-word mark. (My plan has always been to make it to 80,000). Once I’d got used to the idea I decided to abandon the scene, scroll back to the beginning and start on the business of making sure that all the sign-posts were pointing in the right direction – i.e., towards that moment of resolution. This has already involved major changes in the alignment of characters. For example, one of the good guys becomes a ‘baddy’ halfway through, so I am busily laying clues for that. Then there was the woman who was having an affair with one of the anarchists. Her husband is the guy who is able to read thoughts – through an electronic device that hacks into the memory chips that everybody has in their heads. I changed that too: I had her lusting after this guy, but otherwise behaving herself. But of course, when her husband hacks into her memory he ‘sees’ the fantasies she’s playing out in her imagination. Cue an in-depth discussion of what exactly goes on in our heads….

Well, it’s another cracking day out there. Eight o’clock and the sun is up – a mere two hours after I arose. I think it’s time to light the gas under that porridge.