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Thursday, 17 October 2013

A New Look for Autumn - and a trip to Halifax, on blue plaque business

I have had an excess of energy flowing through me today. 1000 words - good ones, I think - produced by mid-morning, a half-hour work-out, a trip to town, and now a new look for the blog.

The picture has no relevance to the text; but I am in celebratory mood, so who's to say I can't put up a favourite image from our trip to France last June? 

A reminder of a delightful trip to France
What am I celebrating? Nothing specific, just a good feeling that comes from knowing that, however briefly, I am on top of the work in hand. Just as we were off to bed last night it occurred to me that my time today would be limited. Around 3.30 or 4 I have to set off to Halifax, West Yorkshire (more on that in a moment), and, this being the third Thursday of the month, I wanted to call in at the Farmers' Market in town. All that and a thousand words? I'd better get up early.

So I leapt out of bed at six, drank my tea and started. By the time we assembled for the work-out (yes, we have an exercise regime now and are actually enjoying it) I had produced 483 words. After the exercises, and the porridge, more words. By the time I went over the road to catch the 10.15 bus I had 981 and A. was asking how come I'd managed to do them by ten o'clock when most days I'm still tearing my hair out and belly-aching about the pressure at tea-time. Good point. If I'd known that she was taking note I might not have celebrated my progress so vocally.

I think today was as much about having some solid idea about what I intended to write. Yesterday, by contrast, was torment. I had come to the regrettable conclusion that one of my main characters was going to have to die. Well, he would be killed, cold-bloodedly assassinated by his boss - who in turn would be shot dead by one of the anarchists. Fewer people, fewer complications, but of course a lot of re-writing. And so, having sailed past the 50,000-word mark earlier in the week, I erased whole passages and replaced them with fresh ones, all in the cause of paving the way for this double killing. As I did so, of course, I watched my word-count fall, then rise, then fall again. Not a feeling I enjoy.

Should a writer be that bothered with the world-count? Probably not, but I am working to a deadline. I have estimated that I need to reach the 80,000 mark before the end of next month, giving me all of December (a short month, of course) to go back through it, re-write as required and make sure that all the sign-posts, throughout the book, are pointing in the right direction. So it matters greatly that every working day sees another thousand words added. Monday's effort, taking into account all the crossings-out, must have required me to write 2500-3000. But I did it. And now my slimmed-down cast can get on to the next stage of the plot, which is emerging on a day by day basis.

I actually sent the latest version to my buddy Glenn Norman in Albuquerque. His view of the killings?  'The fire-fight rocks' That'll do me. This is the guy who had to explain to me, in our creative writing workshop back in 1986, who Stephen King was, and why it was worth trying to emulate him.

Okay, Halifax. My mate Greg Christie, author of the (unpublished) biography of Eric Knight, the man who wrote Lassie, is giving a talk to some civic dignitaries in Halifax. He has persuaded the powers that be over there to mount a blue plaque (as in 'famous author lived here') in the town. I'm going in part to support him, but mainly to ensure that he gets back to York station in time to catch the last train home to Malton. (He is visually impaired.) I'll write this up in a day or two. For now I must get my head into the road-map and figure out how to get to Halifax, a place I last visited several years ago to watch York City grab a 2-2 draw at The Shay. 

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