Well I’ve made it through the first week of NaNoWriMo and I’m feeling pretty pleased with myself! 15,000 words written so far and I’ve not missed a day of uploading the latest story to my writeoutloud blog (although it has been with only minutes to spare a couple of times!).
I hope you’ve had the opportunity to pop over to my writing blog and read some of the stories and, if you did, I hope you enjoyed them. For those of you who haven’t trotted over yet, or in case you’ve missed any, here’s a round-up of what I posted with a few insights into their creation or background.
The Bombing Raid was my first story and I drew on my memories of growing up in a Midlands town during the late 70s and early 80s. I apologise to non-British readers who might struggle with my attempts to reproduce my town’s accent but I felt it was important to be as authentic as possible.
You might find this bizarre (maybe not in today’s internet-world where you can find anything you can imagine if you look hard enough) but there is a Facebook page dedicated to sharing phrases just using my town’s way of speaking and I drew on that page extensively to get the accent just right.
The two boys who feature in the story will appear again, so watch out for them!
Ghost was a very difficult story to write. Though it is not my story as such, it does draw on experiences personal to me and I had very clear images in my head as I wrote it. At the same time I was very aware of others reading this story who might have had similar experiences and I didn’t want to downplay the feelings – often mixed – which arise from the kind of childhood the protagonist endured. The inspiration for the setting, by the way, was a single scene from the film Forrest Gump.
The Jazz Gig was such an amalgamation of people I’ve known and experiences I’ve had! The main storyline, however, is based very firmly on fact. It happened to me and I have the autographed book (real name ‘Hail! Madam Jazz’ by Michael O’Siadhail) in front of me now. It is a treasured possession.
However, I’m glad to say other aspects such as being divorced and leading a life on the road as a Jazz musician are not true – much though I would have loved to jam with the Jazz greats I mention.
The Sitar is a supernatural story I’ve wanted to write for a very long time. I’ve written many times on this blog about my love of the sitar and Indian ragas in general and how it was the fulfilment of one of my greatest desires to learn to play the instrument. This love – and that of the love of Darjeeling which I share with my family – combined to form the seed of this story.
As I began writing it, I wanted to ‘authenticate’ the supernatural aspect and began researching Hindu mythology. Consequently, I very nearly didn’t get this story written in time as I found the research absolutely fascinating! The internet is a dangerous toy for someone who has ADHD and this is compounded by the fact I now have my collection of books again which have been in storage for many years. For this one story I had a pile of books on my desk nearly two feet high! As usual though, only a fraction of what I learned made it into the story.
The Old Man on the Beach was the most recent story I’ve imagined and is born of some of the difficult times I’m experiencing currently. The old man is entirely made up but, I suspect, is actually a projection of myself. I really do enjoy taking strolls to my local beach but I’m nowhere near as reclusive as the character I made for the role of protagonist.
I have to admit that the ending of this story took me entirely by surprise. I had no idea that it was coming until I actually wrote it. I’m not normally one who ‘lets the muse flow’ – for me that’s usually a recipe for disaster! – instead I plan out all my stories or chapters well in advance so I can write freely within a predetermined structure rather than flail about randomly. This time however, I wrote with purpose but the ending just ‘happened’ before I knew it and my planned ending had to go out of the window! I hope you liked it if you read it.
Well, that’s the round-up so far. I think I’d better get on with writing today’s story. We go back to childhood memories for this one and the reappearance of Jimmy and Terry. I had better not leave them too long; you never know what mischief they might get up to!
Please go take a look at my ‘first draft writing’ and add your comments – anything from typos spotted (always useful to know) to encouragements, criticisms or questions you might have. I’d love to hear from you and get your feedback. You might even end up with your name (or blog name) featured in the acknowledgements when I revise the book and publish it (I’m aiming for mid-December but no promises) so get commenting!