Sandbanker: a novel (or, I wrote a book)

Available now on Amazon
It’s a moment to savour, the day you drag yourself from your quotidien torpor to finally achieve that thing that’s been gnawing at your brain for the past several years; a thing done, not for fame or glory, but for enjoyment and tortuous self-satisfaction.

Sandbanker is my first attempt at a novel, and, like many first attempts may prove to be the worst, the hardest, the most enriching, anxious, educational and boring trial the craft of writing will put me through. And it may not.

Self-publishing they say puts control back in the hands of authors. That seems true. It certainly obliges them to take marketing and social media seriously (which I don’t) not to mention become their own worst critic in the absence of any grizzled editor. It opens your eyes to life-long relationships with ungrammatical structures, swings your resolve between ‘Yeah, screw it, it’s okay to publish’ and, ‘No! It has to be perfect, every letter, every pixel!’

girl-02Pick up a copy

Sandbanker is available initially as an e-book on Amazon.

Hey, if you don’t decide to buy it, or hate Amazon, or are just tight and still want to read it get in touch, and I’ll send you one for nichts!

If there are inconsistencies, mistakes, and other could-have-done-betters, then I ask in advance for your understanding, and, if you have time, your feedback. In the latter case, future drafts will be yours for free if you can stand it.

Bash It Out

bash-it-outWhen the charge relates to my literature-related activities, if I can be convicted of anything, it’s that I postpone diving into my daily writing routine like a vertigo sufferer at a Procrastinators’ Anonymous skydiving meet up.

My claim is that I’ve always produced my best work under pressure, when in fact, whenever the hammer of time has descended just to the point where it’s about to flatten my eyebrows, I’ve produced ‘work’, and nothing more.

So in an effort to procrastinate even further, I set out creating a WordPress plugin to provide a little friendly nudge to the slovenly.

It’s called Bash It Out. To use it, you set a word goal, a writing time limit, how often you want to be nagged, and it will provide you with the overbearing pressure you need to bash out that word count.

Installation instructions

  1. Get the plugin
  2. Install and activate

It will be in perennial beta, so please create a Github issue and I will try not to ignore it. After I perform sufficient dogfooding on the thing, I’ll try to push it to the WordPress plugin directory.

Now, back to procrastinating!!

Literary agnosia and the short story

The DrawerWriters of every genre will recognise the scourge of familiarity; the sense of intimacy with your own work which is so great that it renders your powers of objectivity impotent. Does this story work? Have I chosen the right phrasing? What should I cut? The questions keep coming but no one answers.

When I’m working on a piece, particularly a short story in which every paragraph must count for something, I often lose all perspective. And returning to the page every day only seems to make the condition more acute; proximity threatens to destroy creativity, like a magnifying glass burning ants as it concentrates the sun’s rays. The pressure to produce and finish stories leads to unsatisfactory conclusions or improbable characters, and I think that sometimes I’m writing simply because I feel I have to and not because I want to… or can, for that matter.

So what do we do? Lees verder Literary agnosia and the short story

Writer’s block… Oh, it’s real

Writer’s block, A.K.A the bogey man

He lurks behind a milk curtain, morse-coding reprimands and insults with my own cursor. Six dots and a jarring ‘Oh!’ (The exclamation mark is implied).

“It’s you again,” he says. “Did you know that your last idea for a plot was terrible? It was worse than terrible. It gave me migraines in my stapes, and I don’t even have stapes. Where are you taking that wretched creature? That ‘character’, as you name him? Preferably somewhere to die. Because that’s where he’s headed if you start typing – right into the grave. He’ll be pushing up digital daisies before bedtime and you’ll be ten thousand words in the red. Just like I told you.” Lees verder Writer’s block… Oh, it’s real

Why rejection letters are the new Xanax

14-rules-of-storytellingI was hay making through the chaff in my inbox recently when I stumbled across a curt email from [enter not-so-prominent journal name here] informing me that my piece entitled [enter short story title] had unfortunately been rejected.

I can’t remember my precise reaction – it may have involved scratching my behind, or sucking out the remaining juice from the Tetley bag stranded at the bottom of the teapot – but it went along the lines of, ‘whatever’. Lees verder Why rejection letters are the new Xanax