2021 – The far future!

Jesus. What a bloody rollercoaster, eh? Namely one that breaks down and people loose things – limbs, lives, dignity. And it’s not over yet. Just as nothing fucking changed – millenium bug, what? – when the year 2000 happened. Ahhh the year 2000. Simpler times. 2020 made 2016 – the year when Bowie, an actual Star man, died – look bleedin’ marvelous.

However.

I’m knackered. Good knackered. I have a son now. I’m jobseeking in case the worst happens. But I’m more motivated than I ever have been because I have to be. Maybe all those (cue sad piano music) X-Factor “I’m doing it for my kids” auditions were authentic after all? Or maybe it’s the 8.2% Biscoff Porter I just downed talking, washed down with a Gamma Ray. Whatever the weather, happy belated New Year you utterly, utterly beautiful bastards. reap the whirlwind and that. Good luck and god speed.

The Shelter map

Here’s a Metroidvania-esque map I’ve been playing about with. It depicts The Shelter, which wil be a key story location in my book. It was made in After Effects.

Back to it…

I’ve now done two full days of writing (as in retreats) and some bits in between, but it’s March already and I need to keep up the momentum. I’ve been spending time fleshing out characters, but mainly working on designy stuff for work and to accompany story stuff. One of the big-uns is actually making Sisters Noire more of a brand, so I’ve been using my snazzy new graphics tablet in an attempt to do just that. I am still fighting daily procrastination though. To get on with the novel and to combat my fear of the blank page. That and not being afraid to write shite so at least there’s something to then re-write. I’m looking to dedicate at least a few hours a week to this (probably on a Sunday morning). Hopefully this will mean all the groundwork for the series and characters will go towards finishing this badboy once and for all!

Bristol Writers’ Retreat

I write this sat on the rather chilly platform 3 of Bristol Temple Meads. Not because I haven’t done writerly stuff today, more to thaw out my thumb. Yes that’s correct: I DON’T FEEL GUILTY ABOUT NOT WRITING! And why’s that, Ed? COS I’VE BLOOMIN’ DONE SOME!!! I hate it when people on tinternet use all caps for emphasis, don’t you?

Today* I went to my first Writers HQ retreat in Bristol, run by Amanda Staples. And I got a whole bunch done. The setting was perfect – The Old Library in Eastville. It is a community-run library and basically a large room full of bookly wonder and lots of comfy seats.

Bristol writers hq retreat
The scoreboard. I wsn’t in it for the wordcount, but still managed to land myself a gold star for my efforts. GET IN (as they say)!

Unlike pretty much everyone else (but not because I’m special), I concentrated on structure rather than wordcount. Recently I’ve been pulling all of my notes from everywhere and popping them in Scrivener and Aeon Timeline to create a single source of truth. I’ve also been fleshing out story characters and relationships. I basically spent the day doing more of that, despite already having written a chunk of the novel. As a planned series, I’ll wager it’ll save me more time in the long run. And also help in those “what would s/he do in this situation given eveything s/he’s been through?” instances.

If you’re a fan of writing with other writers, check-ins to see how you’re getting on, lots of tea, scrummy food and chatting, this is for you. It’s less about guidance and more about getting on with it in a supportive space. Also: you don’t need to read a thing to anyone, which feels a lot less stressful. You can check out the Writers HQ here (be warned, it’s sweary!). For me it’s been the full-day kick up the arse I needed.

P.S. You also get a gold star for writing.

*I actually only wrote the opening to this yesterday, before getting distracted by Family Fortunes, then going to bed because I’D WRITTEN (eaten) TOO MUCH.