January Newsletter

What a Writer Does All New Year

My Novel, The Punished

A local book group is going to read my novel The Punished this February, which is exciting. I haven’t begged them. A neighbour read the novel and then took it to the group. I thought they’d turned it down, but now it’s going ahead. All I can do is hope it inspires a great discussion. I’ve never been a member of a book group, although I have been a participant in hundreds if not thousands of writing workshops. I expect to receive an annotated copy with ‘must try harder’ on the front.

I guess the purpose of a book group is social, which is a great aim in itself. The term reminds me of those book clubs that you sign up to and then receive a hundred books you don’t really want. I don’t think I have any role to play there, so I’ll just sit back and hope it goes well. What could possibly go wrong?

Story Links

Checking my writing credits, as I often do. It’s like looking at your lottery ticket every five minutes. I look at my online efforts, independent publishers who’ve stuck their necks out and passionately committed to publishing. I always wish I could do more than share the link. I’m very pleased when the links survive, especially my prescient 2016 poem, Brexit Wounds, a highly metaphorical swipe at ideological leaders. Of course, I’d do it differently now, but that doesn’t mean you should or shouldn’t look at it.

New Novel

My new writing season ran from October 2017 to October 2018 and the 250000 words I generated by writing down everything I was worried about / pestered by / terrified of in the time available for writing, is now an idea within a room without windows within a maze of a document only reached by a spiral staircase, so not much work to do there to first draft.

There’s at least another 18 months to go before it no longer feels like a new idea. The Punished started life in 2013, but even by 2015 I had an overwhelming sense it was long in the tooth. I occasionally dropped out to write a poem or two because I missed that old routine of waking, being hounded by nightmarish thoughts, writing them into a noirish terror, and sending them off to unsuspecting editors. That routine I stuck with throughout the year, but instead of saying ‘stop’ at the thousand word point, I kept going. The result is nowhere near as incoherent a ramble as I expected, just not structured – at all.

So that’s it. Publish.