Needles and Pins

On top of feeling generally tired, I made a realisation today – I’m attempting to write a subversive teen spy thriller set at a school, when I don’t like writing about school, and I don’t like spy thrillers. Despite the fact that there are some good ideas here, I really don’t think this is something I’m meant to write right now. Added to which, it’s also suffering from a major case of Passive Protagonist-itus, with a main character who spends most of the story reacting and doesn’t do anything truly pro-active until the final quarter of the book. After spending major chunks of The Hypernova Gambit trying to get my main heroine less passive and more active, I think it’d be good if I started with a pro-active protagonist, and then worked from there…

Day 22: The Nature of the Catastrophe

Okay- first up- I didn’t do fantastically today.

Yesterday’s wordcount: 986
Today’s wordcount: 606

FLIPSIDE total wordcount: 21,166

I’m not even convinced that anything I’m writing is particularly good.

Second of all, today was horribly difficult for a whole variety of reasons. The nightmare with our flat is refusing to go away- last thursday, I discovered that not only has the Landlord not yet fixed a date for the refurbishments to begin (Apparently, the builders he likes are both dead cheap and ridiculously difficult to control), but he’s recently turned down tenants who were definitely interested in the place, simply because they wanted it for longer than six months, and that would mean he wouldn’t be able to refurbish soon and bump up the rent. (Okay, he said that was a deciding factor at the beginning of this whole nightmare process, but it still rankles, as I’m sure you can understand). He’s also continuing his habit of describing plans in a way that makes no sense, and only really starts making me angry about eight hours later- for example, the builders are currently doing a job ‘for the next couple of weeks’, but he can’t actually set a date for the end of the contract ‘until they’ve actually started work’, otherwise they might bugger off and leave him in the lurch (Which should, theoretically, be his problem, but he seems to be doing his damndest to make it ours). ‘Sometime in April’ is his statement- and even that is with ‘no promises’. On top of all this, I’ve since found out that- at least at the moment- the flat has been taken off the system at the Estate Agents who were supposed to be advertising it, and isn’t appearing on their website- they claim it’s still being advertised ‘privately’ in places like Loot (although I’ve checked the Loot website and there is no sign of anything resembling our flat), but are saying that it’s probably due to the Landlord’s decision to hang onto it and refurbish, rather than rent it again, and the fact that it’s in an ‘unrentable state’- (despite the people last week who were very keen on taking it).

This has, understandably, been playing havoc with me. I don’t handle stress well- I particularly don’t handle financial stress well, and the current situation of having to pay £715 a month for a flat we’re no longer living in is, to be honest, a bit too much for anyone to cope with. Even with significant help from George’s mum and dad, we’re functioning on the average earnings of a church mouse. This morning, it knocked me for six- I sometimes end up ‘Hulking Out’ in terms of stress, which is very bad for me, and George was incredibly supportive- but we’ve just had a major row over what to do about this situation. She’s right, in that the time for rolling over and playing along with this is over- but I’m still seduced by the idea of just getting to a point where this isn’t a factor anymore- just paying the toll and going home. At the moment, we’re talking about four rent payments- (to be honest, we don’t care about the deposit, so it would really only be three)- but that’s still upwards of 2 grand, and potentially ending up in a Court Action situation over that kind of money is something that frightens me an awful lot, and I don’t always respond well when I get frightened.

I guess- if anyone out there knows anyone in the legal world, or any way we might be able to get some advice- we’re four months from the end of a Fixed Term Tenancy Agreement, and the Landlord is playing silly buggers. An amicable ending would be nice, but I don’t know if it’s going to happen. To be honest, it would just be nice to know whether biting the bullet and not paying is a sensible move or the daftest thing we could possibly do.

Any advice gratefully accepted…

Day 20: That Lucky Old Sun (Just Rolls Around Heaven All Day…)

Two days in London threw me slightly out of whack wordcount wise- but, I got back into the swing of things today.

The count is…

Day 18: 544
Day 19: 0
Day 20: 2031

Leading us to a grand total of 2580 new words. The online wordcounter that I’ve been using has now decided to shut down, but (drum roll…) the current FLIPSIDE total is:

19,754 words

I’m feeling somewhat crappy and displaced today. There’ll be a proper update (and maybe a TV Eye…) pretty soon.

Day 17: The Fire Overhead

I’m feeling tired, and I don’t quite know how to pull myself out of it- especially when I’ve got a late screening tomorrow, and am staying over in London for Thursday night. It’s been an incredibly busy few days- and I’ve just found out that I’ve got another screening and review to do next week. My brain feels empty- writing my quota today was really hard to start, and I had to skip forward a little, mainly because pacing the story is turning out to be rather difficult. Plus, I’m not brimming with confidence at what I’m writing- instead, it’s all feeling sketchy and vague, like turning it into anything genuine will take a ridiculous amount of time. Plus, I’ve hardly done any work on The Hypernova Gambit in the last few days, which isn’t leaving me full of bounce.

At the least, today’s count- after a very rusty start- is 1169.

Progress on FLIPSIDE:

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17,174 / 67,500

Day 16: No Regrets

SMD Publishing have entered administration. It’s happenned just a couple of days before I was going to go ahead with the court action- and if I had, it would have been another £200 down the hatch. There may be a slim possibility of getting money back… but this now brings the total amount of money that I’ve lost as a result of working on Hotdog to well over £3,000. It’s at times like this that the idea of getting out of writing about movies and getting my novel career going is very, very alluring. It’s just upsetting more than anything else, especially considering that we badly needed that money right now- but, I’d been doing my best to survive without it, and I’ll continue to survive.

987 words. The story continues to inch forward- and I’ve formulated the next few scenes in a way that’s slightly surprising me. Unfortunately, I do feel like I’m going to have to rewrite the hell out of this if it’s going to stand a chance of working.

Progress on FLIPSIDE:

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16,005 / 67,500

Day 15: You Bring Me Closer To God…

1,302 words. I’m also embracing the stranger side of the story at last, and may have finally got my central couple past the ‘hesitant friendship’ bit of the story, thank god. It’s not long before seriously weird stuff starts happening. I’ve got a busy day today- I’m zooming into London for a screening, plus I’ve got a book to read. Lots of stuff is happening, which is always a good sign.

Progress on FLIPSIDE:

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15,018 / 67,500

I’ve cracked 15,000! Plus, I’m 21% into my quota! (Which is scary, considering I’ve only just scratched the surface, story-wise…)

Day 14: Devil Inside

Yesterday afternoon, I had to go and see teen werewolf movie Blood and Chocolate at a multiplex in Basingstoke, thanks to the distributors not screening the thing. The film itself was pretty dreary teen horror bobbins, but possibly the strangest moment (aside from the point in the film where I realised that all the werewolves’ clothes were magically evaporating every time they changed into wolves) was in the trailers. Yet another anti-piracy trailer turned up, except this one was selling us the idea of how fantastic a movie like Apocalypto is on the big screen, and how the crappy picture of a pirate DVD is nothing in comparison to the real thing.

All very true. With one problem.

We already knew that. We were actually in the cinema.

It reminded me of those old adverts on VHS tapes trying to sell the amazing picture quality of DVD when the format was just getting established- when there was no physical way of showing the difference. It’s just a nutty way of marketing, and the very definition of preaching to the converted. What’s the point of telling people who’ve payed to watch a film on the big screen that the big screen is best? If I wanted to watch a Pirate DVD… I would have watched a Pirate DVD instead! I managed to resist the urge to shout “We know!! We know!!” at the screen, but it was a close call…

Today- 926 words, plus I did a couple of reviews, and I actually drove properly for the second time in a very long while. Last week, I drove home from Alton- this week, I drove all the way to Winchester and back. I was on the road for about an hour- there were a couple of errors, and a couple of things I need to do better, but otherwise I did pretty well. It’ll take me a little while, and I need more confidence, but I’m feeling good about this.

I just need some time to work on The Hypernova Gambit, now…

Progress on FLIPSIDE:

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13,716 / 67,500

Day 13: Access All Areas

982 words. A little better than yesterday- I’m allowing some things to happen, and if I have to speed up this bit of the story, then so be it. I don’t know what I’m going to end up with, but it’s going to be interesting finding out.

Progress on FLIPSIDE:

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12,790 / 67,500

Day 12: To Tell The Truth

805 words. To be honest, it’s not helping that at the moment, I’m not quite sure how to graduate my story from the world of normality into the world of strangeness- the way I’ve got it thought out, it needs to be a gradual thing… but I think plunging into weirdness unexpectedly might be more exciting. I’m slowly learning the difference between writing down every single beat of the story and only writing down the ones that actually make a significant difference (I’m not writing highbrow literature- most of my stuff is designed to be a funky, strange adventure). Most of the stuff I’ve written over the past couple of days has been useful to a degree, but it hasn’t actually been stuff I could see lasting into the next draft. I don’t want to stop and take a break- I just need to choose which of the multitude of forks in the road in front of me I’m going to actually take.

Progress on FLIPSIDE:

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11,808 / 67,500

Soon, I may have a blog entry that isn’t just a progress report. Stranger things have been known to happen…