Tuesday, November 22

Rainbows and smileys and some bad writing.

I ordered business cards from Moo (to be fair, they're baby mini business cards) and as I was browsing through the designs available, my first thought was 'do they have Hello Kitty ones'? Now, you might think nobody who wants Hello Kitty business cards should be allowed to have business cards at all. They should be given printer paper and crayons and sat on a tiny plastic chair. That's what I think, anyway. Maybe it's a symptom of the chronic childishness my generation is trapped in – but screw it. I'm a writer. I'm artsy. I'm whimsical. All the smart, pastel designs seemed boring. I'm a special snowflake, goddamnit.

So I got rainbow business cards. They'll be delivered around Christmas. I'm psyched.

Now, I'm aware that I keep calling myself a writer but please let's not get our wires crossed – this self-imposed label is not some sort of delusional, narcissistic thing. It's an affirmation which I know for a fact is currently false (with the definition of a writer being someone who writes and gets paid and knows how grammar works – see extract below for evidence to the contrary), but which will hopefully become a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you're not esoterically-minded, humour me and pretend that an affirmation and a lie are separate things.

I also did something sorta crazy the other day. I've been reading No Country For Old Men and while I'm not mad about the plot, Cormac McCarthy's style just blows me away. When I was still labouring under the delusion that I could mentally handle two years of Masters, I wanted to focus on Cormac McCarthy's novels for my thesis – because The Road is probably my favourite novel of all time. And he's too cool for quotation marks.

So while working on Project: Not A Fanfic, I wrote a whole chapter in a weak impression of McCarthy's style. It turned out to be rather spectacularly bad. Have an extract:

She stood and went outside. It was dark and it had just rained and there were strong winds knotting her hair and raising goosebumps on her skin. The air smelled wet and fresh. The rustle of the wind chewed on the edges of her mind and she pictured a thousand enemies waiting beyond the edge of the darkness for her, breaking twigs and shifting restlessly in the distance waiting impatiently for her to come within reach, within swiping distance.

She shivered, looked at the moon, and went back inside. He asked her what she'd been doing outside. Fresh air, she said. She looked to the ground so he wouldn't see her pupils had become tiny pinpricks in her muddy green eyes.

He said he was going out and that she should have a hole dug by the time he got back. She said how big. He said about six foot long and six deep. It should be easy in this mud.

If she had been sober her stomach would have dropped and her skin would have grown to match the green of her eyes but none of that happened. She nodded and made herself and him a cup of coffee. Most of the time even when he said he wanted coffee he wouldn't drink it. His cup stayed full and a thin brown ring started to stain the cup around the edge where the coffee ended. He packed up his things, real organised, and left. She listened to his truck start and chug dead and start again. She looked at the cup he left behind and downed the lukewarm instant coffee that had a sludge of sugar at the bottom. He hadn't even stirred it. 

She tied up her hair in a knotty tail then twisted the tail around into a messy bun that would stay off her neck as she sweated. He kept the shovels in the shed which he kept locked because some of the tools had blood on them and no point letting people wander in there. Although he liked things clean some stains were sentimental.

I doubt this chapter will survive revisions, but it was fun to write.

Project: Not A Fanfic is going well, by the way. I'm on schedule in terms of word count (37,086 words as of this evening), and just yesterday I tackled a massive action scene I've been putting off since day one. Anyone who knows me knows I consider it a feat of strength to walk and talk at the same time, so my co-ordination and spatial reasoning skills aren't quite at action-adventure levels. Luckily the good folks in my story have guns* so they don't have any messy, confusing, multi-limbed hand-to-hand combat for me to grapple with.

One of my characters gave me a pleasant surprise too Рwhile I thought she was relentlessly blas̩ and well-adjusted, turns out she's been faking it. I'm thrilled, because she's more real and relatable now. She was bordering on Mary Sue-ish before. Although I realise how problematic it is that when a male character is perfect it's heroic, and when a female character is perfect it's unrealistic.

Like any adult with rainbow business cards, I use smiley stickers to motivate myself.

My new favourite quote and motto for NaNo.

Luckily, perfect people are boring and I won't tolerate them in my stories. Right now every character in Project: Not A Fanfic is so damaged I'm surprised they get anything done. Hell, I don't even expect much from them, I'm just hoping the poor bastards manage to get to the end of the book without turning into a suicide cult. 

*I dislike guns and I don't really understand them. If it were up to me, my characters would shoot jelly babies from slingshots at the bad guys. But since the bad guys don't care how I feel, and have guns with bullets, I fear this could put my team at an unfair disadvantage.


  1. I'm a nut when it comes to quotes. I've just put up a new post devoted completely to quotes! http://dasiahasablog.blogspot.com/2011/12/8-awesome-quotes-for-writers.html and Mr Hemingway definitely makes an appearance :)

  2. The quote is great indeed, I think it'll become my new favorite too :)


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