Tuesday, 13 November 2012

In Nanoworld

I’m living in nanoworld at the moment. I’m working on my latest manuscript “Written in the Coffee” and taking part in the annual NaNoWriMo challenge – National Novel Writing Month 2012. This means that I need to find constant stimulation for my plot and novel content.
As I drive my son to school, I am paying particular attention to the season changes so that it can be recreated in my book. I might notice a distinctive car and wonder whether my hero or heroine could drive it. I squirrel away colours, shapes, smells and the feelings they produce, so that I can write them down, often whilst still parked outside school.

My coffee in the supermarket becomes a research trip. The whole book is based around a café and the coffee, so I study my latte and I watch out for characters. I notice how people move, the expressions which cross their faces. I may even record snippets of dialogue I overhear. All to feed Nano.

If I am stuck with my plot, I resort to picking up random magazines in the supermarket. Turning to a page, I find a headline I can write from and off I go writing today’s 1,670 target words.

These stimulants are particularly important as I reach the inevitable stage in the manuscript where I am convinced that it is all rubbish and that no one would ever want to read it. I valiantly attempt to write through the doubt, hoping for a breakthrough.

At just over 21,000 words written this month (I already have 30,000 words on this story), I love my characters – Tobias, the failed architect, turned chocolatier and Becky, the psychic barista, but my plot has huge holes and leaps of faith.

At least I made myself laugh today. When I re-read what I had just typed, I had spelled wellies with an “i” instead of the “e”.

A little snippet from “Written in the Coffee”:-

Tobias was sat up still wrapped in the blankets.

She smiled at him. ‘Did you sleep well?’

‘Not bad, but I think I’ve cricked my neck.’

He moved his head in a circle and winced.

Becky tried not to look at the hairs on his chest, revealed when the blankets fell away.

‘You should have slept in the spare bed upstairs. It would have been much more comfortable.’

‘I needed to be downstairs. Just in case you had any unwanted visitors in the night.

‘My guard dog?’

‘Knight in shining armour please.’

Becky giggled. As far as she could ascertain he was only wearing his underpants. Her mind wandered off to what knights actually wore under their armour.


See if you can help me keep typing by telling me how you get through the periods of doubt with your manuscript?

Sunday, 11 November 2012

A Poem for Remembrance Day

Remembrance Day

How would I feel if it were you?

My lovely healthy strong young son.

Yet if times were different

You would have no doubt gone

To foreign fields of death and pain.

Grown up quickly, become a man.

Seen things no sane person should have seen.

While I spent my time wondering if you were safe.

Knitting socks, raising funds,

Letting them melt my garden gate.

Dreading every letter or telegram.

I can cry at just the thought of it.

What if you had not come back?

No body to bury, no grave to tend.

Grieving but secretly not believing

My flesh and blood was really gone.

My precious one, my only son.
© Morton Gray

Saturday, 10 November 2012

United by Remembrance

Walking down the road today, it was lovely to see how many people were wearing poppies. There were a fair number of cars and lorries sporting them too. It struck me that so many people from so many different walks of life are united by the simple act of buying and wearing a poppy.

One of my main pastimes is tracing family trees. In my own tree, both of my grandfathers were in reserved occupations for the second world war, but my own personal roll of honour includes:-

First World War

Alfred Beddows born 1881. 14th Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers. Died 22 April 1918 the Somme. Buried Bouzincourt Ridge Cemetery, Somme, France.

Second World War

Cyril Hall born 1923. Mess Room Boy, SS Empire Airman (Merchant Navy). Died 21 September 1940. The ship was torpedoed by a U boat and sank. Thirty-three of the thirty-seven crew died, including Cyril, who was just 17.

So I would ask you to wear your poppy with pride.