How To Push Past The Bullshit And Write That Goddamn Novel
From this post at terribleminds.
Dial H — China Mieville, Mateus Santolouco
Saga — Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples
The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen – Century: 2009 — Alan Moore, Kevin O’Neill
Beasts of Burden: Neighborhood Watch — Evan Dorkin, Jill Thompson
When Fly stopped sleeping for a time, she decided to walk around the earth searching for flowers, collecting them and putting them all in the one place so she could sleep knowing they were safe. She would cover the bare ground with flowers - a bed so big, it would be impossible to not fall into a deep reverie. Determined to see the darkness behind her lids, she took off her shoes and burnt them. Did you ever see Fly in those days, walking the earth barefoot?
She took no specific route, had no map, only let the flowers call out to her. She would collect roses, peonies, daisies, irises, lilies, lotus - all asking for her to rescue them from their imprisonment, the dying soil. When she got sick of flowers, she would turn to books, pick them, read from page to page, until she reached the end. Then of course she would burn them, inhaling their ashes and spreading them across fields where flowers no longer lived, watching as new books grew from the earth, replacing all the flowers, pages blossoming like petals. She felt nothing just like the earth beneath her feet which was already starting to decompose. She would rescue the flowers before the earth swallowed them too, the way it had swallowed Stevie.
She kept the flowers together in a large bag made from her torn dresses, cut her long braid and made a handle out of it. Whenever she camped out on the beach, her journey was interrupted by small tsunamis of ginger ale. She would open her mouth and drink it in, inhaling their bubbles. Even when she had picked all the flowers and placed them on an open field, she could only lay there, haunted by the darkness, staring into the nothingness, knowing she would never sleep again.
Here is an extract from a piece of free writing I started today. This voice just popped out of nowhere and demanded some real estate!
We been riding this sonabitch since Ohm-ah-ha. Because you knew that you really wanted to and it would be days at this rate riding the tractor, before you got through the cornfields because the bitches went on for days. I took out my old beaten copy of Desolation Angles which is the only real Kerouac that I have read and re-read all these long days. The cat looks at me when I go to the bookshelf to take down this copy because he knows better than I do that it will put me in the mood for introspection and mooning about the place. I like to think back to the tractor with the cornfields hardly passing by, the passage of time goes mighty slow when you take a ride on the back of a tractor. It has something to do with inverse absolutes and I know this is the case because I got told it once in class, but I remember that it wasn’t the science lab that we were in, on account of it being blown to bloody hell and back by a kid called Billy Apple-bee who they told everyone had learnin difficulties. They said that cause they didn’t want any other of us kids getting the idea that you could just go around blowing up the school laboratories. They must have thought it right because right the week after the lab got blown to smithereens and we was still picking up chunks of glass and mortar, Harry Prowse called in a bomb threat and we all knew it were Harry who did it too because the police traced the call to his Ma’s house and she were none too pleased that there were a police car outside her house when she got off from her shift at the dry cleaners and Harry went to reform school after that and came back home after he had been there one term with a buzz cut cause he told us the school was infested with lice.
The reason why I carry Desolation Angels with me is that I like the title and Kerouac liked moving about the place. I think I’m a bit like him although I never been in the merchant marines and I’m not gay you’re not likely to see me taking off to sea cause I hate the thought of all that water. It makes me think of being trapped in something endless and I prefer solid ground beneath my feet and the smell of the soil when you walk through the corn you can smell the soil and the creatures in the ground doin the composting. It is a smell that’s as good as the smell of Sherelee’s hair when she lay in the sun next to you when you were ten and you could smell her hair mixed up with grass and molasses and you knew that was what it smelt like in heaven.
Excerpt from Chapter 11 of 1000: Time Paradox
We split up; I figured it was easier for us to scope out the charger and find it without getting caught. I wandered around for a bit, clearly not in the section that I needed to be in. I didn’t recognise anything on the walls or in the cases and the infographics were telling me about people I had never heard of. But I pushed on; maybe I would stumble upon it soon? There was probably some sort of interactive guide in the coms, but as I didn’t have one, it wasn’t like it would be any help.
I looked around at all the white objects, I couldn’t tell what half of them were or what they were for, but they were slowly getting more and more hardware based, still ahead of my time, but not from this integrated age.
As I walked, I found what appeared to be the first Death Machines. I looked through the cabinets at the prototypes, they were so elaborate, and I wondered how they even got them to the hospitals. The infographic behind me started talking about the design phase, about the idea; I wasn’t really paying attention, well, until I heard a familiar voice.
“We looked at what the system needed, what would create a better society. All we wanted was to wipe out prejudice, unemployment and just build a better global community. The first Death Machines promised that: once you knew that your death was predetermined and that what you did during your life wouldn’t change it, then ofcourse social barriers would break down. Who are you to judge a person for being gay or Chinese when you’re both going to die of cancer?”
I turned around and watched the woman talk. Of course, she was a lot older and she looked exhausted, but there she was, my little Maddy. My beautiful sister had grown up and found her place in society; gotten a job I was so proud of her for and contributed something phenomenal to the world.
I just stared, watching her talk about her amazing creation. I felt numb, I didn’t even know what to think or say, all thoughts of the charger had gone from my mind. I didn’t even take in anything she was saying, I was just so happy to see her, and know that she had done ok.
“JASOL! JASOL! Where the fux are you?” screamed Dean as she belted through the museum.
“I’m in here, dickhead” I yelled to her as I snapped back to reality. My face was wet and I couldn’t work out why, until I realised I must have been crying. I wiped my face dry as Dean ran into the room holding a charger.
“Look, I’ve got it, now come on we’ve got to get out of here!” She motioned for me to follow her out and I got myself together and scrambled after her. As we ran I heard security guards running through where we had been and I knew that we’d only just managed to escape.
If I had to sum up my Rabbit Hole experience in just one word, it’d be intense.
For anyone who signs up to write 30,000+ words in 22 hours is quite simply a glutton for punishment. But gladly, I’m one of them. It has been a writing experience like no other.
It’s not often that you get the chance to spend your weekend with up to twenty people from around Australia that you’ve never met (and could possibly never meet), and share your unique passion for the written word. Some of us have laughed, some of us have cried, but amusingly, most of us have appeared to kill someone off at some point over the weekend. Just quietly, I hope that some of these murders that have taken place over the weekend have been solely metaphorical, but when deep in the imaginative thought, sometimes, you just can’t help but wonder.
My quickly collated mass of words has varied. I spent the majority of my Saturday writing a first draft for a book on a subject that’s close to my heart, the struggle of having a mental illness. Having seen so many of those around me have such an experience, it was an emotional rollercoaster placing myself in their shoes, reflecting on those experiences from my perspectives, and reflect on it all as if I was watching it from the sideline. It’s something that I hope to keep writing over the next few months, or who knows, I may be racing to a conclusion at next year’s Rabbit Hole.
My Sunday has consisted primarily of blog writing, which albeit practical, has allowed me to mark off a few things from my ‘to do list’ at the same time. I can’t wait to share what’s come out of them over the next few weeks/months.
Right now, I’ve got two hours left, and just under 3,000 words to write. Severely lacking on both sugar and caffeine, definitely due for a top up! I’ll end on this note; if you get the chance to do the Rabbit Hole next year, do it. I certainly feel like I’ve learnt a bit about myself over the weekend, and it has been great to get back to my true passion of creative writing, as opposed to those darn university essays that keep popping all over the place.
‘We are all apprentices in a craft where no one becomes a master’ – Ernest Hemingway
- Chris (@chrispytweets)
I have really enjoyed this weekend and have gotten a lot more out of it than I thought I would, one major thing I discovered is the fact that I can push past my own insecurities and walls of self-doubt to really get some writing done. Something I haven’t done in a long time.
The working title is “What Goes Around Comes Back with a Kick.”
Tap, tap, scratch, scratch, tap, the sounds became louder as the scratchings appeared in the floorboards. Terrified Tim Northam huddled under his blankets; he wanted to call out to his daddy, but all he could think of and hear was his dad’s voice telling him to toughen up, and not to cry like a baby. Six year old boys are not babies who cry and run to their mummy or daddy. They are strong and tough and can face anything.
‘Timmy!’ The voice taunted him and he pressed his hands against his ears trying to block out the sound. ‘Come to me Timmy, want to play with me?’
‘N-no please go way.’ Tim sobbed, he twisted his fingers in his hair as he pressed his hands harder against his ears in a desperate attempt to block out the voice butt he could still hear it taunting him.
‘No!’ He screamed when he felt the cold, hard fingers twist around his ankle, unable to stop the slow pulling Tim started to cry, not caring what his dad had to say, he didn’t want to be tough or strong, he just wanted his mummy and daddy.
‘Hush baby don’t cry,’ a lady’s voice pierced the veil of pain and darkness surrounding the little boy and he looked up in surprise.
‘Who-who are you?’ he whispered in awe as he stared up at the pretty face with slanted brown eyes and long brown hair, she held out her hand and smiled, she was so pretty. ‘Don’t know you.’
‘I can help you Tim, let me help you.’ Her voice wrapped around the child like a warm blanket and suddenly he wasn’t scared any more. ‘That’s it Tim come to me my boy, my beautiful boy.’
‘But-but the monster it’ll get me.’ Tim started to crawl up his bed again, his large pale blue eyes shone in the moonlight and tears ran down his pale thin cheeks, his slight body shaking uncontrollably, ‘I want my mummy.’
‘Come to me Tim and I’ll take you to your mummy.’ She said and held out her hand once more, as she emanated a warmth enveloping the six year old and instantly calming him.
Tim sighed as he felt warm and sleepy, he felt his mummy’s arms around him and he was safe again. With a big yawn, he snuggled into the embrace and fell into a deep trusting sleep.
‘Shush my pet you can have your way with the mother but leave the father, he is the cursed one.’ She said as she looked down at the glowing eyes and shadowed movements beneath the single bed, ‘you have earned your feast tonight.’
A large black cloud, pulsating and pregnant, heavy with rain and despair settled itself across the face of the moon blocking out the silver light and casting a pall of sadness and feeling of foreboding over all those beneath it.
Here is an extract from the short story I started at 10am this morning - ‘The Fylonshmap Thruster’
I noticed the patch on his flight suit at the bar. He was a member of the Air Steamers, but looked young. He could only have made a few flights. I weaved my way through the crowd to find him at a table with his beer, positioned above a large book. He had notes and a pen next to him, and completely ignoring the strange looks he was getting - typical of an Air Steamer.
I took a booth next to him so I could spy. I am not going to find an excuse - I’m nosey. My brother says I like to ‘nose’ everything. I had passed the entrance exams for the Air Steamers back when I was his age, but life just didn’t pan out that way.
Over his shoulder, I could read some of his lecture notes.
“The Fylonshmap thruster is a form of etherically-powered propulsion using Geretz force to generate thrust.”
There was a handwritten note describing Geretz force as the “force on a phlogistinated quanta by an etheric-fylon field”. I was somewhat intrigued. Although I was an engineer, surface or sea steam engines were as close as I got to Air Steamers. Everyone wanted to be an Air Steamer, but you had to be smart and you had to be fit. I had never heard of a Fylonshmap thruster.
The notes continued:
“A gas is phlogistinated and fed into an acceleration chamber. Fylon and etheric fields are then applied using an external power source. Quanta are then driven by the Geretz force caused by the interaction of the ether-glow running through the shmap and fylon field out through the exhaust chamber.”
Again, a note in the margin stated these fields could be applied “externally or induced by ether-glow”. I had never heard of ether-glow. I’m not sure why I transfixed on this part as the rest was far beyond me as well. What was ether-glow? I was dying to ask, but instead I continued reading over his shoulder.
“As with other etherically-powered propulsion systems, both the thrust itself, and the efficiency of the thruster, shown by thrust divided by the amount of propellant used per unit time, increase with power input, while thrust per yorl decreases.”
I had to wait until he turned the page to read the rest. I pretended I was people watching. I had my ears ready to hear the page turn. I could already see through the paper the diagrams on the next page and I was very interested to see them. I hoped it would all make sense to me, but it was probably all completely beyond me. The page turned with a crisp swish.
The diagrams were fantastical. At first I could not see how such a thing could possible work. There was no surface. It looked remarkably like something that would be submersible. There was no up or down, but there seemed to be a front and a back. The text was still more mystery.
At the 2012 Emerging Writers Festival, four groups of writers in different states and cities went down the Rabbit Hole - a two-and-a-bit day writing boot camp where participants attempted to write 30 000 words.
There were face-to-face teams in Brisbane, Melbourne and Hobart; alongside them was an online team with members across the country.
This Tumblr is a space to show off the work and the thoughts of those members of the online group who smashed through the 20 000 word mark.
These are their words. These are their stories.