16th October

It’s been a strange few weeks.

My holiday was great for the weather and swimming in the sea aspects of things. We saw dolphins, seals, and otters. The otters were at arms length, which was so awesome. On a less great side my brother has been subjected to some extremely nasty crap – accusations that are obscene (and proven false). We spent a lot of time drinking, sauna-ing, walking on the beach, and talking. The poor guy dos not deserve it.

We are also moving to the other end of the country – the house currently is in a state of semi-boxification. Most of them at this point are filled with books – sooooo many books.

This has made writing problematic. As has the worry that I just can’t tell a story in a way that sells. Or maybe I need to find a sympathetic editor who likes one of the stories enough to guide it into landing. Or I can just get better. Much better. So much better.

Course, for that, I need to be writing. Am I writing? Nearly. Very, Very, Nearly.

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4th September

I’m on holiday. I have my laptop (fail). Good excuse. My good lady wife will be using it to do some editing for her mother (another writer – natch).

So, I’m going to use it. Aim is 1k words a day and a completed novella (30-35k words – is that novella? – I already have the first 18k done) draft by the time I go home.

And I’m gonna do all the other stuff I said – with my red hair (check twitter – @clivetern)

3 September

I’m going on holiday for two weeks, and I’m not taking my laptop.

I am, instead, going to reconnect with pen and paper.

I might post some pics with the phone, I might not.

Meh!

But, I am going to be working on a story with a main character called The Captain. There’s about 20k words already there. Plan is to write another 15-20k and return home with a first draft. 35-40k is light these days, but that’s the aim. Almost four times longer than anything Ive ever written.

Then it’ll be time to do the stuff that makes you a real writer. Re-writing. I’m not sure I can do that bit yet.

31 August

Jen DeLuca nominated me for the 7*7*7*7 challenge (read Jen’s here).

The rules are: Go to the seventh line of the seventh page of a current WIP, then post the next seven lines and tag seven more authors to do the same.

Now, the first bit of that near stumped me. What is my WIP? I have several projects on the go, some of them languishing in a limbo of either ‘I’m not sure I can write this how I want to’ or ‘I’m not sure I care enough about this to write any more’.

So I made a choice and these are from my novelette with a working title of Epecuén:

“He’s a country boy who sees a hundred city girls a year. I’m sure you were special last year. Odette, dear…” she left the sentence unfinished, banging the dough and raising a small puff of flour. “Let’s get this bread proving, and then we should put the chicken in the oven.”
That was the only time Odette spoke to either of her parents about the matter.

Now to tag seven other writers…

August 30th

What to say when there’s nothing to say?

Three weeks ago seems a long time, and in the interim I have written little. A sonnet which needs polishing, a story which needs a finish and then consigned to a bin and forgotten about – it really is pretty poor, and not near to the submission call which inspired it.

I’m struggling with the writing thing. I still have things to write, but am unsure I can find a market for my style. I have readers who tell me ‘I like what you write, please keep going’ but it’s more difficult to find editors who agree. What to do? What to do?

I could SP. Slap my stuff out and demand an audience. Problem is, I’m not sure it’s the best I can do. If it’s not the best, why do it?

Leave me be for a week or so, I’ll figure something out and then it’ll be a whole new shiny beginning.

Which brings me to the real subject of the post: Rape.

Can you think of an uglier word? There are three things that have lifted this into the post. Firstly is Chris Hynde’s comments on both her rape, and the act in general. The second is a game which led to Exploding Rogue removing it’s main sales platform. The third is China Miéville, specifically his novel Perdido Street Station.

In Perdido Street Station on of the secondary characters has had his wings removed. Late in the book we discover that it was because he ‘took away the choice’ of someone. I have never heard rape expressed better. Taking away the choice. Taking away the right of self expression. Of Self.

Rape is abhorrent, and act of violence, of abuse.

So a game predicated on the act is so far beyond the pale, I can’t imagine how it gets past any type of censor.

Which brings me to Chrissie Hynde. It’s an unusual act to choose responsibility for being raped. Because rape is the responsibility of the aggressor/s. Coming across a naked, nubile, unconscious, female would not induce me to engage in congress. That would be rape. Disgusting, anathema. Would that all men share my view. Does this make Chrissie a rape apologist?

She clearly thinks not. Others think yes. The truth is somewhere between. It should be the case that a person can wander around in whatever state they desire and not be molested or abused. Sadly it isn’t the case. There are degrees of exposure to danger that we place ourselves in, and the higher the degree of exposure, the greater the chance of us experiencing damage. For example, I place my car in the drive, remove the keys, and lock it. I am not surprised it is not stolen in the morning. Should I leave it with unlocked doors and keys in the ignition in the high street I would be less surprised if it was stolen. This is an horrifically crude comparison, but it is essentially the one Chrissie Hynde uses. She likens herself to that second car. Is there any question that a crime was committed, once which should not? NO. But she does admit that she left herself more open to it.  To be clear, I do not think that she deserved to be raped. No one does. Ever.

It’s difficult. I’m a six foot four inch tall straight white male. I’ve never felt sexually threatened (intimidated by many women, but never threatened). I see Facebook and Twitter friends who are harassed and/or threatened purely on the basis of their gender and/or sexuality and it is not something I experience. That doesn’t mean I can’t have views. Or that mine are right or wrong. they’re just mine. They aren’t difficult views to comprehend. No one should be raped. Rapists are responsible for their actions, no one else. There are situations where the likelihood of rape is heightened, not being in those positions is a protection.

I’d quite happily assign castration as the punishment for all rapists.

Taking away another’s choice is pretty much the ultimate cruelty. A foul and vicious attack, especially where the victim is left accused of guilt. That needs to stop. I’ve started with me. I’m working on making sure my son is the next.

August 10th

Long time no blog.

Last month I got a little involved in a writing project and this month has been hectic. I finished my Rough Edges anthology submission and sent it off, it rounded of at about 12,500 words.

This month I have not done a huge amount of writing (mainly because I let the better half have the laptop while she was away last week).

I’m buckling up for a submission to Sirens. But having seen the quality of work in Corvidae it’ll be a tough make. I was thinking about the submission I sent for Corvidae. It was a good story, but man it was the wrong story. I should have sent the story about the crows feasting on Prometheus and gaining the power to shift shape. It doesn’t mean the story would have got in, but it would certainly have been a better fit.

Learning to write is a fun exercise. Sometimes I wish I was more methodical about it, but it is a hobby not a job, and a hobby I have to balance between my full time role as carer, educator, father, & husband. Currently I’m trying to edit up some pieces I wrote last year. Seeing the way my writing has changed is interesting. It will continue to change.

This month has been a successful one for me.

First I won the May SFComet story competition with my story ‘The Shadow of Coming Events’, then The Quarterday Review was launched, containing my villanelle ‘Whaur Selkies Gallop’, and From The Darkest Corners selected my poem ‘The Crossing to Freedom’s Shore’ to represent the week’s prompt.

Not a fantastic blog post. Sorry.

11th July

…and a day or two becomes four. How does that happen?

Stuff, life, exhaust falling of the car.

And I have an admission to make. I haven’t written anything Epecuén related since the 7th. I’ve thought about it a lot, and looked at where the structure is at and where it can go. It’s a great story with a lot of heart and soul and I want to do it justice, so I’ve taken another step back.

And into the void I have placed a new story (which is for the Rough Edges anthology). It’s a departure for me. Romance not being my oeuvre, but with the way Epecuén is proceeding I was emboldened. It’s actually been fun to write so far. I have dropped the story into an Alt.Hist Steampunk universe I have written in already. That story needs a re-write for pacing and tension, but is to be part of a trilogy. With the addition of this piece it looks like a trilogy plus one entwined story – not quite a full quadrilogy.

I’m also writing the story in a way that is new to me. The ideas for key points came quite quickly and I have the scenes in mind. What I’m doing is writing out those extended pivotal scenes, and then I’ll stitch them together. It’s more like making a granny square blanket, well, maybe a cushion cover instead of a blanket.

On that story I’ve written 2818, and another 300 on Flash! Friday Fiction so I’m on 7783 for the month. Still averaging a little over 700 for the day.

7th July

I set to write this evening. I had decided to continue the thread from the previous two nights work. The words hovered in my forebrain. They weren’t anxious to be released, but they were mostly willing. Still, something held me in check. Was it tiredness? No. Sobriety? Maybe, so I added wine. No, not sobriety. Intoxication? After a glass of wine? Please!

So what, why?

I’ve said a couple of times the story is trying to be a romance. What I wrote over the last two days absolutely turned it into that. But I don’t write romance. i write, well, stuff. SciFi, SpecFic, Fantasy, Other (It ain’t literary, just life), Erotic (no, you can’t read that). Romance, to submit? Not my oeuvre.

So I reached out to Margaret Locke. She applauded my desire to run with the story that was trying to come out, and gave a few suggestions (including a resource).

I’ve decided to take today, and possibly tomorrow, off. Possibly. What I want to do is consider the 4k words so far written. juggle them into an order for the story trying to be written, and sketch out further direction.

So, I’ll be mainly on FB & Twitter tonight, watching Hannibal, drinking wine, and wondering what I’m writing.

coda – I finished with 629 words for the evening, 4665 for the first 7 days. Speak to you in a day or so.

6th July

I’ve really got to star doing this earlier on the day, or more sensibly do updates the following day.

Anyway, 517 for the day, 4036 for the month.

The story is just getting more sweet YA romance all the time. I’m confused.

5th July

Cool. 1024 words in a little over two hours. For me that is Speedy Gonzales.

That’s it. I’m going to bed.

Tomorrow I intend to do the minimum, because I have two critiques to do – one of them is egregiously late.

I also remembered to do the judging for NOT3LineThursday. You can see the result, and all the entries, HERE.