September 2009


A couple of weeks ago, I started a new writing project. It’s a big deal for me, because I’m attempting something that I haven’t done since last year’s NaNoWriMo: to write a full-length novel.

I began dreaming of being a novelist from quite an early age, and at first I pursued this dream by writing stories based on my favourite books. When I was eight or nine, Midnight Dancer by Elizabeth Lindsay was particularly inspirational, a story about a young girl and her pony. And of course, the Harry Potter books were practically sacrosanct. I actually wrote to J K Rowling, and one of the questions I asked her was where she got her ideas from. She wrote a lovely letter back to me, and in reply to my question she said that she didn’t know where ideas came from, but if she did she would go and live there.

My attempts at novel writing continued sporadically through the years, intensifying when I was around 16-17, and quite into reading fantasy. I started writing stories of my own, usually getting a few chapters in before ditching the project on the grounds that it was too derivative, too predictable, too boring, etc. I had more success with short stories at that time.

Years later, and I still haven’t cracked it. To give some idea of just what that means, I think it would suffice to say that although my NaNo project of last year exceeded the required 50,000 word quota in the allotted time (the month of November), the novel at the end was very unfinished and, well, not very much like a novel, either. My mistake was probably in writing about something very personal to me, and therefore inserting myself into the story as a character. It was probably unwise to attempt something like this for a project which was an experiment to me, anyway. I needed a little more breathing space to do my ideas on that subject sufficient justice. So, no more NaNo sagas for me.

Anyway, that’s the closest I’ve come to writing a novel so far.

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Choose Lagos: My Last Night in Portugal

Choose Lagos: My Last Night in Portugal

Around three months have gone by since I last updated in here, which just goes to show that the best laid plans don’t always turn out the way you expect. I’m sure if I re-read any of those previous entries I would find some kind of written commitment to update ‘on a regular basis’, probably even a promise to keep track of what I did over those three months. Alas – I failed, although I did more or less do what I expected to do over the summer – go to Lagos, party, hit the beach a lot, get a tan and have a good time. See that picture up there? That was my last night in Lagos. I’m in the yellow top. I’m sure I was pretty drunk already when that picture was taken.

Anyway, I DID write while I was there – a bit – I just didn’t blog. Or tweet much. 

The rest of the plan which I so confidently wrote about back in May has not worked out quite as I expected. I’m not saying that as a bad thing at all, it’s just that I have to now eat a bit of humble pie and tell you that instead of going straight back to Spain and embarking on another intrepid year of teaching and learning Spanish, I came home to England instead.

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