Sunday, April 30, 2006

Sunday Is Here

What a week it's been.

What a struggle to produce a measly 5500 words, the total count from my second Debut Dagger entry and my first article for Crimespree. If all goes well, there will be many more for the latter and no more for the former.

But the path of any writer is a weaving one, and I'll cross each bridge as I come to it.

Then I'll look up at the mountain, thinking of how to scale its peak. When I reach the top, in sub-zero temperatures and low air pressure, I will assemble my self-designed spacecraft and tour the solar system.

After finding the universe too small, I'll split into an infinite number of personalities and distribute them throughout the multiverse.

And then it shall be Sunday, and I shall rest once more.


I still have to finish this novel.

But I'm looking forward to it. I am so in love with not going to the office every morning. I wake up at a godly hour, shower only when necessary, and write my ass off while my stomach gets bigger. I write, I break, I write again. Bob Dylan said happiness is when a man wakes up in the morning, spends the day doing what he loves, then goes to sleep at night.

I am happy. For now.

Cue evil laughter. Increase volume of echoes. Fade into reverb-laden mush.

Oh yes, I forgot to thank Christa Miller, Stephen Blackmoore, Steven Torres, John Stickney and Sandra Ruttan for all of their invaluable help during my panicky week of deadlines.

In parting, I now share with you the majesty, the power, the extravagance of ...

... the place I ate laksa at today.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Must. Blog. More.

Been ploughing through a couple of writing deadlines, but hopefully the dust will settle on Sunday and I can return with a mildly extravagant post on the nature of toenails and the microscopic civilised worlds underneath them.

Until then, I give you:


Thursday, April 20, 2006

My Life As A Writer: Day 3

The first day was a write-off. The second, far better. I actually got some writing done and didn't play a lot of Xbox.

Now into the third day, I'm making breakthroughs. In total I've only written about five hundred words in the last two days, but the important thing is that those words were the ones I wanted.

I've really been struggling with my Debut Dagger entry for the past few weeks, probably a side-affect of the changes going on in my life. But a lot of those problems were from not knowing my characters well enough, so over those weeks I wrote some more useful notes on the most important characters. Now I have a clearer idea of how they will respond in any given situation.

So even though I didn't get down a lot of words, those words are important and useful, and shall make the production of further words less of a chore.

Today was also a day of errands, or more to the point, errand. I went on a journey into the bowels of Erskineville Oval to get to the fabled Locksmith Near The Pub. Confronted with a wall of blank keys but not a person in sight, I was tempted to jump the counter and copy the front door key myself.

Before I made my move, a young man in a dark blue apron came out, wiping his mouth and chewing. That was when I realised what time it was: lunchtime. Now that I'm living a nomadic existence in the streams of time, I am no longer acquainted with the customs of the average human. Watches, mobile phones, televisions, these things mean nothing to me.

But the internet, my laptop, and (cough) my Xbox, these are now my world. And I hear them calling to me now, almost like pipes might call to someone called Danny Boy.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

When Will It Stop?

Today I learned the value of going to work. Somewhat like fasting to appreciate food, or travelling to appreciate home, I am now appreciating the benefits of a workplace. Sure, I have to get up early and I have to put up with flaky air-conditioning and co-workers, but at least my brain isn't drilled into.

Let me explain.

Thinking that I'd be able to sleep in today, I stayed up till about 1am last night, playing on the good old Xbox. My partner in crime gets up at around 6am, so that means I temporarily wake up at the same time.

This is fine by me. I can handle it. What I can't handle is heavy knocking on the door about two hours later.

I'm not sure what happened. Someone banged on the door and woke me up, but before I got out of bed, they'd already closed the front gate. Across the road, I could see the perpetrator knocking on someone else's door. Unlike me, they answered, so I stuck my ear against the window and tried to listen in. From what I could tell, the door knocker was a gardening disposal person and was offering some kind of tree trunk destruction. I thought about it. Should I open the door, rush across the road and say, count me in?

No. I don't have any tree trunks.

I checked all around the house. Under the sink, in the fridge, under the bed. Nope. No tree trunks. No large pieces of wood. I knocked on my skull, just to see if that was made of wood. Maybe I could get them to shove my head into their Truck Of Mass Destruction. I mean, they're already figuratively destroying it. Why not go the whole hog and murder me in a bloody bath of gardening?

And it's still going. They've been mulching or shredding or whatever it is they do for the last three hours, non-stop. Add the usual Tuesday morning garbage pickup into the mix and my head is seriously sore.

Everything's quiet now. I think it just stopped. So this is what the life of a writer in the inner city is like.

Now, back to procrastinating.

Friday, April 14, 2006

The Next Chapter

It's been a while since I've blogged while drunk, and considering tonight's consumption of vodka with lemonade, vodka with Red Bull, and vodka with vodka, I think it's time I did it again.

Drinking a multi-vegetable, multi-fruit juice in a concerted attempt to sober up so I can sleep, it's time to reflect on the evening that was my going-away party.

First up, the exploration of the meaning behind my gifts.

Exhibit One is, to be on the safe side, currently un-nameable due to marketing restrictions, but I can say with all certainty that it is a nightmare personified in fabric. The last major poker machine game I worked on, the one that made me go through many hours of unpaid overtime (one of the joys of being on a salary), has been immortalised in the form of a matching blue-and-yellow cap and t-shirt. My plan is to wait for a full moon; pick a nice, dark, hilltop and burn them.

Exhibit Two is a copy of Robert G. Barrett's Leaving Bondi, with a 'doctored' cover.

Highlights of the evening include:

  • Buying dinner and two drinks. The rest was all a gift, although my liver may not agree.
  • Watching my boss try to sell a determined couple on the idea of a baby.
  • Having someone laugh up a puddle of Irish Car Bomb (a cocktail involving a depth charge in Guinness), onto my new book.
  • Listening to all the drunken truths that came out. It's amazing what people will tell you once you are leaving.
  • Being told that I'll be missed, by a number of people. Makes for a bittersweet end to it all.
  • Hearing someone referred to as 'Mr. Blindo.'
  • Coming home to a box full of yummy, all natural lollies.
  • Having the evening end without falling asleep in the garden. It appears I have grown up after all.
Goodnight to IGT, and good luck.

It's been great working with all of you.

And once the family obligations of Easter are over, the next chapter truly begins.


Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Murphy's Law Of The Flu

The dreaded Lurgy has flown from office to office and decided to get to know me better before it moves on.

Lurgy chose a brilliant time to visit: my last week at the current job. Nothing quite like the ridicule one receives when 'chucking a sickie' in the last week. It's been laughing faces and pointing fingers all morning. Being the mature and rational adult I am, my entirely appropriate response was communicated to the perpetrators with the use of my middle finger.

Aside from the inconvenience of Lurgy's visit, the feeling I have at work this week is a surreal one. Five years in the same job and it all ends this Thursday. When you spend eight hours a day with a group of people, you can't help but form a close bond with them, even if this is due to a common enemy known as 'Work'.

Luckily, that close bond will now be broken. My underwear will be cleaner for it.

Bye, bye, guys.

Hello, world!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The Fun And Games Continue

The writing is going slow at the moment, probably because I'm not actually writing. Aside from the hours being sucked up by my new toy, I'm trying to get to know my main character better.

Reading Jeff Lindsay's DARKLY DREAMING DEXTER and watching WONDERFALLS (as well as processing feedback from Steven & Stephen), has made me get back to the basics of my main character. I'm trying to nail down who he really is in a few sentences, and also fleshing out about five pages of notes.

Dexter is all about a strong first-person voice, with plenty of internal monologue (perhaps a little too much). As Stephen told me, this is something that seems to be missing in my writing so far. I don't want to add the amount of reflection that Dexter has, but as it stands now, my novel makes Danny come across as somewhat distant. It's the other characters that shine instead.

And I'm going to have plenty of time to really nail the whole thing, once I leave my current job.

Yes, I gave notice a couple of weeks ago, so I'll be running away from the exciting world of poker maching programming come Easter. I have a few months' savings to keep me writing full time, as well as the support of a top-notch lass in the form of Mary.

I have a four-to-six tier plan, with numerous offside-contingencies, fail-safe backup systems, as well as other hyphenated-strategic-dollops-of-bullshit.

With one of these tiers, if all goes well, my entry to the Debut Dagger awards will get me a nomination, which will prompt my credit cards to battle it out over who's going to pay for my trip to London. At this point I plan to have a completed novel in my pocket (I'll make sure to wear very baggy pants), and a lucrative publishing deal will spring into my lap, even while I suffer from jet lag.

Next rung down the ladder of tiers will be the St. Martin's Best PI Novel competition, assuming they even go ahead with it this year.

And then?

If I can scrounge together enough moxy to get hold of a driver's license, I suppose I'll become a pizza delivery driver. More likely, I'll re-enter the world of Poker Machine Programming, hopefully with a megabuck-size increase in remuneration.

Failing all of this, I will become an Xbox.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Please Forgive Me

Blogging hasn't been on my mind over the last week. Lots of exciting personal stuff going on. Some of which includes regressing into the me that was me from fifteen years ago. Thanks to the wonders of interest-free purchasing plans, I am now the proud owner of an uber-geeky toy known as the Xbox 360.

How does this fit in with crime writing?

Funny you ask, because I downloaded a demo of a game called CONDEMNED: CRIMINAL ORIGINS. In it you play the role of an FBI agent that--apart from having the job of beating up everyone into a bloody pulp--is in the possession of 'forensic investigation tools'. One of them is a UV light, and the other is some kind of 'laser' device. Your agent gets to use these tools on gruesome crime scenes where people have been murdered over a game of chess. You run the 'tool' over 'evidence' and that gets 'sent back' to 'headquarters'.

Or something like that. Anyway, it's got something to do with crime.

But the real reason I haven't been blogging is because of this:

I'm hooked. THE ELDER SCROLLS IV: OBLIVION is one of the most amazing computer games ever made. It's as geeky as you can get: a single player RPG (Role Playing Game). Yes, lots of lonely nights of sweaty hands and blurry vision, with not a single second of social interaction.

So I'm lost in this world. I'm coming home after work and playing it, resting, then playing again.

Hopefully I'll come back soon. And blog about that exciting personal stuff that's going on.

Until then, Mary, please forgive me. All is not lost.