I feel like i’m writing a flop…

Book number six… I had a two month break from writing after i finished my fifth book because i was completely burnt out. To the extent that i couldn’t even hear people when they were talking to me. During my two month break i gained a little bit of perspective in life and decided to work less that i had been doing for the past 8 years and concentrate on doing what i love, and for the time being that is writing books.

By the time i had finished my two month break i was itching to get back on the figurative saddle and start popping out more books. I had 6 book ideas swimming around in my head and couldn’t wait to pick up where i left off…

I have been writing this book for nearly 2 months now. I’m about 21,000 words in and probably just under a quarter of the way through. Having said that i’m not as into the story as i was with all the other books. I recently read my fourth book (the third one in terms of publishing, since i never released my second book) and it had so much depth to the story. The characters were gripping and believable and the story flowed beautifully. However i would be lying if i said i feel the same about this one…

The character development of my main character is fine. She is currently going through a transition of confidence and i’m happy with the way that is going, but i’m struggling to develop the other characters because the way the story has taken me many of the characters have left the story before you start to get attached to them.

I know where i want to take the story, and it is a great concept for a book, i’m excited to see what comes out of my brain. But if the book drags at the beginning then most people will give up trying to get into it before the story really takes off, and that’s exactly what i’m worried about…

Of course, self doubt is what almost everyone goes through, and i did wonder whether my fourth book was going to be complete garbage while i was writing it, but the feeling was nowhere near as strong as this one. I wonder if it is because my books are getting longer now, so it is not going as quickly as i would like it to be. I don’t know, it could be anything. A friend of mine who is also a writer told me that when you are writing something as complex as a novel, you tend to hate yourself from start to finish. I can somewhat agree with that, as it would be naive to think that to write a book you say to yourself, “OK, I’m going to write a book now!” then a couple of months down the line you have an international bestseller and you didn’t have to even get out of first gear. There’s a lot of deleting, re-writing and self loathing involved, not to mention the countless hours of obsessing about the book and re-writing it in your head, normally when you are away from a computer and by the time you get to a computer you have forgotten the great plot twist or phrasing you had come up with…

At the same time, i could be writing an amazing novel, but my own insecurities are stopping me from enjoying the process. I know with some of my books i gave out the first part to people and when they contacted me back a day or so later saying that they were itching to get the next part (even though i hadn’t written it yet) that gave me the confidence and motivation to finish what i started. Maybe that’s what it is. Maybe this is something that every writer goes through, not just me. Come to think of it; i can’t imagine anyone being that arrogant to think, “Yeah, this book is amazing. I’m so good at what i do!” It could be a number of things. I suppose the only way i’ll find out is when i finish the book and give it to people and see what they think. Who knows? This ‘flop’ could be the book that funds my travelling around the world expedition.

Advertisements

We’ve All Been There

Anyone who is a writer, or has had to do a written university assignment of any kind has experienced this, although when it happens to you it doesn’t exactly make it any easier…

On Saturday for the first time this experience happened to me. I never went to University so i have never had the pleasure of writing horrifically long dissertations, instead i was gaining life experience working in a hotel in Italy, where i learned a lot about the hotel trade and picked up a language at the same time.

Anyway, lets get back onto topic; i’m in the process of writing my 6th book, and i was writing a sex scene (sorry mum!). I was about three quarters through the scene and disaster struck; there was a power cut in my apartment block. It was for no longer than a second but long enough to wipe out my computer.

As i turned my computer back on it suddenly occurred to me that i hadn’t saved my work since i started writing it that day, and i had been writing for at least an hour. I did what any normal person would do in this situation and shouted “FUCK!” repeatedly at my screen. I managed to recover some of my work, but it was less than a quarter of what i had written that day.

I then proceeded to throw a childish tantrum and say “FUCK IT, I’M NOT DOING IT ANYMORE!”, complete with the crossing of the arms and a sulky face. My tantrum continued into the next day, where i ‘couldn’t be bothered’ to pick up where i left off. Then on the second day (Monday) I was trying to get myself motivated to start again and i couldn’t. That was until i called myself out and told myself to “Stop being a little bitch and get on with it!”

I then thought about when i went to England. i went to a place called Torquay where i used to live and saw one of my old friends that i used to work with. She invited me round her house to see her, her husband (whom i was also friends with) and their kids.

She has three boys, and i was playing with Lego with the two older boys. Somewhere along the line the middle one accidentally knocked the older one’s Lego set and smashed what he had built. The older one started to cry. I then went into hero mode and told him softly, “Don’t worry, because now we get to make a new one, and this one is going to be even better than the first!” He smiled and i was right. I was bluffing but i was right! We made an incredible trap door style dungeon where we could place the Lego characters and then drop them into oblivion.

So i thought to myself, “Why don’t you do that? So you lost the first one. Lets write it again and this time it is going to be even better than the last one!”

And it was. I made sure i saved it every 5 minutes just in case, but when i read it back i was far happier with this one than the one i wrote before. So in the end i took my own advice and everything worked out for the best. And now i’m just as motivated as i was before, which is great because i pretty much have this book written in my head, now i just have to physically write it down…

Ping Pong Tournament 2: February

So no more Warrior; he’s gone back to Canada to do Canadian things… But there was an interest to have another tournament by many of the people staying at our apartment block. I wanted to wait until mid/late February so it was roughly a month apart between tournaments but a few of the people announced that they weren’t staying very long. So we decided to do another one!

The Contestants

I was the defending champion, so you would think i was coast to victory this time as well right? Well, that’s a very naive way of thinking; i admittedly overachieved last time, plus throwing into the mix a new bunch of competitors i would be lucky to retain the village bike.

Steve was there too, as was Jason (he showed up this time, and this guy is the master of fancy spin serves!) We also had a couple called Anna and Justin, and a long term resident called Vladimir threw his metaphorical hat in the ring and declared war on the west. There was another couple who were interested but had to pull out at the last minute (mmmmm…. THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID!!!!!!!) Because one of them got career threateningly sick.

Nicknames

Lewis – Lewis and Clark. Nice and simple

Steve – Steve O. Yeah! This guy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Vladimir – Vlad The Impaler. Simply because Vlidimir Putin was too obvious and I don’t know many Vlads…

Anna – Anna Montana. Haters are gonna tell me it should be ‘Hannah’…

Justin – Justin Credible. The obscure 90’s wrestler. Because Timberlake and Bieber were too easy

Jason – Jason Derulo. Talk dirty to me! I mean the song, not you Jason. Shit! First the monk and now this…

The Setup (cue Obie Trice music…)

As we had six competitors, we had two groups of three, with the top two advancing to the semi finals. Then the winners of their respective groups would play the runners up from the other group, before a grand finale in the err… final.

same as before, first to eleven wins. However for the semi finals and the final we played the best of three sets instead of the usual fast paced ‘one set only’ rule we had for the group games.

The Group Stages

Anna, Justin and Jason went to get tattoos. This meant that by 3 o clock (the tournament was supposed to start at 1) there were only 3 people present; me, Steve and Vladimir. I decided that we should play each other and that would be the first group while we waited for the traumatic threesome to return. Steve signalled his intentions early on by destroying the Russian mothership. So much so that he went upstairs ‘for five minutes’. I then played Steve and after a gruesome battle i emerged victorious, cue fist pump and grunting in a manly manner…

Just then The Traumatic Threesome (I’m copyrighting that…) returned. Jason had a beast of a tattoo on his back so he couldn’t move that well. This boded well for me and Steve in the later stages. Jason first played Justin and McLost with cheese. Then Anna played Justin and he ran straight through her too! this left Jason and Anna to battle it out for the remaining place in the semi final. I didn’t see it though because the washing machine had finished its cycle and i was hanging my undies in my room, but i was told when i came down that Jason had scraped through, bad back and all!

By now we had realised that Vladimir had not come back down. He had probably forgot that we were playing a tournament to be fair… So i knocked on his door and asked him if he wanted to play. He reluctantly agreed. After a tense battle England finally prevailed over Russia, with Vladimir being a good sport about it.

The Results

Group A

         PRK Steve O 11 – 3 Vlad The Impaler RUS

ENG Lewis and Clark 11 – 5 Steve O PRK  

ENG Lewis and Clark 11 – 4 Vlad The Impaler RUS

Group B

USA Justin Credible 11 – 3 Anna Montana USA

USA Justin Credible 11 – 4 Jason Derulo CHN*

*CHN Jason Derulo 11 – 9 Anna Montana USA

*  Jason is actually Amurrican, but we had too many Amurricans being represented in this tournament, this led to the emperor of China paying Jason a million gold coins to represent his fine country, so he did.

The Final Tables

Group A

Name                                         PD    PTS

Lewis and Clark (ENG)             +13       4

Steve O (PRK)                           +2         2

Vlad The Impaler (RUS)             -15       0

Group B

    Name                                        PD     PTS

Justin Credible (USA)             +15       4

Jason Derulo (CHN)                 -5       2

Anna Montana (USA)              -10      0

The Semi Finals

So i was playing Jason for a place in the grand finale. I started off well, racing into a 9-6 lead. However then Jason got 5 points in a row and took the first set. By now an upset was definitely on the cards, Jason’s back wasn’t giving him as much hassle anymore and he was ready to play. I took the next set after a tight battle which left us with the final set. Jason was all over me and the only reason i kept up with him was because of my fast serves, eventually (and undeservedly) stealing the final set 11-8

Judging by his performances in the group stages, Justin was now the clear favourite to win this tournament. Unfortunately Steve had other ideas. He upped his game especially for this match (maybe he wanted the village bike…) and he took the first set into sudden death, since the set had to be won by 2 clear points. After a lot of back and forth Steve succumbed to the powerhouse that is Justin 16-14. He was not deterred though, and stormed the next set 11-6. Justin took it up a notch in the final set and ran away with it 11-4.

So both semi finals were very equal. It was interesting to see who was going to win. Especially for me as i’m quite a competitive fucker…

(ENG) Lewis and Clark 9-11 11-7 11-8 Jason Derulo (CHN)

(USA) Justin Credible 16-14 6-11 11-4 Steve O (PRK)

3rd Place Playoff

20150207_160925 20150207_160952

Jason (wearing a hoodie) and Steve (not wearing a hoodie) battled it out for third place. Neither of them seemed interested at this point so i offered the winner a chocolate bar from England which i had brought over here to devour some time in the near future. This livened them both up with Jason eventually coming out on top, and with it, getting to eat a legendary Toffee Crisp

(CHN) Jason Derulo 11-3 11-13 11-5 Steve O (PRK)

The Final

We started by singing our respective national anthems, then off we went. It was a very tense affair, Nobody could get the upper hand. I managed to sneak the first set so i was well chuffed. I could see the village bike in my sights! I was 9-8 up and ready to start my acceptance speech when tragedy struck! I messed up my serve and gave him the point! He then swiftly collected the next two points to win the set 11-9, so the match quite rightly went to a final set..

Justin got the upper hand, then i did, then he did again, and from then on i was always chasing. I got it back to 7 all at one point, screaming “COME ON!” like any good tennis player would. Unfortunately that was the closest i got to retaining my title, as from then onwards Justin lead ever so slightly and professionally saw the game out.

(USA) Justin Credible 10-12 11-9 11-9 Lewis and Clarke (ENG)

So there you have it. We have crowned a new champion, a worthy champion at that! Sadly for Justin he has left Thailand now, and has had to vacate the title. Although he did win series 1-4 of The Office as a reward for restoring Amurrica as the number 1 superpower…

Justins trophy

Justin with the grand prize – The Office boxset, seasons 1-4

The Sixth Book Is Well Underway. Wow, Am I Actually Saying These Words!?!?!?

Go on then. Let’s get this over with…

Yep, i’m 10 thousand words in and I’ve barely started the main story! My last one was 58000 words for the first draft and i have a feeling that this will be even longer! I may have to cut some of the story out at the beginning because in my honest opinion i feel it drags a bit, but other than that i’m happy with it so far.

So what’s this one about?

Well, it’s very self explanatory once you know what the title is, and it’s simply called… (drum roll please…..) The Pornstar.

Umm…

Yeah, it explores the life of a porn star, written in a first person point of view like all my books (except the war one), I’m hope to give people a different insight into what is perceived as a dirty industry by many. They are people too, and probably have back stories just as interesting as us. Their lives are something that most people couldn’t even imagine and i’m hoping to try and get into the mind of a porn star. Although that is a hell of a lot easier said than done!

So is the porn star male or female?

The main character is female. Strangely i felt that i could connect with the character more if it were a female. I’m a very sensitive person and felt writing from the point of view of a cocky, arrogant male porn star wouldn’t seem authentic. Neither would a shy male porn star. I thought it would be better to see a shy girl start in the industry and watch her grow in confidence as the book progresses. That’s the plan anyway, but it wouldn’t be the first time that drastically changed the way the book was written if something better pops into my head as i write it.

Six books though….

I know. Even now i still don’t believe it. The title of this blog pretty much sums up how i feel most of the time when i talk about what books i have written/am writing. I know i’m repeating myself but i was a kid who failed most of his exams, and had absolutely zero interest in any kind of writing over a year ago. And here i am churning out books whilst having a full time job at the same time! I’m sure they’re not perfect, but i’m happy with the end product and i’m learning through experience the more i do it. Hopefully one day i can support myself just doing this and not have to work at the same time (mind you, i feel that i would probably take a few menial jobs for a few months or so just to give me some ideas about what to write, since a lot of my characters have either worked in a bar or a restaurant as that’s what i know…)

So how is work?

It’s brutal as always. In one lesson i asked someone if they knew the meaning of a word that i don’t really remember if i’m honest with you and one student replied “About something.” In a totally serious way, thinking he had just provided me with the right answer. Of course TECHNICALLY it was the right answer, as ‘About something’ pretty much covers every single possible scenario, but i still died a little inside…

Also while teaching MASAKO! last weekend i was in a classroom where the previous teacher had left a load of writing on the board (presumably to make him/herself look good) however this never impresses me and is normally followed up by something unprofessional. So whilst MASAKO! was taking a quick review test i wrote on the board right next to it:

Q: Who’s gonna give it ya?

(a) Uptown Funk

(b) DMX

(c) The Wealdstone Raider

And of course i left it there for someone else to find and hopefully have a giggle or two in the process. Like my nephew’s teacher when he hears a five year old shout, “RKO!!! FROM OUTTA NOWHERE!!!” Whenever a kid falls over in the classroom…

Are you doing anything else other than your books?

I’m plucking glad you asked! I’m now writing blog posts for CM Stay. I don’t write all of them but it’s more experience in writing and getting my name out there. Click here to see my latest post on there. And i’m done for another week. We’re having another ping pong tournament soon so find out if i retain my title or not next week…..f