Friday, February 5, 2021



If you want to read from the very beginning, go back to January.

Friday 26th

So, this week, I've worked on compiling the first draft of chapter 5, and that has led me to dwell on the art of characterisation.
I had been building up a description of a particular character when the naggingly critical voice hanging around in the back of my frontal lobe, said, "That character is so dull and cliche, you're being very lazy, delete, delete!"
Basic stuff I know, and yes, you're right, I've never attended a writing workshop where hours, days even, are no doubt dedicated to the subject. 
It's not as if I haven't given any real thought to the characters that people my other novels.
It's just that there's a vast chasm between a good character and a truly great one.
When I watch a drama or read a book, I want to totally believe in the characters and then carry them with me long after the final credits or last page. 
This is the skill I wish to hone and really fine-tune.
I was fairly pleased with the main protagonist (and some of the other characters), in my last novel, Lies & Revelations. I actually fell in love with the love interest, genuinely, I loved him (even dreamt about him), he turned me on, Jake was my kind of guy! Is that weird? Lusting after a fictional character you made up.
However, I think I would do well to visit that room for improvement.
Watching the brilliant drama, It's A Sin, Link to It's A Sin to watch online. was a wonderful lesson in exactly what I'm getting at here.

The characters were real to me and always will be, they now exist in their own existential world and I can visit them whenever I like.
Although, of a very different genre, one of my favourite comedies of all time, Spaced, had the same effect. I was there, with those people, and I still think about them (I've lost track of how many times I've watched the two series).
This is how it should be, we can literally breathe life into the characters and make them great! 
Which is probably the most exciting aspect of writing fiction.

Monday 22nd

Woke up feeling sad and depressed without there being any fathomable reason why. I didn't want to get out of bed, or start the morning with twenty minutes yoga, and felt pissed off to see quite how sunny it was. 

You should really do something outdoorsy on a rare jewel of a day such as this, with its super clear aquamarine sky. 

But no, I'm not happy, a stay indoors kind of day would have better matched my mood.

Moby sang why does my heart feel so bad?

Moby - Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad?

That's how I feel.

I've been trying to cut down on my antidepressants (they may be the root cause of my Alopecia, haha), so I guess that might be the issue here. I'll go back on the original dose.  I've also been trying to cut down on my painkillers.

Experiment, result, failure.

Anyway, I've been out, to visit my mum, and it was warm and sparkly bright out there.

No matter, I'm staying in and hunkering down.

I'll visit my novel, maybe write a few words.

Friday 19th

What would have been a really enjoyable day writing (I'm now on chapter 5 and feel that the new novel is going well), was spent compiling a lengthy letter of complaint to British Telecom, and bringing said grievances to the attention of the Ombudsman service. Oh yes, there's no messing with me.
I shall say no more on the matter, all that needed to be said, has been said, and sent to the relevant parties.
Novel writing conditions had been optimum today. 
The sky was the colour of stagnant dishwater, the rain persistent, and a Northerly wind whistled through the many cracks in our rotten wood window frames.
Still, tomorrow has promised much of the same weather-wise and I foresee no further obstructions to my flow.
It's day four of using Regaine for Women (hair restoring product, or so the blurb on the packet promises). It's too soon to hope for regrowth, but for those interested, I shall keep you posted, I'll be your guinea pig.

When I first came to terms with my thinning locks I went online and purchased three full wigs, one blond, one red and one black.. and I wore them, daily.
Then I tired of thinking about putting them on and keeping them in place, so I stopped bothering.
They did suit me though, they made me look younger, and I still wear a wig to parties... (so, yes, I haven't worn one for a very long time).

Saturday 13th

Well, it seems that my follicles are once again under major attack. I'm sure I had at least fifty-percent more hair this time last week, but what's to be done. Alopecia, I'm told, is related to your immune system, so can hair growth treatments from the chemist actually work? Vitamin supplements have failed me.
I'm certainly not going to waste any more money on caffeinated shampoo (OK, if you want to try it, you can buy some from Poundland... for a pound, obvs), and there is no way it can, realistically, you could try drinking more coffee (but not if you have a heart condition, I'm not recommending anything here! And I've been drinking gallons of coffee and it's not helped me). 
I've googled, best hair growth products that actually work, but the blurbs for each one just sounded like advertising lingo, and some are very expensive.

What I have done, is, I've bought a large wooly thermal hat. 
It doesn't suit me at all, but who cares, with the facemask on I'm not even recognizable. Perhaps, if I keep my head ensconced and nurtured within its super warm conditions for a month or so, rather like a hothouse flower, there might be some sign of regrowth.
Have I added to my novel's word count today? No. 
I've laid in bed until ten-thirty, visited my mum, been to the chemist to peruse the hair-growth products aisle, not bought any, wasted time faffing around on Twitter, then googled hair-growth products.
Now I'm going to have a gin and tonic.

Friday 12th

The gap of an entire week since my last entry is a testament to progress made.
The story is now unfolding and the first draft of chapter four is underway.
Another week in lockdown has been made easy by the sub-zero temperatures outside.
I'm sitting on my sofa with my small portable laptop table in front of me, a blanket and cat draped over my chilly knees, and the faux log fire on full.
ly, I haven't felt too bad this week and I've managed some easy morning yoga (which, predominantly, involves rolling around on the floor under a blanket practicing twist and happy-baby, those in the know, will know what I'm talking about).
Mentally, the waters have been quite choppy. I've been wading through old memories and trying to establish their accuracy and true impact on my life as a whole. I know, heavy stuff. I've been looking for clarity and pondering death ( no, not mine in particular), death as a whole, what we leave behind that lingers on after lights-out.
Anyway, it's been a good week in many ways and now I'm going to watch George Clark's Amazing Spaces. He'll be looking at caravans, I love caravans and if I had a garden there would be one at the bottom of it.

Friday 5th

For reasons I don't wish to divulge, I have, of late, found myself compelled to probe and prod (until it was fully awake and staring me in the face), the ugly goblin that has been residing in the cellar of my mind. 
It has sat and festered there for many years, spitting at me in its poisoned tongue, colouring days, digging in its heels, refusing to leave.
I wandered in to take a long hard look and found it dead, it had died a while back and without me knowing, without a sound.

The ashes have been scattered, thrown without ceremony into the wind.
I like the space that's left and, maybe now, some healing warmth and light will seep in.
On a lighter side, I saw two robbins at the same time whilst on my way to my mums' house.

Thursday 4th

OK! An excellent week so far, chapter two's looking good and I'm ready to move on to chapter three of the new novel. 
After months of writer's block, (at least six), I've finally found my mojo! Huzzah!
(Yes, I have been watching the brilliant new series, The Great, on Channel 4)

My fingers are a blur as they dance across the keyboard.
I'm on fire!
Which publishing agent will be the lucky recipient of this masterpiece, and to whom shall I bestow the film rights!
I've missed it so much, the excitement of feeling that there's a half-decent book taking shape. 
The fun of waking up each day eager to tackle the next chapter, and racking my brains for a list of excuses as to why I can't meet up with friends (not much of a problem right now while we're all in lockdown).
Resenting my partner because he has nothing to do (since lockdown), and keeps talking to me even though I, quite clearly, don't want him to.
(He keeps glancing over at me, even as I write this, in the hope of engaging me in a program he's watching, it's Pointless (that's the name of the program, and so are his efforts... which are just annoying).
We live in a fairly small flat, I don't have a separate workroom or some kind of study... I have an area in the bay-window of our living room and a small laptop table on wheels.
Anyway, today has been a good day in all respects. Huzzah! Again.
Monday 1st.

Yes! First chapter looking good, reading well, a good start to a new week.

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