Chapter 6 complete

… with a word count of 30,657. The structural constraint of 5,000 words per chapter, to which I’ve been trying to adhere, seems to have been working. Chapter 6 does not contain any scenes featuring Viktor and Eva. It is the first chapter from which they are completely absent. Following the catastrophic event that concluded chapter 5, I wanted to build, in the mind of the reader, a sense of curiosity about what happened to them; where they went; what they’ve been doing. At the same time there was a need to shape the events other characters are involved in, in preparation for upcoming planned plot points. In Chapter 7 Viktor and Eva will reenter the story, and much of the chapter will be about the development of their relationship. An important new character will also be introduced, who (finally) forms the bridge to some of Eva’s past.

I’ve been reading John Trulby’s book: The Anatomy of Story – a great read for anyone trying to write fiction. In New Zealand I read, with great interest, the section on symbols. And reading this, I realised that I’ve instinctively stumbled on some symbolism in my story. I’m thinking here of Eva’s mother’s juggling balls, and what happens to them, how they fall into the hands of some of the men in the story that are competing for her attention. Its interesting to me that even when simply following blind instinct, you can sometimes produce story elements that have legitimate, or theoretical value.

cage

Last night, while walking my dogs, I was listening through my headphones to an old lecture by Pema Chodron , in which she described a Tibetan Buddhist approach to ego, or the “The well-fortified ego”, by which she means an ego that is meant to provide protection from the world at large, but instead makes a prisoner of the soul who possesses it. The kind of ego that could benefit from some opening up; some “ventilation”; some curiosity about other systems; other world concepts; other views of the universe, and my ears pricked up, because of the direct fit between this concept and the basic premise of my planned story: “The Electric Fence”. Its amazing sometimes, just how providential life can be.

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cover versions

I’ve been recording cover versions of a few favourite songs over the past couple of months in preparation for a project I want to do next year – where I want to record some original material that I’ve had sitting around, half-developed for a long time. It’s been a while since I did any extensive recording. Over the past few years, while I’ve been working on my Masters, the only real recording I’ve done has been of Ally (my daughter)  so, recording these covers is a way of rebuilding technique and confidence.

I thought I’d post this here because I’m uploading all my stuff to Soundcloud, and you can (if the notion takes you) go over there and have a listen. Here’s a list of songs I’ve recorded so far, along with each song’s originator:

Blue Bucket of Gold – Sufjan Stevens
Here Come the Warm Jets – Brian Eno
Grantchester Meadows – Pink Floyd
Scarborough Fair/Canticle – Simon & Garfunkel.

There’s probably a couple more I’d like to record before the end of the year. There’s a few to choose from. I’d probably like to do “13″ by Big Star. I’m not sure what else at this point but I’ve been enjoying doing them, so I’ll probably do a few more while I have the time.

Greener Pastures finished

I finished Greener Pastures last night, and sent it off today. It’s my entry for the Noosa Arts Theatre National One Act Playwriting Competition. I also entered in 2014 and 2015. Neither of those entries were shortlisted. When I started writing my first entry: “Final Performance” in 2014, I had the idea that I would do a play each year for 3 consecutive years. I think really the point of this activity has been for me to try and learn something about writing plays. Have I learned anything? Well, I think Greener Pastures is probably the best of the three. I was never sure which of the previous two was better, but I’m pretty happy with this latest one. It has, I think, two pretty engaging, pretty interesting, believable and relatable lead characters in Satya and Verity. I had a similar mutual-outsider vibe happening with Io and Hermes in my 2015 Story: “A God From The Machine”. I think Greener Pastures also has some rich themes weaving through it, and I think its a decent little yarn. So, we’ll see. The judging process is pretty long. I think for last year’s competition, I didn’t find out I’d missed the shortlist ‘till some time in January.

Next things… well, I’ll be getting back into The Worm. Chapter 6 awaits, in which poor Viktor and Eva spiral ever deeper into the existential abyss. I also have the beginnings of an idea for a short story, which I think is pretty interesting. It’s another sort of allegory, along similar stylistic lines to The Signal Box. I’m not sure if I might have already mentioned it on this blog, but anyway… It’s called “The Electric Fence”. Also, I have some interest in doing a non-fiction piece to be titled: “The Speaking Clock”. This would be about Pat Simmons, the voice of the United Kingdom’s telephone system, Speaking Clock from 1963 to 1985. There are some pretty interesting facets to this story and I think it might be worth writing, but there’s quite a bit of research required, including writing to some people who might not want to be bothered.

speaking clock

Probably my most pressing creative commitment now, however, is to complete the soundtrack for Phoebe’s animated film, which I have another 2 or 3 weeks to do. Then, at the start of November I’m heading to New Zealand with Brian for a week, to hike Milford Sound. So, busy as usual, and plenty to look forward to!

chapter 5 finished

Chapter 5 is finished and that marks the first third of the story. A few months ago I posted about this story probably going to 12 chapters and 50,000+ words. This is now revised to 15 chapters and 75,000+ words. I’m at 26,000 words currently.

I’ve finally finished my degree (about a week ago) which means I’ll be able to dedicate more time to the kind of writing I want to do and the novel should start to progress more quickly – but not before I take the next 4 weeks out to write a short play. This will be an entry into the Noosa Arts Theatre one act playwriting competition. When I submitted my first entry in this in 2014, I resolved to do one per year for 3 consecutive years. My story this year revolves around 2 characters: Satya and Verity, a young drug-dealer and an older woman. It’s about place, and the different sorts of claims people have on it.

“Earthworms are divided into three different categories. The first are the surface dwellers, the Epigeic worms. Then there are the upper soil worms, the Endogeic worms. Finally, there are the deep burrowing species, the Anecic.”

— Wikipedia