There’s nothing worse than a writer who writes about writing, instead of actually just writing.
So, apologies for what is about to follow.
In my defence, I have just about finished a piece of work that has been on a long journey, starting in the back of my mind, moving on to becoming a definite idea, before the first words appeared on a screen many months ago.
Then, I got stuck. That, along with a proclivity for procrastination and a build-up of work from the day job, meant the story was still on the starting blocks as the end of the year approached.
My Christmas treat was to return to it.
Coming back to something you have neglected for a while is an interesting experience.
The story concept has remained largely the same, but many of the details have changed. Not least, some of the character names.
In truth, I think I may have been mindful of the fact that on a previous work, I had given two of the characters placeholder names that ended up sticking.
In that case, the agreement to publish was signed the best part of 11 months before The Curious Child came out and it was only when I received an advance copy of the e-book – the night before it went on general release – that I remembered I had intended to tell my two brothers that I had used their names for two of the characters, and to reassure them the similarity ended there (apart from the reference to an incident involving rabbit food, but that all has been forgiven on that one).
This time around, the main male character has been through two name changes already. No relatives are involved.
As the above anecdote about The Curious Child illustrates, even with short fiction, it can often be a long process to reach publication. Another short story, for which I received a publication offer at the start of December, is not due to appear in print until November.
In the case of this latest story, I appear to have pre-empted the long wait with a nine-month hiatus before even finishing it.
This new piece is also the first time I’ve set a work of short-ish fiction in a specific location and the first time any of my stories takes place in the Isle of Man.
So, it has required research to ensure descriptions ring true and to know that what happens could actually work.
It also meant I got to test out progress on a foot injury picked up last year. I traipsed through mud to track the footsteps of my characters and discovered that, as much as I love my walking boots, they are not as waterproof as they once were.
But it was a worthwhile trip , with the final pieces of the jigsaw falling into place to provide the ending I was looking for.
So, onto the next part, finding a publisher. That’s where the hard work really begins.
Finishing the story is often the start of a longer journey.
- The Curious Child is available as part of the Dimension6 2017 anthology, available from Amazon, price £1.20. Alternatively, you can obtain a free copy, as part of a smaller collection, by clicking the link on the Paul Speller home page.