Dec 25, 2012

Christmas? Humbug!

The great advantage of being English but living in Germany is that you have a one day advantage over the rest of the country when it comes to organising yourself, presents, food and everything else. So I can blog with a clean conscience on the 24 December. Christmas doesn't start until tomorrow and I can do a stock take on how things are going:

1) Timetable - not so good. I should be well into the chapters by now, but I'm just dabbling my toes in chapter 1.

2) Plot - good. I have a clear plan for what is going to happen. A plausible criminal background, attractive backclothes (Munich, London, Dubrovnik, Zagreb, Venice) and a great ending in mind.

3) Characters - the backstories (see Good Stuff) were a great help and I feel the characters are realistic and interestingly ambiguous. Ferdinand and Irmgard are still a bit sketchy, but I'm intrigued with the idea of Irmgard being a former test-pilot for the Luftwaffe.

4) Information about E-publishing - aaagh! Not good enough. Can anybody help here?

I will disappear now until January 1 2013 when I hope to have the first chapter ready for you. Many thanks for following this blog so far, and I hope you 'll stay with me next year. I need you!

Dec 16, 2012

A Post-It novel

Boris Karloff - Frankenstein

Somebody said to me the other day that they were surprised that I didn’t just sit down and write the story starting on page 1. This is a reasonable question, after all that’s how Jack Kerouac did it with On the Road but unfortunately I’m not Jack Kerouac.

To stop me feeling overwhelmed and confused by the scale of the story, I have decided to break the novel into bite size pieces. I have written all the key events onto Post-It notes and stuck them onto a wall in front of my desk. My plan is to decide which event I want to tackle first and then write that part. When that event’s finished I can look at the wall again and decide what to write next. The joy of this method is that if I have difficulties with one event I can just leave it and turn my attention to another one. There is a danger that the end result of this experiment could be something that looks like Frankenstein, a stitched together monstrosity, but I shall do my best to smooth over the seams and cover up the bolts.

Anyway, the picture below shows you my wall:

Apologies if it’s illegible, but I wouldn’t want you to know what I plan to write too much in advance, would I?

Well, that’s that. I’ve chosen my characters, I’ve tried out some of their voices in my back stories and I’ve got the plot. I really haven’t got any more excuses now. Better get to work. Just to be obvious, I think I shall start with the prologue. How about this?

It was a perfect day. The sun was bright but not too hot and a few clouds provided a tasteful amount of shade from time to time. The trains from central London arrived punctually and those who came by car found the normal traffic snarl around the church unusually restrained and could park without difficulty. The TV crews sent to report the event were overjoyed to find a cricket pitch in front of the doors to lend an air of English nostalgia to their filming.  In short, it was a perfect day for the Atkinson family to hold a funeral.

Dec 9, 2012

Colonel Ivan Kaiec

Apologies for the delay in a new post but I was doing some research into a likely background for the thriller and I also needed to try out the villain and see what he was like. If you’re interested, read about him in Short story nr. 3: Colonel Ivan Kaiec.
In this story, Timothy Arnold (who we met in Short story nr. 1: A Spy is Born) has an unpleasant encounter with a former business associate from the mid 90s.