I Love Matt Fishwick! Fiction and fun with Matt Fishwick

16Apr/142

Newsjack Series 10 Review!

It's the 500th post here on I Love Matt Fishwick dot com! Over 21,000 hits. A massive weight gain and a Grammy nomination. (My grammy says I'm the best, and I'm in her will.) To celebrate these milestones, let's talk Newsjack. To not celebrate it and be a party pooper, go to http://www.ihatemattfishwick.com.

Newsjack ended last Thursday after a 6 week run. And the 6th week of the show marked my 48th submission to it since the start of series 3 back in June 2010. When the show was announced as returning for series 10, there was a new host and a new set of producers. In addition, the format was announced to be changing, too. Gone were the vox pops (fake public call in segments which was a delivery system for one liners) and they were to be replaced with three different types of one liners. There was Breaking News, Coming Up (fake segments that supposedly would appear later in the show) and TV Listings. People could submit a maximum of 3 one liners for each segment. The sketches were also focused on more specific topic areas now. With the topics largely following the heading for the different news sections on the BBC News website. Business, Politics, World News, Entertainment, Sports, etc. The number of sketches that each writer could submit per week also fell from three to two.

I wondered how I would fare at first, given my lack of success on series 9 of the show. I've never been great at topical stuff, but I keep doing it in the hopes of getting better. It was also a bit of a surprise when the show started accepting one liners that were not necessarily topical. The fact that the number of sketches that a writer could submit to the show was now 2 didn't really affect me that much, as I think I never submitted the full 3 in any of the previous shows. (I managed two some weeks in previous series, though.)

I resolved to work hard on the material that I would be submitting, and I had hopes that because I'd already written a number of sketches in the weeks leading up to the start of the series (for series 2 of The Show What You Wrote and series 3 of 4am Cab) I hoped I would be more "warmed up" so I resolved to write two sketches and 9 one liners every week. And apart from week 2 and week 6, I did manage to write 2 sketches per week. In week 2 and week 6, I only managed to write one each. So over the course of the 10th series, I submitted 10 sketches and 54 one liners. (You can see a round up of the one liners in my Friday "Funnies" posts.) I've even posted some of the sketches that I submitted to the show on this website. (And will probably be posting the remaining sketches in the upcoming weeks.)

I'm happy I managed 2 credits in the first half of this series (episodes 1 and 3), even if those episodes did meet with some criticism on the Internet from people that didn't really like the new format to the show. Episodes 1 through 3 had a few hiccups but episodes 4 through 6 were great and the show has really hit it's stride again. The credits I scored were for one liners, which means I still haven't cracked the topical sketch writing side of it yet. (Of my credited one liners, the first one was topical while the one that appeared in episode 3 wasn't.) I'm going to resolve to continue with the topical material over the summer and hopefully (fingers crossed) I can be on form at the start of the next series. (Hopefully there is one.) I'm looking forward to trying again in series 11, and trying to get a sketch on at the 49th attempt, as sketch credits are what counts when trying to advance up the BBC writer food chain.

I'm happy that I managed 2 credits this series which is a vast improvement over my dire time during series 9, but still didn't reach the dizzying heights of making the record 3 times during series 8 but having one cut from the episode prior to broadcast.

Overall, in 48 submissions to the show, I have had six credits (S6E6, S7E1, S8E2, S8E6, S10E1, and S10E3: I made it rain BBC licence fee money!) with an addition two episodes that I had material recorded but it was cut before the show was broadcast (S5E1 and S8E3: I made it rain my tears.). Here is a breakdown of my submission record in handy spreadsheet style, if that sort of thing interests you:
Newsjack Record Series 3 - 10

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30Nov/110

NaNoWriMo 2011 Week 4 – A Review

You're reading this on the last day of NaNoWriMo 2011. Congratulations on writing until the end of the month, or just simply thanks for stumbling across my blog on the last day of the month. Either way, Kudos to you fine sir or good gentle woman.

Now that this brief bit of blog foreplay has been dispatched as quickly as possible, it's time to get to the down and dirty act of writing my last NaNoWriMo review.

So away we go:

Day 22 was a Tuesday and despite not having the long commute to work this day, I was still tired, so I didn’t manage to reach the 1667 quota for the day. I only managed to write 1455 words.

Day 23 was a Wednesday and I had the commute home in the evening, however, I was able to fit in some writing time before work and during my lunch break and that got me to 2042 words.

Day 24 saw me having to put in more time on my sketch writing class assignments. I only managed 1188 words.

Day 25 and Friday saw me write 241 words over par for a total of 1908 words. Unfortunately, that would be the last time that I wrote more than the daily quota for the rest of the week until Monday.

Day 26 and the last Saturday of NaNoWriMo 2011 saw me write 303 words. Of course it was improve day and I spent it making stuff up that rhymed, picking random lines of dialogue off the floor and pretending to be from Mexico and naked (though not at the same time). It also saw me drink a lot and after that I was in no shape to write.

Day 27 saw me write 1105 words as I spent more time on my sketch writing assignments and to be frank, I’ve long since lost interest in the novel. I just keep plodding along until I get to 50,000. I liked the original concept, but without being planned it went off on a tangent that never corrected itself. And it was not a good tangent, either. Oh well, perhaps I can plot this sucker out over the next year and by the time the next NaNoWriMo rolls around, I can write it as proper novel.

And what can be said about Day 28 that hasn’t been said already? Everything really, as I haven’t written about it yet. It was a Monday, and I’d had at most 2 hours sleep the night before. I drove the 106 miles to work, and then proceeded to write a bit before work. Thanks to this work ethic and some writing time at lunch and after work I was able to power to 2345 words and then win NaNoWriMo. If I had managed to drive to Birmingham everyday (getting up at 4:30am in the process), I probably would have finished my NaNoWriMo Novel much earlier in the month.

So that was my NaNoWriMo done for the year. I managed the slowest win that I’ve ever experienced. (Previous years had seen me finish around 22nd of the month.) I haven’t really enjoyed this year’s novel. In reality I’ve had too much stuff on my mind and too much other stuff to do, mainly the sketch assignments, which take a lot of time to do and yield very small word counts as they are in script format. I was looking forward to this year’s NaNoWriMo, but then stuff happens as it usually does. Which is a shame. In years past, the odd numbered years have generally been the most interesting and fun, with the even numbered years being dull and awkward. Which is why, after a lull last year, I was hopeful that this year would continue a pattern. This year I’ve really been making an effort to improve my sketch writing and, as such, I really wanted to do the Second City sketch writing course as it would help me in other areas of my life. (Especially in the sketch writing section of my life.) And so I’m still in the midst of that as I type. It is going reasonably well and I feel that I learning new skills. Sadly I never seen to learn from my NaNo disasters and keep repeating the same mistakes year after year. Hopefully, with the other skills that I have acquired, I can learn from this year’s disaster and plan for 2012. And it will be different if I decide to undertake a novel in a month again because I will only do it if I have a properly planned novel. I believe my days of pantsing it are over.

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23Nov/110

NaNoWriMo 2011 Week 3 – A Review

Hey there noveling fans. It's time for the week 3 review.

Many people have a dip in their progress during week 2 and then when week 3 rolls around they get their second wind. Well, I'm here to tell you that normally that doesn't happen to me. I can usually power through and complete the whole thing in just over three weeks. This time it hasn't happened that way, and in fact I've really been off the pace in the third week and I'm really struggling to just get to the daily goal.

I suppose it had to happen eventually. If I was only working on one thing I wouldn't have any excuse, but because this year I decided to do an online sketch writing course with Second City, I knew that I wouldn't be able dedicate all my free time to it. And I have noticed that the sketches that I have been asked to write have taken a large amount of planning and still haven't been great when they were finished. Well, that's according to my tutor feedback. He hasn't said they are out and out bad, but the list of things that I have missed and the techniques that I haven't managed to use are quite long, so I personally feel like I have failed. With the course not scheduled to finish until just before Christmas, it isn't as though I'll have any time to catch up and finish NaNoWriMo before the 30th November. So this year it looks like I'll have to use all the days of November to write the novel.

So with that said, let us all take a look at the daily word count breakdown of week 3:

Day 15: So week 3 kicked off with a below par day. The accepted wisdom of NaNoWriMo is that 1667 words need to be writen each day in order to get to 50,000 words by the end of November. On Day 15 I wrote 1525 words, which was 142 below par. Luckily the lead that I had built up earlier in the month still meant that I was ahead of pace at this point in the month by a little over 4000 words.

Day 16: Day 16 was a Wednesday and that meant that I had to drive home. Once I was at home I went out to a pub quiz, so I didn't do much writing that day, but I was able to write 768 words before work and in a brief sprint at lunchtime.

Day 17: The Thursday was much better with regard to word count. I was able to write 1753 words. I would have tried to write more, but I was working on my Sketch class assignment.

Day 18: Friday was very similar to Thursday with reagrd to word count. I was able to write 1777 words. I spent further time working on my Sketch class assignment, but it was like pulling teeth.

Day 19: Saturday was improv day, but I managed to get most of my word count done just after midnight and then between the end of the workshop class and the start of the ComedySportz 10th Anniversary Show. The day's word count reached 1525 again, just like Tuesday.

Day 20: I didn't get much written on the Sunday. Despite having nowhere to go and nothing else to do, I didn't write that much. The reason for this was simply because I had to dedicate the day to my sketch class assignment. I just couldn't make it funny. So there was that.

Day 21: Another long drive followed by another long day at work. But I did manage to fit in 2073 words getting them in just before midnight. It would have taken less time but I spent a good hour or so writing new lyrics to the song “There are worse things I could do” from the Grease Soundtrack. It was a very long day to bring week 3 to a close having written 39,759 words in the first three weeks.

And that was week 3 in a nutshell. Still haven't got any excerpts to share with you. I doubt there will be any this year, unless I rework the novel in to something readable, as at the moment it is a big mess. A big mess without much of a plot to be exact.

Until next time, keep on writing!

Matt.

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16Nov/110

NaNoWriMo 2011 Week 2 – A Review

It's November 16th, 2011. That can mean only one thing.

NaNoWriMo is more than two weeks old. Doesn't time fly when you don't have time to do anything but work and write and write a blog post about how you only have time to work and write?

So here is a brief review of my second week of writing.

Day 8 was a Tuesday and because I didn't have to drive a great distance and because I had recovered from the previous day's driving I managed to put in 2617 words.

Day 9 was a Wednesday and despite travelling home and attending a pub quiz (where I had a few drinks) I was able to put in 2340 words. In fact I think it was the demon drink that aided my word count that day. Haven't had the guts to reread what I wrote that day, though.

Day 10 was good. I felt good for putting in word counts above 2k per day consistantly over the past couple of days and was therefore trying to build up a lead going into the second weekend when I would have limited to write (on the Saturday, due to attending improv workshops and attending two CSz shows).

Day 11 was another above target day and I found myself writing 1000 words over target on the Friday. This gave me a 5K buffer going in to the weekend. Unfortunately, to reach this milestone I had neglected my sketch writing assignments from the online class I was taking so I'd have to do those over the weekend, too as they were due Sunday night / Monday morning.

Day 12 was a Saturday on the way to improv class I managed to write 237 words. I also worked on my sketch class assignment which was not going well.

Day 13 was a Sunday and I had all day to write but I decided to go to an improv show in Manchester so that would mean that there was a large chunk of time that meant I wouldn't be writing. I worked on my sketch assignment again and I actually managed 779 words for NaNo, too.

Day 14 was a Monday and therefore required an early start. But on the plus side, I did get to work fairly early and that combined with more coffee (which I think is going to be my saviour this year) and a sprint before work and a sprint or two after work, I was able to write 2957 words, increasing my lead and building up a buffer again after the writing problems of the weekend and bring my first week total to 28,082 words.

At that in a blog post was my second week of NaNoWriMo. I still don't have any extracts worth publishing. Maybe that will change next week?

Who knows?

Until then, keep writing,

Matt.

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9Nov/110

NaNoWriMo 2011 Week 1 – A Review

It's November 9th, 2011. That can mean only one thing.

NaNoWriMo is more than one week old. Doesn't time fly when you don't have time to do anything but work and write?

So here is a brief review of my first week's writing.

As many of you may know, I started a new job on November 1st this year (Much like November 1st last year). Unlike the last job, this job required a little bit more travelling to get to. So much travelling that I had to get up at 4.30am to get to it. That on top of nerves meant that I wrote very little on November 1st, just around five hundred words in fact.

Day 2 was a little better. After catching up on my sleep, I was able to write 2,101 words making a dent in the deficit that I had left over from day 1. This was the day that I also rediscovered caffeinated coffee at work, which (Gwen Stefdani's) No Doubt powered my writing well into the night.

Day 3 was better still. 2,834 words were written, which was ahead of target for the day, but there were enough additional words generated in order to get myself back on target with my average working out at over 1667 words a day which is above pace for this point in the month. There were even a few words extra written to put me ahead of target.

Day 4 was another above target day and I found myself getting into a pace of writing at least 2,000 words a day. I hoped to continue it to give me some breathing room later in the month when I would probably need it.

Day 5 was a Saturday and therefore without the need to go to work, I should have been able to write quite a bit and get really far ahead. Unfortunately for NaNoWriMo, Saturday is my improv workshop day. I was out nearly all day, but I did manage to write 761 words before class. I also attended a play in the evening, which is my prime writing time. But it wasn't all bad, thanks to the buffer that I build up in the previous days, I was still just about target. I enjoyed the day out very much and I think it gave me some inspiration for my fiction, so I count it as a win.

Day 6 was a Sunday and I had all day to write. I didn't. I procrastinated and watched InnerSpace on ITV1. I forgot how much that movie rocks. Martin Short is aces, I must say. I did start writing at about 7pm and managed to write 2,500 words until Misfits came on TV at 10pm. Then I wrote another 507 words during the ad breaks and just after the programme finished, giving me a daily total of 3,007 and giving me a buffer as the working week started again.

Day 7 was a Monday and therefore required an early start. But on the plus side, I did get to work fairly early and that combined with more coffee (which I think is going to be my saviour this year) and a sprint before work and a sprint or two after work, I was able to write 2501 words, increasing my lead and building up a buffer again and bring my first week total to 14,054 words.

At that in a blog post was my first week of NaNoWriMo. I was going to publish some extracts, but there is nothing that really makes much sense yet or the stuff that I have written would be deleted from the final draft. Maybe next week I might have something for you.

Until then, keep writing,

Matt.

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14Nov/090

NaNoWriMo 2009: An Orgy Of Words – The Halfway Point Review

Warning: This blog post contains letters, numbers and other special characters put together in such a way to create adult language, situations, language, characters and language that you may find offensive. This blog post should not be viewed by any one under the age of 18, over 65, those with a heart condition or just people with general good taste.

The Introduction

After participating in National Novel Writing Month in both 2007 and 2008 and winning both events, this year I changed tactics with my approach to NaNoWriMo 2009. Firstly, I decided to join with the Liverpool region to attend write-ins after defecting from Manchester region affiliation during the previous year's event. Secondly, to make it a little easier on my wrist and possibly increase the word count I decided to write most of my words on a computer. This is in contrast to previous events where both entries were handwritten.

Now, I know what you are thinking:

"Matt, you know that I love the fact that you are taking a novel approach to NaNoWriMo this year but since we have never seen any of your other NaNoWriMo series of novels, how do we know that you are writing anything at all and not just making your word count up when you post at the end of everyday on Twitter?"

I am almost lost for words over how insensitive you can be but what is galling most of all is I can't believe that you would use the word "novel" like that. The fact that you have used the word in that way has made me lower my admiration for you so much that I may well have to think twice about standing alone outside your house at night. From now on, I will no longer do it in inclement weather. I hope you are satisfied now because you won't be satisfied by me.

Getting back to my original theme, after your rude interruption, let me set the scene for you. It begins, as any clichéd novel would on a dark and stormy night, and not a dark and stormy knight, which is how I began my 2007 NaNoWriMo effort which known throughout the world by people who have just read this blog post as the seriously titled coming of age story that is Donkey Donkey Donkey Donkey: A Trilogy In Almost One Part. Are you sitting comfortably in a Health & Safety approved ergonomic chair? Then I will begin…

The Prologue Meet

In the run up to the actual event there was a Liverpool region pre-meet set up by the Liverpool municipal liaisons, the ever lovely Kaite and the sometimes lovely Rosie. This took place on October 17, 2009 at the Egg Café in, and I know you are going to say that it wasn’t the plot twist you were hoping for but be patient that will come, Liverpool. It was an opportunity for those of us who were new to the group to meet up, have cheese on toast, generally procrastinate and get a psychological advantage over our future literary rivals.

I met some brand new people and some slightly enhanced versions of others. By all accounts a great time was had by all. And by all accounts, I mean the people that I bothered to ask. This was me and me alone as I had forgotten to ask anyone while I was still in the Café. Iregardless, and not irrigation though I was quite thirsty by that point, a quick show of hands was done on the train ride home because I couldn’t find any dry stalks of cereal plants for a straw poll. The ones I did find were stuck to the bottom of my shoe and were wet due to the aforementioned dark and stormy conditions. I decided that I would go back to Liverpool.

Act I: Everyman for Themselves

At some point before November 1st 2009 but after the dawn of time and more specifically after the Prologue Meet definitive plans were put in place to hold a November 1st a Kick-Off Write-In Party, which was to be held at the stroke of midnight to enable those that had been belles of the balls on Halloween to turn to withered up word pumpkins on the stroke of midnight.

After a search for a hotel room proved unsuccessful, though I’m sure if they had let me past the front desk I could have walked down any corridor and gone through any door and found one, but apparently that was, in the words of the Head of Security, “causing a scene” and “wouldn’t be permitted” and he promptly escorted me from the building.

After the kindness of strangers let me have a bed for the night, and by kindness I mean those unfortunate enough to have left their doors unlocked, I was taken to the Everyman in preparation for the midnight beginning of NaNoWriMo 2009.

At this point you may be wondering why there are no photographs; well the simple answer is I didn’t take a camera with me. I can set the scene for you though, if you imagine a dimly lit room with people making shadow puppets on the wall filled with trendy artwork you have the wrong end of the stick entirely, if indeed there was a stick at all, but without photographs we will never know.

As we sat there on October 31st after the shadow puppet furore had died down and watched nervously as the clock ticked down to midnight, people became chatty and nervous desperate for a plot, and to placate the screams ranging from “What the hell am I doing here,” and “Where did you get those roast chestnuts from?” to “I can’t believe that I don’t have the biggest boobs here” and finally “I’ve got hot nuts in my pants,” one of our intrepid MLs, the beguiling Rosie, produced a pep talk to calm the fears. But I’ll tell you this now, it wasn’t my fault. I was nervous and stressed, okay?

Rosie’s pep talk was nothing short of a revelation. What it revealed I can’t quite remember because I’m not fond of writing things down. And I don’t like just making things up, but I will say that she gave me Love Hearts and just by that act of sheer bribery was enough to win my vote and my heart.

So after months of procrastination about thinking of a plot for NaNoWriMo 2009 (and working on my other fiction) I had finally run out of time. I had only a title that I had managed to come up with 48 hours prior and as the clock struck 12, I turned from an embittered procrastinator into an embittered procrastinator with writer’s block.

Day One: 12:00 to 2:00

Now I was in shock. I sat at a table surrounded by people who seemed to know that the hell they were doing. How DARE they? Didn’t they know that it was my time to NOT shine? Clearly not, since they were beavering away (and some were even writing about building dams) and bashing out the words, without even giving the words a chance to fight back.

Since I had decided to write most of my novel on computer and not blood and parchment as in previous years it left me at a disadvantage at this particular write in. So there I sat with my notebook and pen before me and stared at other people hoping that I could steal their plot thoughts.

Since my mind reading efforts were a complete bust, though that isn’t entirely true as I did manage to bend a spoon, I had to knuckle down and write some words.

So I wrote down the title of my literary fiction masterpiece at the top of the page: My Coffee & Cake with Andre.

During the course of the two hour write in, the atmosphere became more social and by being distracted, and not by having any ideas, I managed to write a grand total of about 400 words.

Day One: 6:00 to 10:00

When I awoke the next day, I found that I was trapped in a room and couldn’t leave (though that is what you get if you get caught while urinating on a war memorial). During this enforced captivity I was able to write another 2000 words to add to my day total.

Day One: 14:00 to 21:00

Once I had returned home to the safety and solitude of my lair I was able to add to this total. Some people may question why I continued handwriting on day one once I had access to my computer. The simple truth is this – I was on a roll. After I got off the bread I realised that it was too squashed to eat so I just wrote instead. As the day came to a close (well my day anyway) I reached a total of 3517 words which was 1850 words above where I needed to be at that point in the event.

Day Two: Eclectic Boogaloo

During my herculean handwriting effort on day one a pattern emerged. That pattern was that even if I had no ideas I could still crank out the crap. I didn’t bother typing up day one’s wordage but I did add it to my word count. I just resolved to write 50,000 words on the computer for official verification purposes and add in the hand written words to the total later.

The other revelation was that I had the startings of a plot. A not very good plot, but I plot none the less. As the title suggested there would be coffee and there would be cake. So I set my opening chapter in a dingy diner. Three characters had emerged. The Andre of the title became Colonel Andre DuBois. The second character the “My” of the title became his unnamed (at that point) assistant (An assistant that wasn't named Marty). The third was an elderly waitress. On day two the plot became more solidified and harder to flush, so I was stuck with it.

And for the first time ever on this website an extract follows in all its unedited first draft glory:

The waitress poured the coffee and turned to leave. “I’ll be back soon with your cake.” She shuffled away.

I glanced down at the coffee mug. There stencilled in small neat print were the words “I love Joe” and two pictures, one on either side of the lettering. The first to the left of the text was one of the previous proprietors, one of the previous Joe’s. The photograph wasn’t very clear, but judging by the wideness of Joe’s shirt collar it must have been from the 1970s. To the right of the text was another image, an image that will haunt me until the day that I forget about it, or remember to forget about it. It was Delores the waitress. She too was dressed in high tech 1970s bright yellow fashion but the thing was she didn’t look any different than she did today. Okay, today she had the uniform on that exposed her midriff but beyond that, the image could have been taken yesterday.

The Colonel was still studying the menu, so i tapped on the table to get his attention. On the third attempt I managed it. “Hmm.” He took a slurp of coffee while he waited for my reply.

“Why are you late?”

“I’m not late.” The Colonel put his empty cup back down on the table and gave out a quick yawn. “Anyway, you shouldn’t,” Colonel Andre DuBois yawned again, “you shouldn’t worry about this concept of time, Marty.”

“But it was you who asked me to be here at eleven pm sharp.”

“And were you?” The Colonel leaned forward placing his elbows on the table, his weigh pushing down his side of the table down causing the empty coffee mug to fall over due to the angle of the surface.

It was luck that I had my cup in my hand or my lap would have been scalded. And not in a good way. “Yes,” I replied. “I was here on time.”

“Then kudos. Kudos to you my good man.” He said. He looked around the diner as though he was struggling for something to say or had lost his train of thought. “Yes,” he continued in a subdued tone. “Kudos.” There was another brief pause. “I hate silence, don’t you?”

He leaned back in to his chair, I caught his empty mug before it fell to the floor, but not without managing to spill some of my own coffee on to my hand.  “Bastard!”

“There is no reason to be like that, old boy. I was simply asking you a follow up question after congratulating you on your epic quest.”

I sucked the spilt liquid from my skin and hoped that it wouldn’t leave a mark, or a Peter or a Luke or a John. I didn’t need some Pious symbol etched into my skin as a reminder of my haste. “Not you, the coffee.”

The Colonel nodded his head but I got a sense that deep down he didn’t really believe me. He leaned forward and took both of the mugs from me and set them down on the table. The cleared up a few remaining drops of coffee on the table with a couple of napkins from the dispenser. I hadn’t seen him this domesticated before, not even in his own home. I suppose that it why he kept a dog, not so much as a pet but as a cleaning device. While in his home, he would just drop half eaten bits of food on the floor and the dog would just wonder round vacuuming them up. Apart from the smell of a confined dog and an unkempt Colonel, it was quite an impressive setup. At least it was until the dog died. The Colonel didn’t notice until about a week and a half later. Well, when I say the Colonel didn’t notice, it was me who noticed and told the Colonel. He was quite upset; until he hatched a scheme involving re-animation took up most of his time over the next several weeks.

It was quite an ingenious scheme really when viewed from a high level but once one got down to the nuts and bolts, the fine detail if you will, it turned out that it was in violation of many international copyright claims. For Andre’s idea stemmed from getting cheap animation cells and then stringing them together to create cheap cartoon that he could then sell on to children’s TV stations for a quick profit. Sadly, his first effort was little more than silent stick men (what can I say, I can’t draw, or write dialogue, but you’ve figured that out already, if you are still reading) and when there was no interest amongst the Television or Radio community, Andre stepped up his efforts by screen capping popular Disney films and dubbing in his own dialogue over the top. This attracted some of the Disney top brass. I can tell you from personal experience that Lumiere from Beauty and the Beast can be one tough bastard when he wants to be, don’t let that singing candle shtick fool you, he can really burn you with that wax. Some of the human employees got in on the frivolous lawsuit act too, though they weren’t as humorous as they were mainly lawyers and such, except for that one guy who we can name pending the outcome of a lawsuit that we are also certain to go to trial for, as frivolous without merit was not how the judge saw it or described it. And I was wrong to setup a fake account on twitter for him to indicate this fact. I wonder if this counts as a written apology. Perhaps it does if I can deign to run a spell check.

This act of re-animation was also, strangely, seen by some in certain quarters as a war crime, though the dimes and nickels abstained from voicing their own thoughts.  I was never convinced of the validity of that last claim, but may be it was just because Andre DuBois called himself “The Colonel.” Oh yes, Andre DuBois was like Elvis’ manager in the fact that he held no military rank what-so-ever but did on occasion like to wear a ten gallon hat, but Andre DuBois favoured a foam one rather than more traditional materials that one tends to associate with cowboys and their hats.

Colonel Andre DuBois looked at me as though I had just gone on a several hundred word rant about something that isn’t really relevant. As I focused my glassy stare upon his features, I had to consider if he was right or not. “Are you okay?”

Organised Boogaloo: Days Three Through Five

The writing continued like this up until the close of Day five when I ended the first chapter as the Colonel's Assistant stormed out of the diner and made his way home. As a creative style I had grown bored writing in the first person, so beginning with Chapter 2, the first couple of hunfdred words of which I wrote at the end of day 5, I switched to third person.

After 5 days of high velocity novelling I had written 9509 words.

Continue to the next post.

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14Nov/090

NaNoWriMo 2009: An Orgy Of Words – The Halfway Point Review (2)

Act II: Deep Sixing the plot

At the end of day 5 I had all sorts of things in my head, but when I awoke on the morning of day 6 I couldn't think of what to do, so in a slow day of writing I only managed to write 1000 words despite it being my day off from work and I had hoped to get in at least three thousand words to put me further ahead. But this wasn’t to be.

And as any NaNoWriter lost at sea knows the quickest way to add words is to create a flashback scene that builds up into a scene that you have already written. The only thing of note that happened was that my main character got a name. And so, here in its entirety are all the words that oozed out from my brain on Day 6:

It was not long before the Ass was snugly secure in his own stable. The whole process had been quite smooth not counting saying “Hello and goodbye” to the night watchman both on the way in to the stables to drop the Ass off and again on the way out. Jonn hadn’t been sure which security guard he had said hello to. It was a well known fact that there were a set of identical twins that worked the night shift at the stables and if neither wore the name badge then it was difficult to tell them apart. Though why management refused to buy a separate name badge or each of them and forced them to share was unknown though there was source in the accounting department that had confirmed a guess by some that is was down to the credit crunch. Now that Jonn thought about it more he had never seen the twins in one place at the same time. May be it was all just a big scam by one security guard to get two pay cheques for one job. Whether it was a scam or not, they were having to do an extra hour’s work for no extra money tonight, judging by the time on the clocking in machine which had already been set back to 1 thanks to the end of daylight savings time.

Jonn Baldmur nodded his head in a final nod to the security guard who was already placing the newspaper over his face and reclining in the chair settling in for another few hours of hard labour before clocking off for the night, or day whichever he called it when the shift ended. He walked out onto the street and crossed over at the lights to avoid a Jay Walking ticket. Less than twenty minutes later Jonn unlocked the door to his apartment building. Next to a defunct pharmacy that had gone out of business after labelling mishap that saw teenage acne cream be labelled as Viagra and acne cream be labelled as Viagra. Many of the customers had been either too happy or too nervous to take back their mislabelled purchases. Can you guess which group was which? I can, but just so that we have some fun, please let me know your opinion. The answer was in the article in the highly respected news paper several months ago but just as it came to the interesting tid bit of information the article had a “to be continued on page 7” strap line and when Jonn turned to page seven found that the remainder of the article was printed on the back page of the coupon section and his room mate had already taken liberties with a pair of scissors and gone to town on the coupons and then actually gone off into town before Jonn had a chance to get his fair share of the discounted delights. Not that that mattered now as both the room mate and pharmacy had moved on within a couple of weeks of one another. Especially since the room mate could no longer steal the newspaper from the door step of the pharmacy before they opened at six every morning.

Jonn climbed the stairs and became depressed with ach step. There were a lot of steps as he lived on the fifth floor so by the time he found himself at the front door of his apartment, Jonn Baldmur was really pissed off. He opened the door and the misery didn’t end there.

Jonn could hear water coming from the bathroom. “Damn it.” He cursed to himself. There was a note stuck to the shade of a nearby table lamp.

It simply read: remembred.

It wasn’t a typo, he was up early that morning and he had run out of bread (and not that the bread had run out on him, he hadn’t been unfaithful o the bread, even though he had been temped by a rather soft tiger roll), but when he went to write himself a note he could only find one en and that pen was fast running out of ink, so he had to improvise and decided to cut down on the number of characters that he would write and there came a rather snappy and appealing new word that he would have to remember to send to the Oxford English Dictionary for inclusion in their next revision. But the fact that he had forgotten to buy an extra loaf on his way home wasn’t what was concerning him most at that very second. No as it was written earlier, it was the noise of the running water from the bathroom that was at the top of his priority list.

When h got the call at 4 in the afternoon on the preceding day, Jonn had just finished at two hour session working out on his exercise bike. The phone had rang while he was towelling himself down to stop the dripping of sweat onto the carpet.

“Hello.”

“Hello Marty, its the Colonel.” The voice on the other end of the phone had said.

“Meet me at the diner tonight at 11.”

“11?” Jonn had asked.

“Yes, you know the time when the Nightly news comes on.”

Jonn Baldmur shook his head as a bead of sweat dribbled down his nose and collected in a ball before plummeting down to the end table that held the cordless phone base. He tried to say something else but got nothing but the low tone of hang up bouncing around in his head as Colonel Andre DuBois had put the phone down and severed the connection between them.

Jonn had hopped in the shower, because he was still annoyed that he had not gone to a Halloween party as Kermit the Frog, and had instead gone as a Ugly Sister from Cinderella. That didn’t have much relevance upon what happened next. Jonn had taken a shower knowing that a meeting with the Colonel at that time would no doubt turn into an all night rendezvous. He had showered and dried and then decided to get a few hours sleep before the meeting, turning his light out and tying to block out the street lights and the noise from the city at that time of day.

Day Seven: Picking up Steam.

One day the words didn’t come so easily but then the next things start to go right again. There was a flurry of activity now that our main character (well, mine at least, not yours you character stealer, you) was safely back in his apartment. Things couldn’t possibly go wrong now, could they?

Things hadn’t been the same since he had emigrated from England with the promise of a place at a prestigious University. Unfortunately on arrival his place was lost due to a clerical error and to avoid deportation he had to take a less than ideal and frankly less than well paid (the legal definition, which he decided to look up was in fact called “Pro bono” though he didn’t really care for the man’s politics though some of the sketches that he had caught on late night TV re runs weren’t too bad, especially the ones that were written by Steve Martin.) assistant job at what he originally perceived to be a low grade institution but turned out to be the home of Colonel Andre DuBois, though with the large stacks of books lining the corridors of the old home, Jonn Baldmur didn’t figure this out for a good couple of months. Yes despite all his “qualifications” from the esteemed Distance Kentucky Finance College run by one Colonel Andre DuBois that he wasn’t very smart. It is at this point that we must stress under threat of legal action that Distance Kentucky Finance College is in no way connected with that other Colonel and we must say that the Distance Kentucky Finance College only has two herbs and spices. So in reality you could say that it has only herb and spice and perhaps no t much else that is anything nice – and that quote comes directly from the online brochure. We also must stress that nor is Distance Kentucky Finance College in league with the Continuity KFC or Real KFC, these being splinter groups and not distance learning accredited institutions.

But now Jonn Baldmur stood in the entrance hall of his small sub sub sub let apartment and though about the disaster that may be awaiting him in the bathroom area. He placed his keys on the faux end table and put his jacket on the chair. The shirt that he was wearing was stuck to his back from the walk across town from the diner close to the Colonel’s own home. He breathed hard thanks to the stairs that had finished him off and sapped the last of his strength. He regretted working out today. Well, working out yesterday. He hadn’t done any exercise in a few weeks thanks to a cut on his foot that had prevented him from working out on the exercise bike but he had attempted it and as soon as the phone rang he knew that it would be the Colonel and knew that the day would be ruined. The cut on the top of the foot was starting to irritate him. It was just as well that he was already home.

Jonn Baldmur disconnected the phone from the wall socket and went into the bathroom to see what the extent of the damage was. He flicked on the light switch just by the door after a few moments the energy saving bulb was up to its full brightness and Jon was able to see the problem. The bath was overflowing and there was a pool of water on the floor. There wasn’t much water on the floor. The faucet was still on but it was only dribbling out. Jonn pulled the plug out of the bath and grabbed a towel from the nearby rail. The towel was monogrammed with the initials FC. Jonn had no idea who FC was, a set of these monogrammed towels were bought from a thrift store over on Twenty Second Street. Occasionally when he was sat in the bath or drying himself off after a shower or a bath Jonn liked to imagine who this FC was. His current theory was that FC was some sort of former world famous explorer who was on the run from a loan shark or perhaps a mob boss thanks to a shifty dalliance with a moll or even a family member and was forced to liquidate all his assets before he himself was liquidated and his only stop on the way to the train station was a lowly thrift store on Twenty Second Street. Jonn would often spend time mooching around the thrift store in search of more items from the Explorer’s collection. So far the only thing that Jonn had found, in adition to the towels was a soap dish. He had refrained from buying it thanks to it not going along with his eclectic decor of his apartment.

Jonn Baldmur stamped on the towel to sop up the last few puddles and squeezed and wrung the towel out in to the bathtub. Jon cursed under his breath. He stretched his arms over his head and yawned deeply. He was over tired now. Sleep would come, eventually. And may be tomorrow would be better. A new dawn and all that. Well, it wouldn’t be light for a good few hours yet, but Jonn knew what he meant.

He made his way to the small bedroom and undressed along the way, dropping each item on the floor as he went. At least the bathroom hadn’t been as big a problem as he had anticipated. He could feel his eyelids drop, which for each brief second made him feel as though he hadn’t even tned on the lights in the apartment. He wondered if any other regular person one had this feeling when they happened to blink or if he was the only one. Jonn had often considered the possibility of asking someone else, but the only person he was in frequent contact with was Colonel Andre DuBois and there were many a medical professional who had declared that the Colonel could be described as any thing but normal. He brushed the though out of his hair at the same time that he brought an antique brush to his scalp and ran it through the thinning hair that had not escaped the flesh on his head.

“I don’t remember putting that there.” He said unto himself in lieu of any one else to talk to. There were a few wisps of hair that had made the leap from his scalp and he plucked them from the brush and placed them into an old tobacco tin that he was eventually saving to create a toupee or a knitted sweater from his own clothing collection that he may sell down at the very same thrift store on Twenty Second Street where the monogrammed towels had been purchased. It he kept losing hair at this rate, and this rate kept up forever he could make a transition to the clothing industry. There were a few kinks and issues with the initial draft of these ideas but Jonn knew he would fine tune them before he went to the bank to ask for the business start up loan.

Jonn stretched again and placed the hairbrush down on the floor by his bedroom door. He would put it back in the morning, or when he finally tripped over it and had to put it out of the way or cause himself further injury. He opened the door and is it creaked a little he had to remember to remind himself for the fifth time that he should really put some oil on the joint and prevent him having to remember every time he passed through the doorway.

Down to his underwear now, Jonn slipped these off, which was quite difficult in the darkness thanks to the long johns that he was wearing. But eventually, after just falling over three times, and cursing aloud seven times, he was free and hanging loose. A quick scratch of his undercarriage (or kibble and bits as it is sometimes known in the medical profession) and soon found himself under the covers trying to relax and stretch out. Jon felt his eyelids drop which was convenient as he had willed them to close and after a bit of bribery on the muscles in hid face they had done exactly what was asked of them which was not too shabby in Jonn’s estimation.

As he splayed his finger tips out, he could feel something trembling at the touch of his skin. There was a soft sobbing.

* * *

All that walking and embarrassment had made him thirsty. There wasn’t much in the fridge apart from a bare bulb and a jug of water. There was some wafer thin turkey, but it had been genetically engineered by the Colonel. It was there just running around the refrigerator. It was surpringly good at handling the cold and as was to be expected its body was completely in proportion to the wafer thinness of its body. Technically, it was a marvellous achievement, but the Animal Protection Agency hadn’t been called due to them only having the refrigerator to house them. In all there were 5 of these scientific marvels. The genetically freaky turkeys, and that was the official name for them according to the Colonel, had food and water and a running pen but that left little room for food for the humans (and near humans if you counted the boyfriend of Stacey) in the house. The real tests for these freaky things, and that doesn’t mean the humans, was Thanksgiving holiday in a few weeks. These turkey’s had been bred so that they would fit snugly between two pieces of bread without all the need for plucking and trussing.

Jonn Baldmur’s stomach rumbled. He didn’t think he had been that hungry, but now watching the wafer thin turkeys do laps of a little running track (of which Jonn had the occasional flutter but nothing really took off – Ha ha), he felt the need for food. “Soon my pets, soon.” Jonn licked his lips in anticipation at the imminent national holiday but tried to shift his mind on to easier food stuffs to prepare. Though who would know? Jon asked imself and he asked the turkeys. When they couldn’t come up with a more intelligent answer than “gobble, gobble” even after Jonn allowed them to confer with one another in a group huddle, he changed his mind. He need the five of them for Thanksgiving and in all honestly he didn’t think that he could trick the remaining four into a turkey orgy in the hopes of creating another insult to God in just a few weeks. Especially since all these little abominations against God’s will had been bred as sterile creatures. The how to documentation written by Jonn but based on the mad scribbling of Colonel Andre DuBois was sealed away under the floorboards of a non distinct brownstone in another part of town just in case they were raided by any government department. Jonn shook any thought of government subpoenas out of his head and concentrated on what else was in the refrigerator.

He looked to the second shelf from the bottom which was where they kept the food fit for human consumption. There were also some wafer thin turkey ham slices but they were a supermarket own brand value range and Jonn was sick of biting into them and crunching on the odd bit of bone that was present in them. One of these days he would bite down hard on some of this food and it would either bite him back (or more accurately peck him back thanks to the wafer thinness of the live turkeys) or it would break his teeth because due to being English all be it with a slight American Accent the bones of the turkey would no doubt grind his molars into a fine powder. “Damn it.” Jon said.

Day Eight: Reality Go Bye Bye

From this point onwards the genetically engineered wafer thin turkeys running around a silver service tray in the refrigerator would prove to be the highpoint and the most grounded part of my literary effort. From this day forward it became increasingly difficult to think of something that would likely happen in real life. Plot wise, Jonn the assistant was still trying to sleep in his apartment when the Colonel arrived seeking a continuation of their earlier meeting:

The knocking And pleading from the other side of the front door continued. Jonn was fully awake now. He lay in bed and tried t block out the noise generated by the Colonel (or which ever other mysterious stranger it might have been, if you don’t like spoilers and prefer to wait a couple of paragraphs to see who it actually is, if we make it that far) by placing a pillow over his head. It blocked out the light and the air but not the sound. Jonn didn’t feeling like dying to the sounds of the incessant stranger at least not in his own bed, so e reluctantly got up and searched around on the floor for his long johns in the harsh (at least to his sleep fill eyes any way) light.

Without buttoning up the arse panel Jonn Baldmur padded over to the hallway leaving his bedroom behind for the moment, and he hoped it wouldn’t be long before he was able to go back to sleep , Jonn would just have to get rid of the mysterious stranger and then he could return safely to the confines of his bed and fall into a restful slumber dreaming dreams of lamb and steak.

In the hallway Jonn placed his finger on the wall and traced his usual path to the bathroom before flicking on the over head light. He splashed water on his face to make himself look halfway presentable (if one ignored the sticky out hair that was protruding from has head and ears) and remembering the mess he left the facilities but a few short moments ago before he went to his chamber, he decided to forgo using them and off their use to the visitor as sort of a pay back. If the visitor refused, he could always get Stacey or her “fucking door” boyfriend (and that was the most words he had ever heard the boyfriend string together) to be the next victim of the toilet seat of terror. Which, to Jonn Baldmur, sounded like a theme park ride only the splash down wouldn’t be nearly as fun. Though he was tempted to charge admission or at least just pop a turnstile out side the bathroom proper and charge admission. May be then he wouldn’t have to worry about rent so much. Though he would have to think about installing a camera and maybe some guards in place to stop people hopping over the turnstile so in the end may be it wasn’t the most viable solution in these wintery and harsh economic times.

Jonn Baldmur left the bathroom left the scene of many of his victories and defeats and turned off the light after him.

“Marty.” The knocking stopped and so did the voice as though the person it was attached to was liatening for a response from within, or perhaps the tape player that was projecting all this vocal noise had just reached the end of side A and was in the process of automatically turning over to side B before continuing with the laid down tracks in a kind of none hip hop way, innit.

Jonn Baldmur listening closely putting his ear to the door. He thought about the time when he moved in to the place and was a little annoyed that the door that had been attached to the front of his apartment did not have a peep hole. Both he and has former room mate had chosen this apartment because it had been readily available foe immediate rent. What they didn’t find out until the day they moved their stuff in was as they crossed the yellow police tape and chalk outlines was that this particular apartment had been listed for rent about 9 days after a murder / suicide had taken place. Apparently the murderer (and future suicidee) had gained entry by shooting the victim through the peep hole when he rang the door bell and the victim had moved to the door to get a closer look at who was calling at such late hour. The murderer had then gained entry into the apartment and proceeded to slip on some of the quite runny blood that had begun to pool around the door frame area before doing a double somersault and splits and then cracking their skull open in the bathtub and slowly bleeding to death from a massive contusion. From later police and toxicology reports it was confirmed that neither the murderer or the victim knew one another it was just a robbery perpetrated by a klutz gone horribly wrong. Shortly there after the landlord had decided that the peep hole was just too dangerous to have (many would say that due to the rent that was being charged the peep hole was classed as a luxury and way above their price range).

“Marty, are you there? Marty?” The voice said again.

The voice brought Jonn back from his night time daydream and he opened his eyes and found himself transported back to the dimly lit hallway tat was his apartment. He crouched down. “I’ll be there in a minute,” Jonn called through the open mail slot or letter box as it is known by some in the mail delivery business. ”Just hold your horses.”

This seemed to startle the voice over the other side of the wooden divider or door as it is known in layman’s terms. “Horses, erm?” The voice tailed off. If the voice had feet, Jonn couldn’t hear it walk away. If the voice had feet, it would be very unusual if it also didn’t have a body.

Jonn scratched his head and a wisp of hair came away with his hand. “In the box you go, little fellow.” He said as he placed the hair strand in the tobacco tin with great care. “I’ll deal with you later.” He whispered to the box.

The voice from the other side of the door piped up. “Are you talking to me?”

Jonn Baldmur said nothing and just shook his head.

“Bare in mind, Marty.” The voice began, and Jonn did. He could very well picture himself naked at that very moment. After all he was a part from a thin layer of long johns with an arse flap that was suggestively open and allowed a nice through breeze. “Bare in mind,” the voice repeated as though it could sense that Jonn was thinking about something entirely different. “That I am on the other side of the door.”

“I am aware of that.” Jonn said back through the closed door. He coughed and felt something loosen in his throat. He knew he was getting a cold, it was only a matter of time. He should have put his slippers on before coming into the hallway. The lack of carpet was sending chills up his legs.

A bedroom door swung open and Stacey’s boyfriend stalked out. “Will you two shut the fuck up? People are trying to sleep around here.” With that, he turned and went back into the bedroom and back to his girlfriend.

Jonn called after him. “I would if people would stop SHOUTING.” When he sensed that the boyfriend wasn’t going to make another imminent appearance he turned his back on Stacey’s room and once again faced the front door and all the mysteries that lay behind it. “What do you want?”

Jonn cold hear the voice thinking.

“Well?” He called again.

“I’ve told you already Marty.” The voice said after a few moments of silence. “Will you let me in?”

Jonn Baldmur rubbed his face. “Not by the hairs on my chinny chin, chin.” He said, which reminded him to create another note that told him to shave in the morning, his stubble was becoming a bit of a nuisance. He looked around for another Post It and a pen and made a mental note to write on the paper later.

“You know how I don’t like these sorts of references, Marty.” The voice said with a certain disappointment in its tone.

“How would I?” Jonn called back with a rye smile on his face. “I don’t know who you are?”

“Balderdash.” The voice said.

“Careful,” Jonn replied, “I’m not sure but I think that may be a copyrighted brand name.”

“Piffle.”

“No, Balderdash.” Jonn corrected the, as yet unknown, voice. “I’m pretty sure it is a board game from Milon Bradley or the same people that make Monopoly. I’m not sure but I’m betting theta they have enough money to sue you ito the stone age.”

“They have enough money to have built a working time machine?” The voice contemplated. “That is interesting. Interesting indeed.”

“I don’t mean that literally.”

“What have books got to do with it? I thought you were telling me about board games.” The voice seemed a little confused now.

“I was.” Jonn said. “I was talking about board games. What I mean to say was that the company would no doubt have a lot of money but they wouldn’t have enough to build an actual time machine to fire you back to the stone age.”

“Well,” the voice replied, “when you say it like that it is both longwinded and quite possibly the dullest and most disappointing thing that I have heard in a long while. A long, long while. A long, long, long -”

“Okay, yes I’ve got that. But I think you’ll find that is three things if my counting can be believed. And usually it can’t, but in this case I’m almost certain that it may be true. I used my fingers and everything.” Jonn hadn’t used his fingers for the counting, but the voice over on the other side of the door wouldn’t know that, unless it eventually applied for a transcript of the conversation by sending a cheque or money order off to the BBC, PO Box 90210, London, Ontario, Canada, so Jonn Baldmur felt no reason not to lie to it as he didn’t think that the mysterious voice would have that kind of scratch.

“well, yes. I was aware that there were up to and including three items on my list, but i did that so that I cold find out if you have learned to count yet. Ah, Ah Ah. You see aFTER all it is the 40th Anniversary of Sesame Street this year.”

“I did read abut that in the news paper. But you are not the Count. You’re one letter off.”

“Cont. That’s an abbreviation for continued. And i hope to continue this conversation in more detail if only you would open the fucking door.”

“You don’t hear that kind of language on Sesame Street.” Jonn Baldmur insisted.

“Actually there was that one episode where Grover found his way into a crack den and learned what an ounce was,” The voice countered, with more knowledge than was strictly necessary. “but I think there was a complaint from Bill Clotworthy in the Standards and Practises department at NBC so thy never bothered to rerun that episode. It’s a real shame, as it was a real gritty episode directed by Quentin Tarantino. The people who saw it say they learned a lot. Especially how to administer an adrenaline shot though the breast plate with a single stabbing motion.”

“I never saw that episode, but I hear it is available on bootleg DVD from e-bay. But I really think you should really tone it down with the Sesame Street references unless you want to be haunted by the Ghosts of Marley and Marley and Henson.”

Continue to the next post.

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14Nov/090

NaNoWriMo 2009: An Orgy Of Words – The Halfway Point Review (3)

Act III: Raising The Plot

It was after this point of having 8 days worth (about 22K words) of yammering back and forth that I decided to try and pull the earlier abandoned plot together. I had a few ideas sparked from Robbe Law’s challenges forum post and I wanted to get that out of the way so on day 9 that is what I set out to do. I decided to draw a line under that chapter and I started chapter 3. I ended day nine not having acheived my plot goal but I did manage to add 3130 words to take me to the half way goal of 25,000 after 9 days of writing.

So I tried to reintroduce the battered blue suitcase, but that seemed to lead onto something else before I could manage it:

“Colonel, are you okay?”

“Prefectly, old boy. Perfectly.” The Colonel gazed at the turkerys still running around their miniature running track.

They were getting better, getting better all the time, Jonn had to admit, some of them even had lap times in the low teens and if there were such a thing as the miniature wafer thin turkey Olympic Games he would seriously consider entering the cream of the crop, (or may be even the cream of the turkey soup), into the Games. Though he did wonder where they would get five thousand wafer think turkey condoms for the Olympic village because he didn’t want his charges to get bird flu or worse due to unprotected and ill advised and most probably drunken gobbling with other the other poultry present. He realised that they could use intestines of some smaller animals, perhaps flies or some other flying creature that was like a fly but easier to catch and not as squashable. Or may be they could be larger animals and the user could be wrapped up as turkey sausages for the winner to eat on the car ride back to Bratislava (because deep down Jonn knew that the Russians would be a tough opponent to beat and would come into the games as the clear favourite, though with the right training Jonn could place a few choice bets spread evenly between Bet Fred and Stan James, so as not to arouse the suspicions of the Olympic Officials, and really clean up without the aid of a mop and bucket). Wait, what was Jonn thinking. Did turkeys have Penises any way? Did any one who didn’t spend their free hours in tweed and wellington boots really know? Did any one who cared read that sentence? Is this the end of a series of questions without an answer?

The answer to that last one is, of course no. Or yes, if you like to move on. It’s a bit like a poor man’s Choose your own adventure but without all that pesky page turning to follow what happens next.

“I should say.” The Colonel began.

“Then why don’t you?”

“Put the wafer thin turkeys away, will you old chap. I wouldn’t want hem catching their death out here.” Colonel Andre DuBois paused as he wiped the spittle away from the corner of his mouth with the knuckle from his left hand. “From the cold, you understand.” The Colonel nodded as though it would make him believe his own lies. “From the cold.”

“Sure,” Jonn agreed, “from the cold. I’ll just pop them back in the heated refrigerator then” He picked up the silver serving tray that was the base for the turkeys make shift enclosure (who said that amidst all the rubbish they weren’t classy?) and padded over the kitchen area of the apartment. “You want another drink from the hot box, while I’m here?” he was looking at the wafer thin turkeys while he said it, but he was clearly addressing the Colonel even though Jonn had his back to him.

“Just make sure that it has plenty of ice in it,” The Colonel shouted across the apartment to his host.

Some where in the back of the apartment a bedroom door was flung open. “Shut the fuck up,” came the familiar mantra from Stacey’s boyfriend. The door slammed immediately after the words stopped.

The Colonel seemed taken aback from the unexpected outburst. “Well, someone got up on the wrong side of the bed.” He said to Jonn but quieter than his last statement, to indicate he was at least aware that he may be punched, kicked or worse if the volume of his voice stayed consistently loud. He tippy toed over to Jonn’s location in the kitchen and took another glass of water from his obliging host. “Merci.” He toasted his host, who wasn’t feeling that much like being toasted but afterwards he felt all warm and a bit overdone on one side.

Jonn Baldmur placed the silver service tray back into the refrigerator and pored himself another water. There was no ice. No in the refrigerator at least, Jonn was convinced that there was some ice somewhere in the world (maybe the north pole or the south pole, he couldn’t quite remember), but he was sure that it was a little far to travel to chisel off a bit to fit into his drinks glass. Maybe if he were to take a champagne bucket with him, then again, maybe not. He closed the door to the refrigerator and foolowed thr Colonel back to the living room area.

They stood facing one another sipping that their iceless water nervously for a few minutes as though someone had just thrown a whole load of car keys in a bowl. “So,” Colonel Andre DuBois said, shifting from one foot to the other, notr wanting to stand still and not really knowing the reason why.

“So,” Jonn Baldmur repeated back to the Colonel as though all conversation had been sucked out of the room and replaced with a giant vacuum, without that pesky body turning inside out and exploding due to the pressures exerted on them. Stuxk for something else to say, Jonn said the first thing that came into his head. “Have you watched, So You Think You Can Dance? On the Fox Network?”

The Colonel shook his head. “I will only watch Fox News.”

“For the news?” Jonn Baldmur asked.

“No, for papa bear,” the Colonel said.

Jon shrugged his shoulders. “I don’t believe that this line of enquiry is getting us any where.”

Colonel Andre DuBois eyed him suspiciously. “Are you a cop, because leggally and legally, the first one is like the law but in tiny short shorts, you have to tell me if you are. It’s like a rule or something.”

Jonn tried to pat DuBois on the shoulder, but he moved out of the way as though he were afraid that Jonn was going to slap the cuffs on him. “How long have you known me?”

“Not long enough, Marty, not long enough.” The Colonel checkled (a sort of half chuckle, half heckle) to himself. “Marty. If that is your real name.”

Jonn Baldmur scratched his nose and through weary eyes looked at the Colonel, his vision slightly blurred because of the late hour. “You know it isn’t.”

Colonel Andre DuBois paced the living room area of the apartment with his hands on his hips muttering to himself and to those around him who would listen, in this case one Jonn Baldmur. “I knew it,” he tutted to himself, “I just knew it. You think you can trust someone and then they turn around and turn around again in a big circle then touch their toes and before you realise that they did that to distract you from your original thought that they are nothing but a low down dirty narc.” He wagged an accusing finger at his assistant. “A Narc. A narc is what you are.”

Jonn Baldmur looked at his employer. “Are you going to leave.”

The Colonel glanced that the coffee table and the half filled, he was an optimist after all, glass of water that he had to go. “I will after I finish my water.” The Colonel adjusted his jacket and sat down behind the coffee table.

Why the Colonel didn’t sit on the chair was anybody’s guess and while the only anybody in the room was Jonn Baldmur, he decided to give it a shot. “Why don’t you sit on the chair?”

The Colonel nodded in acknowledgement at his assistant’s question and instead of a verbal answer, the Colonel stood and then deposited himself on the chair. He picked up an old copy of a newspaper from the coffee table and flicked trough to the horoscopes section.

Jonn just stood and stared. He couldn’t think why this was happening. He just wanted the damn Colonel to get up and leave and here he was checking his horoscope. “What does it say?” He asked.

The Colonel folded the paper and looked at the date on the front. “It’s a little old isn’t it?”

“The newspaper?” Jonn took the paper from the Colonel and almost immediately got black ink on his hands. “November Twenty Second Nineteen Sixty Three.” He handed the printed paper back to his employer and tried to rub some of the ink from his palms. “I guess you’re right. Iyt must have been her a long time. I heard that one of the tenants a couple of leases ago was a shut in, and the last few couldn’t bear to throw anything out.”

“Where as you?”

Jonn placed his inky fingers on his hips in as macho a way as the Barney print on his long johns would allow. “Us? Oh, we’re just lazy.” He paused for a second before continuing: “What did your Horoscope say?”

The Colonel closed his eyes and leaned back his head over the in the chair as he recited what he had read earlier. “Gemini.” He said, making sure to enunciate each syllable. “Stay indoors, or if you can’t stay indoors stay away from Dallas, especially while travelling in a convertible.”

“Wow. That sounds completely made up. Nothing like that could or has happened.” Jonn commented.

It took me until the end of day 10 to get the suitcase mentioned and here it is:

“The suitcase.” Jonn repeated, slowly. “What did you bring it for?” He looked at the Colonel in the eye. The Colonel held his gaze for a moment or two before searching for more lint on his jacket lapel.

The Colonel licked his lips and inched forward in his chair. “You know why.” DuBois touched his finger tips together and gazed over the steeple at his assistant.

Jonn moved forward into the apartment from the corner and cleared the coffee table of obstacles before placed the blue suitcase on top and unlatching the locks. “What have you done this time?”

The Colonel took great delight in building the anticipation for the big reveal despite the locks on the case already being unlatched. “Open it,” he said.

Jonn Baldmur cracked his knuckles and then stretched his hamstring as though he were aboutto dead lift the samsonite suitcase above his head. The took a deep breath in and let it out slowly.

The Colonel didn’t take his eye off his assistant. “Go on, open it.” He stood and walked around the back of Jonn so he was stood behind him looking over his shoulder.

“What is going to happen?” A bead of perspiration dripped down from jonn’s forehead. He wiped his brow with the back of his hand.

The Colonel placed a hand on the younger man’s shoulder. “well, if you keep that up, you’ll probably sweat all over it and it won’t work.”

Jonn Baldmur turned his head to the left. “This isn’t going to be like the time you tried to build that nuclear bomb.”

Colonel Andre DuBois gave Jonn’s shoulder a furtive squeeze. “It’s pronounced nukular,” the Colonel began “and any way, I didn’t try.” He raised his finger in the air to indicate triumph. “ I succeeded.” He added in a raised tone, but he quickly shot a look over to the bedroom door of Stacey’s room lest her boyfriend emerge and beat six and a half shades of shit out of the inventive old man.

“No.” Jonn shook hid head and the Colonel felt awkward enough to remove his hand from Jonn’s shoulder. He could feel the muscle strain under Jonn’s skin. “It is pronounced nu clear. Nuclear. And that wasn’t what you ended up doing.”

The Colonel animatedly walked back around to the other side of the coffee table so that he was facing his assistant. “That’s were you’re wrong, Marty.” He said. “What I did was even better!” He nodded his head in agreement with his own statement, as though that was all it was going to take to convince Jonn. Just in case that wasn’t enough he added the exclamation point as though it were the most important thing in the world and hadn’t been devalued by all the uses of LOL in the world on these new fangly interwebby things of the faceless masses (where they don’t upload a profile pic, whatever one of those is.) “Yes, what I did was so good. It has all the strength of a nu clear, am I saying that right?”

Jonn nodded.

“Okay, so it has all the power of a nukular bomb but with half the calories.” The Colonel did a little jig on the spot which looked a lot like a half hearted Macarena, according to Jonn’s less than high definition recollection, up until the part where they turn to the left any how. Although again, this may still be the Time Warp that he was thinking of. It was hard to say without the DVD player being on. “It’s perfect,” Colonel Andre DuBois continued, “perfect for the little dictator on a diet. Or,” he added as though he were getting a second wind of ideas that he cold use as a sales pitch, “the perfect gift for that dictator who is always on the go, because it fits in either a large carry on bag or in a suitcase.”

Jonn Baldmur looked at him as though Andre DuBois wasn’t quite serious. But he knew the Colonel was being nothing but serious both on the surface or deep down under his skin.

The Colonel held up his hands in mock surrender. “Okay, I’ll admit that for a nukular suitcase bomb it is a little heavy, but we offset that by making them glow in the dark. And,” he was about to add with a gleam in his eye, “it cuts down on the need for those expensive condoms.”

Jonn Baldmur took an involuntary step back as though he could almost feel his swimmers going belly up. He instinctively cupped his testicles with his hands.

The Colonel shook his head in disapproval. “That’s not use to you now. Not with all the radio active dust and aspestos that you have coated your hands in.”

Jonn looked down at his palms andcould se a faint trace of yellow on the areas that were not covered by newspaper print. “Fuck.” It was the only word he could think of or indeed manage at that point, but it was succinct and completely appropriate, and according to the Colonel he could do that all he wanted now without the threat of unwanted procreation.

Day Twelve: A Short Detour, Hopefully

So soon after the introduction of the suitcase was done, and some of the fall out was explored on Day 11, my story took another turn on Day 12.

You’ll be pleased to know that there aren’t any extracts for this, but I will let you know that as of right now it does involve a case of word count increasing hiccups and the finding of a Nazi flag left by a previous tenant of the apartment and what happened when Super Dog died. It does strike me as odd as I write it, but that description is far more interesting than the extract that I could of posted.

Day Thirteen: Jason Comes To Town

Do I really have to explain it to you?

Day Fourteen: Lessons are learned

I write this on day 14 of NaNoWriMo and currently it is 7.46 in thevening (it isn't a typo, I come from Wigan). Most of my day has been spent writing this blog post, and if I were to do it again, not only would it take another day off my life, but I would plan better so that instead of writing this 11K word+ blog post (including extracts) all on one day, I would have written a quick summary at the end of each day then I could have actually gone to a write-in and got some novel writing done today. (Quick shout out to TheSpyGlass who smashed through the 19K barrier on day 14! Woo.)

I know that people may say that this blog post needn't have been written, and some people wished they hadn't read it, but I decided to write it because it was a challenge that I had set myself this year to document the NaNoWriMo event more.

Even though I had planned to to some sort of review I didn't really know what type of content that I wanted to include and it was only today as I wrote it that I figured that for my enjoyment at least, if nobody else's, that I should include some extracts from my novel.

Previous years' handwritten efforts are gathering dust somewhere deep dark and mysterious and I don't really have a clue what I did each day other than write at least 50K by the end of the month. So with this year, and indeed this blog post, I have a record of what I have done on each day and a little sample of the effluence that has flowed out of my head and onto the electronic page.

I know that NaNoWriMo is something that I'm proud of, even if I do end up writing crap for 30 straight days because it actually forces me to write more than at other times of the year because I'm under a dead line and in the end, that is the entire point of NaNoWriMo.

Regarding the writing of this review, was it worth it? As I type this now, the answer is no, but I hope that when this whole thing is over that I'll be really grateful that I did it. I can't know for sure. But hopefully I'll get a smile when I read this back in a few years time. Maybe other people will like it too.

When I look forward to the second half of NaNoWriMo, there are a few things that I want to accomplish. I want to write more and I'd like to concentrate a bit more on plot. In addition to the writing I do want to attend a couple more write-ins because in all honesty the Scribblepool gang are a great group of people. In other areas I'd also like to eat less while I'm writing or perhaps eat more healthily. I'm enjoying the eating of the sweets and cookies and chocolate, but it seems that my pants aren't.

So in conclusion at least at the halfway mark (time wise) I give myself 5/5 even though there is room for improvwment, unlike my pants.

Will I reach the goals that I have set for myself for the second half of NaNoWriMo? You'll have to tune in early December for review of the second half! Until then I'll just sit here eating an orange and rehydrating myself in readiness for the next two weeks.

Cheers,

Matt

Over 3 posts:

Total Words Written: 30,260 words

Words remaining unwritten: 19,740

Remembering to do a Spell Check: priceless.

If you enjoyed these blog posts, why not donate to Office Of Letters and Light, National Novel Writing Month's parent company, and help them continue running these events in the future.

PS. I am aware that this halfway review is a day early, but don't worry nothing exciting will happen on November 15th. And what I did early this time will be balanced out with the full review being extremely late.

Total blog post length: 11,448 words.

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13Sep/090

A Week In Review

Well since I seem to have had a problem with chapter 4 (started twice and scrapped both) I thought that I would update the ol' blo' with some a new feature. Entitled appropriately the Week in Review.

So let's get to it...

First there was Monday. I estimated that it lasted for roughly 24 hours, give or take a few minutes.

Then there was Tuesday. As usual this followed Monday like a sheep and lead the way for Wednesday.

Wednesday did and adequate job for building the buzz for Thursday.

Thursday peaked at just around the right time at exactly 12 noon. The rest of the day just seemed to coast.

Friday dropped down a gear and took its foot off the gas.

Saturday had a lie in.

Sunday is happening.

And that's the first ever week in review. Every other week is sort of like that until the last one that will probably end abruptly on a Friday just before the weekend.

If I get it wrong, you can leave me a comment.

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