Loneliness of the Long Story Writer

The St Pancras clock is a tickin' ...

The St Pancras clock is a tickin’ …

“Delay is natural to a writer. I walk around, straightening pictures on the wall … ” – EB White

Warnings for: whinging, diversions, badgers, and Sherlockianism.

Also, a tune by Chicago

Time has been on my mind – if not my side – a lot, of late. This is partly due to the moving of the office clock. Which has not, of course, stopped us all from looking where the clock was.

What creatures of habit we humans are! Writers, I suspect, ever so much more so.

But what about the writers’ characters? Yes, I have mental health problems, but I don’t think talking about characters having “habits” is a sign that I need to stop typing, and ring the Crisis Team.

Ask any writer about their characters, and unless they’re from the Intensive Planning School (1), I suspect there’s good odds that, given time and perhaps wine (2), they’ll say something like:

“What a stubborn bloke Sherl is! I’m trying to get him to move the story along, but will he? No, he just wants to sit there, and work on that flippin’ monograph about the 17 different type of baked beans on sale in the SW11 area of London.

“As for his mate Boswell the badger, he’s gone off to work, hasn’t he? Gone and left me with Doctor Daisy LeStrade supping tea with some chap who hasn’t even told me his bloody name yet!”

You may call it eccentricity. I call it rude.

The most famous address?

The most famous address?

Of course, writing this means not writing “Sherlock Jones and the Hound of the Basingstokes”, the short story that’s currently driving me round the twist. I say “short”, but it isn’t. It’s quite likely to weigh in at around 10k, if the previous so-called “short”, “The St Jude Care Home for Mythical Creatures” is anything to go by.

Perhaps I should consult a detective, and have my characters followed?

Perhaps I should consult a detective, and have my characters followed?

“Why not put out a collection of five humorous mystery stories, featuring your usual collection of weird characters: animal, vegetable (3), and human?”

Yeah, right. Did anyone ask the characters if this was a good idea? Or warn me that I’d end up wanting to do a Wolfie Smith on some fictional people, and badgers?

Why keep going? Is it because it would be too time consuming to remove all mention of “Koi Carpe Diem”from this blog? Because I’m one of those saddos who laughs at their own jokes? (4)

Or because I adore this lovely artwork by the fantastic Tom Brown?

Due out as soon as I can get my characters to cooperate

Due out as soon as I can get my characters to cooperate

Please excuse me: I have several distant relations of Sherlock Holmes, not to mention a fictitious badger, to line up against a wall.

Bop bop bop

Do you have a moment, Holmes?

Do you have a moment, Holmes?

(1) As opposed to the Flying by the Seat of Their Pants School of Writing
(2) Or tea, chocolate, a nice biscuit, a sandwich, etc.
(3) For “vegetable” read “trees”
(4) Not for long, though, if you’re reading a section out at a group, and you notice several tumbleweeds passing by.

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About Sheila North

I am an author and ex-journalist, who has written novels, short stories, and poems. I also help facilitate a writers' group. Check me out on Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sheila-North/
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