A New Adventure. Literally.

On Monday a new short story website will be officially opening its doors and unleashing literary fury upon an unsuspecting world (except for those of you who already suspected) leaving only a bloodied trail of dying adverbs in its wake.

The site is called Literally Stories and I'm mentioning it mostly as excuse-fodder to explain my latest leave of absence from all things blog.

But not entirely.



It's late and I've had some red wine so I apologise in advance if I waffle.

Or if I make no sense.

Or both.

In about three minutes (at time of writing this particular sentence) it will be Heritage Day. Or if you're more of a national boerewors franchise or charcoal industry persuasion it's very nearly National Braai Day.

A quick translation section for the many thousands (ha) of my followers who are of a UK persuasion.


The discordant twanging of hamstrings

They say that distance running is 90% mental. The other 10% is in your head.

They are a bunch of liars.

Distance running is in fact 89% mental. 8.4% is in your head. The remaining 2.6% is all down to strategically placed globs of vaseline and round plasters over your nipples.

Trust me.


Fun In Small Doses

I stumbled across a site this week called Specklit which showcases stories in the speculative fiction / sci-fi / fantasy type genres. I'm sure there are tons of these sites out there but what I like about this one is that it only accepts submissions that qualify as a drabble.

I've mentioned drabbles in a previous post but just to recap for anyone who has no ideas what one is...


Speaking of speaking

I have a love/hate relationship with dialogue.

In my working life dialogue has earned its own special place in hell next to guesstimate and touch base.

Hey Steve! We really should dialogue with the MD on that one

Kill me now.

In my secret, evening life as an aspiring scribbler dialogue is what keeps me going.


Writing tip #1: Write stuff down

On a scale of 1 to earth-shattering this probably doesn’t raise a tremor at first glance. Great advice numb-nuts! How else do you propose to write anything if you don’t write stuff down?

A fair point well made internal-dialogue-person. But allow me to retort.

I’m not limiting this to actually writing a story – in fact that’s the least important part of the writing stuff down routine. I’m talking about all the weird fishes that swim into your brain in the small hours. The pithy one-liners that jump out at you just after you could have used one to win an argument. The scenic gems, the character names…write them down.


Sixty minutes...tick...tock...

What are you waiting for? Forty one minutes...tempus is fugiting old boy...

It was supposed to be an hour. Hard to believe how easily you can toss away nineteen minutes without even thinking. Make some coffee. Open email. Sit and stare.

Hemingway once said that writing is easy. You just sit in front of the typewriter and bleed. So here I am decades later. Living the dream. Sitting in front of the iMac. Sweating.

Somewhere, somehow it all got difficult. There was a roll and then there wasn't. Words that poured out now stick under my skin like broken arrow heads needing to be plucked free. Be as delicate as you like. It's still going to hurt.


New month. Same regime. Sort of.

In my last blog post I set myself some fairly lofty targets for February. Let me state from the outset that the no drinking during the week plan failed spectacularly and within a matter of hours. I'm fully prepared to accept that I am too weak to deal with a busy family life and the pressure of a financial year end at work without some sort of crutch. 

As far as possible I made sure it was a single crutch rather than a double at least.

The only thing that failed more spectacularly than the non-drinking was the goal to run three times a week. Forgive me Brooks and Nike for I have sinned. It has been six weeks since my last constitutional...


Feb is the new Jan

I'm never very quick off the blocks when it comes to a New Year. The first month of 2014 has already been and gone. Eight and half percent (give or take) of the writing time available to me has vanished with barely a word being written. The bright shiny resolution to write something long enough to be classed as a novel (or indeed a nove given the current wonky state of the "l" key on my laptop) is losing its luster and looking rustier by the day.

Like any good procrastinator I've armed myself with a variety of plausible excuses. I wanted to make sure I spent enough time with my parents while they were staying with us. I needed to have time to think and come back refreshed. I had to spend more time reading and learning from others. Am I sounding convincing yet?


A busy start to 2014

There was a rumour going around last November that life was about to slow down. 2013 was going to ease off under the collective weight of turkey and trimmings and 2014 would be a gently sweeping arc, reaching moderate pace by about March.


The reality has been a little different but I'm filled with optimism for 2014. At least I think it's optimism. It's purple and happy flavoured which doesn't feel like dread.