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Writing about writing a book – Day 2

Hang about.  Didn’t I read somewhere you need to plan your novel, create an outline setting the plot points, and flesh out the characters?

I’m sure it didn’t say, sit down and start writing!

Time to find a writing pad, and put my thinking cap on.

I make a list, what’s the story going to be about? Who’s going to be in it, at least at the start?

Like a newspaper story, I need a who, what, when, where, and how.

Right now.

 

I pick up the pen.

 

Character number one:

Computer nerd, ok, that’s a little close to the bone, a computer manager who is trying to be everything at once, and failing.  Still me, but with a twist.  Now, add a little mystery to him, and give him a secret, one that will only be revealed after a specific set of circumstance.  Yes, I like that.

We’ll call him Bill, ex-regular army, a badly injured and repatriated soldier who was sent to fight a war in Vietnam, the result of which had made him, at times, unfit to live with.

He had a wife, which brings us to,

Character number two:

Ellen, Bill’s ex-wife, an army brat and a General’s daughter, and the result of one of those romances that met disapproval for so many reasons.  It worked until Bill came back from the war, and from there it slowly disintegrated.  There are two daughters, both by the time the novel begins, old enough to understand the ramifications of a divorce.

Character number three:

The man who is Bill’s immediate superior, the Services Department manager, a rather officious man who blindly follows orders, a man who takes pleasure in making others feel small and insignificant, and worst of all, takes the credit where none is due.

Oops, too much, that is my old boss.  He’ll know immediately I’m parodying him.  Tone it down, just a little, but more or less that’s him.  Last name Benton.  He will play a small role in the story.

Character number four:

Jennifer, the IT Department’s assistant manager, a woman who arrives in a shroud of mystery, and then, in time, to provide Bill with a shoulder to cry on when he and Ellen finally split, and perhaps something else later on.

More on her later as the story unfolds.

So far so good.

What’s the plot?

Huge corporation plotting to take over the world using computers?  No, that’s been done to death.

Huge corporation, OK, let’s stop blaming the corporate world for everything wrong in the world.  Corporations are not bad people, people are the bad people.  That’s a rip off cliché, from guns don’t kill people, people kill people!  There will be guns, and there will be dead people.

There will be people hiding behind a huge corporation, using a part of their computer network to move billions of illegally gained money around.  That’s better.

Now, having got that, our ‘hero’ has to ‘discover’ this network, and the people behind it.

All we need now is to set the ball rolling, a single event that ‘throws a cat among the pigeons’.

Yes, Bill is on holidays, a welcome relief from the problems of work.  He dreams of what he’s going to do for the next two weeks.  The phone rings.  Benton calling, the world is coming to an end, the network is down.  He’s needed.  A few terse words, but he relents.

Pen in hand I begin to write.

 

© Charles Heath 2016-2019

NANOWRIMO Supplementary – Day 5

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I’ve managed to come back from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (where I’m deeply immersed in another story) for long enough to continue writing the last few chapters of the NaNoWriMo project.

Today, I wrapped up Chapter 33 and went through the aftermath of the latest attack on the main character, with a little assistance from a new operative, and one I’m beginning to like more than I should.

I’m hoping this is not a bit-part player whose going to steal every scene she’s in.

Then it’s onto chapter 34 where we get to sit down and discuss what happened and why.  Sometimes we tend to overlook the obvious, and not realise that what seems too good to be true generally is.

And where the title of the book gets justified.

There’s more than one betrayal going on here, and it’s going to be a hard pill for one of the characters to swallow.

“Echoes From The Past”, buried, but not deep enough

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What happens when your past finally catches up with you?

Christmas is just around the corner, a time to be with family. For Will Mason, an orphan since he was fourteen, it is a time for reflection on what his life could have been, and what it could be.

Until a chance encounter brings back to life the reasons for his twenty years of self-imposed exile from a life only normal people could have. From that moment Will’s life slowly starts to unravel and it’s obvious to him it’s time to move on.

This time, however, there is more at stake.

Will has broken his number one rule, don’t get involved.

With his nemesis, Eddie Jamieson, suddenly within reach, and a blossoming relationship with an office colleague, Maria, about to change everything, Will has to make a choice. Quietly leave, or finally, make a stand.

But as Will soon discovers, when other people are involved there is going to be terrible consequences no matter what choice he makes.

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Writing about writing a book – Day 5 continues – The complications of life

I hate it when other characters are drawn in, and without a proper introduction, the reader gets confused.

Well, let me tell you, the writer can get confused too.

The introduction of Jennifer cannot go without the introduction of Ellen Bill’s ex-wife, and we have talked a little about her background before.

She has a role, one that will have a major impact later on, but every now and then she is going to appear, adding to the backstory between her and Bill.  There is no real animosity between them, their parting amicable because both knew it was time to end.

Bill’s problems were brought about his military service, and her father has a part to play in the story, though I’m not sure how to weave this in yet.  But it’s not so much what Bill remembers of his service, but of what he has forgotten, or more to the point buried.

That will eventually rise to the surface.

However, at this time, it’s still at the part where the narrator has to introduce Jennifer.

There are three distinct stages to this relationship between the two most important characters, and as it happens it’s Ellen unknowingly that brings Bill and Jennifer together,

 

Then Ellen, my estranged, and sometimes difficult wife decided she wanted a divorce.  I had no objection, and that was most likely the problem.  Perhaps she had expected me to fight for her, but she had made it clear, many years before, that she was no longer interested in preserving the marriage and was only keeping it up until our two daughters were old enough to fend for themselves.

That time had come.

I found myself in a situation where I needed someone to talk to.  I was not one of those people who made friends easily, nor did I spend much time seeking the company of other women.  I had my work, and it had been enough.

But Ellen’s request for a divorce, for some reason, had shaken me, and the day I got the phone call, Jennifer has bustled into my office as she always did, dumping the pile of log file printouts on my desk, and instead of leaving, perhaps she had seen my look of dismay, or more to the point, utter shock, and stayed.

It caused a slight change in our relationship.

 

I’m still working on it, but there will be more.

Or fewer words perhaps, after all, it’s only meant to be a brief introduction.

See how simple things become complicated, very quickly.

 

© Charles Heath 2019

Searching for locations: Gollums Pool, New Zealand

Tawhai Falls is a 13-meter high waterfall located in Tongariro National Park.

It is located about 4 km from the Tongariro National Park Visitor Centre, on State Highway 48.

An easy walk takes just 10-15 minutes to reach the waterfall’s lookout.

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The top of the falls.  There was not much water coming down the river to feed the falls when we were there in May

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Tawhai Falls is also the filming location of Gollum’s pool where Faramir and his archers are watching Gollum fish.

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It’s a rocky walk once you are down at ground level, and it may be not possible to walk along the side of the stream if the falls have more water coming down the river from the mountain.

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In a word: Ghost

Have you seen one?  I haven’t.  Yet.

I’ve stayed in a few places where ghosts were purported to be roaming the passages at night, but apparently not the night I was staying.

And that’s something else that I have a problem with, why is it ghosts only come out at night, or is that just the perception I have hot from reading up on the subject.

Maybe my view of ghosts is somewhat stilted, after all, I think my first introduction to ghosts was watching The Centerville Ghost, a movie I saw on t.v. when I was very young.

You have to admit Hollywood’s perception of ghosts is quite interesting.

 

But…

Do you think they are real?  Do I think they are real?

I think I would have to be presented with some fairly solid evidence they exist, but perhaps not to the point of meeting one.

There are, it seems countless examples of ethereal forces, you know, wind blowing where there’s no wind or draught outside, room temperatures dropping for no apparent reason, knocking, rattling of chains, strange noises like low moaning.

 

And yet…

There are hotels you can stay in such as the Chelsea Hotel in New York, where it’s possible to run into Sid Vicious.

Sorry, not staying there any time soon.

Then there’s the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in Los Angeles where it’s possible to run into Marylin Monroe, who lived in room 229.

That could be an interesting encounter.

Another is the Westin St Francis in San Francisco where the actress Virginia Rappe died while attending a party held in Fatty Arbuckle’s room, Arbuckle’s room, who was later accused of assaulting and murdering her, and whose career tanked after the incident.

Her ghost is seen moving about the hotel tearing her hair out.  It seems all of the spectral activity occurs on the 12th floor.

 

Good to know if I decide to stay there.  I wonder if they have a 13th floor?

Perhaps in too old to be running the gamut of paranormal experiences, the old heart is not as strong as it used to be.

“The Devil You Don’t”, be careful what you wish for

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John Pennington’s life is in the doldrums.  Looking for new opportunities, prevaricating about getting married, the only joy on the horizon was an upcoming visit to his grandmother in Sorrento, Italy.

Suddenly he is left at the check-in counter with a message on his phone telling him the marriage is off, and the relationship is over.

If only he hadn’t promised a friend he would do a favour for him in Rome.

At the first stop, Geneva, he has a chance encounter with Zoe, an intriguing woman who captures his imagination from the moment she boards the Savoire, and his life ventures into uncharted territory in more ways than one.

That ‘favour’ for his friend suddenly becomes a life-changing event, and when Zoe, the woman who he knows is too good to be true, reappears, danger and death follows.

Shot at, lied to, seduced, and drawn into a world where nothing is what it seems, John is dragged into an adrenaline-charged undertaking, where he may have been wiser to stay with the ‘devil you know’ rather than opt for the ‘devil you don’t’.

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NANOWRIMO Supplementary – Day 4

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It’s been nearly a week since I’ve put a word to paper, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been thinking about it.

And, today, I set aside some time to complete the last chapter of section 2, and in the process, make some amendments to the penultimate chapter of that section.

It changed the word count for that chapter to 1,031 up from 919 and added 2,155 words for the last chapter.

I’ve also tidied up the plan for the last four chapters of section 3, one of which had been done, leaving three.

Then it will be a matter of writing the epilogue, or section 4, which was going to have four chapters, but it now seems like it might be two, or three depending on how events work out.

Also, I had got all the chapters in their relevant files, and formatting, ready to be combined into the first draft of the book.

So far the total words written is 82,690, far more than I expected.