Thoughts, maybe

It’s Monday again.

Or on this side of the world, it’s actually Tuesday morning.

Very, very early in fact.

Very cold too, which is strange for a city near the tropics.

I survived another week, still contemplating the job of working on the next edit of my sixth novel.  You’d think it was easy by now, routine.

Outline the story.

Write the chapters.

Bundle it all up and let it stew in the back of your mind.

Come back and do the first edit, find all the grammatical errors, fix holes in the plot, make sure the sub plots don’t take over, or minor characters steal the limelight.

Or, as in this case, after the seventh, yes, you heard right, the seventh edit, I decided there was a big hole and had to fill it.

If it was a murder mystery, it would be a body.

I was missing character motivation.  The main character was drifting, much like I am, and I realized there was a little of my circumstances coming across to the story.

Cut, slash, burn.

OK, wrote the new part and I’m happy with it now.

All I have to do is make sure there is sufficient hooks in the earlier part to make it seem like a natural progression.

Piece of cake.

I’ll start first thing tomorrow.

Perhaps I might be better off selling used cars!

Maybe not.

I think I’ll stick to writing.

Thoughts maybe

It was Tuesday.

It was also a Monday night to forget, though that will be a little difficult.

I had chest pains and difficulty breathing, so my daughter called an ambulance.  I’ve been taking a raft of pills for rheumatoid arthritis and although they’re not doing much for the arthritis, their certainly contributing to other problems, like breathing.

There was a momentary suspicion that it might be an impending heart attack, but no, I haven’t seen this months electricity bill yet.

Two things stood out:  the quick arrival of the ambulance from the time the call was made, it was a matter of minutes, and the efficiency and professionalism of the ambulance staff.

Heart attack ruled out, they still considered it wise to go to the hospital for a more rigorous check.

One never turns down an offer to ride in an ambulance, it is a better way to get to see a doctor in a hospital without having to wait hours in the emergency waiting room.


It was mad Monday at the hospital, and people were arriving by ambulance on the same scale as buses delivering children to schools.

I was about third of fourth in line.  The triage section was full.  We were parked in the passage, an hour wait for a bed.

Not the hospitals fault, it was just emergency overload, and a lack of beds from the weekend admissions not having been discharged.  After all, the hospital, as large as it is, has to service a lot of people.

A bed became available two hours after arriving, the ambulance people can now get onto the next job.  Several more severe cases were ahead of me, and next door, a suicide watch patient.

The nurse was very efficient and sorted out the details, took blood for tests, monitored heart rates and asked all the appropriate questions.  I was one of five or six she was attending to.

Then the suicide patient went ballistic, and for a few minutes while restrained by security, she was sedated.  It provided an insight into what hospital staff have to contend with, aside from the usual minor problems, like mine, car accidents, drug addicts who want to fight everyone, and drunks caught up in fights or falls.

I guess Monday was not a night to get sick.

Five hours after arriving I was discharged.  The doctor had recommended I stay, but there were no beds available, and it had already been a long night.

As I left another two patients were arriving, the emergency waiting room was half full, it was midnight, and it was only going to get worse.  To be honest I was glad to escape, one of the lucky ones to walk out under my own steam.

I could only hope things were going to get better.



Thoughts maybe

It’s Monday.

To me it’s just another day of the week, because as a writer there is no nine to five five days a week take the weekend off.

Or perhaps that’s just my interpretation of what a writer’s life is.

Not that I’m being much of a writer at the moment.

There’s writers block and there’s laziness.  Me, I’m in the latter basket.  I sit down to write and can always find something else to do.

I think it’s because I’m not satisfied with the story as it stands.

I finished writing the sixth or seventh draft, didn’t like the way it was reading, and added a new section.  The problem with that is having to go back to the start and seed the threads that lead to and/or incorporate the new part.

It’s just about formed in my mind how it is going to do, but I have not written a word, or looked at the story for at least four months, and that’s probably a good thing.

In between I have written a short story, well bits at a time and put it in the blog as an insight into how y mind works and how I write stories.  Or perhaps it highlights how twisted my mind is.

I still believe in the happy ending.

So, I’m going to flesh out the second draft of the story with the new ideas and see how that looks.

Then it will be school holidays for my grandchildren, and we are going to go and visit a maze.

OK, you ask, why?

A long time ago my eldest grandchild asked me to write a story for her.  She is 12, she acts like a princess, so I told her I would write her as one.  The other two girls also wanted to be princesses, and this sparked some interesting discussion.

Now we sit around when they are all together and brainstorm ideas.

And, as the story progresses I have three of the best beta readers any writer could want, actual readers of YA novels.

But back to the maze and why. they want to experience it first hand so they can give feedback for the story.

It has become a collaboration.  It has also sparked an interest in writing in them, and a greater interest in reading, something that cannot be underestimated in the development of young minds.

Then, after spending the holidays with them, it’s back to work on another novel which is in the editing stage.

Alas there is no rest for the wicked.

Short story writing – a change in the plot – 3

Time to look at Annalisa’s story.  I’m not sure if I want to change much about her, but now we have a tenuous connection between her and Jack, maybe we can explore this a little further.

It will certainly change the dynamic between them, and reflect in whether or not she lets him go or not.

But the story would benefit more from relating how the disaster happened, and the fact the relationship between Simmo and Annalisa had run its course.

There will still be that basic fear of being left alone with the shop keeper and the consequences, which she believes will have a very bad result.

The rewrite:


Annalisa had known the moment she had agreed, or rather having been coerced to agree, to go on this foolhardy mission, it would not be the ‘piece of cake’ he said it would be.

It was the culmination of a series of events the brought her to the revelation that is was not her he loved but her money.

And the fact the ‘recreational’ use of drugs was far more serious and far more costly that she had realized.  Until her parents cut off both her access to her bank account and credit card.

Simmo had gone quite literally ‘ape shit’ when he found out, and the full extent of what was a ‘recreational use’ of drugs became clear.  In the first stages of withdrawal he was nothing like the boy she used to know.

But, she would go along with him this once and that would be an end to it.  Her funding his habit, their relationship, though she chose not to tell him at the exact moment because he was very threatening, in fact it was going to be the end of everything to do with him.

As they left the apartment for the last time, an eerie calm had come over him, and he had revered to the Simmo she used to know.  There were flashes of the old Simmo from time to time, but the ever increasing use of drugs had changed him, changed his personality, and now there was very little left.

She thought about staying, trying to being him back, get him to go to a rehabilitation center, admit he had a problem.

Stepping out of the building into the cold night air brought her back to her senses.  There was no helping him, now or ever.

It was nearly time, a few minutes before the shop closed, the time, Simmo said, when the shopkeepers ‘other’ customers arrived.

She hoped there were no other customers.

The plan was simple.  Simmo would show the money, a twenty dollar note wrapped around a wad of blank papers, the shopkeeper would get the bag, he would give the wad, take the drugs and they’d run, hoping he wouldn’t discover the truth before escaping out the front door.

And if he did, she asked.

He had it covered.

She didn’t like the sound of that statement, or the savagery with which it was delivered.  More and more this was sounding like a suicide mission.

Simmo patted her on the shoulder.  It was time.

She looked at her watch, 11:25 pm.

From across the road she had watched the shopkeeper going through the motions of closing the store, bring in the sidewalk displays, wiping the counter, sweeping the floor.  As they crossed the road she could see him standing behind the counter, waiting, watching the clock tick inexorably towards 11:30.

Closing time.

She preceded Simmo into the shop.  His idea was that seeing her would create a distraction.  He smiled when he saw her, frowned when he saw Simmo.  He knew the moment he saw Simmo exactly what he was there for.

© Charles Heath 2016

Short story writing – a change in the plot – 2

Still in the process of re writing the story, I think the shopkeeper needs a little more fleshing out as a character, not as a man who is bad, but a man who has been forced into a position where he had to do what he’s doing just to stay alive.

So he’s basically unchanged but with more detail.


The rewrite:


Alphonse, the shopkeeper, had stayed too long missing his opportunity to sell up and retire. 

By the time he had been ready to call it a day, his wife had got sick with cancer and it had taken all their retirement funds to keep her alive for another six months, when despite the doctors best efforts, she died.

There was nothing left, and unable to find a buyer for the business he could not just close the door and leave. 

There were complications.

Like right now.

The sideline he’d basically forced his way into was always going to come back and bit him.  Selling a little weed on the side to the upper classes forced to downsized after the global meltdown had turned into a range of products, the worst of which was ice, the result of taking too much very evident by the boy on the floor.

It was only a matter of time when one of the more edgy clients came in and started making demands with threats.  He was asked to sell low to get the customers hooked then forced to raised the price and stop supplying those who couldn’t pay.

It might be a good plan from their perspective but from his, at the coalface, it meant nothing but trouble.

Which is why he was now looking down the barrel of a gun.


© Charles Heath 2016