Experiences as inspiration

At what point does the journalist come out in a writer?

Quite often journalists become writers because of their vast experience in observing and writing about the news, sometimes in the category of ‘truth is stranger than fiction’.

I did journalism at University, and thought I would never get to use it.  I had to interview people, write articles, and act as an editor.  The hardest part was the headlines.

How much does that resemble the job of coming up with a title for your book?

Well, several opportunities arose over the last few months to dig out the journalist hat, put it on, and go to work.

Where?

Hospital.  I’ve had to go there a few times more in the last few months than I have in recent years.

And I’d forgotten just how hospitals are interesting places, especially the waiting room in Emergency.

After the second or third visit, I started to observe the people who were waiting, and ran through various scenarios as to the reason for their visit.  None may have been true, but it certainly was an exercise in creative writing, and would make an excellent article.

Similarly, once we got inside the inner sanctum, where the real work is done, there is any number of crises and operations going on, and plenty of material for when I might need to include a hospital scene in one of my stories.

Or I could write a volume in praise of the people who work there and what they have to endure.  Tending the sick, injured and badly injured is not a job for the faint hearted.

Research, if it could be called that, turns up in the unlikeliest of places.  Doctors who answer questions, not necessarily about the malady, nurses who tell you about what it’s like in Emergency on nights you really don’t want to be there, and other patients and their families, all of whom have a story to tell, or just wait patiently for a diagnoses and then treatment so they can go home.

We get to go this time about four in the morning.  Everyone is tired.  More people are waiting.  Outside it is cool and the first rays of light are coming over the horizon as dawn is about to break.

I ponder the question without an answer, a question one of the nurses asked a youngish doctor, tossed out in conversation, but was there a more intent to it; what he was doing on Saturday night.

He didn’t answer.  Another crisis, another patient.

I suspect he was on duty in Emergency.

We are taught not to be selfish, but…

Today I decided to take some time out and read a few blogs, to see what the rest of the world is doing post-NaNoWriMo, and sometimes read some news that’s usually a few days old, not that I’m complaining.

And still working on the James Bondish piece that set my mind on fire.  Last I heard, I was just about to jump from a helicopter about to be hit by a handheld rocket.

I try to keep away from the news if it’s possible, but it comes at you from everywhere.  My browser somehow decided to allow notifications and every few minutes a little popout slides out from the bottom right corner and tells me what’s gone wrong.

Never any good news by the way.

And yes, I have Windows 10, but I can’t be bothered reading the manual to find out how to stop them.  Maybe, subconsciously, I don’t.

I never thought one man could generate so many headlines.  We had one, given the nickname, the human headline, but Trump, he is in a class of his own.

I used to like watching him on The Apprentice, believe it or not.

But again I digress…

I saw the word selfish, and it reminded me that, at times writers have to be.  There are only so many hours in a day, and after emails, blogs, reading, news, life, there’s very little time left to write.

So, we need to be selfish at those times.  I am because when I sit down to write, there shouldn’t be any distractions.  As a writer, I’m not seeking popularity, maybe one day that will come, but I’m in this writing thing because I have stories to tell and I want to get them down.  Nobody may ever read them, I may never rise above mediocrity, but I am doing something I love, and very few of us out there can say that unequivocally.

Most of us have a day job or something else that consumes a great deal of our time.

Oh to be a successful author like James Patterson?  But how does he do it?  I guess it comes down to hard work, and a little bit of luck.

And maybe, one day, if I work hard enough, some of it might come my way.

NaNoWriMo – Day 30 – Just crossed the finish line

That’s it for another year.

67,941 words written, but if I sat down now to read the novel, the post-it notes would get in the way.

Oh, there is so much revision to do!

But, at least I managed to write a complete novel in a month which is what I managed to do each year, and then worry about editing and refining for the next eleven.

Not looking forward to that job, no sir.

Of course, the ending is nothing like what I envisioned thirty days ago in the plan, but where does it ever once the characters take over.

Until next year or something momentous, I bid you all a good night.

NaNoWriMo – Day 29 – The finish line is in sight

And everything is going to hell in a handbasket.

The end I had all formed in my mind and ready to put down, well, I don’t think I should have gone to bed last night.

I had a dream.

Sounds a bit like a familiar speech, doesn’t it.

My dream wasn’t quite as prophetic, it was a new ending.

Damn.

Had I stayed up and wrote the damn thing as it was, I wouldn’t be here now, trying to pull down walls and re-cement them back together a different way, two hours before the official opening.

I could just scream!!!

NaNoWriMo – Day 28 – The final two chapters are coming

That’s right.

Two chapters to go, before I get to type those two wonderful words. ‘The End’

Of writing that first draft, of course.

But not the end of the process.  A little rest time away from it and then the next laborious task begins.

Editing.

Perhaps we should have a NaNoWriMo, with the Ma standing for May, and setting a month aside to do the first edit.

Come to think of it, maybe I’ll do it just to see how it goes.

NaNoWriMo – Day 27 – All’s well if it ends well

Three days to go, so much to do.
Although I’ve reached the 50,000-word target I have not finished the novel, and the plot changes are causing a little consternation.
I know now how it is going to end, but it’s the getting there, in three days that’s the problem.
So, back and forth I go, laying the groundwork in the earlier chapters and I now have only one more piece to fix, the words on the document that set the series of events in motion.
Novel writing is exhausting.
The first draft is going to be a horrible mess and when I print it out it’s going to be covered in post-it notes, but after all is said and done it will be a novel written in 30 days, a remarkable achievement.

NaNoWriMo – Day 26 – Something had to change

And that, my friends, is the words on the document.

When I conceived the original story, the words were quite simple, a memo from one man to another, words that should not be committed to paper.

Ah, yes, the dreaded paper trail.

Those words were adequate at the time, but now, with developments in the story and a shift or two in the plotline, it’s time to change those words.

They need to be damaging enough to kill a lot of people in the line of making both the words and the document they appear on, disappear forever.

And here’s the thing…

No one ever counted on the fact deleting on a computer is not deleting.