(August 10 – 16)

The writing continues to be a struggle this week. I effectively have three separate projects to work on, but I can’t seem to get my head properly stuck into any of them. Pretty sure the problem here is having three things to divide my attention, instead of just one to focus on. The trick is trying to figure out which one is demanding the loudest to be written, but they all seem to be on a par at the moment.

My three projects are:

  • A new short story, as mentioned last week;
  • Restructuring the penultimate chapter of the novel (the lot was a little lacking in oomph, so I’ve added some new bits – and I still need to finish the damn thing too)
  • Writing the final chapter of the novel (for which I’ve, insanely, decided to try something new and ambitious).

I’ve started on each of these, but I seem to keep flitting back and forth instead of getting properly stuck in. Will I end up picking just one? Which project will be the lucky candidate? Tune in next week to find out!

Or, maybe, not …

One good thing

One of my potential projects (the ‘new short story’) is starting to follow an interesting path this week. I’ve had this idea for a long while about a character who remains in their tiny apartment on the understanding that this is the only way to remain safe from a deadly plague. Yes, this has taken on a lot more resonance over the last few months!

The story then started to evolve around the idea that maybe the plague was long gone and is being co-opted as a means of keeping citizens under state control. While that was a fun idea last year, I’m not very comfortable writing it this year as I don’t want to give even the remotest shred of fictional credibility to people who are genuinely claiming that Covid is some sort of conspiracy.

But some of the ideas remained (and I won’t give them all away here) and began to take on an eeries sort of prescience when I started reading Nineteen Eighty Four this week (the Elderbeast is reading it for school, so I thought I’d join him). I’ve not read it before, and I’m only familiar with the broad concepts, but it turned out be exactly the sort of background reading I needed to help solidify some of the ideas in this story. Some of them proved to be quite uncanny: for instance, I was going to include TV screens in the main character’s apartment; and the character would maintain a suspicion that maybe they were also being used to observe her. Of course, it turns out there is something exactly like this in Nineteen Eighty Four.

I should add that my story is nothing like Nineteen Eighty Four, but it seems like the novel will be the perfect background reading to help me knock this one into the right shape.