Homophonic builders

"The harsh winter weather takes its tole on the outside of your home"
Build It (magazine), May 2011 issue, p74

Using two computer monitors for writing

I'm currently looking after someone else's PC, and for an experiment I hooked up the second monitor for an extended desktop. Over the last twelve months this seems to have become the habit at work - in a number of offices now a single monitor is an exception rather than the rule. The only time I had tried this in the past was with a laptop, spreading the desktop space over the laptop screen and an external monitor.


Rewriting takes a long time

For the last two days my work on Soft Collisions has mostly been re-writing first person scenes in the third person, and using it as a chance to edit the content at the same time. One of my editing problems in the past was cutting material: I couldn't. I'm getting a bit better at that, stripping out sentences and words that are unnecessary padding. I still have a long way to go to really develop this skill though.

Another problem is that some sections are just wrong, but I'm not sure yet how to fix them. Perhaps in those cases I will totally re-write them. Sit down with a blank sheet of paper under the apple tree and see what comes out. Never be afraid to start again. You can always go back to the old and see if there were some fantastic word combinations that are worth keeping.


Literature Wales Writers' Bursary

The names of successful Literature Wales bursary recipients were announced today, and can be viewed on the new Literature Wales site (the organisation name changed from Academi last Friday). I'm on the list! Yes, it is thanks to the bursary that I can make progress with the writing project detailed below. Diolch yn fawr iawn, Llenyddiaeth Cymru! (Amounts awarded can be seen here.)

Soft Collisions, the background

A long time ago I wrote a novel in the first person, following the inner lives of three young people in Manchester who were all desperate for love. The original seed was a story I wrote called Last Day, about a young man who cared for a girl at work and never admitted it until the night of her leaving do. They slept together but it turned out that his interpretation of the sex was wrong and she had been using him. Much as I liked the story, a thought kept nagging at me: what would things look like from the girl's perspective? Why would she act like she did? Had I been unfair on her in portraying her as selfish? Could there be things below the surface that the lad was unaware of? Eventually I gave in to these thoughts and wrote a companion story, covering the same events but from the girl's viewpoint. It was an exciting experiment for me, and I found that both protagonists were mistaken about each other. It was their own misunderstandings that kept them apart. When I came to write Soft Collisions it was the theme of misunderstandings that I wanted to focus on, so I based the novel on these two stories, plus I added another couple's relationship to mirror them, which had its their own baggage and misunderstandings. However, for reasons of a plot twist (which I was later informed was corny and an insult to the reader) I only focused on one person from the second couple, so as to hide the motivations of his love interest. Hence three first-person perspective stories.


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