As I said in my last post about Soft Collisions I am currently letting some incredibly kind people read the current draft to get some honest feedback, and to give me guidance on whether some of the potential ideas and changes I am playing with could be worth implementing. As well as general editorial improvements that can be spotted I am asking questions such as the following:
  • Do the themes and premise come out in the novel?
  • Do the main two stories support each other or distract from each other?
  • Should I restructure the stories and move an important event (won't give spoiler) to earlier in the novel?

I am already starting to see my way to some answers. With me these kinds of questions need to sit in the back of my head, carried around with me while my subconscious does a lot of the work, before sometimes squeezing them to the fore with some ideas. This happened to me today. I woke at around 4.30am, ideas started to click together, and I was sat at the PC with a cup of tea writing before 5am. I fixed some minor problems, improved other bits, and strengthened the whole.

This involved a new long scene to resolve one of the plot strands (the one between Jane and her bitchy sister Lucy) in a much more satisfactory way with a confrontation that finally sheds light on an event from the past and provides a degree of resolution. I also started research on a new scene for the music-loving character of Mark, showing him in a scene that hopefully reveals his future potential. The times when it all starts to come together are the times when writing is an exciting pleasure.

On that note I'll end this post with another sample from Soft Collisions, a scene from Mark's working day. And I am still open to further offers to read the current draft! Diolch.


The boom of an explosion. A star shooting away, space dust trailed. Dots, separate then joined up by jagged lines. Swirls of the pen, circling and looping across a spoiled order sheet. Then letters rambling on the page.

They were random, Mark thought, but he had spelt S A M amongst the other letters, which then took on the appearance of distraction around those central three.

He was bored, alone in the post area waiting for the day's delivery. Doodling was a good pastime in those circumstances.

It looked like you were working if Rene's chubby face happened to be watching.

Ess to the Ey to the Em.

He liked those letters. That rhythm.

He started to sketch a face, with dark eyes and hair. He made the chin too small and drew over it, but then it looked like a double chin. That wasn't appropriate for Sam.

Ah. He had been drawing Sam.

In that case the nose needed to be slightly softer.

He doodled. The new version emerged on the page, better than the previous.

He could look at this face as much as he wanted, even though it seemed to be staring back from the unfinished eyes.

For a second he imagined looking at the real Sam like that. Maybe if they were alone somewhere, a pub
a date
or something.

Wouldn't happen, so why get the fluttering stomach over it?

Keep things to yourself, that's what men do, his dad always said. Feelings, even the truth. "Keep the bastards guessing."

Sam was like a catchy riff that fills your head when you're trying to sleep, preventing any other tune from getting in.

He needed to listen to more music.

He began to draw in the neck, making sure some dark hair overlapped it -

"Penny for your thoughts?"

Electric shock at the female voice, he flung his arms over the paper and glared up, not sure if Sam had been watching him draw over his shoulder.

"Nothing!" he snapped reflexively. "Just work!"

Sam's broad smile faded as she flinched slightly at his curt words. "Sorry," she said, dropping an armful of packages onto the desk. "These are for collecting."

Mark watched her back as she moved away, still shaken, wanting to kick himself even as he pictured his dad's face smiling and nodding about a job well done.

He scrunched the paper up and crammed it into his pocket.