A.J. Walker



The Very Wobbly Odyssey

Hoping to be back at work over the next couple of weeks. My head’s been a bit mashed for the some of the last six weeks with the out of nowhere medical issues. Have done some flash writing, such as Miranda’s #MidWeekFlash, and a bit of blogging, but nothing more substantial during these weeks. Have been trying to keep active in terms of steps and all that, but not got into writing more substantial pieces. If the whole staying at home thing hadn’t been because of head mashing diagnoses and issues then I could have written more, couldn’t I?

Miranda's #MidWeekFlash

As I’m nearing the end of being off and the doctor's appointments have been more positive than the inevitable early fear that hangs over you in Limboland then I've become I’m more up than down: and writing for more than 500 words seems more doable. One of the things I long to do is finish one of my two NaNoWriMo drafts: I’ve two partially written novels from previous NaNo years. Both are around two thirds or more complete. For my own balance I need to finish at least one novel length book this year and if I can work on one one of these two stories it is very doable. Even if a) it’s just the first draft and b) it never sees the light of day other than to a few mates.

But it’s not just a case of starting from where I finished. Well it is, obviously, in some ways. But these are several years old and at this point may as well have been written by somebody else. Going back to where they are finished it feels like trying to start from the last chapter you’ve read from of any famous author's book. Like starting from scratch...ish - or at least starting a race in a different car and not knowing the track.

To that end I have been rereading my second NaNo story, which is currently called "
The Wobbly Odyssey", to get back into the zone so I can (at least try) and hit the ground running. It’s been really interesting. I like how the story has gone so far but dropping on to it now it would be so easy to take the story a rather random way and get the characters acting out of character from what's been presented so far.

Other than some geography nothing much about the story was planned. It’s been very much a "pantser" exercise. Maybe it’s just a bit more so now.

The current story is at
56k words and up to Chapter 6.5 of an anticipated 11 or so. I’m estimating there’s about 30-35k words to go to finish. If I set myself to do 1600-2000 words a day that’s only three weeks or so. So no excuse, A.J. Walker. Get writing and get it done: at the very least I want to know how the story ends!

Onwards and Upwards.


Well, I appear to have fooked up my NaNoWriMo projects page (think I clicked on update an old project rather create a new one) and there's no sign of help getting it sorted yet. I've only written about 2800 words on it at this point, but part of the fun and inspiration in NaNo is updating and seeing the progress of the project each day. So without that I think I'm going to bin off doing NaNo this year.

Of course that doesn't mean that I have to stop work on the project. In fact it means I can now spend some time planning it making it easier to be better in the long term. I've also got the 2018 project to finish of course.

In short I've given NaNo the heave and will sort something out in its place. Maybe I should sort out some nice visuals too - would be nice to see a graph that isn't about Coronavirus, or votes in Pennsylvania.

In the meantime good luck to those of you doing NaNo this year.

History Lessons Indeed

Bit late in the day, four days into NaNoWriMo, but I have finally decided to jump in with both feet. On Monday I was having a think about it but hadn't done anything about it. Was in work yesterday and watching the footy yesterday evening (a fantastic 5-0 win for Liverpool at Atalanta).

Think I've clicked on the wrong thing trying to create my project and instead of creating a new one have modified 'Fergie Time' my project from 2016. Will see how I can fix that - if indeed I can.

I have done NaNo twice before: 2016 and 2018, with 'Fergie Time' and 'The Wobbly Odyssey.' Both were completed - as far as writing 50k words in the month. But they were completed in very different ways. The first one was planned pretty well and completed within a framework. This was relatively easy to do as the story was timed to take place over a set number of months, making it easy to split into bite size chunks. The follow up was much more random. I had tried to plan it, but it didn't work. I couldn't get it to flow within the framework. Once I took the brakes off and went full on
pantser I finally got going and things fell into place to allow the story to be told.

So although I've lost three days and done next to nothing in the way of planning I probably lost more days in 2018 due to getting stuck. This one is full on pantser so I can't get stuck in terms of writing against a plan - I just may get stuck due to writing myself into a corner or two. We shall see. I haven't got a proper name for the project but for now, for no good reason, it's titled 'History Lessons' - wish me luck.

Anyway, as of November 4th noon, I have no words on my project and and I guess 4,800 words behind. Better get to it then.

The BDSM Thing

As I said the other day I have decided I am going to finish the story from last year's NaNoWriMo - 'The Wobbly Odyssey' (aka Project Jaipur) and I've set myself the target of the end of March. I'm not entirely sure how many words it will be but I've updated the Project Goal in Scrivener from 50k, which it was for NaNo, to 80k and set a Daily Goal of 1000 words. Both seem very reasonable. Reckon 1000 words will be between an hour and an hour and a half - but that depends on focus and any time spent researching bits - or wasted getting lost in Twitter and Google nonsense: the most important rule for writing on a computer MUST be turn away from Twitter and limit distractions.

In addition to setting the new project targets I also wrote my quota of words today (1083 to be precise) -Huzzah! And I am getting back into the minds of Bill, Colin and Sandy again. They are not big minds so that helps. '.... other than the BDSM thing.'

BDSM thing

It'll be good to get more practice with Scrivener too. Maybe after finishing a novel and some other writings on it I'll get around to giving it a review.

Faint Light

I would love to have a novel length book published, hell I'd be ecstatic with a novella. Then again there's tons of writers out there with the same aim. I was happy when I got some flash out there and got some recognition (or maybe just familiarity), I've been published in terms of flash, short stories and even poems. I've had a couple of gig reviews and a pub review and even a photo published in a book too. But this wish for having a novel published I'm short of by some infinity. Why infinity? I've never written a novel length story. And I'm not gonna get a novel published if I haven't written one. Stands to reason.

I've done NaNo twice (2016 and 2018) and got myself over the line with 50k words both times. But neither are finished drafts. The first one had a bit to go - but more fundamentally had issues with the use of real people. My bad. Fun to write but not gonna get out there. The second is about 60% complete and is more of a possibility. I'm bursting with ideas for stories but this is the one with 50k words already written. It'd be daft not to get it finished. At least I'd prove I can finish a novel and get that doubt out of the way. 

I've had one lovely beta reader, who you may know from VSS or FlashDog circles (the wonderful Sal Page), who has given it the once over: I've had six pages of notes back. I recognise the issues and I can go back and fix them during editing / redrafting but in the meantime they can really help me whilst I finish the next 40%.

With an estimate of circa 36k to go a target of six weeks to complete would be 1000 words a day. And six weeks would be 25th March. I'll give myself a few days to get back up to speed to begin with then I'll go for it. So let's say first draft by 31st March. Does that sound reasonable? Possibly.

Anyway the thing is on. Can you see a light? I think it's on. It's faint, but it's there, yes?

Of Mics and Men

Open Mic at the Sanctuary last night actually had a mic and multiple guitars. Huzzah! There were multiple singers as well as poetry and short story readings. Excellent, as ever. Not sure why but all the open mic'ers are men. Come on ladies, bring your plectrums.

I didn't play Shed a Tear, which I was working on this week, in the end I went for my current favourites:

  • You Couldn't Get Arrested
  • Somewhere Down the Road
  • Sweet Carolina, and
  • Heart Breaks Like the Dawn

I sing most each song with my eyes closed. Don't know why or how I stop that - or even whether I should. That said a brief video has emerged on Instagram showing that maybe they're not quite as closed as I thought they were... click on the photo.

zevonesque strum

Couple of mates turned up, including one who doesn't have a musical bone. Not sure he'll be back often unless it's just for the beer (didn't like the stories or poetry either). It takes all sorts to make a world.

I was made 'spare' on Friday so at least it meant I could have a couple of drinks. Unfortunately there weren't extended drinks in the bar so had to settle for one in the Fall Well (Wetherspoon) here I had a lovely Peerless Oatmeal Stout whilst I waited for the bus (not even the last bus).

Plans re the guitar playing include in order: work on strumming patterns; write some songs! Then maybe get into scales and riffs. Strumming and songs very much first though.

In other news I have a beta reader of my first six chapters of the 'book' I wrote for NaNoWriMo in November and it's getting to the point where I should get on with writing the rest of it. I reckon it should be another 30-40k words. If I did 50k in one month then I should be able to do that in a month too should I? It's all about motivation and getting in the groove again with it. Having not touched it since getting to the 50k at the end of NaNo I need to finish reading where I'm up to and get writing.

I'll give myself six weeks (I have the guitar to work with too - which I wasn't playing until the second part of November). So watch this space. Could I finish my first whole book?

Come in No.2, Your Time is Up

Hell, yeah!


It's been a bit of a bumpy ride but I have got there. I've gone and done my second NaNoWriMo following the completion of one back in 2016. I'm pretty sure I wrote every day, or certainly almost everyday last time. This year I missed six days of writing. I haven't done the maths here but I reckon that that is almost a week.

Looking back at that if I could even have just written 500 words or so on each of those days it would have made the end a little less 'seat of the pants'. It does go to show "write little and often" is very much worth doing.

I've hit the fabled 50k mark this afternoon and whilst I've achieved that marker I have not by any stretch finished the story. I'm reckoning its about two-thirds finished. So I've a way to go. It's very much been an organic process with my fingers taking the story to places I had no idea it would end up, with stories of gangsters and leaving someone at the altar and all sorts of shenanigans- and I know there's much to come too. It's strange how much different it has been from the first one, but it's been a lark.

You Won

The main thing I found I had to introduce which I didn't have originally was some jeopardy. The original plans really had a travelogue with some people going from a to b with things happening. But there was not enough to drive it along to create an interesting narrative. As soon as I put in some danger and an interesting history with current implications to the story it held together a lot more and made the writing easier. An experience worth learning for me. No matter how much planning you have for every little detail some big picture stuff needs to be there to hold it together lest the whole thing fall apart.

Anyways, I am made up to get to goal and I now aim, by the end of January, to finish the first draft off (December is a bust with work).

If I've learnt one thing on this odyssey it is write a little every day. And if I've learnt two it is; chocolate hobnobs do not a breakfast make, but when needs must...


Late in the Month NaNo Progress?

It's the 27th November which means just four days to complete NaNoWriMo. I can say that this generates a real "Eek!" when you've only done 35,901 by then. That's 14,099 words to write in four days, which equates to 3525 words a day to get it done - assuming writing each day. I've achieved that three times this one this NaNo so it can be done. But that four days writing is a big assumption when on one of those days (tomorrow) Liverpool are playing PSG - and I'm not going to miss watching that. So really it's more like three days and 4700 words/day, which I've not done once during this month. Like I said, "EEK!"

That said I am off today and Friday so I thought this morning when I got up that maybe if I got three to four hours or so writing done on both those days then I could get there.


Well by lunchtime I have got to 39,113 words, which is a good hit. If I can do another two thousand minimum - and I can't see why not - then I could see me completing NaNo for the second time. Even if I can just do a thousand or so tomorrow on top of what I finish with today then that will leave Thursday and Friday in the right ball park.

The story is still clunky and will require vast redrafting at some point in the future, but pushing it out there and along the track is all I can do for now; the chasing unlikely drugs dealers are now leaving Manchester by train - having had their car impounded - whilst two of the protagonists are in Leeds with the other one accidentally in Newcastle. Standard.


Having not done much more I reached 40k at 5pm. Still, it is a bit of a milestone at 80% of the way there and pretty fine from where I started the morning.


But I'd set myself the aim of getting to 41k, so I set to it for another hour or so to get there. I ended up writing until 6.40pm and where did I end up... only bloody >42k. In your face! Assuming I don't write tomorrow I have two days left to write 7800 words, having done 6081 today.


The story won't be finished at 50k, I reckon it would still be at least a 70k story - depending where the main characters end up and when...but my second NaNo on my second attempt is within sight if not quite within my grasp.

Happy? Me? Yup.

Blank Friday

Forget that Black Friday nonsense, what about Blank Friday? Maybe that's more relevant for me. I've been struggling a little, or a lot, with NaNo and I'm still not sure about the whole story as it's going. I'm just over 33k words in and looking at my original 'plan' which to all intents is kinda defunct now, I think in broad terms as a buddy travelogue I'm not even sure if I'm 40% along the timeline. That would make the story end up over 70k at this rate. If that's the case I'm not going to finish writing the story by the end of the month, but I could still get to the magic 50k if I keep at it - it would take about 2100 words a day from this point.

Thinking I need to give it a basic replan from where it stands now as it's turned into a different monster than was envisaged. For a start I've ended up with the three protagonists being chased across the country by a couple of drug dealers, which wasn't in the original plan at all. And that could well be the main storyline. I mean FFS, from not being in the plan at all to becoming the principal storyline; all that planning time wasted?

So is there a point in planning again from this point or do I just type away and see where my fingers take me? I'm currently of the view that a wee bit of planning is worthwhile to keep some sort of order to it, else it is likely to go well of the rails.

It's definitely harder work than my last NaNo. Fingers crossed I'll get there.


Several aims today included getting the scheduling of #VSS365 and #ClassSongOfTheDay up to date and updating the Class Song page with this week's links (Talking Heads).

I also have the aim of writing over 3000 words for NaNoWriMo. At the end of today the par word count is 31,667 and at the start I was only at 25,081 so I need a decent amount to close the gap a little. It's got to the point now where a par daily count is around 2000 words, which sounds fine, but when you think of a missed day adding that to the fewer remaining days it all adds up quite quickly.

Well first things first was VSS365 and I've updated the Twitter Scheduler to bang in the next words. It being the 19th and the scheduler having a maximum of ten then it takes it up to the penultimate day of the month. So tomorrow I can schedule my very last VSS prompt tweet. Ahhh! How sad. It's been great fun so far anyway and have been loving all the stories, though I have been able to read them all. There's so many. It's been good to meet so many new people on Twitter through it to. Top flashers.

Talking Heads

I then updated the Class Song scheduler with the remaining songs from Talking Heads and next week's band (which will remain nameless until next Monday but it's one of my fave from uni days) and sorted the Class Song page links. Huzzah! Click on the link to get listening.

On top of that I have written 2500 words for NaNo. Want to write another 1000 or so to dig into the total just a little bit. It's hard work and I think it may be about fifty fifty if I get to the end at the moment. Onwards and upwards and all that.



Half Way to Comatose

It's halfway through November tomorrow which means in theory I should be at around 25k words by close of play tomorrow. It's not going to happen. But I'm over 20k at any rate. The story is still very much stuttering along at the moment. It ain't gonna be a quick one to revisit once it's finished for sure - if it ever is finished. We'll see if I hit some kind of eureka moment.

It also means I'll be halfway through the hosting and posting of the VSS365 words. It's been a lark. The scheduling has been working fine, which is a bonus. It's great to see how many people are straight on it as soon as it goes out. Great work people.

On top of that I still haven't had chance to strum my guitar anymore. Been considering a few songs to practice in case I go and play another open mic night in the coming month(s). I must get some more practice in soon.

Anyways, whether you're doing NaNo or VSS365 or just ploughing your own furrow just keep writing folks!

One Busy Week

A busy week last with all sorts going on. VSS365 has been going well. The scheduling site I use has continued to successfully upload all the Tweets at the right time... happy days. And so many people getting involved, it is great. Yesterday a few people suggested I should have been writing my own VSS365 rather than just setting the words free and so I wrote a quick ten to catch up with the rest of the guys and gals. I promised I'd write for all of them now.


At the same time I have been doing NaNoWriMo and up until Saturday have been right on track. Yesterday I wrote nothing though and don't think I'll get any - or at least not much - done today, so I will end up being some 3200 words down. Eek! Some catching up to do.

Meanwhile on Saturday and Sunday my #ClassSongOfTheDay tweets weren't sent out on time. Shock and horror guys! A handy reminder was sent to me from my listener in chief and I had to send them both out yesterday. Today I have scheduled the next ten days on Buffer, so there won't be another gap for at least that time at any rate.


Last Thursday I played guitar (and sang) in front of some people in a Liverpool pub - The Sanctuary - which was the first time I've sung in front of anyone publicly since 1997. There maybe some video evidence of it somewhere apparently, but I am yet to see it. That may well be a blessing. In the meantime I am contemplating doing it again but picking another song or two to do. Made a couple of CD playlists to see what may be easiest to work on: should time to work on playing guitar suddenly appear.

Steady Erratic NaNo Progress

As the VSS365 words wend their peculiar way through November (I promise tomorrow IS the last C word of this month) I've tasked myself with writing my second NaNo novel. It's progressing most oddly. I am spot on in terms of planned number of words by this stage of the month (just over 13,400) which sounds quite organised and steady, but in reality the story has been stuttering around like a forgetful old woman in PoundLand.

I had written a few ideas for tasks, quests and little set pieces and so on. And so far my biggest set pieces written over the last couple of days weren't even featured as ideas in my notebook. I may as well give up planning the damn thing.

NaNo Day 8

Anyway, I quite like these set pieces and versions of them will no doubt be kept. I now feel like I'm reading a new book rather than writing it, as I've no idea what is going to happen next. Quite looking forward to seeing where it'll all end up.

After Sal mentioning she may put my thirty VSS365 words into her book I'm thinking I could too. I think I could accomplish that without them standing out like a sore thumb - and making myself put a castle and a cavern in there could take the protagonists into unexpected positions. Leading, no doubt, to much hilarity. Haha!

NaNo Update

Five days in and I've got 8773 words down for my story so far, which is pretty much on track in terms purely of numbers. But so far the story is not going smoothly. It needs some serious planning and I need to get the flow of the story going from there including the story element and almost as importantly getting the comedy into it. So far I've got lots of chit-chat but not much humour - which is a bit of a critical warning at this stage when it's supposed to be a comedy.


I think once I get the planning firmed up a bit better then I can look at getting the set-pieces in there and the comedy will flow from there. There's not been any proper set pieces yet. I'll need to insert something in early in the book at some point otherwise it'll just meander too much, which is no good to anyone.

On the positive side I don't think I've written anything which would require consideration from lawyers.

Anyways, onwards and upwards.

In other news VSS365 has been progressing well. Only five days in, but I've scheduled the next ten days in which takes it through to half way for me. It's really going to fly by. Will write a blog about VSS365 sometime in the coming week or so. With the words already chosen and being on top with the scheduling then the main thing is to concentrate on the NaNoWriMo.

Very Short Blog #VSB

November has arrived which has meant two things today. One: I took over the responsibility of selecting and scheduling the words for this month's VSS365. As I've said previously I looked at getting a second (free) scheduler to send out the tweets given I use one already for Class Song Of The Day (Buffer) and didn't want to half my quota for scheduling those. I scheduled this morning's Tweet for 06:30 (GMT) with a different scheduler and waited to see if it was working. As I lay in bed I began to hear buzz after buzz of the phone by my bad and knew that it must have worked.

Huzzah! If it works for the rest of the month I may even tell you which one I've been using. But so far so good.

Considered today that given that it is a daily tweet - which is like almost 24 hours usually - it made sense to schedule the future tweets at a round number rather than half past. So from tomorrow onwards it will go out at 06:00. It was great to see so many people get involved again today and I hope that I can see you all through the month to come.

It is great that the scheduler is working and the next ten days are scheduled and can be basically left to run itself.

And the second thing? NaNoWriMo has begun. Not written anything yet after a longish day at work, but going to put some words down later tonight. Right now I'd be happy with three figures and just a start.

Ready, Not Ready

I've not been entering many flash fiction challenges lately (not counting VSS365 as a challenge per se) but have done the odd Microcosms over the last three or four months. I was working on Friday but it was a late start so I wrote a quick story before heading to work and found out the judge chose mine as the top one this morning. So a nice start to the day. Normally the winner would take on the judging the following week, but as I'm doing NaNoWriMo and I'll be curating VSS365 this weekend I've asked to put back my judging duties to another month (which has graciously been accepted - thanks Geoff!).

If you're looking at a <300 word challenge on a Friday then head on over to Microcosms some time (preferably on a Friday).


I've got #VSS365 sorted now. The first ten words are in the scheduler and good to go. I think I'm largely happy with the words, but hell I dare say there aren't many words we couldn't or wouldn't want to work with (probably words Trump uses). I'll have to see whether I get to change any of the words in the daily tweets. May be best to just keep it simple. After all you're all just wanting to know what the one word is...


So, I'm ready with regard to VSS but I am far from ready with respect to NaNo. I've sketched out some ideas, but boy there's a lot of question marks about how it will go and a damn load of space to fill. Whilst I've done it once before and completed it I think I am less confident about this attempt due to the existing woolliness. We shall see how it works and whether it will come together over the coming weeks. Good luck to all who are giving it a go.

I have sorted the images for next four bands and singers for #ClassSongOfTheDay which will save some time later in the month and today I've updated the CSOTD2 page with the songs for this week from the mighty slide of Ry Cooder. If you like some fab guitar slide on over and listen to some great tunes.


The Ghost of a Skeleton of a Plan

Began reading the classic Jules Verne 'Journey to the Centre of the Earth' today (my 30th book of the year according to my Goodreads reckoning). It's my lovely Folio copy too. You've got love a folio book, they do a beautiful job. I'll hopefully finish reading it before November and NaNo begins, because more writing time will eat into potential reading time.


Thinking about losing reading time to help me complete NaNoWriMo is one thing, but this morning I found myself spending over an hour on Twitter retweeting and sending Tweets out on all sorts of matters from Hi-Vis vests to Putin and the Liverpool Echo - and of course VSS365. I mean all sorts. Now with an hour and half that time could be spent on writing and achieve the 1667 words per day - with just that time alone. Cutting my Twitter time in November could be a fantastic.... so of course I am curating #VSS365 aren't I. Just the way it's fallen. I'll be making sure the Tweets go out every day and will keep a little eye on it whilst I'm out and about, but when I'm back home I'm gonna have to be writing, so I may not be able to be quite as hands on as the wonderful Roz has been in October. Apologies in advance, but I'm sure you understand.

Basically if I lose 30 mins of Twittering and 60 mins of watching TV time then that's all the time I'll need if the story flows.

This morning and early afternoon I've been looking at my NaNo story for November, trying to sketch out the skeleton of it a little. It is only a skeleton of a skeleton. In fact more like the ghost of a skeleton and needs a bit more work to allow me to run quickly with it once November arrives. But my aim for today and tomorrow now is to sketch out the three main characters and I think that this in itself will help develop the ideas for the story. I know once I start it'll end up running its own course. But having only a month to write it I need a framework to hang it around. Doesn't mean you do, if you're going for NaNo. But for me, this year, it does.

You'll be able to follow how I'm getting on with NaNo on my blog here (and on Twitter no doubt) and if you fancy giving #VSS365 a go then check out the hashtag on Twitter or if you want you can follow me @zevonesque

Anyway, nows I'm just about ready to head out with my notebook and a pen when I'll sketch out a character and have a beer or two. It's okay the setting will help with the theme. Hoping Liverpool will go top of the league with a win against Cardiff this afternoon. It's one of those rare nights when the Liverpool match is not on the TV; a shocking state of affairs.


Mr Popular (Temporarily)

With a week to go until I take the temporary reins of VS365 from Roz she kindly sent a Tweet out yesterday and today suggesting the VSSers out there follow yours truly to ensure they don't miss out on any prompts in November. That has led to a ridiculous surge in my popularity on Twitter with about 125 new followers in just over a day! I would be quite overcome if it wasn't that I knew it was just my prompts you were after. But it certainly shows how popular the little hashtag has become out there; from little acorns and all that. Anyways you'll see my #VSS365 #prompt from next week either by following me or just searching for #VS365 and clicking on 'latest'. At the moment I have them scheduled for 06:30 UK time (which will be GMT I suppose after Saturday night's clock change).

I'm sure come December 1st I'll be losing some 125+ followers too. If you do stay then great. Either way it's nice to meet you all. As I've said in previous posts I'm doing NaNoWriMo in November too - just happenstance - so I may fail completely in reading and commenting all your VSS tweets, so apologies in advance for that. Any of you VSS guys and gals doing NaNo too? If so, best of luck to you.

Keep writing and enjoying it.


NaNo and VSS365 Double Header

Been doing a little planning for next month's NaNo attempt. Unlike in 2016 when I just used Pages on my MacBook I'll be using Scrivener. It'll be interesting to see how it helps. It certainly should as far as planning and sketching out some ideas and the view for distraction-less working is nice.

This morning I transferred some background info about the settings into the 'Places' folder in Scrivener. So far that is basically some headline words rather than any detail - in fact I haven't put anything in yet about Unique Features, Sights, Sounds etc but the standard sheets in the folder could prove quite useful to consider to help focus on the writing when it comes to November rather than looking things up on the inter web and all that (and the inevitable distractions that will bring).

Talking of distractions I'm hoping it's not bad timing for me being in charge of the words for #VSS365 in November. It may well mean I can't read and reply as much as I would like to all the contributions, which is a bit of a shame. I may also have to find another automatic Twitter timetabling programme as I currently use Buffer to upload the link to my daily song every morning (Class Song of the Day). If I use this then I will have to log in and put the links in every five days instead of ten (you can only schedule 10 messages on a free basis), which will be a bit of a pain. Will see if I can find another free (and easy) way of uploading the message each morning - of course I could go 'Old School' and just type it out each morning when I get up... How old fashioned? But then the messages would potentially go out at rather random times.

NaYesWriMo 2018

I've decided to give NaNoWriMo a go this year. Hoping I can make enough time to do it It's one of those things where you've got to keep going at it, as 1667 words a day sounds fine but if you miss a couple of days you've got 4800 words to find, so it can suddenly get quite daunting if your not careful.

I've only tried once before and I found it okay with a relatively straightforward format. It was totally linear and in effect by compartmentalising it I could write it in ten bite sized chunks as if I was writing ten 5000 word short stories. I managed it anyway and 'Fergie Time' exists. I've had a couple of people read it and it largely held together pretty well considering it was written in a month. It does have fundamental issues though - it includes real people in imagined situations, which may have legal issues... Anyway, we'll see I do intend to finish it, even if it only every gets read by a few friends and family. But in the meantime I have NaNoWriMo 2018 to be getting on with.

This one will have only fictitious people and venues (albeit in real cities) so I shouldn't have any of the potential legal considerations this time. I had a couple of options for running with including Project Jaipur and Project Sarah Hughes or even expanding the short story from the recent DeadCades short story into a full length story. In the end I've opted for Project Jaipur now as 'To Hull and Back: A Wobbly Odyssey'. It's set as an epic comic odyssey across seven towns and cities and in some ways can therefore be similarly compartmentalised into effectively 7-10 sections or short stories.

So now I'm in the process of planning the chapters and set pieces and identifying the main characters, though once the story telling gets going next month heaven knows where it will arrive.

Here's to 50,000 words in 30 days. And a fun time.


A Wee Flash Outing and Some Thinking

As the days grow colder and shorter and the grey cloud blanket envelops the days we must enjoy the rare blue autumn days when they come along. This week that was Wednesday. And now Friday is upon us and the weekend is almost here we are in for rain and wind, or wind and rain, apparently. I suppose it makes you appreciate those moments of low sun beauty all the more, but a fifty-fifty split would be better than 1 day in 7 please.

In the early hours of this morning the wind began to whip up, getting especially loud around 6am, waking me up on my day off. It was bound to happened for I am working Saturday and Sunday and today is therefore my weekend. I normally pick one day of the weekend to have off and try and coincide it with the Liverpool game (which 8 times from 10 is on the tellybox), but this week there is no Premiership. Yes, it is the second worse two word combination in the English language: 'International Break' (the most dreaded being 'Rail Replacement'). The day hasn't got any lighter since 7am this morning yet and the forecast suggests it won't. I'm hoping Saturday and Sunday will be slightly better than this for work. I can but hope.

Today I've done a Microcosms (300 word) challenge, which is the first time for quite a few months I think (though time seems a more fluid concept than usual at the moment).

I am going to try and write every day of the remainder of the year and whilst this is only 300 words it's a start. I've also to consider whether 30 of those remaining days will include doing NaNoWriMo and, if so, which of the ideas to run with. Got about two weeks to decide and get some plans in place. I know I've been watching TV too much lately and an hour or so less of that (if the plans are defined enough) should provide the time required to write the 1667 words a day (or a good proportion of those).

Maybe, Just Maybe

Thanks to Scrivener I managed to quickly and easily convert a document into Kindle format. Woo hoo! I had chosen the NaNoWriMo effort from 2016, 'Fergie Time' for no particular reason other than it was formatted in chapters and pretty substantial (50k+). It certainly wasn't the aim to do anything with it. I hadn't looked at it for ages, but seeing in on the Kindle it looked better than I expected and reading the first couple of chapters at it with fresh eyes after so much time made me think that maybe, just maybe, there is something there.

Talking of fresh eyes I made a shout out to several Flash Dogs to see if anyone would read the first few chapters and feedback whether it was worth working on to finish it. Within about an hour each said they'd look at it and almost as quickly - these Flash Dog types are super fast and super friendly - I've already got feedback and far from disheartening too. It wouldn't have been the end of the world if it had been all negative given it was effectively written over a single month. I'd really enjoyed writing it, but with the time gone since looking at it I don't feel overly invested in it at this point. Perhaps that is about to change.

Each Dog has carried on reading beyond the first two or three chapters, which must be a good sign. The humour seems to be okay. Though some of the pointed barbs maybe need to be less pointy. And I probably need to make it less blokey. I know everyone says writing humour is hard and I get that, getting the level right for the story and not putting in funny line after funny line or throwing things out there just for a punchline to come along, or then again not having enough fun in it so you forget it is supposed to be funny... well it's not something I've really tried before.

I wrote it back in 2016 and maybe I didn't think about it enough before hand, for my story is chock full of real people i.e. named football players, managers and pundits (as well as Mary Berry and Sue Perkins). Let's face it the clue is in the name of the book. But I hadn't considered any legal issues of having real people in a fiction story. It could kill it dead in the water in terms of publishing it.

So I was in a bit of a quandary as to whether to finish it anyway, whether or not it could ever get published. Or I could spend that time on a fiction with all fictional people in it. Bearing in mind it's 50,000 words long and I reckon it'll take another 10-20 to finish it I'm minded to finish it for my own sake. Maybe I'll end up with a book that can't be used but I'd have a complete novel length story and know that I can do it. And there may well be lines, passages and ideas I can use in other projects.

The genesis of Fergie Time goes back beyond 2016 to an idea I had years before which I presented at the Writing on the Wall 'Dragon's Pen' event at the Bluecoat in 2013. The panel consisted of AL Kennedy (writer), Kate Haldane (agent), Esther Wilson (playwright) and Gordon Wise (literary agent) and it was one of the scariest things I've ever done in public. I got good feedback from them and from the audience despite my wobbly legs, but never progressed it until NaNo.

So it's gone from a Writing on the Wall project (2013), to a NaNoWriMo project (2016) to maybe just a reopened current project (2018).

Anyways, I now need to finish reading it all myself and get a notebook out whilst I do. Maybe my NaNo 2016 will bear more fruit than the 'Winner' sticker at the end of that month. Maybe I'll properly finish a whole book. Maybe just maybe.


Will It Ever Be Fergie Time?

Getting 'Fergie Time' on to my Kindle was great. Both in terms of seeing how to do it with Scrivener but also in revisiting the NaNoWriMo story from almost two years ago.

Scrivener makes it so easy to get a Kindle copy sorted anyway. Let's face it the last thing you want to do is spend lots of time messing about with formatting and importing and exporting and effing and blinding. Unless you are a sadist you want your time spent on the creative bit.

Fergie Time 300

Going to read the thing on the Kindle over the next few days and send to a couple of canny volunteers just to see if the story idea works and whether there is any mileage in revisiting and finishing it. Or whether I should just concentrate on one of my other projects and leave it as a NaNo experiment. Not expecting them to read the whole thing just the first two or three chapters.

Talking of NaNo who's doing it this year? Doubt I will. But we'll see.

NoNaNoWriMo 2017

Briefly yesterday I considered a last minute log on to NaNoWriMo to sign up for a second year of 'writing a novel in a month'. For those who don't know the aim is to write a 50,000 word minimum novel in the month of November (National Novel Writing Month). In previous years November for me has involved growing a moustache for Movember but now I'm mostly bearded anyway I haven't done that for a few years. Last year I did NaNoWriMo for the first time and managed to get to the magic 50k words a day or two before the end of the month.

The story I chose to work on last year was one I'd sketched out previously for a Writing on the Wall competition: 'Dragon's Pen' which I presented in front of such luminaries as A.L. Kennedy at Liverpool's Bluecoat several years earlier. Having the broad idea sketched out made the 50k words achievable as it was like writing ten short stories - having each chapter ostensibly as a set piece. This year, although I have two ideas for novels, I don't have them sketched out anywhere near as much. Perhaps if I did I would go for it again. But I don't.

In any case, at the start of the year I had a Writing Plan and that has been hardly touched. So instead of diverting my attention to NaNoWriMo I will use the month to get on with one or other of the Projects I had in mind at the start of the year. Over the next two days I'll decide which one to get on with and use 'Month NaNoWriMo' to get one of these a lot further down the line.

Anyway this year it's No NaNoWriMo for me. Good luck to anyone doing it this year. It is a great experience and brilliant to know that you can get so many words down on a single project - basically with 'just' 1667 words a day. It doesn't sound that difficult when you say it quickly.


Project 3: It Really is Fergie Time

I said three weeks ago that I'd decided to go ahead with Project 3. Like most of this year's planned writing projects there was an element of either I do a) or I do b) - and Project 3 was Novel related. Whilst I've a few ideas for potential stories which could become novel or novella length the first thing was to decide whether to progress with the NaNoWriMo project I undertook last November.

The NaNo project ('
Fergie Time') is a comic story through a football season featuring silly ideas, stupider plans, not a few injuries, some football, plenty of drinking and periods of daft banter. I decided I would finish it, even if it is destined never to see the light of day anywhere. After all I have 52k words written, although like Eric Morecombe would say I suspect I have many of the right words, but they are not necessarily in the right order. So, I'm going to finish it and give it at least one edit and then go from there... to I know not where. It really is Fergie Time.

So far I've gone through the
first 7 pages of 155. It's clearly gonna take some time AND the number of pages will only increase.

Task Completion: <5%

Day Twenty Eight: NaNo - We Have A Winner!

Day Twenty Eight and it's a biggy. I only needed a par day's worth of words to get to the goal. So could I do it? You betcha!

Feel the power of my banner!:

In fact today I ended up with my best word count of the month to get near to the end of the last chapter, with a 3634 words down on the ole laptop.

I'd written all the chapters as stand alone documents so I had to string them all together into one doc and then paste them into the word count validator on the NaNoWriMo site. It took a minute or two to do its county thing and when the number came up (which was the same as the one in my document) it was lovely to see. A whopping 51,961.

I've still got some more words to go to actually finish the novel. As I need to finish of the last chapter and then go back and do the 'difficult Chapter 6' properly (I'm thinking Chapter 6 to a writer, may be like the difficult 2nd album to a band). But anyway it's there. I've hit my goal. I've gone and bloody done it! And no-one is taking that banner away.

So glad I've given it a go.

Will do my best to finish the complete draft and then come back and edit it at some point in the new year (NaNoWriMo do a thing early in the year where writers promise to edit and redraft their novels, so may sign up for that - or just do it in my own time).

Would be good to carry on with the momentum this has provided me. Then again it'll be good to get back to some reading again - I've had a whole month with little reading undertaken; so I've another book to finish albeit in another way entirely.

281116 Winner Graph

Today's WC: 3634
Total WC: 51,961

Day Twenty Seven: Angry Hours

Day Twenty Seven back into work, this time Llandudno Junction. Considering Black Friday has just gone it wasn't half bad and even with an hour delay at start of day I was back for a decent time allowing me to finish Chapter 9.

I ended up writing 2135 words today and almost 2000 of them were in Chapter 9 and the other 160 were for Chapter 10. Chapter 9 ended with another pub crawl. The final chapter will more primarily involve doctors and policemen.

Pleased as punch to get to within 1670 of the target now and if I continue an even half decent start to the last chapter tomorrow then I'll get to the 50,000 words then. So I'll finish the #NaNoWriMo challenge with a couple of days to spare. Huzzah!

And for a laugh I even went and wrote another 360 words with a silly entry for Angry Hourglass (Round #117). Me, a silly entry? I know. Hard to believe, but true.


WC: 2135
Total WC: 48,327

Day Twenty Six: Na No Yes Yes

Day Twenty Six and it's my one day off for the week. The only days I haven't written at all on have been two days I had off work. Today though, so close to the end, I intended to lay down some words and I have done so I'm that bit closer to the finish now.

It was Chapter 9, the last of my cunning plan chapters, which took me to Birkdale Golf Course and a bit of hiding in the woods with a homemade lethal weapon, I've all but finished the chapter now. Will complete it quite quickly tomorrow (after work) and then start either the last chapter or go back to the problem Chapter 6. It'll probably be as well to carry on to the last chapter and then go back and fill in Chapter 6 at the end, as I've got momentum and direction which can run on into the last one.

With the chapters averaging at around 4-5000 words then even if I do shorten them it will take me over the 50,000 words aim somewhat, which is fine. I just need to make the writing time fits with the time available: 4 days left after today.

Because of the chapters I have to finish I may not actually finish the novel until the last day, although I should hit 5000 a day or two before that.

Anyway, to any of you guys doing this; good luck!

I've found the experience interesting and seeing how quickly (just) writing 1667 words a day mounts up its great. Clearly some times it's about momentum but you should never get down about missing days either. We all need to have breaks, reset and recalibrate. After writing so many stories between 100 and 500 words this has been eye opening. And I know now I can do it. Again - so, thanks NaNoWriMo!

Now I'm off to reward myself at Beer Street, a beer festival at the wonderful Tap & Bottles in sunny Southport.

Today's WC: 2132
Total WC: 46,192

Day Twenty Five: A Silver Celebration

Day Twenty Five was a working day of course. I was delivering parcels in Deganwy again on a beautiful sunny day. It truly was lovely. Cold though, but let's face it, it is towards the end of November so put on another layer and get over it.

I was working on the first half of Chapter 9 - 110% for the Gaffer and got down 1868 words, which again was spot on. Anything between 1500 and 2500 words I'm happy with now. And that leaves me with just 6000 words to go. Four days of 1500/day or three of 2000: Absolutely Fabulous!

Then it was down town for a pint in the Fly, Hard Times & Misery and the Dispensary. A good Friday. Though it did become a black one too.


Today's WC: 1868
Total WC: 44,060

Day Twenty Four: Hours from Deganwy

Day Twenty Four was another working one, and one with not a bad day at work. Got back okay to do some writing mid afternoon, which was good 'cos I wanted to meet me da for a pint or two. Huzzah!

After four successive days writing more than 2000 words a day the pressure was off a little, but I needed to finish off Chapter 8, if I could. And I did.

I've now got three chapters to go until I finish - Chapters: 9, 10 and yep, 6. With six days left that's two days per chapter, which is certainly doable. Thankfully I think the last chapter will be shorter - we'll see - so should fit okay.

Today my suspect Google searches were largely confined to 'ketamine' and 'roofies' - such larks!

Ended up completing Chapter 8 with 1877 words this afternoon and in the process creating mayhem in the straight at Cheltenham racecourse.

Racing 300

Today's WC: 1877
Total WC: 42,192

241116 NaNo

Day Twenty Three: Forty Thou

Day Twenty Three was another working day in sunny north Wales and a day for my writing group meeting too. I wanted to keep my numbers up on Fergie Time, if I wrote around 2k again it would look pretty good for getting to the goal some time next week; maybe a day or two early. Getting to a point where five days of 2k words would take me to the finishing line would be spot on.

Today I ended up writing in two blocks. One in which I wrote about 1800 words in the early evening and another late on when I wrote another 1100. With this I ended up with my most prolific writing day - with some 2946 words of Chapter 8 done. Got probably less than a third of this chapter to go to.

Shame to miss Poised Pen meeting tonight (it was for a valid reason and not just because they were not having the meeting in a real ale pub tonight), but getting the best part of three thousand words down seems like it was well worth it. Especially as it means I've <10k to go now (or to put it another way I'm 80% done!).

The set up is all done and the remaining part of the chapter involves an attempt of administering some illicit drugs during the Cheltenham Festival to an unsuspecting individual and another even less suspecting individual becoming the centre of attention as farce once again prevails. And thanks to Gary from Hounslow with or without insider knowledge from a Far East betting syndicate our intrepid hero dressed as a waiter becomes suddenly rich... because you can do that if you're writing this stuff.

LFC Signing 300
AJ Signing at LFC (never made an appearance; they don't know what they've missed)

Today's WC: 2946
Total WC: 40,315

Keep Writing Folks!

Day Twenty Two: Of Butterflies, Doppelgangers and Chip Shops

Day Twenty Two was another work day, like most days. The weather was much kinder and I got back a bit earlier than yesterday from Deganwy. I wrote in two 'bursts' (or more correctly one burst and one stutter). Once in the late afternoon when I just about finished off Chapter 7, and then much later in the evening, when I did finally finish off the chapter and then started (just) Chapter 8 - Champagne Supernova.

To be honest I could and probably should have written a lot more. I wrote about 1800 words in the first stint and should easily have been able to write another 1000 or maybe even have doubled my output for the day. But I got diverted, after feeling good about achieving the 1667 words in one fell swoop, by treating myself to watching part of a box-set I had recorded on my set top box which I never got around to watching (from over a year ago!). I proceeded to watch THREE episodes of Boardwalk Empire (final series). I have only two episodes to go now, but really hope I don't come to regret not putting a few more words down when I had a bit of momentum. Still, I've ended up writing 2,308 words today which is 'above a par' score so I needn't be too hard on myself. It's just that so close to the end if I miss any days or get stuck on any I don't have that many days left to play catch up with!

Basically now with 8 days left I've got just over 12,000 words to do. If I did miss one day that would mean I need to be writing 1800 words a day (or just 1580 if I write each day). That said, the last four days I've written over 2000 words a day. If I can do that I'll finish with 2 days to spare! In short then, if I keep up what I've been doing I should be getting there. Not 'there' yet, so I'm not excited. This time next week though... ask me then.

Today I have been writing about Doppelgängers (such a fab word) and an hallucinating football player trying to catch butterflies or faeries on a pitch during a match. Tomorrow it's a story of champagne and horse racing. Cheating, gambling and more unlikely shenanigans in Cheltenham and Liverpool.

There maybe some football in the chapter, who knows? Not me, and I'm writing the bloody thing.

And I've still got the 'difficult Chapter 6' to go back to. I may have an idea. Or a germ of one.

Talking of germ; they bombed our chip shop. Erm, either that or I need to start thinking about the redraft and editing.

Today's WC: 2308
Total WC: 37,369

Day Twenty One: 21Up!

Day Twenty One and I was aiming for another 2000 or so words to keep on track with my NaNoWriMo - staying on par with the 1667 per day. First things first it was a bloody awful wet day in north Wales where I was delivering and although it was slow and laborious I was still back at a decent time: last week's Stress Test was over.

Back home it was back on to Chapter 7 - and the whole accidentally drugged winger thing. It went well. For me, if not the winger.

Not quite finished the chapter today but it'll be sorted tomorrow in a jiffy (in theory). So today I got myself 2214 words down. Huzzah!!

Quite happy if not delirious about the chapter and at least it's better than err... that damn Chapter 6 issue. Still ain't had chance to decide what I'm doing with that one! Got a week at most to decide on that. Thinking hat on.

To be on par I'd be on 35k... and guess what? I only am. Get in!

Upto date 2111

Today's WC: 2214
Total WC: 35,061


Day Twenty: Angel Dust and real ale

Day Twenty and it's another day off. Yes, I have had a weekend! A rare and beautiful thing to have two successive weekends. After writing some 2000 words yesterday the challenge was to do a similar amount today. I also had to pick up on a new chapter after finally finishing Chapter 5.

So Chapter 6 next, obviously. Well, maybe obvious to you, but not to me. I've had to skip to Chapter 7! What? Well, my idea for Chapter 6 is quite well formed but I have a stumbling block in it that I haven't been able to roll out of the way yet. So rather than puzzle that out I'v skipped straight to the next chapter - as I'd struggle to write Chapter 6 with the problem not fully resolved. I'll have a think over the next few days in quieter moments and I'm sure I'll come up with some cunning plan for it, but in the meantime it's onwards and upwards with Chapter 7 - 'A Sprinkling of Angel Dust'

It's another chapter that's seen my Google tracking take an unusual course. So MI6 or those guys in the Pentagon will be wondering about what this AJ Walker chap is up to. Recent internet searches: 'bomb making' 'drones' 'PCP' 'bazooka' 'remote controls' etc

It's an idea that has been easier to run with than C6, and I've got the main character, Joe, finally telling someone what's going on in his life. The dialogue was dead easy to write and I reeled off 2188 words in double quick time.

Hoping I can finish the chapter tomorrow and get fully back on par. Another 2150 words tomorrow would put me bang on track.

Keep writing and keep rationing your Twitter (or FB) use. I'm of for a pint of real ale down the newly reopened Lion Tavern. Huzzah!

NaNo Update

Today's WC: 2188
Total WC: 32,847

Day Nineteen: Like a Bird on a Wire

Day Nineteen and it's a day off. Woo hoo! Last two days I had off I ended up - not unsurprisingly - not writing at all. Naughty! Had a full day at work yesterday and had no time to write as I battled through the hail and storms to go and watch Low Anthem at Leaf on Bold Street in the evening.

I've seen Low Anthem a few times now - the Deaf Institute gig ranks as one of my Top Ten ever gigs (probably, maybe I need to write down a top ten and see what I come up with... a job for later) - and they've changed. First gig I've been to for a while, and I'm not sure having been there that I can even call it a gig. It was more a performance piece. Certainly not a hits show or sing-a-long. Although they did get us to sing with them at the end on Like a Bird on a Wire. Enjoyed the performance piece. Even my shushing was fun. Shhhhush!

Anyway, to the writing. Having not written yesterday I'm a little behind, but not that far. I've got to make up those 1667 words up over the next few days. Shouldn't be a problem. I managed it last week after all.

This morning I've gone in and finally finished Chapter 5. Was beginning to think that would never happen. I'm now thinking I may split it into two chapters actually, we'll see. The Christmas Crawl could probably stand alone; even if the protagonists can't stand at all by the end of it.

Anyway, I rattled off 2000 words in just over a couple of hours. Chapter finished. Decent word count.

Happy with that, Charlie Darwin? Yup!

Writing hint of the day: TURN OFF TWITTER!!

Today's WC: 2030
Total WC: 30,659

Day Seventeen: Stress Test

Day Seventeen and another work day. It's actually been a strange few weeks delivering stuff for Amazon. They've been busy getting loads more drivers in and part of that has resulted in all of us having really small routes before the Xmas rush starts in earnest. It's meant I've had loads more time than usual to do things like... well NaNo. It would have been impossible to do this last year (we've over 50% more drivers now). Should mean it's better for the holiday period. The new guys after a few weeks of half days (or less) though won't know what's hit them shortly.

As part of the build up to the madness we started a three day 'stress test' to see how everything and everyone will do with the bigger routes. Meant a more usual finish for me (5:30pm). Losing that two or three hours I've had lately in the afternoon definitely impacted on the writing. I got down 1760 words eventually in the late evening. And still have some more to go - I'm still on Chapter 5! which I feel is probably a tad bloated now. Just need to finish it and move on. The bloatedness can be reviewed and it can be gutted at a later date.

In general I'm still on track. About 300 words ahead of par.

Part of the stress test is giving people something like 3x what we've been doing lately, which means that on one of the three days I'll be given off - as there are correspondingly less routes. So if I don't get any writing done tomorrow (I've a Low Anthem gig to attend) I'll have to write twice as much on Saturday or Sunday.

Anyway, time for sleepzzzz. More test of stress tomorrow.

Keep writing.

Today's WC: 1760
Total WC: 28,629

Day Sixteen: Magnficent Seven

Day Sixteen was another work day. It was nice to get back on track yesterday after a weekend without much productivity. To some extent the pressure was off - and If I wrote anywhere near 1500 words I'd be on track still.

And yes I was relaxed about it, so much so I watched a film rather than write in the evening. Shock! Horror!!

But to be fair it was The Magnificent Seven, which shouldn't need an excuse anyway but does have one, for it features - a bit - in my NaNo novel. So my couple of hours of film buffery was down to research. Okay?!

As for the writing the remaining half of Chapter 5 comprise a pub crawl of the group of lads through Liverpool (uncannily there are seven of them, though not one is Yul Bryner). I know some Liverpool pubs. And I have heard tell of pub crawls before. So a quick piece outlining an increasingly drunk wander through some of Liverpool's best pubs shouldn't present a problem. And er.. won't.

Whilst I didn't finish the chapter or pub crawl off I did get 1740 words down (I got up to Pub 7 of 10, in Chapter 5 of 10). I reckon another 1000 words to finish the chapter and then I get into the next daft month. That'd be January and Chapter 6 for those not following.

Todays WC: 1740
Total WC: 26,869

Day Fifteen: Glass Half Full

Day Fifteen and that means I'm half way in days to the end of NaNo challenge. Of course the challenge is 50,000 words in 30 days so all things being equal to be around the 25k mark would be a laudable goal. And you know what, I've done it: Huzzah!

It was another working day, but an early finish meant I could get stuck into it late afternoon. By the end of the day I was still working on Chapter 5 (of 10) but I should finish that tomorrow. But I've got the word count up with an impressive 2839 words today, which is pretty much up there along side my best day.

This chapter is a bit sprawling (two Christmas parties and cunning plans will do that) and I'm sure it'll take a hit when it comes to editing, whenever this story gets revisited, but I've got my ideas down, some okay narrative and hopefully the right amount of jokes, farce and downright scary realism.

'Jokes, farce and downright scary realism' umm that sounds a bit too much like this year's elections. But there's no politics involved. Promise.

Chapter 5 is set in December and the season of football club Christmas parties. My main protagonist fails to take out TB Fergie despite a detailed and all too cunning plan that could not go wrong - until it did - predictably, but it doesn't end well for Carlos Tevez and it ended even worse for Joey Barton.

And as for the pink negligee, well the less said the better.

Todays WC: 2839
Total WC: 25,129

NaNo WC 1511

Day Fourteen: Playing Catch Up

Day Fourteen was my first day back at work after a whole 2-day weekend. Saturday involved an ale trip to Leek and Macclesfield. Leek was excellent, Macclesfield less so. And on Sunday it was birthday central in my family and a lovely meal in Auberge in a less than sunny Southport. So writing took a back seat this weekend. Still, I did manage to write some notes on Saturday on the coach (before the ale) on Chapter 5.

Today after work I first had to write an article about a pub in Liverpool for BEER magazine. It was 450 words and it took me a while but I got there. Still need to dig out a few photos for the article too. Hopefully be in the Spring edition of the magazine.

Now that is out the way - barring photos and any revisions - I've no excuse. I got to write 1710 words today on Chapter 5 and hope to get to be close to finishing that tomorrow. That said that will be a tallish order. Finishing the chapter should leave me at half way in terms of both chapter numbers and total word count. It is a bit of a complicated chapter. Or it is the way I've started it at any rate. So we'll see how it goes.

Anyway, good to get some writing done again today.

WC: 1710
Total WC: 22,290

Keep writing dudes.

Day Eleven: Wing Dingers

Day Eleven was another work day, but an early finish meant that I could get some decent words down in the afternoon; in fact I managed over 2000. Then in the evening I watched the England v Scotland match on the telly which was very poor despite the score line suggesting otherwise. And don't get me started on why Scotland were playing in Pink... Blue doesn't clash with England's white kit, just play in blue! England ended up somehow winning 3-0 but their performance was poor with so many loose passes and poor interceptions. From a Liverpool perspective I was pleased that Sturridge and Lallana both scored, but was more pleased that they didn't get injured.

Anyway, back to the writing. I had more to do and reeled off a rushed ending to the chapter with another 850 words.

All in all today's word count was 2913, very much a record for me. Huzzah!

That said, I am dissatisfied with the way the chapter ended and it'll need a fair bit of work when I get back to editing it sometime in the months to come.

At least I got the set play rounded off, after a fashion, and hospitalised a major Welsh International in the attempt to nobble Fergie. Next time TB, next time!

Not sure I'll get any writing done over next couple of days. Maybe a few hundred on Sunday? We'll see. If I write nothing over the two days it won't be the end of the world, I'll just be some 1100 words behind par which is easily catch-up-able.

Tatty bye. And keep writing!

Today's WC: 2913
Total WC: 20,580

Day Ten: Revolution No.9

Day Ten of NaNo. Firstly you may have noticed that I kind of skipped Day Nine. I think a lot of people may have struggled yesterday with events in America going off like little bombs everywhere.

Well, I didn't skip the project or the city (despite the bloody Trump nightmare). I'd printed off the current chapter I'm working on (Chapter 4) and took it into town with me when I went for a beyond needed haircut. After said smartening up I went through the chapter making some minor changes and additions by hand before making notes on the remaining parts of the chapter.

I didn't have time to make all the changes before midnight yesterday. Indeed I only typed up a few of them, so my sum total of words added yesterday was 51! Like I said though I'd actually done a fair bit more and done the planning for today's writing.

So Day Ten. A day that saw the candidate endorsed by the KKK going in to the White House to meet the US's first black President. When you see the story lines of 2016 it makes all our NaNo efforts seem a bit pointless in comparison. Truth stranger than fiction; unfortunately the current happenings would seem to lie in the horror section of any bookshop (although maybe it's an Alternative History, Horror & Black Comedy mash-up).

Anyway enough of that stuff, back to my NaNo. I've managed to catch up some but not all my lost words from yesterday's short effort and written 2,606, which is my best single day so far. Over the last couple of days that puts the average at 1325 then, about 350 short of the daily aim. In short, not too bad at all really.

I've still got one more day to write up this chapter and hope to finish it tomorrow. After that I may not get writing done until Monday. But you never know, some words must be a possibility.

Total WC: 17667


Day Eight: Please God, Not Trump

Day Eight of NaNo and it's been another working day. I've so far managed to write every day. As I've said I'm aware though that I've probably got at least four days when I won't be writing - or at least not writing more than low hundreds if I'm lucky. So at some point during the month I'll either have to get ahead of the game or play catch-up. I suspect it'll be the latter but even if I just write a bit more at this stage, and get a hundred or two down on the 'non-writing days' it will be less daunting towards at the end.

I've done 1826 words by 7pm which is pretty much par again for number done per day so far. The chapter seems a bit rambling to me and I've found it quite hard to get down, but I've only really got the last third of it to do now which as a 'set play' type of event should be easier to write once I get into it. I hope!

Today for my brief Google research I've mostly been searching for electrical 'accidents'. Ha ha!

My hero, for want of a better word, is off to cause mayhem and it won't end well. I know that, even if he doesn't.

May get a few more words down later. In fact if I can get down another 250 or so that'll put me a full day ahead i.e. leave me okay for one of those 'days off'. Now if that's not an incentive then I don't know what is. Anyway my word counts (for now) are:

Today's WC: 1826
Total WC: 14,758

Updated this website with the ability to track it on GoSquared and added Comments from Disqus. Flip I used to know this stuff. I've had to learn about it again. And it'd changed. So will see if I've sorted that right or not...

So only added another 252 words to get up to 15,010.

Tomorrow will try and finish the chapter...

now I'm off to bed and will fall asleep listening to the BBC and the news on well.... Please God, Not Trump.... Sleep well folks - it's worse than Halloween this.


Day Seven: Bitty By Bit

Day Seven has proved a bit bitty. I completed Chapter one... ish. I'm not sure about the end of it. But it's done for now. It'll not be revisited for a month I dare say. And that was another 900 words or so.

I then uploaded a photograph of me to go on the NaNoWriMo page, as I felt obliged with my flashdog NaNo buddies all having photos up already. All three are veterans so they may have been up for years - so I felt it was appropriate to put an old pic of me up.

And then I sketched a quick cover for it. Yes, I have a cover. I thought it'd be nice to have something up there even if it's a *ahem* bit basic. So here it is. 'Fergie Time: the cover'. Take 1.

Fergie Time 200

Later I went back to the writing and wrote another 900+ words for Chapter 4: 'A Winger and a Prayer'

Anyway, onwards and upwards. Would be nice to get a couple of days above 2000 down this week - particularly as I know I'll be doing little or no writing this coming Saturday and Sunday. Eek!


WC: 1910
WC total: 12,932


Day Six: Ten Thousand

Day Six and I've made it to 10,000 words. That's a milestone that is. Never written anything with this many words in before. If I had a hat on I'd take it off and say 'well done my good fellow'. But I don't. And it would be a bit weird so I'd probably creep myself out a bit doing that. It's at times like this that I'm glad I don't have a hat.

Have gone back to Chapter 1 to create the scene setting (largely football fans drinking in a pub - no idea where I get these ideas from!?) and introduce the characters. About half way through the chapter I think, so I hope to finish it off tomorrow. Gonna print today's words off now and take it down the pub, where I'll be watching the Liverpool game. So may well get a few more words down later. We'll see. And hopefully see Liverpool go to the top of the league!

Cheers folks. Keep writing.



WC: today 1671
WC: total 11,022

Day Five: Four One

Day Five and after work I managed 1963 words in Chapter 3 to go with the 520 which 'came in over night' so my best day so far with 2483 words. That gives me a current running total of over 9000. Woo hoo!

Now, I'm not saying they are good words. And there lies the rub, or some of it. At some point I'm going to have to print off a few chapters and read the damn thing. I know it's not going to be great. But it's a thing which I have down on paper which I didn't have before. Something to work on.

And one of the questions must be whether it is good to start going back over it early on or else get to the end first. I can guess the answer already; 'Different strokes for different folks'.

We'll see.

Tomorrow I think I am going to do Chapter 1. If I can finish that then maybe - just maybe - a quick shifty through the three chapters will be in order by Monday. But could it do more harm than good in halting the momentum?

Tomorrow I've also got to start writing an article for BEER magazine (really). And who know... Angry Hourglass is back for its second week of this run.

Anyway, happy writing you guys, whatever you be writing on.


Today's WC: 2483
Rolling WC: 9351

Day Four: Four Two

Day Four brought me on to Chapter... wait for it....

Well, yes, wait for it indeed. I got diverted from NaNo and ended up first entering a story on the Microcosms flash fiction challenge site (300 words). Not sure if that was a good idea. Let's face it if I ended up being a few hundred words down today on NaNo I'd have been a bit peeved with myself. But hey, couldn't help myself. And as ever on Microcosms I didn't spin!

Anyway, back to NaNo and I was to begin Chapter 3. This is my 'Great British Bake Off' chapter.

I had the main character variously watching crap footy, drinking down the Midden, cooking Victoria sponge and ordering chemicals from a catalog. Oh and watching far too much (aka any amount of) 'Homes Under The Hammer' and 'Bargain Hunt' too.

I managed to bang out 1680 words in a couple of hours in the afternoon. I had to dip in and out of Google to research a variety of things relating to real events and people and potential cake-based incidents. Quite fun. I'm sure my searches will have resulted in me now be being monitored from Cheltenham, if I wasn't already.

Late on in the evening, after 11:30pm, I wrote another 520 words. But as it got finished gone midnight these words have fallen into Day Five on the NaNoWriMo website. It's a shame as having done 2200 words in a day sounded really good. Now having done 520 for the following day this last spurt of creativity doesn't sounds quite as good. Anyway either I'll 'just' write 1150 tomorrow after work to take me up to par or I'll try and do another 1660. We'll see. I'm off Sunday so the pub may call me after 1150...

Anyway, time for sweet dreams of Mary Berry, Paul Hollywood and a bizarre cake based accident which may not entirely be an accident.

Night night.

Day Three: Na No No Yeah

Day Three of NaNo and it was a question of getting in and trying to finish of the chapter. I've actually started on Chapter 2. The reason being I can plough straight into the story while Chapter 1 is more a bit of scene and character setting. I'll get back to that between chapters at some point.

The whole book is planned (and I use that word in the loosest sense) to have a round TEN chapters - I think - which is damn handy as far as planning is concerned. If I can write ten 5000 words per chapter then I am there, aren't I? If I'm short or need to finish off the story beyond I may find myself with an Epilogue as a hand word dump *ahem*. It is all go with the flow, aint it?

The first chapter is going to be short though, I am sure, so I'll be needing words elsewhere but it's too early to see how closely the sections will match. Some chapters/events will be more complicated than others.

In terms of word count today I've come in under the 1667 words again, with an almost round 1450 but that's okay with the extra words yesterday the average over the three days is just about spot on at 5188. Hallelujah!

It means I can get me usual Thursday pint in and not worry about falling behind with each word not typed. As I'm commuting for my beer I could print out the 16 pages (?!!) and see how it reads. But it may be a bit early for self criticism and editing...

BTW I realise I haven't said what the 'story' is about yet. But I'll post stuff about it over the coming week or two. Don't you worry.

See you tomorrow - for a new chapter (1 or 3? We will see.)


Day Two: NeNa NaNo

Day Two was another working day, and not as early a finish as yesterday but I didn't do bad in terms of word count. Not quite finished the chapter hopefully get to finish it tomorrow. I don't know when to get around to reading it to see how rambling and incoherent it is. I'm guessing best doing that later rather than sooner in terms of carrying on and getting the bulk of the story down.

After spending sometime yesterday putting an iTunes Playlist together and listening to it a bit whilst working, today I started of with a bit of Mozart and then largely worked without music at all. I think 'wordy' music or even music that gets my head nodding may be okay before being in charge of a keyboard and a story with its whims and random acts of chance, but during it those song words may get involved with the story at some point. I think I may give Sigur Ros an hour or two at some point during the month rather than silence. Will be useful to know what really works best for me.

Anyway I managed 2213 words today, which after being a little low yesterday (1435) happily brings me back on track and gives me the knowledge that I can do 2000 words in a day. Even a working one. Woo hoo!

I even had time to update my website a little and - obviously - write this blog.

See you soon! x

It's Here!! NaNoWriMo

Day One of NaNo (that's what I'm calling it from now on, live with it) and it was a working day like most of the month will be, but the working part of the day was short and okay. So I managed a few hours of writing late afternoon (3.30-6.30pm) and I've got myself an okay start - 1435 words.

Assuming you get to write every day you would need to write 1667 words per day to get to that magic 50k. That's a big assumption - I've already identified at least three days I am likely not to contribute many more than a few hundred or do a little re-reading/editing. So, say four days not writing at all that gets you up to 2000 words required a day. Um, that means I'm behind already. Okay, let's not go there. I'll have days above 2000 - possibly.

It's a question of getting into a groove and seeing how the story writing flows and hoping it doesn't stick much. I've already had to pop in and out of the writing to google research on silly little phrases and ideas.

The story is set around a Liverpool supporter with a cunning plan and so of course I had to create an appropriate Liverpool Playlist before I started the typing. Cue: La's, Bunnymen, Real People, Amsterdam, Space, Beatles, Boo Radleys, Johnny Cash (Ring of Fire), Gomez, Beta-Band & Steve Mason and Alun Parry.

It'll be fun this.

- I think.


Hiya! It's been a while. Okay, it's been never. Not on this site anyway.

It's a blog. A writerer's blog from me, A.J. Walker. Thought I should get one up and running so I can a) put up my progress on my first ever NaNoWriMo during November 2016 and b) explain the reasons for the lack of progress on a).

Nice to meet you!