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The Aftermath of Hope



I accepted a long time ago that my default status is single. I’m just not designed for sharing my life with other people, and that’s fine. I don’t like other people much anyway (there are a few I like, but only a few) so not to have them around suits me and probably everyone else best.

Every so often though, I meet someone and I doubt that acceptance. She’s cute, she’s funny, she’s intelligent, she’s not completely repulsed by me – in short, she’s the sort of person I could see myself spending time with. I dismiss all that “default single” business as me building the wall and assuming the worst. You’ve got to be in it to win it, I tell myself, if you don’t buy any bread then you can’t have any cheese on toast etc etc. So I go against a lifetime of toldyouso, and I give it my best shot. Shortly after this, usually as a result of something I did or didn’t do, or sometimes because it just wasn’t to be, it becomes apparent that the chances of romance are and were nil.

This is the bit that really gets to me. I allowed myself to hope, and now I have to deal with the aftermath, the realisation that I was chasing the impossible dream, aiming for something that I can never have. It’s not having my hopes burnt that hits me, it’s having my hopes burnt AGAIN.

In the short spaces of time where I am seeing anyone, I don’t bother telling anyone else. Partly because I don’t tell anyone (in the real world) anything about my private life, and partly because I don’t want to be told, when it all ends, that it’s fine, that it’s her loss, that there are plenty more fish in the sea, that I will surely meet someone soon, that I shouldn’t give up. Because I tell myself all this stuff anyway, and it’s all bullshit.

So I refer back to my default status, a bit older, a bit wiser, a bit more determined not to go through the charade again, and the wall a bit higher. Deep down I know I will though, and that depresses me. Not the thought of it not working out, but knowing that once more I will have to deal with the aftermath of hope.


Friday Fictioneers – Peanut

Seven of your earth days have passed since we last gathered around the virtual campfire and told stories into the night. Not just random tales, but 100-word flash fiction inspired by Chief FriFicer and CampfireStoker Rochelle. This adorable pic was our starting point this week: Read more…

Sometimes writing isn’t a chore

Douglas Adams was right, he usually was about most things. Writing, he said, is easy. You just stare at a blank piece of paper until your forehead bleeds. We all recognise that feeling, that sense that it just isn’t happening.

I have been struggling to get any momentum going on my WIP lately. About ten days or so ago I decided the plot needed to be restructured. Not a huge disaster as I’m only about 5000 words in and the bulk of that start will stay (with a little editing), but it still meant I had a lot of thinking to do before I could properly get going again, and this put the brakes on the tiny amount of momentum I had managed to build up. So at lunch today, I determined that I would get something written, something of worth. I usually write from start to finish but I didn’t want to carry on from where I had left off, and I didn’t want to start again again. I decided that I would jump a few chapters to the point where the two main characters meet because (a) that scene involves a car crash which would be fun interesting to write and (b) I don’t know the two of them that well yet and seeing how they react when they meet would be a good exercise. In case you’re wondering, they don’t crash their cars into each other, it’s much more interesting than that.

Anyway, lunchtime. I edited this week’s FriFic (which you can read tomorrow when it publishes), failed to solve any of the crossword, and then opened a new document. In the twenty minutes left of my lunch break, I wrote 500 words before I had to interrupt the flow. And a flow it was, I had one of those illuminating, inspiring and, yes, enjoyable, writing sessions where the words wouldn’t stop. Details around the scene I hadn’t noticed or thought about appeared on my screen. An understanding of how the primary character’s head works and how the unusual circumstances of his life can be described came to me from the mystery place where the writing originates before it gets sent to us. In short, it was a brilliant session, and I was annoyed at having to break into it, but elated at how well it had gone. That elation is just the prompt I need to push on and make some progress on the Work In Progress. Sometimes writing isn’t a chore.

Choon Choosday: Sean Paul – Get Busy

I went to see Shaun The Sheep: The Movie last week. It was brilliant, as I knew it would be. You can rely on Aardman Animations to deliver quality entertainment. Anyway, one of the trailers before the film was for a cartoon, the name of which I forget, but it has this little beauty in it. Obviously I’ve known about this song since it came out, but it had fallen down the back of my memory’s sofa – this trailer hooked it out again for me, and I knew it would be my next featured Choosday.

As if so often the case, please listen on decent speakers or headphones to get the full effect from the fat bass. And don’t worry about other people staring if you start dancing. It’s pretty much impossible not to, it’s a



Friday Fictioneers – Crystal

If, as someone once said, a picture paints a thousand words, then that picture sounds a bit flabby, wordcount-wise. It would need to lose 900 of those words before it can feature on FriFic.

Thats right folks, in response to Rochelle‘s prompt email, writers from every landmass on this planet of ours extract a story from the image and fine tune our opuses (or is it opusses? or opi?) down to 100 words. Here is this week’s inspiration:




and since you’ve read this far, why not keep going and see which 100 words occured to me this week? They’re just below…


bit further…


nearly there…


Ah. here they come. Enjoy!



The explorations of the subterranean caves did not yield any oil, gas, coal or any other energy source. But on entering the huge cavern, Doctor Carter’s team discovered a vast crystal, beautiful and complex. They carefully dismantled and removed it and, after it was presented to the Smithsonian, reconstructed it from their notes and sketches.

On the first day of the exhibition, Doctor Carter’s pride turned to concern when the crystal emitted a blinding light…


Years and light years distant, an alarm sounded. An operative turned to his superior and, in their native tongue, said, “Sir, we have a transmission.”



Choon Choosday: Björk – Hunter

It’s been a while since I featured any Björk on Choosday. In fact, considering she is one of my all-time favourite artists, she has appeared surprisingly rarely. Anyway, this is a truly magnificent work from the Homogenic album. It’s one of those where every individual part, each instrument, is truly inspired, and the combination of the whole rises above being the sum of the parts to something even greater. My usual warning applies to this one – if you want to only hear half the tune and miss out on it’s true majesty, listen through shitty laptop speakers. Alternatively, fin some headphones and give your ears a treat. Björk is a genius, she is a unique talent, she looks super-hot when she’s bald. And Hunter is a




WIP update

I’m about 4000 words into my latest WIP – I won’t say “new” WIP as I actually started last summer before my old laptop died – and I have never been completely sure about some of the plot points, but I figured I would just keep going and see if anything came up.

There are two major elements that have never sat right. Firstly, the resolution. The plot would move nicely along in a planned and considered direction until it reached its point of conflict at the beginning of the third act. But I hadn’t thought through what the resolution of that conflict would be. Or rather I knew where the story had to get to, how it would end, but couldn’t think exactly how the conflict would resolve itself so as to allow the story to go on that course. I didn’t worry too much, though, something would come up. Just get stuff written, feel my way in, see how I got on. The end is 100k words away yet, who knows where we might end up.

Secondly, the circumstances whereby the story takes place. I don’t want to say too much about what the premis of the novel is, but whilst the events happen in the real, contemporary world, they are slightly removed from reality and I therefore need to explain, credibly, how the circumstances came about. I had a theory, one which made sense, but early on the main character has to explain this to another character (and, therefore, to the reader) and as I wrote this, my belief in the theory fell away – it just didn’t work. Logically it made sense but it was, frankly, a but shit.

And then, last week, from nowhere (as these thoughts usually are), I found another explanation for how the circumstances arise. One which made more sense. And, critically, one which the main character was not aware of. So whereas before he was explaining his world to somebody else, now he does not realise he lives in world outside the norm, and when peculiar events occur, he is the victim of them, not the perpetrator. This gives the whole thing a new level of plot as the MC now has to first realise this, and then work out for himself what is happening, how and why. And the reader has to do the same along with him.

My initial reaction on thinking of the new explanation of the circumstances was “shit, that means I have to rethink the whole plot and bin everything I’ve done so far”. I started writing a list of things which I would need to change, initially to put myself off this new explanation, but as I wrote the list, I thought of new, alternative plot points. Better plot points, more interesting and intriguing ones. And a new, similar but better, novel is beginning to take shape. I haven’t restarted the actual getting-the-words-down phase of the writing yet, but the pondering and plotbuilding are coming along nicely.

Where does this leave the question of the ending? Well, the plot will still arrive at the same (or at least a very similar) point of conflict, but now it is more believable that it reaches this point. So while I’m still not 100%, or even 50%, sure what the ending will be, I know it will be a better one.


Why am I telling you all this? Not to help you understand the plot, clearly, Im not sure much of what has gone before will make any sense to anyone else. No, I’m telling you all this because there is a lesson here. Don’t be afraid of having to, as Orange Juice once sang, Rip it up and start again. The first start turned out to be a false start, but I needed it as a step towards where I am now, a better place with a better plot.



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