Friday, November 17, 2006

Children in Need Writing diary

Since 6 o'clock last night I have been writing non-stop (more or less) as part of the Children in Need writing marathon, along with 20 other dedicated people. This is my diary of the past 24 hours...



17:54:
Feeling ridiculously nervous. It’s the pressure of trying to do better than last year. I always do this, it’s why I’m useless at sports and hobbies. When I used to go swimming I ended up staying in the pool for 90 minutes because I always had to do ONE LENGTH MORE THAN THE LAST TIME. And so I’m now panicking that I won’t be able to do as much or as well as last year’s effort.
I’ll be okay once I’ve started. In the immortal words of my partner, "I’m ready now…"

19:00
First one done. Not great, mid nineties I should think. But we’re under way…

19:39
Quick flash down, 800 words. Just received a rejection as well, but I made the shortlist, so it’s not too bad. Feeling more relaxed now. Nothing great with either story, but I can feel myself loosening up. Both stories so far have been experiments with voice. Probably need a plot now…

19:55
Quick nonsense poem.
Jesus, that’s two hours since I started this diary. Feels like quarter of an hour.

20:23
Silly questionnaire thing done. The basic idea was already there so I developed it quite quickly. I’ll have to stop drinking so much tea – I need a loo break every half hour.

20:58
First weird story of the night. Probably the best so far. No idea where that one came from.

21:58
Longest so far, a 1000 worder. Very creepy, but thin on plot. It’s tough when you send your story in and the next set of prompts is already waiting for you… Need a five minute breather, I think. It’s been pretty constant for the last couple of hours.

22:57
Another weird one. It changes voice half way through but I couldn’t help it and don’t have time to fix it now. It started off as a comedy and ended up something very obscure. It could be good when it’s fixed.
Opening up a bottle of wine soon. How decadent….

23:30
Weird where things come from. I was doing a poem this hour so I could have a little break and Princess Diana came into it from somewhere. Then I wrote Eurovision 98. No idea why, I just put it down. Googled it and it was held in the UK, which fitted for the poem, and it was won by Dana International, the Israeli tranny. Dana/Diana: beauty/tranny seemed to fit perfectly. There’s just no accounting for it.
Having a ten minute break now as my eyes are definitely going funny.
6 stories
2 poems
4401 words.

01:00
Fuck. Just finished one story, the next set of prompts are here. Where did the last hour and a half go???? Feeling very, very tired now. It’s the stage where you either write brilliant or bollocks. You don’t know while you’re writing it, that’s the trouble… Okay, on we go, another round…

01:34
Written a very short, very odd piece. Don’t know – it’s either good or it’s not. It’s too hard to say at this time of night. It’s what came out. Might manage a poem before 2…

01:59
Another poem, very silly. Could have worked half way through, but I ran out of time and it became trite.

02:00
Fuck, another set of prompts…

07:56
Bailed out at two, was seeing two screens and couldn’t think straight. Back now, cup of tea at the ready, waiting….

08:57
Major calamity averted. My Word has a glitch and sometimes freezes. It just froze 850 words into a story. I forced a shutdown and opened up, hoping it had recovered the story. It had, most of it. Lost the last couple of paras only. An odd story, one of those which could be very good or too slight: sometimes you’re too close to them to tell.

09:29
A very short one done. I’m finding it very hard to write humour. It’s usually my fall-back, I write a lot of it. But I’ve started a couple of stories as humour and they’ve ended up turning very black. Must say something about my current state of mind…
I’m actually feeling quite perky at the moment. Not as spaced out as last year. Around this time last year I was having the hallucinatory experience with the black cat. Nothing so odd this time. So far.

09:58
Nonsense poem sent off. Just phoned the doctor’s to rearrange my appointment. It feels strange doing real life things after all this time hunched over a screen.
Next lot due any moment…

10:54
jeez, these stories just will not go where I expect them to. That was weird, very, very weird. Yet another one set up for gentle humour and what happened? To be honest, I don’t know.
The post has just arrived with the new Be Good Tanyas CD I’ve just bought off eBay. Wish I could listen, but I can’t write and listen to music.
My eyes are sore again. Think I need a fifteen minute break, so maybe I will listen to a bit of it.

11:27
Broken the 8000 word barrier. Almost reached last year’s total. 13 stories, 3 poems. Going well, but feeling tired, and my eyes hurt. It doesn’t do to move too quickly, or I get dizzy.
There’s another black, black story written. Lighten up, man…

11:52
Another poem done.
Just been out in the garden. There’s a world out there. People are doing ordinary things. Why isn’t everyone having to do this? I feel the urge for garlic bread. Got the oven heating up… Guess that means no vampire stories coming up…

12:46
God, another sad one. It’s quarter to one. How did that happen? I’ve only got a couple of hours to go. Just short of 9000 words, so I’ll make 10k by the end. I’ll be happy with that.
Garlic bread was lovely, by the way. Just the job. I can’t drink any more bloody tea though. I’m peeing every twenty minutes. The chat on the CiN board is almost exclusively about food now – HP or Daddies sauce with a bacon butty being the principal debating point. Neither, I would say. Stick some pickle on it.

13:50
Another voice story, no plot, just voice. And a poem that purports to mean something but doesn’t. Like most poetry, in my opinion.
15 stories, 5 poems, 20 total.
9897 words.
One more hour to go and it’s time for me to sign off and leave it to the rest.
As of a few minutes ago, the group are on 220 stories since 6pm last night. That’s impressive going from only 20 people…
I’m starting to feel demob happy.

15:00
And that’s it from me. Have to stop now so I can drive back home for the weekend. It’s been a blast. Ended with another real odd one. It’s the strangest thing, where stories come from. I’d started writing this one and got stuck. Went to make some tea and the end came to me as I was watching the steam rise from the cup.

So, the totals:
Stories 16
Poems 5
TOTAL 21 (same as last year)
Word count 10,807 (2k more than last year.)
Diary 1222 words
GRAND TOTAL 12,029 words.
And with that, it’s time to say adieu. Good luck to the rest of the brave writers who still have nine hours to go…

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Excellent!
Well done, I'm looking forward to reading them and trying to pick your stories out.