Sunday 17 November 2013

What I did today Sun 17th November

I've not had a lot to say on the blog recently so I thought I'd change tack a little bit for a while and use it more like a diary. I'm not sure how much my boring life will interest people but here are a few of my thoughts for today.

So, what did I do today?

First up, I went over to my new (old) house and continued the renovation work on the man cave / office room. This is a tiny room about 2.5m square at the back of the house, facing on to the neighbour's tiny back garden. It's wood framed so the other day I went out and bought what I thought looked like a nice colour but what actually turned out to be a poo-brown. Still, once I had the paint I thought I might as well use it, so now the wooden frames and the crossbeams of the ceiling are a fetching warm brown. Figuring white would go well with it, yesterday I painted the inner window frame (also wood) and this morning I was putting on a base layer of white paint across the ceiling with the hope of it brightening the room up a bit. Next week I'm hoping to be ready to wallpaper and then put some kind of carpeting down.

After a very brief lunch I had to go to a high school speech contest at a local college. For those who don't know, my day job is as any assistant language teacher in a Japanese high school, in Nagano, a smallish city in the Japan Alps. In this contest I had one student from one school doing the speech, and two from my other school (my "visit" school - I go there on Tuesdays and Thursdays) doing the recital. My speech student came second, which was nice. My other students didn't place unfortunately, but their pronunciation was beautiful, and I think if the judges weren't so taken in by all the wild gestures and dramatics of some of the other students they would have placed higher. Still, they're only first years so its good experience if they do it next year.

One thing I learned, actually, from the speech contest and my reactions to some of the OTT speeches, is that you can't lie to your audience. As a speech coach I insist on students acting natural, being believable. If a student is doing a speech about a trip to Germany, I want to believe that they have actually been there. Same with fiction. I want to believe it isn't fiction. I want to believe it's something that actually happened.

Afterwards, I came home, put out the trash and went for a jog. Up to 2010 I used to run half-marathons quite regularly, and actually completed Nagano full marathon (which half killed me). In the last 18 months I've been writing like a demon with over half a million words chalked up, about the same I produced in the eight or nine years previously, but one thing all that sitting around does it get you fat. I've gained a good five kilos in that time, so I figured it was time to start taking it off. I did about 5km in 31 minutes which is nothing special but a decent start. Got a feeling I'm going to hurt tomorrow ...

And so if you've trawled this far through my not particularly interesting day I'll give you the best writing updates that I can right now. Exile is finished and with the editor. I'm hoping to get it back within the next week or so. Revenge is also finished. I'm currently going through it for the third time, mostly fine-tuning and making sure the character motivation is right. For example, for a character to decide to do something major they have to be seen to be coming to that decision, they can't just do it without prior warning. I've added in a couple of extra chapters. The cover is almost finished too. I'm expecting it back in a couple of days. I've seen a draft and its proper badass. I'll be keeping it under wraps until after Exile is out, though.

I've also be thinking about plans for next year. I want to keep stepping up the writing and produce more books, so I've set a tentative plan to write four novels, each taking two months with the interim months for editing and stuff. I'd also like to get out a trunk novel, so best case scenario would be five new novels. What they'll be, I can't say. While the Tube Riders main story is done, there is plenty of scope for further stories within the same world, so I'll be thinking about some of those. I also have half a horror novel I want to finish. I'd like to do another novella in my Beat Down series under a pen name. No one buys them (the first is free on Amazon) but they're fun to write. We'll see.

Anyway, there's still an hour or so left in the day so I need to go and see what Marta Banks and friends are up to ...

Chris Ward
Sunday 17th November

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