The printing of all my stories is taking a long time, not least of all because the connection between my laptop and the printer seems to be extremely temperamental, and it forces my computer to blue screen and shut down every once in a while. But I’m doing that a little at a time while I get on with other stuff.
I unintentionally started another Jack & Patrick story this week. I was doodling and coming up with ideas, and before long I was putting something down that will probably end up being the next tale in that series.
I also set myself a little writing challenge. I asked The Fiancée© and her two children to each give me a genre and a word to act as inspiration, and I would pen a story in which they were the central character, and the other two would also appear as supporting players… and with varying degrees of success, they all gave me something to work with.
It’s tough, but the gauntlet has been thrown down (by my own hand, no less) so that’s where my efforts currently lie.
Well, as predicted (albeit a little later than I had anticipated), my eighth and latest Jack and Patrick tale is done. A Rabbit, a Fairy, and a Fat Man in a Red Suit is 2,100 words and is about a few of those childhood tent poles that are so familiar in the western world.
It’s another fun conversation between those kids, and there’s still a lot of life left in their relationship. I have some other ideas for them, but I’ll put their next adventure on hold for a while.
I want to take a couple of days to get a few submissions out there. And when I say ‘a few’ I really mean ‘a shitload’, because editors are not going to publish my work if they don’t see it in their inbox.
And after that… Lord knows, I have a load of other stories to be getting on with.
I didn’t squeeze a great deal of words into my week, primarily because about half of it was taken up with a long weekend away, travelling around Scotland. But I’m certainly not complaining about that – it was a fantastic and much-needed break.
That said, I did manage to add enough to A Rabbit, A Fairy, and a Fat Man in a Red Suit, to put me in the home stretch, and I fully expect to have this one done and dusted within the week.
Not much else to say really.
Onwards, upwards. Climb the mountain.
I’m halfway home with Jack and Patrick’s latest adventure – A Rabbit, A Fairy, and a Fat Man in a Red Suit – and it’s looking good so far. It may be the best one yet. Give me a few more days and I’ll have the framework of a first draft.
I’ve been thinking some more about the possibility of, one day, connecting all these Jack and Patrick stories with some kind of through-line – thereby making each short story a chapter in a longer work.
I know it will be difficult because each piece stands alone; a vaccuum within the larger world of the friendship of those two young boys. Although all of their stories share the same two protagonists, there is very little in the way of character development or plot movement between beginning and end.
That’s fine for what these pieces are at the moment, but it may feel like it lacks depth if I ever wave my magic wand and turn them into a novella.
I haven’t done too much new writing this week, but I’ve thrown a couple of other childhood tropes into my latest Jack & Patrick tale, and it’s now rocking the rolls-off-the-tongue title of A Rabbit, a Fairy, and a Fat Man in a Red Suit. I think those three childhood ‘superheroes’ will work better as part of one story, than my initial plan to give them each their own narrative… and if you are struggling to figure out who I’m talking about, I really don’t know what to tell you!
I’ve (unintentionally) got into the habit of making each of these episodes two thousand words long – give or take a hundred – and this one looks like it will fit right in to that pocket. The nice thing about all of these Jack & Patrick stories is that I know if I get some time to myself and find the right rhythm, I could knock this piece out in an evening.
I still have to find the time (make the time) to send off some stories as well, and – more importantly – to hunt around for representation for Slipwater, because sooner or later I will hit upon someone who likes what they are reading, and sees the value in it.
I’ve been working on my latest installment in the Jack & Patrick franchise, a Christmas story which at the moment I am calling, The Fat Man in the Red Suit.
It’s just so damn easy to write. I don’t mean that the art of writing itself is simple – because it most certainly is not – but that my familiarity with these two characters after so many words together makes the process of building a story for them a joy, even when I don’t know the ultimate goal. I’m just having fun getting there.
At this rate, I should be finished the eighth episode in my Jack & Patrick Universe in the not too distant future.
Sure, it doesn’t have the box office appeal of the MCU, but there may be some legs in the JPU yet.
A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that I had been brainstorming ideas for some new Jack & Patrick adventures. Seasonally inaccurate, I know, but one of those ideas is a Christmas story.
I started putting it together this week and got into it a little deeper than I had expected, so I now have a good chunk of the dialogue to work with. Although I do have other Jack & Patrick pieces in development, this will likely end up being the next – the eighth one – in the series.
I plan to send my novel Slipwater off to a few more agencies this week, because I’ve had a couple come back lately with a negative. Disheartening, sure, but writers are more familiar with rejection than most, and there’s always a contingency plan.
Besides, it’s their loss, because that story is money for the editor who is able to spot its potential.
I have written seven Jack & Patrick short stories since their first adventure in the summer of 2012. I have one more in progress, which has not gone very far, and this week – for no reason other than I was looking for something to do – I manufactured another few ideas for their continued friendship. These particular stories are like comfortable slippers to me, and writing them always raises a smile, so I look forward to starting those.
Not that I had any intention of doing so, but this week I also picked up an unfinished third draft of one of my personal favourite short stories, Jigsaw. It’s coming along well and should be finished by the end of play tomorrow if I get the time to do it. It really doesn’t need much work but I have been adding some stuff and tidying the language up as I go along.
Jigsaw was accepted for publication in early 2015, but the magazine folded before it ever saw the light of day, which was a real shame because it would have been a quality feather in my cap. Perhaps once this redraft is completed, I will be able to give it the home it deserves.
In June 2012 I wrote a short children’s comedy called The Stork, about ten-year old best friends Jack and Patrick, as they discussed where babies came from. It was intended to be an antidote to the darkness and depression that sometimes permeates my words, but a few months later I wrote Robotosaurus Rex, which was another snapshot of these two boys’ childhoods; this time as they talked about time travel. Over the last few days I finished writing When We’re All Grown Up – the third tale in what I now am beginning to see as chapters in a larger project that I had not planned at all.
I have no immediate plans to write a fourth entry in this series, but The Jack & Patrick Chronicles (as I now see these stories) do lend themselves to other conversational adventures. Kids talk about a lot of stuff – some of it banal and meaningless, but a lot of it is interesting and worthy of some lightly humourous exploration.
Before I know it I could have something much larger on my hands.