So yes, I’m doing a blog (I do hear the pervasive groans from all, I do – I promise).
My reasons are predominantly self serving: Mainly on the part of wanting to have something out there to build an audience for my first novel; partly to exorcise some demons, but also because a lot of the pages and stuff out there I’ve found on creative writing and the process, were generally a bit condescending (people I’ve never heard of saying never to use the word That, or to never say how that a character felt something), was full of bravado (subtext of I think I’m really awesome) and a lot of secrecy (only the finished perfect work ever gets seen), and I wanted to just do something brutally honest as I pursue this rather ridiculous task I’ve set myself.
Now, lets get one thing straight first of all. I’m not a writer.
I haven’t studied literature, I’m not a journalist, I’m not published, I do technical reports as a Loss Adjuster and I did a short course at NIDA in screenwriting once but that’s it. So I will proudly tell you I have no idea what I’m doing. Literally, no, fucking, idea.
So, why am I writing a novel?
If I’m honest it was as much a surprise to me as anyone. It kind of came to me out of the blue. But if I had to list reasons it would probably be bullet points. Yes, bullet points, see:
1. I’ve found over the years that most of my creativity has centred around the bleak and sad and in particular on the world ending. Most of what I’ve made (a crappy screenplay in 2004 and a solo concept album, which eventually got made into a solo EP) have centred on this theme with mixed results. There’s something in me that I need to get out. Something which I’ve since identified as my own fear of death, of not existing, and that in a million billion years no one will remember me or maybe even us as a species.
2. Add in a little bit of jealousy and arrogance after reading a particular book (I won’t mention names, and no, it wasn’t Twilight), where when I finished the book and soon after said to myself, “That was the least crafted writing I’ve ever read! I reckon I can at least do better than that!” Yeah, Nathan. Classy.
I’ve not retracted that thought since, although maybe after actually trying to accomplish such a feat I’ve tempered my arrogance somewhat.
3. I was travelling with my girlfriend in Turkey. In particular I was hanging out in Istanbul, one of the most inspirational places in the world and with an amazing woman to boot! It was also that I was drinking, eating and sight-seeing with the then boyfriend of my girlfriend’s sister; the Turkish journalist Özgür Mümcü, who had just published his first novel, Bariş Makinesi which translates to Peace Machine. I can’t wait to read it (my Turkish ain’t great and an English translation isn’t coming until next year). 😦
So I got out my phone, got out the notes app and just started writing. I then progressed to Werdsmith and now Scrivener.
It’s now been almost a year to the day since I started my novel, looking out over the Aegean, on the Turkish beaches of Özdere. I still write on my phone predominantly, although I print my work and also read aloud a lot and also use Siri (and my girlfriend) to speak it back to me at times too, Go technology and girlfriends!
I generally write in bars. Actually, here’s a shot of where I’m currently laying shit down awwww yeeeee:
I’ve written probably close to 60,000 words, a good third of which has already seen the cutting room floor. I’ve got 15 chapters in various stages of drafting (which I would still consider as generally draft 0, haha). I’m a member of three writing groups; two are workshop style, one is pure and uninterrupted output time. I’ve submitted a few short stories for competitions (none of which I’ve won or placed…). And it’s probably one of the greatest things I’ve ever done in my life!
I look forward to any time I can get to write, review and learn about writing. I hopefully want to turn writing into a paid thingamabob and become a professional writer. It just makes me feel amazing!
As for my novel. I think it’s pretty good (as in it’s OK). At one stage I knew where it was going. Now, I’m not so sure. I’m enjoying my characters and exploring what they want to do. It’s like reading the book I’m writing whilst I’m writing it – if that makes sense – which feels exciting!
I’ll try and put up the first chapter of the book (as it is so far) as a link on the page so you can get an idea of what I’m doing.
In the meantime, what’s my book about?
Well first, here’s a (pretentious) blurb a wrote a while ago:
‘Following the discovery of Dark Matter, a chain reaction occurs disrupting the magnetosphere deep in the Earth’s core, condemning the world and all living things to a slow and inevitable end.
Our only hope lies in Atrus; a planet light years away in the Proxima Centauri star system which exhibits signs of habitable conditions; and Sirrius, the first interstellar spacecraft; charged on a ten year journey to visit Atrus and determine if we have a future there.
But already humanity is changed. Nations have collapsed, communalism and ideological fanaticism prevail, and by the time the Sirrius returns, there may not be much left to save. It may be too late.
What is life in the frame of an ultimate end? What are dreams without a future? Does the death of our mortal body negate the whole of our existence?
Take a journey to the end of life in It Always Ends, the first novel by Nathan McMahon.’
As for a bit more info, well, I love bullet points and I like rationalising the story in this way, so:
- The world is ending…slowly…like 15 years slowly
- In this development, the majority of western culture collapses. Predominantly because it’s based on capitalism and when there’s no longer a future or an indeterminate forever to work towards, things get pretty crazy, quickly.
- America is a chaotic wasteland, so too are most modern democratic societies.
- What prevails is communalism, communism and self-sufficient living.
- The communist Russia, whilst largely abandoned and huddled around large metropolises is the prevailing society and heads The European Union. The EU, using the same technology which doomed the earth has built a spaceship to explore a habitable planet called Atrus.
- The book is largely set in Russia, and follows three main narratives; being:
- The spaceship and its crew on the journey to Atrus to save humanity
- A terrorist who kills himself in the opening scene in a bombing as the spaceship launches above Moscow – his tale told in reverse; starting with his death.
- An American expat who survives the terrorist blast and decides to leave her Russian husband, leave Russia and return to the ruined America and find her sister who has fled to Alaska.
I’ll leave it at that for now.
I’ll try and update at least once a month (or at the very least when I can’t get words to my book down).
If you want to find out more on the story or see my hi-jinx in trying to complete this mammoth task, then click the subscribe button (is there a subscribe button… maybe just bookmark). And if you have any questions, let me know!