For those of you new to this WordPress site, this site is about me and my writing – and a little about my role-playing, as well. It gives readers a chance to sample my work before purchasing it on the Kindle store; and gives me the chance to say a little about the genesis of each novel, or about the process of writing in general.
Inspiration From Beer: Most Friday evenings I go along to one of the public houses in my home town, to partake of the refreshments there. I always take a notebook and pen with me. I make sure that I always have something on me for noting down ideas, even if it is only my mobile phone. Writers, ideally, should always carry a notebook with them, as ideas may strike at any time.
The people who I drink with do not usually turn up for a half an hour to an hour after I arrive in the pub, so I spend the time trying to do the Guardian crossword (and usually failing); or, if I tire of that, I will spend the time trying to come up with some ideas, whether in the forms of verse, or an outline for some short story. Sometimes these scribblings get rejected. But, at other times, they will form the basis for something which I will self-publish, once I have rewritten and edited what I have noted down.
I try to write freely, going for speed rather than anything else. Sometimes my writing becomes such a jagged scrawl that I can only guess at what I have written. I suspect that more than one poem has not been transcribed correctly. But I can keep up quite a good speed, even though I don’t do shorthand or anything like that. If the muse is with me I can sometimes scribble down the first seven hundred words of a short story while waiting for my friends to show their faces.
The beer helps me. It relaxes me. I don’t actually like being in a pub when I am sober. I suffer from all manner of mental stresses and other problems, and I find being around people whom I do not know to be particularly stressful. It is only when I have had a couple of pints that I relax, and cease to feel n edge. But if I did not go out on that Friday night then I would not associate with humanity at all. I would simply sit at home, on the bed next to my computer, tapping away at my keyboard until my index finger is too bruised for me to write any more. So, believe it or not, going to the inn is an important social occasion for me.
I have set stories in pubs in the past, usually short stories, although there is also the experimental novella called Canto. The Man Who Became Ray Davies is a short story collection featuring stories which have been told in a public house, as is a short story collection which I am currently working on called Pub Tales. I’m not sure when that latter collection will see the light of day, as it is currently a little anaemic, being only forty one thousand words or so, even though I have started all of the short stories which I intend to include in that work.
Most of the stories for Pub Tales are ones which I have begun noting down while sitting in a pub, with a pint of beer on the table in front of me. that was one of the points of the collection; for it not only to be short stories related to the narrator while in a public house, but for me to have come up with the idea for the stories while sitting in my favourite drinking hole.
There is not a scrap of veracity to any of the short stories in the work. I am a fiction writer, not a biographer, and all of the tales are invented. Real pub conversations are usually quite dull.
I do tend to eavesdrop on people talking in public houses, though. As a writer I am interested in how people talk: in the flow of conversation. Even if you write fantasy fiction you want there to be some verisimilitude in people’s conversations. A tavern is a good place to hear such things, as you can sit in a corner, minding your business, and listen to the people at the next table, and they won’t be bothered by the fact that you’re listening to what you are saying.
As I have said, most of those conversations are quite dull. If you put those conversations into your fiction I think that the reader would be bored. I was in the pub recently and the people at the next table were talking about some amateur ruby club. Other times I have heard people talking about their cars. Or about planning their holidays. I have even heard a couple of people talk about plumbing, in the past. I’m not interested in any of those things.
Occasionally you do hear some very odd conversations, though. There was once a group of young adults, barely out of their teens, in a pub where I was imbibing an ale. It was a mixed group, and a couple of the boys were talking about bestiality. I think that they were only doing that to try to shock the girls. It didn’t work, though. Another time I heard people talking about whether it might be possible for humans to live forever; and I could not help but to break into that conversation, even though I don’t like contact with other human beings, as gerontology is an interest of mine.
When my friends turn up on the pub, and I put my notebook away for another day, we do not talk about plumbing, or cars, or football, or anything boring like that. I have heard people say that you should not talk about politics or football, or things like that. Yet, quite often, those are the things which we end up discussing, for some reason. But those are the stuff of Boredom with a capital B.
My friends and I talk about religion and politics and all the stuff that people aren’t supposed to talk about in the pub. Occasionally they may even ask how my writing is going (read the free stuff on this site and judge for yourself).
We have solved all of the problems of the world several times over, abolishing poverty along with religion, and all of the other things which discriminate against individuals.
Should my friends go to the bar, or the loo, and I find myself alone for a few minutes, then I will take out my notebook once more, and scribble down a few more words. I always have ideas; and, unfortunately, my stories will not write themselves.
Perhaps you have seen me scribbling away?
Until next time.