Welcome to the web page and blog of Gregor James, children and adult fictional author.

Wow - still reading after that naff, partly copied pun? Have you read the rest of the internet? Well whatever it is, thanks for reading. I'm not entirely sure how six months passed since the last entry. I just read that  - short story by Christmas huh? Jeez, well that didn't happen. What did happen was that I climbed on the old literary horse and was shrugged of like a..very unskilled, lightweight horseman. I wrote about 500 words and then convinced myself that it wasn't the right time to return, because I couldn't devote enough time to get a head of steam up. Thereby hangs a cautionary tale - if you let life get in the way, then it will. Every time. Learning some throwaway skill to make your work life seem a little safer and easier will outrank your need to become a literary genius every time.

Interesting what I wrote about Brad Reed Writes as well though. Because somehow I have moved from panicking about how ignorant I am about creative writing to being keen to throw in all these new tricks into my book. Which looks depressingly like another gammy phase to be endured where I pepper my prose with them indiscriminately before I finally work out how to use them in context. Also I've just had to look up mis en scene again, this proving that half of what I'm learning hasn't even stuck.

The plus point is that I have actually got writing again - finally. My short story isn't finished - but we're 5k words in - at the denoument - and I can already feel the value of the short story as the best way to learn even before I try and get some feedback on the thing, because they are so much easier to rewrite. This is starting to feel a bit more like a stage where I develop myself as a writer, rather than produce a enormous chunk of text, hurl it into the void, and never see it again.

We'll see how well that works out. But I will now set a reminder for 2 weeks, and let you know how it goes then. Or maybe 6 months. We'll see..

So I'm back. s'up Sergei? How's it going Webcrawler?

 

Has it really been 2 years? Wow. Time really does speed up as you approach decreptitude. Now I know you'd love me to tell you everything I have been up to in that time - it wouldn't even take that long, sadly - but I think if I focus on stuff affecting my writing I can condense it still further.

 

So to dust off an old metaphor with a bit of help, a lot of effort (18 of the 22-odd months I was out) and a generous sprinkling of fortune I made it to the Kingdom of Betterjob. The rumours that the streets are paved with new and interesting people seem to be true so far - I just need to make sure not to P*ss them off. Also I reckon I have found the secret passage to Semi-Retirograd. It's a long way away though - through a block ed tunnel that will still be several years in the digging, but it's there. So it looks like I managed to stay on course long enough to get somewhere, and I am pleased with that. It's not where I want to be, but it's closer. :)

 

What next then, I hear you both cry. No idea - stop pressuring me, I cry in response. I've only just made one decision - gimme a break! What I do know is that I have some time, I have lots of ideas and I still want to write. I do I just. Can't. Get. The Rust. Off.

 

It's fear partly. You see I have discovered the wonderful and varied world of podcasts in the last few months. I have learned French. I have learned how we're all going to be ruled by robots (stay tuned for more on that). And I have listed to Brad Reed's 'Inside Creative Wiring' podcast. Which is excellent, but also scary, because it has reminded me how little I know.

 

Right from Episode 1 I felt like I was walking off a cliff edge. Fictionalising your audience. (What just as worrying is that I had to go and look that up.) It was about ways of placing your reader in the thick of the action, through ways I have already forgotten. I did none of this. Nor do I do any mis en scene.  I don't even have much of an idea what my theme is - let alone how to support using the various extraneous parts of my characters, settings etc. And this is only at podcast episode 5. Out of 37. If I took on 20% of those podcasts that makes me about 3% competent.

 

I've had time to reflect on this now, and have realised a few things. Firstly a lot of these episodes have a lot less implicit criticism of my writing in them. The one about grammer for instance - my grammar's not too bad - and not just because of my scrupulous daughter proof-reader. Secondly - and more seriously - I am throwing up barriers because I am scared to get back on the old literary horse. The way I combat that is goals. I have a goal now. I need to finish a draft of the short story I have been kicking around for months by Christmas. Short stories - I have realised - are a much better for learning one's craft - and for fitting in all the other stuff that comes with this like trying to hold down a job/get published, or more realistically get anyone to read what I've written without me paying/emotionally blackmailing them.

 

So we're off. I'll see you in 6 weeks time . Wish me luck !!

Sorry - Gregor James the author can't some to the phone right now. Why? Because he is trapped in a magical chest in the corner of his study while an imposter struts around in his stead. Pretending to enjoy his job. Or maybe, worse still, actually enjoying it.

So now, I have once again decided to take my work underground, to stop it falling into the wrong hands.

 

This will be my last entry for some time.

 

Or will it?

 

I have a confession to make. I am extremely indecisive. And right now I am at a crossroads. One that looks depressingly familiar.

 

On one side - the Kingdom of BetterJob . In the distance I can see new and interesting people, a fulfilling working environment. And wedges of filthy cash.

 

On the other…well at first the road descends into a swirling mist, until just before the horizon emerges a glittering tower, where the King of the World lives. He is not only the King of This World, but the King of many other worlds, because he creates those worlds by means of his four typing fingers. And he is a Happy King, because he creates these worlds for a living.

 

I strode boldly into that mist many times, but the broken compass of indecisiveness keeps leading me back here. My head is spinning, my legs are weary, and those wads of filthy luchre have never looked so tempting.

 

It wouldn't be selling out, you understand. I'm not talking about burning the bridges to Self-Sufficient-Writer Towers. Rumour tells that beyond the Kingdom of BetterJob lies the mythical land of MortgageFree, and it's capital city, SemiRetirograd. And beyond there, those same rumours indicate there is a mountain pass leading straight to the Promised Land.

 

But finding the path is not without peril. Before reaching it, BetterJob visitors risk becoming enslaved by its cunning rulers into the Joyless Army of Pointless Capitalism. And the route itself is fraught with peril, littered as it is with yet more obvious metaphors.

 

 

So here I stand at the crossroads. Turning around and around. Begging for divine guidance. Or, failing that, a coin. Anything.