About ten years ago, I decided to write a story set in an office. It was supposed to be loosely based on my own experiences but turned into a story involving two separate alien races and the intergalactic pursuit of two red eyes that were key to the control of all mankind. How I went down that twisting and pothole-covered road is beyond me. On reflection and after having lost my final edited version of that original story to the dreaded blue screen of death, I decided to abandon that spaceship and write a real story with the same characters albeit without the aliens. The story flowed a lot more easily. The difficulty now just lay in keeping the characters quirks and actions consistent with the overall story. It was lot easier said than written as I soon found out.
However, my ‘doomed from the outset’ first go at writing had taught me a lot about what not to do and stood me in good stead as I went about writing my first short novel. I felt that I was able to slip into and slip out of this little world that I had created like a person people watching on their holidays. The joy of people watching is that you never know what they’re going to do next right up till the last moment. This has definitely been the case with my writing as I tend to let the story lead me rather than the other way around. There is no better thrill when your character does something that you never envisioned them doing. It’s basically why I write.
I have no timetable as such when it comes to writing but I find that if I get a good two-hour run at it in the morning, I’m a lot more likely to get something half-decent down on my laptop. It takes the pressure off for the rest of the day. I should really revise what I do in the evening but I’m already bursting to get the next part of the story down and often neglect the read back for a good few days. Also, I work till late in an English academy, so revising more work is the last thing that I want to do during my weekdays. Whether this is a good or a bad thing, I’m not sure. I guess I’ll let the reader be the judge of that.
For now, I’m just delighted that I’ve got one short novel done and dusted and another on the verge of completion. The difficulty for me and for every aspiring author is how to get their work out there. That is something I need to work on over the coming months to really understand whether my work is something that is just for me and my close friends or for a wider audience. I’m content to continue writing for now and to get nice feedback from friends and family alike. The dream of landing on the bookshelves of Eason’s will have to take a back seat for now.
(c) Paul Singleton
About An Office Story:
Time is running out for Tommy to let one of his staff go. He’s got a measly week to make the biggest executive decision of his life. Rob, Helen, and Brian aren’t making it easy for him. They aren’t making life easy for themselves either. They’re all struggling to get through the week and make it unscathed to Scruffy O’Daniel’s where the pints flow and inebriation follows as sure as night follows day. Meanwhile, Gerry from the fleet insurance section is hell-bent on making everybody’s life as miserable as his own. Only time will tell if their mundane lives will change forever.
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