“Fuck critics, you can kiss my whole arsehole.”
-Jay Z.

I recently caught up with a friend of mine who just like myself, is penning her way through the early stages of what she hopes to be an illustrious writing career. While our writing journeys are very similar in many ways: that is to say we seem to have catalysts and compulsions that are very akin to one another, I’m a little further along the path of completing a manuscript and seeing my work make it into print. That’s not to detract from her abilities at all. In fact, her script sounds like it’s a million times better than mine. Once it’s finished I’m sure that you’ll see her name in lights a hell of a lot quicker than you see this narcissistic arsehole’s. When I say I’m further ahead I simply mean that while she’s currently putting the finishing touches on her first draft, I’ve already had my story edited and it is currently being reviewed for potential representation by a number of agencies.

During the course of our conversation the idea of finding an editor came up. Once her manuscript is complete she’ll need to start undergoing that heinous task of refining her novel until it is perfect and ready for publication. A task that I myself have already undertaken, loathing every minute until it was finally complete. As we talked about editors the concept of the writer’s voice entered the conversation and she expressed concern that the wrong editor would destroy everything that makes her script, her script. It was an interesting point, and one that got me thinking about myself and my works.

Every writer has a unique style, a voice if you will. Just like every single man, woman, or child has their own distinct sound built up of tone, pitch, inflections, and a hundred other variables. So too does a writer have a sound that is their own. Take a second to think about the writers you admire, is it necessarily the stories that they tell that you fall in love with? We all know that there are just seven basic themes in literature (as per the theory created by Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch). Or is it the unique idiosyncrasies that the writer weaves into their tales that leaves us swan diving into their worlds of love, fantasy, ruin and woe?

For me, it’s the voice of the writer that keeps me engaged. Therefore if I hope to be successful, if I hope to become the writer I have always dreamed of being, I have to nurture the very things that make me unique. I have to (quoting myself here) become a singularity, and I have to devote all of my time and energy to honing my voice and weaving it through my works with a sleight of hand so smooth and subtle that the reader is left dumbfounded. And when working with an editor, publisher, agent, a friend, or a critic, one must learn to be acutely aware of those external influences and the damaging effect they can have on your manuscripts in their quest to be helpful. An editor or agent should seek to draw out those unique idiosyncrasies of their artist rather than manipulate and destroy them.

Thankfully when I undertook the editing process with Midas my editor did exactly that. She helped me, challenged me, and inspired me to be the best writer that I could possibly be. The result? Right now things are looking pretty damn good for my writing. So to all of you out there who are looking at entering that bastard editing stage I wish you the best. Find an editor that is right for you, let them help you find your voice, then scream your story from the fucking rooftops. Silence the critics and be the best damn writer you can be. There’s no one more qualified to tell your story than you.


Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress; working hard for something we love is called passion.
¬-Simon Sinek

About twelve months ago I wrote a post in which I referred to the editing process as the bane of my existence. And at the time it was. I went through a phase where all I wanted to do was create. It didn’t matter if what I was producing wasn’t the best quality, I just wanted to pump out pages and pages of my thoughts and lay my soul bare for the world to see. I would write stories that had no purpose or point; they would simply waffle on and on until a cataclysmic event bought the story to a close. I never wanted to edit. The very idea of tracking back over my work and ratting out the imperfections filled me with a sense of foreboding so great that I would do just about anything to avoid it.

But lately I’ve been working back through one of my pieces with the help of my editor to smooth out the finer points of my plot lines and layout, and I’m actually really enjoying myself. I think that the reason behind my sudden over-zealousness for editing stems from an idea presented in the header above by Start with why author Simon Sinek. The concept of Sinek’s quote is simple. If you are passionate about something, and by passionate I mean you truly love what you are doing, then you immerse yourself completely in the task at hand and enjoy the hours of hard work required to reap a reward. If on the flip side you really don’t give a shit about what you are actually doing, then all that hard work that you are putting in manifests itself not in positivity or achievements, but in stress.

At the time of writing my previous entry where I responded so negatively towards the editing process I was viewing it with a slightly immature mindset that was forcing my works to fall well short of their true potential. I had taken the viewpoint that editing was a tedious, unrewarding task that did nothing but serve as a distraction from what I actually wanted to do: write. But now I’m starting to learn that there are so many wonderful benefits to the editing process, and that if I do want to excel at my craft, then I need to learn how to not only embrace the concept of editing; I need to learn how to fucking own it.

Right now this whole editing thing is quite cathartic. It’s allowing me to really go back and re-evaluate a piece that I spent years creating, as well as analyse myself as a writer. And while my previous edits have been ego-filled affairs in which I’ve poured over my work and told myself just how fucking great I am, this time it’s been an incredible journey of self-discovery, aided by the kind and sometimes brutally honest words of my editor. I’m sure that at some point I’ll fucking hate the editing process again; it’s just how the world works. But writing is my passion and editing is a large part of being a great writer. So far all the hard work and hours that I’m dedicating to polishing my script is already reaping great reward. I’ve just to starve off that stress until I’m satisfied that my script is all that it can be.

The penny finally drops…

I have a little confession to make. It’s nothing too outlandish or perverse. It’s more of a simple fact that I’ve been neglecting to inform you of for a while now, and I’ve decided that it’s probably best that I come clean…

While I do study at University, up until two days ago I hadn’t actually stepped foot on campus for almost twelve months. Sadly I’m not one of those kids fresh out of high school that can live off of cask wine, water and two minute noodles; and therefore can forego entering the workforce in favour of their studies. I’m an average Joe with debts to pay who needs to work in order to survive, which unfortunately means that my studies often play second fiddle to my source of income.

Thanks to that crazy little thing called money I’m forced to complete my studies via correspondence. Or to be more specific: since my course isn’t actually offered as a correspondence degree, I am enrolled to attend lectures and tutorials. I’m just that name who is perpetually absent when the role is marked. It can be incredibly hard to maintain motivation this way. It’s often easy to simply forget about study when you aren’t actually attending lectures, and I’ve become quite skillful in the art of procrastination when it comes time to hit the books. But nevertheless I’m still plugging away at my degree with the hopes of actually completing it sometime in the next decade.

Thanks to my affliction of cynicism and urge to despise everything, I’ve always considered university to be a bit of a wank. And for a degree in creative writing it really is. How can an institution like a college, school, or university teach creativity? How can they realistically sit down and effectively measure the success of a course or degree based primarily around the inner thought processes of an individual? And if they are able to do so, how the fuck can they grade a story, poem, essay, or whatever on its creative merit? There’s simply too much room for subjectivity involved in the creative aspect of the course for it to ever be effectively managed by any one institution or individual. University in my eyes has always been a place for those of us who want to be teachers, or doctors, or engineers. And the only reason that I ever ventured into a course in creative writing was because I thought that it would help buff up my creative portfolio should my work ever reach the desk of a publisher.

But two days ago, two very strange things happened and suddenly I have changed my tune on the whole university ideal. It all started when around lunchtime at work when I checked my course program for one of my subjects and realised that I’d managed to mix up the due date of an essay, learning that it was actually due two days earlier than I had anticipated. Thankfully I’d completed the essay already and decided that I could simply drop off the assessment after work rather than post it in like I usually would. So, that evening at seven thirty, after a full day of work (and one of the most half-arsed workouts ever seen in a gym) I found myself trudging through the university campus for the first time in twelve months.

In my sweaty black t-shirt, basketball shorts, and runners I wasn’t exactly dressed for my triumphant return to campus. But nevertheless I raced across the sprawling lawns of the uni and cut through the maze of stone buildings, submitting my assessment in person. And there it was. Strange occurrence number one; I, Chris Nicholas, was actually at university. But that was just the beginning; my little endeavour onto campus still had one more surprise in store… With nothing else to do I began my walk back to the car park, once again weaving through the maze of stone before walking out across the sprawling well-manicured lawns that I’ve come to view as synonymous with my campus. And then, at that very moment, as cold grass crunched underfoot and the lights of the nearby sporting fields illuminated the dusk, the penny finally dropped and I understood why university’s offer creative writing degrees.

It’s not because they can teach creativity; in fact it’s often the exact opposite. A university lecturer or tutor’s mind is limited by their own creative impulses and anything outside of what their mind can perceive is considered to be foreign and frightening, or even wrong. No. Universities offer creative writing purely because they can provide a place of wondrous inspiration, filled with not only the great minds of the student and teacher alike, but also with an incredible beauty that truly has to be seen to be believed. They offer a place of limitless possibilities and inspiration that any writer worth their salt can draw upon to create brilliant literature.

The thought hit me like a freight train, causing me to take a few dazed steps before I finally stopped to take it all in. Here I was lost in my own thoughts for the thousandth time that day, thinking about a subject I’d pondered endlessly for three years, and suddenly a clear and concise thought had risen from the murky depths of my mind’s eye. I’d spent the last twelve months avoiding attending campus for the most ludicrous of reasons. I’d told myself that I hated the classrooms, the tutors, and the kids in my classes with purple hair, top hats and trench coats. When in reality the thing that I’d always hated about university was that I didn’t understand why I was there. I’d failed to understand the purpose behind my degree. I’d failed to see that there was more to what I was studying than just a course profile and a grade point average. My own inability to appreciate that something could offer more than what it appeared at face value had left me jaded and bitter.

Two nights ago I stopped and stood on the lawns of my university campus and breathed a heavy sigh of frustration, mixed with a twinge of hope as I stared out across the brilliance that learning institutions have to offer. I was frustrated at myself for leaving it so long between visits to an establishment that is costing me thousands of dollars to be a part of. But I was also hopeful that this new found affection for something I had detested for years might just see me actually turn up to my classes next semester. So with that I quickly jogged back to my car, climbed inside and drove off, staring back through my rear view mirror at an unlikely catalyst for a new found inspiration to write.

Year one: Creating a masterpiece from disaster

It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost twelve months since I first ventured into the world of web-logging; peeling back the thin façade that I had been hiding behind and exposing my depression to the world. In that time so much has changed in my life that it’s almost impossible to track the winding path that I have trekked since then. Amongst other things, I’ve written manuscripts, completed university assessments, relapsed into depression, moved home twice, ventured overseas, destroyed friendships and forged new ones. Yet somehow along the way I’ve managed to hold myself together in an unprecedented fashion and actually learn a little bit about myself.

Last year when I started this blog I was just a boy struggling to fight off my own demons and establish myself as a writer. Now twelve months on so much has changed, yet my basic catalysts and compulsions remain the same. I am still that struggling author trying to establish himself as a man; yet now I have learnt to use my demons as motivation for success rather than the instigators of my own destruction. Although some of my posts have ventured away from my new found positivity and exposed the lingering inner demons that still plague my mind, I believe that this blog has helped me to better understand myself and forge a confident new writer and man. So while sometimes this page can read like the sound of animals fighting as those lingering demons battle it out with the better angels of my nature, I can’t deny the earth shattering effect this blog has had on me.

As I write this latest entry my manuscript for Midas is in the hands of a publishing company undergoing a final read through and some entry level marketability tests. It’s a stage that I have reached before with another manuscript; so while being beyond excited that my work has been deemed worthy of reaching this level of the publishing process, I’m still trying not to look too far into the opportunity just yet. The process could take another couple of months to complete, which in essence means that I am now destined to spend the next few months shitting myself every time I receive an email or a phone call from an unknown number. I am however, extremely honored that this particular company has bestowed this level of stress upon me. With the stress comes the possibility that my work will make it into print. And at the very least it’s a sign that everything I am doing as a writer is not in vain. It’s a sign that if I just keep plugging away at my craft I will eventually produce a manuscript that finds acclaim. That could very well be Midas, it could be my love story, or Renegade, or any one of the hundreds of ideas that I have in my head and scribbled down on various notepads hidden around my home. It’s all just a matter of time.

And that’s the thing; time is really on my side here. At just twenty four years of age I am still considered exceptionally young in the writing and publishing industry. Many authors spend decades honing their craft before they find critical acclaim or see their work in print. And many face constant rejection by those they aim to please; their eventual success is a result of their never say die attitude. So while sometimes it can be hard to pick yourself up off the floor after having the figurative shit kicked out of you and your script by an agent or publisher, that’s exactly what needs to be done in order to taste success.

But to me success isn’t selling a million books and becoming a household name. To me success is simply seeing my work in print and having the opportunity to affect just one person’s life through my words. Unfortunately for my beautiful partner writing is, and always will be my (other) soul mate; which means she will forever be battling to drag me away from my computer or to pull my nose out of a book. In the depths of my depression, when the light at the tunnel sounded like nothing more than a vicious lie designed to inspire hope, my passion for reading and writing became the catalyst for my change. My decision to reach for the stars came from my desire to write and create. This blog, Midas, and every manuscript I have ever produced became the very things that helped alter the course of my life, taking what would have undoubtedly ended in disaster and turning it into a masterpiece of triumph. To be afforded the opportunity to be the inspiration behind someone else’s journey towards their dreams, or even to create something that someone finds intriguing and engaging is how I will always view my success as a writer.

It will be months before I have a final decision on Midas from the publishing house currently testing it. And in that time I’m sure that I will become a racked with anxiety and feel sick every single time my I receive an email or phone call. But even if I don’t succeed, even if this is as far as I get this time, it will still be a success in my eyes. I’m still a better writer and a better man than I was one year ago when I started this very blog; and that’s all that I could have ever asked for.

There’s blood in the water….

And the sharks are circling. Or at least that’s what it feels like every time a writer of some notoriety brings out a new novel. This week will see the release of Dan Brown’s latest novel Inferno; a novel that continues the story of his most famous character to date Robert Langdon. It’s a story that will capture the attention of the world and draw much needed attention to the world of creative writing and literature.

We live in a world where everything has an expiry date of five minutes and with each passing generation the onus and importance placed upon literature and knowledge diminishes. Mankind has grown lazy and the thought and effort required to enjoy the intricate world of words means that many choose to avoid the art forms of reading and writing in favour of watching. So as an avid reader and writer it fills me with a sense of excitement when a novel can capture the attention of the world and draw it back towards the industry that I love. On top of this I’m also a little bit of a Dan Brown fan. His novels aren’t the most technically savvy affairs, but their smooth flow and catchy storylines are always engaging and easy to devour.

But it seems that not everyone is as fond of his novels as I, and many others are. A few days ago I was scrolling through a Facebook advertisement for Brown’s novel and was a little shocked at some of the vicious remarks that had been left behind by a bunch of talentless fucks trolling the page. Trolls really are the scum of the earth aren’t they? They’re often sorry pieces of shit who are so bent out of shape by the fact that someone else has the talent and the balls to strive towards their dreams that they feel the need to attack and degrade them. I’ve been exposed to trolls before; as I am sure that everyone has. In this day and age of social media they are everywhere, spreading hate and animosity like wildfire from the safety and comfort of their keyboards. But nevertheless, I was still a little shocked that even my beloved world of literature was tarnished by a bunch of arseholes who need nothing more than for someone to kick their fucking teeth down their throat and teach them a little humility and respect.

The negative and scathing posts towards Brown’s body of work was extensive, ranging from comments about his style of writing to the more alarming personal attacks such as accusations of homosexuality. They were your stock standard slurs written by intellectually devoid knuckle-draggers that couldn’t construct a decent insult if their life depended upon it. But amongst the childish profanities and piss-weak taunts was one comment that caught my interest. It said…

‘This is a disgrace. I know REAL writers, STARVING writers who would be so upset by this.’

It got me thinking; what is a real writer? And by what instrument can we effectively measure whether or not someone stands up to the criteria of being real? Is it the man like Brown who has achieved success and now writes the novels that he wants and enjoys to create? Or is it the man toiling away at his manuscript so desperate for success that he is literally starving himself for his craft?

The truth is that a real writer can be both. A real writer is anyone who enjoys the process of creating something beautiful, ugly, dangerous, or extravagant with words. Every single man, woman, or child who puts pen to paper in the hopes of creating anything is a real writer; there’s no such thing as a false or pretend one. So where the fuck does some dead-shit troll get off accusing a man who has achieved his dreams of not being a real writer? And why would anyone else be upset by his success?

It was at this point that I started one of those long and in-depth conversations that I have with myself on a regular basis where I weigh up my opinions of mankind and decide whether or not I have lost all faith in humanity yet again. I debated the concept of real writers from both perspectives; that of Brown’s and that of the Troll’s. And in the end I came up with an idea for those negative pieces of shit who go out of their way to break down others via the internet or otherwise. And here it is: Shut the fuck up. To all the keyboard warriors out there I urge you to take your hands off of your keyboard and take a moment to reflect on just how much of a sad fucking prick you must be if you constantly feel the need to go out of your way to destroy others.

Take me for instance; as a twenty four year old male I wasn’t ever going to be a huge fan of novels like Twilight or Fifty Shades. I’m not their target audience and frankly the authors probably don’t care if someone of my description loves or loathes their work. And while I have no issue in stating that I’m not a fan to my friends during the course of conversation, I would never go out of my way to actively search for fan pages of these franchises and attack the authors for their hard work. So why do so many others feel a sense of entitlement to do so? In fact why do these people believe that anyone actually gives a fuck about their opinion in the first place?

Sadly the answer to these questions is this: these people troll because by doing so they feel better about the fact that their own lives are less than perfect. They troll artists like Brown because they believe that by doing so they will somehow feel better about themselves. Every time a writer puts pen to paper they open up their heart and allow it to pour into the ocean of critics waiting to judge them. They spill blood in the water and watch as the sharks start to circle in a vain attempt to eat them alive. For many the sharks do manage to sink their teeth into the writer and drag them beneath the surface, destroying their hopes and dreams with their vicious remarks. But for a few select writers of Brown’s caliber they somehow manage to tread water and fight off the sharks circling menacingly around them. They learn how to overcome their critics and transcend beyond the meaningless remarks of the jealous and misinformed.

As a writer I will always be my own toughest critic, I will always assess my strengths and weaknesses and force myself to work harder. Encourage myself to become better. Implore myself to grow. And hopefully by doing this, by constantly breaking myself down and reassessing every aspect of my work, I can instill a confidence within myself that allows me to overcome the jealous and misinformed trolls who will undoubtedly attack me when I succeed.

So to all of the trolls out there I will say this in parting: until you yourself have produced something of equal or greater quality to that which you are criticizing (as assessed by your peers), then you really need to learn to shut the fuck up. It’s better to be considered the fool than to open your mouth and prove it beyond all doubt.

A misguided tale of romance

I’ve been a little quiet on the blogging front as of late. But my absence isn’t because I haven’t been writing, rather I’ve been funnelling so much attention onto my other projects that I’ve struggled to find time to develop and post anything of substance onto this page. So, in keeping with the feel of my last entry I thought that I would offer you another little glimpse into the crazy and convoluted world that is my mind’s eye.
I would like to present to you a (very raw) snippet of my first attempt at creating a love story. As you can probably remember, a little while ago I wanted to branch out and try something new and exciting, and even though the characters I have created are far from what I would deem appropriate of a conventional tale of romance, I am still falling in love with them every single time I develop their stories. So here it is, a very brief, very raw, unedited snippet from what is quickly becoming my misguided tale of romance:

She slips back into her leather chair and smiles at me from across the desk, her hand twitches ever so slightly and I catch sight of a vein in her neck pulsating as she resists the urge to reach for the hand sanitiser positioned underneath the off centred computer screen on her desk. I should be concerned, offended even; I certainly don’t look like the leper she’s imagining before her. But rather than outrage I feel a hardening in the front of my pants as my eyes trace the V-neck of her blouse.

I’ve never held much interest in women older than myself; I’ve typically always looked for women closer to my own age. But maybe I’ve got some kind of fucked up fetish with woman in power. I did always think that my high school math teacher was pretty damn sexy.

She must be at least forty five, which would give her twenty one years on me, but dressed in her suit and makeup she has managed to knock ten years off her appearance, making that huge age gap seem just a fraction less heinous. Her lipstick and fingernails are a matching red, which blend in perfectly with the subtle layers of foundation across her cheeks, leaving them blemish free. Her body is slender and lithe; a gym junkie’s frame is clearly visible even under her navy suit and crisp white blouse. But it’s her huge breasts and the off coloured tan of her right hand’s ring finger that garner most of my attention, just as they did last time I met Victoria Whistler.

The boobs are new; courtesy of a top of the line plastic surgeon who appears to have done a fantastic job. Judging from the way they are pressing against the fabric of her blouse I’d say that they have dropped, which means that they were probably done anywhere from six months to a year ago; around about the same time that her husband left her. She looks like a strong woman, or at least she’d like to think that she is; which means that she probably kept wearing her wedding ring for a month or two after he ran off into the sunset to fuck the shit out of a woman half her age. Which is why the off colouring remains; she had worn the ring for so long that even after months of absence the slight discolouration of her skin remains after being shielded from the sun for however many years.

‘Congratulations Mr Miles,’ she says with a smile that pulls me back to the present and makes me realise that I’ve just psychoanalysed the living shit out of the poor woman before she even had a chance to open her perfectly proportioned lips. ‘Today is a very special day for you, as I am sure that you are aware there is a trust fund that was set up in your name before your parents passed away some years ago.’

She knows that I know this; she told me last time we met when she had knocked me back on a ten thousand dollar personal loan because I was a down on my luck student trying to make ends meet. That had been three years ago, and ever since then I’d been stuck in a state of perpetual frustration over an account in my name that I was refused access to until I turned twenty four.

Twenty four; what kind of random fucking age is that anyway. My parents had passed away when I was twelve, at the time I was too young to understand just what mechanical failure meant, but when my grandparents took custody of me and sued the living shit out of the local auto-mechanic I assumed that he must have fucked up pretty bad. I’d never really known my parents all that well, my father was a banker like the alluring Veronica Whistler before me, and my mother had been a struggling writer. Together they had been the shining example that opposites really do attract, and were supposedly happy right up until the day that their sedan’s brakes had failed and they’d plunged off the side of a mountain.

Thankfully I had never turned out like my father; that’s not to say that I’m not good with money. Shit, I spent four years studying at university, I can give a whole new meaning to the term ¬shoe string budget, my arsehole is tighter than a nun’s. But I had never developed my father’s interest in all things finance, instead I had thankfully wandered the same path of life that my mother had, toiling away at manuscript after manuscript in an effort to become a published author. It’s not an easy life, and one that isn’t readily marked out for me to follow, but I think that if I had turned into a male version of Miss Whistler here I probably would have blown my fucking head off years ago….

So there it is; a brief look at my terribly misguided attempt at a love story. It was always going to be more Imperial Bedrooms than The Notebook, but so far I’m happy with the foundations I’ve created for my tale. I’ll be in touch again soon…

Playing with fire & a sneak peak at a labour of love.

Last week I took a gamble and sent a query letter detailing the plot points of my manuscript off to a company located halfway around the world in Brooklyn NY. In addition to a synopsis of my work, the letter also outlined my intent to become a published author and detailed what minor successes I have had to date. I chose the literary agent after a considerable amount of research as they came with the highest level of recommendation and boasted an impressive line-up of authors. In my eyes when I sent this letter off I was playing with fire. My manuscript has only been recently completed and is in the stages of being rewritten and edited, but I’ve been through the waiting game with agents and publishers before and know that it can take months for someone to respond to your work, if they respond at all. So imagine my elation/horror when two days later I receive a reply from the agent asking to view my entire manuscript!

For those of you who do work (or aspire to work) in the publishing industry you will know that an agent or publishing house will usually ask to see first 20-50 pages of a script they deem worthy of further review. So when the email arrived asking for the entire script my joy and excitement quickly gave way to angst and the crippling realisation that the script wasn’t anywhere near ready to view in its entirety. I sent what little I could to the agent with the promise of more to come, and have now spent so much of the past week reworking my script that I feel as though I am on the verge of growing to hate my labour of love once again. I played with fire by jumping the gun, never assuming that I would be burnt so quickly.

In any case, before I take a deep breath and delve back into the nightmarish stack of crisp white paper still waiting to be edited, I wanted to share with you all a little snippet from something that has been a few years in the making. I hope that you enjoy it…

The spring sun had set on Marseilles, France’s second largest city and its largest commercial port. The temperature was a mild eighteen degrees Celsius and the trade wind known as the Mistral blew through the valleys of the Rhone before finally unleashing their bitter assault on the city. The harshly-cold wind was an unwelcome change from the warm early spring days the city had experienced over the past week, and many residents had locked themselves indoors for the night. High above the city sat the Notre-Dame de la Garde, a huge basilica positioned on the city’s highest natural point, a limestone outcrop on the south side of the old port. The de la Garde looked grand against the moonlight, the cold winds lashing over its stone surface leaving a faint trace of limestone in the air. The basilica was a tourist mecca and a local place of worship for Marseilles’ religious population, but right now the holy building had been closed down for the night. The huge building had been abandoned, save for the four men standing on the limestone balcony that lined its edges.

The four men gazed out over the city below, lights glistened through windows and streets cut an intricate maze through buildings as far as the eye could see. To the south the Mediterranean Sea was visible, it’s usually calm surface rippled with small wind swell created by the Mistral. The moon’s light reflected off the deep blue surface, broken only by the small whitecaps rolling silently towards the shoreline. The four men were brothers by blood, but their appearances were startling different, even when concealed by their heavy robes designed to protect them against the cold night air. The eldest brother was tall, his features dark and handsome, his eyes an endless and deadly hazel. His body was lean, yet surprisingly muscular; his age indeterminable beneath his priest’s robes and hood. Concealed beneath his robes were two pearl white handguns held in pancake holsters against his ribs.

The second brother was huge. Taller and broader than his siblings, he physically dominated the foursome. His shoulders were wide and his chest shaped as though Da Vinci himself has chiselled it from the finest of stone. His hair was a dark brown and his eyes a fiery emerald green. He wore a beard, thick and woolly, poking out from within the hood of his robe. In his right hand he held a small flick knife, the blade three inches long and cast from a blood red metal. He spun the knife effortlessly between his fingers as he watched the skyline. To his left stood the third eldest of the brothers; the quiet one, his head cast down at the floor.

The quiet one was the meekest of the foursome, standing at an embarrassing five feet nine inches with thin, sinewy shoulders. But what he lacked in physical dominance he made up for with his mysticism. Many myths surrounded the quiet one, no one had ever seen his face; his brothers included. The quiet one was known for his bizarre dress patterns; full military Special Forces combat attire, all black. His face eternally covered by a black face mask, complete with breathing apparatus that could be seen right now hanging from beneath the hood that was pulled deep over his head; a slight hiss audible as oxygen passed through the device.

The youngest of the brothers stood apart from his siblings, his head turned high towards the moon above. The hood of his robe had been removed and draped across his shoulders and neck, revealing a beautifully hideous face to the world. His head was shaved smooth, his features made sharper by the pale green tattoos that covered his face. His entire skeletal system had been tattooed onto his skin. Cheekbones, ribs, phalanges and metatarsals were replicated in soft green ink. He was tall, six feet three inches, and his eyes were a translucent grey. Death incarnate.

And there you have it. A brief interlude to a work that has been years in the making. Stay tuned, I promise to post more very soon….

Insomnia, procrastination, and the bane of my existence.

I can’t sleep. For weeks I’ve been battling through the nights in a desperate search for the mythical sandman who can bring about the sleep that has been so consistently deserting me. My nights have become a mixture of time wasting feats such as watching episode after episode of Family Guy, re-watching the Dark Knight saga, and staring at the roof of my bedroom contemplating the direction of my life.

It’s not the first time that I’ve been struck with a serious bout of restlessness and I’m sure that it won’t be the last. The key to overcoming this stint of sleep deprivation is to break down and identify why my mind has gone into overdrive as of late and develop a means of overcoming the affliction. It’s not like I don’t want to sleep. Between you and me, I’m fucking exhausted. I manage to stumble through each day fueled by a dangerously high level of caffeine coursing through my veins, but it just doesn’t compare to a decent night’s sleep.

My insomnia could be stemming from any number of things both professional and personal. My work life balance has spiraled dramatically out of control recently and I am spending increasingly large portions of my day trapped at my desk, which in turn has seen a reduction in time spent exerting physical energy. This in turn could be enough to spark a serious case of restlessness, and in the past this has been the reason behind my inability to sleep.  But I honestly believe that my current bout of insomnia is stemming from a little thing called procrastination. Since my last post I have completed the first draft of my manuscript, traveled overseas and survived the crazy time of year we know as the holiday season. What I haven’t managed to do though is start the all-important editing process that I alluded to back in December’s blog update.

I’ve had a few sporadic half-hearted attempts at editing, however if I was to be truly honest with myself I’ve been avoiding diving headfirst into the process, and now my mind and body is suffering as a result. Editing is the bane of my existence. There’s nothing worse than moving from the dizzying highs of completing a manuscript to the horrible realisation that you now have to track back through the document dozens of times until every minute detail has been rendered perfectly. I’ve been through the process a few times before, and it usually results in me despising a piece of work that I once loved. When you spend hour upon hour deconstructing something you worked so hard to create you can become so obsessed with the process that you begin to view your manuscript as a broken artwork in desperate need of a rewrite. 

I think that it’s this last point that has seen me so content to procrastinate over the editing process of my latest work. As I mentioned last time it has been over six years in the making, and I just don’t know if I am ready to shatter the love affair that I have created with my characters just yet. I know that it is a necessary evil, and the sooner that I edit, the sooner I can re-enter the slush-pile of writers bombarding publishers with manuscripts in the hopes of seeing my work in print.

So why am I still procrastinating? Even now I should be editing, not writing about it. I’m doing it again.  But hopefully this post with be therapeutic. People say that admitting your issues is the first step towards dealing with them. So here it is; my issue is that editing is the one part of my craft that I despise. Now that I have admitted this hopefully I can move forward and start to tackle the process and see it through from start to finish. God knows that I need to; if not for the sake of my manuscript than for the sake of my own sanity. I don’t know how many more nights I can spend mapping out the landscape of my bedroom ceiling. I need sleep, and I need to finalise the editing of this manuscript so that I can move onto the next. My head is already overflowing with ideas and plot points just waiting to spill onto pages, but I need to close one door before I open another. 

%d bloggers like this: