Badger's bum

Sunday, May 07, 2006


For some reason all my links and archive have disappeared from the righthand side. Must investigate.

Radius who?

I found I hadn't introduced Radius Rat.

Here are some notes about him:

"radiusrat will be a children's book, aimed at an eight to eleven readership. The story is told entirely from the rat's perspective, using his voice. How? Well, radius can't speak (no vocal chords), but he has learned to read and he can type if the word processor is left on. He uses this to tell his story day by day and to explore the world around him. It shouldn't come as a surprise that radius doesn't use standard English. He doesn't know all the nouns and his grammar is poor - it doesn't help that he only knows the present tense (but there are human languages without properly formed past and future tenses. As radius learns more about humans his writing will improve (which should make it easier for the reader), but I hope he will retain a certain strangeness of voice throughout the book.

I thought of radius while I was taking my lunchtime keep-the-weight-off stroll. I considered him a bit more as I cycled home from work. He started to turn into a hip-hop style rat, but I rejected that as lazy and offensive. I thought he would be better in a cage in a bedroom, but that left me with the big question of what can happen to a rat in a cage? The answer, I trust, is quite a lot.

I had the other occupants of the room (the caged ones) sorted out: besides a few standard rodents there was a reptile and the live locusts for it to feed on. Then I wondered what would happen if the introduction of the snake and locusts triggered the main action of the story? (Technically, I'm not sure if they count as the trigger in the way my tutor taught me, I think the discovery of the word processor should count as the trigger) Their arrival forms plot point one and introduces the crisis. radius decides he has to get rid of the snake. Quite how he does that I haven't yet decided."

Those notes were written a few weeks ago, so things have changed, but they give a flavour of Radius Rat.

Mr Jones of Battersea

(or, Not Dead Yet) (somewhere in Chesterton's essays, or possibly The Flying Inn is a little piece about what is really news)

No, I'm not dead, but I have been busy.

Setting up the freelance technical writing business has taken a lot of time. And now I have started I have been busy doing the technical writing. I am pressing forward with Radius Rat and have had some encouraging feedback from the few of my family who have taken time to read the first few pages. One other thought the pace was wrong, but I am ignoring that for the minute as I need to press through to the end of the story.

I have now reached the first major plot point and will have to print that out for my readers.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Return of the native

I'm back, ish, for a little while.

Most of the last couple of months have been writing free as I have started to set up my business as a free lance technical author and consultant, with the aim of getting more time to write. So, I must briefly summarise:

various playwriting contests - nowhere.

poetry - minor success - four out of six poems accepted for Decanto, appearing June and September.

ideas - lots - but I'm a little short of time.

The freelancing bit is going better than I expected: I have been offered a contract starting in April, here in the North East (of England) which should give me a chunk of the income I need. I have just finished writing my resignation letter and must now get back to sorting my new web site for the business.

I may even have to start a business blog.

Friday, January 06, 2006

A Persian Expedition

A touch of Xenophon (spelling?). I've been learning a little Farsi over the last few years, partly because I have made a few Iranian friends, but also because the history and culture of this ancient nation are fascinating. I have a plan to write a play about Alexander the Great and Darius (Sikander and Dara), goodness knows when. I'd like to get to Iran at some point, but the next best thing is the exhibition of Persian archaeology in the British Museum, which is on until the 8th of January.

So, in the spirit of yes (previous post), I have decided to dash down to London tomorrow and see the exhibition. It's three hours by train, although a little longer back thanks to works on the permanent way, which means I have to take a local train, special bus and then proper train to get back home.

I'm looking forward to looking over the material. Who knows, they might even have one of the books I'm going to have to look for - Firdousi's Shahname. Even they won't have the other book, which is even more obscure - at least in this country. (Embarassing to admit I can't remember its name without looking it up).

Unfortunately, I'll have to get up far too early for a weekend.

New Year, New Things

Resolutions? Moi?

I don't know I really want to make any resolutions, except perhaps I want to be more positive, want to do things instead of not doing them. That refers in part to the decisions I mentioned two posts back, but also to do other other things. See the next post.


The first submission of Monstrous Condolences was bounced back. 'Not what we are looking for' or some similar formula. It didn't help. It was still a rejection. Damn. Damn. Damn.

So I will have to send it off to someone else.

Damn again.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Will write manuals for food

I have been writing with intent for a few years. The MA in Creative Writing at Northumbria was useful and a good stimulus. But for the last year I have grown steadily more frustrated at the lack of time for writing and the slow pace at which projects develop. Today, after a lot of thought, I have taken the first step to increase the amount of time I have for writing.

I have told my boss I intend to become self-employed so I can increase my earning rate and so release time for writing. I will develop a portfolio life which will give me more time to write and more flexibility. It is the right thing to do, but it is very unnerving. Too much of the interesting times.

I must tackle tax, banks, marketing, phones, accountants and all. Lots of learning there, but it will be worth it.

The big break will come in April (start of the tax year) and also almost ten years to the day since I started with my employer. Now I must get on with revising my CV, which was last dusted off eight years ago.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The angel appears - and other stuff

Just back from the production of The Angel in the White Suit at the children's school. They made a good fist of it: had the Angel Gabriel as Elvis (albeit shorter and fairer). No. 2 son valiant as second angel. Well done school. Lots of applause and minor embarrassment and a bottle of wine as a thank you. No, no, thank you.

It's always interesting to see what other people will do with the script. The teachers were a bit nervous: 'hope we've done it justice', ' was it as you imagined it?' They did do it justice, and it doesn't matter how I imagined it. The script is the beginning: they and the children own the production as much as - more than - I do.

So, what do I do with it now? Any market? I'll try and have a root around.

If I ever do anything like that again I would want to write the songs as well (need someone else for the tune) to make sure the music drives forward the action.

I promised other stuff.

Monday saw the latest Northern Lines evening at the Lit and Phil. Charles did a grand job pulling it all together and had rounded up a very wide selection of work. I only managed two poems, one of which - Twin Towns - is not really finished. It does have an end, but is short of a middle.

Before that, on Friday, I committed Monstrous Condolences to the post to give an agent the chance to turn it down. I wonder how long it will take them.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Short fuse? Phut!

The standard go-away email turned up in the box this evening. Not the winner, not in final three, not in final twelve but in the final 168 no-hopers. If I write any more I will end up using vulgar words.