Why am I doing this to myself? 50k in a day?! A whole novel. In one sitting 🤦‍♂️ You can pre-order the as yet unwritten book here (this is for Kindle but it will be out in paperback at some point) – mybook.to/TheMaskCollector

I’m going to write a whole novel in a day.

I was listening to the Tim Sullivan episode of the Bestseller Experiment podcast (really good episode, very inspiring) and it got me thinking. The idea of writing a whole novel in a day came up… and I’ve decided to give it a bash.

It has been done before. When I published my first book back in 2011, there was another indie author skulking around the forums who did it. Nick Spalding wrote Life… With No Breaks in a single sitting. It was impressive and it did very well, launching an incredibly successful career.

I’ve been doing a bit of research and it’s proving difficult to find other examples. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne was written in two and a half days. That’s the shortest time period I’ve been able to find (in an admittedly brief Google search).

I’m going to aim for 50k. That means I’ll have to write just over 2k every hour for 24 hours. No sleep. Short breaks for food. A lot of coffee. And a pillow for my arse which will no doubt be aching by the 12th hour.

I have an advantage. In order to do it I’m going to be adapting a screenplay that I’ve already written: The Mask Collector.

There is a very good reason for not starting a story from scratch. The thing that slows me down most is trying to work out what happens next. All that thinking has already been done. If I were to start from scratch and force my way through a first draft of something new I would end up with a very bad incoherent first draft that would need a complete rewrite and so be pointless.

Prosatizing a screenplay (that’s a new word I just invented. I could have used “adapting” but prosatize is way more sexy) still requires creative juices and enough mental capacity to write something worth reading and not just a stale transferring of words with the tenses changed. Novels are a very different beast to a no-nonsense script so it will be a serious challenge.

I don’t know if I’ll succeed but I’ll be bashing out words to the final second of that 24th hour and hopefully I will start my 38th year on this planet with a new novel under my belt.

12th May 2022 (my birthday). 9am to 9am the following day (which is Friday the 13th 😳). The Mask Collector will be reborn as a novel.

I’ll be sharing my progress on Twitter and Instagram. I am @AndyChapWriter on both.

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent (No Spoilers).

We just watched The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent in the cinema, the new Nicholas Cage movie.

Holy crap it was amazing. The audience was young and noisy and at first I thought that was going to be annoying but I’m so glad there was a lot of energy in the room. It reminded of what cinemas are for and why watching a film in that setting can be so great. The whole room was laughing and audibly responding to references and surprising twists and whatnot. Perfect way to watch a brilliant and weird and unique film.

I’m talking about the audience because I don’t want to talk about the film. Not a bit.

The best way to experience it is to avoid all knowledge of it. Don’t watch the trailer, don’t Google it, don’t read the comments on this post in case somebody gives something away. Just book a ticket and go. You will thank me and you will have experienced a future cult movie in the best possible way.

We booked three films to watch at the cinema this week. The first was The Batman, the second was this Nick Cage film, and the last one is Unchartered, which we are watching tomorrow morning. Out of all of them I had no expectations for the Cage film. I didn’t even watch the trailer. We just went in blind thinking it was going to be another one of his random trash thrillers he’s been putting out recently.

I was so wrong. It might be one of my new favourite films.

It’s out on the 22nd April (we booked an early screening).

RIP Taylor Hawkins

Watching Sonic Highways on YouTube. They have full episodes on there.

I was lucky enough to see Foo Fighters a few times. The band had two front men. They were brothers. Comrades. Soul mates. I can’t imagine the heartbreak Dave Grohl must be going through right now.

When you imagine Taylor Hawkins you always see him with that big childish grin. The guy loved being alive. You could tell. He didn’t take it for granted.

Today will be a day of nostalgia, rocking out, and fondly remembering a band that shaped my teens and the man I became.

When I watched Sonic Highways back when it first aired I really loved the New Orleans episode and knew I had to go there and see the Preservation Hall Jazz Band in person. The following year I was in New Orleans, on New Year’s eve, stood in that cramped room listening to the best live Jazz in the world. It was great. The Foo Fighters gave me that.

RIP Taylor Hawkins.

Writing Westerns at 5am

5am is a good time to write. Blue Pulp is getting exciting. The western is an underestimated genre. When you strip everything out, all the things that distract us in the modern world, so all you have is the man and his thoughts, you can get deep and frightening with the human condition.

I know you can’t buy any of these books yet but soon you’ll be able to. This is book three and I’ve got one more to write. I think I’ll be done by spring.

I was reading a western last night. A slim novella. Less that 200 pages. There is something engaging and lively in the telling of a shorter novel. Something I embrace in my own writing.

I can wait for you to read this. If you’ve never read a western before maybe it’s time to try it out.

I’ll be posting covers and release dates right here over the next few months.

The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz.

Book recommendation! (No spoilers outside of what is written in the blurb on the back of the book).

The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz.

This was a rare thing for me. I don’t usually grab a book off the shelf in the supermarket just because of the cover. My tbr list is already so long I try not to add to it. But something drew me to this one. I was walking by and it caught my eye.

I read the back of the book and the first page in the store and felt the rare excitement of discovering a voice that I connected with. It wasn’t bland or generic storytelling. It was something more interesting. It was compelling. Jean knows how to put words together in that rare and satisfying way.

People get bored of authors making the main character of their book an author. But as an author, I get it. She captures the writer’s life so well. It rang true for me. Maybe a little too true. I felt seen.

In the story the main character, Jake, teaches writing. One of his students, a particularly arrogant man named Evan Parker, talks about having a plot that can’t fail. Jake disregards him, thinking he’s just an overconfident and inexperienced novice. Until he is told the story, and gets to read the first few pages. The plot really was a rare thing. It was unique. A story that has never been told before. A guaranteed bestseller. The holy grail of story. Even the worst writer couldn’t fail with this plot. And then Evan Parker dies, taking the plot with him. The novel unfinished. Barely started even.

Jake decides to use the plot. He writes the novel and becomes hugely successful. The book is called Crib.

The problem is, somebody knows what Jake has done.

A lesser writer could have set herself up to fail. Jean Hanff Korelitz now has to deliver on the goods. The fictional plot in her book has to be believable as unique and great. I figured, as I was reading, that maybe we would never find out what the unique plot was. But no. Jean doesn’t shy away. Over the course of The Plot there are chapters of the fictional novel, Crib, within. We get to read parts of the unique novel. And by the end of the book we find out what the plot is.

I loved this book. The standard of writing is exceptional and I was kind of sad when it was over. I’ll be going back and looking at Jean’s previous books for sure.

Tabby vs Maine Coon

My brother visited today and brought his Maine Coon, Odin, with him. He’s still growing (the cat, not my brother) but our own adult cat, Calcifer, looks like a kitten next to it. Odin wanted to play but Calcifer, understandably, wasn’t into it. Probably because one false move by Odin could accidentally remove Calcifer’s face.

Staring at the blank page while armed cowboys await my instructions.

I have been staring at chapter ten of Blue Pulp for an hour. I wrote thirty six words and then stared at them for a while. They were no good. There is something I’m missing. Something my subconscious is aware of but I am not. There is another, better way, for this chapter to be than the one I have in mind. I need to sleep on it.

This is what some people call writer’s block. It’s not a block of words, I’m still capable of laying down the letters; it’s more like the engine that powers the imagination is running on fumes and requires more fuel. Fuel is often made of caffeine, this time it requires something more ethereal. It needs inspiration. A new idea.

Normally in this situation I tell the story to Rachel and it turns out I knew what needed to happen next all along, my subconscious simply needed me to verbalise it. This is different. The path ahead is blocked. A new path must be made before I can walk it.

I think the problem lies in a simple storytelling problem. So far the whole story (a western) has been told from Robin Castle’s point of view (from the third person, but we as the reader only know what he knows), and I need the reader to see what another character is doing as Castle walks away from town with trouble coming up behind him.

I need to break the unspoken rule I have set for the novel. I need to look away from Castle. Maybe that’s the problem.

You see, we’re solving it together right here. So what do I do next? I’m going to ask my subconscious to figure this out and let me know the plan in the morning. I’m going to bed.

Listen up, anti-vaxxers.

To those of you who are still refusing the vaccine, saying things like, “Nah, mate, last I heard it was a free country. It’s my freedom of choice to get vaccinated and I’m free to choose not to!” You are taking away our freedoms by not getting vaccinated.

If all the anti-vaccine folk had got vaccinated when the rest of us did we would be in a much better position. For some reason you want to drag this thing out. If you keep staying un-vaccinated maybe you can drag it out for years!

I want my freedoms back. That means you have to sacrifice a small prick in the arm. I know it’s scary, and it weally weally hwurts, but you’re big boys and girls and I think you can be brave and get that jab.

I am bored of restrictions against all of our freedoms. If you mean what you say about wanting to be free, then you need to rethink your logic. Your poorly thought-out idea of freedom is leading to your freedom being taken away.

If I can put up with a little prick, so can you.

As a child you were vaccinated against
diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), polio, Hib disease, hepatitis B, and a few other things too. Maybe you’ve been abroad to an exotic country and happily got a jab to protect you while you were there. You’ve done it before, you can do it again.

I feel reasonably confident in saying, considering you are reading this, that none of those jabs killed you.

In the UK, 46.7 million people have been vaccinated. I am one of them. You will notice, if you glance out of the window, that the streets are not filled with the bodies of those 46.7 million. The vaccine is not going to kill you, the desease is.

146,000 people in the UK have died from Covid 19. You are free to add yourself to that number, but I’d really prefer it if you didn’t. I think you’re probably a very nice person and I would like you to keep being alive.

For those of you who believe there is a global conspiracy to get us to take a vaccine in order to cull our numbers, or whatever garbage you believe, I urge you to look at the politicians currently running the country. They are barely capable of getting dressed. They are far too incompetent to carry out a deception this grand. They couldn’t even keep a Christmas party secret.

Get vaccinated. Get boosted. Get free.