January 2002 Review

Web Page Progress

January is traditionally a sort of bleak month. With Christmas and New Year celebrations in the distant past and the high street full of Valentine adverts, it seems that the commercial side of life is trying to hurry the year on to the next big sales boost. Fortunately for us, nature takes its time and the year rolls on slowly but remourselessly. And so it is with my website.

As another year begins like any other, I continue doing all the things I have to do to earn a living. This means doing my day job, which always gets in the way of writing and anything else I would really prefer to do. Fortunately there are weekends, and I still try and use these small havens of free time to do the things I like. Unfortunately, there are other things I also like to do apart from maintaining this website, but by the time the weekend arrives I'm usually too tired to do much more than sleep or type anyway!

Another plus point so far is that there hasn't been many changes enforced on my website by any current "improvements" or other developments on the web. And so long as the cost and maintenance remains the same, I can't see me giving it up. Of course, boredom may set in with familiarity. But it seems that the internet has not yet reached the stage that television has.

In the sixties and seventies television could keep entire populations off the street to see the latest movie, sports event or moon landing. Literally millions would tune in to the soaps and mini-series. It all culminated with the "Who shot JR?" extraveganza. Now, television is dumbed down to the level of the audience that is left to it. Constant quiz shows about money or ordinary people behaving badly fill the schedules, with repeats and mediocre soaps padding out the rest. Nobody cares because they're all out or doing something else. Maybe that's a good thing. But will computers and the internet go the same way? In a few years time, will the only websites that flourish be girly/pop/celebrity ones? Will game sites remain the big hitters? Or will the internet descend into a dark haven for porn and other subversive contact rings?

I told you January was a bleak month.

Writing Progress

I'm struggling a bit with "The Friendly Ambassador". I know its a good story and idea, but there are so many characters, and the story flows on so many different fronts, that even keeping it all going in the same time frame is getting difficult. Also, as I explained above, getting the time to work on the story for a lengthy period instead of for only a few hours once a week is having a detrimental effect. By the time I get back into it all again, it's time to go to bed! And I mean that. The number of times I've had to give up at 1:00 or 2:00 am in the morning recently, I'd get more sleep if I went out on the town! By the time I go back to work on Monday I'm more exhausted than I was on Friday! But even so, the story inches forward. I'm still nipping back to previous chapters to add little extra bits, and to embellish sequences that I might have rushed originally. But the hardest part is keeping each character in mind when I start afresh each week.

Sometimes it can be two or three weeks before I revisit a particular character and the events surrounding them. By then I may have forgotten the style, attitude and motivations of the character. It takes me a couple of hours going over the story to get back on track. It takes longer, but also gives me the chance to add those little extra bits I was talking about. In general, the story is going in the direction I intended. But for some of the individual characters, the events and experiences I had planned for them is being subtly changed. The way the story is progressing fights with the original direction I wanted to take. Characters end up in all the wrong places, and confrontations become an impossibility. But for each door closed another opens. New confrontations arise, and new vistas for development open up.

Writing is a bit like juggling balls. You start with a certain amount of control with four balls, but you soon find yourself with sixteen balls, then something gets in your eye, your trousers fall down and your shoe-laces come undone. It's true! Try it and see!

Because I'm concentrating on "The Friendly Ambassador" there is no Short Story this month. However, I'm beginning to think that a break from the story will do me some good, so I will have a go at something else for next month.

What do you think of it so far? Email me!

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