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Friday, December 30, 2011

What to write? (Guest posted by Shaun Allan)

Do you have one project on the go, or a handful?  If the latter, do you have big hands?

And, whatever the size of said hands, do you find yourself juggling, the ideas thrown up in the air, with you ready to grasp at any that might fall within reach?  Sometimes, do you find they're in a pile at your feet and you're simply staring at them, knowing you should clear them up but not knowing which one to start with?

Or D: All of the above?

I think I fall into all of these categories, to be honest.  At least at some point.

Of course, there was that year they all hid under the sofa and I couldn't find a single one.  Sneaky buggers, they were.  I could hear them giggling and whispering, but I couldn't lay eyes on them.

At the moment, it's fairly calm.  They're not jumping on my head, they're not in a pile at my feet and they're not spinning in the air hoping they'll be the one that I'll grab.  The ideas, of which there are plenty, are all lined up nicely, taking it in turns to have a chat with my mind.  My problem, now, is that the one I might want to work on isn't the one that steps up to the plate.

I always thought that was a dinner plate, resplendent with a good old fashioned Sunday lunch - all roast beef, potatoes and veg - when I was younger (and, being from the UK, not entirely understanding Baseball lingo).

A short while ago I discovered 30,000 + words of a children's book I'd written a while back and forgotten about.  Sin and my children's collection Zits'n'Bits had not only stepped up but, Sin especially, had eclipsed my view of my other ideas.  So this story, starring the good with Puddlebrain, was quietly waiting for its chance to shine.  When I opened the document and re-discovered this, I was shocked, to say the least.  That's a lot of words to misplace, but that is what had happened.

So now I REALLY want to finish it.  My daughter will love it, and I hope others will too.  I've re-read it to get back into the flow and the style (particularly of the character Thistle) and have started to add.  I can see where it's going to go, and am looking forward to finishing it.

Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on your point of view, Sin doesn't like to be ignored.  He has his blog, his Diary of a Madman (, where he talks about his experiences and the people he meets within his asylum.  Sometimes, he just needs to be voiced and I can't help it.  He's not content with taking ten years of my life to complete, so he has his blog and he has the beginning of his sequel.

Sin is, sort of, my 'Dark Half', so, being so much a part of me, he tends to shout louder than his brethren.  It's not so much of a problem, really, as he always has plenty to say, but sometimes I just really WANT to concentrate on one project - dear, neglected Puddlebrain for example.

So.  It's not so much a jostle of ideas poking around at the inside of my head with sharp sticks, it's more of a line at the bank, waiting to pay money in, or, in some cases, make a withdrawal.  Listening to the muzak that's playing in the background whilst staring at the floor or the ceiling or anything other than the back of the head of the person in front to count how many grey hairs are still managing to sprout in the bald patch.

Except Sin keeps pushing in line.

He's like that.  But that's ok.  Along with many of his other problems (the deaths, the screams, the asylum and his dead suster), it's not really his fault.

Do you have one project or a handful?  If the latter, do they take you by the hand and lead you, or do they drag you to only they know where.

Sometimes, I wonder who's in control.  Me or my characters!


Shaun Allan
Senior Inspection Assistant

Twitter: @singularityspnt
Blog – diary of a madman:


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