About the author

Conrad Williams is the author of the novels Head Injuries, London Revenant, The Unblemished, One, Decay Inevitable and Blonde on a Stick; the novellas Nearly People, Game, The Scalding Rooms and Rain and a collection of short fiction, Use Once then Destroy. He lives in Manchester, UK.

All content on this site is © Conrad Williams.

Monday 8 March 2010

Loss of Separation

It's been nearly two years since my last blog post. The reasons for this are manifold. Chief among them are that I always feel that the time I spend on this could be better spent writing (or not writing) the new project. There's also the suspicion that nobody even knows this blog exists and, if they do, that they have about a bzillion other, more important things to do than read it.

A number of writers I know have started blogging about works-in-progress and I think that's a great idea. So I'm going to do it too. It will mean I can put content on this blog, (hopefully regularly), and it might also gee me along to finish a novel that has to be delivered by October 15th. I'm currently 20,000 words into Loss of Separation, and this first blog will give you a little background about the novel to complement the excerpt that is currently available on the News section of my website.

I spent six months in Southwold from the end of September 2000 to March 2001. I had met my wife-to-be, Rhonda, in the April of 2000 and we both gave up our London jobs on the same day with the grand plan of renting somewhere by the sea, living on fish and wine, and writing novels. I wrote a novel called Penetralia (later to become Decay Inevitable) while I was there. And, in between long walks on the wintry seafront and mooching about in junk shops and drinking Adnams bitter, I read a shocking article in The Guardian. I can't tell you what it was about as it would prove a major spoiler for the novel, but I still have that clipping, pasted into a notebook, ten years on. I don't know why Loss of Separation (which was, for a very long time, meant to be called Consummation) has taken a decade to reach a point where I'm ready to write it, but that's writing for you. Other projects pushed to the head of the queue first, with more insistent voices. Maybe I was too young at the time to write confidently about a character who goes through so much. Whatever the reason, it feels right to do it now. The peat has shifted on the moors and the bones of what I'm trying to dig out are visible.

That said, despite its long gestation, the novel is proving to be a recalcitrant sod. I hit 20K and now I'm walking through mud. This blog will hopefully be the kick up the backside that I need.

I'll post a word count for the day (another reason to put my back into it... I don't want to come on here to tell you I've managed a piddling twelve words), along with any interesting titbit about the process of writing (interesting to me, that is; it might be about as interesting as All-Bran to everyone else). Please feel free to post comments or ask questions. Thanks for your time.


Tessa said...

Feed has been added to the collection. Some muppet down south, ahem, I mean, Big Brother is watching you.

Sarah Pinborough said...

Nice blog...(I'm loving all these work in progress blogs..they're helping me avoid my own work in progress...;))

Kelly Young said...

I look forward to watching this progress...

Peter said...

Just wanted to say good luck and keep going. If the new novel's as good as One I can't wait to read it! (Even if it sucks I'll buy it cause you're a good guy)

Mark West said...

Looking forward to reading this, Conrad - updates and story.

Mark M said...

Go on my son!
Just to let you know that I read your blog & you're not just pissing in the dark, with nothing to show for your time except wet shoes.
And *yes*, I should be working. Shut your face. I'm starting now.
I'll expect you to be on 40k words by the time I see you in Brighton.

Anonymous said...

You’re very brave to do this, Conrad. I don’t think I could.

And there’s absolutely NO chance I could post daily word counts publicly. The shame is profound enough when it’s just me watching myself struggle to make quota.

I’m cagey about discussing work in progress. Not because I’m concerned people will run off with my ideas but because I’ve this suspicion that it releases the internal pressure. It’s as though the power of the idea leaks out every time you mention it.

That said, I had a gap in writing of about fourteen months while my wife and I got used to the new schedules that little people bring into the world. It was a horrible time; thinking about it and never doing it. Yet my writing mind was still turning things over. In that period I developed three or four ideas that seemed strong enough to warrant full-length attention. I’ve been writing the strongest of these since October and, for the first time ever, I’ve been quite open about the project with people I meet. It hasn’t diminished the power. At least not yet. And it’s always nice when people say ‘Ooh, that sounds very interesting’ even when you know they’re lying.

So, I think I’ve disproved my theory; at least in part. What I now suspect is that when an idea is too close to genesis, talking about it can be damaging but if it’s something that’s been haunting you for a while, like yours has, then it’s probably good to share it.

My updated theory:

Talking about an idea is like farting instead of taking that much-needed shit. You know the dark cargo is on its way to the air lock but sometimes a little gas needs to escape before you can finally blow the seals.

I hope you’ll continue to post links to your blog at Facebook when you add stuff. I’ll be interested to see how this goes for you. If it’s a success, I may try it myself one day. At the moment, I’m too much of a coward!

Best of luck!

Rhonda said...

I'm in the midst of THE UNBLEMISHED at the moment and enjoying it very much :)

I feel your pain oh so well. The novel I'm working on is...well, I haven't even reached the 20,000 word mark LOL I believe in the story though and am struggling to find ways to keep my ass in the chair. I hope this one works for you. I'll keep an eye on your progress, perhaps it will help motivate mine. :)

tekawitha said...

Keep it up Conrad. You have many devoted fans.