Oh, the irony. My last post was about the fantastic writing habits I’d got into and how they had transformed how I write and what I write and how much I write. This one, in stark contrast, is about how I’ve been taking a bit of a break.

It wasn’t entirely intentional but the summer holidays are a bit of a chaotic time anyway – everyone is out of routine, there are actual holidays to prepare and pack for (and then recover from, by which I mean “clear the laundry mountain”…) – plus work got busier and I’m involved in organising the annual Royston Arts Festival and it was my eldest’s sixteenth birthday AND then it was GCSE results time (not mine!)… I was finding that I wasn’t getting as much writing done as I wanted, and that was getting frustrating, which wasn’t helping my motivation or the quality of what I was writing.

So I decided to take the pressure off and take a break. Not a complete break, mind you. I took a notebook to Standon Calling, because every year an idea hits me and I wish I had a notebook with me. I wrote (most of) a short story which definitely has potential. Then I sent a copy of Echoes to my Kindle and read it while we were in Porto. Which was good, because I remembered that it was much less crap than it had become in my head (note, prospective agents: it’s not crap), but also because I realised how I could punch up some sections, particularly the opening, ready for the next batch of submissions.

I also decided that I would park Entrapment for a while. I have a draft that, whilst it needs a lot of work, is decent and coherent and definitely enough to come back to and finish. But, in it’s current form, it’s a sequel to Echoes and what (eek) if Echoes isn’t the roaring success I expect it to be… What if no-one wants a sequel?

I’ll just let that sink it a moment, because it’s a scary thought. Deep breath. Aaaaaand….

So here’s the plan:

  1. Punch up Echoes and resubmit it to a new wave of unsuspecting lucky agents (before the end of August)
  2. Start a BRAND NEW and exciting book that I’ve got an idea for which is now buzzing round my brain (as soon as point 1 is done)
  3. Come back to Entrapment at a later date at which point it will be clear whether a sequel to Echoes is something that’s worth creating, or whether I need to rework it as a standalone (which is completely possible, if I rewrite the last third)

Sounds solid, I’d better get cracking!

In the meantime, I was looking through some folders on my laptop and found some short stories that I’m unlikely to do anything with, so I thought I’d post them here. This first one started as something I wrote at a Royston Writers’ Circle meeting. I rewrote it a few times for a few competitions, so it’s been longer and shorter at various times, depending on the word count I was trying to hit. Not sure which version this is.

The Powers of Love

She stood on the doorstep, heavy case in hand, her back to me. I couldn’t talk to the back of her head, not to say the things I knew she wanted me to say. But I didn’t want to close the door on us. I wished I felt it. I wished it were true.

We weren’t a normal couple. The way we’d met was comical. So far we’d been a whirlwind of conflict, betrayal and exes who came back from the dead to throw a spanner in the works, but we were a fantastic team. I couldn’t just let her go.

She turned to face me, a majestic presence, a vision. The look that she gave me made the blood surge through my veins harder. In an instant I was strong enough to break down mountains. That’s what she gave me. Was that it? Was that enough?

‘I’m sorry,’ she said, ‘but you’re not the man I thought you were and I can’t stay.’ I felt heat rising from my feet, spilling out of my fingers, red hot and fiery. I needed her, but I couldn’t give her what she needed in return. I wanted to so badly. Was that it? Was that enough?

She leaned forward and kissed me, light and soft. My heart stopped. No, time slowed down. The distance between beats stretched into minutes. I wanted to stay with her in those quiet moments, in between the heartbeats, freeze the rest of the world because it didn’t matter in comparison. Was that it? Was that enough?

I took a deep breath.

‘I have superpowers,’ I said. ‘I am strong enough to break down mountains. I can shoot fire from my fingertips, I can freeze time. Not very well, yet. But I want you to stay so that we can complete my training.’

‘That wasn’t so hard, was it?’ she grinned. She lifted the heavy case above her head as if it weighed nothing and phased through me, into the hallway behind. I could imagine the triumphant sashay with which she’d carry herself back to the danger room to set up a new scenario for me to battle. And fail. I’m no superhero. I did not know how long I could keep this up for. And for what?

‘I love you,’ I whispered under my breath, closing the door.