To the manor born

Jack Shackaway here.

barf

Not long ago I posted an account of a recent encounter with fine wine and free food. But the starving writer’s life is no incessant five-star carouse with mince tarts and Shiraz on all sides. Far from it.

Here it is some time in the morning, I haven’t even had breakfast, and Mad the Maid has just puked all over my balcony. She went out there to clean it for the first time since this building was … Read more

Epidemic dead pens: Sign of the times

refills simmeringThis morning my tea is ready before my Parker refills are done. They’ve been simmering in a pot on the stove for five minutes already, but they still won’t write.

I’ve used indelible black Parker medium ballpoints for years. Some of my associates describe my Parker pens as mere affectation. “I do fine with these twenty-baht stick pens,” says one friend. Of course he’s only a photographer and hardly knows what to do with a pen anyway. The point is, … Read more

Get rich quick: Plan B

pike jumpingJack Shackaway here.

I’m free. A freelance writer. A free spirit. You name it. Currently a bachelor.

So why don’t I feel better? Where’s the lift of adventure, the sense of new horizons?

In my experience, the advantages of living alone are generally clearer when you’re living with somebody. (And vice versa.) Meanwhile I recognise another unfortunate fact of nature: Money serves in much the same way a shiny new Johnson Weedless Silver Spoon does when you’re fixin’ to catch … Read more

Get rich quick: Plan A

Jack Shackaway here. I’m worried about Collin. Take a look at this e-mail:

Yo, Jack.

One of the UK publishers I most respect has just declined my 180,000-word science fiction novel, saying how much they like the writing and world-building, and how they understand and admire the structure, but for some indefinable reason they haven’t “fallen in love” with it. So we turn to other ways of generating an income from writing.

I’m thinking I’ll run this classified ad in

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Losing the plots

This is the longest I’ve neglected my blog since I started it about three years ago.

And right now I should be working on a novel, rather than poking at this post. Except I’ve lost the plot. The structure of my narrative escapes me just now.

Call it writer’s block, or simple lack of sleep. Or maybe this book is really a classic hobologoistic project that should be presented to the jury now, with a view to burning the ms. … Read more

Occupational hazards: Add to the collection

I’ve suggested some typical hazards that writers face, aside from the traditional death from starvation, and more lurk here in my files. But the following wheeze is easier than writing one of these up just now.

I’m supplying links to those that have gone before, and invite ideas from you—“you” being that mythical creature, the real, live visitor to Collin’s blogsite—for other occupational hazards that afflict writers. Contributions from writers, writers-to-be, readers and the general public welcome.

1. Godwotterous writerly Read more

Can the novel survive the demise of novelists?

The demise of the novel? This has been predicted again and again over the decades, if not the centuries, yet people keep reading novels. Here’s a recent vote of confidence in their persistence:

“The book-length text is coded in our DNA and will never go away; it is the written version of the oral myths and histories told on consecutive nights around campfires for 80,000 years. In each new generation, roughly the same percentage of people is born with

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Gallows humor for writers

I see I haven’t posted an item since 17 March. Excuses range from “I’ve been too busy to blog” and “I’m suffering a multi-tasking deficiency” to “I’ve sustained a fit of sanity, wherein I see no percentage in posting elaborate messages into the Void.”

Mostly, though, I’ve been in thrall to a fiction project, a series of speculative novels. The Muse, revealing herself as a dominatrix this time around, has shacked up with me big time. (I speak only figuratively, … Read more

Submarine garrets for starving writers

Writers look for budget accommodation  (Bangkok, 2027)

Here are some things that didn’t fit on the graph in my “Things fall apart redux” post.

The price of fish in Villa Supermarket is soaring, the Gulf of Thailand is getting fished out, China is behaving more aggressively as the superpower-in-waiting, I’ve lost my mother’s copy of Ben’s secret recipe for Montreal smoked meat and I now learn Ben’s deli closed two years ago. It’s as likely I’ll get to … Read more