Thank You, Captain Insomnia

Philip HarrisChatter, WritingLeave a Comment

I have a nasty tendency to wake up early in the morning. It seems to coincide with our evening training runs. Whether it’s the late night endorphin rush or the increased fluid intake, three or four times a week I wake up somewhere close to 3am; a slow drift into consciousness immediately followed by the sickening realisation that I’m not supposed to be awake for at least another three hours. It’s at that point that Captain Insomnia kicks in and I start thinking about work or stories or the keynote speech I have to give next month. Sometimes I manage to get back to sleep, usually about twenty minutes before I’m supposed to get up. Sometimes, like today, I just stay awake until I give in and get up This morning, Captain Insomnia had clearly teamed up with Ethel the Muse because my mind was flicking rapidly between: The game concept I’m putting together at work. The story for the above concept. A new game concept that fits nicely with the first. The story for the above concept. The science fiction story I’m hoping to start this weekend. The closing scenes of The Bone Boy. The monster story I outlined yesterday but … Read More

Nurture Your Rabbits

Philip HarrisMeaty Mondays, Writing AdviceLeave a Comment

This is the second in a series of Meaty Monday posts – longer posts where I ramble on about writing related topics. You can find the first Meaty Monday post here. Today, I’m talking about ideas. You’re probably familiar with this quote. “In writing, you must kill your darlings.” – William Faulkner Or this one. “Whenever you feel an impulse to perpetrate a piece of exceptionally fine writing, obey it – whole-heartedly – and delete it before sending your manuscripts to press. Murder your darlings.” – Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch Or how about this?  “Read over your compositions, and wherever you meet with a passage which you think is particularly fine, strike it out.” – Samuel Johnson They’re all variations on a theme – if you think a scene or a sentence or even a whole subplot is the most wonderful piece of writing in the world, you should cut it. Some people take this literally and remove their favourite bits from their work just because they like them so much – apparently director Danny Boyle always cuts the single best shot from his movies. I take it more as encouragement to examine those “particularly fine” pieces of writing and consider whether they might be too … Read More