I am better than I was.As some of you might know, I’ve had a shitty few months. Ongoing problems with a tooth, a chest infection that may or may not have been swine flu, an unusable bathroom for weeks, and very sadly my Nan passed away. I suppose that sometimes strife doesn’t line up in an orderly queue, sometimes it just shouts “BUNDLE!” and lets rip. The good news is, I feel like I have, to some extent, come out of the other side now. Although my chest is still a little weak and I have a very sensitive gag reflex now, I’m over the mystery flu. We now have a bathroom with an actual door and sink (you don’t realise how important a toilet door is until you don’t have one for weeks). We’ve had my Nan’s funeral, which was as difficult and painful as you would expect, and there will be more pain to come as the house where I grew up in is emptied of all the things that made it home, and is sold; but you take the memories that you can and you soldier on, always the walking wounded. The tooth that was lingering on has been removed. Hoo-fucking-ray! The horrible thing about that was the waiting for the appointment; even when I was feeling myself again, and relatively happy, always at the back of my mind was the tooth problem, sucking away any ability to relax. Now it’s sorted, it is genuinely like a black cloud has stopped hanging over my head, and has gone off to bother Charlie Brown or Calvin or someone. So I am better than I was. A side effect of the crap of the last few months has been that my writing has taken a serious knock. I can’t concentrate when I’m anxious, and a number of problems with A Boy of Blood and Clay that I had been trying to write around suddenly became insurmountable, and I lost my way with the book. Shitsticks. I forced myself to write for a while, and stopped again when I realised I was hating it, hating the characters, and hating the story. The problem is longwinded, but the short version is this; with Bad Apple Bone, I had the main character in my head for some time, years even, before I started writing. I might not have known the plot, but I had a good idea of what Noon was like. With A Boy of Blood and Clay, I did the briefest of outlines and character sketches, and then threw myself into it, assuming I’d be able to make it up as I went; after all, it had worked with the last book. It turns out, that was a slightly silly idea. So I’ve put A Boy of Blood and Clay to one side for a while. I don’t know the characters well enough, and it needs a hell of a lot more research before I can get the story into the shape I wanted in the first place. I’ll come back to it (if only because I’ve written 63,000 words of the bugger already!) and Mike and Faye and Gushel and the terrible Eustace Cream will certainly get an end to their stories one day. In other news, NaNoWriMo is two weeks away! I had a great time last year writing Bird and Tower, and I can’t wait to do it all again- this time with more planning and research, obviously. 😉 More about that on the next blog post.