Saturday, January 14, 2006

Taking stock (and staking pains)

If case you're wondering about the significance of the energy saving lightbulb image above, it's somewhat indicative of my state of mind at the moment. The old brain is bubbling and fizzing with all manner of ideas at the moment, rather like a bottle of good red wine that's gone past its sell-be date. You don't want to drink it, but you enjoy seeing the look on other people's faces when they take a sip. Perhaps this is what comes of watching late night darts as a cure for mild insomnia. Anyways...

How do you stake a pain? For several weeks the back of my brain was busy contemplating this daft question, after disassembling the word painstaking in my head. Eventually I put this question to somebody else and they pointed out that painstaking was a compound of the words pains and taking i.e. to take pains, to suffer in order to achieve a goal. Yes, yes, I said, bluffing like mad so as not to be thought a complete spoon, but how do you staking a pain? I've been known to scramble the occasional word in my life. As a child I was given a book by Richard Scarry called - I think - The Supermarket Mystery. My addled memories suggest it involved a Sherlock Holmesian cat (complete with deerstalker, cape and magnifying glass) solving a mystery at a supermarket (natch). Still being just a nipper, I knew the word my and had the word mystery explained to me. But I was determined that the word my at the start of mystery needed to be pronounced on its own, as well as part of the word mystery. So for some time (months? years) I pronounced mystery as my-mystery. However, I can't find any reason why I insisted on pronouncing kidnapped as kid-nah-pippered. Ahh, kids. Don't they say the dumbest things?

Now, let's take stock. I'll try and do this by impending doom-like deadline.
Due Monday (Jan. 16) - my Fiends 3 novel, 70000 words requried. Got 64k down and am now itching to get this finished. Due the following Monday, Jan 23 - first draft of my BBC Radio play script, 2900-3200 words.
Due Friday Jan 27 - two pieces of assessed work for my MA Screenwriting course, a script report on an unproduced screenplay and a market analysis, both around 3-4000 words.
My editor at Egmont Sweden has started agitating for the second half of my two-part Phantom story Circe's Island, so I guess that's got to be tackled in the next week or two - about 7000 words.
The Megazine's new editor, Matt Smith, has asked me to continue interviewing British comics creators as features for the title, and the first of those is due by the end of the month.
Meanwhile, any spare moments are devoted to re-watching every TV episode of Morse (16 down, 17 to go) while simultaneously revising the text for my reference guide to Oxford's most famous fictional detective. As previously noted, the Lewsi spin-off ain't far away, so I'm guessing published Reynolds & Hearn will want the total text ASAP in February.

In the best of all possible worlds, I'll put that project to bed before flying off on Thursday February 16 for LA to attend the 2006 Gallifrey convention. It's one of the world's most enjoyable Doctor Who events, a great opportunity to meet old friends and do some networking. Hmm, probably best to have some ideas for Gary Russell before I go, as we're overdue a conversation about a possible future project. And I need to buttonhole Big Finish supremo Jason H-E about something else.

And I need to put together material for a 45-minute radio play pitch. And work on my Warhammer pitch. And do some research for my historical murder mystery project. And the list goes on and on and on...

You can see why I need the lightbulb now, can't you? Sleep may be at a premium in the next month or two.

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