An excerpt

As some of you may know, I took part in a little challenge a little while back. It was my own personal NaNoWriMo. I wanted to write a novel (loosely defined) in a month. And I kind of did. It’s almost finished and on the verge of being sent to one of my harshest critics. So here’s an excerpt from ‘title pending’. Feedback encouraged, please be kind!


Ray glared up at the grey plaster ceiling. That irritating ray of morning sun had once again come in through the gap at the top of the curtains to shine in his eyes.  He could have been in any cheap guest house anywhere in the world but this one was the one he’d chosen year after year. He scrunched his eyes closed. He hated the spider web cracks on the ceiling, he had spent so long staring at them that he could trace their paths without looking. He was frustrated, restless, bored and lonely. It was debilitating in a slow, quiet way. He tried not to think about it but this restless, angry energy was the only thing that got him out of bed each morning. He’d rise from the same bed, in the same room, he reserved at the same time every year. His knees creaked as his stood up. He grabbed his grey slacks from a pile of clothes on the floor and rooted around in a drawer for his brown, wool jumper. He shuffled to the window, the air had a chilly bite to it but Ray pulled it open anyway. The light streamed in, the street below was already bustling, and the lake, as ever, was calm and pensive. He went to the bathroom and splashed water on his face, avoiding his gaze in the mirror. Morning ritual complete, he left his room and went down the hallway to the balcony. As always, Mya was waiting with his tea. “Good morning, Mr Ray.” She could set her watch to his arrival. 7.30am. Ray was usually a coffee man, but here it was always tea. He hated the taste of the 3-in-1 coffee Mya served up to the other guests. It tasted like soap. He sipped his tea from the chipped cup and looked down on to the street below. The market would be in full swing already, it was just the late-comers rushing down to the canal now. Ray and his thoughts were interrupted by the arrival of some young German girls. Brushing sleep out of their eyes, they slumped at a table next to the railing. Always attentive, Mya bustled over to learn their drink of choice. Ray was not in the mood for Europeans. He found them inscrutable and exhausting. These two were no different by the looks of it. The girls perked up over 3-in-1 and nattered away. One was seemingly taking inventory of what was in her day pack. “You hire bicycle today?” Mya asked them, simultaneously delivering their toast and confirming Ray’ suspicions. It was in the guidebook, you see. “In TripAdvisor we trust,” Ray thought to himself, accepting his own toast.

A challenge

As you may know, my partner and I have recently moved to Singapore from Australia. His company moved us over so while he has been trotting off to work every day, I have not been. Thanks to a holiday that was booked way in advance, as in before we knew we were moving, I’m in the middle of seven weeks off from work. I’ve been using that time productively, or at least trying to use that time productively, there may have been some TV watched at one time or another.

Anyway, I want to be a writer, and this is the perfect chance to give it a crack and see if I have the discipline, oh and maybe the skills, to do it. So now that we are officially moved in and settled in our new apartment/suburb/city/country, it’s time to get serious. This post is to hold me to account. I’ve dabbled in a few blogging challenges, writing around different themes and not using adverbs primarily, but I stumbled across a phenomenon called NaBloPoMo. Sounds like an upwardly mobile suburb of New York but it’s short for National Blog Posting Month. Basically you sign up and write a blog a day for a month, I think around a dedicated theme. Upon further investigation, NaBloPoMo is a spin-off of NaNoWriMo. National Novel Writing Month. This is where writers, amateur and professionals, sign up and commit to writing a 50,000 word novel in one month. Crazy, huh? When you break it down though, it’s potentially do-able. 31 days in July, minus 8 for the weekends equals 23 days. 50,000 divided by 23 days is about 2175 words a day; eight hour work day equals about 270 words an hour. Sounds achievable? I hope so, because that’s what I’m going to try and do. I’m a journalist by trade and there’s nothing like a looming deadline to get me motivated. So this is my commitment to these 50,000 words. On the side, I’ll still be blogging and writing articles, oh and probably working on my thesis… but I am going to write a novel in a month. You watch.

Disclaimer: I had a head start on today’s 2175 words so I guess tomorrow the real work begins. I’ll keep you updated but I won’t post any of the story, most likely because it will be rubbish! Wish me luck.