One of the good things about working from home is that when your child is off school for a few days ill you don’t need to organise a babysitter. One of the bad things about working from home is that when your child is off school for a few days ill they end up at home with you. Not my most productive week.
I’ve been working on my short story collection. I’ve had some ideas that I really like. And what these ideas have helped hammer home to me is the wonderful freedom involved in being a CWAP. I can CWAPing well do what I CWAPing well like. No one can stifle my creativity. No one can smother the ‘me’ element of my writing. Yeah, I know: maybe some of it needs smothering, toning down, tweaking for my own ‘commercial’ good because sometimes the ‘me’ element of what I produce doesn’t always chime with readers’ expectations or make good ‘commercial’ sense. While I freely admit to relying on the money I make from being a CWAP to live the dream, it shouldn’t always be about the money. And from happy experience I know that my very supportive readers are generally toleratant of my self-indulgences.
Take the short story collection, for example. Since I had the idea to combine my short stories in one collection and self-publish them I’ve been considering titles. And most of what occurred seemed too conventional i.e. boring. And then I thought, how about ‘A Load of CWAP’ for a title? No sane traditional publisher would put out a book with that title because realistically who would be attracted to it? But I like it. In the same way that I couldn’t resist calling a Romney and Marsh File ‘Particular Stupidities’ after my alternative to Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences I’m finding it hard to resist my urge to identify one of my books through its title with my brand of being a CWAP, even if that flies in the face of commercial appeal. (Not that I honestly believe that there is a great deal of commercial appeal in the short story collection format when compared to longer stories, especially in the e-book market.)
I’m also thinking about including stories from different genres. Most of them are crime or crime related, of course, but I’m considering slipping in a couple of others. If readers don’t like them they can pass. The potential inclusion of these is not a cynical attempt to up the word count – the non-crime related stories only amount to five thousand words of the eighty thousand word plus total. So why bother? Because I can. That’s the point. They’re stories I wrote and am happy to be associated with, so ‘why not’ would be my response (after all, I’m a CWAP and I can do what I like, right?). If just one reader is pleasantly surprised by something they might not otherwise read that will make it worth it to me.
I started the week with two stories left to write. Not long after making a start on the penultimate one I had another idea I liked. I decided to set myself the challenge of incorporating all of my fifteen book titles in it. It was a bit of fun for me. Because I’m a CWAP I could do that. And I did. Just. It’ll make a good quiz competition question when I do a future promotion.
I’ve got one more short story to write and I’ve given myself another challenge with it. And the reason for the challenge is twofold. I’m going to New York at the end of this month. It’s not cheap. It’s even ‘less cheap’ when the person I’m going with is expecting me to pay for everything including flights, accommodation, food and two tickets for a Nix game (how much!!!!???? But as she keeps telling me, ‘you only live once, dad.’). Daughters. Sigh. Anyway, my accountant tells me that I can offset a certain amount of that expense against my taxes. On one condition: I write a story set in New York. That way certain of the trip’s expenses come under the heading of research related and any money a writer spends on research of a story that he/she then makes money from is tax deductable in the same way as any self-employed person can claim a tax allowance for work related outlay. So, I’m going to have to have a good look at the big apple for inspiration and a tax break while, hopefully, enjoying myself.
It’s a long flight out and I don’t sleep well on planes so I’m making another part of my challenge to write the bulk of the story on the way there and on the way back. It’ll be something to do. Here’s hoping I don’t get stuck sitting next to some chubster who overflows the armrest and snores all the way there, or a screaming baby.
I’m currently working my way through the ten seasons of ‘Spooks’, the BBC MI5 drama of a few years back. I’m rationing myself to one episode a night. If there has ever been a better British TV series I don’t know about it. The depth and consistency of quality is excellent. Brilliant writing. Brilliant directing. Brilliant acting. I cannot say enough brilliant things about the series. It’s … brilliant.
A by product of my viewing is that after a few of the episodes I’ve turned the telly off with a good idea for a spin off story from it. One of the short stories I’ve written for my collection mentioned above is one of these and I have several more that I’d like to have a crack at. In that regard Spooks has been truly inspirational as well as truly entertaining. It’s made me want to be a part of something like that – as a writer not a secret agent. The Spooks’ tagline is ‘MI5 not 9 to 5’. Being a CWAP isn’t 9 to 5 either. And we both kill people for a living.