It always happens to me.

I get really excited about something, put a load of energy into it, and then it tails off.

I’ve got used to it now. It’s the way I am. I can’t help it.

Well, actually, maybe this is different …

You see, I started creative writing not that long ago. And after a really enjoyable creative writing course, I’ve managed to sketch out an outline for my first novel (we all have one in us, don’t we?), together with a first draft synopsis. The main characters are developed enough that I could tell you what they would do in any given situation; the narrative arc, although not complete, has enough ups and downs to keep a reader interested (I’m sure!)

And I was sharing bits and pieces of my learnings on this blog (ok, not a lot, but I was posting quite regularly). And then it stopped.

No, not the writing. That’s still happening. The blogging. The blogging has stopped.

And it’s because I’ve just had so much on that blogging has fallen by the wayside (hey, I guess it’s not that high up on the priorities)

But I want to re-assure you that I’m still writing. Just not putting it up here. In fact, I’m trying to write at least 30 minutes every day (trying being the operative word! “There is no try; do or do not you must” — yeah, thanks Yoda)

Now, because I want to be accountable, and because I want to be motivated, and because I don’t want you guys to think I’m faking, I’m going to put up snippets of my novel, I’m going to post details of my progress, I’m making sure you all get to know how it’s going …

… starting today 🙂

Word count: I’m currently up to 4038 words
Work rate: At this rate, first draft will be completed in approximately 156 hours
Snippet: Here’s the start of the novel, working title is “Summer Holiday”

Chapter 1

‘It’s pronounced “Brick”‘

They sat in The Fazio Bar, one of the busiest on the strip. The heat of the day had turned most of its clientele a bright pink, lobsters just passing through for the week. Some might even get laid tonight, if they were lucky. Or drunk.

‘Spelled B-R-I-C-H.’ Why he had to have this conversation every time, he didn’t know. It was as if Max loved putting him through the pain. New girl, more torture.

The three of them were crammed at the bar, the guys standing either side of a rather intoxicated and intoxicating twenty something.

‘But that’s Brrrrich!’ the blonde corrected, making sure the “rich” was emphasised. Obviously not paying attention. You could hardly blame her, what with the nine vodka shots she’d managed to put away. Don’t you just love summer holidays?

‘Pronounced BRICK.’

‘Yeah, more like a prick, if you ask me.’ Max added, his usual snipe at this point in the conversation.

Brich rolled his eyes. The blonde giggled. That tipsy kind of giggle.

‘Why you a prick then?’ More giggling.

‘If you don’t want to know, I don’t have to tell.’

‘N’ah go on. I’m only teasing’

‘Better not be prick teasing’ added Max.

More giggling, but Brich ignored the pair of them.

‘It was from school. We were meant to sign in for an exam or something. I misread the form, put my first name last, and my last name first. Bastin Richard. What a Dick, quite literally. They shortened it to Brich, and it became my official “candidate reference” at school. The name just stuck from there. I’ve been Brich ever since.’

‘No one calls you Richard then?’

‘Only my mother.’ Brich suddenly turned all maudlin, his Black Dog taking charge. The rest of the bar was a mass of noise, guys hitting on girls, girls freeloading drinks, buzzing to the hilt, but Brich heard none of it as his melancholia kicked in. It killed the conversation stone dead. A lull deep enough for Moses to drown in.

Awkward silence despite the surrounding chaos. Eventually, Max winked at Brich, the unsaid question, wanting to give Brich first dibs for once, trying to lift him out of his mood. Brich wrinkled his nose and imperceptibly shook his head. He didn’t want her. He’d leave her to Max. Max smiled his cheeky smile.

‘Come on then babe. How about I buy you another drink, but somewhere a little quieter where we can get to know each other better, eh?’ He winked at her, his universal trademark that said everything and nothing.

‘You coming Dickie?’

He wanted to punch her, but that wouldn’t go down too well. Didn’t she realise Max had laid his claim, that she was his property now, and would remain his until late morning when he’d kick her out and send her on her way? Perhaps she wanted them both? That never happened. Oh, there’d been girls obviously up for it, it’s the summer season after all, but it wasn’t Brich’s scene. Not sure about Max. He’d probably be up for anything as long as he got a shag out of it.

‘No, I’m gonna stay out a bit more.’

‘Be safe mate. Don’t drink too much.’ That cheeky grin again. Sometimes that was another face he’d want to punch, but he never would. Not the type for fighting. That was Max’s job. Max the stronger, Max the warrior.

‘Yeah, no worries. Later, yeah?’

The blonde climbed down from her stool. Stumbling, she fell into Max’s arms. A stolen kiss with a quick embrace. She was barely five foot; short, slim, and very pink.

‘Steady girl. There’s more than enough time for all that!’ Cheeky grin and wink. The double barrel.

As the pair left, his hand patting a cheek without recrimination, Max turned to Brich and mouthed “You ok?” A quick nod in return showed all was fine. He loved him like a brother. “Bro from another ho” Max had once said. In some ways Max was his protector, the big brother he never had.

Bro from another ho, indeed.

With Max and the blonde gone, Brich was finally alone in his thoughts. Through empty eyes he scanned the bar. Boys and girls out to play, but none of it appealed. Black Dog had reeled him in, reserved and shy, the facade he preferred to put on display. With one hand on the bar, the other wrapped around his bottle, his eyes flitted from face to face, body to body; girls bouncing, arms waving; boys leering, curves groping. The beats urging the children on, with courage found from the deafening noise and a bottom of a glass, yet Black Dog stifled all thoughts of engaging. He was in control now, yet Brich seemed happier with the solitude inside, despite the clubbing happening all around, somehow feeling solace in the contrast.

It was still early, relatively speaking, and he certainly didn’t relish the thought of lying on the sofa bed in the darkness of their far too small apartment’s living room just yet. Even imagining the squeals and groans through the paper-thin walls made him shudder. And laugh at the blonde’s simple ways.

He wondered how anyone could be satisfied with seven nights of drunken fumbling. At least Max was fulfilling some deep primal urge, typical of the animal he’d become. For the girl, come Sunday she’d be flying back to Manchester with an experience remembered only in Facebook timeline selfie snapshots.

So short lived. Until next summer, eh?

‘Looks like you could do with another.’ A beer appeared in front of him, the barmaid all teeth and cleavage.

‘Thanks Alice.’ As Brich fished for coins, Alice waved him off.

‘No worries Brich, keep your cash. I see Maximilian Maximus scored and left you to it. Thought you deserved a consolation prize.’

Brich smiled. Alice had always referred to Max by, what she called, his “gladiator name” ever since they’d first met at the start of the summer. A fifty something Aussie, though she didn’t look it, she’d married her holiday fling some thirty years back, and when Fazio died a few years ago, she inherited the bar. It was her life, and all its customers the children she and Fazio had never had.

‘I won’t bother asking “a penny for them.” I can tell that mind of yours goes too deep for idle chit-chat.’

‘That’s appreciated Alice, thanks’ he replied, glad to know she wasn’t going to intrude on his inner time.

‘You know, if you ever need some cash, there’s some work here needs doing.’ A genuine offer.

‘I’m not really the sociable serving kind of guy. I’d drive your customers away.’ He grinned.

‘Really, hun, you could’ve fooled me! There was I, thinking you were the life and soul, the finger on the pulse of hip and trendy …’ her voice trailing off, her head shaking, sly smirk on her face. ‘Seriously though, Maximilian Maximus tells me your good with your hands. There’s plenty here that could do with a young man’s attention.’

The crimson began to rise, and Brich’s heart rate flipped a beat. His eyes danced around, settling on the bar after an awkward glance at her breasts. His face highlighted his embarrassment in glowing colour.

‘Don’t get your pants in a twist, Brich. You’re not my type.’ She could see he was getting uncomfortable.

Brich released a breath he hadn’t realised he’d been holding. Relief.

‘I hear you’ve studied engineering, some of the speakers aren’t working out back, the alarm’s been on the blink, and I want to get a video wall installed down the back there.’ She pointed to the far end of the bar, behind the makeshift dance podium. ‘Just thought the extra bob or two would come in handy.’

He didn’t actually have much cash left, and he never knew where Max managed to get his spending money from. Drugs, he guessed, but he was never sure. Max was always careful like that.

‘It’d be appreciated.’

‘Good. Come by tomorrow, early afternoon. You can tell me what you need then.’ She wandered off, other patrons to be pampered.

Brich looked at his beer. The coldness had felt good in this sticky heat, but it was already getting too warm to the touch. He signalled to one of the other girls on duty, getting himself a shot. Downing the remains of the beer and the shot in quick succession he got up to leave.

He waved a silent goodbye, mostly to no one, but Alice noticed. It was her job to notice. She reciprocated, half engrossed in her conversation with a guy in his mid thirties, bearded and tanned, a local. That was more her type, Brich guessed as he pushed open the door.

Yeah. Definitely her type.

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