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Where’s May’s update? You ask. Where have you and Chris been? You might also ponder. What the hell is ‘The Separated Man’? You say.

All valid questions. With different things going on in our lives (Chris doing work for FYW and me getting distracted by a cartoon dinosaur) we sort of let our updates for May slip. Very naughty of us, I know.  No excuses. Now halfway through the year I think we’re both beginning to realise that our chief rival is not one another, but Time itself. So, with tempus fugit-ing, there’s no time to dawdle. Let’s crack on.

How many words have I done? God knows. A lot. I’ve been working over sixteen different chapters and I’ve lost track of the word count. It’s well over ten thousand though. Probably closer to twenty thousand actually. I think I’ll leave it as a surprise now for when I stick it together. No. No, I promise to have counted by the next update.  But as you might be able to tell from that estimate it’s been going well. Very well. No creative constipation, just lots of writing, lots of story and plot progression, and lots of focus on this line in particular:  

“I conceived the perfect crime: a dead man committing a murder.”

 This is a sentence spoken by one of my characters: it’s up on a post it note on my wall, and whenever I write it is in my head. Because no matter how much flash and exuberance I add to the plot, no matter how many undead soldiers or Difference Men or ray guns there are, no matter how gaudy the Steampunk trappings, ‘The Separated Man’ is all about that one sentence. At it’s core it is about one, audacious crime, and everything else pivots around that.

 What’s that? What’s The Separated Man? Oh yes, sorry, I forgot to mention. I changed the name. ‘The Invention of Steam’ is now ‘The Separated Man’. I hope you like it as a title. I said right at the start of this Duel that ‘The Invention of Steam’ was a title likely to change. I expected it would. Titles, like any other part of a novel, can change at the click of a key or the flourish of a pen. I like to have a title in place though – I’m pretty good at them and having one helps solidify the idea of the story in my head. A good title is something you can really get behind.

‘The Invention of Steam’ sounds good, and makes sense in the context of the story, but I always felt there was a more apt and maybe exciting title to have. During May I went through an exhaustive list of possible titles in the hope of finding just the right one. The answer, as often is the case, was staring me directly in the face, but there were some serious contenders to it. Remember, it’s a Steampunk origins tale.

‘Rebel Steam’ was, for a long time, the lead title in my mind and one that best described the plot and themes, but the more I thought about it, the more it sounded like a Steampunk Steven Seagal movie … … … Actually I’d watch that. ‘The Difference Men’ was another good one in my mind and had a couple of levels of meaning to it, but as the story has progressed the characters of The Difference Men became less prominent. It would be like naming ‘Oliver Twist’, ‘The Adventures of Mr Bumble’. ‘SteamHeart’ grew on me, but it made it sound a bit Young Adult and so far the novel can’t really be described as that. It’s gotten surprisingly dark and Gothic, what with its numerous murders and, what I’ve come to best describe as ‘anatomical horror’. Eventually, looking through the chapters already completed, the heading ‘The Separated Man’ stood out and it worked on more levels than any other. Many characters in my story can be described as ‘separated’ men or women, and all for different reasons. And the theme of separation and its interpretation goes right to the heart of the story. In fact, it goes right to that sentence I have on a post-it.

But while characters may be separated, the story is finally knitting together. ‘Phew!’. It’s been a fair challenge writing chapters out of order when they all have to connect so neatly – a bit like putting together a Lego set in the wrong order – but things are starting to coalesce. I’ll remind you of this when the whole story is finished, but you’ll have to keep your eyes peeled. Everything is connected, every interaction has a cause and effect, and there are moments early in the narrative that appear meaningless but which are vital to the plot later on. A bouquet of flowers that are mentioned in one chapter become an entire plot point later on. A stranger in the street doing something completely unrelated to the story is actually doing something integral to the story. My aim is to have you go back and realise ‘Ohh that was there all along but I didn’t notice it!’ Gosh I hope it works. And now that the story is actually taking shape here are ten tasty teasers as to what you can expect from it: 

  • Ray guns make more work for butlers.
  • Do not try and play the drinking game ‘drink every time a character drinks’ with this story. You will be dead by Chapter 3.
  • ‘Mr. Othniel Maggadees’ is my favourite name.
  • An entire career will become completely redundant in Steampunk Britain. It’s not dustbin men but it is disposal of a sort.
  • Speaking of jobs, new Steampunk careers include: Zeppelin Refuelling Technician, Omniclock Repairman, Ionised Potassium Salesman, Chief of Aesthetics, and Holography Designer.
  • Spring-Heeled Jack is the evil Iron Man of the 1800s.
  • There really is a fight in a special effects warehouse. Ardent viewers of Futurama will appreciate this reference.
  • One man’s Steampunk terrorist is another man’s Victorian freedom fighter.
  • There’s a restaurant that serves only exotic and endangered species in dishes such as ‘Toucan Salad’ and ‘Rhino a la Hamburg’. Weirdly, this isn’t so far from true high-class Victorian eating as you might think.
  • “Why would you give a calculator eyes?” is a very bad question.

That’s all for now. See you next month!


 Words Done This Month: 2,901 (most of them in the last three days)

Total Word Count: 26,702

April Low Point: The week when nothing was done.

April High Point: The few days when everything was done.


This’ll be brief: I don’t want to write more words in an update than I did in all of April. I jest of course, but only just… 

What I wrote was good, there just wasn’t a lot of it. Not a bad thing. Better than writing thousands of terribly dull words. And it wasn’t as if it was a struggle to get that much done – I had a good time writing it. I’m not sure why then, the count is so low. Okay, there was one week where nothing was done, but that’s because there was a death in the family and everything sort of stopped. Apart from that there was nothing but open Time in which to get stuff done. Yet I’ve got to say I’m not one of those people who just sit and write at any time. You can’t force it out of me like juice. I’m not an orange. I have to be in the right mood. For two weeks I just wasn’t in the right mood. You might say, “oh well just set aside an hour and sit down and just write something, anything, just write!” but I say no. That’s just not how I get it done. Last week was the right mood, so I got some good stuff down. Ta-da! 

So the word count is a bit low. As a wholly remarkable book says ‘Don’t Panic’. Just because I wasn’t writing doesn’t mean the story was on ice. I was thinking and plotting and trying to infuse the plot with a bit more ‘fearful whimsy’, and by that I mean those fantastical, fairytale-like things turned twisted; a Grimm’s Fairytale with more technology. I already had some of it – the key to how to take over the world lies in my short story ‘The Clockwork Heart’ – but there are now plenty of extra little touches: cirrushows (advertising on clouds), buildings that are there but aren’t, gramohats (imagine an iPod in a top hat, except it’s not an iPod it’s a gramophone), and Charles Babbage’s chilling ‘Difference Men’ and their binary death cry (if there’s an excerpt this month then it’s definitely time you met them).

Ooh, and very, very soon ‘The Invention of Steam’ will have a name change. More on that later this month.  

So there’s plenty still to write about and plenty of fun to be had. The word count’s low but this isn’t a competition to see who can write the most words in a month. It’s a competition to see who can write the best story, and there’s plenty of time left in the year for that.

Wait, what do you mean it’s now May?!?!

Words done this month: 5,800

Total Word Count: 24, 360

Current Mood: Splendiferous

March Low Point: Nothing really to single out. Just need more discipline in writing.

March High Point: Adding up my word count and realising I’d done more than I thought.


 Let’s start with a story that actually happened. Just the other night actually.

 Some friends and I were in Newcastle for dinner, and on the way to the restaurant we passed a man standing in the street in a very fine purple suit. His hair and beard were unkempt and he walked with a bit of a stoop. He carried with him a mobile phone and a suitcase.

“Dyhvatime?” he asked us as we walked past.

We stopped.

“Dyhvatime?” he inquired again. “Thatime?”

‘Oh the time!’ I realised in my head that he was Scottish and very much the worse for drink.

“Yes,” I said, looking at my watch, “It’s five past six.”

The man in the purple suit looked shocked, and for a second intense confusion could be clearly made out, even under all that beard. And then, in his drunken Scottish drawl he asked something that rather startled us all.

“Mornin’ or evenin’?”

“Evening,” I said.

We stood there, us and the drunk, staring at one another, both in states of disbelief. And then, because there was really nothing else we could do, and because our bellies were rumbling, we left the drunken man in the fine purple suit to walk on into his brand new evening.

Time is a funny thing, and whether or not you’re so off your head you lose all notion of its passage, it is very easy to let it get the best of you. At times it drags, at times it soars past you, and always at the points you want it to do the very opposite. Einstein had it right: sit on a bench with a pretty girl and an hour will feel like five minutes. Hold your hand on a a hot hob for five seconds and it will feel like an hour. 

After the true ‘hand on hob’ disaster month that was February I resolved to make March a good month. March was when every challenge was going to be faced, every put off thing put on; everything was going to get done: romantically, financially, creatively and businessly. And it was. What I remember of it. Because I really don’t know where March went. It really did speed by, and I was only drunk for part of it. Maybe it was because I was doing the stuff I liked; writing, cartooning, setting up my business, waiting for the new series of Doctor Who, that everything passed so quickly. I’m not sure. I’d certainly like to think it was that, and not just my addled, pun-crazed mind making me believe it. March certainly has felt like the month for sitting on the bench with the pretty girl. I’m glad of the change: my hand was starting to smell like bacon.

 So as a result of this fast-forwarded March and it’s many distractions that needed tending to I actually thought my word count was going to be low, but was rather surprised by how much I’d done. Not a massive amount but more than expected and enough to keep me on the very loose target I’ve set myself. Apparently I got some writing done on that bench.

 I think that the higher word count wasn’t just as a result of a more positive attitude, but because I was writing sections that really excited me, and which I’d been dying to write from ages. Real pulp action stuff. Outrageous, word-spilling fun like Spring-Heeled Jack bounding through London, crashing on top of Hansom cabs and leaping back onto the rooftops while gunfire bends the air around him. Or tense moments where an Inspector manages to trick an answer out of a suspect with some clever wordplay. It’s been immense fun, and as Chris and myuself have said many times before, writing should be fun. The day it becomes a chore is the day I’ll think about becoming an accountant (again). And thanks to the fun things are really picking up plot-wise. The story is taking more definite form, characters are fleshing out nicely and a good dose of intrigue has been added. And now that some textual chaff has been cut out from the literary wheat in the editing process I’m a lot happier with what’s been done.

What will April (described as ‘the cruellest month by Eliot) have in store? Well my Smedley Senses are tingling. A change is gonna come, some hands will be on hobs, and it’s not going to be the easiest of months to navigate, but there’ll be time – hell I’ll make the time – to write. And yes, an entire quarter of the year has gone, and I’m as terrified by that as anyone (seriously, a whole three months? Where’d that go?!), but there are three quarters left, and that’s a lot of writing time.

 And in the end, at least I and my opponent are aware of the time we have left. Unlike a certain man in a purple suit…

Words done this month: 1,675…

Current total word count: 12,384

Current mood: Pretty crappy, to be honest.

March low point: The past few days – realising that this Duel is a quarter of the way over already, and seeing just how low my word count has been this month.

March high point: Today, now that it’s over! Bring on April.

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So, we are a quarter of the way through the Duel, and my word count was abysmal this month. I don’t know what my final word count will be but I’m aiming for it to be at least 50k words, which means that I’m behind schedule at this point, which I didn’t want to be.

This has been a difficult month, not just with the writing. I haven’t been feeling particularly upbeat, I’ve let some personal things get to me, I had a good go at chopping the tip of my left thumb off, and over the past couple of days I’ve came to a realisation that it looks almost entirely certain I won’t get to start any kind of teacher training this September, which is what I was hoping to do, and that I will have to wait now until the September after to start, which is an awfully long time away, and I’m going to have to try and find something to do in the mean time, besides buck my ideas up on this novel.

I believe that to be called ‘a writer’ it is not necessary to be making a living from writing, or to even have anything published – all you have to do is to tell people that you are a writer and to be able to back it up. This month I definitely cannot do that, which is upsetting. My blog at Never Too Serious! has been updated a couple of times, but nothing for two weeks now, and there were no updates in February. My writing for Fuel Your Writing is only once a month anyway, and I’m pleased with my recent article as I have been with the others, but I should really be knocking several of these articles out at a time, especially the short ones. I have enough ideas to do that, and the time. Obviously my writing on StairJumpers has been very minimal, and most of my words have actually been written in the last few days. I did start writing a short story, for the first time since probably last summer, and was really enjoying writing that, but even that has died a death – probably because I was too worried about not writing my novel. So I ended up writing neither, of course. Which isn’t the way this is supposed to work.

On a postive note, what I have written this month I think is pretty good, brief though it is, and various aspects of my story are starting to flesh out in my mind. If only I had written more they would be coming alive on the page, and they would be coming more real. Also, by not writing I am beginning to realise just how much I do love writing. The same thing happened in February, but from the other side. I was reminded how much I love writing because I was actually writing, mostly in my Moleskine at any time of day: in my lunchbreak at the school where I volunteer, writing away while teachers wandered about and talked and laughed and moaned about the kids; in the early hours of the morning sat up in bed with just my lamp on; or scribbling away in a quiet, cosy coffee shop sipping a cappuccino. I love it.

Which makes the fact that in March I did none of these things all the more frustrating. I realised (and I’m not just talking about writing here) that I get miserable when I don’t do the things that I enjoy doing. Surely that’s obvious, right? Writing, playing guitar, reading, running, blogging – these are just some of the things that I love to do, so why am I surprised that I feel down when I don’t do them?

So, on this April Fool’s Day, I can only declare myself somewhat of a fool. But, this is a whole new month, the sun is shining, and spring may actually be here. To quote H.G. Wells, in what I know is one of my opponent‘s favourite quotes, “The crisis of today is the joke of tomorrow.” So excuse me, I can’t stand around here all day being a fool, I have a novel to write!

Words done this month: 4,697.

Current total word count: 10,709.

Current mood: Slightly disappointed with my word count, but hey… I beat Rob this month!

February low point: About the 16th, when I realised that I had no idea which way my main character was going to take a major decision.

February high point: About the 16th, when I realised that I had no idea which way my main character was going to take a major decision!

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Yes, my high and low points this month were the same moment! The scene which I was writing was a major one, in which Sam takes part in the StairJumping “ritual” in order to be accepted into his brother’s gang. I kept writing and writing, hoping that inspiration would come and that Sam would make his decision for me, but he wouldn’t! Which is unsurprising really – he is a fairly weak-minded character, who is unsure of himself and very nervous given the situation he finds himself in. So I began to get very frustrated, wanting to finish the scene but finding it impossible to get over this hurdle. This caused several days of not writing anything, until the point where I made a concious decision to leave the scene behind for the time being, and write some different scenes happening later on in the story.

This was a tricky point for me, but I also rather loved it! It was the high point of my month’s writing because it reminded me why I love writing, and why I write the way that I do. I don’t like to plan things, and prefer to write and see what happens as I go. Because, as I see it, writing is a living, breathing thing – characters and places come alive as the words appear on the page. Sometimes I will be writing and a character will do things differently to how I may have planned it, or will bring things to the story that I won’t have anticipated. When I realised that I didn’t know what Sam was going to do in the scene, I also realised that Sam didn’t know either. He wasn’t making a decision, and hopefully this uncertainty will show through in the final written scene. Writing is magic, and alive, which makes it incredibly fun, if also incredibly frustrating and challenging at times. But these are the reasons why I love it so much.

My word count is also lower than I expected this month – lower even than January’s word count, which I had thought was quite low in the first place. February’s writing was mainly done longhand, in my Moleskine, which I find can be a more relaxing and inspiring way of writing. The feel of my fountain pen across the page, the sound of the nib slightly scratching as it releases the ink, the look of the words on the page and the feel of my notebook in my hands. All of these things contribute to the magic of writing. However, it does make it harder to keep track of a word count, so it was only when I wrote up my longhand onto the computer on Saturday that I realised how much (or little) writing I’ve done this month.

Despite this, I am pleased with the way I have been writing in February. Although I didn’t write as much as in January I have written almost every day, whereas last month I wrote the bulk of my word count over about three days. This more regular writing is encouraging – I am finding myself more in the writing habit, which I have struggled with in the past. Throughout March I am sure I will keep up this regular writing, but hopefully I shall increase my daily word count.

So, bring on March! Although, like Rob said to me a few days ago, I feel like I could do with an extra month of “Smarch”  in order to get this novel written this year, but that’s not going to happen! Look out for Rob’s excerpt tomorrow, and then mine on Thursday, to give you a taste of our stories and our completely different styles.

Hope you’re all enjoying the Duel as we enter our third month. Keep reading!

Words done this Month: 3,000

Current Word Count: 20,000

Current Mood: Best not ask…

February Low Point: Pretty much the whole damn month. February is unwelcome guest of months.
February High Point: Finding a box of ‘After Eight’ in the cupboard. They are now mine, and a delicious minty treat whilst writing: ‘End of paragraph? After Eight time!’

February gave with one hand and took with the other. My writing completely lost steam (no pun intended) and for over two weeks (two weeks!) I wrote not a scrap of text. It wasn’t writer’s b***k (I hate that phrase. Makes you sound like you’re at your typewriter, staring at the keys, smoking an endless string of Lucky Strikes as your shaking hand wipes the sweat from your ruddy brow and the other hand reaches for the liquor bottle. Even the phrase itself is uninspired, like it was thought up by someone under its weight. It should be called something cool like ‘Creativity Torpor’ or ‘Phrasal Inertia’ or ‘Wordsmith’s Constipation’. Anything but w*****’s b***k). Sorry, that went on a bit longer than I planned. Anyway, it wasn’t wordsmith’s constipation. It did allow me to get plenty of cartoons done for my neglected blog, but in the back of my mind I was conscious not enough ink was being directed towards the written word. Was I incredibly worried about this? Not especially, as I had prepared for the inevitable torpor that I knew would set in at some point. I’d built up such a head of steam in January’s word count that I knew I could afford to lose two weeks work time. I would have preferred not to lose it this early, but never mind.

After sixteen days things righted themselves and I was back to the regular flow of words. The goggles were on (literally), the boiler was stoked, and a fleet of clockwork engines could not have pulled me away from my keyboard. In the story, an Inspector called, a non-existent body was exhumed, and rumours of war began to stir. The result? 3000 done in all by the month’s end. A paltry sum compared to January, but I did say at the end of the last update that it would be less. Importantly, I’m still within my planned timetable and on track. So I’m not worried or disappointed: what was done was good (well, in my opinion), and although I wasn’t writing a lot of the time there was plenty of other vital work done, in terms of editing January’s words, some historical fact checking, and thinking about the way the whole course of the novel will pan out. And as a result there were some important and exciting changes made in the direction the story will take.

So, setting the Zeppelin’s course Marchward, and with a fresh wind in the sails, I can already feel the pace picking up. February’s tiresome skies are gone and the outlook’s bright. There’s new music on my iPod, a drawer full of post-meal mints at hand, a cup of Darjeeling waiting to be quaffed, and (most importantly) the desire to write something bloody brilliant. Oh yes, it’s full steam ahead. Pun definitely intended.

Chris will be here tomorrow with his update, and then on Wednesday and Thursday things get really interesting as we each post a short section of something we’ve written so far for your perusal and comment. Mine will be up on Wednesday and Chris’ will be up on Thursday. It’ll be your first chance to read our stuff, get a feel of our stories, and see just how very different we are in our writing styles.

Isotope batteries to full power! Vent the HeliOx gas! Shovel on more dogs! It’s Rob’s update…

Current Word Count: 17,000-ish
Current Mood: A bit frustrated but otherwise good.
January Low Point: The last few days actually. No writing has been done.
January High Point: First week. I was snowed in and so got a LOT done then. Since that time the pace has been slower but nonetheless steady.

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Okay, so, I know what you’re thinking: ‘17,000!? Wha-?!’ You may be wondering how I’ve managed to get so many words into one month, so I’ll explain the hows and the whys.

As I mentioned, I was snowed in for the first week, and with nowhere to go I seized the opportunity to get as much done as possible. That’s when a good portion of the 17,00 was constructed. Also, I currently am wanting of a job, so I have rather too much free time on my hands, and have used that to write and do a little planning. Most of the planning had been done though. This story (well, the base of it) has been percolating in my cog-noggin for over a year, so I was able to hit the page knowing more or less what I’m aiming for.

Most of all though, I ‘write big’. Very big. As Chris mentioned in his update we have very different styles. To communicate just how different our styles are, think of them in terms of soup: if Chris is the Campbell’s Condensed; a lot of good stuff perfectly poured into a small space, then I’m the Campbell’s Soup factory… in mid-explosion…with Alphabet soup flying everywhere…and splashing over onto the Bread Roll Bakery next door. An action he can describe in a sentence I describe in a page. Chances are that if he told the same story I’m telling he could do it in half the number of words. But that’s because I love to get tied up in alliteration and adjectives and language that hasn’t been used for about a century. There’s nothing wrong with it – it’s just different. Plus it fits with the kind of story I’m telling.

So what have I accomplished in 17,000 words? Well as I don’t write in a linear fashion I’ve written chapters from all over the ‘Victorian’ half of the novel, but stayed clear of Part 2: Steampunk. I’ve sown the seeds of a clockwork war, invented (my version of) the ray-gun and killed a character with it, I’ve killed off a few others, some of whom might not stay dead, there’s been a heart-to-heart conversation between two old friends (probably the bit I’m most proud of at the minute), an introduction to our arch-villain behind the curtain Lord Rhodion, and there’s even been an outrageous fight in a Victorian special effects warehouse, complete with prop use. Hahahahaaa! What did I tell you? There’s soup everywhere!

In all, it’s been a very productive month and I’m quite happy with it so far. Above all, it’s been fun. I don’t subscribe to the idea that writing is a serious business or something that you shouldn’t enjoy. If I don’t have fun writing it then chances are you won’t have fun reading it. But although the finished story is going to be about 100,000 words don’t expect to see such a high word count again for the rest of the year. January was the head of steam. February will be a leaner month as I’ll be knitting together sections of stuff I’ve written before I make the big push in March to write and finish the Victorian half of the novel. Alternate Steampunk Britannia will be started (hopefully) in April/May. And that’s when the soup really starts to fly…

Here we are, 1/12 of the way into the New Year Novel Duel! January has been and gone, we’ve had uncharacteristic snowfalls of epic proportions, and some rather more typical dreary greyness. Both me and Rob shall be posting an update at the end of each month, and for the January update it’s me to go first.

For me, it’s been a difficult month of writing.

Current word count: 6012.

Current mood: Excited! Looking forward to putting a difficult first month behind me, and grabbing this novel (and 2010 in general) by the balls.

January low point: The middle of the month. There were two days when I did… nothing. No writing at all, and nothing else of any merit whatsoever. I was feeling really down, not just about StairJumpers and the Duel but about lots of things.

January high point: The past few days. I’ve been working primarily on one major early scene, where Sam meets the titular ‘StairJumpers’. My antagonist is fleshing-out in my head too, and becoming real on the page. At least, he seems to be.

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I feel like I haven’t got off to a very good start. I wrote very little in the first week, and then absolutely nothing for a while. Although I was thinking about the novel a lot, jotting down notes and brainstorming ideas, I wasn’t writing. This is an affliction that has always cursed me, not just with writing but with everything I do – thinking and planning far too much, instead of actually doing.

There are several factors to my slow start, I think. One of the reasons is the fact that I haven’t written any fiction for so long before starting the Duel. Going straight from a long dry patch into writing something of novel length and scope, when I’ve never even written anything of this length before (the longest piece I’ve ever done being 50,000 words) is very daunting, especially as I only have a year to complete it. There were times, especially in the second week of January, when I just felt completely overwhelmed by the task ahead of me.

Secondly, I think I found it rather difficult to return to ‘normal life’ after the Christmas break, where (even though I was still working) the normal rules of day-to-day life cease, in many ways, for a few weeks. Getting back to normality, with other things as well as my writing, was hard, and led to a lack of motivation that, again, I seem cursed with, even for things that I like to do.

So, 6012 words in the first month. If I keep up that pace I’ll be able to write 72,000, which is probably about right, if rather long actually for a children’s novel. However, my novel seems to be pacing between the areas of middle-grade children’s story and young adult, so we’ll see where things go. Plus, I’d like time to edit of course, and need to anticipate any major changes or re-writes that I might have (or want) to make, which may drastically put my word count back.

What’s interesting is that my January word count in comparison to Rob’s is tiny. I’m not going to tell you how many words he has written, but suffice to say it lives up to his wordy standards! However, Rob’s novel will be longer than mine, that’s just the way it is, to the both the types of stories that they both are, and our very different styles as writers. That is partly what makes this Duel so interesting.

Still, all that said I don’t think I have written enough this first month. No where near. I certainly did not write every day, which a writer always should. I would blame my job for this, but it would be a poor excuse so I’m not going to. While it does mean around 35 hours less time per week I have to write than Rob does, still I have not made use of the free time that I have had. Besides, plenty of people write novels and hold down full time jobs, often with jobs a lot more demanding than mine.

So, no excuses now. The latter third of the month has been excellent. I have written every day of the last week, and I am feeling motivated and really excited again, like I was just before the Duel started.

1 month down, 11 to go! Hope you are all enjoying following along with our Writing Duel, and look out for Rob’s first month update tomorrow!


  • Rob: NEW POST! 'The Separated Man' fifth & sixth month update! Name changes, apologies and teasers. 7 years ago
  • Rob: everything is starting to coalesce. Unfortunately it's coalescing a couple of months behind schedule. 7 years ago
  • Rob: I just permanently deleted a 9,000 word chunk of text. Yep, 9,000. I'm a bad writer, but I make up for it in brutal editing. Ha! 8 years ago
  • Rob: May has so far been the best writing month since January. Everythings starting to wind together. 8 years ago
  • Rob: Thinking of the title change for my story. 'Rebel Steam' is good but sounds like a steampunk Steven Seagal movie. I'd watch that. 8 years ago