Memo to myself: do the dumb things I gotta do.

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(Three points for anybody who knows the next line to that song.)

I was just making a mental list of my intended writerly pursuits for this year. Obviously the first thing is to grow a beard — it’s a pretty key prerequisite to becoming a novelist and I’ve already made a reasonable attempt. As we all know, there’s a direct correlation between fullness of beard and writing ability — and, whilst I’m not confident I have the sort of beardly fortitude to be a D H Lawrence, a Fyodor Dostoyevsky, or a George R.R. Martin, I could definitely be a Macaulay Culkin.

That was — of course — Roberts Blossom, and I could never have a beard as luxurious as his, but look, you can see why I was reluctant to link to Culkin here. Just look at that face! And yes, he is a novelist.

Dreadful.

My first novel (this attempt notwithstanding) should be finished by Spring. I’ve already completed two drafts of ‘Monsters of Elsewhere’ and am currently working through the feedback from my beta readers who, between them, have kind of torn it apart, which is good… I don’t let it bother me at…

Sorry, just had to go and pace around for a bit.

Anyway, I’m aiming to have the next draft complete before my birthday (February nineteenth for those of you who c— okay, fine) and then I’ll be looking to get editors/proofreaders etc further pull it apart before I even think about getting it published.

I also have a project that I’m keen to start (or, to be more accurate, revisit) with Andy Barker. Some time ago we wrote a spec. screenplay called MONSTERS’ DINER about what monsters do when they’re not monstering. We pitched it as being “a bit like FRIENDS… but with monsters”. In truth it was nothing like FRIENDS, but, hey, I’m no Bob Kosberg. There’s a whole sorry story around what happened with ‘The Diner’ — as it came to be known — and I think I’ll write about that on another occasion, but ultimately we ended up re-writing it as MONSTERSHIRE. It still didn’t get made, but if you put a dead horse before us we will flog it, and thus we have decided to attempt a collaborative novel of Monstershire. Hopefully we’ll get to start that sometime in the Spring.

As it happens, I haven’t really written a script since MONSTERSHIRE, but I’ve had a couple of ideas bouncing around for a while now that I feel like I need to get down. The first is for a sitcom, which — for now at least — I’m calling THE COLLECTORS, and is about Death (the chap with the scythe, not the concept) and the other is for a feature film, which will be a sort-of unofficial sequel to, well, the bible. That one will — predictably — be called BIBLE 2.

The intention is to get both scripts completed this year.

I’ve also decided that I want to write more articles and conduct more interviews. It’s been a long time since I shut down my old online magazine ‘And Cream’, and whilst I’d almost certainly never look to take on something of that size and format again, I do miss conducting interviews and researching/writing articles. I’d already been talking with Andy about kicking something off — a kind of forum for authors/publishers or just anybody interested in good storytelling — and the nice feedback that I’ve received since I re-posted my Tim Minchin conversation has made me realise how much I enjoy interviewing people.

So the plan is to set up and launch a site (Unclebook.co.uk… so named for my love of books and my love of John Candy) some time within the first couple of months of this year. It will mostly just be articles/interviews related to writing and publishing, but will probably also feature occasional book reviews and the like. I’m sure it’ll be better than that makes it sound.

I’m fairly sure.

So — to recap — that’s two novels, two screenplays, and a website. Oh, and touch the puppet head. Obviously.

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