Notes From the Wasteland No. 33 ‘Did You Ever Have a Typewriter?’

Do you worry when the page is blank in front of you? Do you feel an anxiety, an expectation? A fear that you just won’t fill it? A fear that you just can’t fill it? That you never will fill it? Just fear?

F.E.A.R.

I know I do. Like now when I started this post. I stared at the page. The page stared back at me. We know each other very well. We are truly beyond intimate now. The page knows my every thought. My every dream. Well-shared and long-shared. The page has been with me on every step of my writing journey. Not the page on this laptop. The page on every screen I have ever written on.

If I imagined the combined area of every page on every screen I have ever written on it would probably be enough to wallpaper the world, sheet by sheet by sheet. That would be some story in itself.

When I first started writing I had a typewriter and used to love the sound of the keys as they crashed against the paper. I adored the percussive smash as I pulled the carriage return across once more. The ripping sound as I turned the roller knob to line up the paper. The ink on my fingers. The ink on the page. The press of the letters. The indents and under-types. All of it. And at least with the typewriter the paper I wrote on could be thrown away, or stored somewhere, and left to yellow. To me, it made the process of writing more easily detachable. I could type a page, put that page away and then choose not to look at it again, if that was what I wanted. It made the process more discrete.

But I can honestly say that I don’t miss that typewriter. I think if I had it now I would find all the parts and processes far too mechanical, too fiddly, too easily distracting; simply too much. The simple act of doing things one sheet at a time would be too slow now, too demanding, there would be too much emphasis on the process and not enough emphasis on the act itself. I worry that my words would get lost in the execution of the act of writing itself.

Don’t get me started on the Tipp-Ex.

Notes From the Wasteland No. 32 ‘Where Do All My Words Go After They’ve Been Written?’

I once wrote a short novel about an intergalactic demon that was summoned when all the words and phrases that the world had meant to type into a search bar but didn’t because the cursor wasn’t in the search bar when the words were typed coalesced somewhere to form the demon’s name and summoned it to Earth. I ask this question not because I am worried about intergalactic demons, or, at least, not too worried – 2021 has left us all with far bigger fish to fry – but because I wonder about the fate of my words and where they live after I have written them.

I know where my words go.

Some of them are here, right now, waiting patiently as I type before they embark upon their daily journey across the social media sea to one of my many platforms. Once there, presumably, they wait patiently (again) until someone chooses to read them, or, as is more likely, chooses not to read them. They don’t disappear after they have been read, or not read, they just sit and wait until they are read again. Or just forgotten.

Some of my words sit in novels sat on real and virtual book shelves, waiting to read, or, as has happened, wonderfully, reread, read again. These words have a different life to my social media words. These words seem to mean more to more people; not enough that they are chart-topping, best-selling, Top Ten words, but enough to enough people that at least I know that these particular words have found a new home, or, more to the point, new homes. And that’s lovely, really lovely. I couldn’t want more for my words than to become someone else’s, that’s when I know that my words work.

And then there are the words that are yet to arrive, the one’s I’ll write tomorrow, or the next day. The novels I am going to finish – I have three in the pipeline. The scripts that I’m going to send – I have two ready to go. These words. Some of these words are ready and waiting. Others are simply waiting to be joined by others, so that their combination might result in their being read by someone else somewhere else. These are the words I look forward to the most, the one’s I’ve not yet written.

Where do your words go?

VIRO – Proposal for TV Series – Introduction

Introduction

And so the task begins, as I start to turn the highly successful VIRO book series into a proposal for a TV series. Over the coming weeks, I will be sharing insights and updates as to how this process is going.  So let’s begin at the beginning.

VIRO – The TV Series Proposal

GENRE: Horror/Science Fiction – Post-Apocalypse

TAG LINE: Four Kids, One Apocalypse

LOG LINE: As a viral pandemic turns the world into bloodthirsty creatures, a boy with special needs looks for his missing mum.

VIRO tells the story of Jake, a boy born with special needs who wakes one morning to find that the world has been catastrophically overrun by a deadly virus and his mum has not come home after work. Determined but unused to being out on his own, Jake sets off to find her.

The book series is set in the south east of England and Season One takes place in Burton-on-Sea, a fictional seaside town modelled on Hastings. The time is somewhere in the 1970s. 

There is no knowing exactly where the virus came from and the point of the series is that no-one will ever know. There is a lot of speculation but no definitive explanation. This makes VIRO darker and bleaker as we soon come to realise that the world will not be saved. 

The story is not a race to find a cure but about finding a way to simply survive. Science, like God, and society, is broken now. It makes no difference, especially to a group of teenage friends who don’t really have time to try and make sense of what has happened.  They just want to stay alive.

VIRO – the Book Series – NEWS FLASH

As a viral outbreak turns the world into bloodthirsty creatures, a boy with special needs looks for his missing mum.

‘The writing style is beautifully compelling, and after the first couple of pages I couldn’t put it down. The author very skilfully creates a world and characters through deceptively simple prose that draws the reader right in. It is a fascinating blend of one-after-the-other edge-of-the seat scares, alongside a haunting narrative about what it is to be human.’

‘Capturing the voice of a young character with special needs (I spent 25 years as a special education teacher/administrator), Taylor’s story of a group of young people coping with a world disintegrating in front of them; with the loss of structure and trust, and with betrayal by the adults who should be protecting them is both uplifting and horrifying. Do not be fooled by the simple language of the narrator: there are hard questions asked and realistic, unsentimental consequences to the apocalypse confronting the children, and an ending that you are unlikely to forget easily.’

‘I absolutely loved this book. Powerful and poignant, VIRO packs a punch. Sad and haunting, VIRO is a new take on the zombie genre. The characters are dynamic and interesting, finding strength despite their horrifying circumstances. Jake is a character that will stick with you long after the final page. The action sequences are thrilling. I was on the edge of my seat!’

Get your copy today – Book One FREE for download HERE

Inteachán – Book Two: A New Signal 2: 7 ‘People missing people’

And then the posters started.

Like petals fallen from the most hopeless of blooms. Handwritten. Photocopied. Badly printed.

Missing people. People missing people.

Everyone who attended the concert never returned home. Including Inteachán.

Though he knew it was helpless, Mac pinned his poster with the rest of them.

Inteachán – Book Two: A New Signal 2: 6 ‘The Weeds of Priory Hall’

Cities normally return to nature after desertion.

Sand can cover office blocks.

Shopping centres fall in on themselves.

Civic buildings lose all semblance of significance.

Sewers clog and silt.

Vehicles return their elements to the earth.

Or house new tenants.

Fountains fall silent.

Slowly, troublingly, desperately, inexorably, the weeds of Priory Hall exerted their cosmic influence on the city.

Inteachán – Book Two: A New Signal 2: 5 ‘It started with the weeds’

As he walked across Front Square Mac felt now that the world was only different.

He knew the First of the TheFive was here. The disturbance was now unignorable. The weight of this fact caused the world to spin ever so slightly out of kilter.

‘I knew this was always going to happen,’ Mac said to himself. And he steeled himself for the worst.

It started with the weeds.

Inteachán – Book Two: A New Signal 2: 4 ‘A Brand-New Loneliness’

Loss hits hard and holds firm and deep and long.

After a lifetime of solitude Mac now found himself unable to deal with a brand-new loneliness.

There simply is no substitute for presence.

‘I’m a selfish cowardly fool,’ he told himself.

‘That a man should send a child to stop the darkness.’

Inteachán – Book One: The Song of the NotBeSpeak 1: 29 ‘The Rock Star’

‘Look,’ said the Rock Star, ‘she’s awake.’

Inteachán opened her eyes.

‘Where am I,’ she asked the Rock Star. His eyes were hidden behind giant sunglasses.

‘Where we want you to be,’ he replied. The Rock Star smiled.

‘We know all about you, Inteachán,’ he sneered, ‘and your silly baby quest to save the world.’

Inteachán didn’t respond. The Rock Star continued.

‘We know you are the puppet of that old doddering fool of a professor. He says where and you race off on your fool’s errands.’

Inteachán still didn’t respond. The Rock Star loomed large over her.

‘Mac may think he knows what is going on but let me tell you he hasn’t got a clue.’

Inteachán – Book One: The Song of the NotBeSpeak 1: 23 ‘The Fomhóire’s Howl’

Inteachán starts to climb the slippery rope. Her small arms are strong. She pulls herself hand over hand. What was once a simple sigh is now a deafening shriek. A shriek that will consume her if Inteachán doesn’t get away.

The rope sways violently. Inteachán climbs faster. The shriek swells again and now starts to fill the night. With a final kick Inteachán is free of the darkness. Quickly now she unties the rope and lets it fall to be swallowed by the Fomhóire’s howl.