Last November wasn’t very different; I wrote 47,000 in the last eight days and I felt like death reheated in a microwave (she says in a lame attempt to avoid a cliche).
I can’t remember what caused the delay last year but this year was because I’ve been client editing, and paid work comes first. I have two more client novels lined up (a YA paranormal next, then a P.I. mystery) as well as preparing for my Northampton Writing Courses starting 7th January which I plan to run online too, although I’m still working out the logistics of that. So, plenty to keep me out of mischief (although I’m sure I’ll find time for a little of that too). 🙂
So, what did I write about? Last November I started a serial killer trilogy, which I then wrote the second of for Camp NaNoWriMo this April. I was going to finish it but it would have meant re-reading both of them to work out how I was going to finish it (as you can tell, I’m not a planner), and I just didn’t have the time. I’d previously run past one of my short stories to a writing friend, Morrison Bailey (no relation), who said he’d enjoyed it (though still, as writing friends should, pulled it apart) and had been nagging me ever since to continue it. So, I did.
Henry, the novel (probably to be retitled ‘O Henry’)
Tagline: Henry the Jack Russell has been given the ability to talk and now they can’t shut him up! Family Guy’s Brian with just as much attitude.
The story so far: Henry, an ordinary Jack Russell, has always wanted people to understand him and now they do. Thanks to his previous owner’s (who’s now in jail) thirst for knowledge, he’s soaked up everything he’s ever learned from TV and can’t wait to share his knowledge. The staff at Forsythe Medical Research Sciences (FMRS) are just getting to know him, and his attitude, when hapless burglar Vic ‘Dullard’ Mullard, tries to kidnap him. Henry, however, dissuades him by convincing him that although he’s a real dog, his voice and actions are purely CGI effects (for which he had to explain by reciting, word-for-word, Wikipedia’s CGIs page). Vic wants a beagle version of him to give his sister for Christmas and leaves his name and number so Henry can let him know when they’re available!
Henry later gets kidnapped for real, but escapes and lives with DIY shop owner Sally for a week. He’d promised FMRS that he wouldn’t talk to anyone who didn’t know he had the ability, so he spends the week being a ‘normal’ dog which is “torture”. When Dr Horne finds him, by chance, and persuades Sally he’s a colleague’s dog (by showing her photographs) and takes Henry back to the lab, they can’t shut him up. His absence made them appreciate him more so he becomes more of a ‘pet’ to Dr Horne and his assistant, Gwynne, living in the lab while they’re at work (and working with him) but then taking it in turns to live at their houses when they’re not. At Gwynne’s, he meets her boyfriend’s sister’s West Highland Terrier, Fifi, and realises that it’s not only Sally who’s been craving company.
Excerpt (from Chapter 1)
Henry sat glued to the TV, giggling and wagging his tail at the old cartoons. He’d never seen this one the first time round, he was too young, but was hooked as Danger Mouse hovered over an alligator pit, and Baron Greenback threatened to press the switch. Of course Penfold came to the rescue. Henry knew there was no way that the hero of the programme would be lost forever.
As the show ended and was replaced by Tracy Beaker, Henry pressed the remote’s red button and the screen went blank.
He looked at the clock, five past nine, and there was no sign of his breakfast. He was about to bark when the door opened and in walked the Lab Assistant, Gwynne Davies, holding a tray. She put it down in front of him and waited.
He looked at the two bowls: the food, the semi-skimmed milk, nestled next to the Times newspaper. Henry looked up at Gwynne. “Is that it?”
“It’s your usual.”
“Ruff’s Complete, I presume.”
“Getting a bit bored of it, to be honest.”
“Let me guess… smoked Salmon? Caviar?”
Henry lifted a paw and scratched behind his ear. “Mmm… sounds quite nice. Fish instead of meat. But no… I’m a carnivore. I should be eating meat.” He looked at the vacant television screen. “I know.” He looked back at Gwynne. “I know exactly what I want.”
“Yes. It’s perfect.”
“Go on, surprise me.”
Henry grinned. “I am your prized possession, am I not?”
Gwynne said a hesitant, “Yes”.
“I can have anything my heart desires?”
“OK, then. I shall have alligator.”
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