Sorry, dudes. I have been totally lame when it comes to blogging. My bad. By way of a ‘previously on Nick Kyme.com’, here’s what you’ve been missing…
I’ve just returned from a very relaxing long weekend in Youlgreave nr Bakewell in Derbyshire. For those without the knowledge, Youlgreave is a very quaint and very lovely, if extremely small and full of narrow streets, village. It’s got three pubs (natch), a general store, butchers, church and post office and is about as close to the Romantic rural idyll as I’ve seen. Ahhh. Oh, this was also my first ever writer’s retreat, and me likey.
Lovely Youlgreave Church. I drove around it!
And check out the village post office. They sold second hand books as well as stamps etc!
Let me explain the concept. Basically, myself, George Mann and his brother Scott (also a Mann, and a man… er… okay, moving on), put our respective piggybanks together (though mine’s shaped like a LEGO brick, go figure) and rented a very nice cottage for a long weekend of writing, watching movies, talking about writing and eating Chinese food (though there was some pasta, a dodgy beef Yorkshire Pudding and some fajitas too). Good times.
George, who also happens to be the BL head honcho (no connection to this trip), is a fellow writer. You can catch his rather awesome blog present right here at the rather imaginatively titled George Mann. Kudos, George-a-tron. He’s done a bunch of cracking steampunk novels featuring his characters Newbury and Hobbs and the incredible sex-wee-ish Ghosts of Manhatten (a kind of steampunk Batman-esque vigilante who kicks ass and takes names in 1920’s NYC – I’m on the acknowledgements page, don’t you know…). Big George, as he’s also known, was working on his latest opus, which I think I’m allowed to say involves Doctor Who (The G-Mann, another of his pseudonyms – he’s like the freakin’ Jackal this guy – is a HUGE fan of the Time Lord and is rightly chuffed to be writing a story about him). Woot!
Also in the gooey, fondant-centred creative mix was Scott Mann, a Hollywood director no less! I shit you not. Scott wrote and directed The Tournament (I think that’s right), which stars Robert Carlyle, Kelly Hu and Ving Rhames amongst others (not to mention George Mann’s arm firing an uzi – uncredited). Stars are flashing before my eyes, I tell’s ya. Here’s his cheeky entry on IMDB. Scott was working on his latest script, between bouts of procrastination and analysis paralysis ™.
Apparently this version of the movie poster has been made by photoshop monkeys with no respect for the director of the film or the actual script. There are no helicopters in it for starters. This one's not Scott's fave - sorry, dude!
As for little old me, well I decided to take a short soujourn from my warriors of Vulkan (that’s the Salamanders in 40K for those ignorant to the fact, homes) and focus on something I’ve wanted to have a crack at for a while – an original crime novel. Now, I’m sure, most of the folks who frequent this blog (and I love you dearly, one and all), are only interested in hearing when my next 40K novel is out or if I’m doing Heresy (I am, actually, but more on that later…), or whether I’ll go back and tell more stories about dwarfs (er… yes to that, too). Well, tough. Poosticks to you. I want to talk about original crime fiction and my love for it and why I am going to write a novel about it/on it/with it/for it – oh, you get the idea.
I’m not going to say too much about it, as I don’t know when this book will be finished and, though it might be a tad presumptious, I don’t want some douche bag (not you dear reader, but there are dodgy blokes out there who would seek to siphon my creative juices and distill it in a brew of their own – the cads!) stealing my ideas. Gah! It’s gritty and over the course of the weekend I managed a healthy 10,000 words+ in the bag and a shed load of planning.
During our stay, while Scott was wrestling manfully (pun wholly intended – his last name is Mann, remember? Keep up…) with his treatment, George and I ducked out to find this warehouse in Buxton (or about 3 miles south of Buxton – it’s also famous for its spring water, you’ve probably drunk it at some point in your lives) that sells remainder books. Though I was feeling fairly pukey at the time (seriously, I was going to hurl and I still reckon it was down to the dodgy roast beef and Yorkshire Pudding I ate the previous night at the local pub, either that or the pint of Black Bomber I drank was spiked with something unnatural… ugh…), I managed a good root around and found a bunch of reference books for my novel project. Hell yeah!
The plan is to get about 20,000 words done and then go and find me an agent. Let the good crimes roll, baby!
Don’t worry, though. There’s no need to panic. Everyone… JUST STAY CALM AND SIT PERFECTLY STILL. I’m not turning my back on the boys in green or any of the Warhammer and 40K projects. There are still a lot of itches I want to scratch, I just feel like stretching my wings a bit and challenging my writing mojo. I’ve always loved crime fiction (thanks to Dan Sharp for the James Ellroy, by the way. I read a bit of it and thought it was fookin’ nuts… but great!), and always thought I could write a damn good crime novel. Here’s my opportunity to put that theory to the test.
It was kind of freeing too to do something set in the ‘real world’, though what you learn and know about plot and character pretty much translates. I’m still debating whether or not to have a supernatural element in it (a very thickly veiled, is it or isn’t it, supernatural element I stress) and have got a bit more research to do (and that’s the biggest beast – most of my research for 40K and Warhammer was done about 20 years ago and is ongoing on account of me soaking up the lore like a big lore-shaped sponge) but it’s feeling good.
Rest assured, I’m cracking on with my 40K stuff too, but back to the weekend.
It was reasonably hardcore in that we’d get up at around 8.30am (okay, so sometimes 9am… ish), eat breakfast, drink coffee and procrastinate for a bit before getting stuck in to a morning session. After lunch, around 12.30 – 1pm, we’d have another writing session that would probably take us right into the evening when we’d pause/stop for the evening meal. To wind down we brought and watched a bunch of movies/TV shows on George’s kick-ass mutha of a projector screen (it’s bloody awesome and kind of cooly nostalgic, like being transported back to a golden age or some such thing).
In our little film club we watched: Doctor Who: Time of Angels (and whatever the sequel episode was called), The Hound of the Baskervilles (the bloody great Richard Roxburgh and Richard E Grant version – saaaaweeet!), The Dark Knight (can you believe that George hadn’t seen it – what a loser ), LA Confidential and Narc (a pair of excellent crime films if ever there was any). Oh, and Scott ‘treated’ us to a very weird Italian film someone had recommended. I don’t recall the actual name but it translated as ‘Deep Red’. It was very odd and just slightly bollocks.
I’ve never done anything like a writer’s retreat before but the experience was a cool and productive one. I’ll certainly do it again that’s for sure. This is also my first ‘holiday’ of the year, and what a good way to kick things off. There’s just something pretty awesome about being in room with creative people, doing a bit of creation yourself.
Okies, that’s your lot for now. I have to go sweep up the hair I’ve just shaved off my head. It’s all over the kitchen floor and Shakespeare’s probably wearing it like a weird-ass coat by now. Ta ta!