THE GUINEA PIG ROUND
I can’t believe this is the first blog I have posted in nearly a year. So, hands up with that one, guilty as charged…
Having checked, the last blog I wrote was during those ‘heady’, sunny, spring days of the first lockdown. A time when it was a novelty to be off work, and we had no idea of how long this thing was going to last, or the devastating consequences it was going to bring. Who’d have thought it would become the norm to instinctively check that you have a mask on you before leaving your house or car? It feels kind of strange thinking back to those early days now. I believe there is a newly-created phrase for it: ‘Lockstalgia’. Genius, whoever came up with it…
There have been quite a few of these new ‘Covid-related’ terms or turns of phrase invented – I’m sure you have come across some of them. Some of which have been ingenious and genuinely hilarious in my opinion. Just for a laugh, here are some of my absolute favourites, along with their definitions:
QUARANTANNING: The act of topping-up one’s tan whilst on furlough.
FURLOUGH ENVY: The animosity those still working feel towards furloughed friends and relatives.
WORK ENVY: The feeling furloughed people get when they see people leaving for work.
CORONAHOOD WATCH: The unofficial residential police force, ensuring everyone is following lockdown rules. Not afraid to report, name and shame on social media.
SPENDEMIC: The out-of-control online spending one has the inability to curb during lockdown.
INFITS: Outfits worn for days on end, morning till night, during lockdown.
FURLOUGH FLAB: The excess weight put on during lockdown.
ZUMPED: Having your relationship ended via Zoom.
THE WIPE-AWAY: The hand wave/swipe you do when leaving a Zoom meeting that you never would do in an actual meeting.
CUMMINGS AND GOINGS: Unnecessary and illegal journeys partaken during lockdown, justified by spurious excuses.
Anyway, on to more serious matters.
I may be guilty of not keeping up with my hoped-for blogging schedule, but I would like to think I have a good excuse for that…
I am absolutely delighted to announce I have just finished writing the third – and possibly last (I know, I can’t believe it) – instalment of what I now refer to as the Caterpillar Girl trilogy. The book is called Asylum, and is currently doing the rounds of my so-called ‘guinea pigs’ – a handful of trusted fortunates or unfortunates, depending on how you look at it – who get to be the first to read my new work. But also the poor souls who have to tentatively bring up any plot discrepancies, inconsistencies (hoping I don’t get the hump with them - ‘How dare you!’) or missed typos and spelling errors… My dear mother, in contrast, seems to take great pleasure in spotting any missed typos, and lists them to reel off to me with a sadistic and self-satisfied flourish (love you, Mum!).
But, joking aside, the ‘guinea pig round’ is an essential part of the writing process for me. As a little insight, it goes something like this:
Write the story
My edit – cutting the word count as much as I can without affecting the story
Guinea pig round
Tweak if necessary
Hand over to editor
Once both happy, hand over finished manuscript to the formatter
Book cover design
Go live with book
So, from start to finish, it’s quite a lengthy process. And without being furloughed for the majority of the last 10 months or so, getting this one written would have taken a darned sight longer – one of the only positives to have come out of this last year.
The one part of the process I haven’t mentioned above, as it goes hand-in-hand with the writing part really, is research. This is something that can take up almost as much time as the actual writing, in my case anyway; unfortunately, I don’t have the luxury an established, best-selling author does, in having a team of underlings for this very purpose.
But, strangely, the research element – although infuriatingly time-consuming – is a part of writing that I enjoy in a way. I have always loved finding out new stuff. And you can end up becoming an ‘armchair expert’ on a myriad of disparate subjects, some of them quite bizarre: Ice cream carts. Wills. Paternity testing. Mobile hot dog vendors. UK heatwaves. Magic mushrooms… The research for my books certainly takes me down some strange internet ‘rabbit-holes’. And I often have a black-humoured chuckle to myself at the things I am typing into Google, and how I would explain them to a member of the law? Whilst trying not to give away too much of the plot to the latest book, here are a few little gems I plucked out of my recent search history…
What is a relentless pursuer called?
What sound does it make when you slash someone’s tyres?
Is kidnapping a minor the same as child abduction?
What is the best shotgun to buy?
Guinea pigs reading
BA stewardess uniform
Don’t ask about that last one...
Keep your eyes peeled for the release of Asylum. It will be out at some point this year. And if you still haven’t read the first two novels yet… why not?
In the meantime, stay safe and take care.
Love. Adam. x
P.S. Thank you, guinea pigs – you know who you are.