As I’ve mentioned a number of times before in this ‘ere blog, I’m working on a novel called ‘Coming Back To Haunt You’ – and indeed have been for quite a while, with occasional fits and starts of productivity and dedication to it, when the mood and my free time allow.

But I’ve stopped writing it now.

I wish I could say that this was because I’ve finished it, or because I’ve done all the rewrites suggested by an agent and publisher and now we’re just waiting for the proofs, but unfortunately it’s for a more mundane reason; a friend of mine lent me a DVD several months ago, and when I finally sat down to watch the film in question (no, I’m not going to name it), I discovered that the main plot thread, and a number of the revelations in the denouement, are almost exactly the same as in ‘CB2HU’ (as I like to call it, even if no-one else does).

So, as I reached the end of the film, my thoughts went pretty much like this:
“Hmm, I liked that. Kind of unsettling in places, but it was all logical, and … oh bugger, it’s very similar to CB2HU, isn’t it? Bugger, bugger, BUGGER. What should I… actually, I think they did some of it much better than I’d thought of. Oh bum. I can’t really try to push CB2HU out into the world now, it’ll look like I’m copying them, won’t it? Oh poo. Big, smelly poo.”

Obviously, that’s a vast simplification of my exact thoughts, which were couched in much more intellectual writerly terms, with references to the notion of the seven basic plots, the works of Joseph Campbell, Fort’s ideas about ‘steam-engine time’ and all that, but the upshot of it all is that I feel I have to stop writing CB2HU, at least for now.

I’m faintly disappointed that I’ve expended a fair amount of time and effort only for it to be thwarted, but I’ll assume it’s a delay and not a denial, and that if I leave it to stew in the back of my mind, I’ll be able to find a different way to tell the tale; if I’m honest, I feel that the film slightly fudged the motivations in a couple of places, so if I can find a tidier and slightly less hmm way to deal with that, I’d be pleased.

Anyway, I’m not entirely thrown off by this; the film’s a much-praised one, so it may well mean the story’s one which people would have been interested in (a good thing), and I know that I’ve learned a fair bit about novel writing from the act of, er, writing a novel (though it’s not the first one, future biographers please note). And it does mean that I should get on with the next book I have in mind, ‘The Body Orchard’, with a renewed sense of focus and purpose, yes?

Yes. Yes, indeed it does.