Keeping the Words Flowing

I’m Mark Wilson. Bobby’s Boy is my debut novel.

It’s been an interesting process, writing my first book, but a fantastic one as well. I began writing the novel as a short story titled “The Rusted Key” in October 2011. The story was based around a simple concept, inspired by a graphic novel called “Stray Bullets by David Lapham (I won’t divulge the concept here as it would act as a spoiler for anyone who hasn’t read the book). The short story grew so I started calling it a Novella and kept writing. The Novella began to gain momentum and slowly became my first novel. I made little progress over the next few months, finding myself short of time, and even shorter of discipline. Then January came.

January 2012 was a turnaround month for the novel. I decided at the start of the month, under the advice of Mark O’Donnell (my best friend) and Jack White (via an interview he did on keeping creativity flowing), to dedicate at least an hour every day to writing the novel. At the end of Janaury I renamed the book “Bobby’s Boy” as the previous name just didn’t work anymore.

1000 words a day was my target. According to Mr White, you’ve got to work your creative muscles like any other and use them every day. To an ex-gym addict it struck the right note. Some days it’ll be shite that you write (like that wee bit of poetry I slipped in there), others you’ll produce work that’ll make you wonder where the hell it came from when you re-read. I take the rough with the smooth. The important thing is to keep the story moving continuously and to not “wait for the rays of the sun to shine on your keyboard, ‘cos you’ll rust your ideas”.

Some-days I managed more words than I’d  targeted, a lot more, but I never fell below at least 1000 words a day. My new “working ethos” helped me jump from 22.500 words on January 7th, to 75000 words in the completed novel on February 14th.  I’m not saying that these words were all brilliant, some most definitely were not, but they did moving the story on, and were re-written on another day. Not bad for having a full-time job teaching high school kids and my three year old son (my top priority) to keep me busy also.

Invariably I would sit each session with a destination in mind for where the story would go, but no idea what words would come to get my main character where he was going. It was fun to discover the story s it came onto the page.

The discipline worked and the ideas and words just keep flowing. I truly didn’t have the time to make use of all the ideas my brain was bringing to the surface. Some were utter bollocks, some were quite good. I note everything down, every idea and quirk of thought in the hope of finding a few hours sometime to explore them. Perhaps one day I’ll reach my goal of writing full-time.

Tom Kinsella, my Novel’s main character, has had one hell of a ride through the book, travelling extensively through Europe and North America in the company of two rock acts and had some crazy experiences. In the process he confronted some truths about his family and himself that he was unprepared for, but survived to build a new life.

I’ve re-visited some really dark experiences during the writing of this novel and in the construction of Tom’s character and story. Some of these I’d forgotten about for decades. Other memories have resurfaced that I’ve enjoyed remembering for the first time in many years.  I had fantastic fun writing my first novel, and resent deeply the gap I have to enforce to market and Promo the book. I just want to start my next project, but books don’t get themselves noticed.

I’m looking forward to seeing the final edit of the book completed in the next two weeks and to putting Tom out into the world to be interacted with or ignored, what-ever the fates may bring. I’ll be sad to leave him and will miss writing about this cool, lucky, happy, tragic and a little damaged wee guy every day. Still, onto the next one, with gusto.

Orignally written as a guest blog for

5 thoughts on “Keeping the Words Flowing

  1. Amazing! I’ll keep an eye out. I’m currently fascinated by any emerging writers and mainly their writing habits!

    I love to experiment and I love to write (I’m generally much better at communicating through writing than through speaking – lucky you).

    I’m writing at the moment… well, I’m always writing I suppose but this time I’m writing fiction! Any tips you can toss in my direction would be much appreciated!

    Good luck!!

    • Thanks so much for taking the time to read my blog. Much appreciated. I really feel that just sitting down every day to fulfill that word quota is what works for me.

      I’ve always got an overall plan of what I want to do. Where the story will go and how the characters will change throughout, but invariably I’ve no clue how to make that happen. When I sit down and get on with it, the story just comes.

      The cliche “write what you know” is true. I always take experiences and emotions I’ve had first hand or seen in others and use them when writing. Every character has a little piece of someone I know.

      Im sure youll have a better idead than me of Whatever works for you. Sit down and write every day. Take something to bed to write down the solutions your brain will find in those magic half-asleep moments. Dont trust that you’ll remember them. You won’t. Write them down.

      Good luck. I look forward to seeing your work.

      • Thanks! That’s really sensible advice… Although I tend to like writing fantastical tales I do always try and use my own meagre experience to inform what I write… sometimes I read back over something and without even realising it I have recounted in some for or other an event in my life which stands out!


        • Ha. I know exactly what you mean. I wrote a story called Ronnie the Rooster in my novel. It was being relayed by my main character to nee friends and was a about a chicken farmer who had a steel rod inserted into an intimate part of his body.

          I have no clue what it’s about or where ronnie’s unorthodox solution to impotence came from, bit I’m sure it’ll come back to me at some point. 🙂

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