The writing challenge is not something new to me.
For several years I’ve participated in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) – and I’ve even won a couple of them! (And all of them – even the aborted concepts – had cover art provided by the multi-talented Mr. Snaith, as below.)
This current challenge is a little different. Instead of word-count ejaculated in a set time period (i.e. 50,000 words in 30 days in NaNoWriMo’s case), this is undertaken by a series of assignments. Hence the title: The Assignment Challenge (TAC). Each assignment is set for either a week or – as has been more common – fortnight, and the setter of the assignments alternate as we see fit.
Which brings us neatly to my story.
It is a gay romance. Boy meets boy. The usual. Except one of the boys isn’t quite so ready and willing to go shouting things from the rooftop (although he is more than willing to do other things with his mouth). Perhaps the whole “am I ready to come out? ARGH!” is a bit of a trope in gay romance. But I don’t think the journey from denial to acceptance is as yet something that can be trivialised. And everything written is pretty much a trope. Its the other aspects and what else a writer does with them that makes for a good story.
I suppose one of the underlying themes of the book is about getting what you deserve. Which carries a lot of other things with it: baggage, repentance, worth, value.
The two main characters (only another 5 characters get to speak – and one of those is a hotel receptionist who is very … perky) are Matt Dane and Ryan Irving. Very different men with very different views on who they are and who gets to know what … And we all know that the course of true love never runs smooth!
Here’s a small excerpt from the first assignment:
I let myself out, closing the door silently behind me. My belly heaved. My throat tasted of plastic. My eyes prickled. Dammit, I’m not going to lose my shit over one mistaken kiss. I forced myself to walk down the hallway, down the stairs and into the lobby of his apartment building. As I reached the front door a crackle of thunder ripped the sky and as if in response the rain intensified.
Part of me wanted to throw myself into the storm, to drown my stupidity and wash away my sins. I snorted. It’d take more than a British thunderstorm to do that. Plus was getting home soaked to the skin and hypothermic worth it? Was it going to make anything better? Nope.
I called a taxi and waited the few minutes until it arrived. I stumbled into it blindly. I assumed I told the driver where to go because it wasn’t long before I was home, dashing between the car and my front door. I threw my jacket onto the floor, kicked off my shoes and made it to the bathroom for a towel.
I scrubbed my face and hair, drying it savagely as I wandered aimlessly around my flat. Shit, shit, shit. Should I call him? Text him? I slipped my phone out of my jeans, opening up a message. As I did so it brought up the most recent of our conversations, the one where he asked me to go over as he was home and bored. My fingers hovered over the buttons. What was I going to send? Wouldn’t it be better to do it in person? When would I see him again?
The day after tomorrow. At work. With him sitting no more than 12 feet away from me. Shit.
I cancelled out the message and threw my phone over onto the couch. This was the very situation that I’d wanted to avoid. I liked Ryan. He was funny, smart, a bit goofy. Why did I have to complicate things by acting like a hormonal teenager? Slumped on the couch I sat and … suffered.
Until there was a banging on my front door.
Anyway, there is a whole new Writing page, and a section devoted to this challenge and the assignments that are set. These will be updated as we go along, with the odd blog post documenting my/our progress!