Annie On Writing

October 16, 2011

The Red Book, Revisited

 If I had to do it all over again…..

I’m a little out of whack with things at the moment. Life just seems to be racing faster than a thundering train and the motion sickness being this frantic is beginning to make me feel a bit queazy.

Well, over 3 weeks ago, Dale tagged me in a response style blog game and its only now that I am able to get my head round to reading his entry and thinking about how I will contribute.  My question to answer is “Would I do it again?”

To back track a little……Two years ago, fellow Write Anything columnists, Paul Anderson and Jodi Cleghorn brewed a wildly crazy and exciting writing concept they dubbed Chinese Whisperings.  I was extremely honoured to have been asked to participate in the first of a stable of collaborative works their publishing house, eMergent, has produced.

Basically, an initial story was written and the rules of the project was that the next writer in line had to take a secondary character from the story and make that person their main character. They must include at least one secondary character, so that the game continues as the story is passed on to the next writer.

What happened over the next two months blew all of our minds. The stories twisted and  turned in upon itself, half truths overshadowed fears and it all, somehow worked itself together into a tight, mind boggling brilliant plot.

It was through this experience that my love of collaborative writing began; fuelled by the effervescent episodes of Captain Juan of course!

The Red Book  is available not only in ebook format, but in paperback – so check it out – its brilliant – if i do say so myself!

Back to the question Dale posed me… Would I do it all again – the same – what would I change?

Short Answer…. Gahhhhhhhhh!  I’d love to say no.. but I can’t!!  It seems I am destined to be the champion of the underdog – the misunderstood artists of the dark world…

Long Answer

The pressure was immediately upon me as I was drawn as second writer. I scanned the other writers names, my heart sinking looking at their credentials.  I wasn’t sure if I got a good deal being second inline to write (writing my story before they did – so I wouldn’t feel so intimidated when I read theirs first) or if I got the bum deal ( writing my story first and then feeling crap when I read how good theirs was..)

Jasons – Something Mean in the Dream Scene, was so incredibly gripping and intense, I remember holding my breath as I read it, nearly passing out through lack of oxygen before I had to remind myself to breath again.  There was a secondary character – the little asian housemaid that called out to me as I re-read the scenes. I desperately wanted to explore her story, her involvement in the Doctors life.

But there was the shoe.

Why would someone threaten an old man and steal their shoe?  Not both of them. Just one.

What sort of person lurked on a ‘good’ campus in a ‘good’ side of the city and scare an aged professor so badly that he couldn’t speak about it?

I couldn’t get the look of the doctors eyes out of my dreams. Mitchell’s desperation in seeking peace and the darkness which had ‘happened’ across his path.

Then there was the female presence which he had always felt. Her icy fingers eager to crawl down his spine. ( she continued to haunt people throughout the book – but not just people.. men.. those running or hiding their true nature)

With these calm, positive images embedded into my subconscious, Clint came to me on the page.   Not your usual thug, he was educated; having grand designs on an easier life and way of making money and having fun.  With a cruel, sadistic streak a mile wide, he’d experimented his sociopathic tendencies on past girlfriends, associates and students as he wandered the halls of the university.

I am driven to find the grain of goodness and truth in characters and believe that society has alot to answer for the way our youth are treated and exposed to adulthood.

I had high hopes for Clint; despite his behaviours and choices  –  and was saddened that his story ended the way it did. An eternal opportunist, I’d hoped he might have found a lighter path and used his intelligence or better pursuits.   Not that I was put out at all by what the other writers did to him.  Once he left my page, its up to him to fight for his space on other writers pages.  He certainly left a mark on a number of characters lives.

I do wonder about the housekeeper. I wonder where or what the story might have explored, had I chosen her.

I’m a bit late in this tagging thing – so not sure who else is left to tag. Emma?

 Read what other writers from the Red Book have to say about the experience.


Paul S




Dan ( though he didn’t write for the Red Book, he has been involved in a number of ways)

Oh – and get over and buy it – have I told you its brilliant?



  1. Well, so then I’m not the only one who felt like this. I am relieved!


    Comment by Rob Diaz — October 16, 2011 @ 11:18 pm | Reply

  2. Clint certainly was a fascinating character.


    Comment by Welshman Paul — October 17, 2011 @ 7:17 pm | Reply

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