Along to Edinburgh Sunday evening, and a large pub called The Three Sisters for a Halloween performance of Writer's Bloc, which was extremely enjoyable, particularly Gavin Inglis' Fall of The House of Fraser. During the various breaks between readings I chatted with Alan Campbell, of Scar Night fame, who has an occasionally difficult relationship with deadlines. Alan's approach to deadlines is not entirely dissimilar to Douglas Adams' - for whom the best thing about deadlines was the whizzing sound they made as they went sailing by.

At one point, Alan - unshaven, haggard from long nights of furious writing - listened while I described the sometimes traumatic relationship I had with my own second book, Against Gravity.

Specifically, about two thirds of the way through writing that novel, I got so sick of it I opened a new word document and called it 'Why I Hate This Fucking Book'. After staring at the blank screen for half an hour, all I could think to type in it was 'Because I fucking hate it'.

I don't hate it now; in fact I really like it. But it's just one of those things that comes with the realisation you're no longer writing an unpublished book that might sell, you're working on one that's already been sold - but your publishers haven't seen yet.

So I told Alan about this, and he asked me, 'so do you find it hard dealing with deadlines?'

If I'd thought for more than half a second, I wouldn't have laughed and immediately replied 'fuck, no.' Just half a second more and the words wouldn't have come out.

Which is perhaps why in a recent blog entry, Alan says:
Gary is a fellow Tor author who, although he's a nice guy, is much better at meeting deadlines than I am and is therefore an utter bastard. For the record, Neil and Paul are not utter bastards.

Oh, how we laughed.


Unknown said...

gary I couldnt imagine you being a grumpy sod, jumpin up and down screaming "fuck off" at a publisher who told you he needed a copy within 7 days...it just wouldnt be in your nature now would it.....I of course am very similar to you in that respect...chris

Alan Campbell said...


That was last week. Now there are mushrooms growing in my beard.

It was good to see you guys at the reading though.