I don't know why, but a lot of the ideas I think up appear in the dead of night, just as I'm trying to get to sleep. This is a pain in the arse, because if it's a really good idea I end up with the little rusty cogs of my brain going fifteen to the dozen and making irritating squeaking noises accompanied by the smell of burning dust. No sleep for Mr. Stuart. Worse yet, the ideas I'm convinced are super special, which I scribble down on the pad I keep by the bed and wake up to find are a load of old shite. Or unintelligible. But the worst of all are the ones that seem perfect, but are gone by morning, leaving nothing behind but the certainty that whatever it is that I've forgotten, it was the best thing I've ever though up.
Not today though, today I decided to have a long lie, drifting in and out of the waking world for a couple of hours, taking this short story thing with me. The new one's nowhere near as violent and disturbed, but I think it works better. Plus it features a Private Investigator, which is a first for me. My novels tend to be about police or government investigators, and looking back at them, my short stories tend to focus on the people committing the crimes rather than solving them (well, not all of them, but of the twelve I wrote for Christmas I think only one that has a policeman as the central character). I've never written a PI story before.
The funny thing is, that even though I'm setting it in Oldcastle -- because I like to play there from time to time -- when I'm writing it I can hear American voices in my head. Not the usual ones that tell me to burn things and devour the flesh of all who would oppose me, but in the narration. I'm having to make a conscious effort not to put Americanisms into the text. And that's when I realise I've never read a British-set PI novel. I've read some of Bad Monkey Rickard's books, but they're all set I the US, so they don't count for the sake of this argument, and I've read Dashel Hammet, but no UK ones. Come to think of it, I don't think I've even seen a film with a British Private eye in it. The closest I can dredge from my memory is the series of Shoestring I used to watch when I was little.
So I suppose it's no surprise my PI story is coming out a bit American-ish to my ears. Have to go through the thing when it's finished and make sure there's plenty of 'Jobbies' and 'Wheeching' and people getting a swift knee in the sporran. Maybe if I just have someone go 'Hoots mon!' every now and then I'll get away with it?