50k Words of Utter Gubbins – Chapter 6

Nigel Larrix lived – had lived, when he was alive – opposite the road from the Centipede. Therefore it was opposite the road too from a large duckpond, which was next to the pub. Occasionally the ducks would cross the usually empty road and mill around on Nigel’s front lawn. Occasionally this would have disastrous and feathery results.

There was no danger of that today though. Today the ducks, and coots, and moorhens were staying in the shade on the far side of the pond, putting as much space between themselves and the commotion opposite as possible.

By the time Hugo got there, around ten, the initial hubbub had died down somewhat. There were still police cars and ambulances, and a small crowd of people in shock or in tears, and ‘POLICE LINE DO NOT CROSS’ everywhere; but it was muted.

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50k Words of Utter Gubbins – Chapter 5

‘Thought I might find you here,’ said Nigel.

‘Hello,’ said Hugo. ‘I’ve managed not to start any more punch-ups.’

It was said as a joke, but the moment the words left his lips they shrivelled. Nigel might have raised one eyebrow slightly. It was hard to tell.

‘Hello Nige!’ said the rector. ‘How’s everything?’

‘Hello Dane,’ said Nigel. ‘Been better, been worse. How’s the team sheet?’

‘Coming along nicely, thank you! Your friend makes eight!’

Nigel seemed to stare briefly into the eyes of Jesus, gazing down in glass form from above the altar. Then he nodded good-bye to Dane and left. Hugo followed him.

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50k Words of Utter Gubbins – Chapter 4

Hugo awoke at nine, having slept badly. Not because of any noise, although the dawn chorus had woken him at five, and occasional muffled sounds did emanate from what was presumably Julia’s bedroom. No, Hugo was used to noises at night.

That was the problem. Hugo could sleep through a traffic jam, revving their engines and honking their horns: he had, once, on a road trip, while an ex drove him and kicked him awake occasionally out of jealousy. Remove the traffic noise, though, and the eerie silence wouldn’t let his mind rest. It kept waiting for a car that barely ever came.

It generated ideas for his novella instead. As he became more and more tired, they became more and more outlandish. Now, stumbling out of bed and the house, he couldn’t remember any of them.

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50k Words of Utter Gubbins – Chapter 3

By the time he’d dusted the desk and unpacked, most of which involved transferring notes and cork boards from his suitcase to the desk and surrounding walls, it was evening. The sun was still blazing merrily down, but less violently. Hugo was hungry and tired.

The former presented a dilemma. He had no food of his own, and even if he could acquire a cab using Julia’s landline, the shops in the nearest market town would be shut by the time he got there. That left two options.

The house had two doors. The back door led out into the garden. He took the front one.

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50k Words of Utter Gubbins – Chapter 2

Apart from the rattling of suitcase wheels, they walked in silence. Hugo thought that was probably appropriate.

They passed a number of picturesque houses, with front gardens wreathed in flowers and ruddy-faced gnomes. He wondered how many people, behind those quant façades, would shoot him for expressing interest in another pub.

‘All of them.’


‘You’re wondering how many of those houses has picked a side.’

‘How did you…’

‘You’ve just had a gun pulled on you. Reckon for the first time in your life. If you weren’t thinking a bit about it, you’d not be human.’

‘Ah. I am human. I think.’

‘Best any of us can do, Hugo Gubbins.’

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50k Words of Utter Gubbins – Chapter 1

A man was punched out of the front window of the Centipede.

This should give you a clue as to what sort of place the Centipede was. Contrary to what a thousand different action films starring indistinguishable thirty-something men out for revenge would have you believe, bar windows don’t break easily. A person punched into most modern double-glazed windows would leave a crack on the glass at most, and at that point it’s doubtful whether they’d ever enter that pub again.The Centipede had windows designed to be broken, without causing excessive lacerations, and cheap to fix. The man burbled and curled into the foetal position, but he’d enter the pub again. He’d probably leave again via the window too.

Looking through the broken glass, you could see bottles and chairs being brandished. Perhaps five of each. This wasn’t a big city pub brawl, but its more considered rural cousin: slowed down, polite, and less tolerant of outsiders.

One man in a flat cap sent a bottle swinging towards another man in a flat cap. The second man, who had perhaps a six-inch advantage, grabbed the first man’s forearm before anything could come of it. He squeezed, and bent. The first man lost his cap and yelled.

‘What the Hell did you go and say that for?’ said the second man to another smaller man.

The smaller man was not wearing a flat cap. He was not brandishing anything, except perhaps his rucksack, but it looked more like he was hiding behind that. He was looking very much like he’d rather be anywhere else than in the Centipede, squashed between a faux-antique electric fireplace and the back of the second man.

He whimpered, ‘But I only said…’

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New Story Next Tuesday!

Okay!  That’s enough inactivity for you.  Spark plugs to the chest it is.

I’ve just done NaNoWriMo.  Specifically, I’ve just done my first attempt at an almost completely improvised NaNoWriMo.  None of my usual rigorous planning: I started with a title and a map of a village, and went from there.

(All right, there was a page of Scrivener notes.  That’s still pretty darn improvised for me.)

At the conclusion of NaNoWriMo 2018, the MLs told us not to go straight online and self-publish our novels.  (What is an ML, I hear you cry, and I’m so glad you did.)  This is 100% correct.  A NaNo novel(la) is written under time pressure.  You’re encouraged not to edit.  NaNo is a way of getting a large number of words down on a page, so that you can come back to them, refine them, and turn them into something brilliant.  It is highly unlikely to be something brilliant straight away, in and of itself.

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to prove that to you.

I knew that I wouldn’t write anything good this year.  I knew that to the extent that I called my NaNovel ’50k Words of Utter Gubbins’.  I am now going to publish it, in weekly instalments, on the Internet for your pleasure.

I will edit each entry briefly before I put it up; but I won’t change content drastically, or pacing.  It will still very much be a raw NaNo novel.  It will still only be tangentially related, plot-wise, to its name.  It will still not be as good as Tiers of an Angel, which I’m still trying to find the time to clean up.  It will still very much be utter gubbins.

There’s a slim chance, however, that it might be funny.  There’s a slim chance that it might be interesting.  There’s a larger chance that it might be a lesson in Why Not To Publish Your Novel Straight After NaNo.  I’m kind of banking on these three things.

The first chapter of 50k Words of Utter Gubbins goes up on Tuesday 11th December.  I hope you enjoy it.