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simon collis

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Behind The Scenes: Another Stack

Posted by Simon Collis on 2018/01/12
Posted in Year of Short Stories  | Tagged With: | No Comments yet, please leave one

OK, so this is basically going to be a post about how I wrote “Another Stack”. I’m not sure really why I’m doing this, or whether I’ll even do another one, but I thought someone might be interested in the writing process, so here goes…

Having set myself the challenge of writing a short story every week for a year, the first problem came with the writer’s age-old problem: what to write about? I had a few ideas spinning around, but it wasn’t until Friday evening that the idea for the story came about.

It really was about outsiders, and how outsiders don’t react in the same way as other people. Doctor X here is clearly an outsider to the group, in a way – he doesn’t dress the same way, he doesn’t seem to behave the same way, and he clearly doesn’t feel the same way about the rest of the group’s “end justifies the means” approach. (Interestingly, neither does Tom the Roadie, and perhaps I should have explored that a little bit more, but I didn’t want to detract from the main flow.)

The name “Another Stack”, associated with the band name “Chimney”, had come into my mind years ago, during a train journey to work. I noted it down in a little notebok of “ideas for stories” and left it. I have no idea where that notebook is right now, incidentally; the band popped back into my head some time Friday evening.

Having written the first draft, I rewrote it – twice – on Saturday. The beginning changed a lot, being re-ordered to make things more readable before the first interview. Once I hit the first interview, everything stayed more or less the same, minus a few tweaks, until the very last line, which didn’t get its final form until the very last moment. Once I’d got it, I knew it was right. A quick read through, spell and grammar check, and it went live.

I did want to touch on the manager a bit more, but again, there wasn’t space. Maybe I’ll write a story about him later in the year…

See you tomorrow for story number 2.

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Another Stack

Posted by Simon Collis on 2018/01/06
Posted in Year of Short Stories  | Tagged With: | No Comments yet, please leave one

So here’s the first in my year of short stories. It’s not as polished as I’d like, but I’ve set myself Saturday as a deadline, and so I had to do it. Here goes. Be gentle with me 🙂


I’m going to call him Doctor X. Not for any legal reasons, or because I’m trying to shield someone’s identity here – his real name is Julius Green, and you can look that up if you like, if you can work out how. No, the reason that I am calling him Doctor X is that it’s the name by which you’d be most likely to know him, if you’d heard of him at all.

I first heard of him after my uncle died of cancer a few years ago. Some time in the early seventies they played together in a progressive rock band called Chimney. My uncle never told me anything about them. In fact, I didn’t know they existed until I found the one vinyl LP among all this things. Read more

Year of Short Stories

Posted by Simon Collis on 2018/01/02
Posted in NewsYear of Short Stories  | No Comments yet, please leave one

New Year’s Resolutions are a wonderful thing, aren’t they? “Let’s lose weight”, is how it starts. Then it’s “we’ll go to the gym every day, save 20% of every pay cheque in a high interest account and learn to play the flute.” Then around halfway through New Year’s Day, reality sets in and you end up sitting on the sofa, surrounded by empty Quality Street wrappers. Not that I’m complaining, you understand. (And just for the sake of impartiality, other selections of chocolates are available.)

In fact, my resolution for this year came to me the night before New Year’s Eve, and it’s a doozy. I’m going to write a short story a week, and publish them, every Saturday, right here on my blog. If life or other technical stuff gets in the way, then I might have to break that. But I’ll try not to. (And there’s another resolution gone – I ended a sentence with a preposition. Allow me to go and punish myself before the Grammar Police arrive.)

Why? Read more