A Splendid Salmagundi

70,000 words down…
Recently I contributed a short story to this anthology that’s just been published on Amazon. My story is called The First Day, and features two of the minor characters from Hunted. It’s a nice little introduction to the world of the Kingsmen, and I think you’ll like it. Check it out:

A Splendid Salmagundi is a delicious salad of short stories seasoned with a light dusting of poems, covering a variety of genres.  You will find one or two true stories, some humour, some horror, fantasy, adventure and science fiction.  Many are Amazon published authors whose work you may already have read.  Others will soon be favourites.

Contributors are alphabetically, D M Andrews, Tim Arnot, R J Askew, Baarbaara, Andrew Barrett, Kath Brinck, Michael Brookes, Alexandra Butcher, DD Chant, Mel Comley, Lexie Conyngham, Raymond Daley, Ian Ellis, Robert Franks, Cornelius Harker, Mark R Faulkner, Vic Heaney, Jonathan Hill, Darren Humphries, Andrew Lawston, Stephen Livingston, Will Macmillan Jones, M T McGuire, Kath Middleton, Marc Nash, Harry Nicholson, Jenny Shaw, Rosen Trevithick, Simon Turpin, David Wailing, Jim Webster, Philip Whiteland.

Click HERE to buy on Amazon UK

Click HERE to buy on Amazon US (.com)

A Splendid Salmagundi Official Website

Dodger – Tickets now on sale

63,000 words down…

Tickets for the STC’s world premier production of Sir Terry Pratchett’s Dodger go on sale today.

“Dodger is a tosher – a sewer scavenger living in the squalor of Dickensian London. Everyone who is nobody knows Dodger. Anyone who is anybody doesn’t. But when he rescues a young girl from a beating, suddenly everybody wants to know him.
And Dodger’s tale of skulduggery, dark plans and even darker deeds begins…”

The play is being staged at the Unicorn Theatre, Abingdon (about 10 miles South of Oxford), from 22 – 26 January 2013 (matinée Sat), and features me in the role as Henry Mayhew. If that doesn’t tempt you, I don’t know what will…

Tickets and more info: http://www.studiotheatreclub.com/CurrentPlans.html


61,000 words down…

I really must learn to use this Twitter thing! Anyhow you can twitter me, follow me, all that good stuff. @TimArnot. There’s a nice little button for it if you scroll down the page. Just think, one day you can say to your grandkids “I remember when Tim made his first tweet… bloody awful it was too!” or words to that effect. Go on, follow me: You know you want to!

New title… Hunted

51,000 words down.

Sorry it’s been a while (actually it’s been a bloody long while – just looked at the date on the last post – oops!) Anyhow, my October resolution will be to post more often…

The novel now has a new title. It’s HUNTED (I rather like those single word title books – I’m sure you’ve seen them, Uglies, Gone etc.) and the subtitle is Kingsmen book 1. Yes there will be a book 2! (yay!) and I already have some thoughts on it.

Next month sees NaNoWriMo, and I’m entering that. Im planning out what I’ll write at the moment. It won’t be Kingsmen related, and will feature space ships. More on that later. Towards that goal, Ive decided to try and get the first draft of Kingsmen finished before the end of this month. That means daily targets and stuff, which is all good practice

Anyhow, breakfast calls, so more anon. 🙂

Henchmen have families too!

18,200 words down.

I think I hate dialogue. I put my characters together in the same room They were supposed to strike up some witty banter “How’s Mavis and the kids?” “Done any good henching lately?” “Come on Charlie, show us where she bit you”, that kind of thing. But nothing. Interior, day. Five men sitting around a table playing cards. In walks our POV character, “Wotcher guys” he says cheerily. Then… nothing.

All day I sat at the keyboard, prodding an poking these characters, but they steadfastly refused to speak. The next day they were still not talking.

So in the end I said sod it, and ran a nice hot bath, to which I retired with a large glass of riesling and iPlayer on the iPad. A couple of glasses, two episodes, one of Dad’s Army and one of Outnumbered later, and I was suddenly inspired. I knew what the scene was lacking: Stuff. So having dried off and re-clothed I rushed downstairs and gave my characters some stuff to play with. One guy had a bag. Okay, what was in it? Sandwiches wrapped in wax paper. Three lots. He’s sharing them out with his mates. So what’s in them? Something his sister caught while out hunting. Ewww… And very quickly I’ve rattled off two scenes, and a quite respectable 1800 word day.

Another lesson learned 🙂


Yay! I’ve won something writery! The UK Amazon Kindle forum on GoodReads had a competition: Write 200 words max on the given subject, and the entry with the most votes wins. So, we were give a piece of music to listen to, in this case the Meditation from Thais, and then we were asked to write up to 200 words of descriptive prose.

Here’s the music:

And here’s my entry:


The cannon were silent now. For days they had been pounding, pounding, without end. Even now their faint echoes, like sweet music, were ringing in my ears as I picked my way carefully through the mangled mess of barbed wire, craters, mud, and flesh. Once this had been pleasant fields and woodlands, green grass waving in the breeze, and tall, strong trees. That was until the war came through and turned it to blood and tears and mud.

Nothing moved. I peered into a crater, hoping for a cheery “hello”, but it was empty and so I moved on to the next. There were bodies, or parts of bodies. I couldn’t tell whether they were ours or theirs, it was all the same at the end, covered in the grey, gloopy mud. I said a silent prayer and kept moving on, hoping for signs of life, but finding none. I looked around, a pall of smoke hung over the ground, still and unmoving, grey smoke over grey mud, under a grey sky.

At last a ray of sunshine broke through the clouds illuminating a single poppy, brilliant red against the sea of grey. My ray of hope. 

You can read all the entries here. Why not have a go at the next competition yourself? You just need to think of a 150 word humorous anecdote about HMS Victory. The full details are here. Go on: You might win…

No battle plan survives…

11,300 words and counting.

They say that no battle plan ever survives the first five minutes of actual combat. Perhaps they should also say that no outline survives the first 5000 words of actual writing!

I’ve already got myself two new secondary characters.  The first I realised that I needed pretty quickly. Her name is Rosie, and she is younger sister to Flick and Adam. I’m not going to say anything here about her role in the story, but rather, the consequences of adding her to the mix. You see, what happened is that she changed the family dynamic; something I didn’t anticipate. Adam is now the middle child, surrounded by two sisters. Flick is a bit of a tomboy, and outcompetes him, and Rosie gets all the attention. So that added a whole realm of angst, anger and frustration that wasn’t there before, and Adam has become a bit of a bully and an attention seeker. Interesting.

Then I was trying to figure out this horrible piece of back story, trying to make it more interesting–show don’t tell, kind of thing, and I ended up taking Adam and putting him alone in a locked room, with a whole load of illicit tech. So of course he starts playing with it, at which point in walks….

Jessica Rabbit

Ok, well it wasn’t actually Jessica Rabbit, but you know the type: Sultry, sexy and completely unattainable. So of course Adam promptly kecks his pants, ‘Jessica’ does a White Witch number on him, which solves my exposition problem, and I get a whole new sub-plot to boot!

Isn’t this fun! 🙂

In a paragraph…

A small amount of progress today. I’m now up to 8200 words, and I can give you a slightly better descriptive paragraph.

23rd Century Britain is tough. There’s few people, no oil and no electricity (by order). Kingsmen rule the country with a rod of iron, and exact the severest of penalties for the smallest of crimes. When sixteen year old Flick Carter comes across an injured pilot from an illegal aircraft that has crashed, fixing him up is her first crime, and falling in love is her second. In a small town of just 150 people, it’s hard to hide for long, and when the Kingsmen find out her secret, the choice is simple: Love, or life.


Um, Hi. Is this thing on?

I’m Tim. well, obviously, since this is my blog, and my name is on the top. It’s kind of a giveaway. So why am I here, and what’s this blog about? Well, I decided to write a novel. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, I’ve decided to tell you all about it. As it happens (or doesn’t).

So why would I want to do that? Well, I kind of wanted to for a long time. I’m a software developer by trade, but I’ve done plenty of technical writing in the past, from user manuals to magazine articles and even some technical books (thankfully, long out of print!). And in the early 90s I was editor of the ICPUG Journal, which was a 96 page technical journal published six times a year. But I haven’t written seriously in the realm of fiction (i.e., making stuff up). At least not deliberately.

Now I have to confess, we’re not coming in here quite at the beginning. I’ve already done what I’m going to amusingly call my “research” — mostly visiting a few places, taking pictures and going to pubs, I’ve built an outline and storyboards, and I’m about 7000 words into the first draft. So I kind know where I’m going, even if I’m not entirely sure how to get there.

So what’s it all about? In a sentence:

When a mysterious boy falls from the sky, sixteen year old Flick must save him, but doing so could cost not only her freedom but also her life…

The working title is: Kingsmen