Tag Archives: #MyWritingProcess

A wee look at Return of The Scapegoat Kid (Session 1)

7 Oct


So, as everyone know’s I’ve been knocking out a novel called Return of the Scapegoat Kid for a while now.

It’s a tale of tale of meth, misbehavior, madness, mayhem, melancholy and a load of other M words. At it’s core it’s about estranged brothers working together (by default) to solve a family mystery. It also features car crashes, drug deals gone awry, naked fights on front lawns, country car chases with the po po and other revelations, painful or otherwise.

Hopefully it’ll make you laugh, then cry. Then laugh again as you cry. Tears of happiness, not woe. But if it is woe, then that’s okay too. As long as you emote something, I guess. That’s my hope anyway.

Here DIRECTLY BELOW are some disjointed happenings to see how people like the feel of of the novel. the style, and the flavor. Feel free to tell me if you love it, hate it or are generally ambivalent. Constructively, if at all possible.

If you do take the time to read it, know that I’m deeply appreciative.

Love and kisses – Mark

~ A brief Interlude: Clancy returns to drought and Big Tam and ‘Himself’ decide enough is enough ~


A former barrister and man of certain stature, Clancy Powers was used to being the fucker, but rarely the fucked. When he’d returned from shopping and walked out back for a gander at his pride and joy. His savior no less. He’d been surprised by what could only be considered a revolting development.

Not even the buzz of new gloves a knee mat and a variety of bird boxes could take the negative hit off Clancy’s realisation that his water was off, his plants were parched and his entire pond full of tropical fish had been drained. The fish hung in clear easy-seal plastic bags filled with water, held by clothes pegs on his washing line above the garden.

A small note was taped with duct tape to the rim of the pond that said; ‘Pay up you JEW! Or else it’s dry season for the long haul.’ Clancy could practically hear the ‘heh, heh heeeh’ issued silently at the end of the note and instantly regretted his decision to put off paying the irascible plumber. He, who having done the job, had been difficult enough about it that Clancy fancied making him wait a while for his lettuce.

“Wee hooer, bastard took all week to plumb that fucking pond!” Clancy said aloud. “Even if he was wile cheap, that’s no excuse for the tardy attitude’o him. I’m near sure he had drink on him one’a the times as well.”

It was pointless moaning. The only options open to Clancy right then were to drive half a mile to Marty Finnegan’s with his two, two litre water drums and ask if he wouldn’t mind giving him a filler.

Marty hated shysters, and Clancy was pretty sure he’d sent down one of his cousins for a post office robbery in ’02,’ so he didn’t relish asking.

“You wee fucker, Plumb!” clattering the drums into the back seat of the car, Clancy raged red. He resolved to phone him when he got back. Failing that he’d dial that wee wastrel George he hung around with. He could get George’s number off of his da Tony Yung if he phoned the Dragon Inn.

Then when he got him, he’d tell him it was fix the flow or face the fucking blue heelers, bai.

“I’ll phone them on him. The peelers. Then he can try turning off their water and see what happens,” Clancy said. The statement didn’t make a lick of sense. Clancy raged as his car grumbled up his drive way. “Phone the peelers, and see how he likes that, the wee fucking cowboy.”


Meanwhile some miles away sat outside Saint Colmcille’s High School in Crossgar Jay ‘Himself’ Ahern and big Tam McGardy were killing time waiting for Timmy Nelson, Crossgar’s prodigy drug dealing schoolboy. The pair arse slid suede seats, hunched low in anticipation of Timmy sliming out the front door of the school. To square them for the ounce he’d strapped from them a week ago. Another week and they’d be applying interest.

It was three thirty and the kids were rolling out en masse. Neither of the rural hard nuts could spot Timmy amidst the tsunami of bodies. Not that they were looking. Their joint salacious attentions were drawn elsewhere. Namely, the tender virginal attendees of the fairer sex, and the varying lengths of skirt on display.

Tam sparked a joint and supped from a bottle of EnergYzer. Jay eyed him and his bottle of caffeinated piss-water with visible disgust.

Tam said, “Want a toke?”

“I’m not touching anything you’ve sucked on wi that dirty auld pish you’re drinking still on yer tongue, bai.”

“I’ve no sniff on me. This levels you out just as good, sure.”

“It’s fucking stinking.” Jay closed the discussion and looked across to the front of the school. Untainted teenage girls giggled and gaggled their way out the front doors.

Jay said, “Look at yon thing there Tam. Fuck, I’d bust the fucking jam roll clean aff of her.”

“She’s about fifteen, you filthy hooer.”

“She’s aulder than that. I can see right up her skirt bai. The wee white triangle. She’s clean asking for it.”

Tam said, “I’d rather take a run at thon big thick thing beside her.”

Leaning across Jay, joint in mouth Tam pointed at a curvy, motherly looking teenager with a skirt just above knee length. She had a gormless look that worked wonders for a dealer with devices.

Tam said, “She’s that look about her. You know, when you know they’ll do whatever yer after. You just have to fire a few drinks into them, and anything goes.”

Jay was in a bad mood, not for indulging chubby chasers, “Auld fatty, bai. What’s up with you and these birds like a milk mans fridge?”

Tam said, “They’re like pink scooters. A great ride until your mates catch you on one!”

The pair laughed, riotously. Manically.

The car shook and they lost track of themselves. Then the window knocked and brought them back to reality sharpish.

Jay said, “Well Timmy. Where’s that cabbage, bai?”

Timmy, a gaunt teenager, cropped brown hair and gange sunk eyes, peered in. Brown rimmed and yellow toothed, he forced the crumpled bills through the window; “I’ve four scores, but I’m a twenty short.”

Tam said, “Fuck me Jay, he’s short on the Lettuce.”

“I can scarcely believe it Tam.” The pair looked at Timmy, feigning disappointment. Secretly unperturbed. Tam tutted.

“When’ll you have it? She goes up by a fifty the later you cough her up.”

“Fifty percent!” Timmy rubbed his thighs, then hunched further in the window in an effort to keep his voice down.

“Fuck me bai’s, you’re pure bum raping me here.”

“Where’s your initiative Nelly, bai? Used to be you couldn’t clear the green fast enough. Sure tell you what,” Jay reached into the glove compartment and handed Timmy a bag of grass buds, “Take that there on strap. It’ll help you get that cheddar a wee bit faster, no?”

For a moment Timmy looked at the bag, then to Jay, then back to the bag. An inward dialogue played out. Timmy’s addiction versus his common sense. His addiction won by knockout in the first round.

“Right, sweet.” He grabbed the bag and pocketed it.

Tam said, “That’s an extra fifty you owe now, as well as the twenty with a ten on top. You’re late wi that we’ll just call it a cool hundred.”

“Fuck. Right. That’s dead on.” Timmy swung away from the car and began to slope back towards the still spilling hordes of kids coagulating around the schools front gates. An equally shady group of boys, dark eyed and tired looking, met Timmy on his approach. They were all around sixteen.

Leaning out the window Jay hollered after his young prodigy and burgeoning drug addict; “Here Nelly bai, don’t smoke her all at once.”

Timmy looked back over one shoulder, scowled and sloped on. Tam and Jay laughed as they peeled off towards the town centre, ogling more skirt as they went.



5 May

Firstly, to clarify – I normally write over at Badhaven.com, but in an effort to establish myself outside of my nomme de guerre I’ve set up a new blog from which to post my musings.

Notably, this is my first entry and it’s all thanks to that rascal Gerard Brennan, or Belfast’s Crime Prince as I like to call him. He’s been putting out some corking tales of late – from his latest Novella ‘Wee Danny,’ sidequel of sorts to ‘Wee Rockets’ and his ‘The Point’ Novellas which are really all that and a bag of chips (by which I mean GREAT!). Gerard was kind enough to interview me lately on his blog Crime Scene NI and include me in this bloggy chain letter.

But introductions aside, here’s my process. Hopefully it’s not what you’d think:

a) What am I working on?

I’m currently working on two things writing wise and one thing editorially.

Writing wise I’m penning a novel tentatively titled The Return of the Scapegoat Kid which is the tale of two estranged brothers and their strange, blackly humored manic journey to reconciliation. It’s deeply routed in a lot of my own experiences, so much so that my dear old mum on hearing of it has already demanded to see the first draft in case she finds any characters resembling her (that I’ll be forced to edit out). Suffice to say I’m already working on my writer pseudonym.

Next to that I have a graphic novel I’m scripting, bringing a modern take to William Moulton Marston’s classic heroine titled That Dames UNSTOPPABLE! But that’s all I can really say on that until I’ve found an artist.

Editorially I’m working my way through stories submitted by some writer pals for our small horror/sci-fi anthology Inside I’m Darkness, which so far has provided some very dark, very promising works indeed.

b) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Regards how my work differs – I often defer judgment to others, for I’m too heavily involved and secretly egotistical to be critically honest. Thus I think the nicest two comments I ever received were that I wrote like a Northern Irish Irvine Welsh in the Pulp Horror genre and that;

‘In Terry Fennell, McCann invokes the spirit of Dashiell Hammett’s Spade, possesses Bateman’s Dan Starkey and sets him loose on the undead underbelly of Ulster.’ – Gerard Brennan

Okay, so I’ve changed my mind, and I’m going to be hard on myself and as honest as possible; I don’t think I’m doing anything very different from anyone else, other than genre blending and enjoying myself. I always write characters that I’d want to read, by which I mean deeply flawed, fast mouthed, quick fisted men. And then I throw these pulpy characters into unlikely and difficult situations to see how they’ll hold up. And sometimes they don’t.

With the Deadfast Series I always wanted to write James Crumley’s druggy P.I. C W Shugrue in my home town of Belfast, but a Belfast that was infested with the monsters of myth and always had been. In Return of the Scapegoat Kid I’m writing Cain and Abel, except with a modern flavor and a more familial commentary and context. My version of the brothers are quite screwed up and in their isolation need each other as much as they blame each other. This tale will explain why and take a hard look at the modern family. It’ll also have a happier ending. Hopefully!

c) Why do I write what I do?

The only way I can adequately describe it is that; writing, or some sort of creativity at least, is in me. For years I denied it an outlet, and all that did was make me unhappy. I need to get the creativity out you see, and writing is the form in which is flows most freely, and albeit minimally speaking – successfully.

I write the characters that I do because I like characters that I, and hopefully other people can relate to. I write the stories I do because I want to take those characters and put them in unusual situations and see what happens. I love horror and the crime noir genre and I like to make horror/ crime stories with a message in there somewhere that transcends the plot.

I remember watching Night of the Living Dead for the first time a good decade plus ago, and while the human drama was truly fascinating, the socially potent shotgun blast (literally) ending, left me shocked and thoughtful. Everything I ever write will be an attempt to recreate the potency of that ending, albeit in different contexts.

d) How does your writing process work?

For my first few novels I worked part-time and on the brink of self imposed penury, so I was ‘hungry’ – quite literally. I had no internet and thus writing or finding time to write wasn’t a problem. It was more something to do, and I happily did. So I’d get up, eat a bowl of porridge, put music on the stereo, drink a cup of joe and write. And I’d do that on and off all day. My first novel I made up as I went along and completed in about seven months. My second I loosely plotted and then updated as I went, which took about ten months.

By this stage in my process, I’m more structured and have to be due to time constraints. I write down my story beats the evening before and work off them the following day, usually on the evenings or the weekend afternoons when I’m most free. I make a coffee, put on some music, sit with the laptop on my knee in my battered old recliner chair and write. It doesn’t always work, and I’m easily distracted – like a magpie in a tinfoil factory. But when it does, I’m golden.

So there you go, I hope you enjoyed. The three writers that I’d like to continue this chain-letter-type bloggy thing are:

Julieanne Lynch, AGR Moore and a third author who unfortunately had to cancel due to other commitments, but I wont hold it against them.

I met Julianne, author of the incredibly successful Shadow World Novels and The Rose Saga while working for a local radio station when she was promoting her books. And Andrew is a pal I met online of all places, a talented author of the darkly delightful children’s books The Unseen Chronicles Of Amelia Black and A Boy Named Hogg.

Thanks for reading folks. Until next time