Approaches to writing - Dave Ocelot

24 April 2012 / Leave a Comment
Dave Ocelot
The Baggage Carousel
Dan Roberts has a troubled past, anger management issues and a backpack named after an abducted heiress. A chance encounter with a free-spirited Australian girl seems to give his solitary, nomadic life a new sense of direction. But when she doesn't respond to his emails, the only direction he's heading is down...

What inspired the idea behind your story?
I went travelling in Africa a few years ago and lent money to two fellow travellers I met at different points along the trail. When I returned home strapped for cash I contacted them both and politely asked for the money back. Neither of them responded to my requests and they both proceeded to remove me from their social media. Two people I had liked and trusted decided it was better to hang onto relatively modest amounts of money than ever acknowledge my existence again. Even with the two amounts combined it appeared my worth as a human being totalled less than £70.

The Baggage Carousel was borne out of the sense of hurt and frustration this experience engendered. It seemed a logical progression to transfer these feelings into a medium where I could be ignored by a much broader spectrum of people!

How long did the first draft take to write and how would you describe this process?
I don’t remember how long it took, but it certainly wasn’t long enough. I uploaded a ropey first draft to Authonomy where it received some rightfully excoriating reviews. I kept those comments in mind as I re-jigged the text. As a first time writer I would perversely look forward to negative comments, as they always gave me more to work with.

Where do you write and how often and how long do you spend writing?
I was in the Phillipines recently and discovered that the best place to write is an empty waterfront bar at 5pm, with a neglected bottle of San Miguel warming on the table and a waitress singing in the back room. That’s the real magic hour, before the sun sets and some senior citizen from Wisconsin parks up at the next table and starts chewing your ear off about a house he’s building on the next island.

Unfortunately, now I’m back home I usually sit in front of the PC in a boxroom with one leg against the radiator.

How do you go about rewriting and editing your book? How has it changed from the initial draft?
I imagine that I’m painting a trompe l’oeil on the wall of my boxroom. If certain parts look patchy I give them another lick of paint, hoping to create greater depth. I started out rendering an image of a duck pond, but maybe when I’m finished it’ll be a lagoon.

When is a book finished?
I’ve changed my mind. My book isn’t a trompe l’oeil. It’s a scab that I keep picking at. When I realise that the best thing for it is to leave it alone – then it’ll be finished.

To view Dave’s book on Authonomy visit


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