This is the WASTED BLOG. For my main author website, click this link.

Awards: WASTED won the Read it or Else category in the Coventry Award and was runner-up in the North East Book Award. It is longlisted for the Carnegie Medal and shortlisted for the Manchester, Grampian, Angus, and RED Awards.

Thursday, 29 April 2010


A pigeon smashes through a window at one point in WASTED. This actually happened to me while I was writing the book. If it hadn’t, the whole story would have been different. While you're reading the book - if you do! - see if you can predict when it will happen…

I thought you might like to see the picture of my window afterwards. Rather bizarrely, this has happened to me twice, same window, and both times I was in the room.

The time which affected WASTED was interesting: I was sitting in my study, near the window, with my laptop on my lap, trying to think of something that could happen to one of the characters which would make a few minutes' difference to the time when he reached a particular spot. It had to be a completely unconnected, random event. Anyway, as I was trying to think of this, CRASH! A pigeon smashed through the window.

Once I'd finished screaming (and running out of the room), I realised that this was exactly what I needed in my plot, because it would delay him by a couple of minutes, which was all I needed. As you'll see when you get to that point, whether he is there when the pigeon smashes through the window or not makes a life or death difference.

You see, sometimes writers don't need an imagination: sometimes real life is all we need.

Warning: both my editor and agent said that the pigeon incident is one of the shocking moments of the book.

WASTED BLOG TOUR - begins tomorrow, with a visit to Nik Perring's blog. Thanks, Nik! His blog today has lovely pictures of his new book of short stories, Not So Perfect. In view of the fact that my post today has been about pigeons, it's quite interesting that his has a picture of a cat on the cover. Cat among the pigeons, eh? Or something.


Helena Halme said...

I remember your post about the pigeon. It was around that time I started following your other, Help! I Need a Publisher!-blog. How time flies (excuse the pun)!

Helena xx

Old Kitty said...


Was the pigeon ok (both times?).

p.s glad you're ok from flying glass and suicidal pigeons!

Take care

Nicola Morgan said...

Well, both times it flew out of the room again so i can only assume. There was only a small amount of blood the first time and none the second time. In Wasted, I think the bird was probably going to be ok, though its wing was a bit damaged... I'm afraid i didn't hand around to find out!

Helena - indeed!

maryom said...

We've had pigeons fly into the car windscreen - it's terrifying!
Maybe you need to stick a big picture of a cat to that window? or a hawk silhouette, as they do on large glass doors?

Nicola Morgan said...

Mary - I had a more radical solution: I moved house!! But actually, a friend sent me a model of an owl and I hung that in the window - no more pigeons.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if it was the same pigeon both times - it just hadn't learn the lesson the first time.

I'm Looking forward to the blog tour.

Catt said...

What a random, quirky kinda cool freaky funny thing to happen? The pigeons here smash into the patio windows repeatedly, but now smashes *touch wood*. (We have regulars, I hand-fed one yesterday. SO COOL.)

I look forward to your visit to Nik's blog. and others. ^_^

Catt said...

what a mess of a comment?! I mean they hit the window, but as yet no actual smashing through the window!

Laura Marcella said...

OMG I'd freak out if a pigeon smashed through my window! Awesome that you used the incident in your book, though!

catdownunder said...

Where was Spike when all this happened? He could have rescued the pigeon and calmed the human.