Friday, September 28, 2007

The Oldest Profession

OK, so I watched 'Secret Diary of a Call Girl' on ITV 2 last night. And I thought it was good, entertaining and all. What really annoyed me, though, was a few days ago, the prudes on BBC 2's Newsnight reviewed the show negatively; the only reason given for this was that the show glamorised prostitution and, basically, wasn't about crack whores. I live in Highfields. If I wanted to watch drama involving crack whores, I'd just look out of my window. The only woman on Newsnight as part of the reviewing panel (over 50, upper-middle class) was complaining because it wasn't about 'reality' and apparently portrayed the male-fantasy version of prostitution, rather than how it "really is" for the 90-odd% of working girls out there. Let's skip over the fact that the programme is based on a true story. All TV shows, movies, etc are glamorised to some extent. Archaeologists don't all look like Harrison Ford. Men don't all have fifteen-inch penises, like they do in porn films. Prostitutes don't all work in safe, controlled environments, drug- and pimp-free. But isn't that how it should be? Perhaps not the 15 inchers or Harrison Ford, but I mean safe and clean and as unexploitative as possible. If prostitution was legalised, then at least it would get some of these "90-odd%" women off the streets. Legal brothels would mean the girls would get regular health checks, help with drug rehabilitation, lodgings and clothes. It would be safer. And some of these women wouldn't then be exploited by men for drugs and money, they would be the ones doing the exploiting, because they would be trading sex for cash on their own terms. And I want to point out that just because I'm pro-legalised prostitution, that doesn't mean I'm pro-infidelity, but at least you would know that if your future bloke had been with a pro in the past, they were clean and healthy and it was purely a business transaction, and wasn't funding drugs trafficking and terrorism (like pirate DVDs do…). I know the argument above is somewhat na├»ve, but surely it is acceptable for TV to show how the minority live, as well as the majority, and also highlight how things could be improved? I don't think they have any right to write off a TV show because it's not about prostitution as us Highfields-survivors know it (and I'm sure the woman from the Beeb has probably met more prostitutes like Belle de Jour than the girls who used to work my street corner and leave used condoms for me to clean up down the alleyway to my front door). I am thoroughly prepared for people to comment and disagree (and fair enough if you thought the show was crap!); we're all entitled to our opinions and this is just mine.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Word Count

I've written 20,078 words of Inter Vivos. That's just over a quarter. I'm trying to decide whether Nox should, as is written at the moment, kill the guard in order to escape from prison by slitting his throat with a shard of glass, or have her knock him unconscious with a bottle. I'm sure that I will decide upon the guard's fate as I continue to write, but right now I am a little concerned that the killing might make her unsympathetic as a character. Though I suppose it just depends on how I justify it to the reader. Hmmm.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Calm before the Storm

...Well, sort of. Today is the last day (at work) before enrollment starts on Monday and all hell breaks loose. Good luck to anyone out there starting university next week, but you have no idea how stressful it is to actually coordinate! I think I've just about got every thing sorted. It'll be pretty hectic, so I may not be blogging much next week, just to warn you.
In terms of writing, I have written 23% of my target word count for the completed first draft of Inter Vivos in almost a year. Not very good progress. I am going to put in more effort in the coming months, as I really don't want it to take four years before I have even finished the first draft. I read over some of it before I started to type up my latest addition, and I have to say that some bits are quite good. Some bits really need work, but they'll do for now to move things along, and I'll go back and sort them out later (that's what second drafts are for!). 23% isn't a lot, but I am pleased with what I've done so far. My only problem is that when I get new ideas for directions in the story, I realise how far I actually have to go. It's not an easy story to write. And I'm still not sure exactly what's going to happen at the end. I have a rough idea - it's going to be fun getting there I hope!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Power of *

I feel really guilty sometimes, as I have a habit of abandoning my characters in the middle of highways, in prison cells, in hotel rooms, walking through snow storms, in orange groves and all manner of other places. I do this because usually my characters have just been involved in an Incident and once that has occured, I kinda run out of steam. OK, Incident occured, lesson learnt, now what? Sometimes my characters are stranded for weeks, years in some cases (I've had two characters stuck in a forest since 1995). So I find it hard to move the story along, to interconnect the numerous different scenarios that make up the story.
As a consequence of this, I have adapted a style of writing where I just write the Incidents and, after each one, use an asterix to mark the separation and passage of time, etc. and then go on to the next. That way, I keep writing, and hopefully will come back after my story is complete to fill in the missing gaps. Sometimes, however, I find that I don't need to fill in the space; an intelligent reader can gather that a passage of time has occured simply by a paragraph break. This also means that I now tend to write out of chronological order, so I write the climatic Incident sometimes quite early on. This helps me keep motivated, and also helps to direct the story, so that if I do get stuck, at least I can review where my characters roughly need to go. Now I have finally figured this out, I have dozens of characters that need rescuing from their respective places of limbo!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Weird Face

I have, apparently, a really 'weird' face when I pose for photos. So after all those years practising trying to look relatively normal in photographs, I am told that I "always look weird"; it was a bit of a shock. Now I'm even more petrified of being in front of a camera. I mean, just take a look at the photos of me of Facebook to see what I mean. This is why I'm much happier on stage acting and performing rather than in front of a camera. At least on stage, if I pull a weird face, it's gone in a matter of seconds, and there's no possibility to rewind or freeze frame.
I haven't done any writing over the weekend. I bought my mum a birthday present and worked for 8 hours at my other job. I also made pork casserole, double chocolate cookies and apple crumble, which had too much sugar in and made my teeth tingle and made Alex a bit wired. The silly thing was that I kept getting the urge to go and write, but I made myself do something else instead. Not sure why that was. Anyway, I'm hoping that this week will see me putting in a bit more effort.
PS that's not me in the photo above!!!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

NaNoWriMo 2007

I know NaNoWriMo doesn't start for another couple of months, but I've just decided on the idea that I am going to develop for it this year. Last year, NaNo was a great starting point for Inter Vivos, which, ok, still isn't finished, but it's coming along quite well, I think.
So seeing as last year's novel was sci-fi, this year's is more chick-lit (I really hate that term!). I'm going to try to develop the idea that I've had for quite a while, which is sort of based on the Wizard of Oz. My contemporary Dorothy (Thea, a twenty-something with a shoe-fetish) is searching for a place where she belongs, and along the journey makes her way through three men; one brainless, one heartless, and one who she thinks is just perfect but turns out to be impotent and powerless. Along for the ride are her two best friends, the bitchy Tula and closeted gay Leo.
Seeing as I'm not going to be involved in a show this November, I should (fingers crossed) have more time to develop to writing, and may actually get further towards the target of 50,000 words than I did last time.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Edinburgh

Our little trip to Edinburgh was really lovely, though not long enough. Managed to meet Robin for a drink, but unfortuantely we had to leave early, as we were so tired from our 8 hour drive there! Next time, we're flying, definitely! We went exploring around the castle and saw the Scottish Honours (though Alex wouldn't let me steal them, even though there was only one 'guard' and she looked really bored and overweight, so I think I could have taken her - element of surprise and all that. I've always wanted my own crown...) and then we went shopping and Alex bought loads of books and then we went for tea at the cafe that claims to be the 'birthplace of Harry Potter'. It was really nice cafe, actually. There was a big window with loads of light and a perfect view of the castle, and writing paper in a holder by the fireplace, and they made proper camomile tea and yummy hot chocolates and the food was great too. Alex has his own 'I did this in JK's cafe' story, but I don't think it's fitting to write about it here! We also went and had the most lovely dinner at the Loch Fyne in Leith, with the nicest waiters and waitresses in the world! It was a great trip.
I am now, though, officially Poor, with a capital letter and everything. I think I have enough money to pay for bills this month, but I don't have any money for food or luxury items (like washing powder, shower spray and singing lessons). Luckily, I think I have enough in my cupboards to last me for about a week, if I ration myself, but after that, I'm not sure what I'll do. Guess it'll help me lose a bit of weight, and I still have my vitamin pills, so I guess I'll be getting some nutrients, even if they are in pill form. I've decided not to audition for the next show at the Concordia, as I just can't afford the rail fare to get there. But on the plus side, that does mean more time for writing. Hurray! I'm just so sick of not having enough money to live on. I mean, it took four weeks of saving just to go to Edinburgh on the cheap for the weekend. And I need new glasses, and a hair cut, and I really need to go to the doctors but can't afford the prescription cost, and all of my clothes have chosen this month to fall apart, and it's just so depressing. Sorry to moan, but sometimes you just need to vent, you know?

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Stumped

I've come to a bit of a stop with Inter Vivos. I'm not sure whether it's because I'm actually stuck, whether I've got writer's block, or whether I'm just not in the mood. I am quite tired, so perhaps that's why Nox and Cyrus are standing in a prison cell and conversation has run dry.
I'm off to Edinburgh on Friday with Morph, and I'm really looking forward to it. It's such a beautiful place, and it's one of those rare places that for me, it just felt like home as soon as I got off the train. Perhaps I can convince Morph to move there with me...
I really need a break though. The last time I went on holiday was in 2004. I'm only going for the weekend, but at least it's Away.
I keep meaning to send some of my work off to places to see if they'll publish it, but I haven't been able to find a minute to do that. Perhaps next week, after my break, I'll be able to get organised and go for it again.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Sumo review

Well, the thing on Saturday at Sumo went quite well I thought, though I'm not sure how much money they must have raised, as everyone seemed to be there for free. Oh well.
My mono seemed to go well - the whole room was silent listening, so I took that as a good sign. Cat, my actress, was really good too - I'm going to have to write more stuff for her, as she's great! Drank too much and spent a small fortune; I must learn to manage my money better. Still, we were there for 7 hours, so it was a bit inevitable that we would drink too much. We all went for Japanese afterwards, which was the perfect end to a pretty successful evening.
I won a book on the raffle about feminisim during the first world war (how random?!), and have taken it as a sign that I should really get to work on my 'Munitionettes' story, which is about ... feminism during the first world war.
However, need to get Inter Vivos out of the way first. Going to go work on it now, like a good girl.