Monday, December 29, 2008

Soz

Right, well, I need to start with an apology for leaving it so long between posts. I'm going to blame Christmas.
I went home for a few days and had fun with my sibs, and should be back in leicester tomorrow.
My spangly BlackBerry is broken right now;they are sending me a new batterry, but I'm still not getting any of my emails. Sigh.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Writing is Hard

Writing is not fun. Let me elaborate: Coming up with an idea is fun, plotting a story is fun, talking about it for hours in a coffee shop or pub is fun. Writing the thing is so hard sometimes I sometimes contemplate deleting the whole file on my hard drive, or giving the whole thing to somebody else and screaming "just fix this!" at them until they reassemble my words in an appropriate order.

So as you may have guessed, I'm back working on Inter Vivos. I'm writing chapter two at the moment. I say "writing", when really I'm typing vague words that transition my character from infancy to puberty. Urgh! A lot happens in those years but it's not important plot stuff, it's important character stuff (and red herring stuff) and so some of it may go in the final edit, but I can't edit something that's not even written, can I?

Actually, I had a better time writing this chapter than I have had previous when trying to work on IV. I think the main thing I've figured out is to firstly work out what I need to include in this chapter, then start in a blank document, and type it out, without reference to what I've written before, without trying to save my favourite paragraph that I wrote 2 years ago.

It's almost Christmas, and I can't wait. I'm at work until Wednesday, then I'm off until 5th January. Yay! This does mean that I really have no excuse for not finishing the short story that I've started. It would be so great to start the new year with something good enough to sell. Will keep you posted.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Global Warming

I've been trying to embed a video into my blog, and I can't work out how to do it, so here's the YouTube link: http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=h4focttTjOw
The video is not particularly good, but I've been trying to research what the world would be like "after Global warming", as it were. This is all part of my world-building exercise for Inter Vivos. Does anyone know anywhere I can get some good "after" information from? I'm specifically interested in the effects on the Mediterranean.

Urgh. Inter Vivos isn't going so well at the moment. The first few chapters are pants, but I don't know what to do or how to start it to make it all better. Can I just start at chapter three and tell the rest in retrospect? My brain hurts.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Post-NaNo Plan

Right, so this is my attempt at making myself a masterplan. Goal: Finish a book. Target Deadline: February 2009.

The thing is, now that I've crossed the hurdle of finishing a first draft of a novel not once but three times, the thing that scares the crap out of me most is the editing process. Or rather, revising what I've written to make it good enough to show to people whose opinions I actually care about. Inter Vivos is about 50,000 words long right now, and needs to be about 90,000. Dorcas is 50,000, but as it's a children's book, it doesn't need to be much longer.

Trying to revise a novel feels like trying to scale a huge mountain. And you reach a peak, and you feel good, but then you look up and there's still hundreds of miles to go to get to the top, and then you get vertigo and have to sit down for a while...

So, through the NaNoWriMo forums, I found this website: http://www.hollylisle.com/fm/Workshops/one-pass-revision.html and reading it, it actually makes quite a lot of sense. So I'm going to give it a go. What's the worst that could happen, right? I think that at least if I have a guide, it won't feel like I'm climbing that mountain on my own, and if I get stuck, hopefully this will help me.

I'm also going to try to finish a short story I've been working on by Christmas, so I can start to send it to slush piles everywhere in the New Year.

This is the plan anyway. I need to do this, I really do need to be more disciplined and motivated. Wish me the best of luck!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Winner!

Oh my good God, I did it! I didn't think I would, even this morning when I had 3,000 words to go. But I did! Whoop! So first draft of Dorcas Grubb is now complete. You can see my NaNo page and look at my stats, plus read an extract of the first draft here.

The hardest thing I found with doing NaNoWriMo this year, well, one of the hardest things, was that I completed the story, wrote "The End" and everything, when I still had 6,000 words to write. So without that motivation to get to the end (as I had already done it), I found it really difficult to stay motivated. I think this is what has happened with Inter Vivos too - I have completed the first draft of that, but now that I have to go back and fill in some gaps, it's not as exciting anymore. I guess this is where discipline should take over, but I'm crap at making myself do stuff like this. So new resolution, I am going to write every day. I am not going to stick to a word limit per day, though I think a minimum of 50 words is doable, but I am going to add a stipulation that these words must be in the form of fiction (regardless of medium), and by that I mean does not include any planning, note taking, character notes, maps, or anything else that is not directly contributing to a short story, novel, play, etc.

Phew! And I'm going to be strict on myself.

Anyway, I am 28 years old, and have two completed first drafts under my belt. Not a bad position to be in, so long as I don't lose momentum, and I actually do something with them. I'm feeling good.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Almost There...

I am going to win NaNoWriMo this year, I am! I have two days, and 4,370 words, to go to hit that 50K mark. My story is rubbish, and I'm not sure how good the finish product is going to be at the end of this. My tummy hurts, I'm tired, and I want to do anything else other than sit down and write. Aargh! I will do it though, I must!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

sleep time soon

Right, I am blogging this just before I go to sleep (oh the joys of a BlackBerry). I didn't write any words for nanowrimo for three days, which meant today I spent three hours playing catch-up. And I got there, just. I had quite a nice night actually, listened to vampire weekend and David bowie, ate chestnuts, wrote almost 6000 words. Was good. I think I've written the end now, though I need to add one last sentence, but I'm still 6000 words short of my goal. I may have to go through and add weather. Only four days to go...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

News

I read this news story yesterday, and got a bit upset that Inter Vivos was completely stupid, and, for a futuristic distopian work of fiction, was out dated in regards to modern medical discoveries - why would people need machines to replace organs, when they could grow new parts using stem cells. I fell into a bit of a depression.

Then, today, I read this news story, and was filled with joy, as this supports the premise of my story after all, that people can survive without organs, and so my novel isn't outdated! Whoop!

Funny old news week!

And I know it really doesn't matter, that it's my world, my created reality, and I can do whatever I damn well please, but I do like to have a scientific basis as background to the happenings of the book.

A NaNoWriMo update: I am sad to report that I wrote bugger all yesterday. Not one word. This is not good. Am going to write oodles tonight, to try to get rid of the guilt monkeys.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Week Three, and I'm still slogging on...

My best friend, Jen, had a baby yesterday, her second, a little girl called Abigail Hannah. Luckily, she was born by caesarean - I say "lucky" because she weighed 9lbs 12 ozs! Ouch!

I've written just over 28000 words of my NaNoWriMo novel so far, and am on schedule - just. I've been finding it hard to sit still and concentrate for long periods of time, so I've been doing three sessions of thirty minutes a day, roughly, which allows me to crank out the necessary words for the daily target. I haven't been feeling particularly inspired writing Dorcas, to be honest. I think possibly that having had the idea in my head for an entire year has meant that it has not only gone off the boil over time, ie all that initial excitment has gone, but also everything I do write just doesn't compare to the grand masterpiece I had in my head. Although, I think I may have reached a break-through point yesterday, when I reached a bit of the story that I hadn't got planned out, and I regained some of that enthusiasm again when I started inventing things off the top of my head. However, today it's back to the plan again. Next year, I'm going to decide what I'm writing for NaNoWriMo two weeks before, and that'll be it.

At the weekend, I attended a SF and Fantasy writing course, led by Damien G Walter, and I think the course may have fixed the problems I've been having with the opening of Inter Vivos. I think the reason why I've been finding it so difficult to re-write the beginning is that there was no definitive inciting incident, nothing structurally that said "and this is what happens that motivates the rest of the story". Instead, there are several events that contribute, but this leaves the reader less engaged in the story. So after NaNo, rewrite number 3 of IV will begin. I am determined to get it finished!

I've also got a few ideas for short stories that I'm going to try to work on at weekends after I've finished my NaNo words. I really want to target some of the short story markets. Busy, busy, busy!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

"Dorcas Grubb" Extract

Just a very quick post to say that I've posted up a very small extract of chapter two from Dorcas Grubb on the NaNoWriMo website. I may post a different extract on here when I get time, but for now, you will have to be satisfied with this! :-)
http://www.nanowrimo.org/eng/user/124755 - under the "Novel Info" tab.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Lost Words

A few nights ago, my computer decided to have a bit of a spasm, and I lost the 400-odd words I had written. Not good when you're NaNoWriMo-ing, and every word counts! It was really annoying because I had to start again, but I couldn't remember exactly what I had written, and so had to write a poor man's version instead. And the sad fact is that now I'm convinced that my computer crashing has robbed the world of 400 words of literary gold, never to be accomplished again (oh it's great what memory can do for the ego!).
Lesson 1: save your work every two minutes, even if others start to think you have OCD. And for heavens sake, Back up!

A Dorcas Grubb update, though this probably won't mean anything to anyone, but Dorcas and Callum have just made their first journey in time together, back to 1485, to Leicester, to see Richard III at the Blue Boar Inn. Callum likes the idea of being a knight in shining armour, but Dorcas just thinks the place smells funny. The story is moving along, but I think that I've got too much stuff to include into one book. I think I may end up getting rid of one of their trips back in time. Also, I have no idea what medieval Leicester looked like, so if anyone knows, please contact me!

Bonfire night was a wash-out (literally), but thank you to Mekon and Hannah for coming over. Sorry I made you watch musicals til the early hours!

It was rememberance day yesterday, and I tried to get in a two minute silence before the phone rang again in my office. There's only a few people alive now who were actually involved in the First World War. I was watching the ceremony on the telly, and it just made me well up, to think that anyone had to be surrounded by all that horror and death, just because their government willed it.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Dorcas Rant

I'm on target for NaNowrimo, but I just don't feel like I'm getting into my stride. I've messed up the order of events already - which is easily fixable, I know, but it's just annoying and messy. Also, Dorcas isn't coming across how I'd like her to. Maybe this is because it's written in the third person. Oh, I don't know. Anyway, 8991 words and counting ...

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Pictures!

A few pictures for you today. The first is a mock up of the book cover for Dorcas Grubb. Thanks to Morph for the photoshopping! I stole the picture of the girl from Flicker (via a yahoo image search) so if she ever finds this, sorry! But that's almost exactly how Dorcas looks in my head, which is a bit scary.
I'm up to 6,098 words, and it's still going well. I do think I'll need some help a bit later though, but will post on the forum about that.
It's quite exciting, because at the minute, I am feeling really optimistic, as the story is so full of possibilities. So I can day dream about agents, and publishers, and book tours and my book cover, safe in the knowledge that at this stage of the writing, it is still all possible. Apparently, this is a common feeling for week one NaNoWriMo-ers.
The second and third photos are from our latest office craze, courtesy of http://www.yearbookyourself.com/. If you're bored, go have a go, it's hilarious. Anyway, this is what I'd look like in 1964 (left) and 1982 (right). In the 1982 pic, I look scarily like my mum on her wedding day!

Monday, November 03, 2008

First NaNoWriMo Update

I started this year's NaNoWriMo project, Dorcas Grubb, a few minutes past midnuight, as I don't trust my watch to be accurate. I'm at about 4,000 words so far, but I've not written today's quota yet, so should have 6k under my belt by this evening. The NaNoWriMo website keeps falling over though, which is not good, but I'm hoping that they can get it fixed before too long.

I've decided to refer to this novel as a "young adult" book, rather than as "science fiction", as I'm not sure after writing four thousand words how "sci-fi" it's actually going to be; I have a feeling I may end up treading into fantasy territory without meaning to. But I'm sure whatever I decide it will be for the best.

I may post an extract on here at some point, but I might not, depending on the quality of it!

I am really tired today, after the Son cast party, where I have learned that having 5 hours sleep as a 27 year old is not a good thing! So I'm going to head to the library in a sec and bang out my word quota and then go home for an early night.

I'll try to write something more interesting when I'm not so tired!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Son

I went to see Alex's play Son last night, and it was really good. For a first night it went pretty smoothly, a few technical glitches and falling down set aside! The acting was amazing, and there are some wonderful moments in the script (as well as some wonderfully silly moments too!). It's on til Saturday, so if you can, go and see it! It's being performed in the Queens Hall, Percy Gee Building, University of Leicester.

On a possibly related note, I really don't see what is so wrong with the word c**t. Well, yes, what's wrong with it there is that it has little stars in the middle of it, but what I actually mean is, why is the worst swear word in the English language one that means 'vagina'? Is a vagina such a terrible thing? Perhaps there's some history to the word that I am blissfully ignorant of, but I don't get how you can call someone a dick and it's not so bad, but if you call them a c**t, Granny will faint and the community will ostracise you (I don't speak from personal experience...). If anyone can shed any light onto this, please let me know.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

New Fairy Tales

Just wanted to let you know that my short story "The Tower" has been published in New Fairy Tales magazine, issue one, which can be downloaded for free at: www.newfairytales.co.uk. If you would like to, you can make a donation to the magazine's nominated charity, Derian House Children's Hospice, from their website.

I've only managed to read a couple of the other stories so far, but they are really good, and the illustrations are lovely. Go check it out!

NaNoWriMo looms ever closer, and I have bought myself a new laptop for the occasion. I can't wait! You can follow my progress here: http://www.nanowrimo.org/eng/user/124755

Thursday, October 23, 2008

New Hair

Right, well, I have had my hair cut short again (see Facebook pic for those of you who have befriended me), and the sad fact of the matter is that only two people in my office (of 15 people) have noticed or comment. Hmpf.
I have a driving lesson tonight, and it's really not going very well. After dismissing two driving instructors due to incompetence on their parts, the third is really great, but my confidence is shot. If only I could teleport, then I'd never need a car ever.
There's a Leicester group for NaNoWriMo now, and I'm thinking of heading on down to meet them on Sunday. I'm looking forward to writing Dorcas, finally, but there are still things I need to do in the name of research before 1st November, namely visiting Leicester Graveyard (which I can't do by myself because I'm a big wuss) and wander around Highfields with my notebook and camera (strangely, this doesn't terrify me). The main theme of Dorcas is coping with death and living in the present, but I also need to come up with a non-cliched time-travelling adventure she can go on too for the middle of the book. I guess this is where the pressure of NaNoWriMo comes to play, as I may come up with something brilliant in the spur of the moment - well, here's hoping!
I've also been looking at agents recently ("be prepared" and all that), and I found a really cool agent in America who I'd love to represent me. You see, I've decided I need an agent who specialises with adult and young adult fantasy/sci fi fiction, and the agency in the USA that I found represents most of the best selling authors today from this demographic (writers who write for both adults and YA). Unfortunately, they don't seem to have links with any UK agencies, so I'm back to the drawing board again. I know there are dozens out there (probably), but just need to do a bit of research. Maybe in December, after Dorcas is finished. What an exciting prospect.
Right, I'm going to flip my hair around a few more times as I walk across the office, just to see if I can finally get some "new hair" recognition.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Free Books!

I've just discovered Google Books, and thought I'd share for those of you who haven't seen it before. http://books.google.co.uk/books?rview=1 It has lots of e-books on there, mostly classical literature, some non-fiction, and I've had a good day popping in and out of "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz", and also a bit of "Japanese for Beginners". Enjoy!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Freezing!

I am blogging this from the platform at Hinckley train station, where my train isn't for another 30 minutes, and I'm freezing! Thank God for BlackBerry! At least I won't be frozen and bored, and the typing is actually helping my fingers not turn blue. Think its time I dug my gloves out.
Anyhow, today I have written 6 pages of Inter Vivos, and have found myself in the unfortunate position where I may have to research morgues!
I'm really looking forward to NaNoWriMo and beginning my Dorcas story, finally, especially as I've come up with a structure (sort of).
Oh, and I've decided I'm going to do Evita, so anyone who'll be around at Christmas, please let me know, else I'll just be swigging sherry on my own.
Ah, the sun has come out a little bit. Now I just need to wait for my feet to defrost.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Quickie

Another very quick update, I'm afraid folks, will try to write a more detailed post soon.
  • In theatre-land, I am helping Morph with his play Son, which will be on at University of Leicester, in the Queens Hall, from 29th October - 1st November, so please do try to come if you can!
  • I may also be an extra in Evita, at De Montfort Hall over Christmas, even though I very much want to pull out, as it means I'll have to be in Leicester on my own over Christmas.
  • I'm trying to think up a catchy marketing slogan for this short story I'm writing, the advertising slogan of the cola that makes people's tongues fall out. I think it might be easier though when I actually know what I'm trying to say with the story, so will leave it til the end.
  • I think I have a handle now on how Inter Vivos will progress, which is good. I just don't have the time right now, which is bad.
  • I am quite excited about NaNoWriMo this year. I really hope that I manage to complete it again.
Right, gotta go off to the library to write for a bit, before rehearsal starts.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Disco and Dorcas

Well, I've decided not to audition for Disco Inferno. I'm a bit gutted, but I think it's for the best. Work is crazy that time of the year, so doing the show would be a nightmare, and I think part of the reason I want to audition is just to prove myself to people, but self-confidence needs to come from within, not from validation from other people. So yeah. No Disco.
I'm also going to focus on my writing more, and I'm going to help Morph out with his play when/if he needs me. That should keep me busy!

So there are 25 days to go until NaNoWriMo starts, when I finally get to write Dorcas Grubb. It's quite exciting actually. Just hope I don't cock up this story that I've had in my head for almost a year!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Jekyll and Hyde

Well tonight will be the third night of the musical I'm in, Jekyll and Hyde, and it's actually going really well. Aside from being pawed by men old enough to be my grandfather, it's really good fun. Which is why I've been considering doing the next show. Yes, it may mean having to drive back from Portsmouth to do the show (if I can drive by then) but it would be fun - no, I can't let myself get swept up. One show a year, and focus on the writing.
Hmmm, will keep you posted.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Procrastination

Right now, I'm blogging instead of writing. Sad, but true. I know I should be writing - I'm in the middle of a short story, and it's just got to the good bit, but I just can't be bothered! Laziness just isn't the word.
I've got a cold, and so has Morph, but it's fun because he's refusing modern medicine, whereas I am doped up to my eyeballs - and as expected, he's coming off worse than me! It's like a science experiment. I just wish he'd take one of my vitamin pills at least, or have a lemsip or something. I shouldn't brag too much though, as it could just be that he has a faster immune system, and whereas he's ill now, it could be gone in a day or so, whereas mine might linger in my system for months...
Had a driving lesson today. Did not go well. Wish I could just rely on public transport forever. :-(
Right, enough distraction. Back to the writing. Wish me luck!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Sometimes It's Hard To Be A Bloke

Right, had an exciting (read: boring) couple of days in the Portsmouth area, and then had to work all day Saturday until the skin began to peel off the bottoms of my feet (too much detail again, right?). So I'm pretty tired now, and the writing isn't going very well. Inter Vivos's second draft isn't going. Full stop. Though I'm thinking about taking it back to basics and trying to redraft again. It's just quite daunting having a whole novel to correct, and I hope I can get my head around it. I have to anyway, as it's almost NaNoWriMo time, and I want it finished by then.

When I visited Waterstone's on Sunday, I was saddened to find that one of my new favourite authors, Caitlin Kiernan, had been placed in this sad little section called "Paranormal Romance". It wasn't even a proper shelf, it was made of cardboard, and had the types of books in it that looked like the books Mills and Boon would produce if they introduced Vampires into them (had to do a quick check and they don't). If you haven't read Caitlin Kiernan (and you should!), she doesn't write "Paranormal Romance" at all. She writes Sci-fi, and horror. Really good horror. I have a feeling that this is the section where they are dumping women's sci-fi/horror/fantasy now. I was surprised, however, to find that Stephanie Meyer's books weren't in this section, which is strange, as she is the Queen of the paranormal romance (well, her and Anne Rice). I guess if you're a bestselling author, you transcend genre and Waterstone's can't afford to segregate you.

I've been thinking recently how hard it is to be male in this society sometimes. That sounds a bit weird, I know, but it's true. I know a bloke who got beaten up last week, just because some other bloke thought he had looked at him (he hadn't). I'm kinda glad I live in a society where women are still kinda protected and don't frequently get head-butted in the street after finishing work (well, not as often as men do anyway). I am a feminist, and I consider this to be an important issue within feminism. Equality is a two-way street in my book. Yes, I am very pleased that I can work, and vote, and that I earn the same as my male counterpoint (though I know that some aren't so lucky, and support campaigns to even the balance), but men should be equal to women too. They should have longer paid paternity leave, and have the freedom of choice that women now have, without living in danger of losing a tooth. By pitting one of the sexes against the other, it doesn't do anything to ease the burden on either party, or make life better for anyone. We're all human after all.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Greetings from Havant

OK, so I'm trying to post this from my hotel room on my new phone, so you'll have to bear with me as I've still not got the hang of typing yet.
God, I'm bored.
I've finished reading American Gods, which was brilliant, and now I can't get it out of my head, so it's dangerous to write anything new as I'm sure it will just come out as a carbon copy. Urgh, can't work out how to move the cursor one space right to delete this annoying apostrophe so will say bye for now:'

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Wonders of the Camera Phone

As I now have a camera phone, and can take my own pictures (rather than borrow from the internet!), I thought I'd post a pic of "where the magic happens" - no, not the bed (heehee), but my desk.
Actually, it should really be "where the magic doesn't happen, and instead a lot of Sims-2 playing goes on" to be more accurate.

I've just bought Sims 2 Apartment Life, and so productivity will be down by about 95% for the next month at least.

I really want to write a story for this magazine, but I can't think of a fairy tale at the moment. I'm feeling very uninspired right now, especially as Inter Vivos has come to a grinding halt. Hopefully I'll pick myself back up again soon. Just got to curb my Sims-2 addiction first...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Glass Ceiling

Another quick link (will blog again properly soon, promise!) from a blog column on The Guardian's website:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/stage/theatreblog/2008/sep/09/broadwaysglassceiling

This one is basically a rant about how playwriting is still a male-orientated business.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Quick Link - The Slush Pile

Here's a quick link to an article in the Guardian about publishers reviewing unsolicited manuscripts: http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2008/sep/04/publishing.pressandpublishing

If even agents won't accept unsolicited manuscripts, then what hope is there for anyone new on the scene?

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Not Going Well

I'm a little bummed out at the moment, because neither of the two short stories I am working on are actually turning out how I planned. In fact, they've both turned into big piles of shit, and I'm not sure if I have the energy to fix them.

I was thinking all was going well with the novel, until I realised I was in fact spending hours and hours planning and researching and drawing maps - and pretty much everything else, apart from writing a single word. So I've fallen off the wagon once again.

I keep moaning about the fact that I haven't had anything published recently, and rather than blaming the cosmos, I need to face reality and admit to myself that the reason is because I haven't actually written anything new to be sending out to places. I know that sounds really daft, but it's true. There's no use moaning about why "no one will publish me" if I don't give them the chance.

Now that I've had this break-through, I'm going to get back to writing the novel, and also to finishing some new stories to send off to slush piles around the globe. If only I can make my stories not-shit again...

Monday, September 01, 2008

I have a new phone! I feel like I've finally joined the 21st century, after 8 years with the last model. I now have a nice new BlackBerry Pearl 8120, and can check my emails on it and everything. And it's pink! It's so beautiful, I can't bear to take the protective wrappings off yet! It sort of looks like the one in the picture left, only better.

I've been doing some development work on the world of Inter Vivos lately, and I'm getting a much better idea about the universe in which my story is set. I always wanted it to be post-apocalyptic in some way, and now I think I have a clearer idea of what that actually means, in regards to this story.
So all is good! Just need to finish those two short stories I've been working on now...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Land's End

I have received my copy of Land's End, and it's really pretty! It's a lot nicer than I had anticipated. Seeing my story in print is a real buzz.
I have been working on another couple of short stories that I hope to send off to places for publication soon. I think the more credits I have to my name, the easier it will be to attract the attention of a publisher/agent. Well, here's hoping, right?
Off to rehearsal now. Hope to write a proper post soon!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Olay works??

Just stopping by on my week off to give you a quick update.

Firstly, I haven't done as much writing as I should have done, but I have done some, which is good. I have finished chapter four (for now) and am now revising chapter five of Inter Vivos, and I have started a new short story, and I've been writing bits of dialogue for a new play. The best thing has been having the time to just ruminate on the world and see what comes from it. I know have a map of my world in Inter Vivos, for example, which I drew whilst I was on hold for British Gas.

Right, secondly, being at home in the daytime is boring. I had really bad cabin fever on Wednesday. I honestly don't know how housewives, etc stay at home all day. The most exciting thing that has happened (writing aside) is that I managed to save my line-drying washing from a sudden outburst of rain.

Oh, and I think my Olay face cream is finally working. The wrinkle on my forehead is looking decidedly smaller. Whoop!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Don't Disappoint the Fandom!

I have been following the backlash against Stephanie Meyer's new book Breaking Dawn recently with great interest. Only a week ago she was being hailed as the next JK Rowling, and then the book is released, to much hype, and the fans hated it, so much so that they started returning the book to bookshops (rather than burning them, which was originally suggested) so that Ms Meyer won't receive any royalty monies. Harsh. Just goes to show that you shouldn't break the golden rules and mess with your own Universe's internal consistancy. For example, one of the main gripes seems to be the new development that a vampire, which previously had no body fluids, no tears, etc, suddenly has functioning sperm.


A news article about the backlash and book-returning campaign can be found here: http://news.guelphmercury.com/arts/article/365065

Just a few samples of the fan backlash (and disappointment) can be found here: http://uk.answers.yahoo.com/question/index;_ylt=ArATgff2C68QC1e8F08rAYXwBwx.;_ylv=3?qid=20080810153118AA7q4RS and


Friday, August 08, 2008

Madness and the Move

I am still totally stressed due to moving house - all of my belonging are all over the place, scattered on the floor, in big piles, buried under loads of Alex's stuff. I'm starting to feel smothered myself - I'm close to going completely mad. Will be glad when everything is sorted out. There's something comforting about tidiness; neat lines and everything in its proper place. In this age of labelling, that either means I'm Obsessive Compulsive or Anal Retentive, I don't know which is worse.
Due to the move, I haven't been writing as I should, but I have been reading more (as a result of feeling physically homeless right now, I figure, you're always at home with a good book). I've finished And Then We Came To The End, which I really enjoyed, and have now moved on to try to finish The Book of Lost Things, which again, is better than I first thought.
I'm just so tired, and am working this weekend too. Urgh, no rest for the not really wicked then.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Extract from "Tabitha"

Can't really think of anything to say, so thought I would post on here an extract from the opening of my Tabitha Grubb short story, which I also submitted to the Waterstone's What's Your Story competition. Here it is:

She ran through the grimy streets, not looking back. They were after her. Someone was always after her, she thought, grudgingly. Curse of the Gift. Though now was not the time to contemplate. Now was the time to run. Down the alley, over puddles of sewage, & back to the door before They caught her. Who knew that Edwardians, with their stiff upper lips & even stiffer clothing, could run so fast? Blonde hair trailing behind her, she reached the entrance to Milly’s Pie Shop & leapt through, finding herself not amongst the savoury goods, but back in the 21st century. Safe. Lucky she was fast.

Tabitha is a sequel to a novel I've not written yet, in which Tabitha appears as the eighteen month old baby sister to the protagonist Dorcas. In the sequel, Tabitha is now fifteen and takes centre stage. I've been writing it into notebooks when I've been on the move, so when I have a minute, I need to actually put all my scribblings together and see if any of it makes sense.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Stress

I am currently stressed about moving house. I have to arrange for the power supply to be switched to the new house, and to inform the council and the water board that I am moving. Plus I have to clean my flat to professional standards so that I can regain my deposit. How does one clean professionally? I mean, is there a course that you have to take? I guess it's all about the tools. Well, I don't have any carpets, so no special equipment needed there. I'm hoping a duster and some Cillit Bang will be enough to keep the landlord happy.
The other thing about the move is that I have to do the majority of my moving on the day when the Caribbean Carnival parades past my house, which means that getting my double bed out and down the road past the revellers is going to be a nightmare. Also it means I may not get to watch and partake in Jerk-everything this year.
I just hope the new house is a) as nice as I remember, b) doesn't fall down as soon as we've moved in, and c) is big enough for all our stuff. I haven't even started packing yet.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Cherry-picked!

Just a quick post today to let you know that my short story Lupus has been cherry-picked over at ABCtales.com.

I decided to upload it there to see if I received any feedback, and received the email letting me know that I'd been cherry-picked early today.


Thursday, July 24, 2008

Lands End Cover

Am I just the biggest geek because I find it exciting that the anthology my short story "Calypso" is a part of has its own Amazon page? How sad am I?
Anyway, here is the cover of the book, Lands End. I find it a bit weird that the person on the cover appears to either be completely bald or is wearing a stocking over his head. Maybe the caption should be "Mugger Walks on Water" (I'm sure you guys can come up with something better!).


Monday, July 21, 2008

Hoodies Redraft

In the shower last night, I thought of what to do with Hoodies in the new draft. I'm doing the Radio Edit, as well as rewriting it for the stage - the Naomi/Jase bit before was terrible, so I'm cutting Jase altogether. And I'm going to set it so it can be staged in the round, which means I can send it to the Bruntwood competition next year. Doing a radio edit of a play where one character doesn't speak though is very interesting to say the least!
After reading Alex's new play Son on Saturday, I'm really inspired to go to go back to theatre. Just the immediacy of it is appealing. Am still reading Inter Vivos. Chapter three is actually not bad. It's just taking a while to go through.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Hmmm...

I'm just reading over Inter Vivos now, and it's not that bad. It's not brilliant, but it's not as terrible as I first thought.
Yesterday, quite spontaneously, I started writing a screenplay based on the Lara story. Already I have lots of thoughts about where to send it, followed by daydreams of big advances and the makings of a career. This means the screenplay is surely doomed, as the one thing that kills writing is unrealistic expectations.
It was nice though, just coming in and sitting at my computer and just writing, no pressure or anything. Think that is why I enjoy NaNoWriMo. It doesn't matter if the finished product is good or not, just that you finish.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Some Ideas

OK, so whilst I'm working on Inter Vivos (which isn't particularly interesting to blog about, I'm just reading it right now), I thought I'd share a vaguely new idea for a short story with you.

It's about a company who start to sell a new soft drink that is highly addictive (a bit like Pringles laced with something!), marketed at kids. Once a person has drank enough of it, their tongues fall off and get stuck to the cans. I'm not going to tell you why, or what happens to the tongues once they have been removed, or what happens to the people without tongues, but the story is a bit of a satire. I think I might have it ready by Hallowe'en.

I really want to go on holiday, but I'm completely broke. If money were no object, I'd go to Hawaii, or Rome, or Budapest, or Kenya, or Peru. Suppose I should at least renew my passport before I start day-dreaming of running away.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Weariness

I am so tired right now, and I'm not really sure why, but I feel properly weary. Maybe because I've not had a holiday all year and have been working long hours, on top of rehearsing, driving and trying to write. I just feel right now like I always need an extra hour of sleep, no matter how much sleep I actually get. Strange, no?

My corrected proofs have been sent back to the Inkermen, so hopefully all that is in order. It was good to read over the story again, as I had forgotten it in the six weeks since I submitted it, so could look at it with fresh eyes. This is obviously the key to editing and rewriting. Wish it was always this successful - have just re-read my new draft of Inter Vivos, and think it's rubbish. Sigh.

Was going to post an extract from my latest short story here, but then realised that it contains the text I submitted for the Waterstone's What's Your Story competition, which I'm not quite sure has ended. Best to be safe than sorry, so I will instead post it here in a couple of weeks time, when I'm sure the competition has finally finished.

Monday, July 07, 2008

It's Raining, it's Pouring

...and I haven't bought my coat to the office today, so I'm going to get drenched on the way home, if this continues. The rain actually looks like smoke as it's hitting the pavement. Nice to look at, but please don't make me go out there.

I have finished my travelling for work for this academic year, I think, which I'm actually a little disappointed about. I don't like it when I have to do it every day, but sometimes it's nice to not be stuck in the office all the time. Plus I get to buy nice food and work pays for it! The other thing I've liked is that I've had a bit more time for myself, as I've not been working my second job whilst I've been travelling, so I've been able to have evenings and weekends to myself. True, I haven't done anything with this new free time, beside watch TV I wouldn't normally watch (this is what comes from being in a hotel with only 5 TV channels!), but it has felt a little bit like a holiday. But it's back to work in the office, and back to work for my second job, from now on in.

I haven't written anything in about a week now, simply because I've been too tired to write on the trains (well what do you expect from a 6:45am start?!!), and then I've been revising for my driving theory test. Now that the test is done (and I passed - yay!), I can get back to work. I want to finish my Tabitha Grubb short story and get that ready to send out to places, and also finally finish this second draft of Inter Vivos. I haven't got very far. Just need TIME. Sigh. Am longing for those school summer holidays that I used to have in days of yore.

In other writing related news, my short story Calypso is due to appear in an anthology by The Inkermen, entitled Land's End, which is due to be published in August 2008. I'm just checking the proofs now. I quite like Inkermen's manifesto, and so I'm pleased to be a part of this anthology. You can order the book from amazon, or alternatively, let me know if you want a copy by 14th August, and I can get you one at a reduced rate.

Oh look, the sun has come out now. Crazy English weather!

Goodnight, Tom

I found out a few days ago that a teacher at my former high school has died. He never taught me, but I auditioned for him, for the school play, when I was twelve, thick-fringed and uncomfortable in my own skin. I turned to a blob of nervous mulch as soon as I opened my gob to sing. Needless to say, I didn't get the part, or any part for that matter. But I knew deep down that I could do better, and so I went home, dejected, and practiced and practiced, everyday - usually in my back garden so my mum wouldn't hear me - until I was note perfect. I can still recite the one bloody verse that was the audition song. I never got to hear it in full, as I never went to see the show itself (having no friends to go with who weren't already in it). Instead, I made up scenarios where I went back in time and did the audition all over again, and the teacher would say "marvellous, we've found our lead!" I don't think it made me feel any better, but it gave me something to strive towards, and eventually, albeit five years later, I did get a leading part in a musical.
I wish I could write about the man himself, his achievements and ambitions, but I never knew him. He taught my parents; he once caught my dad underage drinking in a pub, and bought him a pint; he was the man I wanted to please most for a few months back in 1993. It's strange to think how a person you never acutally spoke to, you never knew, can influence your life. Goodbye, Mr G.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Travellin' Lu

Since my last post I have been to Wisbech in Cambridgeshire, which was quite nice, and also to London, all for work. I caught up on some Drabblecast, but barely did any writing myself. I feel so tired at the moment. Could do with a holiday, though this will only happen in the event of me winning the lottery (that I don't buy tickets for) before the end of September. Well, stranger things have happened.

I have been working mostly on my short story about Tabitha Grubb and Inter Vivos, though I'm finding it hard to stay organised as I'm writing both in the same notebook, and everything is a bit higguldy-pigguldy at the mo'.

What else have I been up to? Well, I saw Joseph for the first time ever whilst I was in London, and it was really, really good! (yes, I was surprised!). Lee Mead was excellent, he stayed in character the whole way through and didn't let the tongue in cheek nature of the show put off his portrayal of Joseph from naive peasant to mighty prince. The narrator (who was played by the understudy) was really brilliant, and the rest of the cast all just seemed like they were having the times of their lives, which made me as an audience member have a great time too. So many shows I see has a chorus who just look like they're going through the motions. So it was all good. I was sitting in the upper circle (row G) and you could still see the stage very clearly, so was value for money to boot!

I am off travelling around the country for work next week too, so apologises in advance for the lack in blog posts until I return. Maybe you can read over the archives or something to keep yourselves entertained in my absence? :-)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

One Step at a Time...

So I'm now rewriting Inter Vivos. And yesterday I had a bit of a panic because after months of writing and writing and suddenly thinking 'yes, I've reached my goal', now with this rewrite I'm back at the beginning again. Yes, the scenes are all there, but now I have to write the blooming thing all over again! And that thought became a little too much to handle, seeing as the first draft took me almost two years to write! But then wonderful Alex came along and reminded me to just take it a step at a time, concentrate on reworking the first chapter, and then the second, and then the third, and so on, and take it all in bite sized chunks. So I'm now feeling calmer about the whole process.

I've also just rediscovered my favourite children's book, Twelve Dancing Princesses by Errol Le Cain (based on the Brothers Grimm's tale, of course). Is quite expensive on Amazon (as it's out of print now), but am very tempted to get it. Aren't the illustrations gorgeous (see picture above)?

On a personal note, I need to stop emailing people and posting comments on things without pausing to think. I've done the opposite a couple of times and then - whoosh! - it's too late and my cringeworthy comments are in someone's inbox, or on some forum or other for all the world to see! Think first, type later. (By the way, "whoosh" is the sound I imagine emails and other electronic communications would make if they actually made a sound).

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Carnival Band

I had a new idea for a play recently, inspired by my journeys to rehearsals in Hinckley, passed the church where the town's marching band practices. The idea is to write about the xylophone section of a marching band who are rehearsing for the town's summer carnival. There's only 5 of them, as they are a smaller section within the marching band, and they're all misfits and having to have extra seperate rehearsals because they can't keep up with the rest of the group. Each scene is them getting a bit better, until it ends with them joining the carnival procession. I have a couple of characters in mind, but the main one is a 16 year old girl called Tara, who is 14 stone and wishes she were the carnival queen.
Don't know when I'll get around to writing it properly, but it's something I've been writing lines of dialogue for when I'm bored at work!

Monday, June 16, 2008

A New Direction

I've had a brainwave about Inter Vivos. I've thought of a new angle, so this means I don't need to finish draft 1b, and instead can just plough on with draft 2, as I need to rewrite the story. It means that I can still use first person narrative, to make the story more credible, and I can focus on exploring themes of identity, and reality, and sanity, and I'm going to tie in my research on female hysteria too. The story won't change, just the telling. This change has made me excited about the project again, which can only be a good thing!

Went to see Relocated by Anthony Neilson at the weekend. Scary, freaky stuff! Have never been so scared in a theatre in all my life.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

More Time Needed!

I've become a bit lazy again, in terms of the writing, and so it's time to kick myself up the arse and get motivated. Because I'm doing this rewrite of the Inter Vivos novel (am terribly embarrassed by how bad the first two chapters are, after putting it away for a while and now re-reading it!), it means that I've had to put other writing projects on hold. So my Tabitha story is on pause at the moment (though it was a nice stop-gap project), and I'm itching to do a rewrite of my Hoodies play, and also a radio edit of both Hoodies and High Street Aphrodite. But no, I need to focus.
The day job is getting more involved, which has meant that I'm working more hours and feeling too exhausted when I get home to do anything other than read or watch TV. I still have my second job too, although I don't work that often any more, so it's not going too badly.

Morph had an idea ages ago for our Semper group to do another night like 'Semper Sumo', only this time independent of LadyFest. It would be great to put on another little showcase, but if Morph ends up putting on his own production in October/November, and what with Mekon deciding he doesn't write anymore, Dec generally being uncontactable, Robin in Scotland and Sabrina 'spawning' (hee hee), then it doesn't look like it'll be happening any time soon.

Though I guess it would just be a distraction anyway, and I need to focus on IV!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

A Wednesday Self-Centred Rant...

It's my own fault really for agreeing to be in Jekyll and Hyde. I'm resenting the time it's draining from me already. My hair is getting skanky and I don't have time to wash it (eugh - too much detail!). I'm turning into a fifteen year old greaser all because I'm never at home. My flat is a tip. I have no food in the place, nor any clean cutlery. I won't have time to do a shop until Friday. So I'm annoyed right now. Wouldn't be feeling so peeved if I felt the rehearsals were worthwhile and the chorus was valued in the show. It's not. And all we get to do is sing this one song five times, and do choreographed head movements every two lines in a verse. And be there twice a week. Boring. Next!

I've been reading The Sandman graphic novels (I keep getting told off for calling them 'comics'), and have realised that I have a crush on Morpheus. Is this normal? Probably not!

Inter Vivos is all typed up and ready to go (to be made into a second draft). Need to print it out, but have forgotten my memory stick today so can't do it right now. My printer at home is out of ink, and I can only get a new cartridge from Dell, but they need you to actually physically take the parcel from the postie's hands, which means I can't order one as I'm never at home. Rah!

Hmm, am in a bit of a ranty mood today, and have only just noticed. Good job I don't have to talk to anyone right now, isn't it?!

Monday, June 02, 2008

Weekend

This weekend, I went to London and watched The City by Martin Crimp and Piranha Heights by Philip Ridley. Piranha Heights was definitely the better play. Disturbing and violent and very funny, it was extremely fast-paced and well acted. The City was alright, but, well, it wasn't easy to sit through. I mean, Crimp's dialogue is painfully awkward and unrealistic (stylistically this is what he's going for), scenes dragged for ages, and his women are terrible. Clearly, he doesn't write to get laid.
I also bought seven new books. This is after I told myself I wouldn't buy any more until a) I bought a new book shelf and/or b) I read the ones I've already got. Felt very decadent though to be buying them, and carried them nicely all around London so they wouldn't get creased, and they are now all sitting on a chair at my dining table. Not sure if I'll have enough money to eat with by the end of the month, but at least I have more books to add to my ever expanding collection!
Have been making great headway on my Dorcas Grubb sequel (can you have a sequel before you've even written the novel?). It's a short story about Tabitha, Dorcas's little sister, who in the Dorcas story is about 18 months old, whereas in this short, she is 15. It's all rather cool, and it's also allowing me to flesh out Dorcas's world more, which should help when I come to write the novel in November.
Inter Vivos has come to a little bit of a standstill, simply because I now have to type it all up before I begin draft 1b, and I haven't been near a computer recently. Hopefully though I'll have it all typed up by the end of the week.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

What's Your Story?

I've just entered Waterstone's What's Your Story? competition, where you have to write a short story with only 600 characters to fit onto a postcard. It was really difficult, but fun too! You also get to customise your postcard. Some of them are really good.
Anyway, you can read mine (easiest to find if you view by date in the Gallery section - mine was uploaded today, called 'Time Bandit'), you can read other submissions, and also enter yourself at: http://www.waterstoneswys.com/

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Done!

At 22:10 last night, in the David Wilson Library, I finally completed the first draft of Inter Vivos. Well, I am calling it Draft 1a, as I need to go back and fill in a few missing blanks that I skipped over in my quest for the finish line. I also need to come up with a couple of important names, so will be using Behind the Name again to see if I can find anything suitable. Then I'm going to spend a few days typing up what I've written (yesterday I wrote 22 A5 pages in 1 and 3/4 hours and my hand got cramp), and then I will go back and write it all out again with corrections and the missing sections completed. I'm hoping to have Draft 1b completed by 20th June at the latest. And then I will be giving it to a few friends to read (let me know anyone if you're also interested), and then will begin my second draft, to be finished by October 2008 at the very latest.
So yippee to me for finally getting to the end!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Tick, Tock, Tick

I'm feeling really frustrated because I want to be a writer, but I don't have anything written! I know that sounds absolutely ridiculous, but that's just how it is. I've been reflecting on my own writing style and habits, and I've come to the conclusion that my weakness is story. Don't get me wrong, I can get Character A and Character B from X to Y with a few subplots inbetween perfectly well, thank you, but when someone asks me 'What's it about?' I get stumped. I vaguely have a notion of what I would like the story to say on a deeper level, but find it difficult to get my story to reflect that. I know, "practice makes perfect", but noone's getting any younger. I read in this book I got out of the library (can't remember the title right now), that having one child = two books (in terms of time, energy, etc). It was controversal when whoever said it said it, but I can kind of see what they mean - I have friends who have kids and they don't even have time to have a conversation with their husbands, let alone write a manuscript. I really want to get a book published before I have a child. Not that I'm planning on having children in the next few years, but it's something to think about (especially when everyone around me seems to be 'up the duff'). I feel better for ranting now, so hope you'll excuse me!
I've been thinking of radio, and so I emailed Amanda and asked her for her advice, as she's written quite a bit for radio now. She told me that radio is a lot more intimate than theatre, and sent me one of her radio scripts to look through. This is where story comes along, as radio is all about the storytelling. Think I might have a go and adapting Hoodies and High Street Aphrodite for the airwaves.
In terms of Inter Vivos - still not finished. Am thinking that maybe I should just trust my inital feelings and set it in the near-future, rather than in it's own dimension. Should not let people sway me before a) I've finished and b) they've read it.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Nox Update

Well, Inter Vivos is finally coming to an end, and my most recent contributions to the story are absolute rubbish. But, I'm moving on from this, and thinking of ways to fix it. I think draft two will be written in the third person. Whereas some of the chapters and scenes work really nicely as first-person narrative, the Maiden is turning into a Bond villian - telling their life history and motives to the captured hero before they plan to kill him. Not good. And there are some things that Nox (my narrator) just wouldn't know, that feel false to add in, and yet are pretty vital in setting up my universe.
I want to buy lots of books at the minute, but just haven't the time to read them. I'm currently reading Charles De Lint's Moonheart, and, well, it's a little bit boring. I think part of it is that it hasn't aged well - there's a bit with a Jamacian musican which seems very un-PC to my 21st century ears, and everyone is smoking all the time, and the story has just taken too long to set up - but anyway, I don't want it to be another Glass Book, so I'm going to stop reading it, and move on to something else. Possibly Le Guin. I'm also reading The Book of Lost Things, which is quite good, but hasn't hooked me yet, American Gods, which is ace, and I've been listening to Labyrinth (the Kate Mosse version; sadly not the Davie Bowie movie), which is quite dull, so far. Any good book recommendations are more than welcome.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Decision

Have decided that I'm going to concentrate on my writing, and so am not going to audition for 'Thoroughly Modern Millie'. So there.

Twisty Knickers

People get their knickers in a twist about anything. Right now it's the Rosen vs. Rowling story-that-never-was. I keep promising myself never again to read the comments on Guardian blog, but I inevitably do, and then I get pissed off again.

I'm trying to decide whether to go and join KPAOS and do Thoroughly Modern Millie. The problem is that the group rehearses on a Tuesday (which is fine), with Monday rehearsals for principals, which is not good, as this will clash with rehearsals for Jekyll. Pros for joining are that it's based in Leicester, so no more expensive train fares and waiting around late at night at dimly lit railway stations, and that I might get a part. Cons are that I might just get chorus, and it looks like I may have to quit Jekyll, which I'm just starting to enjoy. One to ponder, I think.

I've still not heard back about Calypso, and it's been forever! Well, three weeks, but that's still a very long time. I wonder what the longest some one has had to wait before finding out if their submission has been accepted?

IV still not finished, and the five pages I wrote on the train last night coming back from rehearsal really stink. Let's hope a second draft will save it all, eh?

Friday, May 16, 2008

Weekly Post

For some reason, I am currently only managing to write one post a week. How strange. I will endeavour to write more regularly in future.
However, despite the inactivity of this blog, I have been very active in terms of my own writing, though I have to confess that IV still isn't finished. "Almost" is all I can really say at the moment. Nearly finished draft 1a, and then it's on to draft 1b, before the fun begins with the second draft. Oh joy! Isn't it weird though how, even though I'm trying to concentrate on writing this one thing, other ideas keep popping into my head, pleading with me to write them instead. The Dorcas idea is practically wetting its pants with desparation, but that has to wait til November. And I've had a few ideas for short stories, and for turning play ideas into short stories until I get round to writing them as plays. So at least my procrastination is productive.

I got a short but sweet rejection email from 'Podcastle' for Lupus, which could be due to the fact that it's not quite fantasy enough, or its too rude, or too short, or its just not their cup of tea. Oh well. Still haven't heard about Calypso yet from the other place. Two weeks and counting. I am so not a patient person.

I went to see Chess in Concert at the Royal Albert Hall, which was really brilliant, though was annoyed that Svetlana has an extra song in this production than she did when I played her. Josh Groban, Adam Pascal, Kerry Ellis and David Bedella were amazing. Marti Pellow was not.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

The Sun is Out, The Skies are Blue...

For some reason, I'm feeling proper head dizzy today, like I'm drunk but sober, or have been spinning around for ages and have just suddenly stopped. Very weird. At first I thought it was low blood sugar level or something, but I've had tea and a plum, and that hasn't helped. Peculiar, and not very nice.
Anyway, this blog isn't supposed to be 'Hypocondriac's Haven', it's supposed to be about writing. And I have almost finished Inter Vivos, which is very exciting news. Nox is in prison, about to meet the person who holds all the answers and then in about 10,000 words time, I'm done. Whoop!
However, I have a long way to go after that, and I've already started planning my rewriting process, how to make sure my story is structurally consistant, and so on. But with a bit of look I can send out the first draft to friends to give me feedback (volunteers anyone??) sometime in July.
I have also been researching places that I can submit short stories to and which might actually pay me for them. I've got a couple of shorts in production at the moment, so it would be nice if I could find a home for them. Fingers crossed, etc.
Still haven't heard anything regarding my submission of Calypso, but it has only been 6 days. Really am not a patient person at all!
And I have recently lost two friends to 'The Motherhood', that exclusive cult where they turn their backs on normal activities, such as drinking, staying up late, and watching Desperate Housewives, in favour of all-day morning sickness, falling asleep before 9pm, and wearing elasticated-waisted gypsy skirts (because 'maternity clothes are too expensive'). Seriously, though, Congratulations you guys!

Friday, May 02, 2008

Nearing 'The End'

Sorry about the lack of posts recently. I wish I could say I've been busy writing, but unfortunately I've been busy with work. I have since been to Canterbury, which was lovely; though I got lost trying to find the exit at the Cathedral, I managed to write another 7 pages of Inter Vivos. I *think* (fingers crossed, etc) that I shall have finished the first draft by my deadline. Then it will be time to go over it with a fine-toothed comb, and fill in the missing bits, and possibly change the narration from 1st to 3rd person, I haven't quite decided. Guess I shall see how it reads once I've reached the end.
Isn't 'The End' a wonderful phrase? Though I don't think creative work ever really has an 'end' as such - there's always editing and proof-reading to be done, and I don't think anyone is ever 100% happy with what they've written. Rather than 'The End' maybe it should be 'I can't stand to fiddle with it any more - I'm done!'. Also, in terms of stories, characters always tend to live on after the book is finished, and, especially in these days of cash-in spin-offs and sequels, they will sometimes reappear elsewhere later on.

So on that note, I can tell you that I've finished my short story Calypso, and have sent it off to see if it's considered worthy enough for publication. We shall see.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Snooze. Snore. Grunt.

I am really tired as I write this, so please excuse any errors, etc. I'm at work, and really thirsty but don't have time to go and make myself a drink - how silly is that? I am out of the office for two days for work (going to the New Forest), so am trying to get all my work done today. But am seriously falling asleep, and not looking forward to going home as I have to take work home with me. Sigh. Yawn. Zzzzzzz.

Anyhow, I finished my Calypso story, more or less - well, I've written to the end by deadline date anyway. Odysseus is causing me problems, so when I'm away I'm going to go back and work on him a little bit more and then hopefully be able to send the finished story out to places on Friday.

Oh, too tired to think properly now. Catch you later.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

More Deadlines

Well, I had a think, and decided, as all good girls do, to come up with a schedule of what I want to have written by when. Let's hope all goes according to plan!

Calypso short story - 21st April 2008

Inter Vivos first draft (so close I can almost smell it!) - May 12th 2008

Mouse short story - June 2008

Second draft of Hoodies - June 30th 2008

Tabitha Grubb short story - July 2008

And, obviously, Dorcas Grubb will be written in November 2008, to be completed on 30th November 2008.

Wish me luck then!

I've been doing a bit of writing each day, even if it's just 200 words or so, and I'm feeling better about it (although I'm feeling better about everything - I think it's the vitamins I've started taking, and I don't care what anyone says!).

I'm really close to finishing Inter Vivos, as I've said. Just had to invent three characters to house Nox in the snow, but aside from that little detour it's all going well. Calypso, on the other hand, has me stumped right now, and it's due in at the end of April. I bet it's going to be one of those 'night before' jobbies (see: http://lucyannwade.blogspot.com/2007/05/its-your-fault-guybrush.html!). Still, at least it gets done.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Yawn!

I am so tired today! Possibly because I stayed up until 1am reading Further Adventures of a London Call Girl (the title is misleading as she quits about two pages into the book). I do like Belle de Jour, but I'm annoyed with her at the moment (in this book I mean), because she's still with her boyfriend, even though she knows for a fact that he's going out with at least two other girls at the same time as her - because she loves him. I know love etc is very complicated, but I just want to go and shake her bony little shoulders and tell her to dump the idiot. Anyway...

I think my new vitamin pills have done something funny to me. My imagination seems more vivid since I've been taking them. OK, that has meant that I've been crying over TV shows alot, and having vivid dreams about dogs with cancer, but it's good news in terms of my writing. Perhaps there is something to this 'healthy eating' lark.

Have been working on my Calyspo story - think I have found my angle at last! All I have to do is write the damn thing now. And I've been plotting a short story that's related to Dorcas Grubb (which I'm not allowed to write until 1st November 2008), about her little sister Tabitha, when she's all grown up. Nox is currently walking through the snow trying not to freeze to death on her way to meet The Maiden (all Inter Vivos stuff - makes sense to me at least!), which means my novel is moving ever onwards to the point where I can finally type 'The End'.

Feeling less blue now than I was at the beginning of the week. Still can't think about my audition without cringing, but I guess life is made up of incidents like that. Just push them to the back of my mind and get on with something more positive!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Audition Blues

My audition was rubbish. My chesty cough meant I couldn't transition between my chest and head voice properly, which meant that my voice actually cracked at one point, and my head voice sounded all snotty. Plus, the other girls auditioning had turned up in bleeding costume whilst I was just wearing my jeans and trainers. Sigh.
I guess on the bright side, if I don't get a part in the show (which is pretty much guarenteed now), I can focus on my writing more.
I'm just feeling really down about myself at the minute. Hopefully it will pass soon though.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Quickie

Just a quick post as I haven't posted in a while. I have been whizzing about the country for work and also I've been ill, and still am ill, so haven't really felt like writing. Hope you didn't miss me too much!
Inter Vivos still isn't finished, although it isn't far off, which is good. What I have written so far is a big pile of poo though, but I guess that's what rewriting is for!

I'm also working on my Calypso story, and the problem with that at the moment is that there isn't actually any story to it, so I'm going to have to get even more creative with that one.

I am also preparing to audition for the local amateur production of Jekyll and Hyde, though I'm filled with doubts as to whether to go for it or not. Pros - I'll get to be on stage again, I might get a really good part, I'll see all my theatre friends again. Cons - I might get a crap part and resent spending time away from writing, I'll be spending time away from writing, it'll cost me £10.80 per week to do it for 6 months.

Anyway, sorry there's not more news. Will think of something interesting to say next time.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Easter Greetings

Hi y'all. Sorry about the lack of posts recently, but I've been all over the place for work, and since last blogging, I've been to Portsmouth, Reading, Lewisham and Hendon. Am feeling quite knackered. Still haven't recovered from being up for 20 hours after my Hendon trip. Am definitely feeling old at the moment. Also resenting the fact that I've had to come in to work for a few hours on Good Friday whilst everyone else is at home with family, watching High School Musical 2 or eating hot cross buns. Oh well. Sure I'll get over it.

I'm still quite tired, so can't actually think of what to write - this is more of a 'I'm still alive' post I guess. Sorry to be boring. I've read Good Omens since I last blogged, which was good, and I'm currently reading Caitlin Kiernan's Threshold, which I'm really enjoying, though can't read before bedtime as it leaves some pretty vivid images in my mind. Still haven't finished The Glass Book of the Dream Eaters. One day...

IV update: Nox still hasn't left Thaddeus's house, though I'm getting closer to that part. Have been trying to type up what I've been writing whilst I've been away, which is a job and a half. I really pity people who write long-hand all the time - no wonder they work full-time at writing - it must be all that typing up they do! (joke).

Right, am off again now. Will hopefully be able to blog again next Friday, when I will have finished my travels for now.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Post-Manchester

I shouldn't be allowed to go to the theatre. It's too distracting. I went away to Manchester for 2 and a half days for work, hoping to come back with plenty of Inter Vivos written, and I return with 2,500 words of IV, half a short story on Calypso, and two pages of dialogue for a new play. Well, I say 'new'; it's actually the Munitionettes story, but seeing as the novel wasn't going anywhere (and now that I'm a sci-fi/fantasy writer, darlings...) I am writing it as a play.
The Royal Exchange Theatre was a very inspiring space. It's in the round, with 2 galleries looking down on the stage almost like a telescope. Hoodies, in the way that it is written right now, couldn't be staged there, but if I changed the location of the play from loitering outside of a shop to loitering in a park on a kiddies roundabout, maybe add a swing set, it would look wonderful. It's great how you can take one thing you've felt has gone a bit stagnant and flip it and make it fresh again.
The play I saw on Wednesday, The Children's Hour, was a really good, strong production (though the first act was better than the last). As an aside point, it was also nice to have a play with a majority female cast that didn't make a point of the fact that it had a majority female cast, and the actors weren't there simply as someone's wife/daughter/sister/mother. Sometimes these days it seems like the playwright/director/marketing people are trying to Raise Issues when they do a play with women as the main characters, but this was a good story that just so happened to have women characters in it. Kate O'Flynn was particularly impressive as the manipulative school girl Mary.
So anyway. Theatre = good. Inter Vivos is coming along - Nox has met Thaddeus and learned a bit more about The Maiden, so we're edging closer to the start of the final act. I'm getting close to writing one of the scenes that I've been imagining in my head for the past two years, which is exciting. Aside from my day job being knackering, I'm in a really good place creatively so far. I will keep my fingers crossed that it stays that way.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Deadline

Right, it may be foolish of me to post this on my blog, but I am giving myself the deadline of the 1st April to finish the first draft of Inter Vivos. Yes, ok, so I have about 25000 words to go (if not a few more), but at least if I write to the end of the story before the end of March, then I can go back and expand and explore and rewrite the bits that need it. I will have the clay then to be able to mould out my novel.

And if I don't get it done, then I can claim it was all an April Fool's joke.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Blogs

I'm becoming a little disheartened with blogs and forums and message boards. I don't mean the ones set up by my friends, but the ones that are in the public domain, like the imdb ones, or the Guardian ones, as well as some fan-based/special interest ones. People are just so mean on them sometimes. It's like they sit there in cyber space, waiting and waiting and getting more angry and more grouchy, and then start threads or make comments basically picking apart everything the author/previous poster has just said, sometimes missing the point, or misinterpreting the meaning entirely, basically jumping to conclusions like they've been personally attacked somehow and need to defend themselves, to prove their own superiority or something. It's annoying when people jump down someone's virtual throat out of spite, and also quite sad that someone can get so worked up about something trivial and not even there to offend, rather than reading it as someone's viewpoint (which blogs/forum threads tend to be) and putting forward their disagreements (if any) in rational, logical ways. Nit-picking about the correct use of a semi-colon or "quoting" "random" "words" "out of" "context" to try to prove a point is just pathetic. Perhaps they just have too much free time on their hands. I mean, I'm all for passion, but willful misinterpretation to make yourself somehow feel superior (and a constant need to do this in the same comments section/thread) can't be a good thing.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Tremors!

I'm a little annoyed because the other night I managed to sleep through an earthquake, and only managed to wake up when it set off all the fire alarms in my building - and even then, once I realised that the sound eminated from my hallway and not my alarm clock, I went back to sleep. So I didn't have a cool "I survived the quake" story when I went to work the next day.

I have been working on Inter Vivos to try to move the story along (I felt like they've been having dinner for months now). I'm trying to figure out when and how to introduce an important character, and he's already tardy for dinner. I don't want it to be a big 'ta-da' moment, so may have him sneak in some time after they've all retired for cigars and brandy.

I've just ordered a load of books from amazon in the name of sci-fi/fantasy research, as recommended by the agent I spoke to a couple of weeks ago and by Damien. I included a couple by Neil Gaiman too, as I've just finished Stardust and really enjoyed it. I think it will take me a little time to read them all though, as I've still got books to read from Christmas (and Valentines Day), and Good Omens is next on my list.

In other news, on BBC4 last night was a programme which I think was the first in a series, entitled The Worlds of Fantasy. This week's episode was about the child hero/heroine in fantasy fiction, although I was a little disappointed that it seemed to be focused on children's fiction, and that the programme consisted almost entirely of the views of celebrities and other authors, rather than containing any academic criticism. Perhaps I expected a little too much from the Beeb. Anyhow, I shall watch again next week as they're doing a programme about the 'epic imagination', so maybe that will be better. Plus it slots in nicely between So You Think You Can Dance and the results show on Living TV!

No particular reason for the picture above, except I think she's pretty cool! We have a poster of her having tea with her cats in my office.

Monday, February 25, 2008

A Mid-Way Book Review

I am half-way through reading The Glass Book of the Dream Eaters, and it has turned into a chore to read. For one thing, the chapters are painfully long (the one I'm currently reading is 74 pages!).
My main gripe is that I still haven't been told any more about 'The Process' since they described it in the first twenty pages, and the story hasn't actually moved on since then at all, aside from the characters physically going from this house to the next in search of some answers to a question they are not entirely sure of. So we get the same events told three times over, and our three narrators aren't defined enough to make the narratives different or interesting, relying heavily on stereotype to bring the characters to life but doing little to explore these stereotypes or make them anything more than two-dimensional. There are a few erotic passages which do break up the monotony a little, but they don't seem to serve any other purpose except to say "the Process makes you lose your morality", which has been (over-) stated already. It tries to be a mystery novel, but the mystery doesn't seem to be all that exciting, or dangerous, or mysterious enough for me to actually care if they solve it or not (I'm optimistic enough to think that perhaps that's because there's an exciting part to the puzzle that has not yet been revealed, but I'm starting to lose hope).
I'm just thoroughly bored now, but determined to read to the end. I hope the ending is worth this effort. There's actually a sequel coming out, which makes me think that if they don't conclude things in this book (at 784 pages), then the writer has some serious issues.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Cold

I have a horrid cold, and I feel like crap. Aren't colds just horrible? I caught this one from a guy in my office, who had the sniffles for one day, took lemsip and was fully recovered the day later. He clearly has the immune system of a Greek god. Me? Well, my immune system is buggered, so I'm snotting all over the place with teary eyes and a body temperature like a whore's knickers (frequently up and down). Just want to go to bed, but instead am at work, because I feel like such a prat calling in sick because of a common cold. Urgh. Can anyone tell me: why can't they cure a virus?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Juno...your caseworker

Juno is a really good film. I'm not very good at film reviews, suffice to say it was, well, really good, and I wish that I could write something as real without it turning into sentimental bullshit. My inner greetings card often gets the best of me.
Things I like this week:
1) Toblerone Martinis (courtesy of The Lansdowne). A bit sickly, but nice.
2) Shopping for B&Bs in Canterbury. They're so quaint!
3) Pigeons in Leicester. Well, to look at anyway. I'm starting to get over my bird phobia, and pigeons are actually quite pretty, in their way (that bit of irredescent green on their necks is rather cool).

Things I don't like this week:
1) How thin my new coat has turned out to be. Brrr.

In terms of my writing, Inter Vivos is currently laying neglected, as my job has suddenly become a) very stressful and b) very busy. I think I'm going to have to quit my second job, or at least not take on any extra shifts for a few months; I've not had a two-day weekend since 19th January, and I can't even remember when the one before that was. I think one of the problems with Inter Vivos at the moment is that Nox still isn't really that well defined in my head - I know what happens to her, but not who she is. It's like she's under a layer of glass, like at the zoo. I know how to fix the problem, but will probably have to leave it until I've coughed up this first draft - I'll just add it to the pile of revisions I need to do!

On the plus side, I've had loads of great ideas for Dorcas Grubb. It's really coming along now, and I haven't even written one word. I'm so glad that I didn't start to write it as soon as the inital idea popped into my head, as I know it would have constricted the story too early on, and it has really benefited the plot to have the ideas bubbling and expanding in my brain (the characters pretty much appeared fully formed the instant I created them).

Sorry about the long post, but I hadn't blogged in a while, and when I was drafting this in the pub last night (fuelled by the aforementioned toblerone martini), I realised I had quite a lot of catching up to do!