Friday, February 29, 2008


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


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


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!

Monday, February 11, 2008

To Sci-Fi or Not to Sci-Fi

Saturday was spent productively at the Writing Industries Conference in Loughborough. It's all a little bit intimidating thinking about marketing my book and the long slog I will have once I've finished the damn thing to actually get a book deal (if that ever happens), but I'll worry about all that once the writing's finished.
The agent was a lovely bloke who said he liked my writing, and recommended some Sci-Fi authors for me to read. Yes, dear readers, unbeknownst to me, my story is of the sci-fi genre. "But surely you knew what you were writing?" you may ask. Well, not really. I just wrote the story that came into my head, without really thinking of genres as such. I mean, there are lots of authors I admire, most of which are of the sci-fi/fantasy persuasion, but I'm a bit wary about launching myself into this genre. Why? Well, firstly, because it seems a little bit constrictive to be 'labelled' as one thing. What if Inter Vivos is my only sci-fi book, and everything else I write hereafter is erotica, or western romance, or something? What if sci-fi doesn't sell? Second on my list of doubts is that I don't really know of any female sci-fi writers (or any who would care to admit it). So perhaps the market is ripe for a great female sci-fi writer, or perhaps the market isn't ready at all. Thirdly, I don't really know anything about science, let alone science fiction. As I mentioned, the agent was really nice and recommended some sci-fi for me to read, with the promise to send me names of more authors, so at least this last point is something I can do something about.

I think now that playwriting is not so restrictive as book publishing. I mean, you can write plays about anything, without people expecting your next one to be exactly the same (but different) as your last (think Dan Brown as an example). But if Inter Vivos does get published, then it probably means I will have to write Munitionettes as a play or TV drama instead (not necessarily a bad idea).

So yes, the conference gave me lots of food for thought. Was nice to meet people and hobnob and all of that, and learn more about the 'writing for a living' side of writing and how to go about making that happen. Good, but daunting. Will get the book finished first though, and try to push all of this to the back of my mind until then. (I feel like Scarlett O'Hara with her 'I'll think about that tomorrow' attitude).

Friday, February 08, 2008

Author's Will

Just a quick link to Neil Gaiman's blog, who reminds us that all writers should create a will to protect their intellectual property in the event of being hit by a bus, and provides a pdf of an example will that you can use. Good idea, I think.

Am feeling extremely hungover due to too much wine at a work do last night. My face and fingers are all tingly and I just want to go back to bed, rather than be here working. Going to go back to feeling sorry for myself now.

Friday, February 01, 2008


Just a quick post to say that I've got a one-to-one session with an agent at the Writing Industries Conference, based on the first three chapters of Inter Vivos. All very exciting. Have to go and do some research now.