Saturday, December 19, 2009

seasons greetings

I'm writing this via my phone on the train to a wedding, just so you get a sense of where I am so you will hopefully excuse any typos!
I have been giving all of the Absolute Sandmans now, and I have all of new Who, so am very happy in a very geeky way. Love early Christmas presents.
Am working on a new first chapter of Inter Vivos at the mo (like, literally, a minute ago on the train). I'm trying to make it more engaging right from the beginning, rather than from chapter 11 onwards.
Plans for Christmas involve going home to Shilton, visiting Alex, and starting to edit IV. I also want to read Sandman volume 2, but it's not the most portable of books.
If I'm not online before then, merry Christmas everyone!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Mid-Write Crisis and Book Launches

Hello all,

I'm actually re-reading Dorcas Grubb at the minute, which was the story I wrote for last year's NaNoWriMo. This is the first time I have been back to it since finishing it back in Nov 08. And *whispers* it's actually quite good so far. I mean, I'm only on page 4, but still. Perhaps I'll work on this one after Inter Vivos is finish.

Urgh, Inter Vivos. It sucks. Well, actually, chapter 11 was better, but the first 10 chapters (as I said before) are terrible! Maybe it's partly because the rewrite that I did sucked some of the initial excitment and passion out of it.

Reading through Inter Vivos has made me wonder whether I'm cut out to be a writer. However, I grit my teeth and continue on, and try to be optimistic that I can turn this turd into something that people might want to read.

If writing and getting published were easy, then everyone would be doing it.

I'm hopefully off to the Inkermen book launch at Loughborough University on Friday afternoon, as I've managed to wrangle out of work before our office Christmas party. I'm a bit scared actually. Not hundred percent sure why, as I don't normally get nervous. Hopefully it'll be fun.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Speaking of Cartoons....

...which animated hunk, in your opinion, is the best?

























My opinion: It'd have to be Aladdin. I mean, you just would, wouldn't you?

The Cartoon Me!

Goodness, I've been bored today! Does anyone else have days like that, where there's plenty to do, but you still feel bored anyway?

To try to combat my boredom, I "Mad Men"-ed myself (see pic left, looks like me, no?), have looked on Ralan for new anthologies I could try to write stories for, and have tidied my desk at work.

Reading through my first draft of Inter Vivos again is so depressing. It is not good. I still have an ounce of optimism that is telling me that I can make it good, but I also know that it is going to take me ages. Which makes me want to stamp my feet and through a hissy fit about it not being perfect now. Writing novels is a mug's game, that's what I'm starting to think anyway.

So, to give myself a treat whilst I'm angonising over IV, I'm going to try to write some drama again. My last play (Hoodies, if anyone remembers) was written in April 2007 - it's been almost three years since I've written any drama. That's actually quite scary. I hadn't realised it had been so long... Anyway, I guess there's no time like the present to jump right back in again. My problem is though, I don't really have any ideas about what to write about - what do I want to say? I'm feeling very blank at the moment.

So yeah, right, well, stuff is sort of happening, but it's all going at a snail's pace, and it's driving me crazy. Maybe that's why I'm bored?

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Winner!

Sorry about not posting sooner. I think I've been so occupied with the writing, that I've not had time to write about writing, which is a good thing overall, no?
I won NaNoWriMo 2009 with The Banshee. I finished on Sunday, though had to wait til Monday before I got internet connection so I could upload my file into the official word counter thingie. Sunday was hard. I had basically written the story to the end, but had about 3,000 words to go until my target, so I gave my banshee and her best friend a nice Christmas dinner together.

I'm not sure what I'll do with my Banshee novella, whether to write it as a novel or adapt it as a short story or play even, or whether to just leave it in the drawer for the foreseeable future. I think it has potential, and the characters seemed very real to me, but as I mentioned before, I think I'd have to introduce some sort of exciting sub-plot to liven things up a bit - currently, Tom meets a banshee, falls in love with her, whilst his best friend falls in love with him, they run around a bit, whilst also trying to save the man the banshee is assigned to escort to the underworld, and then people die. It was at the "running around" part that things got really boring.

Anyhow, for now, it's back to Inter Vivos. I'm reading through all the way to the end without making notes. I'm on chapter three right now, and so far can say very definitely that the first three chapters suck. I think because I still wasn't sure at that stage how to begin my story, so I left out vital pieces of information and wrote really formally for some reason. All stuff that'll need to be rewritten in draft 3. Sigh.

No rest for the wicked!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Rut Be Gone!

I had a lovely birthday (thanks for the phone message, Mekon!) and am now feeling pretty chipper. I guess I was just depressed two days ago when I wrote that post, but a day off yesterday + sushi means that I'm feeling better today. Saw Men Who Stare At Goats last night, which was actually good (I thought I mightn't like it, after hearing it was a "military satire"). The cast were really strong, and the story simple and strangely optimistic, and it was amusing (not 'wet your pants' funny, but good).
I have just under 6,000 words to write before I reach 50,000 for NaNoWriMo, and my novel is almost finished. The banshees have bansheed, and my cast is one character lighter, but it feel good. I still don't think the middle is that exciting - I think if I were to write a second draft, I'd have to add an interesting and adrenaline-fuelled sub-plot to raise the stakes slightly.

So once again the cup is half full.

As soon as this is over, I'm going straight back to Inter Vivos. I have started reading it through, and am half-way through chapter two at the moment. It's really difficult to read it without wanting to take notes and mark it up, but I promised myself I'd read until the end without getting my pen out once before going back and dissecting it to pieces.
I have to admit, the beginning so far isn't very good. There are some good bits, but like the flowers in my really messy garden, they are being smothered by crap.
I got a rejection from Weird Tales about one of the stories I had sent off, so have sent it back out to another magazine, and hoping I'll be second time lucky for a sale.
I'm really hoping that this new year will be when it all takes off for me, so for now I have to keep slogging away.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Stuck in a Rut

I'm going to be 29 tomorrow. I'm just hoping I'm going to have a better day than I've had today. I'm just bored, and have been for a couple of weeks now. I do my NaNoWriMo writing, which is still going well, I have about 8,000 words to go to finishing it. I go to work every day. And that's it. I can't find a book that will hold my interest, and TV is mostly rubbish. I'm pretty broke, so can't really afford to go anywhere. I think I'm in a bit of a rut, which is why I haven't been very good at updating this blog regularly. Who wants to read about rut-girl and her twinkle-less existence?
Anybody have any good ideas for ways to add excitement into my life? Or at least a good book to read that I can escape into?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

NaNoWriMo Day Nineteen

I'm just over 32,000 words, and I'm not finding it too hard right now. I have actually managed to catch up to my word target after a weekend away on a Hen Do. Not too bad, I think.

My story is a little boring, lacking in explosions and the like, but at least I have stuff planned now which should see me through to 50k.

After writing Inter Vivos though, 50,000 words seems like nothing. I don't mean in terms of effort, because it is still a big achievement to write that much, especially in such a limited time. What I mean is in terms of story developement. I've less than 20,000 words to go, and I'm starting to realise that the big things in my novel are going to have to happen soon. I had planned to kill off a minor character at 32K exactly, but I'm nowhere near that yet (about a day away in story terms). And then a major character has to die, and I've realised I'm going to be writing that in about two days time at this rate. So the whole writing process has gone so fast that it doesn't feel like it's even sunk in what has happened yet. It's like I've sleep-typed my entire story. I can type approx 2000 words an hour now so that helps and it doesn't - the story is just thoughts on a page, rather than laboured over prose. Oh well.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

NaNoWriMo Day 11

Things are still going well for me, NaNoWriMo-wise. I'm one whole day ahead of my target word count, which I'm hoping to add to tomorrow and Friday as I have a hen weekend to go to this Saturday, and chances are I won't get any writing done.

In terms of word count I'm doing well. In terms of story though...it all feels a bit rushed. I haven't read back over anything I've written yet, so I don't have anything to really reflect on, but I feel like at the minute I'm merely capturing scenes, rather than feeling and living them. I've moved away from 3rd person singular to 3rd person multiple viewpoint, so that now I can jump into anyone's head that I feel like it, depending on whose is the most appropriate mind to view a particular scene from. It's working so far. Plus, it's nice to get out of Tom's head. He's a bit dull. I might have to inflict him with a lisp or something to make him a tad more interesting. If he was a Sim, I probably would have drowned him by now.

I've had quite a productive year this year. I've written Inter Vivos draft 2 from scratch starting in January, which amounts to just over 120,000 words in its unedited state. I've completed three short stories, two of which are making the rounds at the moment looking for publication. And now I'm almost 19,000 words into my new Banshee novel.

I'm not sure what I'll do when I can finally say "Inter Vivos is finished" and start sending it off to publishers and agents. I will start working on another novel, naturally, but the decision will be between Dorcas Grubb and Banshee, and possibly something else, depending on how long it takes me to finish IV. I also want to work on a collection of interlinked short stories, ordered a bit like Pulp Fiction out of chronological order with occasional recurring characters.

It's good to have options.

So that's it really. Still reading Juliet Barker's Brontes biography, which weighs a tonne. I've drawn the conclusion that Charlotte wasn't particularly likeable, rather selfish actually and quite condescending. My favourite is Anne, the more practical, realistic one. Going to read The Tenant of Wildfell Hall next.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Day 3 NaNoWriMo

It's Day Three of NaNoWriMo and after a productive session on Sunday (Day One) I am now just over a day ahead of my quota. This will come in very handy when I have to go to Hen Weekends and Birthday thingies later in the month.
So my word count is healthy. However, it is definitely a case of "Quantity" over "Quality". This is some of the worst prose ever, not just from what I've written, but from what anyone has ever written. Ever.
How bad is it? you might ask.
This bad:

"Tom finally got to his new halls of residence. It was situated in zone three, a thirty minute tube ride to class. As he walked up to the building, he nodded to himself satisfactorily. The building was modern and white, four stories high with dark blue window frames and blue panel and glass front door that was propped open on this day as dozens of people, parents and new students like Tom moved back and forth from cars and moving vans, carrying suitcases, bedding, small bedside cabinets. "

And I don't know if it's just because I'm writing a male protagonist, but I'm finding it really difficult to get inside Tom's head. I don't believe that you should only write protagonists that are the same sex as yourself - look how well Adrian Mole turned out. Anyway, so I'm writing terrible prose and missing Inter Vivos terribly.

Still you can't make a diamond without a chunk of coal, so I'll try not to let my inability to write coherent sentences put me off right now. At least not until 30th November anyway.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Done!

Just a short post this time to say that I have just finished my second draft (or first proper full draft, depending how you look at it) of Inter Vivos! Woop!
Sure, the last couple of paragraphs are a bit shit, but that'll all be fixed in round 3: Editing. Roll on December 1st for that one!
So this leaves me free to write my new story for NaNoWriMo. Very excited.
Still no story for Hallowe'en though, unless I can come up with something later tonight.
Anyway, I'm too happy to stay now, so I'm off to Morrisons. Woop again!

Monday, October 26, 2009

A World Of My Own

I'm taking a break right now from writing what will hopefully be the last chapter (or at least the last part) of Inter Vivos. All I can say is "urgh!".
I've been working on Inter Vivos since November 2006. Not exclusively, mind you. This year I have pulled my finger out and tried to make a go of things, tried to get the story into shape and all that. And now I'm on the last chapter, and you'd think it'd be easy sailings, but no. Now I have to invent a whole political system for my new society. And I know diddly-squat about politics. It's sort of fun to make up your own system of government, but the problem is that I'm fundamentally lazy. And there's a voice in my head going "but it's the end! You shouldn't have to work anymore!" But I do, and so that's what I'm here doing. Urgh indeed.
It takes so much discipline to write something of novel length. And I know that once this last chapter is finished, the manuscript as a whole still won't be completely. I have to go back over it and check it for consistency and tone. I already know there are passages that will need to be reworded or corrected, either because I was having a bad day that day, or because a character changed slightly during the course of the novel.
But, the positive side is at least most of the "hard work" will be done before NaNoWriMo. November will be a month of experimentation, spitting out a whole new novel to worry about in years to come. Then December will be time to re-read IV and note down what needs changing, and then January 2010 - well, that's when the "hard work" starts again.
And I still haven't even thought of what I can write for my hallowe'en story. Well, I have a vague idea, set on a different planet (or our planet millions of years in the future) but I'm not sure how that will fit with the hallowe'en topic. I could always add zombie-vampires to it, I suppose.
Right, break over. Back to work. (I'm such a slave driver...)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Good Female Roles in Stories

My life is completely boring right now. At the weekend I did nothing but watch series 4 of How I Met Your Mother and play The Sims 2. Hardly worth telling the internet about, but I feel like I must update regularly or else what's the point?

Tonight I'm off to the library to try to finish Inter Vivos. I just want to write something where the plot of the story isn't "girl trying to get boy to like her". I do enjoy romantic comedy, but I've been getting a little bit annoyed that most films with a female protagonist tend to be about relationships. Now, Alien is an obvious example of a film with a strong heroine who doesn't spend the entire film wondering whether her crush will ask her out, but that part was famously written for a man before Sigourney Weaver was cast. Is that telling? Can anyone suggest some good non-horror movies that aren't about women bitching about men (or their lesbian crushes)?

Anyway, my heroine Nox is more concerned with the fact that she's murdered folk, rather than trying to win the heart of some handsome prince, so that's alright then.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Monster Story

Hello all. How've you been? I've been feeling pretty tired of late, so haven't been up to much. Been watching Men In Trees on Virgin on Demand, which I'm really enjoying. A less sexy Sex and the City, with some nice characterisation even if I can predict not only the plot but also some of the dialogue (which I'm finding kinda comforting - weird?).

I finished a new short story last week, and I'm just putting the finishing touches to it. Well, I say "new" - I actually started it last November during Damien's writing class, and have only just gotten around to completing it. It's currently called "The Eye That Came To Work", though the more I type that, the less I like it. Still, I think I'll be sending it off shortly to see if I can find a home for it in one of the e-zines. Fingers crossed.

As per usual, Scary Duck's condensed movie made me chuckle. This one's The Hobbit/LOTR: http://scaryduck.blogspot.com/search/label/Condensed%20films

Inter Vivos is still ongoing. Going to head off to the library tonight to do some more. Must work on The Maiden not being a very bad pantomime villain. Think it'll help though when I have a completed first draft, so I can look at her role the whole way through, and decide what to do with her. Gotta stop her monologuing - that's for certain.

Hallowe'en is coming up, and I'm having a Mary Shelley party, where we all have to write a horror story to read to the group. I have absolutely no idea what I'm going to write. Hannah said she'd do a comic, which sounds excellent. If only my drawings didn't look like those of a five year olds...

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

She-Wolf

Quickie just to share this:

This bit in The Guardian made me chortle: http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2009/oct/05/shakira-she-wolf

I guess it helps if you've seen the video it's talking about, which is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4aEW_Z5Va5s

Monday, October 05, 2009

Banshees for NaNoWriMo

Thankfully, the busy period is over with at work now, and so I can finally get back to concentrating on my writing.

I am still working away at Inter Vivos - going to go and do some more once I've finished this blog post - and I'm still waiting to hear from a couple of magazines where I've submitted work, so it's quite busy at the moment, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed all goes well.

It's almost NaNoWriMo time, and so I thought I'd blog a little bit about this year's project, although I don't have everything planned out yet. I have mentioned it before in bits and pieces, but thought I'd try to expand a little bit on what I've already told you, so you have more of an idea what I'm on about.

Right, so this year, my story is about a banshee named Caoimhe (pronounced Kee-va), and a fresher called Tom. Tom starts university and instantly goes about forming himself a band. He's talented and convinced he's going to be a rock star. He's quite big-headed, with that arrogance that comes from being 18, fairly attractive, and the best thing from his little local sixth form. So anyway, he's playing his first gig at some pub and is drawn to bar maid Caoimhe, who looks like a model - 6 foot tall, skinny, with long white-blonde hair (see picture above for how I see her), who happens to also be enrolled at the university reading mathematics. Turns out that not only is Caoimhe the only one he's ever met who isn't instantly into his music (and him), but she's also a banshee - born several centuries earlier, she and her "sisters" are charged with the task of escorting the ancestors of the ancient noble families of Ireland to the underworld when they die. Drawn almost magnetically to a place whenever someone with noble blood is marked with a "halo", the banshee doesn't know until it is too late whom that person is. Some of the sisters, such as Caoimhe, play detective to try to find the person to protect them from death (if they are able to) as a way to save those whom they are eternally bound from suffering and misery. So Tom becomes attrached to Caoimhe, and follows her about until he witnesses her at "work", and is eventually drawn into her world as she tries to track down her latest halo, who also happens to be enrolled at Tom's new university.

So that's the jumble that's in my head at the moment. Will hopefully have it in some sort of semblance of a plot before November 1st.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Cleaning

So, I'm having a massive clean-out now. Our house is a complete sty, so I am attempting to fix it. Half of the kitchen is clean, half looks like the plague has hit it. The living room is coming along, but the front room is the worst. It is my fault, mostly, as there are still two big boxes in the middle of the floor from when we moved in a year ago. But when it's all tidied or chucked away, I think the room will be nice. Going to buy a nice arm chair for in there, so we can use it as a study. Perhaps then I can invite people round without The Shame of living in a pig hole.

Good news, Anakin Skywalker and Scarlett O'Hara were voted worst movie boyfriend and girlfriend respectively. Now that would make an interesting pairing:

Him: Sulk, sulk, no one appreciates how good I am. Sulk.
Her: Me, me, me, me, me, me, me!

Classic.

Work is crazy busy right now, but back to the writing tonight. Finish Inter Vivos by end of October? I hope so, because then I can spend November "having a break" doing NaNoWriMo, and then get on with the editing in December.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Quick Post

I'm pretty busy with work at the moment, so this is just a quick post to share a couple of things.

Firstly, I found a really interesting piece on the net about the typical advance paid for a novel. Apparently it's about $5000 (so slightly over £3,000) in the US for SF/Fantasy fiction. The author has also compiled stats about how much your advance is likely to be if you have an agent or not. It's interesting stuff. You can read more about it here: http://www.tobiasbuckell.com/2005/10/05/author-advance-survey-version-20/

Secondly, I found a great little comic today too here: http://www.harkavagrant.com/index.php There was a very cool Holmes-Watson one, and a funny "Dude watching with the Brontes".

Inter Vivos is ongoing as ever, and I'd better get off to the library and get some more done, if I ever wish to get my hands on any sort of advance. You know, I've found it's a lot harder to become a writer if you don't actually have anything to sell...

Monday, September 07, 2009

September Greetings!

Hola everyone. I have just got back from a week off from work, from leaving the house, and from the internet. It's been really blissful, in a 1995 sort of a way. I've been mostly sitting in front of the TV, watching Buffy (OK, 1998 then), reading some not very good books, and generally just zoning out. It's been really nice. And now that I know I can survive without the internet for a week at least, I'm actually getting more done at work because I'm not constantly distracted. Which is nice.
I haven't worked on any of my stories whilst I've been off. Yeah, I know. Naughty me. I had hoped to have IV properly finished by now, but I'm still working my way through my revised ending notes. I watched the last episode of the BBC version of Jane Eyre whilst I was off, and it struck me how much the end part of IV that I'm writing now is like the bit in Jane Eyre after she runs off from Rochester and is found by St John. I have previously referred to Inter Vivos as "Jane Eyre with Cyborgs", but had picked Jane Eyre simply because it is one of the best known examples of a Bildungsroman. Having read the story in my first year at university, I could only really remember the middle bit, Jane's time at Thornfield up until she runs off after the wedding. So I'm rereading those couple of chapters from the point she leaves right up until she gets found, in the hope that it inspires me when I'm writing Nox's journey from Calista to Aquarius after she leaves the Governor's mansion. It was purely coincidental, but it is kinda cool to think of Jane as Nox's very distant ancestor.
Anyhow, hopefully in the next month or so I should be able to post some proper updates about writing and stuff. I've sort of "fell off the horse", or "off the wagon" or whatever other phrase you want to choose, so it's time to pick myself up now that I'm rested, and hop back on.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Audio version of "The Tower"

Sorry folks, I kept meaning to post about this, and then totally forgot. Anyhow, I've only just had chance to listen to it myself.

My story "The Tower", which was published by New Fairytales magazine, has been turned into an audio, available now to download as an mp3: http://www.newfairytales.co.uk/pages/audio.html (it's the third one down)

I'm really, really impressed with it. The very talented actor and the sound engineer have made my story sound amazing. I really couldn't be happier with it.

If you like it, please consider donating to the charity Derian House Children's Hospice. The magazine was set up to raise funds for it, and I think it's such a wonderful idea. You can donate if you click on the link above and follow the instructions in the text above the downloads.

Anyway, no pressure! Go listen to my story, and check out the others (which is what I'm going to be spending my lunch hour doing).

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The End is in Sight!

OK, so I've reviewed Inter Vivos, after what I wrote in my blog post here, and I find, actually, that it's not that bad. Shocker.
So, in actual fact, I don't need to rewrite 25,000 words. I went through it, and I think I need to make 16 minor changes, and then write a slightly different last scene and I'll get rid of my passive heroine and tie up all my loose ends without it seeming too devised.

I found, on rereading the six penultimate chapters, that I liked my novel. And not just that, but I like my characters too. In my head, Nox is played by Nemi; Cyrus by the old man (now deceased) who was the blind man ("Duncan") in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves; Thaddeus by a young Jared Leto; and The Captain by Chris Pine or Eric Lively (who I've never seen act in anything, but he looks about right in this imdb picture). A motley crew indeed.

So that's what I'm working on at the moment.

I'm also trying to decide what is going to be my next NaNoWriMo project - the banshee story, or the Nevada story (of which Corrie Flint is a part). I'll end up writing both eventually. Well, I still have another 2 months to decide.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Back in Leicester

Well, so much for blogging everyday about the Fringe! I just didn't have time in the end. It was so busy and - I don't know - frenetic, and I completely over-stimulated myself. Learned how truly unfit I was when almost passing out after climbing up some stone stairs leading off the Royal Mile. But had a brilliant time.

The shows that I saw:

Broken Holmes (twice)
Icarus 2.0
Over the Threshold (see review in previous post)
The Big Comedy Breakfast
(pretty funny, and still quoting "past life related" from Sarah Pearce's routine with my friends!)
A Stroke of Genius (really inventive staging and use of props and multimedia, genuinely made me laugh and the lead actress was amazingly good - reminded me of Shirley Henderson).
Orphans - great dialogue and acting, slightly disappointing plot (flaws of logic in the main premise and the first act a little dull).
Perfect Pitch presents...(free showcase of some of the new musicals on at the Fringe)
The World's Wife (Excellent one-woman show performing Carol Ann Duffy's work of the same name)
The Great British Soap Opera The Musical (really well structured show, catchy songs, great acting, although one of the actresses seemed to have a problem with her belt - that's her singing, not her accessorises!)
Baby (Cambridge Uni version of the musical - a couple of the male actors playing it up for the crowd, but generally really good).
The Rap Guide to Evolution (this was funny, but not a parody. Really explained the theory, but also put it into everyday context and related it to rap music. Great lyrics and beats).
A-Team the musical (really funny silliness, though the songs - and singing - were poor).
Ophelia (Drowning) (bizarre yet beautiful play staged in a swimming pool. Got splashed quite a bit, acting good from the "Ophelia" and the "Gertrude" but I would have cast Gertrude as older, without the Claire's accessories tiara, and the bloke in it was just a bit weird).
Plus a seminar on "How to Sell a Show at the Fringe" and a quick visit to the Museum on the Mound.

I also watched a bit of a terrible free comedian at one of the Laughing Horse venues quite late at night, but we left when we realised that this guy clearly had no friends to tell him "hey, you're not funny".

My favourite shows of the bunch (Broken Holmes aside of course), were The World's Wife, A Stroke of Genius, The Great British Soap Opera (not because I found out that I guy I know wrote it, but for the fact that I still have one of the songs in my head now - 4 days later) and the Rap Guide to Evolution (which, for the month of August you can download for free here. Funny and educational - do it!).

It was really great seeing loads of uni friends, old school friends and meeting new people too. It did make me want to write a play again, but at the same time, the question kept coming to me - do I have the energy anymore to do all that promotional work, all that press liaison, all that flyering, etc for three straight weeks? Morph is looking to take a play next year, to continue on the "Semper Theatre" name. Guess I'll have to find some energy from somewhere before then!

So for me now, post Edinburgh, it's back to the writing. More Inter Vivos, and I think I'm going to start my next novel a little earlier than planned. I was saving it for NaNoWriMo, but after what happened with Dorcas Grubb (where I basically had run my inspiration dry by waiting too long to actually write it) I'm a bit scared to leave it much longer.

So short term goals are currently: lose the extra inch I've gained in Edinburgh whilst surviving on a diet of nachos and fried breakfasts; finish off Inter Vivos in the next two weeks; start something new.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Icarus and Over the Threshold

Saw two shows today. The first, Icarus 2.0 was good, but a little weird. Actors were superb, proper pro actors (or so it seemed) rather than people pretending. I loved their closeness, the absolute trust they seemed to have with each other. The play was good in parts, but I think needed to be tightened up a little bit. The "twist" seemed almost too sudden, qhich spoilt the foreshadowing that had gone on nicely before.
The second show was a new musical, called Over the Threshold, that made the hairs on the back of my arm stand on end. Really stunning, emotive storytelling, with a really talented cast. I did think the guy playing Charlie was a bit miscast. I wasn't sure whether he was a yuppie or a player. Also, one of the numbers wasn't as clever as it thought it was. Still, it was really good, and I'm really glad I went. On my own now, killing time until we all meet up again. Edinburgh is buzzing, it's quite exhausting. Anyway, more shows tomorrow.

Edinburgh and Broken Holmes

Am now in Edinburgh, tired already, but it is great to be back. We're staying in Edinburgh uni accommodation, and our room is really nice - double bed, TV, views of holyrood park. Much swankier than the student digs I've known.
I went to see Broken Holmes last night, and I really enjoyed it. I love Robin's writing; his quirky combination of elegant Wilde-like (Wildean?) wit and the cruder parlance of today is seamless, and in BH, every line is a zinger. As a rule, I don't like farce, but this play is farce without the extreme silliness, as found in Orton and Fo (though there is silliness there; a green snake sock puppet comes to mind).
Not only is it elegant farce, but it is also farce with a heart. The characters of Holmes and Watson aren't merely stock 2 dimensional caricatures, but fully functional disfunctional individuals. Robin has built on our conceptions of these characters and given them a believable reinterpretation, raising Holmes to true antihero status and giving the whole story a refreshing 21st century shake up. Watson is a giant of a man, quite capable, one feels, of knocking the abusive Holmes to kingdom come with a single punch, had Holmes not already demasculinised him. The show is on for 3 weeks at venue 45, so if you are in Edinburgh or are going to be coming up, I recommend that you try and see it. It was a really nice way to end a busy day.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Inter Vivos and Edinburgh - Here I Come!

I've been reading Stephen King's On Writing again (I don't tend to like "How to" books, but his is brilliant, part memoir - part installation of work ethic), and for some reason whilst reading about his difficulties when writing The Stand, it struck me what the problem is with Inter Vivos. The ending always felt to me a little tacked on, possibly because of how it came about - not organically, but made up on the spot because I needed to write a full synopsis in order to secure a meeting with an agent. So, presently Nox sort of hands herself over to the Big Evil, and then has an operation, and it all ends happily ever after. But this never quite sat right with me. My spunky heroine hands herself in (that I could deal with - she's going through shit at the time) and then she offers herself up to the slab, goes willingly, puts all her faith in the evil guys and a bloke with a shady past, which just never felt true to me. Not to the character. She's already been betrayed by someone she thought she could count on, and then a couple of pages later she's a trusting moron again. So the whole thing's got to go. Yay for sorting this all out (finally, after a whole year!) but boo to the fact that this means I'm going to have to scrap the seven chapters that I've already written, all 26,600 words! That's just over a quarter of the book. Still, at least it means I'll hopefully be on the right track now. I have a vague idea where that track might lead, but I'm going to try to make it more organic, work out what Nox would do in those situations, rather than trying to make stuff happen. And make it scarier. The world in Inter Vivos still feels a little 2D in places and that's got to change.
So on I go, working on the novel that I seem never to be able to finish, no matter how close I get.

In a blog related note, I'm off to Edinburgh for the first part of the Fringe on Thursday, and am going to try to post some reviews of the plays I see on here whilst I'm away, if my BlackBerry holds out. I've already booked tickets to see Orphans and The World's Wife, but I have a list of approximately 5 shows a day that I want to see, so I may be very busy!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

250th Post!


My Corrie Flint story, henceforth referred to as "A Natural Talent" (unless it undergoes yet another title change) has been released into the world, landing safely in a magazine slush pile, and I don't expect to hear anything back from it or them for at least a month. But at least it's now officially "out there", so I'll keep you posted should anything come of it.
Whilst adding my latest submission to my log, I discovered I have not submitted any of my work anywhere for eight months! How crazy is that? And I pertain to call myself a writer? I guess I've had a fairly good excuse (busy writing the novel), but still.
I've now decided to try to get a short story or two finished, as well as continuing on with Inter Vivos. I've got 5 chapters to write for the novel, then it's re-write time, and I haven't done much on it in the past 6 weeks.
Now is the time to kick myself in the arse and get a write-on again. I have found that not enjoying the day job is a great motivator to write, so now seems like the perfect time to kick-start my would-be career.
Reread Deathly Hallows again on Sunday (yeah, yeah, I know). I don't understand how one can get so absorbed in a book. Like literally, whilst reading I was impervious to hunger and sleep and the need for the toilet. Dark magic indeed.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Buffy Revisited

Yesterday I watched the first three episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer series 1, and I think they've held up really well. Sure, Buffy's hair and heels are slightly dated, as is the mid-90s Grunge, but the writing feels as fresh as ever. The opening sequence, in which a boy and his date break into school, breaks conventions right from the beginning - it's not the sex-crazed jock who is the threat, but his jumpy, hesitant blonde date (who turns out to be a vampire). And I was shocked that Angel, in those first two episodes, has a personality! Maybe I'm just too saturated by the bland Twilight vamps, but it actually took me by surprise that Angel was sarcastic and charismatic, rather than brooding and mournful. Just shows that both the male and female characters can be strong at the same time - one doesn't supersede the other. The Angel I'm most familiar with is the pouting one from (I think) Series 3, so Angel series 1 is actually really refreshing.

I'm still not finished with my Corrie Flint story - I'm just tidying it up a little bit now. Plus, I can't think of a title. I wanted to come up with something witty and clever, maybe some sort of pun based around fire and talent, but I can't think of anything good. I think the latest draft is called "Burning Talent", but I think I might go with "An Unusual Talent". I can't really decide - neither are right. Suggestions on a postcard please...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Hmm...

I think I'm suffering from "blog block" at the moment. I just can't think of what to write on here. I know lots of gossip, but it's about other people and so can't relate it on here (that's cruel). I don't feel like my life is dull right now, more like I'm just gently bobbing along on the ocean that is life, and there's nothing to report, not even the odd seagull.

I read a really dreadful book the other week, called Marked by PC Cast and Kristen Cast. I read it to the end though, which is more than I can say than some books, but it was truly awful. It was written in first person teen-speak, which in itself is annoying, but in this instance made the narrator and lead character extremely annoying and unrelatable. I mean, kudos for PC Cast getting her daughter to help her with the lingo, but her daughter isn't a teen neither - it's like it's been written by someone who watched Clueless and has attempted to copy it verbatium. Like, totally.

On the other hand, I watched Torchwood: Children of Earth on Virgin on Demand over the weekend (the first whilst still drunk at about 2:30am). This was excellent. I've only seen a couple of episodes from the first series of Torchwood, and it never really grasped my attention - it was too much like a Doctor Who episode, but with added gratuitous sex/violence, just because it was post-watershed. This story though, which was self contained over 5 (I think) episodes, was really tight, and everything there felt planned out - not a single line or sfx wasted. I hope they do more Torchwood episodes like this. Very good (and perfect for my hangover the next day).

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Hagging It Up!

I wrote the following last night when I was out and about, and was going to post this to my blog then, but I couldn't get signal for my BlackBerry! Anyway, here it is:

I am presently sitting in Starbucks - since when did they become so ethnic? African drummers on loop on the CD player, and prints of Kenyan elephants and Antigua on the wall. Last time I was in here, I distinctly remember them playing Christina Aguilera. Oh well. Times they are a-changing.

Speaking of which, all seems to be going well with my Semper buddies. Broken Holmes is into its rehearsal period, Phil's book is now available from Amazon (plug, plug), and Hannah is taking over the internet, one tweet at a time. I sincerely hope that I have some news soon, but unfortunately right now all I can report is that I'm writing. It takes so long!

In other news, I have a small project in the works at the minute, more news to follow, but hopefully it will take off and be grand!


So that's it! One more thing I wanted to add to that was, I think I may have found the perfect job! http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/8138665.stm

Monday, June 29, 2009

Dr Horrible

I have a major crush on Neil Patrick Harris right now. I mean, come on! How friggin' talented is this man? He sings, he's hilarious, he looks good in a suit, and he says "awesome" better than anyone I know. I'm counting down the days until How I Met Your Mother season 4 is released on DVD. I watched Dr Horrible's Sing Along Blog in one sitting on Saturday night - highly recommended. Here's Act One, Scene One as a taster for you, courtesy of Youtube: www.youtube.com/watch?v=apEZpYnN_1g -it lasts 7 and a half minutes.

(I tried to embed the video here, but for some reason couldn't copy and paste the whole of the text code - anyone know why?)

I'm still enjoying Dollhouse - wish the Sci Fi Channel had its own On Demand service. Get onto it, Virgin!

Have finished my Corrie Flint story. Wrote it in one sitting the day after the idea came into my head. Sometimes it's just like that - idea comes, pretty much fully formed, and explodes out of you. It was good to be able to write it like that, rather than having to wait until I found a second, like what usually happens. Have to snatch those opportunities when they appear!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

New Story

Greetings again, this time from Essex. Hotel is quaint, quiet and tidy, though the two lamps by my bed don't work. There's only 5 TV channels, and Five is fuzzy at best.
I have decided to reread the Harry potter books, and have just finished the first, and I'm also reading The Host by Stephenie Myer. It's not bad. Good idea, pretty well executed so far, though the love scenes are embarrassing. Plus, I don't get why having sex at 17 (post apocolypic world or not) is a bad thing. Guess that's mormons for you.
I have a new story in development - Corrie Flint, fire demon, auditions for America's got talent. As I started to write today (idea occured whilst in hotel room yesterday in Sheffield) I thought that I might like to write a series of short stories with intersecting characters, sort of Pulp Fiction style but without all the shooting. Not sure when ill have time for this grand project, but thought I'd document it here in case I forget.
Inter vivos tomorrow. Am locking myself in my hotel room in the hope I finish at least two chapters. There is a chance though that I instead go mad, a la the shining. Five TV channels, I mean!

Monday, June 22, 2009

What To Eat?

Greetings from Sheffield! I am currently sitting in a bar drinking lemonade, trying to decide where to go for dinner, whether I'm actually hungry now, and whether I can sick on ice cubes long enough so that the bar staff don't throw me out before my appetite arrives or they force me to buy another drink.
It is weird eating in restuarants alone, especially commercial ones that are geared towards families or couples. Even in this bar right now there are kids running around. I don't mind doing it, but I wish people would lay off with the pity stares.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Top Bum

Over the weekend, I watched Top Gun. Isn't it the most homoerotic film of all time? And Tom Cruise stabbing that woman with his tongue ("kissing"??!!) whilst backlight by blue light - how icky does that look? Don't think I had watched it all the way through since the early nineties, so had never noticed those things before.

Busy time at work coming up, not really looking forward to, but perhaps I can use it to become more focused with my time again. I know I keep saying it, but I really really want to get IV finished.

Finally - urgh, too hot and raining. My hair is now a ball of frizz.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Rutland

They're early starters in Rutland. I arrived here at ten past eight and already the supermarket was full and people were browsing shop windows til they open. Though perhaps the world is normally like this, but I usually sleep right through it. Uppingham is very quaint, and its surrounded by countryside, rolling hills of green spotted with cows and sheep. Am an hour early for my event, so have found a café to hole myself up in. Quite pleasant, early morning aside.
The problem with Inter Vivos is that I can't get the scenes right where Nox is possessed by the heart. I'm trying not to worry about it at the minute, but know ill need to fix it when I come to edit it.
I think when I get home this afternoon I might have a nap.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I Better Blog Soon, Else People Will Think I've Vanished!

I've written so far 99,840 words of Inter Vivos, and have eight chapters (and possibly a prologue) to go. Which means hopefully when I come to editing, my word count will still be reasonable even after I've got rid of all the guff. Excellent.

This week I've been finding it difficult to find time to write. I've had work commitments each evening, and I start my travels again soon. I know, I need to get motivated again and just plough through. Will try starting tomorrow, as have another work engagement tonight too. Oh to be a student again!

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

240th Post!

It's been too hot to write recently - I mean, seriously, how do people who live in hot climates get anything done? Though I guess air-conditioning (which is very rare in the UK) has revolutionised the world in which we live. How else could you attribute the economic success of hot places like Singapore and Brunei? (That's a joke, people).

European Elections tomorrow. One thing that confuses me (I don't know much about politics mind), is how some people are very anti-Conservative, when really what they are referring to is the Conservative party some 19 years ago (Maggie Thatcher), rather than their policies today? I also get the impression that Labour (as in New Labour)'s policies are very similar to the Conservative party policies today anyway. I'm not planning on voting for either of them, but it just seems a little strange. I'm reading manifestos right now, something I've not done before, as I'm hoping to make educated decisions from now on, rather than just voting for the person whose name is prettiest. ;-)

I'm watching Arrested Development at the mo, and it's really good. Have you seen it? It's really funny, and the writing is just so tight - there's not a bit of dead wood anywhere (up to series 2 at the minute). And I care about all the characters, which is quite an achievement these days.

Bit bitty this post. Will try to be more coherent next time!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

"Land's End" Review

Just a very quick post to say that "Land's End" (Inkermen Press, 2008) has finally received a review:
http://newmysticsreviews.blogspot.com/2009/05/by-not-so-beautiful-sea-review-of.html

"Lucy Ann Wade starts off the stories with her take on the Calypso and Odysseus episode from The Odyssey (“Calypso”), doing so with great success as she explores the always treacherous nexus of naiveté and sexual lust. The “do as I say, not as I do” two-facedness of Calypso’s fellow Naiads made them read like a pack of modern high-school girls and not the far-off subjects of what is often (wrongly) seen as an irrelevant and antiquated tale."

Not too bad at all.

I started working on a new story yesterday, as well as adding to Chpt. 23 of IV. I'm hopefully going to be in a position where I can send off a few more submissions in the near future, so look out slush piles of the world! You have been warned.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Edinburgh Here I Come!

Before I start: Congrats Phil for your "Experiment" at the Accidental Festival. Hope it went well!

Am bored of Twitter already. I just don't have anything to say that anyone would be interested to read. "Brushing my hair", "At work", "Sneezing due to hayfever" - hardly makes riveting reading, right? Plus, I still don't get it. I mean, at least with the status update on Facebook you can reply to it, and have a bit of a conversation. But Twitter, well it's just micro-blogging, but without the feedback, right? Oh, I guess there's that "@" thing, but they don't show up unless you manage to catch them on your home page before they disappear into infinity. It's not like Facebook, where they get saved nice and neatly under the original posting. Perhaps I'm using it wrong. I don't know. Maybe someone with more "Twitter" knowledge will clue me in.

Oh, I'm such a luddite!

I've had a nice long break from writing, but I think I'm in the right mind set to actually enjoy it again. It's been bloody torture these past months - I've had to resort to crude similes just to get the bastard text out. It's not good, funny or clever, but I'm hoping in the edit that'll all get sorted out.

Off to Edinburgh at the beginning of August to see Robin's show. We're definitely going now, as we're booking our accommodation tonight. It's a little bit expensive, but I thought it would be; it's peak time, and normal hotels around the country are £40-70 a night at off-peak times, so paying £50 a night during the Fringe is actually a bargain. Yeah, it's standard student accommodation, but it's ensuite and comes with breakfast, so can't complain. We're going from 6th - 12th, as that's the only time we can have off work. Will try to blog each day whilst I'm there and fill you in on the happenings!

Right, off to the library now to do some real work...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Film Geekdom

Interesting Film and TV news:

1) New Ghostbusters. I'm glad it's not going to be a remake of the original starring Paul Rudd and Seth Rogan, et al, so I'm glad it's going to be a ghostbusters film with the originals in it, and hope they're getting back together to fight a new baddie. The "passing the torch" thing, well, I just don't want them to continue the franchise if the originals don't have anything to do with it. Especially as it'll probably be Zac Efron playing the grown-up Oscar. And I'm a little bit anti the 'all girl' ghostbusters idea Dan Akyroyd mentions, simply because Hollywood seems to believe that if a film has several female leads, then it has to a) be a love story b) involve a cat fight and c) involve said girls in their underwear/some pervy costume at some point during the film. Not really want I'd want from a Ghostbusters movie.

2) They are remaking Footloose starring a guy from Gossip Girl and possibly Hannah Montana. Eek.

I just don't think they can get away with doing a straight remake any more. Star Trek was great, and what they did was create an alternative dimension to set it in, therefore not shitting over the former TV show and films. I think Footloose 2009 will be a standard remake, but why? Is there any need to remake the classic that was pretty much perfect?

I have another pet peeve, and that's when sequels are basically remakes of the original, but with a different (less attractive/talented) lead and sometimes different location (Poison Ivy II, S Darko, The Rage) - especially when the events in the first film were so extraordinary that no way would that happen again.

I watched Dollhouse last night, and it was really intriguing. It doesn't have the same pizzazz that Buffy had - it's more grown-up, less wit and more action (well the first episode anyway), but I enjoyed it and will be watching it again. It posed more questions than it answered, which is a pretty good start to a series, so we'll see how it progresses. I've just got to remember that it's on, as the Sci Fi Channel isn't in my "On Demand" services I don't think.

I don't normally watch TV, so it's gonna be an experience having to tune into something every week and waiting patiently for the next episode. I used to watch The Big Bang Theory, but I think the schedulers moved its time at some point, and then I had no idea when it was on, so subsequently missed it. Am waiting for the second series to come out on DVD, and will watch it all that way instead. The future is "TV On Demand", definitely. Not sure what that will mean with regards to TV writing, etc. It'll be a nightmare, no doubt.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Better

Right, am feeling better today. Had a bit of a mini nervous breakdown yesterday, where I could feel the stress building up and taking over, and didn't know how to stop it. I even had a fleeting thought that maybe I should just stop trying to be a writer and focus on something else instead, but that's all gone now.
So I went to the library after work and wrote a little bit of Inter Vivos - only about 200 words or so - and only focused on that, not on the other projects that are making me flip out. And then I felt better. And then I went to watch Star Trek, which was brilliant, so I'm all alright now.

Just goes to show you how quickly a mood can change though, right - from walking to the library feeling like I was mentally hyperventaliating to leaving the library feeling much calmer and happier.

Anyhow, I'm going to take it slowly over the next few days and try not to pressure myself too much.

I think I do definitely need that holiday now!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Twigging Out

I can't do it, I can't write, I'm absolutely terrible, and no matter how hard I try it just comes out as crap!

Words of Wisdom

Have just been reading Neil Gaiman's latest blog post (http://journal.neilgaiman.com/2009/05/entitlement-issues.html) in which he says:

"Some writers need a while to charge their batteries, and then write their books very rapidly. Some writers write a page or so every day, rain or shine. Some writers run out of steam, and need to do whatever it is they happen to do until they're ready to write again. "

I'm really glad he addressed this in his post, from the point of view that you do only tend to hear about writers who work like machines, who write, say 5000 a day every day. In fact, I've just been reading Writing magazine (aimed at retiree writers by the looks of it) and all the interviews with authors in there are all "I write X number of words a day" etc and no one tells you how difficult it is sometimes, how your brain feels fried and you feel like what you've written is utter drivel and that you must have serious problems of self-delusion to think that you're ever going to get published...
So that's why it's nice for a 'proper' writer to recognise this fact that writers aren't robots. I should add that there is a distinction however between the words not coming and simply "putting it off", which is often hard to distinguish and both can be self-perpetulating.
I think I need a holiday.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Twitter

Hello all,
Just a quick post to say that I have now got myself one of those Twitter accounts, though I'm really not sure how it all works.
Anyway, if you want to follow my feeble efforts at Twittering, Tweeting, or whatever the right verb is, then you can do so!

https://twitter.com/LucyAnnWade

Monday, May 11, 2009

Pirates and Procrastination

Over the weekend, I managed to do no writing whatsoever; however I did renounce Satan and become a Godmother, so I wasn't being a total layabout. It was quite nice to take time off, even though I did get grilled by everyone at the baptism about when am I planning on having kids. Aaargh!

Hannah, Robin and Phil are all doing really well at the moment with their separate creative endeavours. It's nice to be inspired by people that I actually know. I'm hoping to go up to Edinburgh to see Broken Holmes, if I can get the time off. It's going to be great.

My mind is buzzing with all the different stuff that I started working on, which isn't good, because I don't have time to do all of them, and really need to crack on with IV. I've been working on the plot for my pirate story; basically, an upper class English woman is kidnapped by pirates on her way through the Caribbean to be married. She is captured by Fat Red, a grotesque female pirate captain, and gradually becomes submerged in her world. A little bit like a sinister "Desperately Seeking Susan" - no on second thoughts, nothing like that at all! The mood and feel to the story is more grungy-rock than 80s pop.

What else? I have half a plot for my space story, and the beginning and end of my monster story. Does anyone else find middles hard?

I'm going to have to forget about the stories for the time being, as I do need to finish IV, else it's never going to get done, and I'm never going to be able to write anything else. Single-minded obsession is what is needed; no more of this multi-tasking nonsense.

*pic from Ophelia's Art: http://www.cafepress.com/opheliasart.153104524

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Cyclops

My left eye hurts right now from the eye ointment I'm using to purge my eye of my Berlin sty. Closing my eye helps a little bit, but when I open it again, everything is blurry.

So, I'm sitting at my desk, hair slightly falling over my face, and typing this with one eye closed. I've just drank some camomile, honey and vanilla tea, and I'm counting down the minutes until lunch.

Aside from the eye thing, just a typical day.

I found out that UA Fanthorpe died recently. I studied her work for my English Lit A-Level, and her poems are some of the only poetry I can stomach. Her poems about the buried rivers in London, the parson's response to Coleridge, and the Mary Rose poems still continue to inspire me, even though they are all but semi-forgotten lines and whispered ideas now at the back of my head. I saw her once at a conference we were dragged to at school, where she read her work and answered questions. She was truly remarkable, and that was the first time I realised that to be a poet you didn't have to be a dead male. If you haven't read any of her works, I wholeheartedly recommend them.

Off on my travels later, so am planning on doing some writing on the train, so long as it's not too crowded. I'm thinking of having some time off soon to concentrate a bit more on my work, but it's a bit tricky at the minute. Anyhow, I'll keep you posted on how things are going, as always! *Squinty.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

A Dystopian Jane Eyre, with Cyborgs

I'm trying to work out what Inter Vivos is about, in prep for editing it and trying to pitch it to publishers and agents. I know what the story is, of course, but what are the themes I want to bring out? What is the central conflict and message? Perhaps when it's finished (draft 2b) and I read through it I'll have more of an idea. I'm kinda thinking it's a biopunk bildungsroman sort of story, and I think I might be treading on some new ground there a little bit (think Jane Eyre with cyborgs, and you get the idea).

Have started another short story - I'm starting to wonder whether this is productive procrastination - this time for an anthology that I'm hoping to get accepted for. Deadline is in September, so I figure, if I start now, then I'll hopefully be finished by then. My story is about pirates, which is a condition of the anthology, and I have created this wonderful grotesque female pirate - I'm thinking of Claire from Der Besuch Der Alten Dame with a bit of "Fevvers" from Nights at the Circus thrown in - this huge, repulsive, but larger than life woman as a very unconventional anti-heroine. Anyway, I'm trying to decide how (stylistically) to tell the story, but have made a crack at it anyway.

Starting short stories isn't the problem. Finishing them is. I do suffer from The Fear quite a lot; what if this promising story with these intriguing characters is made crap half way through by some stupid plot device I've thrown in? Urgh.

OK, will aim to finish off one short story by next Monday. Can she do it? Stay tuned to find out...

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Monsters and Space Ships

Just back from Canterbury, which is a really lovely city, very picturesque. I stayed in this lovely hotel and my room was like something out of a fairy tale, all elegant and white with a big four-poster bed and chandelier. Very nice.

I managed to write whilst I was away, and have almost finished chapter twenty two of Inter Vivos (there are thirty planned chapters) and also worked on this monster short story I'm writing. I came up with the idea when I was taking part in Damien's writing class in November, and just really loved the tone I had come up with, so am continuing on. It needs a structural overhaul, as it was starting during a stream-of-consciousness exercise, but I have high hopes for it.

I'm also working on another story, a proper sci-fi story, with space ships and aliens et al, but I have to keep leaving blanks because I don't know about space travel. How fast does a rocket travel when taking off? How long does it take to train to be an astronaut? I'm sure a Google search would dig up the answer, but it's all very frustrating. Stupid brain.

(Pic from www.stainlesssteeldroppings.com)


Just read "The Book of A Thousand Days" which was just beautiful. Love fairy tales. Also reading the letters of the Mitford sisters, which is great, but has done weird things to my brain - my inside head voice keeps thinking I'm upper class for ages after I've read it, so have to be careful what I say or do! It's like I'm temporarily possessed by Nancy Mitford or something! Peculiar.

Need to get these short stories finished so I can send them out - more so that I have something active to write about in this blog!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Who says you shouldnt eat dessert before mains?

Am currently sitting in Starbucks sheltering from the rain, and they have Belgian chocolate cake that is wheat, gluten and dairy free. For purposes of this blog, of course I bought some. Bit crumbly and dry, but adequately chocolately enough to make it very enjoyable. Still not as good as the pret a manger cake, but I'm very supportive if more places want to sell wheat free baked goods.
Was in Berlin last week, and my tum still hasn't recovered.
Update on the writing soon.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Realism

Just wanted to show you a little bit of the developmental process for Inter Vivos. Thematically, it started out like this:
Nox wandering gracefully, in chiffon, like a proper princess over the ice plains in the State of Aquarius. I still envisage an image similar to this as my book cover one day.

Now that I've come to write those scenes, however, it has changed into this:

Nox, wrapped up tight in a fur coat, army boots and wearing a motorcycle helmet, fighting her way through a blizzard like the scrappy pup that she is. That's just the way it goes, I guess!
[Illustration by me. Good, huh?! Hmm, perhaps I'll have to leave the graphic novel version of the book to a professional. At least Hannah can see that all of her commissions are safe!]

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Extract

Here is a first draft extract from Chapter Two of Inter Vivos - warts and all - for your enjoyment. After I've done my first edit, I may show you the same passage after it's been cleaned up. The extract is not very long, I know, but I wanted to keep it short and sweet, so you have time to read it! Enjoy.

============================================
I was never allowed to go into the board room. Though to get even as far as the corridor that led to that part of the house would have been a monumental achievement for my eight year old self. To say I was watched is an understatement. ‘Kept prisoner’ would be a more accurate term, although my parents did it mainly out of concern, at least, they did at first. Even though Inter Vivos had not yet been officially announced, there was word on the grape vine that things were not all as legitimate as they appeared. My father's people went on the defensive, and I was not seen in public again, not as ‘Nox Izotz’ anyway. Around the white facade of my family there popped up protesters, placards and chants, and for the first time since my father came to power, there was opposition. But what did I care, at that age? All I was concerned about then was firstly, to get well and away from those stupid machines, and secondly, to get my parents to allow me to go out and play.
The months after the operation were almost worst than the time before it. I was sealed in a clean room, allowed no physical contact, no food that wasn't through a tube. But I couldn't really complain, seeing as I was weak and sore from the procedure. Ghost nurses would float around my bubble, the plastic overalls they wore making distinctive creasing sounds that would wake me even from pill induced sleep. My mother did many of the check-ups herself after that, and I guess part of it was because of her protectiveness of me, and the other was out of necessity, to keep me hidden, to keep me a secret. As the months passed, I grew stronger, and my mother was forced to unplug me and let me move about a little. The clean room stayed however, white and clinical, insipid and horrible. The light was harsh and unforgiving sometimes, and I, a pale ghost with jet black hair in the middle of all this whiteness. Though even the whiteness and the sterility couldn't keep out the heat when summer hit, and that lead to me being allowed to sit out on the veranda.
“What's the point of a clean room now, when the child's just been exposed to all the elements?” My mother sobbed when I got my way and was allowed to sit in the shade on the porch.
“She's fine, isn't she?” My father replied, condensation from his iced tea staining the front of his white shirt.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Places to Write

It can be difficult sometimes to fit in writing when you're working full time, or have things like a family, boyfriend, over-dependent gerbil, etc. filling up your time. It is difficult, but it's not impossible. You just need to seize your opportunities when they present themselves.

Work these past couple of weeks has been manic, but train journeys provide the ideal opportunity to write, so long as you get a table and aren't boxed in on either side by businessmen with those giant-sized newspapers that take up all the space. Hotels are great too, because there's nothing else to do except watch Film 4, so you can usually factor in some writing time before Independence Day starts.

Sometimes in order to get anything done, you have to sacrifice a bit of a lie-in, and get up early at the weekend, or stay up late, or give up your lunch break to get something written.

Writing something is better than nothing, regardless of word count or quality! And you can't be a writer if you don't actually write anything!
Couple of pictures. The first is my hotel room in Manchester, where I managed to knock out just over 1,000 words (before and during Independence Day - and you thought I was joking!).
The second is in my horrible room in Portsmouth, where I wrote about 2,000 words after my event.
I'd like to have taken a photo of writing on the train, but I think my fellow commuters would have thought that I was a little bit strange.
I've heard about people (with small kids) locking themselves in the bathroom in order to write, and when I was younger, I used to climb up this tree in my back garden and write stories in my notebook. Anyone else have any favourite/bizarre places that they write?

Friday, April 03, 2009

British Library

The British Library the other day was actually really inspiring, though I couldn't find anywhere to set up camp and write. I wandered round the gallery and saw the manuscripts of some of the best writers in English history. I saw handwritten drafts by Angela Carter, Harold Pinter, Sylvia Plath, Thomas Hardy, Charlotte Bronte and Jane Austen. I got to see what Shakespeare's handwriting was (allegedly) like and discovered that my handwriting is similar to ... Nobody's! Oh well.
Perhaps I shall donate my notebooks when I'm actually a published author, though I'll have to wait til after I'm dead I think, as I'm not sure right now I could cope with people knowing that the book they (hopefully) love and treasure was once a pile of steaming crap. Ho hum.
Bloody freezing in Northampton, but what cheers me up is that I can get up after 6am tomorrow and the next day, and the day after that too. Yippee!

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Waiting

-not for anything exciting, but for my event to start.
I've bought my writing stuff with me today and after this has finished, I'm going to find a quiet spot to do some work. I've broken every deadline I gave myself and inter vivos still isn't finished. They are still stuck in chapter seventeen limbo, and although I know what I need to write, I've been so tired and travelling so much I've not had chance.
Early starts don't agree with me, and two half 4 starts in a row have made me grumpy. Good job I'm on my own today!
Think I'm going to stop by the British Library today if I have time, for inspiration.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Update about Cake

Quick post: Pret a Manger sell wheat-free orange cake! Its not as nice as the lemon cake at the tower of London, but seeing as its cheaper than paying the entry each time I'm peckish, it's great! Orange makes it a tad bitter, but that means its not sickly, and it comes in a generous portion. Along with their no bread sandwiches, it is one of the best places for me to eat when out and about in London. If only I could get one in every city I go to!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Better

Right, well, after yesterday's moan, I'm feeling a bit better today. Everyone has down days, right?

Work is still stressful, but I'm now making the decision to never mention my full-time job in my blog again (aside to occasionally say where in the world I am), as I don't want my job to start monopolising my life - it's already taken a chunk out of my personal life, and I really don't want it to start affecting my potential writing career, and so I'm going to start with here. Work - be gone!
I read our Semper group's forum for the first time in ages today, and it was really nice to know that I have friends out there who are all slugging away, united as we are by our common goal to make a living from our writing. Phil has a play on at the Accidental Festival in May, which is great news. Hannah is possibly doing a PhD (so we'll have to call her "Doctor" from then on!). It's all very exciting.
Me? I'm still on Chapter Seventeen, having written a little more on the train yesterday. I'm almost at the end of the chapter now. I think it will need a lot of work in the rewriting stage, but hey, that's what it's all about right? Turd polishing. Get it done, move on to the next chapter.
The Banshee story keeps eating away at me - I have a new fully formed character which popped into my head whilst I was away. I've written a couple of scenes and some notes, but I can't let myself get distracted away from Inter Vivos right now, no matter how siren-like the story calls to me. I have a Plan and I must stick to it.
I'm sorry these blog posts are a bit dull right now. It's not as exciting as theatre, I know. Novels take time, whereas plays less so, and with theatre there are other elements involved, whereas with novels, its just all slog, slog slog on your ownsome. But this is just how it is, I'm afraid. I'll have a think about ways to jazz up my content, rather than the usual "Chapter X is coming along..." posts. Maybe add a gun fight post, or a sex scene post for good measure. ;-)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A Whiney Rant

Well, Reading is over and done with. I'm so sick of travelling around now. I'm exhausted. And broke. Work will eventually repay all the money I've had to spend, but that doesn't solve the immediate problem of the current deficit of my bank account. I have a hundred and one things to do tomorrow that I will have to cram into about 3 hours before I go out again on Thursday. Work sucks.
I'm also of the opinion right now that my writing sucks too. I'm bored of the part I'm working on and want to fast forward to the good bit. Plus I've just finished reading Neverwhere and now I'm glum because ill never write anything that good, etc etc. Sigh. I'm even boring myself now. Will come back when I'm in a better mood.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Busy!

This is one of those very rare occasions where I'm actually writing this blog post from a desk via blogger's website, rather than from a bus or a train or a hotel room via my BlackBerry. It's actually rather nice. Though saying that, it won't last for long, as next week is crazy busy again (Reading, Lewisham, Stanmore, home) and the week after that crazier still (Stoke, Guildford, London, Northampton). Perhaps this is what book tours are like, in which case I'll be well practiced.

I'm off to write in the library for a bit as soon as I'm done here. I'm feeling quite tired, as I've been at work since half 8 this morning with no break as yet, but I need to stay motivated. Once I've finished this draft, then it's time for the big edit, and after that, I'm half way there. It is tough to try to write, and be a writer, when you've also got a full time job, but I'm doing it as best I can and trying not to waste a second of my time.

Well, aside from the odd blog post ;-)

After Inter Vivos is finished and doing the rounds with friends, I'm planning on finishing off a couple of short stories and sending them out to slush piles around the country, and also I'm planning on making a proper start on my next novel, which I think will be the banshee story. I'd like to squeeze in some drama too somewhere, but haven't really got the time.

Oh! That reminds me, for those of you interested, Script Frenzy, which is the play/film/graphic novel version of NaNoWriMo, begins on 1st April. You have to write 100 pages in a month. Interested? Details here.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Portsmouth

I'm typing this whilst simultaneously sitting in Frankie and Benny's waiting for my order. Portsmouth this week, and the weather is foul and my hotel room awful (ok, I can overlook what I have now discovered to be the obligatory pube on the sheets, but toilet roll that someone threw up on? No thank you).
Anyhow, went to see Watchmen and it was really good. Am going to read the novel but have been told its fairly accurate, though the film is more gory.
Will be starting to work on IV shortly, so will update later.
Ooh, steak's here. Gotta go!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Tidings from Manchester

The cycle of UCAS conventions has started again, so I will be away every week now until April. This week it's Manchester. It's not a bad place, but I'm intimidated by the tallness of the buildings and their close proximity to each other. Still, I found the central library and a cosy Starbucks, so after work I was able to get a bit of work done, which I'm going to continue in a sec (after Judge Judy of course!).
Ideas keep fighting for my attention, but I'm trying to keep focused on Inter Vivos. Chapter 15 is still ongoing, but I'm hoping it'll be finished before the night is over. Then its on to chp 16 which is going to be tough. Why is it so hard to write about falling in love? Sex, no problem. Death, piece of cake. But love at first sight? I feel decidedly under qualified. I fell for my best friend; it's so difficult to write about lightening bolts without, ahem, resorting to clichés. Perhaps because (aside from lust)love at first sight doesn't really exist? I wrote a post last week about my thoughts on love, which I never had time to post, and might not do after this one, but its all interesting nonetheless (well to me anyway).
Anyway, greetings from Manchester, how are you?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Banshee

So what is my day job? Well, in a nutshell, I give advice to people about going to university. I am paid to promote one university, but I try to keep my advice as neutral as possible, emphasising the importance of the individual doing what is best for them. I give careers advice, I advise about student loans, about UCAS, about filling in the application form, and also about the different courses that are on offer and what an individual might need in order to secure a place at the uni. I like my job. I mean, it has its bad days, but so long as I feel that I'm being helpful, then I'm happy. Yes, there are problems in terms of the soon-to-be too many graduates for graduate job opportunities (especially in this economic crisis), but university is a life changing experience, and I believe that if someone has the potential and aspiration to go, then they should, regardless of what background they are from.
Ahem.
Anyway, you see, my job is even infringing on my blog now! Crazy!
Sorry to my... I don't know... three readers who have been peeved that I haven't been updating more regularly. I'm going to try to do better from now on (ooh, school parents' evening flashback!).
One of the reasons for the absence of posts recently is that I've actually been busy writing. And it's been pretty good, so far. I know the story, what's supposed to happen, and so I've been working through the first draft of Inter Vivos, and in some places merely connecting the dots, but in others I've had to do a major overhaul of the chapter, else start from scratch and add scenes where none previously existed. I'm on chapter fourteen at the moment, now known as "the longest chapter in the history of the world" because I've been working on it for about a week and I've still not got to the part where the chapter ends! I think when I come to do the proper edit that I'll end up splitting it in two, but I'm not worrying about that now. It will just be a relief when I can finally save it and move it into my "Finished Chapters" folder.
And seeing as activity breeds activity, whilst writing my chapters I also had a new idea for a story. I think I might toy with having two narrators, one a banshee, the other a wannabe rock star university student. Not a love story, but a death story, about losing someone and the futility in not only that loss, but in being powerless to prevent it. It's a work in progress, anyway; something to work on when my Volunteers are reading through Inter Vivos looking for spelling mistakes and huge plot holes (there's still plenty of time to become a Volunteer, btw, so let me know if you're up for it. I might even make you t-shirts).
Just a note about the picture - I was searching Yahoo images for a pic to use for my Banshee, and I came across these slightly creepy but really beautiful dolls. Anyway, the website is: http://www.enchanteddoll.com/ Absolutely lovely, but extremely expensive! (I even found one that looks like "Nox"!)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

I realised a couple of days ago that I had written just over 50,000 words in 2 weeks during my rewriting phase. Not bad going, right? Especially when considering that most of the words I'm actually happy with.
I'm approaching the busy time at work, which will see me travelling to Manchester, Portsmouth, reading, Sheffield and middlesex in the space of three weeks. And I still can't drive, so its good old railroad for me!
Saw The Pillowman at Curve at the beginning of the week, which was really good. The play is fantastic (sickeningly dark, twisted And funny), acting was good, and set designer brilliant. Great use of the space. It made me want to write something for the stage again. Maybe next month.