Saturday, 28 November 2009

An Obituary

So Farewell then,
Borders UK.
I used to enjoy
Your headphones and
Your Starbucks.
But Must Admit
You pissed me off
When you denied shoppers access
To your toilets.
Will we ever see your like again?

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Please forgive...

...some unashamed motherly pride.

Today I saw my first born graduate with a BA(Hons)in Multimedia Design and Digital Animation. Sitting in Carlisle Cathedral for the ceremony, watching the graduates process past in their robes, listening to the fine words of the Dean and University Chancellor, my mind was on the long journey it has taken for him to reach this point. It's not been an easy journey. Like the attainment of everything worth having, it's been a long struggle. But today all that was forgotten, because it was all worth it.

Congratulations, Mike!

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Write It Now

As this is Nano month, the title of this post seems particularly appropriate. I'm not doing it this year, but on all my writers' haunts I can see the symptoms of Nano fever:
1 Panicked questions about plot problems.
2 Panicked anxiety about word count.
3 Panicked anxiety about family/work commitments being neglected.
4 Desperate cries for encouragement.

Well, I'm happy to oblige folks. Been there, done that more than once and I can relate totally to what you're going through. After the event it pales to a rosy memory, rather like a horrendous twenty-four hour labour is quickly forgotten once the healthy baby is delivered. But at the time it's terrifying, thrilling, heart-stopping, even agonising as you struggle to push this screaming infant out into the world. Let me say what many a midwife has whispered in the ear of her charge at these difficult times: It's All Worth It. No pain, no gain. Keep going. Neglect those children, ignore your boss, just keep writing whatever happens. Soon it will be over and you'll have a wonderful story to tell well-wishers at your book signing.

But I digress. The title of this item relates to another piece of software I've purchased. One thing the last six months of rewrites has made me appreciate is the need for razor sharp organisation, so to that end I have invested in Write It Now a novel writing programme. I've been using it this week to revamp my latest WIP (the one I got about half way through before events overtook me in the Spring). So far, so good. It's fairly simple to navigate and lets me flit around which is good at this early stage when ideas keep popping into my head and demand to be written down at once. I'll keep you posted about my progress.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Kreativ Blogger Award

Eek! It appears I've won an award! And I haven't even got an acceptance speech written or anything. Oh well, I'll just have to gabble incoherently instead.

So, thank you to Sophie Playle for awarding me this badge.

Now to fulfil my badge-holder responsibilities:

Terms of acceptance include forwarding the same award to 7 other more deserving bloggers, who must follow the instructions below:

1. Copy and paste the pretty picture which you see at the top of this post onto your own blog.
2. Thank the person who gave you the award and post a link to their blog.
3. Write 7 things about yourself we do not know.
4. Choose 7 other bloggers to award.
5. Link to those 7 other bloggers.
6. Notify your 7 bloggers.

Seven things about me you do not know:

1. My first full-time job was putting the walnuts on walnut whips.

2. I once met Billy Connolly in a pub.

3. I am addicted to stationery.

4. I have no interest in snooker.

5. My first teddy bear was called Bobby Happy.

6. My feet are different sizes.

7. My favourite comedian is Stewart Lee.

Here are my seven nominated blogs:

1. Wise Words by Louise Wise, aspiring novelist.

2. Tall Tales and Short Stories by Tracy - a very interesting collection of interviews and articles for aspiring authors.

3. Welshcake by Justine, observations by an aspiring author.

4. A Writer's Notes by Bill, retired editor and publisher.

5. Col Bury's New Crime Fiction by Col, self-explanatory.

6. Pitch Parlour by Miss Pitch - insider view of publishing.

7. Lexi Revellian by Lexi, insights from another aspiring author.


Tuesday, 10 November 2009

More netsurfing

Well I'm at a loose end again, having completed the latest revision. Conventional wisdom is to plough on with something else in the meantime, if only to get some distance from it, and I really want to but as usual I'm surfing the net instead. It's at these times of hiatus I succumb to the lure of Writers' Software.

Downloaded a freebie this morning: Storybook is a novel writing programme which looks pretty good although I've only tinkered with it so far. The website has tutorials to help get you started, and best of all it doesn't cost a penny so nothing to lose.

Another one I'm wondering about getting is Quick Story which is a plot generating tool. I'm always attracted to the idea of a structure to work to instead of my usual rabbiting on. It does strike me as more efficient in terms of man hours, but would the spontaneity suffer, I wonder? Anyway it's about £30 for that one, so I'll mull it over a bit first.

Talking of structure, I'm also looking for inspiration in Story Structure Architect by Victoria Schmidt. I bought this book a while back and it's very handy for dipping into when planning a new project.

Finally, an early Happy Birthday to my elder son Mike who will be 23 tomorrow.
Yes, 23. I know...imagine how it makes me feel...

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

And when will you be published...?

One trap I've steadfastly avoided is to tell anyone apart from the people who daily trip over my manuscripts that I'm writing a book. The reason for this is not simply obsessive secrecy, although that comes into it. For one thing, I think it's dangerous to speak about your story before you have it written down. And if I said By the way, I'm writing a book I know the response would be Really? What's it about? And if I then tried to clam up and say nothing they'd likely take offence, so to avoid that scenario I don't let on at all. It really saves a lot of heartache in the longrun.

But someone asked on a forum lately for witty come-backs to the usual "Have you found a publisher yet?"

I've given it some thought and reckon there are two possible courses. The first is to lie outrageously:

But I am published. My pen name is JK Rowling/Dan Brown/Jackie Collins (depending on preference). NOTE: The downside to this is everyone will expect you to pay for lunch from now on since you are obviously vastly rich.

The other is to be blindingly honest. This further breaks down into

(a) honest but deluded:

The world is simply not ready for my books.

(b) honest but paranoid:

I would be published by now if it wasn't for the international conspiracy to keep good literature off the bookshelves

(c) honest but pathetic

You wouldn't happen to know any publishers, would you?