Friday, 2 April 2010

Chair phobia

The trouble with a blog about writing, is that it goes a bit quiet when I'm not doing much of it! This problem is about to be rectified though, as I have signed myself up for a couple of agent appointments at the Winchester writers' conference and the fear should get me going again...

Having a bad back which limits the time I can sit down, has rather curtailed my writing for the last few weeks. Knowing I only have half an hour before I'll want to get up has put me off even starting. I think this is more of a mental problem than a physical one, but I have to get started again now. The novel I'm hoping to show to the scary lovely agents is picked to pieces at the moment, and has to be substantially reassembled before I see them at the end of June.

I also need to start planning how I'm going to fit in more of a fitness regime. The physiotherapist keeps talking about Pilates and strong stomach muscles featuring in my future. Stomach muscles? What are these things of which she speaks?

Friday, 12 March 2010

Slight interruption of service...

About 3 weeks ago I took a couple of pictures of my desk, which were going to be the basis of a blog post. Didn't get around to writing it because I had a slightly stiff back, which progressed into a sore leg, which escalated into a shooting pain from my back, down to my toes. Several visits to the doctor later I was introduced to the lovely MRI scanner. To distract you from the confines of the scanner, they get you into the most uncomfortable position possible, before switching on the road digger sound effects. An interesting experience! This discovered the slipped disc, introduced me to some extremely strong painkillers, and finally an epidural which may have done the trick. Although I'm still sore and walk at the speed of my Gran, it's a big improvement!

So, back to the pictures. I was going to write about the alarming quantity of writing advice books I seem to own, and the time I spend reading them, but I seem to have broken that habit (Those are just the ones I was reading, there's a whole shelf...) For the last 3 weeks I've not touched them, and though haven't been able to write much, I have done a lot of thinking. Getting away from the books has enabled me to focus on my story, rather than ways of analysing it. I'm fairly sure I now have it as I want it, and just need to write the bits I'm missing!

So hopefully normal service is about to resume, and I can go back to writing, complete with moisturising gloves and socks... Oh, the glamour.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010


I had a wonderful Saturday at Nirvana Spa. There's something about wandering about in flip flops that says you're on holiday, even if you are somewhere outside Reading. Still not quite used to ordering lunch in my dressing gown though. There's something very institutional about everyone sitting around in white gowns. I kept expecting someone to appear and tell me it was time for my operation. I did get a lot of scribbling done though, and I think most of my characters now have some motivations of their own, and I've quashed the pantomime villain.

Whilst all this is whirring around in my head I'm also trying to dredge out the french that lurks within. I've booked a trip to Epernay in the summer, to do five days of champagne tasting. I can't wait! Four of us are sharing an astonishingly cheap apartment and have to make some tricky decisions. The owner wants to know what brand of champagne we'd like waiting in the fridge...

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

No really, I'll be more reliable this time...

Oh dear.

I seem to have abandoned my blog.

Not that I was ever particularly reliable.

So where was I? Oh yes, I was throwing together my first draft, and getting lots of fabulous advice from the lovely Winchester writers’ conference. After a lot more scribbling I have one wobbly story that needs a lot of work. This means I’m now either struggling up the editing mountain, or mired in its treacle depending on whose metaphor I’m stealing today! I thought 2 large whiteboards either side of my desk might help me sort out my plot, character, pace – um, problems. They also help with making it looking like I’m doing something, rather than just staring into space. Trouble is they’re full already! I think I need to focus on one problem at a time, rather than attempting to empty the contents of my head onto them.
I’ve started with sub-plots as they seem the weakest element so far. My cast of characters are all busy getting on with generally ruining my main character’s life, but I don’t think they really know why. I have no idea what they all want, how they plan to get it, or how they might all interact with each other a bit more. I’m trying to use “The weekend novelist redrafts the novel” by Robert J Ray and “Writing the breakout novel workbook” by Donald Maas” but seem to end up sitting there reading them rather than applying the techniques… I’m also slightly scared of the hard-line approach of the first book. Apparently I’m not allowed any trips, breaks or fun. Since I’m also throwing in some evenings I’ve decided to follow his advice, um, selectively.
This allows me to do a bit of re-locating for some of my work too. A spa. No, really, it’s perfectly logical! No phones, nobody I know, and I’m expected to lounge about for the day. It’s perfect. Not somewhere I ever saw myself going considering I don’t know one end of a make-up brush from the other, and walk on heels as well as any toddler, but it’s lovely. I get 6 visits a year, and for those 6 days there is no house to be tidied, ringing phones or lists of things to do. Except for the endless list of things to fix in my novel, but anyway, well worth the splurge! So I’m booked for Saturday, shall go armed with a pukka pad, and enjoy that it shall smell evermore of their aromatherapy oils. Scented notebooks, someone should look into that.