Friday, November 26, 2004

Blog Closedown... or not

Word count: 56,343

Do you remember the old days, when telly used to shut down overnight – and in fact, for half the afternoon as well? Not even that little girl whose dad was a BBC engineer and posed for the test card… just blank.

Well, that’s kind of how my writing life has been for the last couple of weeks. I really hate submitting. Or rather, the horrible silence that follows during which time you think of all the possible thoughts that are going through your editor or agent’s mind. For example:
a) Oh God. Why on earth did I say I would buy two books from this woman? She must have been on drugs when she wrote the first one. I wonder if I can suggest she gets some more.
b) Oh no. I agreed to represent her because I thought she had a future. Perhaps I could change my address. And my phone number…
c) Etc

You get the picture. Now, I’m not saying I seriously think I have totally lost the plot (or the characters, or the adverbs). That wouldn’t be rational. But writing is so subjective that you have no idea whether you can still do it, or in fact whether you ever could. Most writers have Impostor Syndrome and I am no exception.

The thing is, you do have to crack on sooner or later… I was boosted by a great five-star review of Old School Ties on, the first one in about a year. People who’ve had proof copies of Starter Marriage have been saying lovely things about it. So today I managed to get 1,900 words in the bag. Not a world record, but then again I do have other things to sort out, like trying to get a US tax number which is a bit like being in Catch 22. And dodging the debris that the builders in the flats above continue to throw out of the third floor windows.

Other discoveries of the week: Nigella’s storecupboard chocolate cake made with raspberry jam rather than marmalade is the best thing ever. Especially when served with blueberries and creme fraiche.

Tot ziens

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Neurosis and the chick lit writer

Word count: 54,444

Now I do realise that, on the face of it, having 66 fewer words on my word count than six days ago may not look to be progress. But this is the joy of editing… I’ve been tweaking to get it ready to send to my agent and editor, and also done some work to put the first chapter into the First Person and see whether that works better. And I’ve just finished. Hurrah… now the wait begins.

On one of the message boards I visit, there’s been an interesting discussion about whether writing is essentially a neurotic pursuit and I have to say YES! It has to be the oddest thing, sitting at a desk making up imaginary worlds and people to fill them. But I also think it’s quite healthy, if you’re the kind of person who has those kind of ideas and thoughts, to commit them to paper. Now you might think that the lighter the genre, the less intense the feelings or desire to write would be, but I’m not at all convinced by that.

I could do on but I have lots of other things to do. Something to return to one of these days… like over the next few weeks as I await the verdict on what I've written so far...

Kate x

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Bridget Jones and me

Word count: 54,510

So… another weekend over and tomorrow I’m back in the office at the day job. I’ve really enjoyed having a week off to write, though I have procrastinated horribly as usual. The web is so good for information and connecting BUT I have so little self-control when it comes to reducing my surfing…

Last night I went to see Bridget Jones Edge of Reason with the boyf and decided that, apart from being in a relationship, I am Bridget. I mean, she’s very much a 90s phenomenon but I can tick almost all the boxes:

  • Overweight: check (but it was lovely to see someone plump-ish on screen)
  • Likes a glass of wine: check (though I prefer Merlot to Chardonnay)
  • Fundamentally lacking in confidence: check
  • Clumsy: double, triple check
  • Lives in fairly scummy flat: check

Ah well, hopefully I too will have a happy ending, though preferably not via a Thai prison (I hated this bit the most in the movie, as if Galaxy chocolate, Wonderbras and a copy of Men are from Mars, women are from Venus is going to help the poor women in a Thai jail). The best thing about Working Title movies is the way they make London look like the most beautiful city in the world…

Today went walking in drizzly old Holland Park, looking at the squirrels and the huge rabbits and the men in jeans doing T’ai Chi. I love Holland Park. Then had a Lebanese lunch, though when I went to the loo afterwards, I rather wished we hadn’t eaten there as they seemed to have been last cleaned circa 1978.

And then tonight boyf headed back home and I got writing again – making good progress though because I am motoring on with the novel, I haven’t finished the edit of the first 50,000 words to enable me to send it off to the Very Important People in my writing life.

Must relax shortly, with a copy of Angels. Marian Keyes’ writing is such an inspiration: it’s misleadingly effortless, yet when you analyse it carefully, you can see how well she’s using hooks and language to grip the reader. Well, a girl can emulate perfection!

Good night...

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Radio silence is restored…

Word count: 51,392

Bit of a long break since the last entry, which does somewhat defeat the point of having a blog, but in my defence a) have still been feeling poorly and b) I have been working hard on the novel, to try to get it into a state to send to my editor and agent.

I’m nearly there with editing the first 50,000 words, which does feel like a slightly odd way to work, as usually I would be motoring on to the end before sending it off… Though I suppose the truth is that whenever I start writing something new, I feel a lot of self-doubt that it’s going to be any good, so at least getting feedback part of the way through is either reassuring, or will put me back on the correct path.

That’s a big difference between writing the first novel, when you’re really on your own, and being published, when other people have a ‘stake’ in your work. I definitely prefer having an audience, but it’s still a case of getting used to it. For example, when you send your MS to your editor, should you raise your own doubts/areas of concern, or send it ‘blind’ and see if she picks up on the same stuff?

Strange things are happening with the new novel: the bits I am enjoying writing the most are flashbacks from the point-of-view of the main character’s mother, set in the seventies, and I am really enjoying the period touches and trying to capture the mood. I am also in love with all my characters at the moment. Fingers crossed my editor and agent feel the same…

In other news, the builders in the flat above continue to drive me mad with awful drilling and singing. I am hugely depressed by the news from America. I had to go to the dentist for the first time in years, which I loathe. I am very scared of dentists. I am trying to diet and failing most of the time. And my lovely lovely jacket for The Starter Marriage is now on amazon. I will stop going on about it soon, I promise.

Tot ziens as they said in Holland…