Friday, September 30, 2005

Broken my duck

Word count: 1,124

Today, at last, I started writing. Not a HUGE amount, but enough to make me feel less worried about every single word being perfect, and every paragraph being beautifully crafted. You can't work that way, at least I can't... so I am diving into the sharp, cold, inhospitable waters of Novel 4. I am going to try to do a certain number of words a day. Not sure how many yet. Is 500 enough? I am so out of practise.

Apart from that, I am still waiting to see what's happening with the house I like, have made an offer on, but don't know if it's going to work out. I've been for an interview about tutoring on a new Open University writing course, which sounds very interesting and could complement my plans for full-time writing. And I've been counting my blessings: various people close to me are still having a tough time and I want to be there for them AND also make the most of the wonderful things in my own life...

Lovely Link of the Day:
I've been trying to find synonyms for coward: and this dictionary of slang, though not quite coming up with all the goods, is suitably profane and funny. Most of it is silly rather than obscene eg:
dead heat in a Zeppelin race
Noun. Describing very large breasts on a woman. E.g."Wow! Look at her, looks like a dead heat in a Zeppelin race."

I still haven't worked out whether 'broken my duck' is, as I think, an extension of a cricketing term (a duck being not scoring any wickets) OR much ruder.

Thursday, September 22, 2005


Word Count: 0 yes indeedy

Exchange! A word known throughout Britain (not sure about elsewhere) for representing so much more anguish and complexity than the dictionary definition - give in return for something received; trade - would have you believe.

Yep, tonight I will be celebrating the fact that in seven weeks, I will be homeless. But with a nice sum of money in my bank account. I will have exchanged my rather nice flat and garden for an electronic transfer of dosh. Slightly more awkward is the fact that I don't have anywhere yet to put myself, my cat, furniture and ENDLESS bits of paper that might one day inspire a novel or story... but heck, seven weeks is a long time.

It's been a typically irritating process in the last day or two - queries unanswered by the annoying freeholder (one of the reasons I am looking forward to buying a house) and attempts to get trivial amounts of money out of me at the last minute by the silly buyer, who doesn't seem to realise that what he might gain (£88) will now be lost many times over in goodwill, ie things I might have left (paint for touching up, spare tiles, useful local info, bath mat etc) I will now be more likely to take with me... Well, actually, I'm not that petty, but house-buying and selling brings out the worst in all of us...

I am already looking at my place with new wistfulness - the magnificent lime trees that deposit hideous sap all over my car; the free sunshine that lights my garden until dusk; the new flooring I chose. BUT I've outgrown the place, and want to move burb-wards... it's an age thing.

Half way there, anyhow - off to see another house tonight. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

The art of procrastination

Word count for book 4: I'll give you 3 guesses...

Today I have:
  • swept the floor: where the hair count from my head does seem to be decreasing (am worried I am going to turn into poor Gail Porter who has lost all her hair from alopecia
  • cleaned the bathroom from top to toe
  • gone through my videos and blank DVDs to work out what programmes are on which discs
  • wandered round the garden picking at the odd weed - weirdly, my tiny apple tree is blossoming again, obviously thinking it's spring. It's going to get a shock when the weather turns colder
  • put on my central heating again

I am really struggling to get on with Book 4. I think it's a combination of all the uncertainties in my life AND the fact that this one is dear to my heart. Plus it has a complex structure and I think maybe I need to work that out before I do anything else. Hmmm...

Lovely Link of the Day:

There's lots of useful stuff here about motivation to write: though I'm not sure I'm unmotivated - just nervous. This ISN'T writers' block... more writers' impasse.

What do you do when you hit a lean period?

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Autumn's here

Word count, Book 4: 0 (yeah, I know)

It's warm during the day but gets cold at night - last night, was sitting outside a pub by the river at Hammersmith and it got seriously chilly. I love the smell of autumn, though.

Finding low-carb diet very tough at the moment, though. I crave lovely warming baked potatoes, and puds, when it's getting dark in the evening. Must try harder to find some alternatives to my salads...

I am still tweaking Brown Owl - and it's gone to an opera-singing friend of mine who will double check the musical bits. I do think it's an uplifting story, and the feedback from her and from the handful of others who've read it is good.

Am still house-hunting, which has gone way past tedium now. I have such high expectations before I see somewhere, then turn up and see the railway line through the front room, or the dual carriageway in the back garden. ARRRGH. Maybe me and cat should go and live in a tent (a Cath Kidston one, naturally).

But actually, despite niggles, life's good, you know. I look at the news every day from Iraq (more horrible bombings today, and 17 people dragged from their beds and shot); the horrors of Katrina; and even the poor shop assistant at Harvey Nichols who seems to have been shot by her stalker ex last night... plus friends who are having a tough time of it, and I think, you HAVE to make the most of the time you have.

It's strange - I never used to be all Pollyanna about things, I am naturally a bit of a glass half-empty gal, like half the population. But maybe it's getting older that's made me glad. I do think life's better if you wear rose-tinted specs some of the time at least.

Lovely Link of the Day:
Agent 007 has been posting some of her usual highly insightful stuff: this post about the role of the agent in fighting an author's corner was especially fascinating and reflects the experience of MANY writers I know!

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Long time, no post

Word count (book 4): 0

I'm sorry - I've been busy and preoccupied and the blog has suffered... so what have I been doing?
  • working on the TV script (waiting now for a verdict, fingers crossed)
  • looking for somewhere to live
  • fretting about my cat's itchy skin condition (has she been hanging out with foxes and got mange?)
  • thinking deep thoughts about the new book (!) and drawing lots of plotting diagrams
  • investigating taking redundancy
  • arguing with Powergen about my gas bill
  • doing my accounts

God, doing my accounts is SOOO dull (though not quite as dull as the gas bill thing). It's the downside of getting non PAYE income - very confusing and involving maths, never my strong point.

My flat sale still hasn't exchanged, which is frustrating: I almost wonder whether I ought to start investigating other agents to put it on with unless we get moving soon.

But on the upside, the paperback of Starter Marriage is out in about 6 weeks - am keeping EVERYTHING crossed that the biggest supermarkets are going to order some, as that could truly make or break the novel. Do keep yours crossed for me, too. I am sure it could work if we all cross our fingers together (a bit like the lovely bit in Peter Pan where he asks the audience, 'do you believe in fairies?')

Lovely Link of the Day:

From Kate Hardy's brilliant blog, this article from author Jean Brashear's website is all about authors who've broken the rules. I was talking about this last night while having a curry with a mate, how I broke the rules at the end of my first book, so I was intrigued to read about other writers who've taken risks too...