Friday, December 23, 2005

Seasonal cheer etc

Word count: 12,720

In the midst of packing for a bit of a break in the sunshine (I hope) so...

  • May your word counts be world-beating;
  • Your plots planned to perfection;
  • Your characters as authentic as the Mona Lisa;
  • And your titles truly tremendous...

Seriously, thanks to everyone who reads thed blog and especially to everyone who has left me messages.

Happy Blogmas,

Kate xx

Monday, December 19, 2005

Less impressive than it looks: the recycling of words

Word count: 11,919

Of course, I could claim that I have been amazingly productive, but the truth is that I have been indulging in the authorly equivalent of going down the bottle bank: recycling old words.

In this case, I am not simply taking random scenes from abandoned story to increase my word count morale BUT I am using material from the idea that has now morphed into the new idea for Book 4. This is an idea that's very close to my heart, which is one of the reasons I am finding Book 4 quite intimidating. I'm not sure it's the right thing to do, to take scenes from the bits I wrote for the previous incarnation of this, but it's one way of making progress. Basically, the 'real time' stuff written from the POV of a teenager was written a couple of years ago: the plan is that this will go into the new book as flashback scenes, but though they're still in the first person, there's more of an adult perspective on the experiences being described. I know this sounds a bit mysterious, but the process is equally befuddling at the moment!

In other news, cat has moved to her latest temporary home, which is going to be a bit more temporary than I expected, as I'd been a bit vague about my arrangements and there was a misunderstanding. Am slightly panicked by this but will calm down and at least I know she has somewhere nice to go for Christmas. But it looks like a cattery might be a better option once the New Year comes. She was so upset by the last move, so terrified by it, that I don't think I can force even more moves on her.

I hate this time of year - am wishing the days away till the 22 December because then at least I can tell myself that the days will begin, oh so gradually, to get lighter.

Back to work tomorrow, just for a day, to finish off some ideas for a series we've been putting forward. It's the departmental Christmas party tonight but I honestly am not feeling festive at all so can't face trolling into town, so instead I am going to the writing critique group which will be more low-key and fun.

Lovely Link of the Day:
Things could be worse on the darkness front. I could be in Alaska. Don't think I could do that!

The sun won't rise again in Barrow for another month after the solstice. For Leavitt and others in the largely Inupiat Eskimo town of 4,500, it marks the countdown to daylight.

Friday, December 16, 2005

On set, on track and sniffly

Word count: 7,490

Still feeling sniffy - even missed my works Christmas lunch today because I wasn't on form and knew that if I drove there, I'd feel even more miserable watching everyone drinking a lot and having yummy food that I wouldn't even be able to taste. So instead I wrapped presents until the Sellotape ran out - then finally got some writing done. Hurrah.

Yesterday was fun. I went on set to see a drama I've written being filmed. I would have made more of a song and dance about this before, but it's not an original idea, it's a drama-documentary about a real-life series of murders in Britain. I work in the department where it's made and offered to work on the script - and bingo! Two months later, it's being filmed. That's about as different from full-on drama as it could be, and I wasn't sure what to expect, but it all looked excellent, really high production values. Drama-docs can vary from the 'reconstruction' type where it looks a bit like a police video, through to something like a 'proper' play - and this is definitely the latter. I was fascinated by how it worked, everyone was much friendlier than I'd imagined: and location catering was rather good too. And to hear people speak 'my' words... very different from novels. Makes me want to do another one.

Tomorrow boyf wants me to go 'personal shopping' with him, ie go and choose gifts for everyone he knows. Argh. Why do men always assume that women love/are genetically brilliant at shopping? I hate it. But will probably go anyway.

Lovely Link of the Day:
Some research (funnily enough, by a credit card company) about perfect Christmas shopping environments including:

The report found that the perfect environment for shopping consists
22°C ideal shop temperature
55dB optimum music volume
Never more than 9 paces proximity to a mirror

Hmm... how about: cheap and empty?

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Grand plans disappear in avalanche of tissues

Word count: 5997 (OK, I've stalled)

This week I was going to: finish Christmas shopping AND wrapping, drive to my parents on the other side of the country, see friends, have my hair cut, solve the thorny issue of global warming and guarantee world peace.

However, a virus has thwarted most of those. Not a computer one, an old fashioned bug.

If I wasn't already off work as I am owed a couple of weeks' holiday, I would have struggled in and moaned a lot about having a cold. But as I am off anyhow, I have given myself a duvet day. This has involved reading lots of blogs (and commenting for the first time at Miss Snark - only hope she'll let my comments through, she seems to be a hard task mistress. But she's talking about a subject that's close to my heart), sticking a few more images in scrapbooks, snoozing and watching Space Cadets (a spoof space show where the spoof is one of two things - a) the 'contestants' honestly believe they're going up into orbit even though they're in a mocked up Russian space ship that is actually in Ipswich OR b) we're the gullible ones, and the 'contestants' are all actors). I was reminiscing over the days off sick I used to have as a child when there was quality TV like Crown Court, a drama that ran for three afternoons a week. It was set in a courtroom where the jury was made up of 'real members of the public' - they'd listen to the evidence and then give a verdict on the Thursday. That WAS the nearest we came to reality TV in the 70s. And according to the web they made 600 episodes!

On progress front, I have however put in an offer on the house I quite like. It won't be accepted but there might be a deal to be had. We shall see...

Love and snuffles,

Lovely Link of the Day:
Today I am dreaming of trendy wallpaper that I might put up once I buy a new house.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Coughs and sneezes spread diseases

Word Count: 5,888

Today I am
a) back to writing
b) suffering with a bit of a cold
c) wondering whether to make an offer on a house.

The cold is a real bore. Boyf got it over the weekend, lots of sneezing and a mountain of tissues: his colds are like that, they fly in and out within 24 hours, usually at weekends. I now have the same bug but it will be transformed into a slow-burner with me, starting with that 'underwater nose' feeling and culminating, in a week or so, in me losing my voice.

Unless the new miracle cure they've been plugging on TV works. It's called First Defence and is a spray that, from what I can gather in the leaflet, works by flushing your nose out. Well, it's certainly doing that: nose is dripping like a tap. Not the most pleasant of sensations but I think the theory is that it will stop the bugs and germs breeding up your nostrils, so that a few million less get into your system to attack you. Watch this space.

The writing is going OK - not great, but OK. Am stuck in a restaurant scene which I began a month or more ago, so I am looking forward to escaping from that one. Then I get into the drama of the book itself, which might be fun. I have lots of ideas at the moment but no clear idea of what's going to happen which is fun/scary depending on my mood.

And the house? Well, it's in an area I wasn't sure of, about 10 minutes' walk to the main shops, and 15 to the train station. But it's been very nicely done out inside, nothing new needs doing, and is definitely in my price range. Actually, it's very expensive for the road it's in and so that needs some careful consideration. I have seen so many places that I may not be making sense any more, though. Viewers' fatigue has set in.

Meant to be going out tonight to a Xmas do, and was rather hoping I might get a lift from boyf but no sign yet. Not sure I can face buses while in sniffly, sneezy state, if he doesn't make it.

Lovely Link of the Day:
Myths and true facts about the Common Cold - including justification for hot toddies.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Scrapbooks and shopping

Work is busier that it’s been in months which means my flexible hours idea – get in around 8am and leave by 5pm – is not working at all. On average I am in at 8am (leaving the flat at 7am) and leaving at 6.30pm, getting back after 7.30pm. This might seem pretty normal to lots of you but to me it’s quite a shock to the system… hence even less blogging.

Have begun doing Christmas shopping, including Secret Santa for people in my online writing messageboard. This is quite a big deal, not least because we have to write a poem to the recipient. And as the group includes, at a rough guess, about 50 per cent of the top writers in my genre, the bar is set quite high. My defence for writing a crap poem will be having a day job, but as most of them have kids/phenomenal work rates, this is a lame excuse.

Not much else to say. The cat is a bit fed up but OK and makes a big fuss when I go to visit her. I am looking forward to my work deadline being over so that I can actually think about writing. But for now I have been mainly tearing pictures out of magazines and making scrapbooks full of ideas. Play therapy for stressed writers…

Lovely Link of the Day:
I put Secret Santa into Google and all sorts of links pop up - seems there's a mini-industry devoted to this. So instead here's a link to recipes for home-made presents: much nicer (not that I shall be making any of these for my Secret Santa this year).