Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Reading and teaching and plotting

Today I did my first seminar on the part-time lecturing contract I've just taken up at Kingston University (VERY handy as it's only a bus ride and also very useful as part of the general Not Turning into a Hermit Writer who Forgets how to Talk to People Masterplan). Once I'd got over the first few minutes of taking the register and generally feeling like a supply teacher, it was interesting. They ask first year students to do 'recitations' of short poems or pieces of fiction from memory and although when I heard about this I was a bit unsure about the benefits, actually it's a great exercise. I think it encourages students (or any of us really) to focus on the sound of the words, and on how they flow, and it offers lots of potential for discussion of style...

So, having earned my first bit of direct paid-per-hour cash in a little while (novel-writing isn't hourly paid, obviously, and I shudder to think what the rate would be), I went straight to a cafe to work on one of my new big ideas. I did this yesterday too and it's fun seeing how long I can make a cup of coffee last...where I live is Yummy Mummy Central, so I find that smoking sections are the best for a bit of peace and quiet. Generally I am very much in favour of smoking bans, but I can't help worrying that no cafe will be buggy-free once it happens. I have nothing against babies, of course, but other people's are not conducive to deep thinking.

Deep thinking. Hah! I could be done under the Trades Descriptions Act for that one, if any of you were telepathic and could read the lightweight nature of my synaptic connections (she said, randomly trying to put a scientific word in to show I have a couple of brain cells left).

I'm also working my way through some great reading material: currently on Special Topics in Calamity Physics (ooh, what a swanky website) which I ordered from the library, thinking I'd hate it, but actually so far, so good. Yes, the constant references are a bit of a tic but I like the way she writes. We'll see whether much of a plot develops, though, that'll be the big test. Plus I also have Suite Francaise on my list (another mega-novel) and a non-fiction, 1968: the Year that Rocked the World, which happens to be the year I was born (oh, God, I am so bloody old. But I rock, eh?).

Lovely Link of the Day:
Brown Owl's Guide to Life is now on the front page of lovereading on a kind of 'loop' - hurrah - even though the paperback doesn't actually appear until next month. And if anyone fancies downloading the chapter then I might get into their downloads chart. Actually, I think lovereading is terrific all round, because you can check out the style of all the new releases - a great try-before-you-buy idea, because you have time to read the whole opening chapter. It's brilliant for writers, too, because you can study the way a whole variety of authors try to hook a reader if you're looking for technique points.


Blogger Amanda Mann said...

Congratulations on the loveread rave. Quite right, too, Brown Owl a brilliant, fun read. Thanks, too, for the link, LOVE it & spent far too much time this morning reading opening chapters, fab.

9:42 am  

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