Friday, April 13, 2007

Coffee Break 13

Writing is very improvisational. It's like trying to fix a broken sewing machine with safety pins and rubber bands. A lot of tinkering.

Margaret Atwood: Conservations (1990)

Ooooh, creepy or what. It's Coffee Break 13 on Friday the 13th. Stay safe out there, boys and girls!

Given the date, I wonder if anyone wants to share writing superstitions and rituals? I'm actually surprisingly ritual free, considering my neurotic repertoire of fears and phobias. In fact I can't think of any writing rituals. I keep thinking it would be nice to buy myself something symbolic at the end of each book - a piece of jewellery or something - but as I haven't done that so far, it would feel slightly artificial. Anyone else want to 'fess up to running around their desk anti-clockwise singing Brown Girl in the Ring first thing every morning?

Belated happy publication to Lucy Diamond - her new book is fab and is everywhere. It's gorgeous to look at as well. We also have a new novel racer, Judith. Welcome to the club! (But I can't seem to find your ID at blogger, is it still up there? Will add as soon as it works...)

I finished my movie treatment but don't think it's up to much. Sent it anyway, on the off chance. I do have a plan for the next book (book 6! How did that happen?) but another idea that seems much hotter has just occurred to me. They just keep coming. As I've said before, I have very little quality control so these urges have to be controlled... What I do now is stick a Post-it with the title on it to my wall. There are currently 9 Post-its there.

Oh, and can I share my cover news? It's quite relevant, honest, to see how designs change from hardback to paperback. So this is the hardback of my new one, out in just over a month:

The reports from the bookshops are good – the cloud up at the top is a really unusual foamy texture, almost rubbery – and I am predicting a whole new market for my books among the rubber fetishist fraternity (ooo, just see those web searchers end up here after googling those words).

The paperback (out in December) has just popped up on amazon and is completely different, though similar to my jacket for the paperback of Brown Owl's Guide to Life. I like the fairground theme – there’s a pivotal scene around the winning of a fluffy goldfish – and the lettering.

I like both but aren’t they really, really different? No conclusions to draw except it’s interesting as it’s a) the same book and b) a book that features romance, yes, but also near-death experiences, advice on self-catering in your nuclear fall-out shelter, and musical comedy. See. You can’t ever judge a book from its cover.

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Blogger Zinnia Cyclamen said...

Very interesting post, Kate. I like both covers too. I don't have any writing rituals, unless a little bit of initial procrastination counts (and I don't always do that, sometimes I dive straight in). I love the Margaret Atwood quote, that's exactly what I feel as if I'm doing at the moment: a lot of tinkering. But I think I've broken the back of the second draft now, and I have a fairly clear week ahead, so I hope to have significant progress to report this time next week.

9:33 am  
Blogger liz fenwick said...

I like both covers Kate but I think the December appeals slightly more to me but then I haven't run my fingers across the other yet!

Well, I'm back after a great hols but the kids are still on holiday so life hasn't picked up its normal routine.

I will be jumping around and visitng everyone's blog which is becoming a ritual before I write. Thanks to all those who popped by while I was away.

I am so close to the end of the wip that I can taste it. Its all of 5000 words max to the end. It is a very rough draft but the story is out and I can tinker away to make it all work or at least I hope so.

Welcome to all the new racers.

10:34 am  
Blogger Novelgirl said...

Hi Kate

It is very spooky that its Friday the 13th and our 13th coffee break - I'm at work and loads of things have already gone wrong this morning - however the phone has hushed down down and were praying that nothing else will happen!

Love the front covers - they are both so different - almost like having two new books!

No rituals for me - but maybe I should start some? I may get some words written then!

I've done a bit of editing this week and may do some more on Sunday - definately need to catch up with my word count!

Until next week....

10:39 am  
Blogger hellojed said...

Keep us posted on those google hits! The only ritual I have is a strong compulsion to wave at lone magpies. Have a great weekend.

10:50 am  
Blogger Lucy Diamond said...

Lovely covers - both really striking. Can't wait to fondle the rubbery bits on the hardback for myself (that sounds really pervy out of context but you know what I mean).
My only writing ritual is to have a good strong cup of tea on the desk. Can't do anything without one!

Now then...breaking news...I have actually done some writing on the novel this week - only a few thousand words, but I'm really chuffed because it feels like a long time since I've been able to report such a thing! I've got a few clear weeks ahead so I'm hoping to get up to about 45,000 words by the end of the month. Well, I'm an optimist, you never know, it might happen.

Enjoy the last 5000 words of yours, Liz, I hope you've got some bubbly ready to put in the fridge!
And hope everyone has a lucky Friday 13th!

11:36 am  
Blogger NoviceNovelist said...

No lurking wrting rituals here! Thanks so much to Kate and Lucy for sharing their publication stories and enthusiasm - it's something that you don't get to hear very often. It's really inspirational and has got me itching to write the day away. Must just finish reading other writer's blogs before I can start writing - Ahh I do have a ritual!

12:01 pm  
Blogger Kevin said...

Whoa, remembered to check in on a Friday again. That's what? Three for thirteen?

Nice covers. Though of course the fact they don't match makes it much more difficult to judge the book.

Back from the 25th anniversary cruise. I blog about it here. (Just scroll down to the April 7th entry.) The best part of the whole experience was Valerie and I spending 24 hours together for eight days straight and discovering we still enjoy each other's company immensely.

I have no rituals except somewhere over the last few years I developed the need of a keyboard for writing. Starting out -- before I owned a laptop -- I used to do all my creative writing on paper tablets during the day, then type what I'd written on the kids' computer after they were in bed. Now they stay up much later than I do.

Usually. The next two and a half weeks will see me getting very little sleep. (Got four hours last night.) To hit my deadline I have to produce at least 2000 words a day for the duration. Which wouldn't be so bad, except the words have to somehow result in telling a story. Always the tricky part.

My task was made easier by the folks at my day job (note tongue in cheek). I'm a case manager with a community support agency and several crises developed while I was on vacation. The CMs tasked with covering for me while I was gone leapt into action. They explained to the clients and support staff involved that I'd be back in a week and put sticky notes about the problems on my computer monitor.
(Behavior that allows me to justify typing this while at work as necessary relief of stress brought on by their lack of effort.)

The wavy little security word ensuring I'm not a robot trying to clutter the blog with ads this week is zklcatsv. This, of course, is the AIM screen name of Ezekiel Cataslav, the famed Czech psychic detective.

More next week.

-- KeVin

1:38 pm  
Blogger Kate.Kingsley said...

Hi everyone,

Well done Liz, thats a great position to be in! I wish you a lot of luck with the remaining 5000 words.

My cover bias is towards the hardback one ~ the tactile interactiveness appeals to me I think.

I don't have any writing rituals or superstitions (other than keeping it all a closely guarded secret from everyone bar my fiance until i feel I'm at a strong enough point to start sharing). I write in longhand in notebooks with a fountain pen to start with, and then transfer it all onto my laptop, but I'm not sure if thats really a ritual or just the fact that I am a bit of a luddite.

WIP: I have made some progres, and also some not progress ~ the word count has ground to a near standstill as life is getting very very hectic (upcoming wedding ~ don't know if I mentioned it about a billion times or so) so I am fairly behind on the novel, my A215 course and a short story I am working on too. I think i'll have the face facts that there will be very little headway made until after the honeymoon, but I only plan to marry once and so I'm gong to make sure that I really enjoy this.

So, little owrd count process, but the ideas are still bubbling ~ as this is the first novel I've tackled I don't quite know what i'm doing yet, and I came to realise that whilst the tension between my two main protagonists is central to my plot I don't quite know enough about my supporting cast of characters to provide a fully authentic "colouring in" of the rest. So any spare novel time this weekend will be spent "interviewing" my peripheral characters in order to beef them up a bit.
Hope the sun is shining on you all, happy writing,

1:41 pm  
Blogger B.E. Sanderson said...

Good morning everyone.

I actually accomplished something this week, so I'm feeling pretty good. I rolled over 20K words in my WIP and I'm more than halfway through editing my third book.

Interesting topic this week, Kate. I'd completely forgotten today was the 13th. I don't have any writing superstitions, unless you count not wanting anyone to read my work until it's polished to a fine glow. I don't even give stuff to beta readers until I'm sure I can't see any more problems with it.

BTW, both covers look awesome. Congratulations. =oD

2:01 pm  
Blogger Helen said...

Hello all. I am the same as Novicenovelist, the only ritual I have before writing is to read everyone elses blogs first! Unfortunately it does cut into my writing time somewhat.

I also agree with NN about Lucy and Kate's publication stories being an inspiration. As I blogged the other day, writers are told so many times that it is hard to get published, so to read about two people who have done just that is extremely motivational. Keep the stories coming.

Not got alot done on the word count this week, although I have sent some n/f work off to local paper. Even though it looks like it won't be published now, I feel like I have made a breakthrough on the confidence front.

Looking forward to next week - end of easter hols and back to writing routine.

2:15 pm  
Blogger leatherdykeuk said...

I have rituals. I have to write three poems first thing in the morning, then read my mail, catch up on blogs and set out my daily writing tasks. Only then can I begin on the novel.

4:09 pm  
Blogger Jane Henry said...

NO rituals yet, but seriously thinking I must start going downstairs with my laptop to write so I don't get distracted by the blogosphere (or this week You Tube). I am allowed to play this week as the kids are on holiday so I can't work. Next week must get to it...

Good news is my ed and agent both seem to like the first three chapters of the wip. So onwards and upwards.

Time to do some research on the run though about a) ball room dancing and b) lawyers...

Kate preferred the second cover, but LOVE the title. The Italian Job is a great favourite among all the kids I know - my neighbour's sons go round chanting at each other: "You were only meant to blow the bloody doors off!"

Can't wait to read it....

And am sure the film treatment is brill.

Love Janex

PS Just been to lunch at the UK's biggest vineyard and DIDN'T have any wine. How restrained was that? The fact that I had all the kids, my mil and was driving had nowt to do with it of course...

5:07 pm  
Blogger JJ said...

I cannot believe that I'm six hours ahead of you all and I still can't make it to coffee on time!

We have family here in Thailand for Easter, so I am just about keeping up with the blogging, though not the writing. They keep teasing me about how I can't leave my laptop alone... They are of course right.

My sister in law with her fresh eyes has given me the next topic for my column, which is great. And while surfing the blogs I came across something that gave me an idea for the next novel (!)

I don't have any rituals other than checking email, blogs, and drinking tea! I could see myself getting very carried away with rituals if I'm not careful, so I don't really want to go down that route.

I loved the paperback cover, Kate. I echo the others, that it's brilliant that you share your stories. It makes me feel that it can and does happen to real people.


5:02 am  

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