Friday, May 11, 2007

Coffee Break 17

I like to feel that a writer is perfectly cool and detached, regarding other people's feelings or his own, like a God who has got beyond them.
T.S. Eliot


So far, I am having a very uninteresting week. Sorry, but it's true. I am also in the throes of Pre-Publication Tension, a particularly nasty condition which is inevitably followed by Post-Publication Depression. They don't mention those in the British Medical Journal.

All this stuff about ten years of Blair is also making me feel very old...It's the first political 'era' I've lived through entirely as an adult and we've all aged a bit since '97 (though Blair more than most, surely the man could afford a sunblock? Then again, Gordon Brown can't afford Stop 'n' Gro for his bitten nails.).

Enough politics. I have been mainly dodging dust, painting walls and editing novel 5. Unusually for me, it's been less about cutting bits out, and more about adding the odd scene, i.e. actually writing entirely new bits. Including a kissing scene which made me go pink in Costa Coffee as I wrote it. So, novel racers, do your scenes ever move you/make you cry/turn you on? And if so, is that a good sign or does it feel self-indulgent?

Two more bits. Following last week's 'vote,' Liz Fenwick will be the lucky winner of our Novel Race prize - Zinnia was technically there first but as it was a second draft, it didn't quite fit the criteria. Well done to both, however. A prize should be on its way very soon, Liz.

I think we carry on now along parallel lines - so we have our original racers, who will still receive due credit when they finish. And then anyone who wants to get going on another book (I'll be doing exactly that next month, with a November deadline!) can begin all over again.

The other thing I wanted to link to was Billy Mernit's site: his Writing the Romantic Comedy book has proved invaluable for me lately. In the latest blog post, Mernit applies Kurt Vonnegut's writing rules to screen-writing, and it's excellent stuff, even if you're not writing a love story.

See you all next week - or possibly before, if the building work ends. And, oh, if you're short of something to read, The Self Preservation Society goes on sale next week, of course!?! I'd love to see any sightings - despite amazon claiming it'll take them six weeks to post it you, I am sure they will send it next week if you get your order in! Red magazine say it's hilarious, which is nice of them!

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15 Comments:

Blogger Cally said...

There have been a couple of occasions when I've had to write about something really horrible happening to my MC and I felt really moved by how upset she became (which kind of made me want to stop being horrible to her - but a book needs conflict so needs must!). There have been a couple of short stories I've written that have made me cry as I've been writing them.

Feeling moved/horny/upset when you write a certain passage has to be a good thing IMO.

9:53 am  
Blogger Novelgirl said...

I definately agree with Cally - if what your writing is making you emotional - it can only be a good thing - it means your really inside your characters heads - and yes I've been there in the past!

Good Luck with the book Kate - hope you dont suffer too much post publication depression.

Sx

10:00 am  
Blogger JJ said...

I've been thinking about posting on my blog about how it can make you feel to write about difficult issues so it's interesting to see it here. I think that might be one of the things that is making me 'too busy' to be getting on with the writing.

I also feel a bit directionless, and am planning to index card the plot.

I'm on the look out in Bangkok, Kate for your book. I know your previous books are available here.

11:19 am  
Blogger Zinnia Cyclamen said...

Hope there's some Publication Fun inbetween the PPT and the PPD. Good decision on the prize. I make myself laugh sometimes when I'm writing, but I think that's probably because I'm prone to laughing at my own bad jokes. Reading stories from my blog archive has made me well up a time or two, which I guess is a good sign. I don't get turned on writing sex scenes, I'm too busy thinking about whether I can make it work for the reader (in terms of the writing as a whole, rather than in terms of turning them on, if that makes sense).

11:51 am  
Blogger leatherdykeuk said...

I've just written the last 1000 words of Nephilim's Child and finished the first draft.

It'll be back to novel 6 (The one I started this race with) on Monday, though I shall have to look at it again now that I've re-written the prequel from scratch.

I am often moved by my character's plights. My partner has been known to ask why I'm crying when writing.

12:08 pm  
Blogger Kate.Kingsley said...

I didn't make it over here last week so I didn't cast my vote, but a very well done to Liz, and to Zinnia too.

Some of my writing does affect me quite strongly. There are certain things I want to write about (nothing gruesome, more a case of complex emotional issues) that I am actually quite scared to tackle! I envisage myself typing away and sobbing woefully into my laptop at the same time, and whilst yes, it does seem self-indulgent (and also a bit pretentious ~ the whole "suffering for your art" schtick) I wonder if being emotionally naked in your writing is the gateway to authenticity. That sounds a bit pretentious too, doesn't it?
The novel is officially on hold until after the wedding, what with organising the nitty gritty bittys taking up a lot of time and emotional energy. I have been dabbling in poetry, however, which is a relatively new experience for me as I've only ever written one poem before, and last week I banged out a short story in a day and a half which, after a bit of revision I shall try submitting to various places/comps. So, words are still flowing, just in a different direction.

Love the header quote, Kate ~ reminds me of the "splinter of ice in the heart" analogy. One time, mid argument with boyfriend, I almost reached for my notebook to jot some notes down. I stopped myself just in time! Can't think it would have improved the situation much.

Best wishes, and have a great week everyone,
Kate K

PS: currently reading "Old School Ties", Kate, and loving it ~ I'm remembering things from school (good and bad) that I had entirely forgotten about!

12:18 pm  
Blogger Lucy Diamond said...

I've definitely had tears in my eyes at some sad scenes I've written, and I got really upset about a scene in my second novel where a child is rushed into hospital, but that was largely because it was based on an experience I went through with my son, so I was just revisiting my own trauma. (That was a very long sentence, sorry.)

Have been writing lots of emotional scenes in this third novel now, so feel quite wrung-out with all the drama. (Am slightly worried it's all getting TOO dramatic, without enough 'quieter' interludes but I can sort that out at second draft stage, hopefully.)

Liz - I have spoken to someone at Pan about your prize, by the way. She is going to send you some goodies next week, hope that's okay.

Rachel - well done on finishing your first draft. Hoorah!

I am at 65,000 words now so pretty much two-thirds of the way through. Another Hoorah!

1:45 pm  
Blogger Helen said...

Like Lucy I too feel a bit wrung out this week. I don't know however if it is book affecting real life or real life affecting book. I think it might be the former to be honest. This might be the reason why word count hasn't really shot up this week. I'm just over 57,000 but would love to get near to 70,000 for next week.

I'm also hoping to get some short stories written and sent off so I'm going to have a go at Cally's short story widget thing...

1:57 pm  
Blogger Jane Henry said...

Haven't written a word all week... so probablly shouldn't be here.
I did write a very emotional scene at the end of Pastures New, which I was quite nervous about it as it was in my head from early on and I was worried I'd cock it up. My twin sister reassured me that it worked, so I was pleased about that...

Though I haven't been writing, I did go to a brilliant gig last night... so I've just written about that instead. Any Ray Davies fans come and say hello!

2:00 pm  
Anonymous Dave Hill said...

I'm feeling very far from cool and detached from my stuff at the minute. I now have eight days left in which to complete my Mad Novel - to be entitled Holy Football, in theory - upload it to wherever, design a cover and have the thing available online. The plan is to publish it before the FA Cup Final kicks off next Saturday 19th at 3.00 pm. It will take a miracle but I haven't stopped believing yet (ho ho).

I have laughed one or twice at what I've written. If you go to my blog and a category called Writer's Life you'll be able to read a few little extracts. If they make you laugh, let me know. If they don't LEAVE ME ALONE!!!!

Best wishes to all...

2:00 pm  
Blogger sheepish said...

I think it would be difficult not to get a bit emotional about some of the scenes I write, if it didn't affect me then how can I expect it to affect other people.I know you have to be somewhat detached but not entirely.

I have managed another 2k this week and have also had more plot ideas so am feeling quite positive this week. I just hope it lasts.

Loved the idea of Kate K. taking notes as she argued with her bf, excellent.
And Kate I'm sure the book will be another success so no ppd.
Have a good weekend one and all.

6:18 pm  
Blogger B.E. Sanderson said...

Sorry I missed the coffee break. I completely forgot it was Friday.

I'm taking a short sabbatical while my sanity sorts itself out. I'm still blogging, but all other writing is on hold.

Congrats to all of you who've been productive this week. I'm rooting for you all.

3:52 am  
Blogger Jen said...

Blimey, how come I'm always last?

I've been pottering along, a hundred words here and a hundred words there and have just hit 25% which I'm quietly chuffed by!

I tend to do my 'thinking' in the car and quite often make myself cry with emotional bits of stuff my characters are going through. I do get some funny looks. Haven't tackled (no pun intended!!) any sex scenes yet but am secretly looking forward to them.

Good luck with the book Kate - will keep my eyes peeled!

6:53 pm  
Anonymous Kate Hardy said...

TSE wasn't always right - I think especially if you're a writer of romantic fiction you need to fall for your hero and cry at the black moment. But 'tis just my opinion! (If one of mine makes me cry, I know my ed is going to love it.)

Hope the PPT and PPD pass swiftly.

I spied your book in Norwich yesterday - had I spotted it on my way IN to Smith's, I would've bought it, but I was on the way out of Smith's and the queue at the till was huge and DH had already phoned me twice along the lines of "where the hell are you and how long does it take to buy some pencils and a red pen?" (Answer: it didn't, it was buying books that took the time...) I plan to get it next time am in the city, tho. Cover looked fab. Will take camera with me for proof of spying book :o)

3:27 pm  
Blogger ChrisH said...

Hi Kate, thanks for spotting me - even if I did leave my comment in the wrong place, Doh! And I'm now oh, five months behind everyone else, but would love to sort of plod along behind the crowd (no change there then!) whilst I wrestle with novel#2! Are you still on romna or did you leave?

5:28 pm  

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