Coffee Break 15
Who would play your hero/heroine in the movie/TV series of your book?
Maggie Gyllenhall would be my current heroine.
And how are we all doing this week?
Labels: coffee break
I'm Kate Harrison, author of British 'chick lit' novels: The Secret Shopper novels, The Self-Preservation Society, The Starter Marriage, Brown Owl's Guide to Life and Old School Ties. This blog is about words, books and the true adventures of a jobbing writer...
Labels: coffee break
There is definitely a difference between the bits of the brain used for writing, and the bits used for plotting, don't you find? Writing can be joyful or frustrating or plain hard work (like typing, rather than wading, through treacle) but plotting is one of those tasks that makes my brain feel tired.
I was relieved to read in this piece in the Guardian a while back that this feeling is not unique to me. The writer, Oliver Burkeman, describes doing one of those brain-training exercises (it doesn't work on the Grauniad website, as it's all written in black type so I feel at liberty to reproduce it here). You have to read the following out loud, but read out the COLOUR in which the word is printed, not the word itself:
Red Green Blue Black Black Green Red Blue Red Red Blue Green Black
It's hard, isn't it? Well, that feeling (Burkeman says the exercise activates 'as many regions of your prefrontal cortex as possible, strengthening neural connections and even creating new ones. This is all just neuroscience-speak for the weird sensation - it actually feels almost like a literal stretching of the mind') is the one I get when I sit down to plot a new novel. Don't get me wrong, it's not as though I am working through some complex crime plot, which truly would be like mental spaghetti, but I am at that point expanding an idea which may until that point only exist as the most basic of 'what if's...For example, what if a bunch of former Brownies were reunited, each sharing the same childhood secret? Or, what if a woman who was terrified of everything, had a near-death experience and realised how precious life is?
That's where I am right now - I've got two book ideas on the go (separate from the book I've just finished writing), one quite developed, the other very sketchy, and I am trying to work out which one has most 'legs'. The under-developed one is getting the full thinking treatment - how can I turn a notion into a story, what must the characters do and need, and how can I put obstacles in their way? It's a rather alarming, unsettling form of mental juggling. Or to carry on the circus analogy, perhaps it's more like the trapeze...that feeling of vertigo, of wobbliness. One wrong move and the story comes tumbling down.
OK. Maybe that's a step too far. But I find this aspect of the novel-writing process both exhilirating and exhausting.
And if you're a bit of a gizmo person, like me, then you might like this article on how to plot your novel using Google Notebook - a tool I hadn't realised existed. It's effectively used, in this case, as the online equivalent of index cards. Haven't quite got the hang of it, but it's good fun!
In other news, a piece I wrote for Norm's blog about a favourite book - in my case, the Kind of Loving trilogy by Stan Barstow - has gone up today. Anyone fancy sharing their thoughts on a much-loved book?
Yes, I've been a busy writer the last few days: I've been updating my website with the opening chapter of my new book, The Self-Preservation Society, which is published in just over a month's time. And also been doing some Novel Race updates: welcome to Cally!
Labels: novel race
Labels: pure passion
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.
Sadly, the last two don't mean I have Hollywood producers banging down the door, but I am going to send the script to the Script Factory under their friendly producers scheme (I wonder how friendly they are exactly? We need to be told). I don't hold out much hope as I find scripts quite tricky but it's a rare opportunity to get some material read (you can only submit if you've been on one of their courses) so, nothing ventured, eh? And also it gets the opening of the book clearer in my mind, by imagining it as a movie.
I had promised myself a break after the edits but once I've done the script, and done a piece for Norm's blog about a favourite book, I will take it easy. At least until I get the comments back on the first draft.
Oh, and I have a new blog I like: if you haven't come across her novels, Jojo Moyes is mistress of fantastically intense emotional books, with great settings and fascinating ideas. And her blog's cool too.
I'm at this 'back to the computer' stage and about 2/5ths of the way through, but actually that's misleading as the second half is in much rougher condition than the first. Ah well. We do have lots of plans for this weekend, so it may be a 'burning the midnight oil' scenario.
So how's everyone else doing? Have a lovely weekend - and do make sure you don't get Easter Egg between the keys of your keyboard...