Monday, 29 December 2008

Exhibits, Dancing, Payments and New Additions to the Family

The second attempt at this post: 

It has been a busy couple of weeks but now its time to indulge with Christmas television and chocolate nibbles. 

(Originally this was all in nice paragraphing and it took me a hour to write but now its bullet points just in case it evaporates again)

Life 

  • Went to the Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster exhibit at the Tate Modern. It was like walking in a Science fiction movie with the regimented metal-framed bunkbed rows. It felt surreal and creepy as if the world had ended. 
  • Ventured through the Christmas crowds and traffic jams on the pavements to reach the Madison Gallery to see the Writer's Rooms Exhibit. The photographs of author's writing spaces have originally appeared in a weekly Guardian column. The majority had laptops, three had a chunky PC and a few still had typewriters. 
  • The boyfriend and I went and saw the visually stunning Edward Scissorhands. I originally saw it three years ago but the dancing, storyline and mise-en-scene was so magically that I had to go again as soon as I knew it was showing again. 

Writing

  • The new addition to the family...is... an Apple Macbook. Its sparkly white, shiny and sexy. If I had my way than 'guests' would have to wear surgical gloves to type on the virgin white keyboard. 
  • I have sent off some flash stories. Fingers crossed. 
  • I have been working and developing an idea. It could be too big for a short story. It might be a novel. 
  • I finally got paid for a piece of writing after several emails and checking PayPal everyday. 

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Hazards of simultaneous submissions

The other month I did the one thing that writers are encouraged not to do - I simultaneously sent the story to two magazines when I sent off Village Boys and Fret Boards into the world of magazine submissions. Hackwriters got back to me in record timing (under one hour with an acceptance). And now, eventually the other magazine has replied. They also wanted to publish the story.

There were two routes. Either be dishonest and let them publish the story or tell the truth (because they could easily find my story via goggle or on this blog). So I told them. And the editor got back to me, said they better not add the story to the issue as it was still available to view on the other site but could I send other, unpublished work for them because my style of writing suits their magazine. So I've sent off the email and its back to waiting, waiting, waiting.

From this I learnt that doing simultaneous submission can sometimes lead to a lot of explaining but Fingers crossed, could work out in the end.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Novel Writing Month

A few people have asked me if I took part in Novel Writing Month (the challenge was to write 50 thousand words in November). Originally I signed up at the start of October with the intention of getting a fist draft of my ‘project novel’ down onto a Word document. But I ended up giving up the idea as I couldn’t see the plot going any further and I think using the idea for my final year project for my Masters project meant I had to rush into it. There was no thinking, no simmering of the plot into a storyline or expanding themes. Just a word count and a looming deadline. And after the deadline I was dreading finishing the ‘thing.’ I had never felt like that about writing. But when I shelved the idea, the ideas came back and the warmness to writing.

I decided not to do Novel Writing Month as it was too soon to rush in with another idea. I’ve learnt that ideas need time to evolve before hitting the page and sometimes word counts and deadlines can hurt work.

Well done to Lisa for completing the task and before the 31st too!

Monday, 1 December 2008

Paris Interviews


The lastest book purchase bounced off the doormat and onto my armchair today. Volume three of The Paris Reviews is full of author interviews and just like volume one (I'm still waiting for the second one, maybe Father Christmas will see my incomplete collection and feel like the gap needs filling), gives insights into the writing process. The conversational tones catch the writers in a state that makes them feel like you and me, not the 'celebrity' that most of them are.
SAM SHEPARD 1997 “I hate endings. Just detest them. Beginnings are definitely the most exciting, middles are perplexing and endings are a disaster.”
JORGE SEMPRUN 2007 “When I write, I make my memories tangible, and in this way I can get rid of them. On the other hand, writing is but a ploy to convulse memory back into life.”
WILLIAM TREVOR 1989 “English eccentricity has a suburban quality—it's like a very neatly trimmed garden in which you suddenly realize that the flower beds aren't what they seem to be.”
These are just some of the quotes from the Paris Review website. Some of the interviews can be read on the website (in full or part) but having the book allows you to dip in and pull out chunks.