Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Roman Numerals

It is time to bring back the Roman Numeral (notice the capital on both words - shows Importance!).


Publishing houses have house styles and these poor fellas have to be converted to 'propa' numbers. Delete them, cross them off. Get rid, get rid! Not everyone can convert them or probably understand. Schools do not tell you.


I learnt at a young age. Our old carriage clock had the 'V' and the 'X' and the 'III' on the clock face. Then those capital 'I's' and 'V's' disappeared. You might find them in old fashioned, musty smelling library books but in the real world, well things were different.


I have been changing my mind about naming my chapters. Do I give them cheesy subtitles, go for the numbered approach or do I use letters? I know it's a small dilemma when it comes down to the novel. But at least I have one solution. Now back to plot dilemmas.


Lets campaign for a bit of class and jolly, pretty number sequences!

Sunday, 24 January 2010

The Year of The Edit

I am writing this post whilst standing up. I would sit on my desk chair but one of the cats has beaten me to it. We are currently looking after my sister's two cats, Bruce (a tabby) and Ginger. The other cat has my dressing gown.

The time has come - I am going to start reading through the novel, making notes, do any corrections and redraft into something worthwhile.

Here are some pictures of the manuscript:

Monday, 18 January 2010

Book Club Could Do Better

There is a new book club programme on UK television at the moment (Sundays, 19.30, More4 channel) called 'The TV Book Club'. The programme makers want to create the same success of talk show host's Richard and Judy and Oprah's book reviewing slots. Big sales, big coverage, big exposure.

Richard and Judy's book club became the biggest thing to hit the book industry since Harry Potter. I remember working at the Bookshop when the first book was reviewed. Nobody expected the book to sell out within an hour. New posters and huge amounts of stock arrived before the next episode - we sold out again. Middle list authors, debut authors were given the limelight.

However, the new bookshop has featured authors who already have a name for themselves - Sarah Waters, Nick Hornby. Six celebrities all try and battle to get their opinion heard. The show is 30 minutes long but they only spent 5 minutes talking about the featured book. The rest of the time was full of snooze-induced fillers. They talked about one the 'guest' host's books for long. Even the credits were annoying - the audience do not need to be told its a bookclub - the titles show us already.

I felt like I was being talked down to most of the time. Maybe the programme isn't aimed at hardcore bookies.

I would like to see a show that investigates the themes, presenters with no ego to parade, more time spent on the booker, maybe feature a few 'civilians' and their comments. Ditch the fillers and go features on the plot, writing style, other books. Maybe give us some extracts.

I hear book sales are already picking up - so the show must be doing something right!

Thursday, 14 January 2010

You Shall Know Our Velocity

I am still reading Dave Egger’s first novel, ‘You shall know our Velocity.’
The book is brilliant – I like the subtle experimental techniques – nothing too flash and over the top. We don’t want to scare the reader. This book is about ‘Hands’ and Will as they go on a journey around in the world in seven days (or try) and try to come to terms with their friend’s death. I read on Wikipedia that there are different versions of this book with some characters taken out, etc. I guess its like having a director’s cut.

I think we could make it onto the list of favourite authors. I’ll try another book and see. The list has been cut recently. A lot of my favourite author’s released new books last year. Great, I thought, 2008 was not a great year for exciting books. So, I got the books when they were released in hardback and sat down. I nearly gave up on one and the others did not stir me. I was disappointed. But maybe next time. Everyone has their writing struggles.

Dave’s Egger’s half memoir, half fiction ‘A heartbreaking work of staggering genius’ is now on my wish list.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Coming out of Hibernation

I’m back from my hibernation – I am starting to feel much better. So much better that I submitted a story about the snow. I did worry that the story may not be ‘seasonal’ anymore but thanks to the cold temps we have snow again! Fingers crossed that the editor likes the story. I have also started another short story but I think this one is going to be different – more experimental – my favourite way of writing.

I have also been watching Joss Whedon’s ‘Dollhouse.’ There have been mixed reviews about this but I didn’t let those bother me. I enjoyed Buffy and Firefly so I took a chance. I really enjoyed it. It’s much better than the new series of Heroes and definitely better than Defying Gravity. Dollhouse is about a corporation which program individuals referred to as Actives (or Dolls) with temporary personalities and skills. They are used as lovers, spies, killers. Science fiction set in the here and now.

Progress on the novel – still sitting on my desk. I am thinking of starting the editing process at the end of February.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Be Back Soon

Not a great start to the new year - a sinus, throat and ear infection. I feel like this is a repeat of September. 

I have made my first submission of the year - fingers crossed. My year also started with some re-reading too. Daphne du Maurier's 'Rebecca' is a warming comfort read when you're ill. I am currently making my way through my first David Eggers' 'You Shall Know Our Velocity' at an alarmingly fast rate. Top notch. Eggers is my new writing hero. 

I will be back soon once I have uncurled from my duvet and have recovered. I am sorry to a few people whose emails and requests are still sitting in my inbox. I will promise to jump back on them once I am feeling more alive. 

Something to think about in the mean time: 

Both images from Google Images. 

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Living in the Future

WOW - It's 2010. I feel like I'm living in a science fiction novel. By now we should have a moon base, be mining on Mars and building a portal to take us on cruises to the other side of the galaxy. But we don't - maybe in 2050, maybe?

I'm going to be honest - the only writing I have done has been on a short story. I currently have a horrid cold, burnt my wrist on the oven and been playing with my Christmas presents. I got a digital photo frame, a funky new handbag, a book called 'Line by Line' (how to edit writing) and a watch. Plus I got the customary smellies and odd ball presents.

2009 was a great writing year. I finished the first draft of my novel. Plus I wrote a lot of short stories too. I also had the biggest publication rate in 2009 too.

Some resolutions for this year:

  • Edit and redraft novel 
  • Pass my driving test 
  • Try and write at least one short story every month
Now, I'm off to hug a box of tissues.