Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Conversations with Chapter 15

ME: So, chapter fifteen we meet again. Are you ready for your turning of edits, scribbles and rewrites?

CH15: Hold on, slow down. What do you mean chapter 15? Somehow, between being typed on the computer and printed off I have slipped down the pecking order from chapter 7 to 15. I liked 7 it is my favourite number.

ME: Chapters have been renumbered. I gave numbers to the alphabet chapters - you're still in the same place in the novel-

CH15: Nobody remembers the fifteenth chapter. (Goes off to sulk in the corner). Do you know what is even more hurtful? Can you guess, no, well you said when writing me that I was the hardest chapter to write but it didn't mattered because you would polish me up, make me sparkle for the second draft. But I have heard rumours that my make-over is more radical.

ME: Did chapter thirteen tell you that? Because he is a slippery character.

CH15: It doesn't matter if it was chapter eight or 13. I wanna know what you're planning.

ME: Okay, you want the truth. I nearly binned you from the novel. Cut you out of the credits. Got the other chapters to cover your shift.

CH15: You what?

ME: Don't get upset. I thought about it and I thought, chapter 15 is one of the good guys.

CH15: You don't need to tell me that. Just look at that line of girls waiting at my door. I'm a superstar.

ME: So and this is a big SO, you are going  to be renovated back to the foundations and rebuilt. An extreme make over.

CH15: It sounds like you're going to knock me down, rip out the original features and make a different chapter 15.

ME: Nobody wants to know about the main character's day at work. No body cares if her boss wants to offer her a promotion even though she is part of some sort of Resistance group. No tension. Plus it doesn't move the plot forward.

CH15: Readers like routine. It makes people feel safe.

ME: No it doesn't. It is boring.

CH15: Now you're hurting me.

ME: Look, its going to be for the best. I want you to be a chapter that matters. Don't you?

CH15: I suppose so. (He climbs back on to the pile of paper and waits his turn patiently).

Monday, 29 March 2010

Comps and Challenges

There are a few competitions coming up - I saw the links on Twitter and I thought lets share them.

Harpers Magazine - deadline 12th April - write a short story based on the theme of the 'face.'

She Magazine are also running a competition - write a short story based on the theme of 'summer.' - The details were in the previous edition of the magazine.

One for the poets. I know you're out there, lurking in alleyways. April is Poetry writing month or NaPoWriMo (a bit like novel writing month in November). The idea is that you write a poem for each day in April. I really want to write something new but the novel is munching at my time. So, my plan is to write one or possibly two haiku everyday.

Monday, 22 March 2010

Progress Report

I am now technically half-way with editing the first draft – lets just say I have definitely cut 10 percent off the word count. What happens if the word count is too low? My boyfriend said. I don’t know. I really don’t know.

The chapters alternate between two female characters – I have now decided to put one in first person because I want the reader to know her opinions, see the world from her eyes. Also, give her a unique voice in doing so. I don’t want the character to have the same voice as the other character or even sound like me.

I haven’t written any new stories at the moment but I did edit two chapters over the weekend – which counts though don’t it? I also slashed out the beginning of chapter 13 – something that took six pages to explain (!) is now one paragraph. Bish. Bash. Bosh.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Lunchtime Reading

Recently, (okay January), The Guardian published an article about the winter ruining lunchtime reading. The writer couldn’t sit out amongst the snow nor sit at their workplace because of the noise. I agreed to the article. If I am reading the best-book-since-sliced-bread then I can concentrate through rustling crisp packets, VIP phone calls and the temptation of the internet. However, I prefer to read on the train, in bed, in the bath and on the sofa. Places away from the computer. I still read at lunchtime but I prefer to use the time to catch with blogs and websites. I thought I would share with you (and also help me organise my bookmarks).

Bookshelves – photographs of people’s shelves

The Intern – an anonymous blog about the publishing industry

The Literary Project – interviews with authors/agents/editors

Mslexia – Reading the blog.

Naomi Alderman – author of ‘Disobedience’ – one of the rest reads from last year. 

Passive Aggressive Notes – because there are a lot of angry people in this world

Good Reads – a good place for storing my reading past, present and future.

And the blogs on my blogroll!

Do you read at lunchtime?

Thursday, 11 March 2010

New Look

I have made some changes - all the links to my published pieces are now available on the 'Published works' tab (just below the header). There is also new pages for 'About me' and 'Reviewed works.' I am trying to organize the blog because it has become more of a permanent home rather than a fad. 

Monday, 8 March 2010

Tell Me How You Write

Teresa is running a 'Tell me how you write' series over on her blog at the moment. Jo Stanley, Nik Perring, Diane Becker and Alex Thornber have all stopped by and given a same account of their processes. Now it is my turn. Click on below link if you fancy a read.

Tell Me How You Write - Jessica Patient 

I have written about the role of notebooks in my writing and how important they are to me before even hitting the first key on the computer.

My novel notebook is currently suffering from overload - I'm adding more notes every day for plot changes, name changes, notes to add more detail, notes to take out detail.

I have also been reading alot of blog posts recently about the dreaded second novel. And it has got me thinking, what if I can't write another one? What if this is it? What if there are no more ideas left in my head once I have finished editing? I know, I know, there is no need to worry because I am still editing and redrafting this one. I just can't help it.

Friday, 5 March 2010

Snowman - A Love Story at Metazen

My short story, Snowman - A Love Story, is up at Metazen today.

Snowman - A Love Story 

I wrote the story back when it snowed, snowed and just kept snowing. I remember standing at the window, looking out over the street and watching the old woman next door shuffle out of her door and drag her bin back. She has a husband but we never see him. The writing cogs started turning.

This is also the firt story I wrote after finishing the first draft of my novel. 

Subbing the Old Fashioned Way

In a time where people are converting to eco ways, creating simpler work processes, making the world more accessible. Why are some literary magazines asking for postal submissions and postal submissions only?

I have just literally sealed up the envelope for a short story. Snail mail is so last century. The literary magazine in question (who shall remain anon) has a decent website, has a blog, and even e-versions of the print magazine. Postal submission doesn't seem to fit with their digital vision. To be honest, postal submissions is a bit backwards.

The company I work for embraces technology for submissions and queries. Firstly, it stops wastage of paper (paper comes from trees) and secondly, the query can be dealt with quicker. Postal is so long winded, for the writer and for the editor at the other end. And in these 'economic times' money saving ideas are the only things to save magazines and publishers. I have heard of E-book readers be used by editors to read submissions.

What do others think?
Should postal submissions be thrown into a museum along with dino bones or should we save this extinct method?

Added - An article about the same idea - Email Submissions: Why we love them (and hate them).

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Happy World Book Day

This was my favourite time of year when I worked in Bookselling. Every school child got a book token and those book tokens made a lot of children happy and their parents a little poorer.

What will you be reading today?
I am currently enjoying Rapture by Liz Jensen.

World Book Day Website

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Out With The Theory and In With The Creativity

Blogging, writing any new stories and reading has been put on hold since my birthday. Reading the Highway code, reading the big car theory book and watching the hazard awareness DVD had become my number one occupation after working and sleeping. I now know about speed signs, first aid and lane restrictions. I also know too much about the colour of studs on the motorway. It feels like a curse.
I passed!
That means I can start enjoying all the books I got for my birthday. This includes: England's Best Loved Poems edited by George Courtauld, Scorch Atlas by Blake Butler and The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp.

The editing is progressing slowly - but that is fine with me. I have split two chapters into four chapters! Plus I have a growing notebook with notes for the next draft. I have also scribbled all over chapter one, again.