Monday, 28 June 2010

Novel Fatigue

I might have novel fatigue. Of course, I have self-diagnosed myself so I could have over-dramatised the symptoms so I could label myself with a 'condition' to explain my lack of motivation for my novel.Symptoms include a reluctance to head to my desk after work and spend the evening editing (either on the screen or paper), wondering why I am bothering to write a novel, dreading about people reading it and shaking their heads in disgust, having no motivation to transfer my edits. Those seem to be the core symptoms at the moment. 

I have found relocating myself has helped. Away from the desk and on to the sofa or even the bed. Editing seems so much easier when you can lounge and have your legs resting on the mattress or coffee table.

I'm sorry novel - I only managed to edit one chapter this weekend but don't feel too bad because there is two weeks of washing that needs ironing so I'm having to wear jeans and a short sleeved jumper on one of the hottest days of the year.

I am keeping creative - I am currently cross stitching Monet's Japanese Bridge. Its a huge project but I am nearing the finishing line. I might try writing a short story and take a break. But then maybe writing this will motivate me again.

P.S. I passed my driving test first time!

P.P.S Caroline Smailes has a new book out and a new widget - become a bee and answer some questions. I have discovered a lot of new blogs too (I'm a fat pink bee!)

Saturday, 19 June 2010

My Bookmark Collection

I have always liked bookmarks. The first I can remember having was a maroon leather one with gold lettering of a grand old house. I used it for all my library books. Then it went missing. One day I had it, using it in a thick book (I felt like a grown up with such a heavy book, shame it was mostly illustrations) and then it was gone. I moved on and read my way through the Dr Seuss books at the library and then a few months later the thick book was back on the shelf. I loved this book. I opened the book and out slid my lovely bookmark. After that I wrote my name on the back and always shook books before handing them back.

Then working in the bookshop reignited my love for bookmarks. Every time a publisher sent some I would take one and add to my collection:

I got the Egyptian Mummy bookmark when I was nine! I have over fifty - I have never counted but I know I have a lot - there are some in my books too. I have also used postcards in the past (good for when you need to make notes about a book) and also the cover's sleeve. I have never folded over a corner of a book (!), yet I have written in biro in some of them.

In the past I have made bookmarks for presents too - either cross stitched ones, hand drawn ones or ones made on the computer. And people give them to me as presents too (the dolphin one was from my sister).

However, my current  bookmark is a tatty old post-it note with a 'three-for-two' sticker on it. I just don't want to ruin any of my bookmarks!

Monday, 7 June 2010

Room – Emma Donoghue

I was lucky enough to pick up a proof copy of Emma Donoghue’s Room at London Book Fair back in April. I’m glad I did because this book is brilliant.

This is a compelling story about Jack, five, and his Ma, being held captive by ‘Old Nick’ in a Room. The room, measuring 11 feet by 11 feet, with a locked door and a skylight, conceals them from real life. Jack likes the TV and thinks Dora from Dora the Explorer is his best friend. Their only visitor is Old Nick but Jack always stays in the wardrobe when Nick comes to visit. Thins start to change when Ma tells Jack there is a world outside.

Told in Jack’s voice, this is a story with credible characters who drew me into the story. Jack is just superb with his observations about the world around him. I especially like his ‘word sandwiches’ where he squashed two words together to form a new one. I remember doing that when I was younger (and still do it now!).

I would say it is an uncomfortable read but that’s the one way it can be due to the subject matter. The humour took off the edge and kept me reading to find out what happened to the characters. Its one of those sorts of books you will not forget after closing the back page. There have been some comparisons to The Lovely Bones but I would say this is better. This is one of those books that you think, I wish I had written this.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Words To Help Me Through The Next Draft

Last night I took the plunge and started editing chapter one. At the moment my head is full of novel and I want to use it all before it falls out of my head. So, sorry short stories but you're going to have to find someone else to tease with ideas. (I will write you down in my notebook, ready for later, I Promise (see, I even used a capital 'P'.))

Hopefully all the major structural changes to the novel have been made. So, it is now down to a spit and polish. And maybe, some minor structure changes if a chapter is completely rubbish. I have written a list of words in my notebook to inspire me though this draft. 

Detail - especially in the later chapters
Plot progression
Probing and poking further
Narrator's voice