Saturday, 30 June 2012


I was going to start this blog post with an update on book 2 - I had the first half-sentence written out and everything - but I changed my mind, for two reasons:

a) Not much to report (*hangs head in shame*)


b) I'm going to Dublin!!!

As in today.  This afternoon.  Leaving in less than two hours.  Whoop whoop!

I feel horribly unprepared, convinced I must have forgotten something vitally important.  This is probably due to the fact that I only started packing yesterday.  That and the fact that I always feel like this before I go on holiday.  It doesn't matter how many lists I make and how many times I check them, I will always feel like I've missed something.

It is my darling sister that I'm dragging along for this holiday.  I say dragging because it's fairly close to the truth.  Dublin seems to be very much more my kind of place than hers: museums, libraries, bookshops, men with Irish accents... The only thing which seems to have appealed to her about it is the trams.  But I've been hunting out some places for her to go shopping, so we'll take turns at being mind-numbingly bored by the other's activity.

My holiday reading is The Warlord's Legacy by Ari Marmell, another of those books I got for Christmas and haven't got round to reading yet.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it'll be a good'un.

Right, I'm off to go check that I've packed my passport twenty-thousand times.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Where I've been and where I need to go

I finally got round to finishing the editing of Hide and See yesterday.  I say 'finish' in that this draft is complete.  I don't doubt that there will be several thousand more edits after this (please let that be an exaggeration) but nonetheless, I feel it is complete enough to send off to various wonderful beta readers who offered to look at it for me.  Just as soon as I can remember who it was that offered all those weeks ago when I originally said I was going to finish it.

I did some work on book 2 earlier in the week as well.  I think the last thing I'd said on the blog was that I'd written chapter 3, but since then chapter 3 has become chapter 5 and I have written a different chapter 3 and a large chunk of chapter 1, along with various other bits from chapters 2-8.  Sound confusing?  Welcome to my head.

Unfortunately, chapter 1 isn't finished because I can't think how to start it (and thus the whole book).  My problem lies in the fact that Hide and See originally started quite slowly and I didn't like it.  I then edited it so that the first few chapters were much more exciting, something which I feel works much better.

Now, book 2 starts in a slow, quiet way.  Seeing a pattern here?  The problem is, I can't figure out a way to make the start more exciting given that the peaceful setting at the beginning is needed (for various reasons which I won't go into here).  So how do I create an engaging beginning?

I've been considering starting it with a vision of the (much more action-packed) future - ah, the joys of having a Seer for the main character! - but I'm worried that this feels too much like a starting-a-novel-with-a-dream thing.  Which is apparently very bad, according to a writing blog I read earlier this week.

This will be needing a lot of thought.

Anyway, on the whole I'm feeling more positive about book 2 than I was earlier in the week.  This is down to said editing of book 1 yesterday.  Having gone through the complete story (rather than the mismatched fragments which currently make up book 2) I got a clearer picture of where I've been and where I need to go.  And I actually found I quite liked my characters again, rather than finding them frustrating for not doing what they're told.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Too much like fun

In the past week, I have read three books.  I have been told many times that reading is an essential activity for a writer, and yet I still can't quite convince my conscience that I haven't been wasting my time.  Mainly because I enjoy reading and figure that anything I like can't possibly be work.

Not that I don't enjoy writing, obviously (although, let's be honest, that doesn't really feel too much like work either) but there doesn't seem to be a great deal of effort involved in the reading process.  Someone else has already done the hard work.  All that's left for me to do is sit back and enjoy their story.

Of course, while I'm reading the book I also pick out bits which could be changed.  Sentences which might have flowed better if they were reordered.  Repetitions of words within a sentence or paragraph.  Typos.  The usual stuff.  I can't help it anymore - things like that just leap out at me, for which I have the MA to thank.  I guess this is a good thing, even if it can take you out of the story sometimes.

I have been doing some writing too, still working on those early chapters for book 2.  Today a few of the scenes came together, bits were added or filled in, and I hope tomorrow to complete a chapter (although where that one will actually fall, I don't know).

That previous sentence made me think that maybe I ought to be finalising my chapter-plan.  But somehow, that doesn't sound as fun.  And apparently I'm a five-year-old this week, and won't be paying attention to anything even remotely practical.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Jubilee, excuses and trains

This time, I could blame the Jubilee for my lack of posting but I'm really starting to feel like I should stop making excuses and just get on with it.  Man-up and all that, even if that feels vaguely anti-feminist to say.  Woman-up?  Sounds a little odd.

The end of last week saw some writing progress, this time on the computer seeing as the sun had gone and buggered off behind the clouds again.  On Thursday and Friday I wrote Chapter 3 of Hide and See's sequel, which is slightly bizarre in that I've not actually written Chapters 1 and 2 yet.

I wrote Hide and See in a very linear fashion, moving chapter-by-chapter through the book, and only jotting down rough ideas for later parts, in addition to my neatly-tabled plan.  This time, I seem to be writing scenes whenever they occur to me, without worrying about whereabouts they'll appear in the novel.  I've yet to decide whether or not this is a good thing - time will tell I guess.

When I say I don't know where they'll appear, I have at least been keeping these scenes to the first third of the novel.  I don't think I could write something from the end because I don't know for certain how I'm going to get there yet.  I mean, I've planned it but it's very unlikely that it's actually going to pan out that way.  Such is the nature of planning sometimes: do so with great thought, then largely disregard if something better comes to mind.

In other news, the deadline for the Good Housekeeping competition passed and I didn't hear anything.  Not hugely surprised (or surprised at all, in fact) given the fact that it was the first time I'd ever entered a competition like that.  Plus my entry was quite violent, much like most of what I write (I'm sure something could be said about my mental state here) and perhaps not really appropriate for the lovely people who read such magazines.

While writing this blog post, I departed for almost an hour in order to go stand on a bridge in the freezing June wind to watch a steam train. (*cough* anorak *cough*) and it was really quite marvellous.  I stood right over the top of it and felt the bridge shake as it went underneath.  But it also served as an interesting writing exercise - whether I could interrupt my train of thought (unintentional pun, I promise) mid-flow and then pick it up easily upon return.  And while I think I managed it, I feel rather sorry for my sister who had the unpleasant task of interrupting me mid-thought.  It wasn't pretty.