I hope you all had a very Happy Christmas and that 2012 will be good to you!
Another year over and I have a confession to make. I've had so much going on since Christmas, what with making arrangements to visit my family in Wales, which includes arranging for someone to feed my two horses , and making a last minute cake to take with us, and purchasing and wrapping gifts for my sister's Birthday on the 2nd - not to mention trying to get two on-line interviews finished (I know, excuses, excuses) I almost forgot that it's my turn to post today.
So - I need to make some New Year Resolutions:
1. To be more organised, to structure my day and not leave things until the last minute!
2. To not check email or Facebook until I've written or revised at least 2,000 words per day.
3. To finish the third book in my trilogy by February and to start work on my NaNo with a view to self publishing it.
Only three, I hope I can keep them but No2 is going to be very difficult. I'm always afraid I'll miss an important email, especially since I have a dear on-line author friend in the States, who is in hospital at the moment and I'm relying on her sister's emails to keep me informed on how she is.
How about you? Are you making any New Year's resolutions? If so, what are your chances of keeping them do you think? (I hope your chances are better than mine!)
Veni, vidi...Wiki! Not long ago I had the all-time greatest Great Idea: one, born of total ignorance, that nearly tanked a novel. As you may have guessed from my opening line, my subject is Julius Caesar. But you might not have guessed from the title that my Great Idea entailed his being reborn as a penis. Don't laugh, please, I beg you. I saw no way around this, even though showing JC as a 'dick' might lead some to think that I've written a spoof. In fact, it's a serious thriller. Without giving the plot away, I can say this: I needed JC's ghost, today, remembering his nights with Cleopatra on her fabled golden barge. There was the heart of my book--a ghost trying for 2000 years to relive that lost boogie with Liz. And I'd begun to run with this when my memory corrected me: Mark Anthony, not JC, was on the barge with Cleo. And this was after JC's death. What the hell was I to do, lacking the good sense to check memory's 'facts
A coot scurried away across the basin, feet paddling furiously, a wary eye peering astern as I left the library building and paused at the edge of the dock, looking over its quiet space. I was naturally pleased to see the coot but was almost more interested in the colour of the water. Last time I was here Limehouse Basin was an unpleasant emerald green, algae visibly choking life beneath its surface. That word ‘e utrophication’ that I’ve relatively recently learned, sounds like suffocation, asphyxiation, atrophy, all in one killer blanket. There’s no beauty in water which looks like mown grass. View from CA library It was worth upsetting the coot to stand still in the February drizzle when I'd finished work and welcome this (temporary?) improvement in the water colour. It’s still not blue or grey – or even caffe latte East Coast brown but it’s better than it was. (Feb 8th 2024) Inside the Cruising Association library I'd been picking through the shelves like a godwit plung
Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose This book was recommended to me by the director of a creative writing program here in Amsterdam. She thought it might help me reacquaint myself with the various craft terms I’d need to know when I start teaching in the spring. Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose turned out to be so much more. As a reader, it crystallized for me the reason I love books. As a writer, it offered real life tips. And as a wannabe teacher, it gives me the courage to think I’ll make it someday. on reading For many of us, reading has become a chore. We skim through reports, emails, the news feed hoping to digest as much information as quickly as we can. And even when we read for pleasure, we might skip pages and paragraphs to cut to the chase, find out whodunit, answer the who-what-when questions in our mind. But when we were kids, reading was different. As Francine Prose reminds us: "We all begin as close readers. Even before we learn to
This fabulous song by Cream has been in my mind this week, primarily because of the first line of the lyrics, which is the title of this post. I work as an editor, and over the past week have edited a mystery novel, one collection of short stories that are acting as a novel when put together, and five mini pieces from five different authors as part of a small workshop I held, and they were one mystery, two sci-fi/speculative, two memoir/non-fiction. And as part of this week's editing I have encountered a few times what I have come to think of as "the white room," and with that, because that is just how my mind works, the Cream song quickly follows (I do love that song, so maybe any excuse? I mean, those lyrics are great!) Other than containing the white room, the Cream song doesn't actually apply here, but maybe it will help us remember the concept. And perhaps a famous author we have all heard of was also inspired by the Cream song, because she is the correct age to
Here’s a tip for new writers. When, in a creative writing workshop or author talk, a bright-eyed, successfully published author assures you -‘There are no rules in writing! Write whatever you want, how you want. No one can tell you what to do!’ - don’t believe her. She’s trying to be positive and encouraging but actually this is a pretty unhelpful thing to say. Of course writing has rules. And of course you can break them if you want. It just means you haven’t a snowball's chance in hell of being published if you do. So what are these rules? Well, if I list some of them, chances are you’ll throw me a puzzled look and say well of course, doing X/not doing Y is a given. As one of these cheery speakers said to me, years ago, when I picked her up on her blithe statement. The Pursuit of Love by (rule breaker) Nancy Mitford OK, so here are a few of these Not Rules That Are Rules Really: 1. You need a strong main character. If telling the story, she/he can’t be just the observer, it