About Me

My photo
Plymouth, Devon, United Kingdom
West Country author, winner of Piatkus Entice award for historical fiction 2012.

Follow by Email

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Pointless Ramble #1

Some of you will note that my other blog entries have also been pointless rambling, but this is the first official one. Nothing of any note has happened with my writing, but I want to blather on for a bit anyway. When I'm in this kind of mood, bullet points work best as I found out on my Xanga blog a few months ago. Suddenly everyone was doing that, and saying things like "RYC."
This bothered me because no-one told me what it meant and I had to work it out for myself, yet everyone else knew about it. Paranoia isn't attractive and don't let anyone tell you it is.

* Work. Bleh. Why is the most irritating person in the room also the one with the loudest voice?
* Hoorah and huzzah, #2 son actually had gravy with his tea without making an enormous fuss.
* Bugger all on the telly again tonight so it's on with series 3 of Drop The Dead Donkey. Why don't they show them again instead of all those ghastly repeats of Friends?
* Child is now climbing into the cupboard muttering: I like to eat foooood. He's a bit odd.
* Bought fresh rolls and a bottle of white. Is it very wrong to drink in the middle of the week?
* Looking forward to Thursday writing day, but it bothers me that they're coming around faster than they ever used to.
* Had my appraisal at work yesterday; I'm officially God.
* So where's my pay rise?
* Channel 4 get all the best comedy shows; Father Ted, Black Books, Drop The Dead Donkey, and, of course, Green Wing. I love Channel 4 comedy. Except Friends.
* I need to dye my hair again, it's going gingery instead of that nice, interesting deep red I strive for. I always kid myself I'll try something new, but always end up with the same old colour -basically because I'm a big scaredy cat.
* Who said "cat"? Where's my water pistol ...

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Kettles, Cats and Maryland Cookies

Why is it, just when I know exactly what I'm doing with the piece of writing I'm working on, I immediately feel the need to celebrate with a cup of coffee? This inevitably takes me away from my computer and out into the kitchen, where I'll be distracted further by next door's cat sniffing at my rubbish (Thursday writing day is also Thursday bin day, and living on the nipple of the city apparently we're too awkward to warrant the supply of wheelie bins) and if I've been stupid enough to leave a bit of chicken in the rubbish, the feckin' animals will stop at nothing in their quest to strew my path with crap all the way to the end.

So I spend the next ten minutes - firstly squirting the cats with Dominic's mega-super-duper-hotshot- pump- action-hyper-hydro-blaster - (that's a water pistol to you and me) and then picking up half chewed chicken and soggy crisp packets full of snails.
By the time I get back to the kettle the water's gone cool again, and if you boil the same stuff again it starts tasting metallic and shite. So I empty the kettle, re-fill it with fresh water and switch it on, trying not to look out of the window in case the cats have got over their fear of aforementioned Sherman tank-esque squirter, and then the biscuit tin strays into view.

Well come on, what's a girl to do? Maryland Chocolate Chip cookies are about the only kind of chocolate I'm biologically programmed to require on a daily basis, and it's impossible to take one, they're just too small and look terribly lonely sitting on my hand. Still, it's a well known fact that if you eat something really quickly you don't have time to gain calories from it; your brain hasn't worked out the correct quantities of hydrogenated fats it's having to distribute around your arteries and your arse, so it gives up and pretends it never happened.

So by the time I've got over the guilt and made the coffee, the original problem solving brainwave has faded into a murky kind of shadowy thing at the back of my mind, and the only way to put cats, soggy chicken and chocolate biscuits out of my head is to read back over what I've just written and hope the spark comes back.
It didn't.
That's why I'm blogging instead.
One day, when I'm rich and famous, I'll look back and laugh.
Ha, bloody ha ha.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Characters - do they have a life of their own?

This is a debate I've been considering lately; some (real) writers claim that their characters never act or speak on their own. They say that each word and act is carefully considered and thought through, and that their creations never do anything spontaneous. It's been said that to claim that they do is pretentious and even ridiculous.
Now - these are real, paid writers, so people like me are supposed to listen to them, right?

The truth is I think it depends on the way you write; some authors, like Dean Koontz for instance, polish each and every page until it's as perfect as they can make it, and only then do they move on.
I prefer to hammer away at my keyboard and let everything just spill out onto the page, and then I go back and cut away at it, and change it, until it's reading the way I like it. Because of this, my characters sometimes, often in fact, do things that surprise me. Sometimes it causes problems when that happens, sometimes it solves them.

It's always a joy.

A little while ago I had cause to ask my lead male, Richard Lucas, to drop his friend off at the airport. When he came back to his car there was a man leaning on it. I sat here for ages staring at the screen, wondering who this man was and where he came from. He is now a major character and the person who stands between Lucas and his future.

Yesterday I was writing a conversation between this character and someone else, and it turned out that the other had an uncanny knack for mimicry. I don't know how, but I believe this is going to impact on the story quite significantly.

Does this make me pretentious? I hope not.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

And so we begin ...

Well - up until now I've been posting at Live-Journal and Xanga. But this place looks friendly enough so I think I'm going to be using this one for my writing blog and continue to post rantings, ravings and general, personal bleh stuff over at Xanga.

So far as a writer I have published through independant publisher BeWrite, a full royalty paying company, not to be confused with many of the fee-charging/vanity press sites out there. My work for BeWrite has been largely horror-based, but some genre-leakage has occurred and I've even been known to raise the odd smile. (But don't tell my kids, they think I write only horror, and am therefore scary and not to be crossed ...)

Currently I've published short stories only, but I do have a novel submission package out there doing the rounds; I've told it not to come home until it's found representation. The latest writing news is that among the gazillions of "no thank you"s I've received from agents, one publisher has, at least, asked to see the remainder of the novel.

This is how you find me then: not sure if the publisher will like the rest of the book enough to offer to publish it, not sure if the publisher will take the piss if they do, given that I don't have an agent (yet) and not sure if I'll ever find representation anyway. Still, I keep flogging away, and maybe one day I'll have something exciting to post about.

I'm working on a second book, distinctly different from the first, and hoping that this one will find a permanent home. Or I'll have two little manuscripts, getting exhausted but at least travelling far more than I ever will - even if they're making no friends along the way.