Monday, 31 October 2011
Have you ever, someone asked, thought of writing novels? Well.....who doesn't? We've all got one in us, right? I found I had seven in me before I wrote one that anyone wanted to buy - but I did learn a lot along the way. And along the way I was asked to be a preliminary judge for a writing magazines's short story competiitions. Another arrow in my armoury.
And then came edits on my novel - still ongoing ....and with a deadline! And I still have all the above ongoing as well.....so structure needed. Mornings for edits, afternoons for short stories - all varieties. A bit of competition reading between things i might want to watch on the box in the evenings.
So structure, Linda, structure.......fit in the blogs when you can.......so that's my blog for today, done and dusted......
Happy writing and reading, everyone.
Saturday, 29 October 2011
Sunday, 23 October 2011
So, what to write about.....I'll stick with learning curves at the moment. I've never contributed to a blog before . When I started in banking at aged 17, some of the ledgers were still being handwritten, so be kind to me!!
Got a huge learning curve on board at the moment - doing my edits on my first novel. For the lovely Choc Lit for those who don't already know. In my ignorance, I thought that once the thing was written there'd be a bit of a tweak here and there and punctuation changes but no......it's a lot more complex than that. I began to wonder, when I saw all eleven pages of what was required of me, what utter tosh I'd written in the first place. I am fairly used to editing short stories......add 5oo words, take 200 out, make your heroine less sharp and so on. But that's only for 2000 words at the most. TO TURN FULL CIRCLE went in at about 72,000 words and so far - and I've by no means finished yet - I've added another 3K. I'm hoping it'll be all right on the night.
Now then, I never in a million years thought I'd have an historical novel published (well, I haven't yet, but I have received some of my advance so.....it looks likely I will) because in all the (far too many) years I was on the Romantic Novelists' Association's very excellent New Writers' Scheme, I wrote contemporary romance. But then a sub-editor I worked with (love you, Jean) at My Weekly asked me to write an historical short story. I didn't like to say no, because Jean often went above and beyond to get my stories the way My Weekly wanted them so they'd be published. And so I was on another learning curve. And to my utter delight I had more feedback on this story from fellow writers and some readers than I had ever had for the 150 short stories or so that went before it, so I was encouraged to go for it and write a novel. I have a sequel to TO TURN FULL CIRCLE planned.....well, almost finished to be honest (although I'll be ready and waiting for the edits next time) and have a third rattling around in my head in idle moments.
Some will know that I am profoundly deaf but am one of the lucky ones to have been given a cochlear implant. I was in my mid-fifties when this op gave me a new lease of life, let me escape from a very silent world. Another learning curve for me, there, as I re-learned sound. Bacon frying was the sweetest sound, I can tell you - I was so excited hearing it, I couldn't eat it afterwards! Daft or what?
So, enough already, I think. Look forward to reading comments of whatever variety.
Now, all I've got to work out is how to add photos to blogs and I'll be out of infants....maybe.
Saturday, 22 October 2011
I’ve just finished reading ‘The Wise Man’s Fear’ by Patrick Rothfuss. It is giving me a great deal to think about as both a reader and a writer – and overall a fear that I will never, ever be able to write a book half as good as this one!
What is it that makes this book so good? It’s a fantasy epic, beautifully written, with an enthralling plot and engaging characters. The main character, Kvothe, makes so many wrong decisions it is hard to keep track of them, but throughout it all the reader keeps with him, loves him, believes in him and wants him to win through. But none of those things, singly, make this a brilliant book
They are all important, but the guiding light is the genuine, absolute interest and belief the writer has in the world and the characters he has created. It is this integrity that gives the book its life.
So how can we get this into our own writing? First, we need to know what we believe, and then what our characters believe. We have to know everything about them, their past and their future, their nightmares and ambitions. I don’t personally think you need to know the exact details (he was born here, she went to school there) so much as the essence of them – the pain and the euphoria, what caused these; and if your characters experience neither of them, then why not? You need to know, or your readers will realise you don't - and then you will lose them.
So I’m going to keep on working on my imaginary world and especially on my characters, truly getting to know them, and hoping that I can express them with some of the depth and clarity Rothfuss achieves. And maybe the little bit of fear that I won’t, will give me the edge I need to keep trying.
Thursday, 13 October 2011
Wednesday, 12 October 2011
I did, however, feel a bit guilty while making my holiday selection. Much has been said and written recently about the ‘death of the book’, which the prophets of doom maintain is being brought about by the digital revolution. Was I hastening the demise of books as we know and love them? Wasn’t I already contributing to the closure of independent booksellers by buying from Amazon, the biggest bookseller in the world?
On the other hand, though, I downloaded many books which, because they are published by small independent publishers or even self-published, would never have been stocked by High Street booksellers. It feels good to have been able to support new writers this way. I’ve been able to read some pretty good novels from crime to romance to contemporary fiction at a fraction of the cost of those by best selling authors whose mainstream publishers keep prices higher even as eBooks.
Since my holiday, I have taken my Kindle on a couple of train journeys. At an outpatient appointment it not only helped the interminable waiting pass more quickly, it prompted a number of discussions about Kindle and on books in general.
I have, however, gone back to borrowing books from my local library. I have bought books both online and in book shops. When I go to bed it is a ‘real’ book I read.
When I next manage to go on holiday I will be taking my Kindle. I feel less guilty now because I don’t believe the demise of books as we know them is going to happen any time soon.
Monday, 10 October 2011
When my oldest son was 10 or 11 he was due to go on a long coach journey with the Ice Hockey Club. On the way to dropping him off, he gave me a sudden panicked look. ‘Can we stop at the library? I haven’t got a book.’ My first reaction was to say, ‘Do you really need a book, you’ll have lots of friends to chat to.’ But I didn’t. I took him to the library where he chose a couple of books (I seem to remember one was an Alan Garner) and he was happy. And I could understand why.
Books aren’t an alternative to friends, but for some people they are just as essential. They’re good to have, and good to have with you. They are somewhere to escape to, they entertain you, enlarge your understanding. They can be returned to again and again. They are reliable. I was going to say they never change, but that isn’t true. The book might not change but what you get out of it certainly does.
Without books I could probably have been happy. But with them I am happier still. Here’s to novels – the reading and writing of them. The pic is one wall of our sitting room - it makes me smile just to see it!