Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Conf 139: Think What You Want To Say Then Don't Say It

No. of words: 52,388


Mid-novel crisis period over. For now anyway.

Not pleasant at all. Having changed beginning and taken out ending, it felt like all I was left with was a great big hole in the middle.

Read synopsis to writing group on Monday. They had some good points and we argued over the new beginning, a conflict I can put right into one of the characters' mouths. Today culled synop down to 2 pages from 4, cutting out all the blah blah about themes, visible and underlying. They will be there, but it's the story which has to do the talking, even in the synopsis. I'm now back on Chapter 1 page 1, going through each page very, very slowly, lifting the beat.

L was back from her first meet the booksellers and librarians US book tour, freshly limo'd & full of stories of her feted new authorness. It's going to be a very exciting year.

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Conf 138: Middle Lows

No of words: 53,016


A day on the new synopsis, to read to writing group tonight. Not a great time right now, last rejection probably affected me more than I realised. I find distractions on the Net and do the card games and generally waste a heck of a lot of time. I try and blitz before breakfast and bike ride, but that just means I get no food and no exercise as I continue to worry at it & feel even worse. There's a central hole in the story now which makes it all feel hopeless and why bother-carrying-on feelings. Might have to do a serious week of getting up v. v. early and having a go at finishing the whole thing, otherwise it feels like it'll keep on dragging me down.

http://www.grumpyoldbookman Grebanier's climax might help.

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Thursday, January 26, 2006

Conf 136: Another Rejection Day

No. of words: 51,803
No. of new rejections: 1

Talk about quick response:

Agent said he read it almost as soon as it arrived. It seemed to him maturely and thoughtfully done, but for him at least it just didn't seem to ignite into an unforgettable narrative. Without that extra 10% it just wouldn't be something he could get whole-heartedly behind. He's sorry to disappoint you again, but he does wish me the very best of luck with it.

Since sending it a few days ago, the story has completely changed so I'm not too traumatised. I'll probably be more fed up when the next one comes in. The writing does need pepping up to that extra 10%, there are still too many internal thoughts which have slipped through for starters. Handy hint: type 'thought' into wordsearch and cull them out. It's actually me thinking of course and just saying 'she thought' is lazy. Today, sadly for my wordcount, I eliminated the whole final sequence which was too corny. Also have totally new opening sequence which has brought the character into far sharper focus, taps into the zeitgeist & solves my long ongoing is she/isn't she dilemma.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Conf 136: Distractions

No. of words: 54,468
No. of hours watched Big Brother: 15
No. of possible words cld have written if hadn't watched Big Brother: 15,000 (= ASIF 70,000 = ASIF only 10,000 more to go)

The MS and synopsis and writing CV posted to 2 agents yesterday, time to get on with it again. Feel like giving it a good run, bashing through to end only 25,000 words to go, at my best max per day ever @ 5,000 this COULD be done in 5 days, if I didn't watch Big Brother (etc etc). I do find these calculations work though. Getting back into it wasn't so great. I like listening to Chris Moyles to see what he's saying about The House & this morning he had Paul McKenna on as well which meant I had to have it playing all the way through, whilst trying to work in the music bits. I know, but it was a get back into it day after a week of rewriting for the submission so I wasn't going into any depths anywhere, as it was it took until 3pm to do 1,000 words. HOWever the Moyles show was great. Paul McKenna talked about his 'tapping technique' and did it live on air. http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio1/chrismoyles/interviews/2006/
It's actually called Emotional Freedom Technique, or EFT, which I've been going on about to all my friends. It works and you can learn how to do it here http://www.emofree.com/. You can conquer any fears, phobias, smoking, stress, eating, in my case fear of book launch speech, by tapping on your acupuncture spots and saying a daft nursery rhyme. I had it done to me by a professional before my book launch for Book 2 (after being such a soft-voiced jibbering wreck at book launch 1) and so many people said after my thank you speech and reading how calm and confident I was. And I had none of that 'thank Christ that's over' feeling at the end of my spotlight moment, I was level calm throughout. Highly recommended.

Oh, McKenna also talked about his 'Paul McKenna Will Make You Thin' TV show http://www.skyone.co.uk/Mckenna/he claims a 71% success rate (as opposed, apparently, to a 9% success rates for diets). The four big rules which, he says, will make you lose weight are:

1. Eat when you're hungry

2. Eat what you want not what you should.

3. East consciously: people on diets think constantly about food so much that when they get it they don't chew properly. They don't think about food when they've got it, it's when they haven't go it. And this sets up a chain reaction.

4. When you think you're full - stop.

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Conf 135: Networking

Wordcount: same

An old TV friend who's turned into a feature producer coming for lunch next Sunday. I am priming myself to my ten word one sentence pitch which encapsulates the whole essence of my Novel 2. To be dropped in casually over the cheese and fruit, when it gets to 'so what's it about?' I know virtually all beginner authors think their precious stories would make the best features, and I know that film rights of unknown novels rarely sell, let alone get made. But one of the only ways any of them do sell is through some connection - friend, family or otherwise. The whole TV and film world seems to work like that. So here I am with my very own little link coming to our front door. Bookshelf next to dining table has to be rearranged, with mine and all my friends' novels face out bookshop style.

http://jenniferweiner.blogspot.com/ has been blogging about what it's like to have your book (In Her Shoes) turned into a film. But she's just been desparing about box office figures in the US & it seems it has all finished with her feeling slightly floppy about it all, even though it was all so full of stars and well received and distributed and all. It made me laugh reading about her urge to lurk around cinemas wanting to redirect punters from other films to hers. The film equivalent of shoving your own books on the bestsellers shelves in bookstores.

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.

Conf 134: Printing

No. of words: 53,429
No. of hours watched Big Brother: 12

Close enough to do the final print, I get to go to the http://wordcounter.com/ stage. This neat tool hunts down your gremlin words, checking your work for the number of times you've used each word. Having already eliminated my known yukkies: just and well, I got:

Didn't
Said
look
she'd
one
go
got
think
life
never

which was OK. Dusty's another one I use a lot, and silence. Silence and dust. So, that done, I went to Tesco for some reams of Value paper. Then I come back to tweek the synopsis before posting it all off, only to find lots of bits I should have included in the narrative somewhere. One more day MUST do it.

All has been quiet on the TV script front this week. Just as well, but scary too. Then e-mail came this afternoon, did I want some work to do over weekend, due in Monday morning??? Well, no, not really, but I can't say that so I said yes. This will mean getting up at crack of dawn for 2 days if I'm to have any kind of weekend, and keep up with Celebrity Big Brother, but is not end of world. Am just grateful it's still coming in.

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Conf 133: Edit, print, edit, print

No. of words: 49,329

Ugh... and rewriting's supposed to be the fun bit. The words are down, the characters are there, the scenes are set etc etc. Had to get the multi-generational bits in early, so that means am sending 6 chapters instead of 3, plus maybe one from later which shows how story is developing.

Some people are rewriters, others travel more slowly from the start, leaving themselves with less dush to deal with at the end. At this stage I wish I was one of those kinds of writers. 500 beautiful words a day, except I don't know how they get their characters so dealt with. Mine have to grow in the dialogue, it doesn't work any other way, forget all those charts and things.

All week I've been getting to the point where I think I can print, then I look at it and find something else to change. This happens over and over and OVER again.

Lots of breaks needed. I shall go off now for a nice cup of tea and a sit down http://www.nicecupofteaandasitdown.com/ and a drift through Jacqui Lofthouse's new writing coach page: http://stubbornworld.typepad.com/the_writing_coach/.

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Conf 132: New interest

No. of words: 54,549


The two agents I contacted both e-mailed today wanting to see more. 'This sounds like very good fun,' said one. This means have now got to make sure it is very good fun on every page, so all day have been back on chapter 1. C2 tomorrow. Also means some facings up to some horrible wordcount truths. Have already identified how I can cull 2 or 3 chapters out of the early scenes. Like WHY do I have protagonist travelling all the way to Scotland for conversation with children, when it's nothing to do with the plot & main pointy bits can easily be inserted into a different meeting? All the prelims I wrote as I was getting into the story myself, in other words, now have to be culled, leaving only what's necessary.

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Conf 131: Doggy Do's and Prizes

No. of words: 54,644


Happy Friday.

Have done my 1,000 words and am off to buy lunch for old friends arriving tomorrow.

They have two very large dogs, Baz and Flossie, which daughter is V. excited about. She now has two virtual Nintendogs, Bingo and Jackie, which I have to take for a virtual walk each morning. If you don't walk them enough, they run away, apparently, for weeks. I can't bear the thought of opening the screen one morning to find them missing. As we have to send our Nintendo DS back to its maker as it has a duff blue line on it, this could be serious. There's a dog hotel, but it's expensive for 2 pooches and she doesn't have enough cash stored up. You get cash by entering the dogs into competitions, and you find presents (I am totally addicted to that bit) on the walks which you can flog.

I went off then to find a link for Nintendog, www.nintendog.com
to put in (sorry I still haven't mastered the linking system), but got sidetracked by
http://www.theprizefinder.com/index.asp, which could be dangerous.
Drawn to this, and entered comp to win another Nintendog which will have me picking up virtual shit forever more.

Have composed two query letters, which are going out to 2 more agents. This consisted as per format of brief introduction, brief (but bit too fat) para on the story, and brief bit about publications and figures. I included the PLR figures, tho friend who read it over wasn't sure agents would be interested in PLR but I thought it worth mentioning both novels are still in play and being read.

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Confession 130: Buzzword

Words: 51,848

First writing group of the year last night. Two couldn't make it, and three of us had nothing to read. This gave us more time to devote to one reading, which was great stuff, and lots of time to talk about it. I read extract from my frantic agent e-mail, a buggle of 3 paragraphs about what the novel's about. Got some feedback on how I can improve, honing in more on the commercial fiction buzzword of the moment which is, from the land of my well connected friends: multigenerational. That aspect is already very much there, but I hadn't thought of turning the volume up on it. Now I realise this is something that will make the story that much more layered and interesting.

On this point, ripped this piece of funnyness out of S Times this morning for research folder:

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,25609-1962560,00.html

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http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,25609-1962560,00.html

Friday, January 06, 2006

Conf 130: Happy PLR Day!

No. of words: 50,839

Happy PLR day to all UK authors everywhere! I hope you were as pleasantly surprised as I was this morning.

This is our equivalent of Christmas Day, the day www.plr.uk.com sends out its annual divi statements. The Public Lending Right monitors loans in libraries and pays the author 5.57p every time their book is borrowed.
And no, you can't go round borrowing your own books over and over because they take a secret sample of about 25 libraries, which changes every year.

I prepared myself as I opened my envelope, my novels were published several years ago now, and they're paperbacks so many will have been withdrawn to the tat bin. The two non-fiction, although I don't receive a royalty, are eligible, though they're too recent to be included for the whole 12 months. Anyway, this is what it said:

Novel 1 5,629 loans £313.54
Novel 2 8,500 loans £473.45
Non fiction 1 (2 months only) 122 loans £6.80

Making a total of £793.79!!!

Am totally astonished.

And pleased.

And happy.

There's a breakdown of payment bands:

355 authors received top whack £5000
375 received between £2500 and £4999.99
783 received between £1000 and £2499.99
911 received between £500 and £999.99
3,826 received between £100 and £499.99
12,415 received between £5 and £99.99
15,809 received between nil and below £5

I find this totally extraordinary. Even though I have yet to make any kind of impact at ALL as an author, I'm still one of only 911 in my bracket.

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Thursday, January 05, 2006

Conf 129: A Pleasant Interruption

No. of words: 49,791
No. of replies from agent: 0
No. of times clicked 'In' box: 379
No.of replies from dayjob: 4

After weeks of writing being nothing but a massive drag, tiniest chink of breakthrough yesterday. Something new happened. A text message was sent, which twists in on another twist which hopefully the reader doesn't know is coming. Then today, woke with big changes for one of lead characters. This shows signs of getting into it again after Christmas break. Unfortunately but fortunately, TV work starts again tomorrow, must try harder than ever to not stop on the wordcount altogether and keep all those subconscious rattlings flowing.

Good interruption today - old friend from New Zealand turned up at lunchtime. Cracked bottle of wine & caught up with gossip about friends from another, earlier life, scuppering smugness of day two of no alcohol regime.

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Conf 128: On Working and Writing

No. of words: 48, 507

Still at it, shifting and culling. Very unsatisfactory wordcount.

Primary school parents Christmas party conversation stopper:

Me: I've gone back to work now, anyway.

Lawyer-type working mother: 'Oh but what are you doing? Taking in sewing? Ha ha ha (laughs at own joke), oops I shouldn't have said that should I?'

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