Archive | June 2010

An Evening Post – What a Novelty

I don’t know if I remember ever writing a blog in the evening. I’m sure I must have done at some point in the last 16 months. 16 months, yeah that’s how long I’ve been blogging. Craziness.

Today’s been quite a good day. I applied for a job, wrote about 350 words from a prompt from the Novelkicks website (which I managed to make the beginnings of a love story!) and carried on adding blogs to Google Reader.

Google Reader. I am going to LOVE it. All the blogs I read on WordPress I obviously can read on here, but there are loads of blogs that are on other servers (is it a server? website? I dunno) that I’ve never had easy access to. I know I could’ve subscribed to them, but my inbox gets full enough without emails every time someone updates their blog coming in too. But Google Reader? I can have them all in one place. Its going to be a revelation. Once I’ve added everyone’s blogs. And that’s going to take a while.

I’m nearly at the end of 1984, still loving it. It’s just got a bit nasty. Teeth, rats. Ugh. I also accidently read the final words today. I was seeing where it ends, cause it ends before the end of the book, when I found it and somehow read the last words. Which has kind of wrecked it. Really annoyed with myself. I’m still going to enjoy getting to the end though.

I think once I’ve finished it, I’ll be needing something pink and fluffy. I’ve heard a rumour my housemate’s just got Girl Friday by Jane Green. That would suit. But she takes forever to read books, so I probably won’t get a look in until August. I’ve got After The Party by Lisa Jewell, but I think I’m still not in the right place emotionally to be able to read it. It’s about a couple that were once so right for each other falling apart. After my recent break up, I don’t think it’s something I should be reading. Whatever happens in the end (whether they get back together or not) it’s likely to upset me.  I’m going to have to leave it a big longer before I read it. Which is a shame, because I really want to read it.

There’s a book that a couple of people have recommended I read called Eat, Love, Pray by Elizabeth Gilbert which has been made into a film. I’m thinking of trying a theory. I generally hate movies that have been books I like… so what if I watch the film, then read the book? I don’t think I’ve ever done that before. But I might try it with this.

I don’t know if I’ve ever talked about an experiment that’s happening on Twitter called One Book, One Twitter. The idea is that as many people as possible on Twitter read the same book at the same time – American Gods by Neil Gaiman. That ‘same time’ is May and June. I really wanted to be part of it, but only have a few weeks left to read it. So that really should be my next book. The library doesn’t have it, and I’m a little broke at the moment, so I don’t know if that will happen. I think it’s worth not eating for a few days to be part of that, it’s cool. Plus, I won’t really not eat, I’m not that broke!

Right, I think that’s all for now. I think I’ll go and write a few job application cover letters. Oh goodie!

I have a feeling I’m going to be writing and blogging a lot over the next few weeks as I’ll be procrastinating over job hunting!

Something monumental happened over the weekend. I started editing Italian Infatuation. When I say editing, it’s mainly actually crossing out. The first three pages went straight away, as did half the fourth page. Oh dear. But, at least I’ve started it.

What I’ve decided to do (what I decided once I started doing it anyway) is go through crossing bits out, circling bits to move and adding notes of what needs to go where – on the paper copy. Then when I’ve done that I’ll go through on the computer and make the changes and add the bits I need to add. I have no idea if that’s the right way to go about it, but I think it’s going to work for me. I hope. Hey, it’s a learning curve, if it goes wrong I can start again!

The thing I noticed immediately on reading it, is how much better, tighter, my writing’s got in the last six months. (Ok, I’ve just had a little heart attack that it’s six months since I finished the first draft – seriously where has the time gone??!). The dialogue I’ve read so far just seems  unrealistic and there are so many extra words that just aren’t needed. I’m worried my 50,000  word novel is going to end up about 20,000 when I’ve finished with it. I guess it won’t cause I know there’s lots more I need to add in.

I can’t believe having just decided I need a new job, I’ve started editing the novel. How many time-consuming things can I fit in my life?

Last night, as I was going to bed I thought of a conversation that I should put in the story I’m going to write for Rowan Coleman’s Short Story Competition. I knew I’d forget it if I didn’t write it down, so did. 244 words later I had 1/4 of the story. It’s so typical that I think up something great (I hope) late at night – it couldn’t come to me during the day could it? I guess I should just be happy that ideas are coming to me.

I’m still loving 1984. I was reading it on the tube this morning, and just as it pulled into the station something really exciting happened. Agh. I hate it when that happens. I think I’ll be spending my lunch break reading today.

Fiction Friday #158

Wow, I can’t believe we’re up to number 158. I’ve been taking part in Fiction Friday for about five months now – I love it so much. I even loved today’s – even when I didn’t have a clue what to write. I had to do some research before I came up with any decent ideas. Actually I don’t even know if my idea’s decent. But it’s an idea.

The prompt from WriteAnything today is:

A Coming of Age Tale

I really would’ve liked to edit this before I posted it, but I’ve stuck with the rules and not touched it. I’ve actually not even read through it, I’m too scared to incase I find something that makes me not want to post it. Here it is anyway.

            ‘Go! Go! GO GO GO!’ the crowd chanted in time and Martin failed to get the beer in his mouth, but succeeded in getting it down his new shirt. A huge cheer went up as he emptied the last of the yard of ale down himself. He jumped up and punched the air, but slipped on the puddle of beer beneath his feet. Half the crowd – mainly Martin’s mates – replaced their cheering with laughter. Some of his family and a couple of the female attendees gasped.

            ‘I’m ok. I’m ok,’ he said, swaying as he pulled himself to his feet. Another cheer erupted.

            Across the room Martin’s non-identical twin brother Greg shook his head and took a sip of his orange juice. He couldn’t work out how they were brothers when they were so different.

            ‘Don’t fancy having a go?’ he turned round to see Samantha entering the room – he hadn’t even seen her leave.

            ‘Yeah right. If I can’t manage a pint, there’s no way I could manage a yard. How much is in it anyway?’ she laughed and threw her head back. The stream of light coming through the crack in the curtains sparkled on her hair. Greg, not for the first time that evening, felt something stir within him watching her.

            ‘I dunno. It doesn’t matter too much, it looks like most of it’s on the floor anyway.’ She laughed again, this time  watching him. He made an effort to laugh, but it was fake. He didn’t’ want to be talking about his brother with her, he wanted to talk to her about other things. Her favourite movie, her favourite smell. Important stuff. Important to him anyway. He doubted Martin thought it was important, he’d seen the way he treated her – often ignoring the things she said, or even worse talking over her. He’d never do that. If he had Sam he’d treat her like the precious gem she was.

            But he didn’t have her. And never would. Martin had made sure of that. He couldn’t blame him, she was gorgeous, and lets face it, Greg hadn’t said anything to her, or even Martin, about liking her. What was the point, she was pretty and popular. What would she see in him? Not when she could have his cool, handsome, funny twin brother. Yet again he wished they were identical so he would’ve had a chance with her.

            Sam pointed at his drink. ‘You should think about something stronger than that, this is your party too.’ Her eyes smiled at him for what he thought was a second longer than necessary before she turned her back on him and walked towards her stupid boyfriend, who was now trying to convince one of his stupid friends to try the yard of ale.

            Greg looked at his glass. Maybe he did need something stronger. It was his 18th after all. If there was any time ever he should be drinking it was definitely tonight.

            His aunt Betty was at the bar when he got there. As usual she pulled him in for a tight hug, then pinched his cheek.

            ‘You are turning into a handsome man aren’t you.’ It wasn’t a question. No one ever questioned Aunt Betty. It was a statement, just a statement he didn’t believe. Maybe he should, Aunt Betty was also known not to ever lie. ‘Have you found anywhere yet?’ He looked blankly at her.

            ‘Sorry Aunt Betty, anywhere for what?’ She laughed, although if he was totally honest, it really was a cackle.

            ‘To live of course my boy.’ If he was confused before, he definitely was now.

            ‘But I live with Mum and Dad. I don’t need anywhere to live.’ The blank expression stayed on his face. Her smile dropped.

            ‘You mean you’ve not started looking yet? But you’ve only got a few days. Lets think about it, when was the last full moon? It was a few weeks ago. You can’t have long. Maybe just a week or so.’

            Greg started feeling wobbly, what was she talking about? Something started nagging in the back of his head, but he couldn’t bring it to the front – to his conscious.

            ‘Aunt Betty, I… I… don’t know what you’re talking about.’ He put his glass down on the bar, afraid he was going to drop it. He had a feeling whatever she was about to say wasn’t going to be good news.

            Aunt Betty stared at him, mouth slightly open. Greg looked round for a stool, he had a feeling his legs were about to give way. Aunt Betty looked round. ‘Where are your parents? They should be telling you this not me,’ she muttered almost inaudibly.

            ‘I think you should tell me,’ Greg said lowering his tall frame onto the stool, an action that brought him down to Aunt Betty’s eye level.

            ‘Your parents should have told you,’ she muttered again, straightening her skirt in what seemed to Greg a nervous action. She looked him dead in the eye, ‘You have to move out. You’re an adult now, you can’t live with your parents any longer.’ Her words didn’t register with Greg for a moment, he just stared back. As it started to go in, she started talking again.

            ‘It’s a family tradition that goes back hundred and hundreds of years. It can’t be broken now. All you younger generation think things have changed, but they haven’t. You and Martin have to move out. It’s the way it is.’

            Greg laughed a little. ‘You are joking, aren’t you? This isn’t true.’ Aunt Betty shook her head sadly.

            ‘I’m afraid not young man, once a child becomes an adult they must move out of their parent’s home and start afresh on their own.’

            Greg looked towards the crowd near his brother, on the outside was Suzy.

            ‘Ha, no. Suzy didn’t. She stayed at home until she went to university. We don’t have to. We don’t.’ Again Aunt Betty shook her head.

            ‘She was a lucky girl, she was born in the summer, her birthday was just a few weeks before she went to university. The night before her birthday was a full moon so she had nearly four weeks to move out. It coincided with her leaving for university anyway. I’m sorry Greg, but you and Martin need to move out in the next couple of weeks.’

            Greg felt like his world was falling apart. He looked over at Martin, who at that moment looked back up at him. Martin saw the colour had drained from his twin’s face and ran over.

            ‘Martin. What is it?’

            ‘We have to move out. We have to become adults and live on our own,’ he tried to explain before the shock got too much for his body to handle and he fainted, falling into his brother’s arms.

What do you think? Is it worth going back and doing anything with? I’m not sure if the story’s strong enough, or if there’s too much explanation after the tradition is revealed? Whatever you think, please leave me a comment and let me know. Thanks. And have a lovely weekend everyone.

Good Day

After the disastrous couple of days I’ve had (writing wise) today’s actually been pretty good. I’ve… wait for it… worked on my writing course! To be honest I’ve not all that much, but I think editing 2 sections is quite an achievement. I’ve also started another part of it. I’ll try to get that done as my daily writing before I leave work tonight.

I’m going out tonight so I definitely won’t be able to do any writing when I get home – unlike last night. Yep, when I got home, I did some writing! That’s the first time in soooo long. I’m really happy with myself for that. Now if I could just start doing that regularly.

I made a couple of really big decisions in the last 24 hours that are going to change my life (and writing) quite dramatically.

Firstly, my housemate is selling up and moving. She’s staying in London, but I’ve decided I’m not going to move with her, but find somewhere new. Exciting and scary. She’s probably not going to put it on the market until the end of July, but that’s something to think about. I’m seeing it as a positive thing – new people, new area, new room. I’m going to choose a room this time that has (or can fit) a desk (my current room doesn’t have one, and there’s no desk or even table I can comfortably write on in the lounge or kitchen). Then I’ll have no excuse not to write in the evenings and at weekends. I think having a dedicated place for writing will make me more inclined to do some.

The other big decision is that I’m going to look for a new job. Now. Well, I’m going to start this week anyway. There’s a couple of main reasons for that. The first being that I don’t know if I’ll have a job in September anyway – I’m a contract receptionist and the company I’m working at are moving offices – they’re not sure if they’re taking us with them. So, if they don’t, hopefully my company will find me another job, but it will be in September. If they don’t I’ll be looking for a new job. Potentially round about the time I move. I don’t want to be moving and starting a new job at the same time – so I figure I’ll start the ball rolling with a new job now. If I can get one within a month (fingers crossed), I’ve got to give a month’s notice so can leave early August, so be settled in before I start looking for somewhere to live.

The other reason for it, is that I’d quite like a nicer place than I can currently afford. If I get a job which pays better than this one, I’ll be able to afford a better room, in a better house, in a better neighbourhood than I currently can.

So what does that mean for writing? Well, short-term it means I’m going to have to be very disciplined. Last time I looked for a job it took up all my spare time (and more). So this time I’m going to set aside specific hours in the day to write, and to job hunt. Hopefully that way I’ll be able to carry on writing while I look for something else.

Long term – well, that all depends on the job I find. Most of the writing I do at the moment is at work. My job’s so quiet that I get so much time to do it a day. If I get another job like this great. However the chances are slim (and I’d quite like a more interesting job where I’m actually doing something). So again, I’ll have to be disciplined. I’ll have to spend x minutes a day writing – during my lunch breaks or whatever, then will have to set aside specific times in the evenings (maybe two or three times a week) and at weekends just to write.

This could be a good thing. At the moment I can get a little complacent – I think I’ve got all day to write, so will do it later, later, later. Then when later comes I find I’ve actually got work to do or something that stops me from writing. This way if I make myself write at specific times, I may well get more done!

That’s all my news for today. Tomorrow’s Friday which can only mean Fiction Friday over at WriteAnything and Rowan Coleman’s Stauts Short Story Friday. Yay! Love Fridays!

Wednesday’s Woes

‘Woes’ is maybe a little strong, but I like the alliteration. And really, I am going to have a little moan.

It’s my own fault – no one forced me to drink copious amounts of (free!!) champagne last night. There was no gun to my head – but like I said, it was FREE! How can you not?

So obviously I’ve not done any writing today. Or any editing of my writing course assignment, or Italian Infatuation. Damn. Yesterday I also did a pretty bad show of writing – 158 words. Not good enough. So much for June being a new start. Tomorrow! Definitely tomorrow!

Actually no, I’m going to try to write something when I get home. I won’t feel like it, but tucked up in bed I’m sure I can stretch to 250 words. Surely I can. The only reason I didn’t make it that high yesterday was that I ran out of time at work then was out all night (then it didn’t even cross my mind after the 3rd or 4th champagne!).

I did really enjoy Sex and The City 2 though. I’ve heard it got pretty bad reviews, but it was exactly what I expected, and I went home feeling warm, fuzzy and happy. Just what you want.

I have done a couple of productive things today. First I updated my ‘Currently Reading’ picture to the side of my blog to show 1984. I also updated my Reading/Read page with the novels I’ve read recently. Then I added links from that page to the novels I’ve reviewed. Oh, I also went through the books I’ve read for the Thriller & Suspense Reading Challenge and wrote the books I need to review. And emailed my ex to ask him to set up my T&SRC page so I can add them there too. And now I’ve nearly done a blog. See, the day’s not been a waste afterall.

Tomorrow I’ll get on with some writing, and my writing course. No excuses!

So now I’m back, From outerspace… eh no, from Italy

It may as well be a different planet though – when we left Rome it was HOT and SUNNY and now in London it’s COLD and RAINING. So cold I’ve had the heater on today. How depressing (if being back from holiday wasn’t depressing enough in itself!)

While I was away I finished reading Love Lies by Adele Parks. It was great – so good I had to stay up late the last night I read it to finish it. Do you ever wish you coud read through closed eyes? I totally did. But was pleased I made the effort. Total chick lit bliss. I just need to keep in mind it’s fiction not real life. The beginning sort of echoed mine and so I don’t want to be thinking now that it could happen. 

I read a book once, a chick lit book, that actually changed my life. I think had I not have read it at that time I wouldn’t have made a decision that totally changed my life. Weird eh. It was Straight Talking by Jane Green – no wonder she’s one of my favourite authors of all time!

Once I’d finished that book, I started on another. A few months ago I decided I need to read some classic books as pretty much all I read is chick lit, romance and crime/thrillers and want to expand my reading. Plus there’s always those things that tell you the 100 or 1000 books you should read before you die – I’m always lacking in them. So, when I was in a book shop with my mum she offered to buy me a book (yes, I have the best mum in the world!) and next to where we were standing was 1984 by George Orwell. Decision made. But obviously I’d not picked it up – until now.

I am loving it, when you consider how long ago it was written (I think 1949 ish) it doesn’t seem dated at all. Even though it was written so long ago and set in the future, which is now the past it doesn’t seem dated. In fact, I keep thinking that you could change the name to 2084 and it could seem like it’s a novel set in the future.

It reminds me a lot of a sci-fi book I read recently – The Caves of Steel by Asimov. His was also set in the future and although his future wasn’t as strict, I keep thinking they’re very similar. Regardless, I’m really enjoying it. I should’ve picked it up months/years ago.

I didn’t do any writing while I was away. I did think about it, but the thought didn’t go as far as getting up and finding some paper. For once I actually don’t care that I didn’t do anything – I was on holiday and why should holiday mean holiday from one type of work to be doing something else. Not that I consider writing work, but you know what I mean.

Just before I left I did take one HUGE step. I got my printer synced with my computer (well… it did it itself – LOVE that computer) and printed out the first draft of Italian Infatuation. I didn’t read it or anything, but at least I now have a hard copy of it that I can start editing. It’s a small step, but at least it’s a step in the right direction!

I’m going to try to edit my writing course assignment this week. I wrote the four sections before I went away so in theory all I need to do is edit them (all I need to do!), BUT, for the second section you had to choose 2 out of 6 prompts to take. I wanted to have a go at 4, then choose the 2 I thought were the best to send off. I don’t know if I’ll do that now, or just stick to the 2 I’ve done. I’ll think about it tonight and get started on it one way or another tomorrow.

As it’s June now, I’m going to come up with a plan for myself to get my motivation going again after holiday. I’m not sure what yet, but it will probably involve writing 250 words a day at least 6 days a week, and writing at least 5 blogs a week. If I’ve got a written plan I should be able to stick to it. Should.

Totally unrelated – I’m going to see Sex and the City tonight at a private showing with cocktails and canapes. It’s so true it’s not what you know, it’s who you know!