Archive | May 2011

TBR List

I’ve just done the funniest thing. At the top of my blog, I’ve got different pages. One of which is my To Read list. I’ve just updated it. Although, when I say updated, I mean I’ve deleted all the books I’ve actually read. Which was half the list. What’s funny is that there’s now only about 8 books on it. As if.

If I’ve only got 8 books I want to read, why is half my 4’x4′ book shelf at home taken up with books I’ve not yet read? Hmm.

I could… add all the books on my shelf to the list. But I don’t really think that’s a good idea. It would take me forever. I think at last count I had 70 odd. I’ve read loads of them since then (I believe that count was before I moved, the time before last, so pre December). However, I’ve also been given and bought many, many more since then. I feel like I should have another count. I’m a little scared of that idea though. What if I’ve got more than 100? That would be crazy. Especially when I’m only reading about 2/3  a month!

Especially when I know I’m going to buy more.

I’ve actually been really good recently. I’ve tried to stay away from bookshops (lets forget the author event I went to a week ago, where I bought three books!) and keep away from books in the supermarket etc. I know I’ve got a load that I want to read, so I don’t want to add to it.

I have a problem though. In the form of a boyfriend. He encourages me to buy books. He’s like a feeder, but for books! A few weeks ago we went to visit my family, and in the city they live there are like 5 charity shops. I tried to stay away, but he insisted we went in. 15 minutes later I walked out with 3 or 4 books (the up side is that he paid though, ha!). I honestly would have been happy staying away, because I never would have known what I was missing out on. But once I was in, I HAD to get some!

When we left my Mum’s house, I left the books there. Part of me is almost happy – I don’t have to find room for new books – but the other half of me is mad with myself. I left books. At my Mum’s. The problem is I don’t really want to get her to post them, because the chances are I won’t read them before I visit next time, and it would be silly to pay all that money on postage for no reason. But, I’ve forgotten what they are and am dying to know. I guess I could just ask my mum, but sometimes things are too easy, eh!

I can’t have a whole blog just about books, so I’ll add a little about writing/editing.

I’ve not done anything since my last blog. That’s only a day though, so that’s nothing. I’m planning on walking home after work (only 50 mins roughly -only 20 mins longer that getting the tube), getting dinner, then spending an hour or so editing. That’s the plan anyway 🙂

Enjoying Editing (#ROW80 Check-In Sun 29/5)

Thanks to A Round of Words in 80 Days (and Chrissie Manby and Lotte Daley), I started editing my novel a week ago. I’d been putting it off since December. 2009. Right now, I have no idea why! I’m really enjoying doing it. I know it’s going to take a huge amount of time and patience, but you know what, I’m ready and looking forward to it.

I’ve so far done an hour and a half, and that time has shown how incredibly long it is going to take – and how hard it’s going to be. I think my biggest problem is going to be deciding which idea to use. So far I’ve had a couple of things where I cross out what I’ve written and use something else, but then go back and think the first one was better. Sigh. I don’t know.

There are a couple of HUGE things I need to sort out. Like if the MCs are attracted to each other from the beginning (which I originally though they were) or it grows between them. Actually, writing that, I’ve realised I know the answer myself. This is why it’s great having a blog! Maybe if I can blog all my dilemmas, I can solve then as I go.

I’m not getting any further on the MC’s name. I did have an idea yesterday, but I’m not too sure if it’s right or not. I have this romantic idea that when I find her name I’ll KNOW. I don’t know if it happens like that though. I don’t think I’ve ever had this problem with a character before.

Oh, I’m having another character name problem. I thought I knew one of the bridesmaids name’s, but it’s listed as X in the first couple of chapters. I really feel like I need to know it before I carry on, I can’t leave X as a name on draft two! (And yet I can have no name for my MC – go figure!) It means searching through the pages for her name, but she has a really small part, so it’s going to be hard finding where she pops up. Sigh!

I’m sure I’ve got more to write, but I’m dying to get on and edit for a bit before I get ready for a wedding this afternoon (and to be honest, I’m really hungry!), so I must fly.

Hold up, can you believe I just wrote that – I’m dying to get on with my editing! It seems miracles do happen after all!

Fiction Friday – 27th May – The End of the World

The prompt from Write Anything for today’s Fiction Friday is:

The end of the world has been penciled in by a number of religions and groups. How is your character preparing for it?

My (unedited) story from that introduces the MC from my novel Italian Infatuation and her best friend who is about to get married…

‘You don’t believe it do you?’ Fiona put her head down and started twirling her spaghetti round her plate. ‘Fiona?’

She looked up at Diane. ‘Noooo…’

‘Fiona?’

Fiona coughed and sat up a little straighter.

‘No, I don’t. Don’t look at me like that, I don’t. It’s just…’

‘Just…?’

‘Well, I’ve waited my whole life to get married and now I’m three weeks away from it and some guy in India is predicting the world is going to end the week before. I know it’s not going to, but what if it does? I’m so close. I can’t die single. Not when I’m so close.’

Diane thought about it. She knew exactly how Fiona felt, the excitement of being just weeks away from becoming married was so exciting. Even if it was different for her – it was only five years ago that she’d got married, although it had been different for her.

Diane and Jim had been together forever, it hadn’t been a matter of ‘’if’’ for them, but ‘’when.’’ Fiona however, had floated from one guy to another, never forming anything deep, because no one was good enough for her, she always felt like there was something missing. Until Peter. Peter came along and filled the void – everyone just knew they were right for each other from the day they met. They completed each other.

Unlike Diane and Jim in the end.

‘If the world ends honey, there’s nothing you can do about it. But I wouldn’t worry about it, you won’t know.’ That made Fiona laugh. ‘Fiona seriously, you’re less than a month away from your wedding. You’re getting married in another country. Do you really need something ELSE to worry about? Surely that’s enough for one person?’

‘You know, you’re right. Although I know everything is sorted, but…’

‘you’re still worrying aren’t you?’

‘Diane you’ve known me for as long as I remember. Of course I’m worrying.’

‘Ok, I’ll tell you what.’ She signalled to the waiter to bring them another bottle of wine. ‘Why don’t we look at the dessert menu and then you can tell me everything you’re still worried about. You know what they say, a problem shared is a problem halved.’ At the exact same moment they both picked up their nearly empty glasses, and chinked them.

Please let me know what you think. Lets hope there are other Fiction Friday players today!

If Every Day Could Be Like the Last 24 Hours

Maybe the last 25 hours actually – I’ve just been so productive!

Last night after writing my blog, and after mucking about for a bit, I sat down and did some more editing. 39 minutes of editing. Woop! Today at lunchtime I wrote 380+ words on a story for Fiction Friday tomorrow.

I find Fiction Friday stories pretty easy to write. I read the prompt, then write. I usually don’t think about it too much before I write, I just write, no stressing like for a novel about what to write before I write, I just write. Today all I did before I started writing was to have a little thinkg about who the characters were going to be – turned out I used the MC and her best friend from Italian Infatuation. I find that a good way of getting in a character’s head is to throw them in a Fiction Friday situation and see how they react. Diane and Fiona worked pretty well, except Diane used the word ‘Honey,’ which I don’t think she would.

The other thing I find easy (easy? not sure that’s the right word) about doing the pieces, is that there is no editing involved, and I don’t expect anything else from what I write. When I write a novel I know I have to go back and edit it. Fiction Friday stories can just be a short burst of story telling without anything else.  I love that.

Of course sometimes I chose to go back and edit, or add to a story, but if I do, I’m chosing to, so it must mean I love it enough to.

That sounds wrong. That sounds like I’m saying I don’t love anything else enough to WANT to go back and edit it. That’s not true. I love Italian Infatuation (II), and it’s taken me 17 months to start editing that. I want to, even though I’ve not found the motivation to until now. Does that make sense? I know what I mean, I just hope you do too.

I have a problem with Diane – the MC in II. I like her, but at the same time I don’t. I realised the reason a while ago, but totally forgot until just now. Her name’s wrong. Diane is a nice name. But, it’s not her name. I can’t believe I didn’t work that one out months and months (or a year +) ago (and can’t believe when I did I forgot). At some point during the draft two editing, I want to find out what her name is and change it. I think when I do that I’ll feel much more comfortable with her.

I’m a little torn on what to do now. I’m really tired so have come to bed and am typing in bed. Really I should go to sleep (I’ve been sleeping badly this week), but I know I won’t. So, the question is: should I sit up and read some II, or should I relax completely and carry on with Jane Green’s The Love Verb? Both options are extremely appealing, and I can’t decide. Hopefully once I’ve edited this I’ll know. Hopefully!

Not Much Writing, But Lots of Excitement (#ROW80 Check-in)

I was just trying to work out why I’ve done no writing or editing this week… but then I realised it’s only Wednesday – and I am about to do some for today. Yesterday I HAD to go shopping (for a dress for a wedding – see essential stuff!) and Monday, I… Well to be honest I can’t rememeber why I didn’t do anything. It possibly had something to do with Gavin and Stacy being on TV and me having not watched any TV for ages.

Today though, I’m going to do some. Just as soon as I’ve finished this. And maybe that other blog I’m working on. And possibly a book review. Then, I promise I’ll do some. Honest.

The reason I’ve got lots of excitement going on is two fold – first I went to an author event on Friday (and you know how excited I get about them) and secondly… are you ready? I started editing Italian Infatuation on Friday. Like actually got a pen out and started scribbling on it. Like proper editing! I only did about half an hour, but that’s half an hour more than I’ve done editing it since I wrote it.

Oh, another really exciting thing, at the author event ‘Girls Night In,’ (I’ll link the blog about it here when I do it) was that Chris (Chrissie) Manby told me she LOVED the name Italian Infatuation. Woop! I really like it too, but to have someone as experienced as Chrissie say she likes it… wow!

The main reason I really wanted to blog today, was that I wanted to share with you my belief that things happen for a reason. Stylist is a free weekly magazine in London for women. I used to get it every Wednesday, and love it. But in October we moved offices and since then I don’t really get it. I don’t know if they don’t give them out at London Bridge or Moorgate (whichever I decide getting off at that day) or if they’ve all been given out by the time I get there, but I never usually get one, and never usually see anyone who has handed them out.

Today, that changed. Today, as soon as I stepped out the station and saw a florescent jacket, I knew. Hopefully the Stylist people have decided Moorgate is a good station to hand them out (mental note to tell @stylistmagazine on Twitter!). I didn’t get a chance to read it until I sat down tonight for dinner, and when I did, imagine how delighted I was when the cover story was about my favourite subject: BOOKS!

Children’s books to be exact. There was an article on ‘The Books We Never Outgrow,’ then a top 10 children’s books countdown. They chose so many good books, some of which I’d forgotten existed (Malory Towers, The Worst Witch anyone?) ,  and some I’d remembered (Anne of Green Gables, The BFG). Anne of Green Gables is actually still on my TBR list now. When I was younger I was addicted to the series, but now, I can’t rememeber it, and I want to be able to remember it. Reading the list made me want to add all the other books to my TBR list too. You know, I may!

The final thing in the article was a 9 point plan of ‘How To Get Your Children’s Book Published,’ which is actually something I’d like to do (you know, once I’ve written it, and published my romance and YA novels!) Seriously, it’s like the magazine was specifically for me today – and totally goes back to what I was saying in the begining – things happen for a reason and I believe someone somewhere wanted me to get a Stylist today for a reason!

Right, I think that’s enough jibba-jabba for today. I was going to say I’ll go and edit (or write another blog, or even just do some writing), but I flicked very quickly onto Twitter and have just seen The Apprentice is on. This will be a will power test!

ROW80 so far: 8,830 w0rds; 30 mins writing course; 30 mins EDITING! Woop!

Fiction Friday – 20th May

This week’s prompt from Write Anything is:

Use the word “Orismology” in your fiction this week (its the science of defining or explaining a technical term)

My unedited story is:

Kelly chewed her food in silence and wondered what the hell she was going here. If she’d cared more she would have wondered what the hell Omiso… Orosmo… Orismology was, or meant, but she didn’t, she just wished she’d said no.

She had every other time Dan had suggested it: ‘You’d get on so well with so-and-so,’ ‘I know this guy that is just perfect for you,’ or what seemed to be his favourite ‘You and so-and-so would just click.’ After saying no to his matchmaking for three years, she couldn’t believe she’s said yes this time. And to such a dork.

She laughed a little at her internal use of the word dork – someone had once told her it means whale’s dick. She looked up and realised Kelvin was staring at her.

‘Sorry?’ she asked, he’d obviously asked her a question or something, shit, she should have been paying more attention.

‘I asked why you were laughing. Did you think I was joking? I was being deadly serious about…’ before he could bore her any more she cut him off.

‘No, no. Sorry, I was distracted… The waiter behind you just dropped a plate of food.’ Kelly though it was quite a usable excuse until Kelvin turned round to look. Obiously there was no waiter there. ‘Oh, he’s gone now.’ She smiled sweetly as he turned back to look at her, but wondered why she was bothering.

‘You’ll have to excuse me,’ she said putting her cutlery down, and lifting the crisp white napkin off her lap. ‘I must run to the ladies. No, no, don’t stand up. I’ll only be a second.’ It wouldn’t take long for her to phone Dan and tell them their friendship is over. Maybe he could call Kelvin and tell him she had to go or something. Except her coat. Damn.

‘Excuse me,’ just before she got to the toilet door, a hand touched her arm. Kelly turned back around and was greeted with an object of beauty.

His accent was Australian, and he certainly had the surfer look going on. Long floppy blond hair, that he pushed back out of his eyes as he looked down on her. Kelly was 5’9’’ so he must have been 6’3’’ maybe 4’’. He had electric blue eyes, but long dark eyelashes that framed them. He was dressed in a suit, but had the pale blue shirt undone a button too many, so she could see the tan and muscles pushing through.

‘Um, hi.’

‘Sorry to interrupt as you’re on your way,’ he pointed to the bathroom door, she shrugged. The bathroom could wait. I just had to come and check you’re alright.’ She must have looked at him like he was an alien, as he then started to explain. ‘I’m sat at the table next to yours, and couldn’t help noticing that you’ve not said a word during your meal – and he’s said some very boring ones.’ He grinned at her and her legs felt weak. HE was grinning at HER. Wow, there was a god.

After probably a bit too long pause, she found her words. ‘I… Um…’ But not too well.

Surfer guy looked back into the restaurant nervously, then back at her.

‘Sorry, Yeah, I’m fine. I’m going to kill my mate though for setting this blind date up.’ She wasn’t too happy telling this guy she was on a blind date, but knew she had to explain why she was with him, and so bored.

‘You’re friend’s probably just so jealous of your beauty that she feels you need some punishment.’ That made Kelly laugh. Then she realised he’d said she was beautiful. He had, hadn’t he?

‘He.’

‘Sorry?’

‘It was a male friend that set us up.’

‘Oh.’ He put his hand on his chin and thought about it. ‘Well then he must be so annoyed you won’t go out with him that he feels you need punishing.’ That made Kelly laugh again.

‘Actually, he’s gay.’

‘Oh. Well that blows my theories out the window.’ He turned round to check there was no one around, then moved closer and whispered, ‘I don’t think your friend likes you too much.’ Kelly laughed for a third time, this guy was great.

‘Scott,’ Surfer held his hand out to shake Kelly’s.

‘Kelly,’ she replied taking it and praying he wouldn’t notice the sweat or the shakes – hot men always did that to her. If he did, he didn’t say anything.

‘Look, I know this is really inappropriate, especially as you’re on your way in there, but how about you dump that guy and come for a drink with me? I presume you’ve finished dinner?’ She nodded. ‘Great, how about we pretend I’m a long lost friend from school that you’ve not seen for what, five years?’

‘I left school ten years ago,’ she told him, happy with the compliment of looking younger than she was.

‘Even better. We’ll say we’ve not seen each other since school, because… Um…’

‘Because you moved to Australia…’

‘Exactly. And I’m only back for a week, so we have to catch up.’ He looked at her uncertain face. ‘Ok, I’ll tell you what, you go in there and think about it while you powder your nose, and I’ll wait just here,’ he pointed at the floor, ‘until you’ve made your mind up.’

‘Deal,’ Kelly smiled and turned to walk in the bathroom, realising her phone call to Dan was going to be totally different to how she imagined it.

Please, let me know what you think.

ROW80 Check-In – Tuesday 17th May

I’m either a day early, or a couple of days late for a check-in, but I figure I’ve got the time right now, so I may as well make use of it.

I’m doing so much better over the last week than I had been before (although you wouldn’t notice from my failings to check-in). I’ve not quite reached my goal for the week, but if I can manage to write 63 words this evening (highly possible) I will, for the first time in the challenge. Likelihood is that I’ll go over 63 words and so beat my weekly goal (I’m talking Wed-Thu here, not a real week!). WOO!

I went through how much I’ve written over the last 6 weeks last night. I’ve actually written over 8,000 words. Considering before I started the challenge I was probably averaging 2,000 a month, I call this a success.

I did think about lowering my goals, but then I realised it’s good having something big, but doable rather than something easily doable. If I lowered my goals too much and reached them, I would be likely to stop writing.

Last year, I used to write monthly goals. It was actually a good way of getting me to write regularly. However, there were a couple of months where I reached my monthly goal way before the end of the month, and you know what I did? Instead of seeing how many more I could write, I stopped. Stopped until the next month when I started again (but set higher goals). So I’m keeping my goals high.

Really, 2,100 words a week isn’t that much. It is and it isn’t. Generally my Fiction Friday pieces are around 1,000, so that’s just another thousand on top to make the goal. Not too much at all and as I’ve proved this week, I can do it (even though I didn’t go near a computer/pen/pencil over the weekend).

You may have noticed that all my recent talk has been about writing, but my goals are EITHER writing OR working on my writing course OR editing. That’s because all I’ve been doing is writing. I do plan to do some of the other two, I’m just taking the easy route because I find writing easier. Having said that, I dug out my printed copy of Italian Infatuation last night in the hope that I’ll start editing it soon. Or at least read through it again (which I’ve not done since Jan – Jan 2010 that is!) and make notes on what I need to change. Which I guess is editing really!

That’s my challenge after today then – start reading/editing II. And to keep on with the writing. If I can write and edit at the same time?

If you’re also doing ROW80, how are you getting on. If you’re not doing ROW80, how is your writing going anyway?