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Jun. 8th, 2010

Bye for now.

I’ve decided to take this journal down for the summer months as it is a fearsome servant of procrastination.  See you all in September. 

May. 20th, 2010

I have no time for this

I am feeling overwhelmed to the point where I am making lists of things I need to do and then putting the approximate time and day I think I can do them beside them. Then my brother says, “so, do you want to climb Croagh Patrick?” Of course I say yes, despite the fact that there is actually no time on the list to buy the new shoes I need before I climb it. Plus that time was scheduled for something else. Plus part of that something else was sleeping. But I want to climb a mountain. This is how to become overwhelmed.  Roll on summer.

P.S. Also this is an unscheduled blog post. 

Apr. 19th, 2010

Not all blog posts need titles.

I think a month has passed. It must be time for a blog post. J


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Mar. 21st, 2010


A  couple of weeks ago I decided to make a serious stab at the very last  short story I wanted to write before devoting myself full time to my novel. With great delight, after about 2500 words had only made a dent in the opening, and introduced a fabulous new character and a twist I simply had to run with, I realised I had, yet again, a novel idea on my hands. So, I cranked out a synopsis, and put it in the “novels what must be writ before I die,” pile and realised, this is it. I have cleared my plate, (well not 100% but more of that later), when I write from now on, I must be writing my first novel.  Whoa! Headrush!

I have close to 60,000 words, maybe more, written on this novel previously, but I freely admit that is mainly back-story, character development, exploration of plot points,  various scenes here and there, etc, etc, etc. None of them are usable really, but they give me a foundation of sorts.  So, off I go again. And two problems come rushing at me. One, I’m not sure what the atmosphere of the novel should be. Perhaps that ties in with voice.  I was talking to Abby, on Facebook, and she was asking which I find hardest, character or setting, and none of those are giant problems for me. They’re more regular sized problems. But voice, getting the correct voice in which to start, now that is a giant sized problem. I also think part of it is that I enjoy the spunky, fuck it all, voices which are more common in middle grade novels, than the angst ridden, problem soaked, hormonal painfest, that is the voice of many YA novels, and I think my novel’s MC’s age is more veering towards the YA range.  So I have a bit of a dilemma.

Another, I won’t call it a problem, but a definite discovery, is that my world building is not tight enough, not yet. I introduced a religious character, and realised I didn’t know the man’s proper title, his rank, or the main elements of his religion. If I didn’t want his religion to be a pale imitation of Catholicism, I had to invent one. So I did. I love my new religion. It’s very cool and adds even more dept to the existing storyline, but I still have a problem. Do I call the man a priest, or invent a new title? And then that brings in more problems. I would like the priest character to be an alcoholic. My world is a parallel world to ours which relates to ours in many ways, but is not our world. So they have horses, trains, farming, roads, mountains, etc.  all of them called by the names by which we know them as, and while I’m very comfortable leaving a horse a horse, etc. I’m having huge issues with leaving a priest a priest, or whiskey as whiskey. And yet, I don’t want to invent crops and research alcohol production in order to invent a different alcoholic drink he might be addicted to.  Not sure what exactly to do here, but I have a feeling getting the voice right will resolve a lot of these issues.

The funny thing about writing this novel  first is that it feels almost like a compulsion. I have plenty of novel synopses written which are more detailed and on the face of it seem much more straight forward stories to write, and yet, here I am, charging into the most vague, elusive one of them all. And then I think, well, maybe they would all turn elusive and vague if I forced them to materialise on the page.

And regarding that not quite 100 % issue I mentioned earlier. I have one last short story I would like to throw into the world, one last time. It’s done. It’s tight. I’ve just had two helpful crits on it but no major rewriting to be done.  I’m off to clean it up now and hopefully send it on its way tomorow.  Then nothing for it but to make a novel materialise. Abracadabra and all that.   

Feb. 2nd, 2010

In praise of text

Does anyone else get annoyed about the proliferation of videos on the Internet? I am so fed up of spotting an interesting link only to get there and discover it’s a video. Not only a video, but part 1 of a series that runs for hours. 

Have they no respect for my speed-reading skills? I can skilfully extract the usefulness out of any article in about thirty seconds. If it’s top notch brilliant, I may even have to give it a dedicated five minutes. But videos, with their slow build ups to their revelations, and their captioning left in place for so long Neanderthals who have to sound out each letter could fit in a toilet break and a quick cuppa while waiting for the next one, and interviews with people who will not get to the point, and have facial tics of pointlessness, and mannerisms and...

It is so annoying, and so, I am annoyed. That is all. More text please.

Jan. 13th, 2010

Chronicles of the Snow and Ice


Me, the snow, cabin fever and the apocalypse Collapse )

Dec. 31st, 2009

Happy New Year (Changes)

Apparently I will only be using LJ from now on to post YouTube videos. Still, it's more than I've been doing with my account for a while.


I remember this guy winning Pop Idol 2001, (later replaced with the X Factor), and totally loving his voice. Now, years later, I finally get around to buying his greatest hits album. From this we can extrapolate that you shouldn’t expect me to support anybody in the early parts of their careers, but when you are selling the humongous boxed sets of your complete collections, definitely then, I'll pick one up. :)

Anyone, I've heard this song before, but listening to it at home this past day or two, it’s started to mean a little more to me. I’ve found there are periods in your life when everything is comfy-cosy or even, just bearable, and you don’t want nothing to change. You can play it like that and you’ll be just fine. And then, there’s other times when nothing particularly is wrong, but still, it’s just not right. You’d be willing to take a risk, to gamble something. You need a change. Even if changes are risky. I’m kinda there now. Something’s got to change.

So next year, hoping all your changes are good ones. And mine too.

Dec. 23rd, 2009

Happy Christmas everyone!

If you have time check out out how she feels about Sleeping Beauty.

Well, I am actually sorted for the holidays, in that I have bought everything that needs to be bought. Still haven't decorated the house yet. Maybe tomorrow. Or maybe I'll go for a minimalist Christmas. Granny O Grimm would approve. ;)

I hope you all have a fantastic Christmas, whatever that is for you, time to be with friends and family, time to be alone, time to write, time to walk the dogs in the woods, chocolates and alcohol, books and more books, perfect presents, and the promise of the New Year.

Yes, I have just described some of my favourite things but I'm sure lots of other people out there enjoy many of them just as much. Happy Christmas everyone.

Sep. 20th, 2009

One up, two down.

I have spent something like three hours tonight searching for a memory stick and a set of keys.  Fruitlessly. I am fairly fed up because well, my memory stick’s got lots of my stuff on it, and, the set of keys are for work. The only positive in all this is that I’m fairly certain everything is still in the house. But I have no idea where, and I’ve searched all my usual places.

During all this hunting, I came across notes from a writing course I did two years ago. Then I came upon a notebook with a synopsis for a novel, tentatively entitled “Steam Dragon,” which I have absolutely no recollection writing.  It’s pretty detailed too.  I’m amazed as I would have sworn by the power of my memory, and yet if I hadn’t found that synopsis, that novel idea would never have entered my head again. Also, where are my keys and my memory stick?

So much for my awesome memory. So, I’m one synopsis up, and one set of keys and a memory stick down at the end of my search.  Synopsis making me slightly happy. Keys and stick fairly annoying me.

Sep. 19th, 2009

Aha! I knew it!

I woke up this morning with a dead fly on my pillow. This would be more disturbing rather than particularly notable  if I hadn’t predicted this occurrence before I fell asleep.

It started like this. After I had been in bed for between ten and fifteen minutes, a fly zoomed past my face in the dimly lit darkness of my bedroom. Then it went quiet. Little b*****d, I thought. How dare you stay quiet while I potter around my room getting ready for bed and then whip out just as I am about to fall asleep, and start your buzzing nonsense.  I considered getting up and chasing it out. Not killing it, mind. I am a vegetarian after all, although I still reserve the right to call creatures rude names if they deserve it.  

The fly buzzed quietly from the curtains. One more buzz out of you, Mister, I thought, and your night is suddenly going to get a whole lot more interesting.


I waited.


OK, I thought. I’ll chance relaxing. Perhaps it’s going to stay quite. Then a thought struck me. What if it decided to land on my bed and sleep there during the night? What if it died there? After all, it seemed a fairly unhealthy fly, hardly a decent buzz out of it.

That’ll be just my luck, I thought, that damn, unhealthy fly is going to hop into my bed right beside me and die here during the night.  That was my last(ish) waking thought.  On my honour.

Woke up this morning. Dead fly on the pillow beside me.


I’ve given some thought as to what uses I can put this newly acquired, demise of flies, prediction skills to, but, nothing so far. Oh, well. Perhaps it’s just not immediately apparent.

Aug. 14th, 2009


The first word I ever heard my niece utter was “toe.” She actually said, “toe, toe, toe,” all the while pointing at her toes. I hadn’t the heart to tell her she needed to use a plural. Anyway, today, I am sitting here in something like despair, hoping and praying I don’t have a broken toe. And she is connected. Although I accept full blame. The child was not in procession of a gun.


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Jul. 19th, 2009

When two worlds collide.


Very boring stuff under here. Be warned.Collapse )

Jul. 15th, 2009

Dead Souls

Dead Souls  which contains my story "Begin With Water" is available for pre-order.  I'm really looking forward to this, seeing as it's my first story published in a themed anthology. Can't wait to read the others.

Jul. 7th, 2009

Vedic Astrology and Filing

I’m off to do a Vedic Astrology course tomorrow. This is not something I’m massively fascinated by, I’m more of an I-Ching and the Tarot woman myself, (and angel cards, of course,) but when a friend mentioned it, the writerly part of me went, hmmm, might be useful for a story sometime. So, I signed up.

However, apparently as part of the course, we get a reading so the time of our birth is required. Pretty seriously required. My mother has never been able to remember my time of birth with any degree of certainty, although there was a time there, a few years ago, when I thought she had told me eleven a.m. Then she contradicted this and said she didn’t know. So, I was left wondering where eleven in the morning came out of. Anyway, I decided I would get straight down home and persuade my mother she really did remember. Thankfully, she was in the mood for it. After asking her a million questions to get her back in the correct time frame, as in, who brought you to the hospital, who minded my older brother and sister, who else had a baby at the same time etc. etc. etc., things started happening. I left her with strict instructions to think and think and think, and brought the dog for a walk on the beach to allow memories to percolate.

(An an aside, my eight year old niece wanted to know why we just didn’t consult my baby book.  Sweet! Babies just didn’t have baby books in those days, which aren’t ALL that long ago. We were lucky if we photographed occasionally, well I was, being a third and middle child. J )

When I came back she had got this far. She had suffered from blood pressure with me and therefore had to be hospitalised and induced.  She still couldn’t remember the time, but given that I was induced it had to be during the day.  Also, she has a memory of very efficient nursing staff and felt pretty certain it would have been early in the day. For some reason, the time eleven o clock was in her head. I would have thought, Da Daaaaah, except, I may have been the one to put the eleven o clock in her head.  Anyway,  I have settled on eleven for a birth time.

The other thing of interest is the fact that I was an induced birth. I remember meeting an old friend of mine once who just had a baby in that manner.  You could still see the memory of the pain in her face. She told me they had to hold her down in the bed because the pain was so extreme she wanted to throw herself out the window.  It sounds like an exaggeration but you could see the truth in her eyes. That birth hurt. Anyway, I have heard that being induced can be traumatic for the mother but I wonder what it’s like for the baby. Perhaps it explains my hatred of being pressured or rushed in any way. J

In WIP news, shorts have been abandoned, put aside, half written and weeping. J There was obviously never going to be an end to,” just two more shorts,” unless I unceremoniously abandoned them.  In  getting this novel back on the road, I’ve been sorting through all the work I’ve  done on it previously, you know, world building stuff, snippets of ideas, descriptions of cities, scenes, attempts at outlines,  false starts, etc.   Apparently I’ve written over 50,000 words on this novel already. None of them usable in their present form as part of the novel, but pretty fabulous at providing me with a foundation to work off. Now, I will say no more about the novel, as I’m an induced child and you know how we hate pressure. J


I have discovered also that it is imperative to have a good system for filing on your computer. Mine has been a little crazy; stories filed under different names in different locations, no easy way to see which is the newest version, a million version of the same stories saved forcing me to check why I have so many versions, only to realise, there was no reason, just me haphazardly saving things everywhere to be certain I didn’t lose them and not realising that I was creating a giant mess for myself to sort out in the future.

No more. I will be a Queen of filing from now on. I swear it. Why isn’t an efficient filing system for your work ever mentioned under writerly advice? J

Jun. 15th, 2009

Seen on Duotrope

While researching markets (procrastinating, I know) on Duotrope, I came across this.

*Do not query before 730 days have passed.* 


Jun. 12th, 2009

Fifteen Books

Stolen from bogwitch64  who stole it from  marshallpayne1 

Don't take too long to think about it. List 15 books you've read that will always stick with you -- The first 15 you can recall in 15 minutes.

Blackbeauty-Anna Sewell

Lord of the Rings- J.R.R.Tolkien

The Hero and the Crown-Robin McKinley

The Iron Dragon’s Daughter- Michael Swanwick

The Heavenly Horse From The Outermost West-Mary Stanton

A Dark Adapted Eye-Barbara Vine

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norell- Susanna Clarke

The Warrior who Carried Life-Geoff Ryman

The True Game -Sherri  S. Tepper

Horse Heaven -Jane Smiley

The Pern Series-Ann McCaffrey

The Stonor Eagles-William Horwood

A Requiem for Homo-Sapiens-David Zindell

The Chronicles of Narnia-C.S. Lewis

The Witches Boy- Micheal Cruber

Beyond Black - Hilary Mantel




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Jun. 6th, 2009

Just Clap

I went to an Open Mic night in Westport this Thursday. The Creel Restaurant on the Quays were good enough to provide the venue, and I can wholeheartedly recommend the place if you ever find yourself in town. The setting was fabulous, the restaurant looked out onto the quay itself and, the surrounding hills had sheep that insisted on parading up and down the ridge of the hill as the sun set, creating pretty spectacular silhouettes.


The restCollapse )

What Mythological Creature Are You?

You Are a Mermaid
You are a total daydreamer, and people tend to think you're flakier than you actually are.
While your head is often in the clouds, you'll always come back to earth to help someone in need.
Beyond being a caring person, you are also very intelligent and rational.
You understand the connections of the universe better than almost anyone else.

It is true that people I meet normally go through a phase of thinking I'm flaky before realising I'm not. I see what's happening and I never help them out of it. They normally confess afterwards. :)

Also, I scare approx 70% of the people I meet on first contact. Two of my close friends have confided that they were absolutely terrified of me on first meeting. I have no idea why.

A work colleague told me when she first met me she had to give herself a pep talk on not being scared of me. The awful thing is that the effect soon wears off, completely. Sigh! :)

May. 17th, 2009

Rejection. Everybody's doing it so I might as well too.

I got a sixty one day personal reject from Strange Horizons which was lovely and gentle and explained several things that might be wrong with the story.   This is a story I cut swathes out of to make it short enough for the short story world. I also cut swathes out of it to make it, well, more short storyish,  if anyone else understands what that means. I sent that story out into the world for the first time maybe two years ago.  The text was much rougher then than it is now. I’ve become a much tighter writer over those two years. Two years ago there was one huge POV violation that I didn’t even spot until it had got its first rejection. It’s been tightened up and rewritten several times since then.  I don’t believe you could fault the prose in that story right now, but, obviously there’s something wrong with it. I was thinking about the story this week as I waited for that email and I wondered, did I really want the story published at all.  I had had a rethink about it, and I had identified several other things, that the editor didn’t mention, that I thought were wrong.  But to fix them up, IMO, I would need to expand the story, probably bring it from its current 5,800 words up to maybe 8,000, perhaps a bit more to be comfortable.  That’s a hard sell. So many markets and especially the ones that take this type of story have a cut off point at about 4 to 5000 words. So, even if I did all the work, I expect at best I’d be looking at a semi pro or a token market. Plus, I really would need to do a whole lot more research on decomposition of bodies.  I kind of guessed all that and maybe it’s very inaccurate. J

Anyway, as I read the email, I just thought, that’s it, Mr. Story. I’m retiring you. It feels right, like I’ve learned a lot about writing from my efforts with that story. I’m going to say a big thank you to it, and let it sleep now. Who knows? Maybe someday when I’m preparing my short story collection I’ll be able to drag it out and add just as many words as will make me happy. J


Anyway, I’ve two more short stories that want me to write them.   So, I’ll get on with them and hope they naturally confine their length to something sellable.  I managed to cut 1,600 words out of an 11,600 words story recently to make it submitable, and I never want to put myself through such a tortured edit again.  I think my subconscious is whispering, “go long, Sharon, go long.” J

May. 16th, 2009


Inspired by a conversation I had with [info]gabriel_writes about trees and houses, and by [info]namelessarchon's posting of my imaginary house, I have decided to delight you all with a photo of my actual crib. 

photosCollapse )

Mar. 22nd, 2009

Triggers and stuff.

I just did my first Liberty Hall trigger in God knows how long. It’s well over a year anyway. As usual, I was at least 35 minutes in before I had any idea what I was writing about. Don’t know will anybody guess what the story is about. I can foresee lots of puzzled critters ahead.


I’ve got the “voice” for my novel. It came in the car as I was driving home from work last Friday. I swear, the obsession my muse has with cars is not funny. At least half of my breakthroughs occur in the car.  I was thinking about the when and the where of ideas flashing into my head and the top four locations are, in no particular order, the couch, my bed just prior to falling asleep, out for a walk, and driving.

Except for the couch, all those places are pretty difficult to just jot down ideas in or during. Especially the car. J  But anyway, I started to think about what those places had in common and the obvious answer is that these are all places where I’m generally day dreaming and spacing out. So it’s kind of frightening to think I’m doing that in the car on such a regular basis. Except it’s not really, I suppose. Daydreaming while driving is fairly usual.  I hope.

Anyway, chapter one if the novel is roughed out in the “voice” that I am happy with. And if I hadn’t done so much prior work, it wouldn’t have been possible.  All of that world building and character development that I sweated over just flows in, well, like I had just made it up. Nice. J

Anyway, the second chapter came to me as I was driving today, (when else?) It is to be tentatively named, Four Kinds of Ghosts. Chapter one has no title. I’m not quibbling the small stuff at this stage.   Some of it is new and some of it will be taken from some stuff I wrote earlier.

Basically though, despite all this seeming productivity, I’m being very easy on myself.  Work had me completely burned out and I’m only gradually recovering. I have a couple of shorts I need to tidy up but I’m putting no pressure on myself. Even this novel is going to be a no pressure job.  I’m heading off to Cork this weekend and the week after that I’m off to Portugal.  I’m not even going to consider using the words, writing and discipline, in the same sentence until late April.  (Except for that one, obviously. J


Oh, and if anyone would like to do a group read,  I have signed up to do one of The Worm Ouroboros over on the A Song Of Ice And Fire forum.  I’ve had this book in my TBR pile for, oh, maybe, eighteen months now, and it’s just looked too intimidatingly convoluted to  even begin. However it is considered one of the Fantasy Classics, so I’ve always wanted to read it, and I reckoned a group read was one way to motivate myself.  We are going to read 70 pages a week and report back and discuss. So far I’ve read the prologue and chapter one and am surprisingly pleased about how easy to read it is. Yes, it is description heavy, but there’s also a charming innocence about it.  I mean, so far the three main territories are Demonland, Witchland, and Ghouland. J  I’m actually really enjoying it. It’s like settling into a comfortable armchair with a nice cup of tea.   Anyway, if anyone is interested there’s a free eBook of it here.

Mar. 11th, 2009

A Curiously Difficult Post to Title.

I came across this fabulous article by the writer Hilary Mantel in one of my Saturday newspapers and so I tracked it down online in case anyone else wants to be similarly impressed.

Fabulous article.

She wrote one of my favourite books from last year, Beyond Black, a lucky airport find which turned out much better than many of my planned holiday reads.

Anyway, about the article.

Mostly I loved her feelings on why writers hate beginning and sometimes fear writing. I know I felt myself nodding along with her as I read.

She says, “You dread setting off down any one narrative path, because you know your choice will make most of the others impossible.”

I know that’s what bothers me, or one of the many things that bothers me. As soon as I start writing in one “tone of voice,” something is immediately lost; all the other ways I could have done it, and is this way the best or even good?  Even a particular sentence can frog march you straight into the next one, leaving out something which you desperately want to include.  I guess it’s  a type of Darwinian selection, as the strongest push themselves forward and try to hog all the resources.  But sometimes the concepts and plot lines that appear to be winning don’t interest me and I have to wrestle them aside to see what else is happening, and what the quiet ones are mumbling about.  Or something like that. I’m not sure what I’m trying to say, maybe just that it can be difficult to control what emerges sometimes.  I take comfort in the fact that a host of big names are behind schedule on expected follow up books so I suspect the wrestling never ends. J


Some other stuffCollapse )

Feb. 11th, 2009

My heroine has not arrived.

I started a novel a couple of years ago. I got well in but never finished it because I was not a master of craft in those days, (as I am now, ha ha!) but I instinctively knew I was digging myself into a supersized pit. In those days the acronym POV meant nothing to me, or,  if I was pressed for an answer, I'd probably chance People of Vulcan . Also incorrect use of flashbacking and info dumping and showing and telling were giant obstacles to my greatness.


I did know my characters. All of the characters in that story, I know them, well, just like people. And one day I will return to it. But not yet. Because I'm now totally committed to this other story  I must  write first. And the story is here. Mostly. But my character has not arrived. I mean I know her rough age and many key events in her life. But I realised yesterday that I don’t know her spirit at all. Most of my characters turn up and I get a sense of them straight away. But this lady is hiding her essence from me. I wonder why. Maybe I have been underestimating her trauma. Maybe what’s she’s enduring is more numbing and destructive than I’ve allowed for. Maybe I need to write a short story with her in it just to get a better feel of her. Although I have written loads about her. Loads, and nothing seems to pin her down. Anyway, I’m just musing aloud here. She won’t even tell me her name. (We're on name three at the moment but I still don't think that's it.) But I won’t give up on her. I’ve a feeling she’ll crack soon. J

Jan. 17th, 2009

All my base are belong to you


Random stuff from my head to yoursCollapse )

Dec. 26th, 2008

Three days worth of Happy Feet?

I’ve always thought  those stories about putting your foot into a shoe with a “creature” of some sort in it were a little bit unlikely. Not any more. After staying in the family home this Christmas, I woke up in the morning realising I hadn’t packed any slippers, so I sleepily put my bare feet into the pair of shoes I wore yesterday. Everything OK so far. Yes, there was a little tickle. The kind that might make you think that a stray carpet fibre had made it’s way into the shoe with you, but it was difficult to pin down, sometimes there, sometimes not there at all. Eventually I made my way to the living room and while taking to my mother, I decided all was not right with my shoe/foot relationship. It began to feel like maybe a piece of shoe lining had come loose, but I didn’t think my shoes had lining. I decided to investigate. Such was my lack of belief in the likelihood of there being a minicritter in my shoe that I didn’t hesitate to stick my hand blindly into it. Aha! There was lining coming loose up at the toe, no, down by the heel, now it was loose and on my hand. I think my brain just got in ahead of my eyes. It realised there was something living in there just as I withdrew my hand with a humongous spider on it. The beast was solid and substantial, had a fair bit of leg height to it, and strangely, despite having to share shoe room with my feet, was curiously springy and uncrumpled looking. It was a spider aglow with rude health. I only note this retrospectively. At the time all I could do was throw shoe and spider away from me fairly strenuously and run for the door, not screaming or being loud or anything, in fact just about able to whisper, “spider in my shoe.”

My mother put him outside, which he’s not going to like as I doubt a spider could grow to that size without the benefits of central heating. Actually looking at it from the spider’s point of view he’s had an all round miserable morning. First he got rudely awoken from what probably seemed like dream sleeping quarters, then he had me wriggling my toes around, probably squishing him against the side of my shoe, then he’s flung very unkindly onto the floor and finally he’s turfed out of the house he probably grew up in. I feel a little sorry for him. I don’t dislike spiders, I just don’t like them crawling around in my toes.

My brother came to visit later. He greeted me with , “I hear Incy Wincy got ya,”

I console myself with the superstition that if a spider crawls on you, money is coming your way. By the size of that one, I’m due a lottery. J

Dec. 23rd, 2008

Happiness. Day 3

I'm on holidays. I've had a nap.  All the presents are bought. Nobody I haven't sent a card to has shocked me with one. (And only one day to go. Fingers crossed)

Dec. 22nd, 2008

Eight days of happiness. The second

I am tired but tomorrow at twelve o clock I will be getting my holidays. That is what I am happy about today. Tomorrow I will be happy because I will be actually on holidays. Holidays provide me with a lot of happiness. Eight days worth, at least.

Dec. 21st, 2008

Eight days of happiness. The First.

 I've been tagged by at least two people Abby and Karen, so here goes, eight days of happiness.

Day 1. I got a dramatic phone call from my sister Friday night. Her dog, who is my nephew of course, is getting old. I used to bring him and my dog for walks on the beach when my dog still lived.  Anyway, he's old and blind now and last week he bumped his eye into something and it swelled up horribly. My sister and the vet have worked hard for a solid week now to save the eye. So, back to the dramatic phone call. Apparently after the vet had heaved a sigh of relief and said the eye is looking good to be saved, my sister brought him home, only for the other dog, still a delinquent teenager with no respect for grumpy old dogs, to bite a chunk out of the eyelid of the infected eye. To say she was upset is an understatement. Anyway, why so happy?  Because today I saw my dog nephew and the chunk is really only a nibble. It hasn't set back the healing of the original problem any , and the old man is as happy as a fourteen year old cantankerous pomeranian can be. No horrible operations for Christmas. :) I have also managed to make the peace between my sister and the delinquent teenager for those who want all the loose ends tied up.

I'm not tagging anyone. You're all mostly accounted for, but if you aren't and would like to be, consider yourself tagged and for eight days post thing that's made you happy, although I don't know why we're not doing twelve. :)

Nov. 30th, 2008

How I Write Now

As I promised, a quick writing update. It’s difficult to write a post about how it’s going, hard to pin down the process or even quantify the results, but I‘ll try. I’ve returned to longhand. That’s concrete. I’ve finally realised that I type way too badly for anyone who’s taking writing seriously. Therefore I have bought a copy of Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing and I’m working my way through it. Although I’m a pretty fast typist, I make a deplorable amount of mistakes and the time wasting involved is considerable. So hence the return to longhand. Plus longhand means that I can’t really edit as I go. Plus I find it kind of freeing. Also I can write anywhere I want, no special equipment required.

It’s hard to say what I’m writing at the moment beyond that it is somehow part of the novel. Sometimes I wonder is it usable first draft or is it just outline. For example in one scene, which is definitely a scene, I make reference to three other smaller scenes which are not written, but I wonder would I be better writing them than just referring to them. I guess what I’m asking myself is, is it a bit telly when it should be more show? But I have decided to leave all such questions to percolate and plough on regardless. I have a good feeling about this. Maybe not about the quality so far, but definitely about my own ability to finish. It will be done. Plus I’m always way more enthusiastic about reworking than getting the first draft down. There’s something way less terrifying about sitting at the computer with a few written pages to work off even if they’re utter tosh, and what you finally end up with bears no relation what-so-ever to what you began with. Maybe that’s because the first draft/outline is so terrifyingly bad, but if you stop to perfect you lose the momentum and the magic,  but at least when you’re reworking you have captured (a word I use loosely) the essence of what you want to convey and so you can stop to take the time to make it more closely resemble publishable prose. Maybe. So on I go, mud wrestling snakes in a fire pit, which is how I heard novel writing being described once except that person didn’t mention fire pits so I guess she found novel writing easier than I do. J

However there is a complication. We are being inspected at work. This is an event which takes place every five to ten years though with the shortage of inspectors as with everything else, the event is more likely to take place at ten year intervals than not. I’m not going to say too much about it except to say that’s it’s stressful, paperwork heavy, and there’s even more added complications that I won’t go into here. If you really want to know, drop me an email and I’ll endeavour to explain a little further. So, yes, it is a little, (a lot) energy draining, but the worst will be over within a fortnight although it will start up again in the New Year, but that, I’m hoping will be less head wrecking.

I have decided not to stop writing though, as if a person was to stop writing every time there was a half decent excuse, well, there’s be no writing done in this world at all.

Oh, and one other thing, when ever a chapter/scene refuses to cooperate, (be born) I try and name the chapter before I begin. That somehow seems to make me focus on what is important about this event(s) and helps me pull it together. The current chapter is called “Shame.” It was called “Shame and Guilt,” but then I couldn’t see what Guilt added to the equation.

I number each handwritten page as I go, I tend to write about five at a time, that seems to be my writing distance, and then I give them a number equating to the order I wrote them in, slip them into a clear plastic A4 folder and then into a file. I know, from past bitter experience, how difficult it is to sort out longhand sections afterwards if a person hasn’t kept on top of them from the beginning.

In other news, I have received no acknowledgement that WOTF received my story. I emailed Joni last Tuesday as this is what I was advised to do on the WOTF forum but no response there either. So now I don’t know whether they got it or not. Oh well, double crossed fingers.

And finally, my hair seems to have turned a corner. I no longer weep at my own image. The only aspect of it that puzzles me still is a particular layering section cut into the area over my left ear. It’s bizarre. That’s the only term for it. I can’t imagine why anyone would think a clump of hair over one ear is a beautifying feature. Anyway, now that I have accumulated some hair again, I may return to the hairdresser’s chair and try for more unified look while it’s still winter and any disasters can still be covered with a cap. That’s all for now. When next I update, Inspection Mark One shall be complete and I shall more closely resemble a writer.

Wish me strength. J And Grace.

Nov. 29th, 2008

Almost a joy rider

Last night I almost stole a car. Well, not really almost, but as tempted as I’ve ever been. While I was out walking, a young man roared up to a shop in an old banger, and got out, leaving the engine running. As it happened, I had to cross the road at that moment, so, as I did, I looked at the car, just wondering why he’d left it running and whether there was a passenger left inside to assure it’s safety. This glance took perhaps half a second. There was no passenger, but as I looked up, I saw the young man, walking backwards, staring at me, as if now doubting that it was really safe to leave his car with the key in the ignition. He interested me. I wondered whether his nerve would now crack and he’d go back and lock his car. He didn’t but he walked slower, all the time watching me, while I watched him. At the door of the shop, it became obvious to him that he’d have to go inside and leave me out there with his now vulnerable car, so he stood in the doorway and watched me until he thought I was a reasonable distance from the car. It was dark so he couldn’t see my face but I could see his (tough and threatening but oddly anxious) in the shop lights. The second the shop door closed, I got this giant impulse to run back and get into the car and drive it a few hundred feet down the road. I don’t know how I resisted the urge. I’m not sure if I should have. J

Writing update later. Yes, I have been good.

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