Monday, 29 November 2010

Nothing strange or startling...

Hmmmm, feel like I need to update this but nothing much to report. Great weekend - lazy, snowy and a couple of nice trips out. Did a bit of writing. Tried to rest my neck which was hurting. That's it. So I'm posting this picture of cool shoes in the absence of anything more profound...

Thursday, 25 November 2010

An exciting development!

Feeling very happy tonight as I got an email from Gillie Russell, the agent in London I had approached. I sent her the full MS of The Watchers about a month ago and have spent the last 4 weeks trying not to:
a) become an email stalker
b) chew my nails away to nothing

Anyhow, my patience *may* be rewarded in time. Gillie emailed this evening to say that she has been swamped but that she is reading the MS and is "really loving it." I was so pleased to get her message as it feels like I sent the MS to her about a decade ago - every day feels so slow...! :-)

So now I need to keep my fingers crossed that she likes the ending etc and that she decides she wants to sell it to somebody, dammit!

The whole process is a total emotional rollercoaster. I thought writing the book was the hard part - but that now seems like a breeze in comparison to this bit...!

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

More from Oz...

Oz fever!

Nope, I don't mean Australia Oz. I'm talking about 'The Wizard of Oz' which is on next week in work. Oz fever has gripped us all!!! The picture I found on this rather quirky site.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Currently reading...

... this book. Very quirky and it's definitely keeping me guessing! Plan for evening is to light the fire and get settled in to find out what's going to happen next! Writing for young people is the perfect excuse to read brilliant books for young people!

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Christmas Lights!

A great weekend planned... Christmas lights are being switched on in Carrickfergus (my home town, a little seaside town near Belfast) and of course in Belfast itself.
Even better, the Continental Market opens on Saturday too, complete with quirky gifts, lovely food and a couple of bar tents. It is totally magical!
Sadly, the big wheel in the picture is no longer with us but I'll raise my glass of mulled wine in memory of it!


Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Mslexia Diary!

Just ordered my Mslexia Writer's Diary 2011 - looking forward to getting it! I haven't had one before but it sounds rather lovely and has places for writing in details of submissions - and of course lots of blank pages for when inspiration strikes!

If you like the look of it, you can get it here.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Guerilla Gardening!

Before I go any further, how gorgeous is this picture?! I found it here, along with some other lovely pics.

So guerilla gardening is new to me but I heard about it on a radio programme today (available for 1 week only I'm afraid). The idea is that people randomly plant things on public land that looks a bit neglected - grass verges, wasteland, the grassy bits in the middle of roundabouts etc. It's about bringing a little bit of colour and nature to the urban sprawl.

I really liked the idea of this. I'm lucky to live somewhere with lots of grass and lovely beaches but I used to live in a place that was all concrete and horribleness. In The Watchers Evie walks through a cemetery and finds it grassy and peaceful - because it was the only big, green space for miles. Well, six years ago that was me walking to work every morning, glad to bottle some of the calm before the storm.

It also made me think about where Evie lives. Imagine a Victorian house, with families crammed into flats from the basement to the attic. The path and stairs up to the front door are covered with chipped black and white tiles and there's a square of garden full of dead earth and weeds. Again, this is a house I knew in London. A bit of guerilla gardening in places like that might put a smile on lots of people's faces... and Evie's an artist so I know she would love the colour!

Sunday, 14 November 2010

House hunting...

The Murph and I are house-hunting. Most people go to look at a house and check out things like the bedrooms or the size of the kitchen or the garden...

Instead we both look around and think, "Oooooh, which room will be the writing room???" Two writers* in one house = fight to the death for best study / office... :-)

Needless to say, I didn't get much writing done. As Stephen King says you can write anywhere because art supports life, not the other way round. If I have to write at the kitchen table, that's where I'll do it!

* One journo, one aspiring novelist...

Cute pic came from here.

Friday, 12 November 2010

TV Night!

Ok, I'll be honest. I'm not much of a TV watcher. Life seems too short - but never too short for reading, writing or watching the cats chase a tie twitched like a snake.

I digress. If there is one night of the week when I abandon all my scruples and throw caution to the winds, it is Friday night. Friday night is the home of The Mentalist on Ch5, followed by The Event on Ch4+1 (God bless Freeview).

Lots of people seem to hate The Event. In fact, I may even steal an Event-hater's joke and post it here because it's funny. For me however, it's perfect Friday night TV. The characters are straight-forwardly good or bad and I can ALWAYS work out the ending. After a long, exhausting week this always makes me feel clever. Also the Sean / Shaun character is easy on the eye.

Sean is desperate to find his girlfriend and won't stop until he does. We all want to believe that the men in our lives will never give up on us. Maybe that's why it was so easy to write The Watchers. After all, Evie trusts that the 'man' in her life will do whatever it takes to save her - even if it means sacrificing himself.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Diversionary tactics

Haven't done too much writing today but did plot out the whole third chapter. Feeling very tired - too many late nights - so going to hit the sack early.

Also feeling a little despondent on the publishing front but not really sure why. Hope it's not some spooky sixth sense... Patience is a virtue which I'm sorely lacking!!!

Either way, I needed cheering up - and this picture does the job nicely. Enjoy!

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Writing again!

Started to get really into the new book today, the sequel to The Watchers. It hasn't even got a working title yet but I have a fairly good idea of where it's going.

I'm starting to think that this is one of the nicest stages of writing. You have characters you like and a (rough) story that you want to tell. You start writing with a few sentences as a guideline. E.g. "Evie goes here and this happens, she's really annoyed and then she meets so-and-so."

What's amazing though is that as I'm writing, Evie starts getting her own ideas and bumping into people she doesn't expect to. In chapter 2 for instance she runs into Annette's younger brother Ben. We haven't met Ben before this point - until now he has just been a name. Now he's a living, breathing character, who's full of grief because his sister is dead. He's quite a forceful little bugger and seems to be shoving himself into a plot twist near the end - none of which I anticipated.

I think this is the bit that Stephen King describes as 'creative play'. Later there will have to be more sophisticated plotting - this will happen in this chapter, followed by that in the next. I found at that stage with The Watchers that it began to feel a little 'join-the-dots' as I wrote it and that it took some of the fun out of the process of writing it, until I reached the last six or seven chapters. On the other hand, it meant that the book was written fairly tightly and needed a lot less work in the revision stage than it might have done otherwise.

Anyway, I just have to enjoy this bit - and hope that The Watchers finds a home... otherwise I will have TWO homeless, urchin books to take care of!

(Cool pic came from here.)
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