Saturday, April 24, 2010

Bloodlines - done!

Well, in that, I've finished my version of the novel. It stands at 105,000 words plus. But, it's actually not finished in the way that the keen bunnies at school who keep asking to read it will enjoy the experience just yet because I now need to work through ALL the suggestions, comments, 'eekks' and edits from my publisher and agent.

Still, it's a relief to have got to the end and I feel very happy with the story (though I KNOW there will be lots of bits to mould into a better shape).

My usual word length is around 40,000. Before Banquo's Son, the last two books were about 60,000 words in length; my previous children's novel Space Gum was 30,000 words.

Much, much easier to remember where you put things when you only have to read over 80 or 120 pages. Continuity is going to be on my radar as I go through the next stage. Can't have the moon being full one day and a sliver the next, can I?

Bloodlines cover coming soon - squeeee

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The end is in sight

I have two chapters to finish and I've written half of both. I am trying not to be lazy and rush to the end but also don't want to get bogged down.

I also know that I have a HUGE second stage ahead of me: when I receive the feedback from my publisher and agent. They have warned me that there are lots of red marks. Which is ALL good and will ensure your experience reading Bloodlines will be at least as enjoyable as was your reading of Banquo's Son.

Five more days until I go back to school. Am trying not to think of the 45 Level 2 Language Research Assignments sitting on my desk waiting to be marked.

Oh, and I have work to do on two English Grammar books (we are updating and reissuing them). And a tweaking of a YA which will be about time rather than being hard because the book is pretty cool - I just need to change the narrative POV of two of the characters - lots of mouse work ahead.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

By the way if you think being a writer is easy...

...know this:

It's as easy as vomiting every day from week six of your pregnancy (me times two);

It's as easy as a two day labour (me with only the 12 hours with drugs to ease the pain);

It's as easy as learning stuff about your family which rocks the understanding of your world.

It's late nights and early mornings. Dressing gown days and shaming the teens who see you with friends without makeup.

It's your precious husband who builds a sanctuary in the other room so that you can rise and shine to set the world according to your own clock

It's all done in the hope that one day you will make it big and be given big monies and retire to attend to the fall out of all of the above.

It's all about endurance

Whoever it was that said art was 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration was right. And who ever said you needed 'bum glue' to succeed as a writer was spot on.

Today I spent from 8am till 3pm working and re-working the most critical scene in the book. It's the third to last chapter.

I have gone over it and over it and over it. Reading it out loud to hear the music of the writing. Here is an extract of the draft that I'm quite pleased with:

He was silent for a moment, remembering the last time he had seen the ghost of his father, remembering how a weight, like that of a heavy cloak, had fallen from his shoulders. It was a feeling he was experiencing now. ‘When I was at Scone,’ he said. ‘I saw my father in the field.’ Rachel frowned. ‘It was an allusion,’ he added quickly. ‘Once the crown was on my head and the sceptre in my hand, I suddenly felt the heaviness I had been carrying for so long, fall away.’

‘That was good, wasn’t it?’

‘Yes, but these past months I have pulled an even heavier burden onto my back. I have filled the pockets of the royal clothes with rocks and stones, picking them up along my way rather than letting lie or throwing them away or handing them to others who are better suited to hold them.’

‘Where are these rocks now, Fleance?’

‘The biggest one, you helped me to remove it. I have spent my life,’ he said. ‘Living up to a standard that I thought my father wanted.’

‘That is good. Banquo was good. A good man and to measure yourself against him is a worthy notion.’

‘Perhaps when I was younger and still becoming a man but you have shown me what Blair, Preston even Duncan tried to get me to see.’ He covered her hand with his. ‘What is it that makes us truly grow up, Rachel?’

She thought for a bit. ‘Time. Opportunity. Loss.’

‘Yes each of those but I now can see that it is the point at which we make decisions for ourselves not for what we believe other people, even God, would think of those decisions, but ones which are born from our own wisdom, understanding and beliefs.’

My husband said to me today that out of all my books this is the one that I have had to battle the hardest. He is right. It has been an exhausting experience but sometimes it has been good.

I am a perfectionist and I love reading great writing but I love more producing great writing.

So I sent this chapter off to be scrutinized while I prepare to write the final bit. (I've actually written the final two chapters - this one is an important bridging scene)

Monday, April 5, 2010

The trouble with great advice is it can paralyse you

This is what's happened to me over the past 24 hours and I re-read Randy's great advice on writing the perfect scene and then began to panic that I wasn't 'doing it right'.

He says at the end of this article: You may be feeling that it's impossible to write your scenes following these rules. Doing so causes you to freeze. You stare blindly at the computer screen, afraid to move a muscle for fear of breaking a Rule. Oh dear, you've got yourself a case of writer's block. That's bad. Now let me tell you the final secret for writing the perfect scene.

Huhuh. You got that right buddy. But then he let me off of the hook and reminded me of the need just to write the SFD to get the draft down.

Now you are ready to edit it and impose perfect structure on it. This is a different process than Creation. This is Analysis, and it is the opposite of Creation. Analysis is destruction. You must now take it apart and put it back together.

I just wish I had more time!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The generousity of other writers

Please visit Randy Ingermanson's site. He is a wonderful teacher of better writing and, over the past few years, I have found his advice crucial to helping me get better. Just now, I'm working on a critical - critical people - scene and came across this article which he has kindly given for free and I am excited about getting the scene to the best place ever.

This is the man who is good at reminding us what we already kinda knew but, because we were caught up in the day to day mundaneness of life, forgot. What he says about writing is what we expect when we read.

Go Randy. And, thanks!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Having TIME is a good thing

My deadline was 1st of April and I missed it. First time in my writing career. Just as well I have an understanding boss (*Tania waves at Vicki*). I sent her all the rest of what I'd written (pages 65-206) and then crawled back to bed.

See, last day of school, last day before deadline, I got sick. (note to self: don't kiss hubby even though you love and adore him!)


What a waste of time is being sick: you can't think properly; you can't stand up for long; you can't unstackthedishewasherwhilemakingthelunchesaswellaspayingthebillsonlineandfreakingoutbecausetheombusdmanhasdecidedthatbecauseyouaretakingyouractiontheywillpulloutandwaiteandseewhathappens

Exhausted? Were you bothered to unpack that last sentence? If you did, then score and go buy more easter eggs

Still, I live in a community. I have wonderful friends. *this time Tania waves to Jo and the babes and her understanding husband*

I did manage to get EXCITED about the cover. Squeeeee. Can't wait to show you all.

This Easter weekend I am writing the end. I intend for you to be bawling your eyes out in a happy way. (You know the kind).

Anyway, my final comment about time? When, as a writer, you have time, all these little interesting and intriguing plots lift their heads which you need to look at. Wonderful 'fictional opportunities' as Maurice Gee calls them.

Have been having, despite my lurgie, lots of revelations of lost fictional opportunities

OMG It's still early and the smoke alarm is still beeping.
Oh, I know, I'll go trawing the internet reading blogs.

*Tania waves*