Thursday, 20 June 2013

No Discipline! When Temptation came I gave right in!

To quote from With a Little Bit o Luck (My Fair Lady, as if you didn't know that), 'when temptation comes you'll give right in'. 

There I was, writing my book (the one I put on the back burner when I started A Season, and A Time), slowly and steadily, but making general progress when I got a new idea.   So like Albert Dolittle in My Fair Lady I gave right in.  A Fairy Tale (for grownups) is once again on the back burner. 

My current book, which I am really enjoying writing, is called On the Ninth Day the Cat Was Sick.  (As I have explained previously for some reason I can only write a story if I have a title, so I always start with the title.)   This time it's not a baby boomer book.  It is women's fiction meets possible paranormal.   Maybe, maybe not - it's for the reader to decide.  It's a story of a woman, a single mother with two little girls, who has had her share of bad luck in her life.  When suddenly things turn around she can't really believe that it's just coincidence.  Her family and friends disagree strongly. 

The story also features a cat, Smudge, who is named for and is a faithful description of our beloved, but completely crazy cat of the same name, who we sadly lost a couple of years ago.  I'm also dedicating the book to her.  If people can leave their fortune to a cat, there's no reason why I can't dedicate a book to one. 

We are going on holiday in August so I either need to finish the first draft by then or let it join Fairy Tale on the back burner - I know which I would prefer!   I'm quite glad my regular bridge partner is off on a cruise - I have no time to spare!

Till next time :)

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Six down! Working on number seven

My new book, A Season, and A Time, is now up and running.     It is another baby boomer novel, of a year in the life of a sixty year old woman.   No six of the Southhill Sagas, all set in Surrey, where I lived for many years. Each book stands alone though characters do reappear.
This means I am on target for my goal of two books completed a year.  I started writing novels in August 2010 (I had written lots of things before then but never a novel), so with number six in the bag, I am in fact slightly ahead of target.  You might imagine I could have a rest from writing for a couple of weeks but it doesn’t work like that.  The instant Season was off my hands I hauled out the previous one, the one I had put on the back burner when Season came along, and got going.   It really isn’t that I want to put pressure on myself – I just feel the need to keep writing. 
I may have mentioned reading what I am sure is an apocryphal story about the late Graham Greene – to the effect that he wrote 500 words a day, then stopped, even if in the middle of a sentence.   It seems unlikely – he would quite likely have been writing by hand, and would have had to manually count the number of words.   But as a discipline it would be quite extraordinary.    
But, truth to tell, I am writing because I enjoy it.  And I never think of it as a book, but as a story.   When I write it is because I have a story to tell.   I don’t like the marketing side one little bit – I hate having to try to sell things, my writings least of all.  In fact I think it is comparatively unusual for people to enjoy both the creative side and the marketing side.  But with self published eBooks the author has little choice.   So I do try to promote my kindle free days on whichever sites will take them, and  to get my books onto various websites.  it is a slow and tedious process and after that I need a break. 
So I get back to my characters, to see what they have been up to in my absence and where they want us to travel to today.   Much more fun!
Till next time J

Friday, 7 June 2013

Onwards and upwards!

So, I have gone through my story, three (!) times and hopefully picked up all the errors.  One blatant one was where I referred to the main character, Rhona White, as Rhona Black - what was that? some sort of mental aberration? Perhaps subconsciously related to being brought up in South Africa, where we are all colour blind these days.  

Now I wait while the book goes through the review process.   I remember so clearly, when I had finished my first book, that I was desperate to keep writing - life felt so flat without a story to tell. Now at least I have a story to go back to, one that was put on the back burner while I wrote A Season, and A Time.  

It's quite strange -  I would never have realised before I started writing but writing is actually a powerful aphrodisiac  - seeing one's thoughts and feelings appear in print is like no other feeling. 

So now, whether or not anyone wants to read what I am writing, I will carry on.  It's fun and just possibly that's what it's all about! 

Till next time :)

Sunday, 2 June 2013


I have finished the first draft  of my book, A Season, and A Time, so am somewhere between shattered and elated.  When I feel I am in the home stretch I tend to pull out all the stops so I have been writing over 3000 words a day for the last ten days or so.   Which leaves me feeling a little drained.  I have no idea why I put so much pressure on myself but I can't help it - the story just builds up the momentum and like a snowball carries me along with it. 

When I started this book, in March, I had no idea of the turns it would take.  I started as usual with a basic story line and the characters (I spend ages pondering about my characters - I can't write in their voice till I feel I know them intimately), as well as the ending, which in this case was a true story from my own experience, and the title.  Not for me something called a working title.  If I don't have a title I can't tell a story.  Yes, I know I'm a bit strange - I wouldn't be a writer if I weren't!

Then after I start I just let it happen, and often my characters surprise me - they often impress me too.  Not really surprising as all my books seem to feature a strong woman as the main character, or at least one of the main characters.

Of course now the hard work starts - I need to read the whole story, out loud, pretty much at a sitting, for consistency and continuity and at the same time proof read, for those inevitable typos that slip in.  If  someone could come up with a spellcheck which can differentiate between from and form they would make a fortune!  I have found that for me the best way of proof reading is to make the font large, so that any typos literally jump out. 

The joys of self publishing - in traditional publishing there would be editors doing this work - although I have found mistakes recently in work published by some of the top publishing houses in the world, so even that wouldn't be fool proof. 

Till next time :)