Saturday, 16 July 2011

Slow progress

Having inserted new scenes into my work-in-progress, I'm back to the beaten path this week, and more traditional editing.  It's difficult, as I feel that I've lost the thread of the story to some extent.  The task looks Herculean from this angle - how many edits will it need? I read somewhere to think of this as the structural rewrite, though, so I'm trying not to become too fixated this time on my language, or cutting too much out.

I'm afraid there'll be a visible join, though. Just as a lizard can regrow it's tail, but it's never such a good fit, I wonder if the additional scenes will appear to be slightly wonky. I suppose, what I'm learning for next time (and I mean, the next novel, not the next edit) is that I might need to have a stronger plot before I start. I've already learnt such a lot about creating more conflict and not being too kind to the character you cherish.  Applying this knowledge half-way through feels like patching up, but next time, I'll know how to start more strongly.

I'm feeling invigorating by this attitude of being on a journey, and only near the start of it.  It's making me less critical of myself, and, for the moment, less anxious that this project should succeed in the way I did.  A little success would do me proud, for now;  I can see that I have so much to learn, and that practising will improve my abilities, so if it takes five or six books before I taste the sort of success I'd like, then so be it. I'll just need to stock up on patience and some self-belief.

Who am I kidding? Course I want success with this.  So much love and work is going into it.  But I can see the big picture, at least, and see that it is only a start.

So, back to the computer screen, and trying to hide the seams of the story.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011


It seems strange to have two such conflicting emotions over the same thing. Work has been increasingly stressful and unsatisfying this year, to the point that now I am glad to have a new job to go to, as otherwise I might have had to jump from a tall building. I am becoming excited at the prospect of my new job, and am really relishing the idea of it. But this is my penultimate week; it's amazing how swiftly the time unspools when you work part-time.  I've already finished the week, so I have one week left.  And I work two days a week, so I only really have two days left. It hit me today, as I drove away, just how soon this part of my life will be over.  Eleven years; change of scene. Clearly I've been a little lax about keeping the pace of my life going - how stale, eleven years in one place! But seriously, it will be a wrench, for sentimental reasons, at least.  I can't quite believe it, yet. 
I'm sure I shall cry when it is time to say goodbye; and at home, I'm counting off the days, eager. The contradictions of human nature...

Monday, 11 July 2011

Smiling all day long

It is a few months now since I submitted my ghost story to the Writing Magazine competition, and it was returned.  I knew it hadn't won, and was frustrated to have no feedback, but when I bought my August copy of the mag, the winning story was in there.  I flicked straight to it, keen to see what story had won. And there was my name, in the 'shortlisted' section! I am still fizzing with excitement about it, and so delighted to have the broad feedback that at least I'm on the right lines with my writing.
I might even try another competition when my current rewrite is done.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Wish you were here?

It used to be, when Steve was away with work or with SARAID (the urban search and rescue team he is part of), the time would hang heavy.  I still don't like it when he's away at night - for some reason, I feel sure that the house would choose to burn down when he's not here, just to test my efficiency at rescuing three small children when I only have two hands.
But I've learnt to really value the times  I get to myself, too.  For a start, I can tidy.  It might be rudimentary, and mostly involve throwing his things into his wardrobe and closing the door, but it makes a huge difference! And it's such fun when he gets home and opens the door to an avalanche.  There would be laughs all around, if only he'd find a sense of humour about it. Then, I get the evening to myself. Evenings are so short, anyway, once the children are all in bed, and lunches packed, and bags prepared for tomorrow, and a load of washing in (in case tomorrow is dry)...and I'm a morning person, so it's not the best time of day.
It's still my own time though.  It's lovely to be able to be selfish, and not need to talk to him about his day, or have to share his tv habits.  Apparently it's quite antisocial when I disappear into the study all evening, every evening, so I have to make a show.
So, when he's away, I get to choose - control of the remote for once, or immerse myself in my writing for the whole evening, every evening.
The only problem is, if I'm writing, I often stay up ridiculously late, unable to type that final full stop.  And then I miss Steve, because there's only one responsible adult to wake everyone up the next morning, and she's half asleep...