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25 July 2008


Obscure Word of the Week

Miscible – capable of being mixed

[Medieval Latin related to MIX}

Not sure when you might want to use this word in writing but then it’s a funny old business isn’t it?

The Good and the Bad

Journal Jottings - 2000 words approximately

Short Stories - 0

Queries and Pitches - 0

Articles Articulated - 0

Rejections Received - 0

Time-wasting activity level - 10/10

Not much time spent on anything this week! Firstly, I went down with a lingering headache, possibly heat induced. Then a planned family visit arrived, as predicted, a very welcome distraction, which I was looking forward too. And, then an extremely low internet connection for the last few days – the lowest being 4.8kpbs, which hasn’t (or maybe has) helped things along.

On the positive side, well there isn’t one. But in my defence, time wasting activities have included playing scrabble which is good for my vocabulary, sitting on the beach helps with settings and descriptions and visiting restaurants to observe character traits (and gain a couple of pounds but unfortunately not the folding kind).

So, it’s not been a positive week in terms of writing and submitting. However, I have done a lot of background reading, research and planning which is helping to hone my writing skills… (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!)

A Writer Must Write

All the advice tells me so and up until now, that is exactly what I have done. But, I have also talked a lot about my novel, with my Man Friday and my little sister, whose family very provided a welcome break to our solitude this week. I have been reluctant to talk about my progress with my novel, again because the ‘advice’ has told me not to. However, I am beginning to understand that advice about writing (and about anything for that matter) is a very individual thing. Advice really needs to be taken into your own personal context and what works for you. Talking things through and having to explain what it is I’m trying to write has actually clarified quite a lot of loose ends for me this week and I’ve even changed the name of my main character!

To Plan or Not to Plan

I’ve also spent some time looking at the various methods for planning a novel and have decided that I really do need to invest some time in this. I’m looking at the index card method for mapping out chapters and scenes and have started to transfer these from my ‘journal jottings’. It has been quite cathartic as a process – which is not by any means finished – and I have made some editing changes, which has helped things along. I wish I had started at this point at the beginning, but (so I’m told) sometimes it’s best to start in the middle! (If you ask an Irishman for directions, they would reply ‘if I was going to there, I wouldn’t start here!’ – so my Irish educated Man Friday tells me.)

Bedside Table

I still have ‘The Star of the Sea’ on the go. I’ve probably read about four chapters - its very complex with quite a few characters and as I said previously, it’s written in a strange style. There are quite a few footnotes, which I find a bit distracting, but impossible to ignore and graphics at the end of each chapter, the significance of which I am still trying to work out.

Sis and Bro-in-law have kindly left a couple of novels in return for ones from our bookshelf. It’s a great system, a little like a library but with less turnaround and resources. I’ve been thinking about setting up an ex-pat book swap with other honorary Italian citizens in the area, but it might not be a practical option given the rural area we live in.

Over and Out

My writing magazines fell from the postie’s hands at the weekend and I’ve been absorbed reading about the famed ones, searching for that one great tip which is going to make everything happen. Which of course, it’s going to… isn’t it?

Post Script

I’ve just read an article about blogging and it talks about daily rants – yes, this does contribute to time wasting but sometimes it’s worth it. I’m not sure the world is ready for a daily deluge from me, but I can see their point about developing a writing habit. So, for now I shall stick to my weekly habit for therapeutic purposes and hope you don’t suffer too much.

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