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14 August 2008


The Good and The Bad
As you will know, if you've read the rest of this blog, I've been busy writing away for some months now. This week I decided to take stock and follow some advice I found whilst surfing around on the net. I've completed my synopsis, plotted out 36 very general scenes on index cards, completed the main character profiles and worked on some settings. During this time I discovered I probably have around 20,000 unedited words towards my novel. For me, I need a balance between planning (because I'm a self-confessed procrastinator, planning is always a good excuse) and writing. The work I've done this week has helped to refocus where I'm going and clear the path a little to where I want to be. I'm still looking to November 1st as my target, so watch this space!

Also published another article on Suite 101 about Mata Hari, which was very enjoyable to research. I have now published 20 articles on this site and am planning how to re-use these for alternative markets.

Sweet Success
Following on from last weeks entry, my father was telling me about a 93 year old woman who has just had her first 'raunchy' novel published and with the proceeds has bought a large house and moved three of her friends in from a nursing home! After I put the phone down, I started flicking through my September copy of Writing Magazine which had arrived. I got to the letter page and saw my name and a letter I had submitted some time ago. It was such a shock - despite the error with my name - but all the same it was a lovely surprise and a great feeling. I hope I don't have to wait until I'm 93 for the publication of my novel! If I think I have another 48 years, my procrastination affliction will raise its ugly head!

Bed Side Table
I have finished the Ben Elton novel. It was really good, almost a little to unbelievable but a cracking good read with a happy ending (I'm a hopeless romantic!) .
I have now got stuck in to How to Survive Your Sisters by Ellie Campbell who I mentioned last week. It's a delightful read and reflects the relationship with my own family, particularly my sisters, very closely.
Not, I hasten to add, the alcoholic father - although my dad was quite happy to admit he likes to partake in a dram or two of whiskey!

7 August 2008


Words of the Week – A Quote…

‘All you need in this life is success and ignorance. Then success is sure.’ (Mark Twain)

The Good and the Bad

Journal Jottings - 3750 ++ words for Flying Angels

750 words for Winkers Abroad *see note below

Short Stories - 1 submitted for Writers News Competition

1 drafted

Queries and Pitches - Consolidation this month

Articles Articulated - 1 to Suite 101 (Communication Skills)

Rejections Received - 0

Time-wasting activity level - 5/10

No, it’s not my success, unfortunately. I can now claim that I know a published author (not that I’m one for hanging on to shirt tails). This author has worked hard to make it happen and for me is the ideal role model for inspiration. Like me, she is not in the first flush of youth, she has not previously been a celebrity and she has children, husband, a ‘proper’ job and finds the time to tend to a vegetable allotment! Her name is Pam Burks and just to make it more difficult she co-wrote her first novel with her sister, Lorraine. They write as Ellie Campbell and have a fantastic website.

The novel How to Survive Your Sisters is published by Arrow books and was released by Amazon at the end of July. I have two copies as I pre-ordered one and my darling sister (through whom I was introduced to Pam) ordered me a copy. My sister, I can claim, even went to the launch in Kensington. So there you go - my one and possibly only claim to fame in a very convoluted unconnected manner. I must admit that I have only met Pam a couple of times and have exchanged the odd emails. However, her last email is the source of my renewed vigour for writing, so thank you Pam.

No News is Good News?
I am awaiting the news of two things this week, the impending birth of a second grandchild for our dearest friends and the results of a brain operation for another. My thoughts are winging their way across the channel.

In light of the wonderful weather we have here in rural Italy and pending family visits, I have decided that I will dedicate most of the month of August to my novel in the making. I have refined my synopsis and have an, albeit a rough one, idea of the scenes and flow. I have also mapped out the male antagonist, who has been, shall we say, rather elusive.

In addition, my Man Friday and I have started to map out another novel. This one is entirely different. Flying Angels is a historical novel with a sprinkling of romance. Winkers Abroad (*a working title and whose origins may or may not be disclosed) is a much lighter, humorous novel, which will be based on our experiences of coming to live over here. Again, I must pay tribute to Pam who planted the seeds of ideas which has brought us to this point and to my Man Friday, who writes our blog La Buona Vita and has a rich way of making something greatly amusing.

I’ve not had any feedback on the short stories submitted which I tell myself is good news. However, I find it difficult to leave my words sitting in some empty space somewhere, which lets face it, could be a very large receptacle for rubbish.

Bedside Table
Well, I finished Living Dangerously by Katie Fforde. This is a fantastic tale about a single woman who believes she is committed to a solitary life of independence and an older man who challenges that belief. Fforde writes with a light touch and a lot of observational humour about people and their prejudices and actions and I would definitely put this on my ‘read again’ list. I’m not sure on your stance about reading a book again, but I find it an enriching experience as I always pick up something that I didn’t first time round.

I am now reading The First Casualty by Ben Elton, which is dedicated to his grandfathers who fought on opposite sides in World War 1. This is a much more serious book and kind of counts as research for my novel. So far it has been gripping and has provided an insight into the beliefs then, which today would be viewed as more than just ‘odd’. I’ve not read any of Ben Elton before and I was worried that it might be delivered like his comedy, which is great on screen. However, so far, I’ve found his style very sympathetic and easy to get on with.

Post Script

I plan to keep up my blog during the crazy, hazy month of August (I note with a slight smirk, that the UK is not experiencing the summer they had been promised, but hey, what’s new?). However, my rantings may well be shorter and may make even less sense than they usually do.