Tue 27th

It's all in the............timing.

Published by: Kim on Tuesday 27th October 2009 08:10am
Okay, so you have received your feedback from your editor quite some time ago. Hmm...

Anyhoo, you have cogitated at length and you are now tasked with filling in those 'missing gaps' in your play which add to it's fieriness. Funnily enough, these were the self same ones that you edited out previously to adhere to the 'one two hour' or 'two one hour' episodes. Something had to go and although the play was found wanting as a result of this editing, everything else you left in was essential to the story telling and has pretty much been approved.

Where to go from here? Having added in only the essential gripping dialogue and action to gain the approval of those in the know, you are now twenty minites over. Sure it's what's required, you think, but it's twenty flippin' minutes over!!! Nothing else can go. If you do edit more you'll be down to text-speak or back where you started.

So, do you submit it as is breaking all the rules  about a maximum of two hours but knowing it's better for it's inclusions? Or do you take them back out and submit the version that doesn't quite say it all?

Help please!

Ta everso.


Mon 14th

Should we stay or should we 'Go'

Published by: Kat on Monday 14th September 2009 09:09am
Well, after quite a bit of hassle, we're now back in Germany on a lovely campsite.

It was our wedding anniversary yesterday, so we went for lunch in a nearby restaurant.  I had pork fillet with 'spatzle' - noodles to you and me.

Why do the Germans eat such a lot of pork? Everywhere we go there's pork on the menu. I haven't seen lamb at all, and only seen beef once!

On the way through Germany, we drove along the Mosel, which was beautiful with miles and miles of vineyards. We've also driven along the Rhine, been through the Black Forest, to the Argau, down to Bodensee, then through Bavaria and into Austria, which was great fun - not!

Because the motorhome is over 3.5 tonnes, we had to buy a 'Go Box' for Austria, which bleeps everytime you go past a gantry and you have to pay for the roads you use. The problem we had was, when we crossed the border from Germany to Austria, we had to find a filling station who sold the bloody things, then when we did find somewhere, they wanted us to pre-load it with €80, which was enough for about 500 kilometres. We wouldn't be doing anything like that amount of miles, so, we tried to find another  place to get one. The next station didn't sell them. The next one did but they also wanted €80. Apparently, that's the minimum you can put on it.

Now bear in mind we are doing this trip on a budget, that's a lot of money to us - we could have 6 nights camping for that. We had no choice but to buy it though, because without one we could be fined, so after coming out to discuss things, hubby went back in, only to be told their power had now gone, so they couldn't sell us one. So, we drove to another station, who didn't do them.

I'm a great believer is 'signs'.  In other words, if something seems to be conspiring to stop you doing something, you should take note, and I was beginning  to think that maybe we weren't meant to be in Austria.

Anyway, the next place after that did have one, so we got it, put it on the windscreen and drove on looking for our campsite. It was a bit weird when the box thing bleeped every few minutes.

We finally got to the campsite at 7:00 pm, only to find they had no wifi or internet and we couldn't get a TV signal. Great! 

In the summer when the weather was good and it stayed light until 11:00 pm, no internet or Tv didn't bother us too much, as we sat outside with a glass of wine - or two - watching the world go by and chatting. We were also in Spain and Portugal, and there were other UK people there too.

In Austria, it was raining, dark, and we were the only UK people on the whole campsite, so we were stuck in the van with nothing to do - well we have books, but we've done a lot of reading already!

So the next morning, we decided enough was enough and we headed back to Germany. We made sure we stopped on the way and got our money back for the 'Go Box' though - we got €56 back.

The site we are now on, has free wifi, we can get a TV signal and the weather is good.

See, I knew we should have taken notice of the 'signs' and just gone back to Germany!

The Austrian government don't make it easy for tourists that's for sure. Even cars have to have a Vignette sticker, which you pay for on a monthly basis, so we won't be going there again.

The plan now is to stay here for a bit, then maybe go back to France for a while, then we'll decide what to do after that. We're trying to work out what to do for the winter, but I think we may end up going back to England.

One advantage to being stuck in the van is that I get a lot of editing done, but even that gets to be a chore when you're doing it night after night.

This trip has certainly been interesting so far - we've been travelling since 6th April, and had a super time, but all good things must come to an end I suppose. Gosh it will be weird living in a house again after spending months living in a motorhome! 

Well, TTFN, catch you later,

Kat x

Tue 18th

Writing for myself.

Published by: Val on Tuesday 18th August 2009 02:08pm
Many apologies for being so quiet. I have been to two weddings in eight days. One was a Chinese wedding, absolutely fabulous. Ten courses! The other was what I would call beautifully tradition. Loved them both.

My writing has had a major change. I don't know if you remember that I said that I usually wrote like crazy to get a first draft, no matter how bad, and this time I was doing it all differently. This time I was perfecting it as I go. My agent had OKed the plot and so I was off.

Well, after an after-dinner discussion with my eldest, I had a sudden change of heart. Old story scotched, new story up and running. I have spent the last I-don't-know-how-long banging out the outline, a 30,000 word outline which is more like a first draft. It's the way I work best.

It is dreadful, of course, and there are a couple of gaps in the storyline, but I have it all down and am now excited about editing.

I am not running this past my agent. It's not that I don't trust her, I do totally. It's just that I bothered her with the last outline and I'm not writing that one and I don't want to waste her time again. Supposing this one grinds to a halt too. Also, I think I'm very bad at writing a proposal. I like this idea and I am going with it. It's differnt to anything I've written before and may never be published but I came across this quote the other day from Cyril Connolly. 'Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.' 

OK, this is me writing for myself. Fingers crossed someone else will like it too! 

Mon 22nd

Chapter 1 completed for the moment

Published by: Val on Monday 22nd June 2009 09:06am
It's all very strange. Normally I rattle off a story at top speed, often producing in excess of 8,000 words a day. The writing is dire, of course, but the ideas are on screen for me to edit. I expect to edit a story something like 20 times before publication, with each chapter being edited several times within one edit, if you see what I mean.

But this time I find myself editing as I go. It has taken three days to feel mostly satisfied with the opening chapter. Not that I am writing all day. I am also a craftswoman and have some orders that need to be honoured, and for the next fortnight,  I will be distracted by Wimbledon, starting with Laura Robson at midday when she steps out onto the brand new court number two.

What has my first chapter achieved? Well, Q and C are the stars of the show. I have not attempted to describe them as yet. The reader doesn't know if they are tall or short or dark or fair. What the reader has learned is how they are feeling and their very different life-styles. As yet, they have not met. The trick has been to tell two stories without one story getting in the way of the other. I don't think it's quite right yet, but it will do for now.

I have made Q and C's feelings etc  part of the action, just as their appearance will be when it is appropriate. I try to avoid passive writing. As Chekhov said, “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.”

For the moment, the reader has met both Q and C. Vaguely similar unsettling events that turn quite scary by the end of the chapter are happening to each. These events are not frightening for the reader. I am not writing a Thriller, I am writing an adventure story for youngsters. At this stage, the fear is for the characters to feel. By the end of Chapter one, the reader will be intrigued as well as concerned for the welfare of Q and C. I have left them both in very difficult situations.

Tue 2nd

Tuesday, 6 November 2007 - sixth and decidedly dullest so far...

Published by: EzBloke on Tuesday 2nd June 2009 11:06am

Reading this now, I wonder if at this point I was on a low... The humour was not edgy enough, the aggression was not humorous enough and the content was just not... enough.


So, as this blog is about my novel and the progress to date I shall share that with you; Currently the month of October was a complete waste of fucking time. I reckon I must have typed, oooooo at least four words of my own. The rest I nicked from Helen and her lovely assessment of my draft manuscript. Well, I say draft, but the truth is, I thought the fucker was finished… Just goes to show you, and I did believe it myself at first, that I have a loooooong way to go. Trouble is, the bank balance… well, let's just say that it will be strained to get past Chrimbo at this rate.


So, maybe I should concentrate on the book then? Is that what you are saying? Get off your fat arse and get some work done? I agree. Except the fat arse bit, which I thought was a tad harsh. I am losing weight y'know. Mostly on account that if I don't eat, I don't spend any money which means I get to stay off work a bit longer - woohoo!

Anyhoo… So I have looked at more of those books EzBird bought me for me birthday.


This section is entitled;
Write the book you want to write
Eh? What did they think I was bloody writing?

Ahhhh: Find your voice it says.
La la la la la laaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
Not that voice obviously, but your voice.

Y'know, it just doesn't come across well on paper does it?
This sub section of “write the book blah blah blah blah” is about the fact that you will have a style that you are completely comfortable with. And that is this one for me - the stand-up comedian as a sit-down piss-taking knob style. Works for me - I slip so easily into this style that it's scary.

So, another edit.
This time we're away with a first person perspective. I have changed the book drastically just by changing the style. Now, you know who the narrator is; It's Sariro. Not only that but I decided he would be talking to you. No, not you, you. The guy behind you. Of course you! Who else is he going to talk to? Jeez. Its as if he has found our world and taken up residence. This helps with one of the criticisms that I got from the first reviewer about the use of modern language (including swearing . . . oooops.)


So now, Sariro is in our modern day, in our world he can not only use our language but he can also compare his birth realm with our world. I loved this idea so much that (at the beginning of November) I began what must be the 8th edit. I have taken the (wise) choice to copy the whole manuscript and start almost from scratch. Not the typing you understand, my god I couldn't be arsed to type that bloody lot again, no - I cut and paste into a new doc. Colour it red so I know where my new stuff is and bingo! One new novel. It will still retain the title; "Paradise Falls" but, now I get to add a whatsit thingy; sub-title: "An autobiography of the greatest mage that ever lived." And "By Sariro, toast written by " blah blah blah.

I have yet to settle on which name I am going to use; I could be Sheldon Wortley, Sheldon Xavier Wortley, S X Wortley (Too JK Rowling, though eh?) or just Xavier. What do you think? The "toast" bit would be explained in the epilogue that if I (the "ghost" writer) got it wrong I'd be toast (very Eoin Colfer) Talking of author comparisons, part of selling meself to an agent or publisher will include a "How would you describe yourself" section.

Hell, that's going to be tricky. I'd like to think I was as funny as Terry Pratchett, As famous as J K Rowling and as well read as The Bible. Knowing my luck I'll just probably be as funny as The Bible…

So where was I?
Oh yes, my voice and the change to first person, past tense, piss taking knob. So that's going quite well really. And, once again, I'm actually loving it. Loving the writing, laughing at my own humour - then removing the excessive use of the word "fucking" which seems to be the most popular word in my current dictionary. Have to take it out otherwise I can't sell me book to the yoof's. When will the establishment ever catch up with the real world? I learnt most of my bad language when I was in school up to the age of fourteen. Here's a tip for you; buy the book, give it to your teenage relative, wait for them to hand it back with the spelling corrected and the correct use of the vernacular scrawled in the margins. Then read it. I tell you; it's going to be an eye opener.

So, in a fit of self conscious concern I thought I'd set up another blog; A poll (not a pole or even a Pole but a poll) and post up the different first chapters. Let you guys vote on how to start this book off? I'll not be biased in any way but I can assure you that my way is best…! :o)

Whilst on the subject of blogs - October's most productive procrastination was to improve the look and feel of this blog… a bit, oh and get that click through gubbins working. Hopefully. You can earn thousands of dollars a month apparently… So the blurb says. But only if you lot click through the adverts, oh and you tell all your mates to read this blog. And those numbers get up to…tens of thousands…ahem. Could happen…

It all counts anyway - the more people read the blog and ultimately read the blogged chapters, the more of a saleable quantity I become. Simple. Yes, the more simple I become too… And let's be honest, I really don't care if you like me or not, just so long as you buy my book… Ha ha ha ha ha. Ahhhh. No, really, please; buy the book.

Next update will be back to the storyline/plotline guff that helps you understand the process of writing. Oh and keep your eye out for the next set of blogs - the chapters themselves. Not all of them, obviously; but enough to whet your appetite and get you gagging to buy the book. This is not subliminal advertising here; buy the bloody book is not subtle.

I don't do subtle.


My god I was a right twat back then...
Fairly telling is the "opening chapter", "anachronistic" and "voice" segments - all of which have changed. The first chapter has gone from "The Legend" to a prologue and is currently bobbing along nicely (?) with "a dialogue" and "a death" scenes. The idea that Sariro was in our world has gone too - mostly because it was a cheat to justify the anachronisms, and the voice seems to have tamed from "piss taking" to "telling" (which needs addressing!).
Hey ho. One more to go after this and then I'll let you get on with your own lives!



Mon 1st

Tuesday, 30 October 2007 - Fifth installment...

Published by: EzBloke on Monday 1st June 2009 08:06am

So, it appears I fell ill at some point in the first months of this project. Funny thing is I cannot remember any of it. Still, looks like I was back and as angry as ever. And as lazy. Guess some things just never change, eh? As usual there is a warning over the content - sorry.


Wow! What a month. Can't be arsed to write my book, can't be arsed to write my blog. Got my first set of feedback about the opening chapters… in summary: Fuck off - it's crap. I must admit, I was reading between the lines a touch there but hey, you get the drift. Major downer. Here am I supposed to be catching you up with how the novel goes and I can't even be bothered to do that. Hey ho. Such is life. I fell ill for a week; a cold and a so-cannot-be-bothered spirit-draining cough that still happens today.  Bloody thing. A week in bed feeling miserable and sorry for myself was followed by a week of moping around the house feeling sorry for myself.


I took another look at the recommendations from the first reader and just couldn't sort it out in my head.

Make a plan, I said (because I do that - talk to myself… a lot. Well there's no point waiting for you lot to post a comment is there? Might as well talk to myself.) So a plan was formed; it involved, reprinting and reformatting the opening chapter, removing the two page description of Irsi (on account that we don't meet him for a good three or four chapters yet) describe Sariro and Kentse, drink beer, eat like a pig, mope, procrastinate, scratch my arse, play games on mousebreaker, set up a facebook account and then stalk everyone I knew to see what they are up to, more beer, half a bottle of vodka, more food and what was I doing with the book again?

Good plan.

Pick and choose the options I want to undertake, ignore the options I should undertake. Have you ever heard the Americanism MoSCoW? (It stands for Must have, Should have, Could have and Wont have) well I have a new one for you; ParIs - Pick what you want and Ignore the rest…

Just got an email from an old friend that has read the blog; he has decided to use my new language to name a buddy of ours Seyuenti. Work it out… it's very funny. Now if he could just learn to post a fucking comment, maybe I won't feel so pigging lonely… :o(.

Oh, and he's only complaining that the blog is too long. Too long?! Once I get started I can't stop but that's the problem; once I get started. It's the getting started bit that's tricky!

Anyhoo, where was I? Oh yeah, being a right misery and bumming everyone out. So, that would explain the last twenty empty days…

And now, I'm back!
I got a second review of my manuscript from a published author who described it more as an unpolished diamond (she describes all manuscripts that way but fuck it straw-clutching is a forte of mine) and more than that she said I had the makings of an excellent book. Woohoo!!! She concurred with the first review however, in that there was very little description of Kentse and Sariro. She also pointed out that the chapters were too long…! Apparently 6000+ words bores the tits off you lot.

Ok, so I ramble, I get it. Enough already.

There were a whole bunch of other suggestions which, if I’m going to be brutally honest I plagiarised immediately; not enough to name her co-author but nearly…

So I'm procrastinating again; the blog instead of the income generating novel. See what I mean? Thank heaven I am not alone; do you know how many people out there are writing? 1 in 10 is a conservative figure. 1 in 10!! That's fucking huge! 61 million people in the UK. That makes it 6 million budding authors. 6 million! Holy Shit! But. And it is a J-Lo of a butt…(chortle) How many are doing it in their spare time, coming home after work and sitting down; wang out a couple of hundred words a night then off to the telly for a rest? I'd say, probably about 5.99 million. Phew! That's better. So I'm only competing with… um… 10,000 unknown writers. Ah. Ok. 10,000. Shit. But here is another interesting factette; there is this thing called a slush pile. This is the unsolicited manuscripts sent to agents and publishers and that sits at about a million. A million manuscripts in the UK alone. All sent "out of the blue" as it were.

Ok, so if we do some more quick calculations; I reckon that there will easily be an average of at least 20 copies of each one in different agency piles. That brings the figure down to 50,000 manuscripts from 10,000 aspiring writers. 5 -1; interesting. Everyone chucks out 5 different manuscripts; none of which are any good (otherwise they wouldn't be on the slush pile would they…? Bear with me on this.) After a whole night juggling the numbers and a 20Mb spreadsheet of calculations and formulas I finally decide that there is just me and a bloke called Tarquin vying for the next advance. Woohoo! I tell you, alcohol may well have its detractors and side-effects but you can't deny it has its good points too!

So where am I? Oh yeah, I have cut out some length (chuckle) and tweaked some bits (snigger) and I'm ready to throw the old chapter back over the fence and see what happens. All in the space of a day. Do you think I should spend a tad longer working on it…? Yeah, me too.


One other thing my mentoress (?) offered was a professional, independent copy editor. Holy shit! Do you know how expensive that is?! It looks innocuous enough - £4 to £6 per 1,000 words - until you multiply it up by the 100,000 fucking words in my bloody novel. That’s four grand! At the cheap rate! Four grand! Fucking hell. Oh wait… no it isn't… it's four hundred quid. Phew! Nearly gave myself a coronary there, stupid sodding spreadsheets. Well, four hundred quid is still a tad rich for me but hey, if it's worth it, it's worth it… And think of the help I'll get from it. Now, how the fuck do I sell this idea to EzBird… :o(


Let me know if you want me to stop... (I'm not going to ask if you want me to carry on, as the truth hurts as they say...)



Wed 25th

Repetition, repetition and repetition

Published by: Spangles on Wednesday 25th March 2009 05:03am
I've been reading through the 10,000 words or so that I've written of a new novel (I'm determined that this one will actually get published and not be another 'if only'), with increasing amazement. Not because of the brilliance of what I've written (modesty forbids me to comment) but because I thought I'd caught all the mistakes on-screen but it seems I hadn't.

As soon as I printed it out and read it on the page, all sorts of things jumped out at me. For instance, I discovered that I have favourite words that I thought I'd been really tough with and evicted but which apparently crept back into my text when I wasn't looking. One of them is 'apparently', and I see that it's just done it again. 

Another favourite word is 'then'. Hardly an exciting word. But some of the action I've described reads like an instruction manual. 'She crossed the room, then sat on the sofa.' Clearly (oooh, another favourite has just made its appearance), all the non-fiction I write has had a strange impact on my prose style.

'Horrid' —  a word I wasn't even aware of using — cropped up far too many times.  Quite amazing. 

Words can be horrid little devils, then. Apparently.