No you didn’t. You wanted to marry Maverick.
Ok, now you’re splitting hairs.
No. You were naive and falling for heros who don’t exist in real life.
True. I still do 🖤
No you didn’t. You wanted to marry Maverick.
Ok, now you’re splitting hairs.
No. You were naive and falling for heros who don’t exist in real life.
True. I still do 🖤
Good morning my lovelies – I’m drinking tea brought to me by Man of the Woods. He’s gone out to check slug activity on the young crops and I’m watching the clock hands do that thing where they look sedentary but they’re not. Imagine going round and round in circles and never seeing any other platform.
“Oh, hello 10 it’s you again. What have you been up to for the last twelve hours?”
Self editing can start to feel like that so I was delighted when a Curtis Brown Creative email dropped in to tell me one of their courses was about to start.
I’ve already done the first two of their set of three, so having got to the end of my manuscript a few weeks ago, it seemed churlish not to do the final one – EDIT & PITCH YOUR NOVEL.
Yes I purchased the genius book called Save The Cat (STC which I now can’t help using to analyse every damn film I watch) but the necessary evil task of actually reaching in to the chest freezer of my novel and hauling out really heavy scenes which grip in their frozen determination was proving impossibly painful.
The first tutorial video last week was a blessing when Anna – one of the top tutors on the course, and a published author herself – reminded us how far we’d come. We’d arrived at the end of our first draft; a goal which for many is never attained.
We were encouraged to think about what type of novel we wanted to write. (This is the bit where I get in a muddle as we already know I’ve been told it crosses genres. I’m still going to whisper at this point that I want it to… and this is why I’ve been more seriously considering Indie Publishing).
There is romance, but no sex. This is as warm as this one gets…
(And the book’s not called TRAIN by the way..!)
Anyway, for now, let’s keep walking down the Prepare for agent submission path. This week Anna wants us to print the beast out and re-read it again; while pausing to analyse every scene, marking on a chart (made in Word) whether it works, drives the story on, has more than one story ‘point’… she calls this the diagnosis of the pain, which is rather relevant don’t you think?!
The rape is in flower .. it’s pretty though lots of people suffer with hay fever 🤒
(Nice pic, but totally irrelevant to the blog. So that would go if I was editing this post like my novel!)
This one is totally relevant though. To the title of this post! I’ve not read the book, which he wrote in 1983, but I watched with gripped fascination more than fear at the genius clue-dropping as to what the two MC characters’ worst fears in life are… delivered carefully to the viewer should they choose to ‘see’ them.
The mirror image of opening and closing scenes – which STC says we should see in 99% of films – was not only there, but cleverly illustrated the journey arc of the characters. The only constant was the Volvo. The horrendous premise of the final frame leaves the viewer facing their own primal fear … I won’t say what it is in case you haven’t seen it … suffice to conclude that as a human experience it GETS you.
My friend, who is not studying writing and does not read novels actually left the cinema saying ‘that was crap’ (she likes SAW and HOUSE OF WAX type horrors). I totally disagreed, in our good-friendship humour way that we can!
She’s also not a parent…..
All of the Curtis Brown Creative writing courses can be found here.
I recommend printout out the coursework and sticking it into a journal like I’ve done here… you’ve got it then for every book you write!
Have a great week whatever you’re up to xxx
… when it’s your first piece of full-length fiction is that you have no bloody idea whatsoever what constitutes a darn good ‘edit’.
I’m not talking about those typos, or the grammar choices (she had not driven there before/she’d not driven there before/she had never driven there before/she didn’t drive there) or those extra spaces after each full stop. They’ll all come later in what I believe might be called a line edit.
Yes, I’ve read blogposts and books and websites on editing. But I don’t think it’s until you have a go at editing your own work, that you realise what editing can truly involve.
For example, I had characters having conversations with each other, in person, who were not even meant to have flown into the country yet 🙈🙄 I mean, who do these people think they are?
Because I did not write this story in chronological order, my timelines were somewhat lacking authenticity. I’d created the majority of my 80,000 words in chunks of prose depending on my mood at the time of typing and slotting them in later … (Lovely, and that scene .. can … go roundabout .. sort of … THERE). And because it took til December to reach a point where I felt I could type those two rites of passage words ‘THE END’ it’s only very recently that I’ve read the whole thing through in one go.
I called it the ‘pink pen’ edit for the benefit of MoW and my insta writing buddies. There was an embarrassing amount to change, I mean seriously. Who told me I could write?? They have such a lot to answer for! Whole paragraphs got chopped and scribbles of much better prose ribboned their way around the edges of the margins. I didn’t have plot holes. I had craters you needed a plane to fly over to have any hope of crossing before dark. Anyway, I struggled on through and actually pink-penned my way to the end.
I have, I hope, made my characters more mindful of their present state of affairs; their internal dialogue needed to be thoughtful, less amateur dramatics with badly made costumes while throwing their arms about on a small tight stage, hoping for audience participation. This isn’t me belittling amateur dramatics for the record. I was a member of three groups in my twenties and loved every theatrical minute of those times 🎭 – playing up to audiences who came for no more than a night of fun, watching people they know deliver their old favourites. “A Handbag???” I played the part of the drunken reporter from The Yorkshire Argus in ‘The Importance of Being Ernest’ and I waved my arms around wildly on a small, tight stage hoping for audience participation – and got it!
Anyway, my point is, readers won’t pick up my book and say ‘oh look, it’s that nutty farmer’s wife. She’s written a novel, we’ve GOT to buy it, it’ll be sooo entertaining… darling? Darling? Where have you gone? You’ve got the purse!” (well maybe three of you might). I would like to think my potential readership will spot a book with an intriguing cover and title, a snappy blurb, a dramatic first paragraph and decide they want to know why Antonio is in one of Italy’s biggest prisons. They shouldn’t think about me when they read – I want them to disappear into the lives of Antonio, Martha and the others whose choices are dictating where the story goes.
Incorporating the pink pen edits back onto the laptop document has taken nearly a month. I nonchalantly assumed it would take a week but no-one warned me how painstaking that process is of keeping a finger on the ‘and’ you need to delete to make the sentence work, while finding which ‘and’ of the 186 on that page it is you’re trying to delete – Jesus and Mary and Joseph. And then there’s the spilling tea on the pages and hoping they’ll dry so you can still read the pink pen.
Not having a deadline (as no-one knows about this except you, MoW and me, and a handful of writerly friends) means there is no pressure. At one point when I was moving around the house like an author on a deadline with agent’s expectations hanging over me, my husband was eating crackers and cheese on his knee – no plate – and reminding me this was “meant to be fun?”. A hobby. He was right of course. All pressure I’d laid at my feet myself with that twinkle of devil suggesting I might not be able to do it. I’m permanently fighting my inner demons, wishing to prove to them that I can, but taking a few days off here and there to go watch a play in London or simply to tidy a room of clutter was all I needed to reset the default – my writing is a complete pleasure and meeting a need to be creative.
Today I have ten pages left of incorporating pink pen edits. It will have been a second read through and then I’m going to print the bugger off again (tiny font and double-sided and recycled paper) in order to check I’ve got the SAVE THE CAT 15-beats suggested within its brilliant pages … basically direction changes that link into our biological need to understand human behaviour (love all that stuff ☺️🥂).
But first, the royal we is tidying the kitchen as Mother is due at 11:30 for coffee. I’ve diabetes-friendly snacks on hand, a collection of Daily Telegraphs for dad, who won’t have stopped for days to read anything until those hours he can spend alone in his single bed in the back room while Mother languishes in her lace-covered double bed knobs and broomsticks bed at the front of the house with the bay window…..
Do you think it’s spooky, strange or odd, in any way, that my previous post (typed in the night and posted only a couple hours ago) refers to my lack of activity on WordPress and then this morning I wake to this badge?!!
(No, because if you’d known where to look in your stats, you’d have known your next post would be your 500th 🙄).
Well I think there’s an air of irony about it which needs to be mentioned. Either that or should I be petrified that somebody’s watching me? 🤣
Quite a milestone – thanks for sharing in my wordpress journey 🥂
Thank you for the opportunity to connect Fandango with your word of the day challenge!
… rather like customers at a car boot sale, and my blog is that trestle table sagging in the middle, random items trying desperately to look interesting and all down to a pound because I’d rather not haul them back home again.
Goodness it’s been ages since I went to a car boot sale. Certainly not since the kids became teenagers. When they were smaller – both under ten and outside the rugby season – we would often drive to a nearby and regular car boot venue on a Sunday morning and become ecstatic as we snaked in-line towards the spaces in the car park (sheep field Monday to Saturday).
Man of the Woods would put the driver’s seat flat back in the truck and have a nap, and we’d promise to bring him a bacon buttie and coffee within an hour.
I’d give the kids a fiver each and they had free rein to buy whatever tat they liked. That freedom was a drug to them, but the tricky challenge was deciding if they should buy the first item they spotted and decided they couldn’t possibly live without, or risk losing it into the arms of another child while they continued their search for something ‘even better‘.
(Have a hand-painted scene by a backstreet artist on Skiathos which I watched him create in about fifteen minutes 😱)
I’ve been having a few Marie Kondo moments in the house recently and have practically re-stocked the local Sue Ryder shop with enormous amounts of clothing, shoes, games, books and … stuff. Like, why did I keep random wire shelving units… or wooden boxes… or candle sticks and I don’t mean a decent silver pair such as those in ‘Les Miserable’. Did you watch that? We did and loved it.
I was invited to watch the opera once, probably twenty years ago. I delighted in the opportunity to surround myself with intellectual people and accepted. I had absolutely no idea what was going on – during any of it. I recall the stage revealing a spiral walkway and a battle scene but my history lessons at school had been spent day-dreaming through the windows.
Here’s another history lesson.
I’m reading this novel by Jodi Piccoult – Small Great Things. I’d heard of it and seen the cover bandied about of course but had no idea what its conten might reveal. I can tell you, I’ve not been able to put it down!
Prejudice… is what it’s about, in one word.
Jodi has weaved the most believable characters into this contemporary tale. People trying so hard not to be racist, they are tripping over their political correctness time and time again.
The book is about seeing what humankind can do – has done – to each other.
Within sentences of meeting the white supremacist, I hated him with a passion. Yet even he and his world and what led him to his beliefs, has burrowed under my skin of intrigue. I just hope they can sort all this out amicably 😢. (Yeah, right … I doubt they are going to be buying each other shortbread any time soon.)
If you read my post some weeks back ‘Everyone’s Talking About Jamie’ you’ll recall I support all things equal, tolerance of different people. Perhaps I should add a small caveat here. Anyone who is hard-working at living their lives without attempting to disrupt others for their own gain.
Long term readers of my blog will know that following a year of counselling, I don’t tolerate bullying within my own walls – and that’s a middle class white family. Believe me when I say there’d been plenty of prejudice going on there to fill a small back street in Paris with old furniture. My mother’s living room is so jam packed with verbal judgements aimed at everyone, from the dentist, the woman in the flower shop, the dog breeder on the end of the phone that the air in there is stifling.
How’s my book coming along did I hear one of you ask? Aside from the fact I’ve not touched it for five days at the time of writing – and I’m going to blame Jodi and weekend antics for that – I’m two thirds of the way through incorporating the pink pen edits 💃🏼
This is taking considerably longer than anticipated as some pages, such as this one under my home-made soup, were practically re-written 🙈
I’ve also finished a brilliant read called ‘Save The Cat’ by Jessica Brody. This 15-beat method of plotting a novel makes more sense than putting your shoes on the correct feet. How I wish I’d discovered this book before I started this story!
Following a small tantrum I knuckled down and read to the end, furiously scribbling notes along the way of additions seriously needing to be made to my manuscript. So this will be the next edit. No-one said it was a quick job, and the last thing I want to do is submit to anywhere while I know it can be so much better.
(It’s 4 in the morning FFS. Why aren’t you asleep?)
Brain iron filings.
It’s what my head feels full of when I do that turning-over thing in the early hours in the dark, listening to Man of the Wood’s steady breathing. I debate about rejoining the pages of an unread-novel, or stew over ideas for the manuscript. I lick my lips with a dire need for a coffee with CoffeeMate; newly discovered and being consumed in copious amounts because it is soooo creamy.
(So now you’ve been down two and a half hours will you go back up to bed now? You know you’ll look like death all tomorrow otherwise…)
Thanks. But no, I’ve got a court case to read about. One where the white lawyer is going to be played by Julia Roberts in the forthcoming film adaptation. Viola Davis will be playing Ruth, the black labour and delivery nurse accused of the murder of a baby in her care. It’s going to be such a moving and important film of our time.
Hope you’re all having a good week. If you’ve read to the end, do leave a comment just so I know who is still reading this blog. I think the algorithms may dictate that because I’ve been far less active than I used to be, my blog is floating somewhere in oblivion. Three days ago, I had one visitor 🤣 seriously. Just the one!
Have you been keeping
up with blogger ALittleBookProblem?
Julie has a feature where she
interviews different authors and
aspiring authors on a Friday
evening. Here is the Wendy Clarke
interview – one I waited a long
time to read 🥂
Wendy is editing her debut
novel as well as running
a hugely successful online
book club (amongst others)
through which I met dear
Julie- the creator of this blog!
I know I have been promising this guest for quite a while now but finally, at last, I am delighted to welcome to Friday Night Drinks, the founder of The Fiction Cafe Book Club, my favourite corner of the internet, my online writing group, The Fiction Cafe – Writers Group and a host of other brilliant related Facebook groups we will talk about later….. drumroll…….Wendy Clarke!
Thank you for joining me for drinks this evening, Wendy, glad you finally made it! First things first, what are you drinking?
Had you asked me that this time last year it would have been anything from a pink gin and ginger ale to a Bailey’s but in April last year I gave up alchol and started drinking water!
Now though, it’s coffee. I’m a little bit of a coffee addict!
At last, I’m not the only non-drinker at the table…
View original post 1,605 more words
… are that within one Down-Dog, you can see how dirty the kitchen floor really is 🙈😂