Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Wrting Contest

Fellow racer Maht is beginning a short story writing contest over on his blog, The contest starts tomorrow 1st February. He hasn't listed the topic yet but the rules are there.

Don't know if I'' have time to join in the fun but maybe the topic will be so tempting that I'll spare a few hundred words from A Cornish House and join in!


First let me start by saying that my dd went back to school today! I planned a day focused on writing but then the electrician arrived. We live in a rented house so he had a long list of outstanding items which should have taken an hour. He and his assistant left at three. Nothing was straightforward. The extractor fan in the kitchen proved to be a huge problem. No one could discover where it was wired through. An hour and a half later it was sourced then sorted. Then there was the extractor fan in the bathroom. Well whoever installed it cemented in the cable. This was only discovered after several holes had been drilled into the ceiling. So now we have a very ventilated ceiling and an extractor fan that is wired on the outside of the tiles but it works. Now I await the man to fix the holes and the man to bring the new fridge. Did I mention the fridge died on Sunday?

So my peaceful day was disturbed with power on and power off but I still managed to add another 2523 words! Best of all I wrote in Mark's first chapter and it felt right. I still may have to go back to the beginning and introduce his voice earlier because it may feel strange having his voice suddenly arriving 100 pages into the book but then again maybe not!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Yes Words

Yes, I did write today. I wrote 2,291 words :-)

They may be crap but I can work with crap later - or atleast I hope I can.

Doing a happy dance!

No Words

I wish I could be sitting here telling of the copious amount of work I have done since I last posted but no. Zilch. Nada. Big fat ZERO. Good, huh? I could list my excuses but that wouldn't be fair because I could have written. I really could have.

I have been thinking about the book. I have been wrestling with Mark - not an unpleasant experience I must say, but that still hasn't put words on the page. I still haven't resolved how to handle Mark or the pace of the story but I have decided that today I will write. It may well turn out to be utter crap but it will break the barrier I have created in my mind.

With August Rock I wrote swiftly through and it was easy. The story line was easier. A Cornish House is more complex and I know that I will have many rewrites to work in the laying I'm missing with this massive push forward. AR did teach me that rewriting is good and not just a royal pain in the butt. So I now know it is only possible to fix what is actually on the page so today I will put words on the page. I will introduce the voices of the two historic women through their letters and diaries today. Mark's voice may not yet enter because I haven't worked out how. But if I accept that his voice will find a place - it will.

There. How's that for being positive. Did I mention I have my youngest home sick from school and she likes lots of attention???

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


I know I'm still just a little kid at heart. Waking this morning and seeing London bathed in snow I ran outside and let our cat, snowy join me on our early morning prowl. Snowy is normally not allowed out and he has never seen snow before. He joined our family as a rescue cat when we lived in Dubai. Clearly somewhere in his heritage (he's a turkish angora) he was built for snow. The camoflage was incredible.

He was also seriously pissed off when I pulled him back inside!!! No snow ball for him!
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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Sick Days

Well, the side bar works - sort of. My word counter still looks like its been through the slicing machine but I can up date it.

Not much to report as big ds was still home sick today. Managed to eek out just over 100 words while watching Love Actually and Harry Potter 4 with him. Interesting choice of films I know but a teenager is an interesting creature!

Monday, January 22, 2007

New Look

In desperation I have changed the look of my blog but lost all side bar information. Hopefully it means that I will have a side bar.......we'll see.

Despite having ill teenage ds moping about managed to reach 18,048. In order to inspire me he put on Saving Grace and I had a tough time concentrate but its such a fabulous film.

I Should Be Writing

Book club just finished here at my house. So I am using the blog as a chance to clear my head. I felt terribly guilty this month as I hadn't finished the book. Part of the blame goes to the book - The Night Watch by Sarah Waters. As I explained to my friends if I hadn't been reading for the book club I wouldn't have may it through to the half way point which I arrived at at 6:30 this morning. Having made it this far i am now caught but this first chunk of the book I didn't really care about the characters. The descriptions were great. I loved the London setting but I wasn't caught. The Middle goes back in time to the war years. I now care and will finished the book. As a group we were divided. Some loved it rating it a 9 but for other like me the jury is out.

We then went on to chose the next two books......I enjoy this and for part of it brought down half of tbr pile. I didn't want to put anyone off! Before I share my tbr pile though I'll tell you the next two books- The Good Earth by Pearl Buck and then one of my favorites from last year An Old-Fashioned Arrangement by Susie Vereker. Since I have read that one will hopefully let me catch up with the tbr pile which is below in no particular order:-

The Prophet Muhammad - Barnaby Rogerson (am half way through and enjoying it)
Old Scores - Bernardine Kennedy (fellow racer)
Decent Exposure - Phillipa Ashley
Spirit Willing Flesh Weak - Julie Cohen
Daughters of the Grail - Elizabeth Chadwick
Away From it All - Judy Astley
A Proper Family Christmas - Jane Gordon-Cumming
Brown Owl's Guide to Life - Kate Harrison
(fellow racer)
Practically Perfect - Katie Fforde

So with all the reading above and the ones that are still upstairs it will be amazing if I have time to write let alone spend anytime with my family!

Later I will try again to update the side bar with the three new racers and what I manage to write today (she says optimistically!).

Friday, January 19, 2007


Still can't add to the side bar!

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16,467 / 100,000

It's coming on. Right now I'm having to push back from wanting to work again on August Rock but the first draft of A Cornish House must be complete before AR receives another look.

It's been good to see how the other racers are doing. The Friday coffee break at Kate's, is very motivating for me. I couldn't limp in there not having reached my goal of 5000 words. Next week must try and do better though. A few days I felt I was beginning to get into the groove then I let myself be sidetracked! Not good enough. Must find focus.

Thursday, January 18, 2007


I tried to update the sidebar with the three new racers but its playing the same silly b......gers that it does with the word count. I have checked every comma etc and still I lose the whole side bar when I add new stuff!

I did write today. I set the alarm early - 5:30. I felt I really couldn't fall behind my fellow racers. So I sat to my puter and what did I do. Of course I checked emails and the my blog and then everyone elses blog and behold it was 7:00 and time to wake the dd. So no words there!

Dropped her at school and began in earnest to get something on the page before coffee with gorgeous niece. Finally words began to flow. I mean really flow but the post arrived and in it was another amazon delivery. My tbr is going reach the moon soon. Maybe tomorrow I'll tell you what's on the tbr. Any way in the same pile of post was the awaited report from Hilary Johnson on August Rock. I don't have to give up writing just yet! Work to be done but it's not bad folks. The work will have to wait until the first draft of A Cornish House is complete!

So off to Velazquez in the gales. The exhibition to be honest was a disappointment. I am not sure that it wasn't the crowds but I think it was the paintings they chose. I am not really familiar with his work so I can't say for sure. I loved his early paintings of the intimacy of domestic life. They were vibrant but the later paintings of royals left me cold. I enjoyed the head and shoulders portraits of various people but over all I felt I had missed something. I will have to explore his works more.

So I came back home and sat to write again. Today's word count was 1,640 which brings me to 15,725. Not bad. Now if I could just make the side bar work!!!!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Admit Defeat

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14,185 / 100,000

I have tried and tried to get the above onto my side bar. Have done it successfully up until yesterday. It works here but won't work there and by not working it means that I lose the whole side bar. I know that means one piece of code is messed up by I can't find it! So I am making progress despite the what the side bar says!!!

Over on Fiona Harper's blog,, she asks some key questions that are helping me wrestle with the character thing. I have been a pantser in the past. I would outline the characters and then write - no great detail. As I wrote the characters spoke to me and told me who they are. There is good discussion of this on CS Harris blog,

Well, with A Cornish House, the character are talking a great deal but not revealing much about themselves. I know that is a reflection of their characters in itself but this is a character lead book with me being a plot lead writer.........Help! So Fiona's questions helped cement a few key points in my mind about them and showed me some weak points. So tomorrow will most likely be a none writing day.

I am meeting my gorgeous twenty something niece for coffee and then off to the Velacquez exhibition,, so I don't see a window of opportunity but I am hoping that the down time will help me work through some of the weak points. Well, one can hope!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Words and Advice

No writing over the weekend. Not a bad thing as I mulled over a few things in my mind. It was a quiet weekend with just the dd and me. We went to the cinema and saw Miss Potter. I didn't know what to expect but came out delighted as did my dd. She was enchanted by the animals and is now old enough to enjoy the love story. The scene with Beatrix and Norman dancing to the music box will go down as one of the most romantic scenes in cinema for me. It's all that passion that can't be released but there just simmering under the surface(of course it has nothing to do with Ewan McGregor!).

Today I managed just over 1250 words - again not a bad day. I have finally hit one of the key turning points in the plot. It will be interesting to see how it builds........

Finally, when I checked my emails this morning there was a google alert for Liz Fenwick on Ann Weale's blog, Bookworm on the Net This surprised me no end. Anne has been a sucessful author for years and her views on the life and the literary world always provoke thought. I read her blog on a regular basis and have commented here and there along the way. Her entry of Friday 12th January ended as follows:

Right now I must stick to my new Day Plan which includes half an hour's housework every day. How long this good resolution will last...quien sabe? But I'm sticking with it for the time being.

I commented that I was doing the same. Well on Sunday, Anne decided to check me out.....Her results are here as is my reply. As an aspiring novelist I'm pleased to take advice. It's a big, bad, old world in publishing but I think I will pass on this piece.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Light Bulb Moment

Yesterday I quickly scanned the latest installment of the Crusie Mayer Workshop - Situational vs. Character (found here but I was too tired to absorb what I knew was good stuff. So waking early this morning, I went back. As I am still very much learning my craft I do have these moments when someone hits me over the head with a sled hammer and this was one.

August Rock just sort of flowed out and wrote itself - well at least the first draft did. I didn't sweat the details - I wrote. Hence, even after its revision, its a pacy read. A Cornish House is proving to be a different matter. I'm clear on my two lead characters and clear on where I want the story to end but how they get there is a bit of a problem.

This past week words have come pretty well. I'm not sure they are very good but its something to work with. However after slowly going through Jennifer Crusie's Situation vs. Character section I saw the light in several ways. I haven't done character arcs for Serena and Madde let alone any other major character in the book. In fact I'm not fully sure what they are but have a decent idea.

So according to Crusie/Mayer you need to find your week spot. Is it situation or character? Because to write a good book you need both. Well, I still haven't ascertained my blind spot because August Rock was plot driven imo (which means I need to go back and rewrite the damn thing being more character led!) and A Cornish House is trying to be character driven. Here is my stumbling block. If I go back to my first idea it was plot driven. I hadn't drawn my characters well enough even though I clearly felt I had - my arrogance I guess.

So one of the comments raised the old idea of throwing the worst you can at your characters - which I had and then tracing their responses which it turns out I have mulled through but not really thought out properly.

So now I have a page full of notes in my journal with different thoughts about my characters. I now need to read through Jennifer's piece again and let it seep into my brain and mull over the characters and their arc's. Finally see if the plot I have planned for them still works!!!

Friday, January 12, 2007

It's Friday - Coffee at Kate's

The week so far has produced roughly 7500 words. Not sure they are good but they are there to be edited later. Trying not to over think things nad just let the story develop. We'll see.

In the meantime, its coffee time at Kate Harrison's blog, It's great to the progress of the other racers. We have two one to introduce - Sheepish, you can find her here,, and Sarah - she's here

Well, back to Kate's blog to see how all the other's have done this week.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Not Bad

Just over 2000 words written today. Respectable. It's the first day without kids in the house. I have another 20 minutes until peace disappears. I am wondering how long it will take me to get into the swing of writing again. I seem to be nibbling here and there but don't feel back into the groove.

I'm also wondering where I'm going with the story. I think I have now set up both main character well and developed the love interest a bit. Although I have mind mapped the story I'm leaving it to the flow as how and when they key plot events happens. This could be very unwise. August Rock just flowed with the plot events tumbling out nicely. This is more of a character based book so I'm feeling my way through it blind.

I'm looking forward to tomorrow's coffee break for racers over on Kate Harrison's blog, Hopefully all the racers will report in and we will find some new ones. I am enjoying jumping around to check on progress. Hopefully this will keep me motivated and procrastinating!

No Surprises

Your Dominant Intelligence is Linguistic Intelligence

You are excellent with words and language. You explain yourself well.

An elegant speaker, you can converse well with anyone on the fly.

You are also good at remembering information and convicing someone of your point of view.

A master of creative phrasing and unique words, you enjoy expanding your vocabulary.

You would make a fantastic poet, journalist, writer, teacher, lawyer, politician, or translator.

I was reading Maht's blog, and saw the above. Anyone who has known me for any length of time will not be surprised as I wasn't! However it was interesting to do and it confirmed that despite the frsutration at times I am pursuing the right course. Of course I should have been writing and not taking quizzes but.............back to the wip. Will update word count later.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

New Racers

Two new racers have joined the fray, Dave Hill and Hera I keep checking the progress of the others telling my self it is not procrastenation but know if I hadn't checked then I would have spent those minutes adding to my word total.......right? no, I would have found something else to do. You see I still have one child home and time spent writing is time not with him so I feel guilty. Sadly he goes back to school tomorrow so for the rest of today it is a Lord of Rings marathon session.

I shall probably find the my hero Mark start to look like Aragon when I write again tomorrow:)

Monday, January 08, 2007

Right Voice

Sometimes it's good to have kids. The crows of doubt were circling about Serena's voice in the book and I ran her chapter past the 14 year old ds and he said yeah he kinda thinks like that....So provided one year doesn't make too much of a difference and I supply the female aspect myself I may just have found the correct voice for Serena. Phew.

Now that I am in writing mode again my reading dwindles to drip feed except for research. However I have to read Sarah Waters Nightwatch by next Monday for book club. Must get down to the tonight.

But thinking about books led me to think what my top five reads of 2006 were. It was a tough choice and I have devided them by mainstream and catagory - a way of cheating so I could list more!

1. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
2. Life Skills by Katie Fforde
3. An Old Fashioned Arrangement by Susie Vereker
4. The Kite Runner by Kalid Hosseini
5. Any Human Heart by William Boyd

1. Blind Date Wedding by Fiona Harper
2. White Hot by Trish Wylie
3. Being a Bad Girl by Julie Cohen
4. Antonakos Marriage by Kate Walker
5.Five Year Baby Secret by LIz Fielding

Friday, January 05, 2007

A Little Bit

Trying to keep in the race when I have three kids home and the dh working from home is tricky and policitcally risky. They think I am just surfing the web and not actually producing anything but they are wrong. Just over 1000 words written today. Not great but not bad either.

Back on the the He Wrote/She Wrote site, Jennifer Crusie offers that one shouldn't know the intent or theme or your work before you write the first draft. She feels you might be in danger of beating your reader over the head with it if you think about it all the time. She opts for defining it after the first draft and subtly highlighting in the reworking. Good idea but now I do have one of my main theme's in mind. Is it at the forfront all the time - no. When writing all I see is a movie screen in front of me and I write down key details and dialogue. At least that's what I hope I do.

I'm into chapter three and I am hoping the voice of Serena is right.......crows of doubt arriving early today.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Fear of Being Left Behind

Today we leave Cornwall and I must pack. Something I dread. It's so boring and the kids hate it. There fore I'm procrastinating. This time though the delay is caused by writing. I scrolled through the blogs of Kate Harrison and Lucy Diamond to see the progress of two of my fellow racers. Kate is in the lead and Lucy not too far behind.

If I left writing until I reached London and the kids are back in school I could never hope to catch up. That's my excuse anyway. The word count is now up to 1,635. Not great and would be better if it was now late morning and I do need to get the house ready depart.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Ideas and Writing

Having written the first 250 words of A Cornish House back in September I put the book aside to rework August Rock. That is now done and I'm now playing with research and gearing up for the big push.......The Word Count Challenge (see the side bar for those who are in the race or Kate Harrison's blog) for details.

In my procrasentation I have been searching blogs.....from the Grumpy Old Bookman here I found a link to CS Harris herewho has an interesting discussion of crafting of a book and currently working on characters. She has put up a list of her favorite character and also of those who she would want to have a relationships with. I won't try that today - to much procrastenation really! However I think it is interesting that Rasored Zen here who commented on her blog chose all his favorite female characters from male authors.......another item to comtemplate.

On a more concrete line I send thanks to the Teach Me tonight Blog here . A reference there sent me to Jennifer Cruise / Bob Mayer workshop He Wrote She Wrote here. The first installment of the workshop talks about the One Sentence Idea. That has forced some concrete ideas out into the journal. I hate trying to sum up my intent for the novel but I can see how this can possibly make the story easier to write . However it might spoil the surprises that seem to occur out of mid air when I get in the full throws of writing.

Having said the above, I realize that by instict rather than design those first 250 words really do throw up the intent of the novel -the clash between the generations. Their search to find common ground and how often they miss the target. Of course I what to show how love untimately builds the brides and mixing metaphors provides the translation required.

So although it's nearly eleven this morning and I haven't written a single new word, I do have a clearly idea in my mind about what the story is ultimately about. So here's to productive procrastenation.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Word Count Challenge

I am have bravely or maybe foolishly joining in Kate Harrison's New Year's Word Count Challenge. You can visit her site here and see who else has jumped on the band wagon Chicklit Work in Progress. I have 250 words written so I must get cracking if I am going to keep up however I am blissfully still in Cornwall with all my notes in London. So I'll continue to focus on the research while here for another few days.

Along the lines of research for A Cornish House, my mil is guiding my hand from above again. I was looking through the book shelves wondering where to start on the the house for the book. I know which house and where but I needed details of Cornish vernacular style and what do my eyes fall on but another of June's wonderful books......A Cornishman's House. The answer to my prayers as it even has a bit on the house in question!

So I will have to get a word counter onto the blog and you can watch this challenge progress!