Friday, 18 January 2008

And 'Best Typo of the Evening' goes to...

'As soon as his lips touched mince...'

No, this isn't a story about cooking.

Hey ho - I have broken the 20,000 word barrier though, so not all bad news.

Thursday, 17 January 2008

We're all going on a winter holiday!

S starts a new job in February, and we decided ages ago that we should go on holiday before he leaves his old one. This led to one of the most complex negotiation periods of our marriage - 'Where should we go? How long for? What should we do when we get there? How much can we afford to spend?'. We spent hours scouring the internet for the perfect destination, with the perfect flights at the perfect times. Last night, we finally sorted it out. Next Thursday, we're off to Morocco for 4 days, and I can't wait!

Now I just need to find some new sunglasses, dig out my summer clothes (they were rather neglected last year with the lack of any kind of summer-like weather in the UK) and decide which books to take (then let S take out most of them saying that as we're only going for 4 days I really don't need 10 books, sneak a couple back into my handbag and swear that it doesn't weigh a ton when I struggle to pick it up...).

Wednesday, 16 January 2008


It's lunchtime, I'm eating a bowl of soup (spicy lentil and tomato - yummy!) and working on my character sketch for Phoebe, the protagonist in 'Saving'. And that's when it happens, the brainwave I've been waiting for since I started writing this... I now have the perfect truly evil thing that my rather vindictive antagonist can do that starts the whole ball rolling. It links up, is logical, and is really nasty. Hurrah for lentil soup!

The Athenian Murders - Jose Carlos Somoza

I finished this a while ago but needed to digest it a bit before writing about it. 'The Athenian Murders' centres around a fictional text describing, you've guessed it, murders in Athens! This text is being translated by a man who decides it is an example of 'eidesis', a technique, invented by Somoza but of Greek origin in the book, of portraying images that are unrelated to the actual text in the mind of the reader by emphasizing particular words or phrases. As the translator works on the text he becomes more and more convinced that he is in it. There are bizarre parallels between his life and events within the text, and then things get even more strange when he discovers other similarities between the text and the person who worked on it previously, who just happened to come to a rather sticky end. Or did he?

This is a book to read slowly and savour, otherwise it gets rather confusing. The layers upon layers are intricately woven and over-lapping, and the stories combine in a rather tortuous way, but so cleverly done that it is a very satisfying read, though it's quite difficult to explain without going a bit cross-eyed.

Bright ideas and rising word counts

The word counter bar for 'Saving' is currently inaccurate. I have written hundreds more words than that, but have been scribbling in a notebook rather than using my laptop over the last couple of weeks, and have yet to transfer it all over. I think I may now have over 20,000 words, but this needs to be independently verified later on by my lovely shiny MacBook. I had got rather stuck before Christmas, and was unsure how to carry on - the 14,000 words I wrote during NaNo were all on track, and I knew in general what was going to happen later on, but I hadn't got the specifics sorted at all. I tried various planning ideas (spreadsheets, mind-mapping, lists) but nothing really felt right. Then it occurred to me that I didn't actually know my characters all that well, and that most of them were really just a vague caricature, without much substance. So I've gone back to the beginning and am writing character studies, some much more detailed than others, but it has really spurred me on, and all the little things I had sort of planned a bit but without really knowing why are coalescing and becoming logical, fitting in with the characters and their pasts. I've also discovered OmniOutliner, which is so useful, flexible and intuitive that I'm beginning to wonder how I ever managed to get anything done without it!

Friday, 4 January 2008

2007 Reading Round-up

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but these are the main books I read in 2007. My to-be-read pile is expanding rapidly, partly due to a good haul at Christmas, partly due to a big tidy when I discovered a number of books I had slightly forgotten about. This means 2008 needs to include lots of reading. Hurrah!

A Gathering Light - Jennifer Donnelly
Atonement - Ian McEwan
Break No Bones - Kathy Reichs
Children of the Storm - Elizabeth Peters
Dark Fire - CJ Samson
Death at La Fenice - Donna Leon
Gentlemen and Players - Joanne Harris
Gods Behaving Badly - Marie Phillips
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - JK Rowling
Holy Fools - Joanne Harris
Jamaica Inn - Daphne du Maurier
Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded - Simon Winchester
One Good Turn - Kate Atkinson
Possession - AS Byatt
Rebecca - Daphne du Maurier
Rosetta - Barbara Ewing
Rubicon - Tom Holland
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen - Paul Torday
Second Honeymoon - Joanna Trollope
Sovereign - CJ Samson
Suite Francaise - Irene Nemirovsky
The Art of Murder - Jose Carlos Somoza
The Book Thief - Markus Zusak
The Diamond Age - Neal Stephenson
The Extremes - Christopher Priest
The Flanders Panel - Arturo Perez-Reverte
The Glamour - Christopher Priest
The History of Love - Nicole Krauss
The Horse and His Boy - CS Lewis
The Intimate Adventures of a London Call Girl - Belle de Jour
The Keys of Egypt - Lesley and Roy Adkins
The Last Kabbalist of Lisbon - Richard Zimler
The Magician's Nephew - CS Lewis
The Nautical Chart - Arturo Perez-Reverte
The Observations - Jane Harris
The Oxford Murders - Guillermo Martinez
The Penelopiad - Margaret Atwood
The Prestige - Christopher Priest
The Promise of Happiness - Justin Cartwright
The Seventh Gate - Richard Zimler
The Sign of the Cross - Chris Kuzneski
The Single Helix - Steve Jones
The Tenderness of Wolves - Stef Penney
Twilight - Stephenie Meyer

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