Having got my first three chapters completed earlier in the week, I have bravely sent them (via Google Docs) to a couple of friends, to get their opinions. They are both rather knowledgeable regarding matters literary (one is the daughter of an author, the other studied English at both Oxford and Cambridge), so I know that their advice will be useful. I'm just rather nervous about receiving it...
Thursday, 21 February 2008
This week, far from being the lazy perfectionist of the title of my blog, I've been a highly motivated perfectionist and achieved a lot. My word count has shot up by over 5000 words since Monday, and the ideas seem to be pouring into my head. The only thing I'm finding difficult is having to not write 'Saving' for the 7.5 hours a day I'm contracted to write medical stuff. And sleeping and eating seem to be getting in the way a bit too, rather than the other way round, which is the norm, I've found...
I watched a fabulous French film last night, 'He loves me, he loves me not' starring Audrey Tautou and Samuel Le Bihan. This 'love' story is the antithesis of 'Amelie', and really cleverly constructed so that you see both sides of the action, and the very different perspectives of Angelique and the love of her life. There's very little else I can say without giving away too much of the story, but the more sinister moments are beautifully balanced by Tautou, who radiates innocence and sweetness throughout.
I loved the use of metaphors about cardiologists and less literal problems of the heart, which were often hidden in the many layers of the story so that the meanings didn't become clear until close to the end of the film. It was a very visual story, particularly with Angelique's beautiful paintings and collages giving an insight into her rather lonely world. It's just the sort of imaginative tale you can get completely lost in for a few hours.
Wednesday, 20 February 2008
Tuesday, 19 February 2008
The Novel Race this year has spurred me on, and I expect to get to 32,000 words later today. I'm finding that the more I write, the more I want to write, which is a satisfying feeling. However, I definitely go through peaks and troughs, so I'm hoping to extend this peak as long as possible, even if it means lugging my laptop all around Cheshire and Manchester so that I always have it with me.
Apart from reaching 30,000 words yesterday, I also achieved another milestone. I write in a fairly patchwork way, jotting down bits of scenes all over the place and adding to them when I think of something to say. It means there's always something interesting to write about no matter what kind of mood I'm in, but it does mean that I don't really do linear landmarks. Anyway, I decided to concentrate on my first few chapters, and as of last night, the first three are all finished! They're still quite rough and first-drafty (draughty also works as I'm sure there are plenty of holes the wind can whistle through...) but my story has a definite start now. I just need to tame the wilds and plug the gaps in the middle and end, and then I'll have the first draft of a whole book...
Friday, 15 February 2008
'In Search of Adam' by Caroline Smailes, a fellow Novel Racer, is very different from most books. The way she uses text as a visual device, rather than just a way of getting her words into the readers' brains, and her intentionally idiosyncratic use of sentence structure, gives the impression that every word and strand of the story has been teased into the perfect place with surgical precision. This makes Jude's life, which is not comfortable to experience, seem all the more true. The use of language and of information as an emotional rock at times reminded me of 'The History of Love' by Nicole Krauss, another novel about a young girl trying to find her way in a world that seems to have buried all that she needs to find.
The hidden depths beneath the secondary characters enclosing Jude's world give an ominous feel to what might otherwise be considered a 'normal' street. These characters will also get their chance to be heard on Monday, when Caroline releases 'Disraeli Avenue', to raise money for victims of abuse via the charity 'One in Four'.
Wednesday, 13 February 2008
This is the sequel to 'Twilight', which I read on holiday in Sardinia last year. 'New Moon' moves away from Bella's adventures with the Cullen family of vampires, and looks instead at her growing friendship with a werewolf - not entirely what you might expect from a romance...
I read 'New Moon' while recovering from a bout to stomach-related nastiness, and needed something light-hearted but enticing. I could also particularly relate to Edward's abstemiousness, having eschewed food for 48 hours. The twists and turns took me through my queasiness, and made it more bearable sitting at home for 2 days when watching TV gave me motion sickness. I did sometimes want to give Bella a damn good shake (self-involved, much?) but that's what being a teenager in all-encompassing love is about I suppose. The perfect book for curling up with when feeling a little sorry for oneself.
PS. A - don't worry - I bought 2 copies!
Wednesday, 6 February 2008
I sprained my ankle quite badly in November, and hadn't ventured to the gym since. This morning I finally went back, and met up with one of the trainers to put together a programme that would not put too much pressure on my ankle. He suggested using the rowing machine, something I hadn't done much on before. I tried it out, and after a few minutes I detected a slight problem. I'm left handed, and consequently use my left arm more than my right. Normally this wouldn't be a problem, but on the rowing machine it manifested itself in, quite literally, an arms race, which my right arm was losing fairly badly. At least I wasn't in the water going round in circles...
Monday, 4 February 2008
Following a wonderful holiday in Marrakech, and then a not so wonderful virus last week, I'm now back online and in a fit state to blog... Unfortunately, I'm also rather busy after an unexpectedly long time off work, so it may take a little while before I get round to it. Argh.