Barack is President!

Even a messed up oath and a split infinitive can't ruin the moment. What was I doing during one of the most important moments in modern history? Holding my dodgy old mobile phone up to the speaker of my dodgy old Freecycle donated telly so that my friend in America, who was at work and unable to get the live feed to work on his computer, could hear his president making his first speech. Pretty moving stuff.


The Blog Goes OT for a Day - Snaps to Our American Chums

The writer's blur can wait a day: bring out the Snap Cup! Today, I dedicate the blog to our American friends. It has all been said before but I'd like to scribble a few words of my own. Forgive the moment of serious political contemplation - I'll be back to writing nonsense once I've got it out I promise.

When I studied American Politics in the dim and distant, the struggles of the African Americans shook me. When I lived over there a decade ago, I was even more shaken. Many people in the UK may be surprised at how big an issue race still is in many parts of the US and I was struck by the extent to which society was segregated by race in a number of subtle and not-so-subtle ways. The echoes of slavery are still close enough to resonate there.

It is a huge deal that, today, the leader of the country (and, until another land mass steps in, the Western World) is of African descent. It is not only moving but also the healing of a deep wound within the country, and the implications for all of us of a United States more at peace with itself cannot be overstressed. That nation has been the subject of much negativity from the world outside its borders for many years but it has a capacity for dynamic change and resilience for which it is hard to find a parallel. Our current woes may have been conceived in the USA but their end can also come about there and my guess is that the optimism prompted by this event could prove the catalyst.

When I found myself in trouble in America (many long stories could follow) the people who went out of their way the most to help me were African Americans. They didn't even know me, but they put themselves in danger to offer me help and I will never forget that. So, when America turns to mush over the historical events that pan out later today, I will be sobbing along. Tomorrow, the upper lip will regain its stiffness but today I'm right there with them: it has been too long coming. What a wonderful day.



The 'B' Word

Writer's Block
Only 26 days to go and I've got writer's block. I don't believe in writer's block so I'm particularly miffed by this. Actually, I'm not going to call it writer's block; I'm going to call it 'writer's blur' - that's how much I don't believe in it!

Writer's Blur
Right, so I've got writer's blur and it's a pain in the rear. It's not a block as such, it's more of a continuing disagreement between my characters and myself. I thought, once I'd got through the tricky middle bit, they'd play ball all the way to the end but they are not. I know exactly where I want them to go but they're not going there. Every time I try to take them where I want, their dialogue becomes totally unbelievable. It's a real pain but I'm going to have to delete stacks of work and just follow the characters again. However great the plot is, if the characters wouldn't do those things then I've got to scrap the plot. It's a little annoying that I have only 26 days to embark upon this Wild Character Chase but so be it. Here begins the Tragical Misery Tour of deleting weeks worth of work, abandoning my plot and handing my book back to the characters.

Wish me luck.




An exciting day is upon us. My first rejection arrived this morning. I am finally a 'real' writer.

I get the feeling I should have dissolved into a puddle of tears by now but I am happy to report there is not even the start of a sniffle. Perhaps my months and years of 'preparing for the rejection of my work' have actually - and I hadn't quite anticipated this - prepared me for the rejection of my work. Job well done.

The Journey Continues
My manuscript must go out into the world again, a wiser woman. I certainly had to kiss a few frogs before I found my prince and the same may be true for her, or maybe not. Maybe Prince/Princess Charming (I can see this metaphor becoming problematic) is just around the corner. We shall see. All I know for sure is that I am one step closer to finding the perfect agent and that, for me, is a great result.



The Fun Bit

It's official. The 'tricky middle bit' is over and I'm into the fun bit. My characters have led me away from my original plan just enough to make me take notice and now, we're scampering hand in hand towards the finish line. I love it!

Trumpet Blowing
In case you were wondering why I'm so full of myself, I've just had a perfect writing day. Three thousand words of - and please forgive the lack of modesty here - bloody genius writing have travelled smoothly from brain to keyboard. Don't worry, cynics, I am not completely loopy: I know that when it comes to editing my 'genius writing' I will find all kinds of ways to pull it apart but, for now, I'm jolly pleased with it.

Online Fridge
Novel-writing is not blog-writing. It is oodles of fun but a lot more work. Everything must be edited and given very serious thought at some point in the process. This little blog, however, contains the random drivel that is in my head when I reach the keyboard. I am not too fussed about grammar or spelling. I am not too fussed - obviously - how many sentences begin with 'I'. It is a diary of sorts - a little jotter pad of notes about the process of getting books from my brain to a bookshelf. It is an online fridge upon which the notes to myself, pinned up with magnets, are displayed to all interested parties. Nothing more sophisticated than that. Writing a novel, however, is hard work. Most of the time, it is a matter of pinning your butt to a chair and staring at a screen for a given number of hours or words a day whether you want to or not. This is why, when a day like today comes along and the words just float through you it is time for a celebratory cuppa and a long 'well done, you genius' bath.

My first rejection still has not arrived. I only pledged monogamy until January but it's a great agent so I might give them a bit longer before I go tarting my manuscript around elsewhere. Maybe I'll leave it for a couple of weeks and see how much writing I can get done in that time. Wonder if I can finish the novel by mid-January. Surely not. Maybe though... I'll give it a go.


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I write like
Margaret Atwood

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My debut novel

My debut novel
Palaces and Calluses

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