Just thought I'd add a note about the novel progress (more for myself than anything else really - which is probably just as well since I think this blog only has one reader other than me!).
Anyway, I've scribbled loads of bits and bobs in my notebook about the novel. I've changed my mind several times about certain elements, then gone back and decided to include them again, then changed my mind (you get the picture). The beginning is very clear in my mind (in fact I've already written 900 words) and so is the end. It's just that tricky little section called the middle that I'm in a bit of a muddle about. I know what should happen but I don't know the specifics (ie. the scenes). Now maybe this isn't such a big deal as, from what I've read, you should let your characters make their own decisions and, frequently, even if you do plot what your characters should do they often go 'nah, I'm doing this instead' (which is apparently a good thing because it means that your characters have become real in your subconscious rather than just a tool of the author). So, I'm not too worried (yet, probably will be when I reach that part).
Am re-reading a fantastic book
How to Write a Damn Good Novel: A Step-By-Step No Nonsense Guide to Dramatic Storytelling
that may appear (by its title) to be a bit of fluff and fun but is actually very detailed and very, very good. In fact my brain is throbbing with new knowledge (most of which I'm sure I'll forget in about 10 seconds time but I'm hoping I've absorbed at least some of it). Anyway, it's really, really useful and is helping me clarify a few issues (she said vaguely).
I am also using this free software:
which is helping me to lay out the chapters and scenes and, hopefully, not get too much into a muddle if I need to chop and change bits later (unlike when you write a novel straight into Word and end up horribly lost).
Right - so that's that. I've written part of the synopsis (the beginning at least) and need to spend some time this lunchtime putting in the rest and filling in the gaps. Hopefully that should give me some structure to follow. I also need to fill out some character sheets for my characters (at the moment they're more of a feeling rather than real). Now my brain is starting to ache.