Saturday, 31 May 2008

We have a sale!

I knew it was only a matter of time but not THIS quickly.

A Story A Fortnight, the womag short story group I set up recently, has made it's first sale! Congrats to Maddie for selling the story she wrote to the first set of prompt (my prompts incidentally ;o)).

Here's to tons more sales - for Maddie and the rest of us. I'm sure it won't take long.

Now I'm off to walk the dog and, when I get back, I'm going to try and write a story to the 3rd set of prompts set by Tam. The stories have to be in on Tuesday and I don't even have a flicker of an idea yet!

Friday, 30 May 2008

I've come to the conclusion...

...that looking after an 18 month-old dog is a lot like looking after a toddler of the same age.

Not that I have much experience of toddlers (well, apart from my niece) but bear with me...

Similarities between Tia and a toddler:

1. They both need lots of affection
2. They both need feeding and watering regularly
3. You have to keep an eye on them at all times or they'll chew on something they shouldn't / break something / get into the bin
4. A 'fun' game of 'put fingers in mouth' can easily become "Ow!" when they bite a bit too hard
5. You can't go for a wee without them pushing at the door.
6. Whatever you're doing seems like more fun than whatever they're doing and they need to investigate.
7. They follow you everywhere
8. They both fart without getting embarrassed
9. You have to clear up their poo


10. The only time you can get any writing done is while they're asleep.

I only managed 700'ish words today. Not as much as I was hoping to write, but better than nothing. In order to meet my 31 July deadline I now have to write 1,090 words a day. Soooo not gonna happen!

13,034 / 80,000 words written (16.3% of novel #2)

Thursday, 29 May 2008

SOMEONE has stolen my sofa for a snooze!

You won't be surprised to hear that number of words written tonight = zero!

p.s. Isn't it weird when dog's dream? Their entire bodies twitch and they try and bark/snarl/whimper in the same way we talk/laugh/cry. I wonder if all animals dreams.

Answers on a postcard to: Dog-Sitting Girl With Too Much Time on Her Hands, Brighton.

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

My temporary house guest!

I'm looking after my sisters dog, Tia, while she's on holiday. I've never owned my own dog so this is a real treat. Not so keen on the poop bag deal though *ick*.
The good news is I'm going to get more exercise than normal this week... but will I write less with someone watching me with mournful eyes that say, "Why would you choose to tap on that bit of plastic when you could be stroking me instead?"
Time will tell!

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

When agents ask for revisions (and don't offer representation)

Interesting post below. It's about what goes through an agent's mind when they request a full MS from an author, read it, and then ask the author to make changes/revisions (without offering to represent them). Food for thought, particularly for anyone who might be in this position...

Her hair glistened in the rain like a nose hair after a sneeze

Being a bit crap at them myself I'm very jealous of any writer that can produce fantastic similes and metaphors. I'll often re-read a particularly well crafted turn of phrase, marvel at the way the writer's mind works and then feel a bit sick at my own lack of skill. But crap similes and metaphors can make me laugh....a lot....

Below, for your delectation, is something I saw on notesfromtheslushpile's blog and instantly nicked....

Every year, English teachers from across the country can submit their collections of actual similes and metaphors found in high school essays. These excerpts are published each year to the amusement of teachers across the country. Here are last year's winners:

1. Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two sides gently compressed by a thigh Master.

2. His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.

3. He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it.

4. She grew on him like she was a colony of E.Coli, and he was room-temperature Canadian beef.

5. She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.

6. Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.

7. He was as tall as a six-foot, three-inch tree.

8. The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated because of his wife's infidelity came as a rude shock, like a surcharge at a formerly surcharge-free ATM machine.

9. The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn't.

10. McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty bag filled with vegetable soup.

11. From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you're on vacation in another city and Jeopardy comes on at 7:00 p.m. instead of 7:30.

12. Her hair glistened in the rain like a nose hair after a sneeze.

13. The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease.

14. Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 p.m. traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19 p.m. at a speed of 35 mph.

15. They lived in a typical suburban neighborhood with picket fences that resembled Nancy Kerrigan's teeth.

16. John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.

17. He fell for her like his heart was a mob informant, and she was the East River.

18. Even in his last years, Granddad had a mind like a steel trap, only one that had been left out so long, it had rusted shut.

19. Shots rang out, as shots are known to do.

20. The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work.

21. The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while.

22. The ballerina rose gracefully en Pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.

23. It was an American tradition, like fathers chasing kids around with power tools.

24. He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up.

And my personal favourite of the bunch...

25. He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either, but a real duck that was actually lame, maybe from stepping on a land mine or something.

Monday, 26 May 2008

Well it tickled me!

p.s. Nearly a thousand words of novel #2 written last night. Am aiming to reach 15% tonight. Now I've blogged it I can't not write.

Can I?

11,289 / 80,000 words written of novel #2 (14.1% of first draft)

[Edited at 00:12 to add....]


12,374 / 80,000 words written of novel #2 (15.5% of first draft)

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Isle of wight day 4

Today i am mostly... Picking up home decorating tips!

Friday, 16 May 2008

And another quick posting...

Very interesting article about writers' block vs. chronic procrastination here:

And that's it. Really am off now.


p.s. Two blog posts in one evening. Guess what I've been doing instead of packing tonight? Better get on with it or I'm off on holiday with the contents of my handbag and that's it....

Writer verses Cat

Just popping back quickly to post a link to a video that made me laugh (and I don't even have a cat!)

Click play on the video....

Quick novel update

Oh dear. My 1,750 words 3x a week plan for novel #2 really isn't happening. Since last Friday, when I last updated my novel word count, I've written approximately 2,400 words. At this rate I'm not going to get the first draft finished until January next year! That won't do at all.


When I get back from my holiday!


I am planning on printing out the last chapter and taking it with me, alongside my notebook, so if I feel inspired I CAN do some writing. But the holiday isn't about doing any writing. It's about relaxing and reading and watching DVDs and walking and sleeping.

And not feeling guilty about the fact I haven't written a story for A Story A Fortnight this time *cough*

Okay, time to sign off before I feel more guilty than I already do. Don't expect any more blog posts until a week tomorrow (although I might post the odd camera phone photo blog if I see anything inspiring/unusual/entertaining).


novel #2 word count: 10,411 / 80,000 words (13.0% of novel)

Waterstones story postcards competition

I saw this on Lily's blog and HAD to repost it here...

Waterstones are running a short story competition to celebrate the National Year of Reading. This competition gives writers the chance to be published alongside some of the world's greatest authors and even win an Arvon Writing Course. The only stipulation is that your story should be a maximum of 600 characters.

You can customise your story card too - change the font (*waves at Caroline*), add stencil images and borders, change the colours, loads of stuff.

NB: You can only enter once (as I just realised when I tried to submit a second entry) so choose your story wisely!

There's a link to the judging criteria so you might want to click on that before you enter your story.

Their favourite stories will get published online and three winners stories will be chosen to go into a postcard book (alongside the famous authors) - all proceeds of which go to Dyslexia Action and English PEN. All entries must be in before 19th June 2008 so click here now and get creating.

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

On Being a Nosy Writer

I was on the train home tonight and, after standing for part of the journey, finally got a seat at a table. The woman opposite me had a big pile of papers and a pen in front of her and, being the nosy cow I am, I glanced at them.

OOoh, I thought as I spotted double spacing, the formatting and a title*, surname** and page number in the top right hand corner, it's a novel manuscript!

I glanced at the woman. Was she an agent, an editor or a writer?

If she's an agent or an editor, I thought, trying to assess her age, maybe I'll get a little sneaky peek into the way they work.

Well she looked too young to be an agent or an editor (mid twenties tops) so I figured she was either an agent's assistant, an editor's assistant or a writer reading through her draft on the train home from work.

I'll know as soon as she starts making marks on the manuscript, I thought and pretended to read my magazine.

A couple of minutes later I snuck a peak at her from over the top of my copy of Grazia.

She was fast asleep!

And she slept all the way back to Brighton, only moving to gather up the manuscript as the train pulled into the station.


* The title didn't give anything away
** Or the surname

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Is it any wonder the stories/novels I write can be a bit unusual...

...when this was one of my all time favourite TV shows when I was a kid.

Anyone else remember it?

I'd pay a fortune (well...up to 20 quid anyway) to get my hands on a DVD box set!

Friday, 9 May 2008

Novel #2

10% written!

How did that happen?

I'm really behind on my schedule to get it finished by the end of July but....well...I'm not that fussed. I'm still writing (when I can) and enjoying it and that's what's most important.

I put myself under a HUGE amount of pressure to get novel #1 written as quickly as possible last year (and edited as quickly as possible earlier this year) and the rest of my life really suffered as a result (particularly my social life!). By taking my time with novel #2 I actually get to have a life too AND write a short story a fortnight. Earlier this year writing felt like a bit of a chore and an additional stress in my life rather than something I was doing for the love of it so it's good to get some balance back - and actually enjoy it again!

Baby steps...

8,021 / 80,000 words written (10% of novel)

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Last Minute Lil

I'm delighted by how well my side project - A Story A Fortnight - is going. The deadline to get the first fortnight's story in was 8pm on Tuesday and 90% of the group submitted a story!

I even submitted a story.

Admittedly I didn't finish it until right at the last minute (I wrote the beginning on the train to my parent's place on Saturday) but no change there. I really should change my name to Last Minute Lil (it would make a nice change from Calistro ;o)).

Anyway, so far the group's working a dream. We're all scoring and commenting and it's a wonderful, energetic, supportive and useful place to be. The second set of prompts have been posted and I'm really looking forward to writing a story to someone else's prompts (writing a story to my own prompts was an interesting exercise!). I really, really hope we keep the enthusiasm and energy going. If I can write a story a fortnight (even if it's at the last minute!) that'll be 26 brand new stories in a year that I can sub and, hopefully, sell (some of them anyway).

I wrote a bit more of novel #2 on the train on Saturday too but haven't typed it up so can't update the word counter just yet.

So while the blog has been quite quiet of late I've been writing and that has to be a good thing right?

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Advertising Gobbledegook

I was in Boots the chemist this lunch time and I'd just got to the checkout with my sandwich and bag of crisps when, out of the corner of my eye, I spotted some kind of toothbrush promotion.

"Oooh," thought I. "I need a new toothbrush."

3 x Better Cleaning Action, said the blurb on the front of the toothbrush, VIBRATES. 3 Heads in 1

I looked at the price. £3 something. Bargain.

I grabbed it, paid for it and left.

Tonight I read the back of the packet to find out exactly how this vibrating business would help me clean my teeth.

Would it make them cleaner?


Get into all the nooks and crevices?

Ummm..... no.

According to the advertisin gobbledegook the gently vibrating bristles would help...

"support your usual cleaning movements"


How does vibration support my usual cleaning movements? When I clean my teeth I move my hand up and down and side to side. Is the vibrating toothbrush going to prop up my arm for me? Move my hand around a bit? Cheer as I brush?

I think I've been had.

Saturday, 3 May 2008

Semi-colon quiz

I must have missed the English lesson at school where they taught us about the correct use of a semi-colon because I really don't have a clue when to use them. As a result I never use them (yes I know, shocking, but I'm from the generation that didn't really get taught grammar at school. We were told 'creativity' was more important). Hmmm. Not sure what Lynne Truss would think of that philosophy!

Anyway, here's a quiz on semi-colon usage. I got the first few questions wrong but started to catch on by question 5 (I'm quick like that ;o))

How did you get on?

Thursday, 1 May 2008

That famous Mariah Carey song "Ken Lee"

This made me grin. It's Bulgaria's equivalent of American Idol.