Thursday, 22 October 2009

Yes I know I should be working or writing but...

The Guardian Book Blog is just too distracting and it was from there that I pinched this:

42 Essential Third Act Twists

I especially like 'Reverse Robot Reveal' and 'Dark Lord Reasonable'

Wonder if I'd get away with either of them in my act three...

Monday, 19 October 2009

My first ever book review

Apologies for the blog gap, all the usual excuses, plus I have been busy reading this

If there's anyone left out there who isn't aware of this new novel by the very talented Cally Taylor, then listen ye - its fab!

I'm not too hot on book reviews, in fact I've never written one before. I have that problem with non-fiction generally (except my blog but then I'm JG not SD so it's OK). And indeed my contributions to my monthly book club meet-ups are usually along the lines of "Sorry I didn't get round to reading it", "Yeah, it was good, erm yeah, I especially liked the bit, you know..." and "These crisps are great!" But here goes:

I read a whole lot of stuff across all sorts of genres (except horror cos I'm a scaredy cat) but this is my first 'supernatural chick-lit' and - I loved it. What makes it so good? - (I mean apart from the fact that I just bloomin' well enjoyed reading it and was torn between wanting to get to the end and not wanting it to finish).

OK, totally real main character. Lucy is someone I know, I mean she must be cos I feel I know her so well, she's 100% believable and rounded which is not a bad feat considering that she's dead. The supporting cast are fabulous too, all with enough personality for you to want to get to known them better (even smelly Brian). The premise of a 'wannabe ghost' (in fact a whole house full of the) is brilliant and the plot unfolds in a way that keeps you wanting to stick by Lucy through everything that the afterlife throws at her. The pace is page-turning and the dialogue and observation, witty and clever. Erm, what else - oh yes - wonderful ending, and I don't just mean the last very satisfying couple of pages but all the twists and turns that build up to it.

Yes Cally is a blog friend (and I've even once met her in the flesh!) but that wouldn't be enough for me to praise her novel, or to buy multiple copies for family and friends this Christmas (including hopefully one in Spanish - it's been translated into at least seven languages already) - but that is what I am doing.

So go and hound your local bookseller for it. It's already waiting for you in Waterstones and Borders and it's hit the charts at WHSmith. It's also flying into baskets like hot buttered scones over at Amazon. Look I've even provided the link

Thursday, 8 October 2009

No News Good News?

Last week I finally got round to sending a polite email to the agent who has had the full ms of my novel for the last five months.

It took me so long 'cos, hey guess what, I couldn't find the right words. I didn't want to sound too pushy or desperate but I also wanted to make it clear that I really would like to know how my novel was doing. I got a prompt reply from her assistant saying that the agent was 'still reading it'. Hope that's not a euphemism for "Manuscript? What bloomin' manuscript? Oh you mean the one we've been using to prop up the wobbly desk."

As a student years ago I had the privilege of entering the den of the editor-in-chief of a major publishing house. He showed me his enormous slush pile (no, that's not a euphemism). It was a-teetering and a-tottering in the corner of his book-lined room. He told me that he was unlikely to find anything publishable in it and didn't look too happy at the prospect of having to wade through it. I hoped for his sake and for at least one wannabe writer that there might be a gem hidden in there.

I would love to know if my offering is in a corner of an office near the pinnacle of a wobbly tower still waiting to be read or whether it is already well-thumbed and lying on the agent's bedside table. Or whether at this very moment her assistant is putting it into a return envelope.

I must be patient.

Meanwhile have done lots of planning for novel 3 which I'm thoroughly enjoying. I said yes to a major work project yesterday which probably scuppers my chances of doing NaNoWriMo, but at least thinking about that has made me make a start. So current writing plan - Be Patient and Write novels 2 & 3 simultaneously (or at least on alternate days).

On the non-writing front - I have started going to a weekly sewing class and in typical fashion have decided that I don't want to spend weeks and weeks making bags and cushion covers (as generally recommended for beginners ) but have embarked on this:

Have so far reached the point where I have all my pieces cut out (from lovely shimmery but unslippery wine red satiny fabric) and tomorrow will begin the 'pinning it together' and maybe even some actual sewing! Hope to have it finished by Christmas (tho' there's a possibility that I may end up going 'oh bugger it' and turning it into a bag and a couple of cushions after all)