Monday, 29 March 2010

Things: and things.

Things I resented for getting in the way of my writing time last week:

Evening classes It seemed like such a good idea when I signed up for it. "I will learn such a great deal", I told myself, nobly. "The awkward interactions between a group of strangers will be good source material." Well, readers, it wasn't. All it was was the cause of great resentment that I wasn't at home, starting work on a new project. Curse you, thirst for learning: you took two hours away from my writing time this week.

Cleaning the kitchen What's the point? You only have to do it again three days later anyway. You develop good immunity if you never wipe the worktops. Seriously, I read it somewhere on the internet once. Look it up.

Socialising Damn you, friends, for inviting me to things I want to go to. Damn you, and damn you again. That was some fine karaoke, wasn't it?

Crap Tasks Within the realm of Crap Tasks, I encompass such activities including but not limited to: grocery shopping, going to the post office, listing second hand cars on eBay, filling forms in, looking for keys, and the myriad of other little tasks that add up together to waste literally hours of your precious life-span that otherwise could be used for something useful, for example getting started on your next novel.

Currently reading:

Sag Harbor Colson Whitehead (Five bloody stars, readers, five bloody stars)
Dawn Of The Dumb Charlie Brooker
Flying Solo Roald Dahl

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Writer's inspiration playlists!

You know how sometimes your character just won't come alive? When they're hiding cheekily behind gauze-coloured mist, throwin' shapes that somehow look indistinct? You can't make those two central protagonists fall in love like you need them to; you can't convincingly render up the heartbreak, the regret, the emotional reaction to major life events like having a baby, moving house, or getting married? WORRY NO LONGER, for I have created not one, but THREE, inspirational writers playlists on Spotify! (Oh, I am so good to you. I gave up about 4 hours of my writing time in cause of this pursuit).

Just click the links and before you know it you'll be churning out a veritable Mills n' Boon flavoured love-fest / heartbreak odyssey / historic epic. You will need Spotify to run these playlists, which is easily and freely downloaded here

Writer's inspiration: Love

Writer's inspiration: Regret

Writer's inspiration: Life

Interestingly (or not, depending on your perspective), the "love" and "regret" playlists took a lot of evening up. The whole time I was making these, the Regret playlist was almost twice as long as the Love one.... make of that what you will.

Enjoy, there's plenty more where they came from!

Monday, 8 March 2010


Reading Col Bury's post on writing time got me thinking about the extraordinary coalition of good circumstance one needs to write a novel. Seeing as nobody is ever going to come up to you randomly in the supermarket and go, "Hey, here's ten grand, why don't you take a year off to go and get that novel written", CURSE IT, you've gotta do the best you can in the circumstances you've got.

I've been writing my second novel since summer last year, and am now into my favourite part of the process, the rewriting and editing. Do not ask me why I like this part so much. I can only tell you that it somehow appeals to my inner pernickety.

Over the course of the past year, I've realised that being a hobbyist as regards writing is a hiding to nothing. You've got to be serious about it, and you've got to have an understanding and supportive partner (oh, such an understanding and supportive partner). So, with the knowledge gained from my extensive work on the Big Project over the last 9 months or so, here are my findings so far about what you need to write a book.

Time. It's going to weigh heavy on your hours, this writing a novel business. Bank on 1000 hours at least. WHERE ARE YOU GOING TO GET THEM? Maybe they could come out of your social life, or the time your employer is underpaying you to sell your soul to him, or the hours you'd normally spend sleeping. I can't decide this shit for you.

Discipline. To get in front of the laptop when you'd rather be watching Come Dine With Me.

Complete lack of interest in maintaining a social life. People will forget what you look like. People will begin to suspect that you hate them. Get used to it: you're a writer now.

Extremely nice, but long-suffering, boyfriend / girlfriend / wife / husband / partner. Get this: my LSB built me a desk (built me a desk) in the alcove of our living room, so that I'd have somewhere to work, and I spurned it in favour of sitting on the bed upstairs. I've now even spurned that in favour of the newly-spare room. My LSB is not allowed to listen to music, or talk to me, or approach me, while I am busy ignoring him in favour of a bunch of imaginary people. Readers, I do not know why he puts up with it. I can only say that I think he deserves to be canonised. Thanks, boyfriend.

A wordprocessor. Fairly self-explanatory, this.

Notebooks Regular readers of my blog will know that I am (a) a compulsive notebook hoarder and (b) that I'm not in favour of overly-prescriptive writing advice. But my opinion on (b), I think, is changing a bit. I'm coming to the opinion that authors skip researching, character work, and outlining, at their peril. If you don't have a good outline, or strong character sketches at the start of your book, you'll end up with a load of unreadable tosh that no amount of editing is going to put right. Just sayin'.

A kettle. Yeah, even if you don't drink tea or coffee.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

BNP in "being vile fuckwits" shocker.

Here's a heartwarming story for you: the BNP hate women as well as jews, blacks, asians, and all other ethnic minorities! (Way to go, BNP! Where do I sign up??)

In a fabulous new instalment in their "making yourself look like a tit without anybody else needing to make an effort" saga, (other episodes include Nick Griffin saying "there's no such thing as a black welshman", and senior party officials being convicted of race hate crimes), senior party official Nick Eriksen has made moves to alienate women voters with his view on rape. Yes, I know what you're thinking, but the BNP really do have female supporters. There was an ITV2 documentary on them once, called BNP Wives. It was like a less glamorous version of Footballer's Wives, but set in Bolton, and with added doses of Holocaust denial.

Eriksen was outed by a journalist at the Evening Standard, who discovered that Eriksen had been spouting vile views on a far right-wing blog, under a pseudonym. Far be it from me to suggest that BNP officials have to hide their views from the public eye in a pointless bid to try and fool the British public into thinking they're not a bunch of massive racists, but a cynic might think that.

Eriksen's views on female liberation, which include the frankly superb "the vast majority of domestic [assaults] are initiated by the woman" and the opinion that women who want to go out to work have got something wrong with them.... you know, in the head... extend also to the idea that rape isn't all that much of a serious offence - comparable, say, to getting your handbag stolen:

"I've never understood why so many men have allowed themselves to be brainwashed by the feminazi myth machine into believing that rape is such a serious crime ... Rape is simply sex. Women enjoy sex, so rape cannot be such a terrible physical ordeal."

Eriksen also seems to believe that if a woman is raped by somebody she knows, then that doesn't count as rape either.

If this isn't a good reason for everybody to register to vote to keep the BNP scum out, I don't know what is.

Thanks to Mason Henry Summers for bringing this to my attention.