Monday, 16 April 2012

When a man publishes a book, there are so many stupid things...

When a man publishes a book, there are so many stupid things said that he declares he'll never do it again. The praise is almost always worse than the criticism.

- Sherwood Anderson
I like this quote it reminds me somethimes of my feelings for Goa Traffic. Well I had a writing holiday - went to Amsterdam- it was interesting and Devon was so relaxing - there is something peaceful about being near the water. So I re-read Morality for Beautiful Girls by Alexander McCall Smith to give me some inspiration. It made me luagh the second time round and made me feel okay about "Under the Coconut Tree"- you see I started writing it but I was struggling because although tehre is a plot the book is more about the characters and local way of life - I am now aware in my writing that you shouldnt write things within your book that are not relevant to the plot- but I have realised with UTCT that this cannot be the case. The reader will want to know about the people, their manerisms etc... So I am glad Morality for Beautiful Girls was full of it as well. It has also encouraged me to write a story about the characters that happens in the back ground - which will progress through the series but contained within each novel.

I also read Simon Brett's Bones under the Beach Hut.... It was cosy detective fiction- but too cosy for me. It was like reading an episode of Rosemary and Thyme... Not sure if I like to read things like that.

That is all my news... I have two weeks to get The Bittersweet Vine drafted to a viewable state and going to do some of that tonight. I have even managed to get the beloved Word on my netbook so I am all set for some serious writing!

Something good is going to happen this year...I can feel it in my bones.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

If I were a medical man, I should prescribe...

If I were a medical man, I should prescribe a holiday to any patient who considered his work important.
-- Bertrand Russell

Okay just a quick blog to let you know about this great blog post from fellow Abingdon writer Gabby. Check out a new way to draft and re-draft :

Anyway that's it from me for a week I am taking a break from writing for one week only to enjoy Easter and eat all that chocolate I couldn't eat over lent... FYI I got measured at the gym yesterday and I have PUT ON weight! How annoying... My writing holiday is justified though - I have only 80 pages to edit from The Bittersweet Vine and I am 13,000 words into Under The Coconut Tree although I am struggling a little on that one- ohhh I can picture the editing now! 

And finally I shed a tear for the fact that Goa Traffic kindle sales are falling- rapidly.... come on America - buy a copy its only a couple of dollars!!! Need to think of new promo stuff to get the sales back up- but all i want to do is finish The Bittersweet Vine... anyway watch this space for new and more innovative ways to publicize!

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

We are all in the gutter...

We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at teh stars - Oscar Wilde

So I went to see Sophie Hannah and Simon Brett at the Oxford Literary Festival. The talk was very informative and though provoking and helpful to what I am trying to do both with The Bittersweet Vine and Chupplejeep. Of course I ended up buying a copy of each of their books (Bones under the beach hut – Simon Brett and Hurting Distance- Sophie Hannah and I also picked up The Quotable Oscar Wilde (as quoted above) so now I am £20.00 down- money I didn’t have to spend but anyways. At least I got some signed copies- Now I have three- maybe I should collect them! So out with Tess Gerritsen for my holiday read and in with Simon Brett. He was very witty and as I sat there watching them talk, discuss and debate I hoped that one day I too would be as witty as that! – FYI and this made my weekend – Sophie Hanna tweeted me back when I said I was going to read Hurting Distance- Yes it is the little things in life that put a smile on my face!!! Anyway my first famous tweet...

Anyway enough of me garbling on about stuff you are not interested in - On to a couple of points that I made a note off- yes despite being super organised – of late I am no longer the organised type and therefore I didn’t think about taking notes until I arrived there (late I might add- although they hadn’t started- I hate being late though) well it was in a marquee in Chrsit Church – but it was a marquee within I marquee- could I be blamed for not thinking it was that simple? No. Anyway the real reason for lateness and this is another annoying thing – I had a cold- a bad one at that and of course left home without enough tissue. Where did I stop to buy some – Accessorize!!! I mean who goes in there to buy tissues ? (for those of you that don’t know – it sells fashion accessories) – I ended up buying a little pack of about which contained about TWO tissues with pretty pink butterflies on- Who does that? I can only blame the cold that was clearly blocking my normal mental efficiency…

Okay, Okay get to the point: What did they discuss – everything that was entertaining to me- an hour flew past – Was Agatha Christie Dark? Yes came Sophie Hannah’s response – there was a lot of love in the room for Poirot and Miss Marple  (no longer do I need to hide the fact that I love Poirot – woo hoo) and for Midsommer murders- why/ because they are cosy detective fiction – and whats wrong with that- they sell and they entertain !!!! (I think its still not tiome to confess Jessica Fletcher inspired me to write though)

The real debate was between gore and psychological thrillers. I of course favour the latter and that’s why I love Sophie Hannah – She did say that she writes what she likes to read – exactly what I do – do all writers do this? Or are they writing things to sell? I think there are few and far between authors who write stuff they don’t wish to read- as if by accident – If you write something you are not interested in- or so Simon Brett says- you will be bored and a reader can immediately tell if the author is bored. A bored Writer = A bored reader- Fact. I agree with him. That is so important. You have to be interested – okay fair enough after the fifth edit it may bore you to tears but as long as your writing holds the passion you first wrote it with – there you have it something filled with you that you will be proud of. ( a little aside- Have you noticed that when you cook dinner and don’t put your heart into it- and it tastes pretty average- but if you cook it with love and passion – it generally tastes pretty good – same with writing –put your heart in it and you will get something good out of it.)

Simon Also mentioned that readers cant cope with something they cant see happening- even if it is plausible in real life – if the reader cant cope with it – it wont sell – apart from sci fi I suppose. Simon also made a funny but very true comment that amateur detectives don’t exist. He said  - If we walked out of this event and saw a dead body – we wouldn’t say oh no lets call the lady in no.74 who knits a lot but solves crimes! – no we would call the police- very true – but it works because its cosy – a bit of a Sunday night mystery that provides escapism before that back to school feeling sets in.

They also discussed which is worse- gory or psychological ---- I think psychological is way worse which I suppose is why I like that genre- its is not mindless (well gore isn’t really) but it makes you think…

The debate and discussion was well worth it – one thing Sophie Hannah did say is that when you write a book the story has to have an atmosphere that stays with the reader long after they have finished the book- that is what she says makes a good book. Something that will stay with you forever…. I hope I can create this with  The Bittersweet Vine. She also said that make sure the reader has a question to answer – their reason for reading the book- if you answer the question too early on you need to provide a new question for the reader to keep interested…. Interesting – maybe take your manuscript tonight and ask yourself what the questions are?

Can I just say a big Thank you to all those who bought Goa Traffic Last onth- 77 sales on Kindle!!!! Although mostly in England- please pretty please America – start buying book- clearly Blog hits do not generate sales- but go on make my April (see links on the right)

That’s it for today… one final thing – I am going to purchase Body Language for Dummies- How else will I describe my characters- as a good author is a keen observer of human behaviour … Must hone in my skills ( I know that after this blog you are thinking I should read my English Language for Dummies book again instead- but I’ll do that too – when I find the time Mwa ha ha ha ha)

Ohhh one final plug