Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Writing Interrupted By Earthquake!

Well that was a bit of excitement, wasn't it? Are there any other writers out there who write at night and felt it?

It was a bit like being in the Exorcist, as my bed shook, and if the house hadn't been having a noisy shimmy at the same time, I would have suspected Old Nick himself.

Although somewhat unsettling at first, I found it quite exciting, as I have always said I wanted to be in an earthquake. My passion for Geology began when I was studying the Earth Sciences section of my Science Foundation course with the Open University, so much so, that I went on to take a degree in Geology at the University of Bristol. Sadly due to personal problems I couldn't finish the course, but still have a passion for it.

The Earth is such a fascinating thing, and when you think that nearly every thing you see, or have, has been through the rock cycle. Even Flora and Fauna rely on the minerals in the soil for life. It is so powerful, that man will never be able to control it. It makes me laugh when I see such things as helicopters dumping water on a lava flow.

When you consider that the quake we had in the early hours of this morning, was more powerful than the atomic bomb in Hiroshima, and was quite small in the scheme of things, it certainly makes you, well me anyway, full of respect for such power. We may well obliterate the life on this magnificent planet, but we will never tame it.

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Writers Beware

I am so glad that I have regularly backed up all my precious files, including sending copies of my work to myself and my husband in emails, as my hard drive is on the blink.

I have already had to replace my husband's hard drive after it expired, and although this was before we went to Canada, I can still remember how it started to behave before it finally popped its clogs. Even though I still have 40% of space and have used the defragmenter, it keeps jamming and running slow. The screen didn't work this morning and panic set in, but I managed to sort it out – for now – and have bought a new one from the Bay.

Although most of us now couldn't be without our computers, and the time they save, there is something to be said for the good old typewriter. So back up everything, no matter what, you never know when disaster may strike. Whether it be a deceased hard drive, a stolen laptop, a flood or a fire, you just never know when lightening will strike.

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

The X Factor?

It occurred to me today, that sending your precious work to a publisher is akin to being in front of the panel on the X factor. They have so many people to sift through, many of whom can't sing for toffee; indeed many are too embarrassing to watch they are so bad.
The sad thing is most of them think they really are good!

It must be the same with writing, as we all think our stories are wonderful pieces of prose or poetry, or we wouldn't submit them to an agent or publisher. The awful truth is that most unpublished writers have only their family and friends opinion about their work. They are bound to be kind and supportive about any work presented by a very proud writer, even if it's really bad. Which is just the same as angry relatives yelling at Simon Cowell et al, because they won't put through their totally tone deaf, screeching little darling.

So the work gets sent to a publisher or agent who sends it back, wishing them well elsewhere, and the writer thinks, Never mind, all the best authors have loads of rejection letters, and gaily sets about getting another presentation together to send to the next on the list. How long will it take to realise, if ever, that they don't have a scrap of talent, or if they do they need to take a course.

Contrary to popular belief, it is not a soft option to attempt to make a living from the craft that you love, it is damned hard work. So please, if you are one of those people who think you have a book in you, (one isn't enough though, unless you're famous for something like kicking a ball about or getting your kit off in Big Brother), but haven't got the foggiest idea how to write it, either get some help, or in the words of my idol Stephen King, do yourself a favour and – forgeddaboudit!!

It might be a good idea if agents and publishers had more than the one standard rejection letter on their comps to print off. The, 'it's not for us etc.', letter, and a special one for total illiterates telling them to seek help or forget it, and take up something nice like knitting. Still, maybe I'd get one of those, who knows?!!

Monday, 4 February 2008

Homeless Guy in the Bronx

Click on the pic to enlarge it. It is a pic I took when things were moving slow on the freeway through the Bronx. It was on one of our many trips from the Island to Willmington Docks, New Jersey. The Flying J at Carney's Point was one of our favourite stops.
His placard reads, Homeless with aids pleas hlep. So I'm not the only one who can't spell!
He has a little cat poking out of his coat too. Wonder what this poor guy's story is
Well I better stop messing about with my blog and get on with some real work. I think I've found a template that I like now, and it reminds me of New England.

The secret work of the brain.

Something wonderful happened in bed on Saturday Night. No I'm not lowering the tone of my blog... how could you think that! I'm surprised at you. Wot appened woz, I had an idea about the start of my novel about Lottie. The beginning had been nagging me, even though I had changed it following advice from other writers, I didn't think it had that 'hook' of a promise of exciting things to come.

I was laying there at three in the morning listening to the dulcit sounds of my husband snoring, and wondering if I would get to sleep before the sun came up, when out of the blue an opening scene popped into my head. I made notes quickly before I forgot, pushed my hubby over to lay on his side, and finally managed to get to sleep.

The next day I was able to write the new opening and am now satisfied with it, and hope this will be the missing something that was needed to keep Lottie from ending up in the reject pile.

'Why are you telling me all this drivel,' I hear you ask?

I think that our brains, on a consious level don't like to be pressured into finding an answer to a problem. The more one thinks about about the problem, e.g. an all important idea for a scene, the more you think about it, the worse it gets and you end up totally confused, and think you will never make it in the literary world. When you leave it alone and think, sod it, I'll get on with something else, then a part of your subconcious carries on in seclusion without your nagging and when you least expect it...'Hey bone head, I worked it out for you, better get it down before you forget. Quit with the pressure in future, it gives me a headache.'

In other words. don't tie yourself up in knots over your work, if you can't work something out without too much angst and time wasting, leave it alone and work on something else, it'll come to you when you least expect it.

The other reason is to let all you victims of snoring partners know you are not alone!!!