Monday, November 12, 2007

Mini milestone 10k

Week 1 went badly. That was the week the builders I contracted with in April of this year decided to start work. Demolishing and rebuilding a bathroom is noisy work, and there are so many things they want you to look at!

Plus the weather has turned cold and I need warmer clothes. Having been completely unsuccessful in my attempts to persuade HK to do a sweatshirt I spent a morning at the shops on Thursday. Unsuccessfully. I may have to resort to sewing.

The builders didn't arrive on Friday but it did give me the opportunity to try and reclaim some rooms out of the chaos. Functional now, but not perfect. The upshot is that by the end of the week I had barely made 3,000 words.

Friday and Saturday nights we had concerts. Friday night had two really terrible compositions that I shut out of my ears by developing a plot point. A sex scene actually, but it is still an important plot point! Saturday night the conductor was deaf and everything was way too loud, so I did the same thing.

Sunday there was no Scrabble, and with all these sex scenes, er... plot points, fresh in my head I set to work early. I had planned to make pancakes for breakfast but by the time my stomach was growling enough to get me away from the computer it was nearly lunchtime so I scrambled some eggs with leeks.

I planned soup for mid afternoon but then Paul made tea so it was only when he began begging me for food at around 6.30 that I dragged myself away from the computer with 9,000 odd words under my belt. After supper I sat down resolutely and went to 10k.

This brings my daily word count target to about 2084 if I remember correctly. I'd like to get that back down to 1667. Which means I need another productive day today. If I can do it before I have to leave for kookavond. And I need a nap if I'm going to be up that late.

I'm nearly finished the core of the story, the sordid details of which impacted through the centuries. I wonder if I can fit a couple more sex scenes in?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Well, the T-shirt idea went down like a lead balloon. Perhaps I should spend more time planning my novelette and less time upsetting people on the forums.

There's a lot to do.

So far I have:
- information on Irish magic
- information on the history of Ireland dating back to the Tuatha de Danann
- information on 9th Century Ireland

None of these are detailed or comprehensive but should provide enough basis for creative license.

What I need is information on various points in history where there was great cultural conflict (something I seem to be good at right now). Looking at the list of dates and events my fellow novelists in the original project were going to use, I have:

- Medieval 1066-1067.
- 3rd crusade in the Holy Land 1190-1192
- St Bart's Massacre 1572
- American Colonial 1650
- Australian Colonial 1790-1800
- 1865
- Nazi Germany 1930-1940
- 2001

Except for St Bart's Massacre and Nazi Germany, there's not much that means anything to me. My previous requests to the novel group for some ideas on what they planned got hardly any responses :(

I guess that means today I must find a timeline of world history and pick out some important dates myself, probably around 200 years apart, and get some relevant information.

And then I can start outlining.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

HK did a really nice T-shirt two years ago, but ran into so many problems she's given them up. So this year she's doing Do Not Disturb signs for the door.

However, I had a look at the site of the guy printing it and guess what? He does T-shirts too. And sweatshirts (Yeah! I want a cuddly warm sweatshirt!) So I pinched her picture off her website, and despite being completely unable to draw, have designed a T-shirt/Sweatshirt around it.

So....will she take the bait?
NaNoWriMo rolls around again. I signed into the website yesterday, browsed the forums, and wondered what on earth I could write about.

Last year's story is unfinished, and I could take any single storyline and turn it into a short novel.

But what I really want to do is finish Redemption, the book I made so much progress with in 2004. But never finished. And of course, since then the plotholes have turned the whole thing into a mesh net.

But... or should I say BUT ... the plotholes would make an entire novel in themselves.

So that's what I'll do. I'll write the backstory. Then after November I can use that novel to fix and finish Redemption. Maybe even before Christmas.

Now that would a fruitful way to spend NaNoWriMo!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Valentine, the audio book!

Well, not quite. In the forums I saw a thread entitled Rich, Sexy voice in search of prose. That's kinda hard to ignore. It seems that The Far Smoother Podcast is podcasting NaNoWriMo, and has decided that book excerpts are the way to go .

Well, I'd only written 196 words and he wanted about 1667. No problem, I wrote some more and sent them to him.

The podcast appeared yesterday. You can listen to it here.

I think he's done a lovely job, and I doubt he even had a producer. Of course, when you have such a brilliantly sexy piece of prose to work with, how can you go wrong?


I do audiobooks all the time, so it was interesting to hear his performance of MY book. The voices are quite distinctive, I think. His diction is clear. And yes, he does have a very sexy voice. I must send aspirant sexy voices to take lessons from him.

It was quite inspiring to listen to, though, so I upped my word count to just over 10,000. Christina said the voice made her downright horny, so that's her happy. Paul sat chuckling through it and agreed the guy does have a rich, sexy voice and wanted to know how soon I could publish so he could hear the rest.

I guess the e-book format could work well as an audiobook, if you had a decent mp3 player that will let you hop from one sequence to another of your choice. I'll think about it.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Right, day six of NaNoWriMo and I've found the fun things to play with.
Oh, am I supposed to be writing?

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

NaNoWriMo 2006

It here! And I'm giving up on Redemption for the moment. I'm going to pick up on an idea I had a few years ago, and write an e-book. I have 1885 or so words that set the scene, but I still have the seven main plots to write. At even 10,000 words each, that's more than Nano wants, though each should be Novella length I think.

So here's the setting:

"Quite the little heartbreaker, I see" said Douglas. His eyes mirrored, shielding his emotions.
"What on earth are you on about?" answered Maria, blood rising to her cheeks in irritation. And then she saw her desk. In fact, everyone in the office was looking at her desk.
"So who's the lucky man?"
"Douglas, you are quite awful. You know there's no one. Is this some kind of a joke or what."
She picked up the single long-stemmed red rose and detached the card, aware of eight pairs of eyes following her every movement. As carelessly as she could manage, she removed the card from the envelope and opened it. She studied the card a moment, and then, with her hand on her chest, read aloud.
"Roses are red, Violets are blue, I can no longer be happy
Without you.
Be my Valentine and meet me in the Champagne Bar at Clearcy's tonight at 8. You bring the Rose; I'll bring the Violets."
"Oh I say" said Douglas, "Quite the romantic. I wish I'd thought of that. Do you think it's too late to try it now?"
"Who's the wise guy?" The giggles died down as Maria glared at the girls around her. Seven innocent faces stared back, wide-eyed in admiration.
"Came by messenger", said Sandy, a little breathlessly. Blonde, blue-eyed, undoubtedly the office beauty, she seemed a little awe-struck. Plain old Maria attracting so much attention!
Maria moved on to the large box of chocolates. Well, someone certainly knew her weakness. Belgian hazelnut truffles, no less. And a card. She looked at it briefly, then read aloud, her hand over her heart.
"My dearest, my sweetest Maria, I adore you. It would be the happiest day of my life if you could meet me tonight at Blues at 8. Just tell Dennis you've arrived and he will escort you to your rightful place by my side."
"Double dated and it's only nine in the morning! Really, Maria, you should learn to organise your time a little better." Douglas was trying, and failing miserably, to be sneering. Goodness, he seems quite upset, thought Maria.
"It also came by messenger, but a different one" volunteered Sandy, even more breathlessly. She looked quite starstruck. Surely she had valentines of her own?
Maria moved on to the small, lacquered box. In it was a small key, and a note in exquisite calligraphy. "You hold the key to my heart. Unlock it tonight. Room 201 at the Garden Court." She looked at the key. It was quite exquisite, its head a work of art in elegant, ornamental filigree with a very clear motif that reminded her of nothing so much as stained glass window.
"Flowers for Miss Sandy Sandeman".
The messenger's arrival hardly quenched the frisson of excitement bubbling through the younger girls. Sandy signed for her flowers, which dwarfed her computer screen, but paled next to the single mysterious red rose on Maria's desk.
Maria jolted down into her seat and buried her face in her hands. "Can someone be a love and bring me a cuppa. I have to think about this."
Here she was, 27, single, and not what anyone would call God's gift to men. Unless their idea of the perfect woman was short, somewhat plump, with long dark hair drawn back into an unattractive ponytail. And she'd given up on contact lenses the first day she tried them.
Yet here she was with three Valentine's Day cards, ostensibly from three different people, all suggesting a date at the same time at a different place. It had to be a joke.
"Here you go Maria". It was Sandy with a cup of tea. Sandy, still wide-eyed and breathless. "Oh Maria, you must tell us. Who are they? You must know."
"Maybe I do, maybe I don't." Maria tried out her Mona Lisa smile."But actually, I don't. You have here, my dear, a true romantic mystery. Thank you for the tea."
Maria switched on her computer and logged in.
"So what are you going to do?" Douglas stopped by at her desk just before lunch. "Decided yet? Which of the three will it be?"
"Oh I don't know. What if I go and there's nobody there? I'd feel such a fool."
"And what if you don't go and there is somebody there, waiting for the Maria who never arrives. There's a poor fool if ever there was one. And no matter which one you choose, there will be two other fools, waiting and waiting." Douglas almost choked on the words.
"You're not one of them, are you Douglas? Or even all three maybe?" My goodness, what a thought. What a surprise. Could Douglas really be sweet on her?
But now it was Douglas' turn for the Mona Lisa smile. "No. But it is something I wish I'd thought of. I'll tell you what, though. If you're curious, and you want to take up an option, I'll go with you. If there's someone waiting, good on him, good on you. If not, you can pretend you were my date all along and we can have a drink, or a meal, or if you take the hotel option, go on somewhere else."
Maria stared at him. "And what if there is someone? What will you do then? Don't you have date for tonight? What happened to Wendy?"
Douglas flicked at some imaginary fluff off her desk. "We're..uh...still friends...sort of. But we're not dating. So I am at a bit of a loose end, and willing to be the gallant knight. Anything to help my star employee...If there is someone waiting, I'll just go on and catch a movie. I'm keen to see the new Spielberg, and tonight would be as good a night as any. Think about it. We all need a bit of adventure in our lives, why not take it with both hands? I'll come by at closing time and see how you feel."
The light in his eyes startled Maria. Was he looking back into his own past for adventure? Or was he looking forward into her future? She stared as he turned and walked away, his back poised and erect, his hips swinging gently, jauntily, sexily. Goodness. She's never noticed how he walked before, from the hip, his shoulders not moving except for effect. There was clearly more to Douglas than met the eye. It occurred to Maria that she knew very little about him, other than that he was her boss, and that he was not, as she originally thought, gay. Wendy was proof enough of that. Or was she?
The owner of the sandwich shop where she usually bought her lunch gave her a single, heart-shaped hazelnut truffle. Was this a hint? No, the sandwich shop owner was giving everyone chocolates, not just her. Still, it may be a cover. Or a sign. She scrutinised him carefully, just in case. He didn't seem to have a Valentine gleam in his eye, and she was sure he was married anyway. Swarthy and dark, he wasn't her type. Did she even know what her type was?
The dress stopped her in her tracks. She was sure it hadn't been in the window when she came to work that morning. Deep crimson, not a colour she usually wore, but it would make an eye-catching change from her trademark black. She was tempted to put her hand right though the window glass to touch the softly crushed velvet, it looked so inviting. And only £15. Who would have donated such a .... Valentine was the only word to describe it .... dress to Oxfam?
She went inside and tried it on. "Wow", said the salesgirl. "I've never seen that colour have such an effect on anyone before. It's like magic. Here, let me help you." She undid Maria's ponytail and swept her hair into a loosely arranged chignon pinned up with a silk rose. "All you need now is some makeup and you'll sweep him away, you will."
Maria looked at herself in the mirror and had to agree. The low cut bodice gave her a sensuous cleavage where before there had just been a shapeless sausage. The fabric skimmed her curves seductively. "I look almost like Liz Taylor in her heyday" she thought. "I'll take it", was what she said, "and the silk rose clip." The silk rose. Another sign?
As the salesgirl happily packed the dress carefully in tissue, Maria noticed the label for the first time."Stop a moment", she said and looked at it more closely. It had the same motif and number on it as the filigree of the key in the little lacquered box.
"Good luck" winked the salesgirl as she handed Maria the bag. Did she know something Maria didn't?
She had trouble concentrating that afternoon. Perhaps it was the loose chignon and silk rose that still decorated her hair. She booked a business client to Johannesburg via Dubai instead of to Miami via Johannesburg. She booked a honeymoon couple to Barcelona on separate days on separate flights. She didn't notice. Luckily Douglas did.
"So you've been in quite a tizz about this all afternoon, I notice. I can see you've decided what to wear though. Let's have a look at the dress. Oh, c'mon, you can't expect anyone to have missed the bag. Sandy's been eyeing it so ardently she may have learned to touch type at last. Bring it out and show us all."
The girls crowded round as Maria reached into the bag and withdrew the mound of tissue paper that enfolded the dress. "Wait!" She had a sudden inspiration. "Let me model it."
In the bathroom she delved into her handbag and found some powder and lipstick. Not much, and she didn't wear it often, but in combination with the dress, well...
"Ready everyone? Here I come!" And she catwalked out in time to her own rendition of the Pink Panther theme. The audible gasps stopped her.
"I see why you got all those Valentines, Maria." Sandy's voice trembled as spoke. "I never knew you had such a glamorous and romantic secret side to you."
Maria just winked at her. It was great to make an impression, even if it was just on her office colleagues. "Well, I'm all dressed up and ready to go. May as well stay that way. All I have to do now, is decide which option to take. But first, I have a couple of small problems to sort out, so.." She winced as thought of the Johannesbug to Miami flight.. "I'll be your mystery lady until tomorrow, when all will be revealed."
She settled down and changed the bookings. She double-checked them before logging out. Then she sat in her chair for a long, long moment and looked at the single red rose, the box of hazelnut truffles and the little lacquered box with its ornate filigree key.
"So what's it going to be, Maria?" Douglas' voice was as gentle as a mellow red wine.
"The rose, alone?
"The rose, with me?
"The truffles, alone?
"The truffles, with me?
"The key, alone?
"The key, with me?
"Or have you decided to play it safe, and not take any of the options?"

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Sigh. Sometimes I wonder whether I'll ever finish this book. Or even it's worth finishing. It has so many plot holes it's becoming a black hole.

I did set myself the goal of finishing it by the end of September, but I wonder if I can achieve that.

So far all I've done is look at the plot holes.

I researched Irish history, and managed to plug a gap there. The original story has characters who can trace their lineage to the Tuatha de Danann, a race of magical people who were conquered when their magic failed. Good. I can use that.

I researched Irish magic. Do you know that it comes from the bardic tradition, and that spells were sung? It is interesting that I have used a sung prediction in my book, but now how am I going to fit it in.

Greer has to hate Marq and her sister. That was where the story started, after all, and they can't suddenly be all civilised and companionable.

Plus my treatment of the Veiled Village is soooo dubious and unbelievable. So I researched leper colonies. It makes sense that the HIV colonies of the future will be regarded with the same revulsion and fear as the people in the past regarded lepers. That veil they wear has to have a purpose other than marking them out as people to be avoided. Yes, avoided.

And that of course would give a much clearer reason to have an underground medical movement working with the HIV positives.

Also, the story has to go backwards. I can't just jump back to the start and work forwards. Possibly with Greer I can, but Marq needs a story that takes him back through all his troubled lovelives (is that a valid word in Scrabble, do you think?) to uncover the cause of the whole damned miserable saga.

And Tanis? She doesn't need much of a story, although the whole thing did start with her. so she does need some.

It's back to the beginning really. And I can't help thinking that I should enjoy writing it as much as I hope people will enjoy reading it, though at the moment everything is very tedious. A book to put down. Often.

Let's see if I can save it.