Saturday, January 21

The Beginning of the Hard Work

Here lies my opus. 258 pages of words all written by me! It's still very strange. I flick through it and read random phrases -- ("He backed up against the wall..." // "...could recite them in his sleep..." // "She loved that he was asking..." // "...smudgy with dirt, dust, and cobwebs..." // "...the more he saw himself through her eyes..") -- and I can't remember writing some of them, or am not sure what scene it's in, or what's going on. I see one page filled with words and think, "How the hell did I write 258 of these?!"

Still, it's all good. But now is where the hard work starts. First I need to read the whole thing in one go, preferably in one sitting, to see if the story, characters, and scenes flow naturally. I will have to try my hardest not to make any changes on that read... After that I'll go into editing mode (Nell, you'll be my life-raft, you know you will!) and start shaping it into its final form.


Wednesday, January 18

The Big News

Yes, it's true, it's not a joke...

I have finished my book!

I really didn't know how this would feel.

I didn't know that as I saved the chapter and worked out my final word count (slightly under, but hey, I'll be editing soon anyway) I would laugh, and feel a bit like crying because I felt so happy.

I didn't know that, as I climbed the stairs to the bathroom after being surgically attached to my laptop for the last three hours solid while drinking cups of green tea, I suddenly wouldn't care if I sold my book at all.

That second one is the weird one. Of course I care if I sell my book -- I really want to, and who wouldn't? But I just had this weird feeling come over me that, even if I didn't sell the book, it wouldn't matter. What matters is that all my life, and more particularly over the last five years, I have wanted to write a book.

And now I've done it.

Even if it doesn't sell, even if I never do anything else or write anything else, even if I -- God forbid -- get knocked down by a bus tomorrow, I wrote and finished a book after always saying I wanted to do it. I know that I've written on here that one of my life goals is to write a book and have it published/see it on the shelf in a bookstore etc., but even just the writing and finishing seems like the fulfilment of a goal in itself.


I don't know quite how I'm going to celebrate yet. I'll let you know. In the meantime, thank you to anybody who has read this blog, left me comments, followed my progress, given me help, advice, inspiration -- anything. I hope the journey to the finish line wasn't too painful.

Monday, January 16

Seven Things...

I've been tagged by Nell again -- this time for a "Sevens" list, so here it is:

Seven things to do before I die:
1. Get a book published.
2. Go to New York.
3. Lay to rest my regrets in life.
4. Have children.
5. Save enough money for retirement (pensions crisis = pretty scary).
6. Learn to play the drums (but I just know I'll never do this!).
7. Live somewhere in America for a while.

Seven things that attracted me to my other half:
1. His eyes.
2. The way he looked rat-pack funky in a black shirt and tie.
3. His light-hearted approach to life.
4. His kindness and generosity not just to me, but to my family as well.
5. The fact that my dog loved him on sight.
6. His 'guy' smell.
7. That something about him that makes me feel relaxed and calm, which I still can't explain.

Seven books I love most:
1. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
2. Truth or Consequences by Diana Duncan
3. The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge
4. Big Stone Gap by Adriana Trigiani
5. Blood Work by Michael Connelly
6. The Probable Future by Alice Hoffman
7. Romeo & Juliet by William Shakespeare (I know, it's really a play...)

Seven films I love most:
1. One Fine Day
2. Hope Floats
3. Mallrats
4. Romancing the Stone
5. Stand By Me
6. Baz Luhrmann's Romeo+Juliet
7. The Goonies

Seven things I can't do:
1. Stop day-dreaming.
2. Eat at a fancy restaurant.
3. Dance in front of others without first having drunk alcohol.
4. Cook a steak to perfection.
5. Drink beer.
6. Let go of both handlebars when riding a bike.
7. The Atkins Diet. (No pasta, rice, or noodles? No chance.)

Seven words or phrases I say most often:
1. What shall we have for dinner?
2. Popple! (Usually in tone of shock, after the dog has burped.)
3. I need a new book.
4. Thank you.
5. Hi Buttmunch.
6. Simon! (Usually in tone of impatience, after I have discovered upright toilet seat.)
7. Good morning/afternoon "insert company name" .

So there we have it! These things are meant to be passed on, so I will tag anyone who reads this entry to do Sevens in a comment box.

Just finished reading: Something Blue by Emily Giffin

Friday, January 13

Maths Can be Fun

Here are some equations I came to work out after having watched the finale of Lost:

  • Sawyer + tight black shirt + looking windswept on raft = Yum.
  • Sawyer – tight black shirt + sudden dip in the ocean = Even more yum.
  • Sawyer + night-time + looking mean, moody and threatening towards strange pirate-type people = Infinitely more yum.

HOWEVER! An anomaly surfaces...

  • Sawyer + tight black shirt + ponytail + hybrid reading glasses = Strangely, yummiest of all!

See how maths can be fun?

Anyway, I have a pretty free weekend ahead of me, so I am v. excited at the prospect of getting my final chapter done and typing "The End". Also, big congrats to Nell, whose book The Cinderella Substitute is now a contender for the RNA's New Writers' Award and whose publishing date has been brought forward from July to March. Yay Nell!

Favourite New Song of the Week = Hide and Seek by Imogen Heap

Wednesday, January 11

Just... One... More...

I've finished chapter fifteen.

Only one to go -- yee-hah!

This does feel weird. This really *is* almost it. Just one more chapter and then I have finished a book.

I think the double-bill finale of Lost which is on tonight is a nice reward...

Lunch Break

Phew. Well, not doing too bad. I am just over halfway through chapter fifteen, and a *big round of applause* for my characters, please, because they have finally had their love scene!

Time is really flying. I swear I looked at the clock on my computer only half an hour ago and it was 11.40. Now it's 2.40.

Welcome to Writing Wednesdays

So here we are. Today I feel like I can call myself a writer and not cringe as much, because I now no longer work Wednesdays at the office, so I can spend time writing at home. God bless my lovely employers!

My plan for today consists of:
  1. Not doing random "But-I'm-Researching" surfing after I've posted this blog entry.
  2. Writing chapter fifteen -- the penultimate chapter (and thus getting that damn word counter on the right to change: it's been stuck way too long!).
  3. Critiquing Nell's chapter six of Be My Hero.
  4. Phoning back the Inland Revenue to sort out my self-employment registration (most scary part of my day, I feel).
  5. Setting up my new printer and testing it out on printing the guidelines for the Moonlit Romance competition, for which I'm going to re-work an old story.

Possibly more, who knows? Today feels promising, so if the muse and the coffee (I gave the bloke a Senseo pod machine for Christmas, and it has actually made me like coffee myself) kick in, perhaps I might even get to the final chapter.

Man, that's scary!

Just finished reading: Safe Passage by Loreth Anne White

Thursday, January 5

Baby, I'm Back

Christmas and New Year are now over and done with for another twelve months -- or ten, if you believe that Christmas starts when the shops designate it. I had a lovely chunk of time off, with lots of great presents (bloke gave me a laser printer!), a bunch of good books, plates of yummy food, and good times with friends. We had a New Year's Eve party which I really enjoyed, and after which we had our first overnight guests. We must have done well as host and hostess because they ended up staying an extra night!

So now it's back to the grindstone. I know I originally planned to have my book finished by Christmas, but it just didn't happen. However, with only two chapters still remaining, my new goal is to have the finished product revised and ready for submission to Silhouette in time for Valentine's Day. I thought that would be a nice marker. And as of next week I will no longer be working Wednesdays, so I will have more time to spend on finishing up and editing.

Today I have also sent off my application form and cheque to join the Romantic Novelists' Association, of which Nell is already a member. I know that she has found her membership to be very valuable and I have heard lots about the annual conference. I thought about joining the RNA in January last year, but I didn't feel like I quite "qualified" in a funny way. It's as if I didn't feel like I was quite ready, but now I feel much more serious about it.

So that's my update. And here's the list of books I consumed over the holidays:

Husbands by Adele Parks
For Her Protection by Lauren Giordano
Out of Sight by Elmore Leonard
Manhunt by Carla Cassidy
Life Swap by Jane Green