Well I’d be fibbing if I was to say it was all going swimmingly. And, in a sense this is more prevarication. So I’ll keep it short.
This week two things have been troubling me:
Firstly, the story I’m working on is set in a semi-fictional part of South Africa, which I know fairly well, and it’s sort of present day, but there’s something which doesn’t feel right. I’m not yet sure what it is.
Secondly, I’m having trouble with a couple of characters. I can’t quite work them out. I’m still waiting for them to speak to me. I’m sure they will. I need more conversations!
I just checked back tothis time last year. I was doing better word-count wise, but I can see there were doubts in my mind.
Oh and my laptop is on a go-slow. Must be the heat: mid afternoon, 34C in the shade.
Okay, I’m telling myself it’s going to be fine, fine, fine. Just go with the flow and enjoy it! It’s not that anyone but me is piling on the pressure.
Going back to the writing ‘happy place’ for a couple of hours…
Onward and upward, fellow Nano writers!
(as I said this time last year).
Okay, I can’t stop long: brain to squeeze, imagination to let fly, words to get down…
I was feeling confident to begin with; I had a bit of a head start: the main characters were waiting for me and I already had parts of their stories. Some of you might remember, young Sam and his little boat, Johannes the retired engineer, feisty Albertina, the two little aunties and shopkeeper Abdul.
So I spent a day or two reviewing and re-writing. Big mistake! I wasn’t getting the flow. No-one speaking to me, so no-one was guiding the story ahead. (You have to remember, I sit back and let my characters do the work).
Temporary crisis of confidence. Why am I doing this? There’s nothing there! NO story to tell!
But then I ran out of old stuff and started out again. Now we are moving forward. Scenes are emerging before my eyes, there is an overarching theme, there’s going to be a road trip, and I can see a little vervet monkey sitting on a book shelf. The monkey tells me he’s called Felix, but I’m not sure where he fits in yet. But he will.
Oh, and there will be mystery… and magic… and a stick fight…
Heads back down, fellow NaNoWriters! I hope it’s going well.
I’m going to write, write and write some more under the ‘NaNo’ umbrella, but just for me, just as I did last year. That was pretty successful. I have the recently released ‘Following the Green Rabbit‘ to show for it!
I don’t do unachievable targets. I don’t set myself up to fail.
I’ll consider around 30,000 words a major success. I won’t have finished a new book, but I’ll be well on the way. And that suits me.
I’ll be touching base out there in ‘twitter-land’ and I’ll post a little weekly update to brag (or shame myself).
Today I’ve been busy proof-reading my new novel. In all modesty, I have to tell you it’s a really good story, and because I haven’t looked at it since sending it through the publishing process, I almost have to remind myself that I wrote it! But, of course, I must remember that as usual several of the characters had a hand in the plot too (animals included).
Although I wrote it as a story aimed at younger readers, the more I think about it, the more I’m certain it will have much wider appeal – 9 years to 99 years! That’s also the impression I got from those of you who were reading along under it’s former working title ‘A Nick in Time’. Thanks once again for all your encouragement.
Also today, for a little change from the Rabbit, I’ve been casting a critical eye over friend and fellow author, Paul English’s latest novel-in-the-making, the next in his wonderful ‘Fire Angel Universe‘ series. This is a real treat, because it’s all fresh and new. We have an excellent reciprocal arrangement of reading and commenting on each other’s work, which naturally also involves coffee and cake!
‘Following The Green Rabbit’ is due to be released next month, and I’m sure Paul’s new novel ‘Fire Angel: Igniting the Spark’ will not be far behind.
Last Saturday saw the launch of the #WritingMyCity book, the exciting collection of
Cape Town writing, put together by Cape Town Library Service and Open Book.
The selected authors signed a copy for the organisers, Christelle Lubbe and
Frankie Murray. Then we opened our copies and started reading each others stories.
There are some fascinating stories, poems and memoirs in the collection.
Here’s the piece I wrote (page 96):
I’d been late leaving school that afternoon. I’d stayed behind because nice Miss Leibrandt had been helping me with my poem.
On the way home I’d been kicking a can along the dirt pathway between the shacks when I heard shouting over on the main road. Then there was the explosion. Flames shot up into the air, all red and angry-looking. Black smoke billowed upwards.
My house was the other way, but I had to see. I peered out from the end of the lane. People were jumping up and down in the street, arms waving angrily. They were chanting.
Flames licked out of the little corner shop. My friend’s shop. Mr Kabongo whose skin was as black as night, who came from another country further up the map of Africa. Mr Kabongo who told me stories about the animals of the forest where he grew up and the people who lived there before the war in his country. Mr Kabongo who gave me sweets when I went to fetch a half-loaf for my mother.
And now his shop was destroyed. I wondered if he was safe. Had he run, as he’d run before?
Cynthia smiles at me. “It’s so nice to see our author doing well.” She sips her drink and leans over to stroke Asmar, her beautiful Abyssinian cat, who is lounging by her feet. “And even darling Asmar gets a mention.” Asmar pricks up his ears at the sound of his name. “Well, he was rather a hero, wasn’t he?” Cynthia continues. Asmar rolls over and looks up at me, the suspicion of a smug smile behind his long whiskers.
I stretch out my hand towards him, nodding in agreement.
Next I hear a familiar screech and Fingers bounds up to me from the side gate where Bob and Gary have just appeared. The little monkey launches himself at me, chattering excitedly. Bob hurries to retrieve him. “Sorry about that luv, but he’s dead excited about being in a book review.”
Connor refills he glass from the jug of Pimms which is sitting on the little wrought-iron table. He sits back down and leans towards me. “I understand you’re running a wee promotion on that first book of yours?”
“Marketing eh? Sound.” Gary gives me a ‘thumbs up’ sign. His face lights up as Gina appears at the French doors. “We got any beers upstairs, luv?”
Gina rolls her eyes and sits down next to him, ignoring his request.
“I’ll go,” says Bob, lowering Fingers into Gina’s lap.
“And bring some crisps,” Gary adds. Fingers chirrups in agreement.
“The Silver Locket, it’s a lovely romantic book with a touch of mystery and magic,” says Cynthia.
“Oh yes, it’s dead good,” chimes in Gina. “Just the kind of book to read sitting in the garden on a sunny afternoon. Like that nice Ms Scott said.” She sighs. “They even go to Paris! Wouldn’t that be wonderful, Gary?”
Gary pulls a face, he’s not one for ‘abroad’. “How do you two know what’s in the book anyway?” He glances at me, frowning. “She wrote it a while before ours.”
“Ah,” Cynthia reaches for her glass. “Gina and I, and Lucy too, were in a short story Ms Hall wrote, even before that.”
“That’s right,” Gina continues. “We had to wait ages for her to write our book.” She looks at me and smiles, fiddling with her engagement ring. “You could take us to Paris…”
Connor clears his throat. “Interesting idea, this downloading, Ms Hall. Not really sure I understand. I suppose it’s something from the future which we haven’t been written into yet.”
Was that another hint?
Mystery, romance, ghosts and dreams: perfect reading for a lazy sunny afternoon!
Get your ebook freebie of The Silver Locket, written under my pen name Holly Atkins by clicking on the links below.
If you were wondering how to jump aboard the ‘author’s helping authors’ band wagon, this makes it so easy!
You can see from the side panel that I regularly read and review books on Goodreads. I also post the review to Amazon for the books I’ve downloaded and read by indie authors. I know how important it is.
So, all of you ‘indies’ out there, time to help each other out. Share the message and post your book links!
And to all you gallant readers: let’s have your reviews! Pretty please?