Thursday, 29 April 2010

No new writing since the end of last week...

because of my work commitments and also still reading/critiq.g the synopses/1000 word piece or first 3 chapters of two other writers from VG's Novelisis Club(being workshoped ALONGSIDE MY OWN WORK ON SATURDAY!)...have to select a 4 minute reading for our City Cert. end of term reading to publishers agents - not sure what yet...I thought I'd try out perhaps the prolgue for the openning Chapter and the inciting incident in chapter one...maybe something from Almir and Roland stuff too could work.

The critiq.g of other writers work continues to enlighten and encourage me but takes concentrated effort..yesterday I read a synopsis and 1000 word piece on the tube and sat in First Out Cafe for an hour and a half to do the comments/feedback. I hadnt been into First out for x years(lets just say a long time!) and its not changed one bit. It still the same atmosphere of vague gay political rebeliousness reminiscent of the 80's when it opened and the scene was still largely based in Earls Court. The latter has now completely dissappeared.I only uncovered this 18 months ago on a visit to Gay London Writers group which used to meet over there and I had to pass by all the old venues - it was at that group I heard about the City Cert. course...a recent graduate of it attended the groupIt too now has folded 9though am not surprised) ; the couple of meetings I went too I must say were almost short stories in themselves...right, need to shave, shower and het reay for the day!


Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Late night post

well, late for me...City Cert course tonight and two tutorials booked..agreed to swap new chapters with Jenifer - fellow writer - on the get more feedback. On way home popped into Vue Cinema to pick up tickets for H and me for Sat to see The Disappearance of Alice..something or other, new brit thiller which has v good reviews. In the queue waiting the girl infront of me - on her own - turne dand asked me if I too was on my own and ...would I like to join her -"orange wednesday , 2 for 1"...nice London moment that...I was flattered but maybe shouldnt have been,,,anyhow what a bloody nice end to the day!I politely declined as she was offering Cement Killer or something similar - not my cup of tea and I wanted to get home anywway(and sleep tonight). If by some major miracle you are that girl reading my blog - THANKYOU - you made my evenning!x(and please - do leave a comment).

Got encouraging feedback from VG (The Novelist's Club) on the revised opening chapter of my novel and also the new piece I sent for on Roland character...

Last yoga session tomorrow with HG before she goes back to the states!(sob, sob...) H and I took her for brunch today. I shall miss standing on one leg in my front room bay window for 7 minutes dressed only in my red underpants - with HM giggling on the sidelines, giving me correctional instruction on my yogic posture ! It feels most mornings I do this particular pose that its somekind of dare - though you'd be amazed at how few passers by on their way into work look and stare - if it where me -but then I'm the sort of person who ALWAYS looks into other peoples windows.
Maybe thats why I a write.


Tuesday, 27 April 2010

bleary eyed..

...taking me time to get going this morning went to tango class last night then woke up early. Yesterday spent a couple of hours critiqing Janes work - shes a fellow participant of Vicky Gruts Novelists club - still more to read today - its good, very good and helpful to me to se someone elses work like his - Ive recently critiqued Nicki's(the childrens writer who lives round the corner)work on her forthcomming gay teen nvel in progress and shes given feedback on my work - its all helpful and part of the very long process.


Back in sunny spring like London

Got my assessment pieces back from City Uni course - revised first chapter and the portfolio of four short ilustrative pieces - all good feedback, so encouraging.Tinnitus still a constant companion - a pain! There you go - innit!

Workshoping last night (not me) interesting to see where people on the Certificate course are at with their writing - is a really good course for bench marking ones own writing and learning from the mistakes and good example of others and being exposed to a variety of styles and genres.

Just had a good yoga session with Heather - our NYC teacher who is leaving us after almost 2 years on Friday! oh dear...

Off to LBC now, after a shower because I smell, to the new mens morning to see if its something I want to incorporate into my atempt at dharma living(yes - I admit it Bren Gosling is approximating a buddhist...)..oh and Mike, thanks for your encouraging coments last evenning re my keeping up this blog - sometimes I do wonder who reads my ramblings, if any at all.


Saturday, 24 April 2010

Editing and sketching and cringing too

... Went over the stuff I wrote yesterday where Roland meets Almir a second time(eventually) and edited it. Pleased with it. Sketched out a new chapter on Julie...I'm having her do something interesting as part of her stratergy to get a man! Re read my revised first chapter - it s full of typos and looks a bit cut and pastey(which is infact - what it is) shock horror - I hope I get it through City assessment - I really think what Ive done the past few weeks is much better material. I will leave it for now however and plough on until ready for a rewrite once the complete first draft of my novel is done.

Back to London tomorow so no more lovely Italian ice cream for now.


Friday, 23 April 2010

Thats Good then!

Finished off first draft of my second chapter on Roland - celebrated by having amasage at the local spa!iTS BEEN RAINING ALL DAY HERE IN Bagni D' Lucca.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

3 pages!

..about 500words but am pleased with it as it goes...I need about another 250-350 to finish off this scene..hopefully will get it done tomorrow.


experimentation on ways to move forward with first drafts

I have been trying out something - which has been quite successful, partly since I 'm so useles at typing but also due to the opportunity it gives me to listen to first its a form of editing too...what Ive been doing is dictating new first drafts of a chapter/s and emailing the audio file to a typing firm who then email it back in Word Document format. This allows me to get on with actual writing but also to listen /read the first draft after Its been born - so i can hear how it comes across...its like I'm workshopping it with myself. Does anyone else use this method I wonder?

Have forgone the chance of a long walk today to get on with working on the rest of a second new chapter before I return to London. Off for a short walk now then nose to the grindstone!


Tuesday, 20 April 2010


yesterday but quite hard going for me. Felt a real sense of achivement.Fabulous views but absolutely knackered afterwards and with dinner taking up most of the evennng didnt have the time or the energy to write. We are off to Lucca today - for some sightseeing. I want to try to do a little tonight - if not I may take a day or two off to write from tomorow. Looks like the airports have been openeed up now so hopefully we'll get back to London on Sunday as planned


Monday, 19 April 2010

A Strange Experience indeed

Rome railway station yesterday was like an mass evacuation scene - lines, rows and huddles of miserable looking worn outs desperately trying to get home by taking local trains to the next city further towards the Uk, then the next and so on...because all the TGV's were completely booked. Our journey by express train to Pisa then on by local to Bagni d Lucca was a breeze and pleasant. We arrived and out of the 18 others booked only 2 had managed to get here ( like us they were already in Italy)along with one of the two walk leaders. But we persuaded her to still run the holiday and today had a fabulous walk over the hill to another village for tea then back for an ice cream...picnicing up on top of the hill on local bread and cheese. It was idyllic and because of the travel crisis the hotel and village is almost deserted - lucky for us!Food in hotel 5 course dinner and delicious!!! Managed to edit new Chapter but not write anything more today- tommorow also will be difficult as will be out all day walking againBACK TO uk ON SUNDAY - GOD WILLING- But we dont really know.


Saturday, 17 April 2010

About to restart where I left of yesterday...

...Today did more sight seeing. The castle Angelo and Mauselium of Augustus..early evening took the metro to the Theatre to watch Copeilia - the ballet - thinking 6pm a little early. On arrival - no orchestra and lots of tantrumimg little prima donnas with pushy Italian Mothers...oh dear - yes, we'd booked to see the Junior Company Ballet School - so left at the interval - discretely - for fear of being labeled a couple of old perverts. Nice 17 year old boys in tights though!!

Volcano eruption continuing, spewing ash cloud from Iceland over northern Europe, means were travelling to Lucca by train tomorrow to join a walking tour of Tuscany tour we dont know if anyone else will be turning up for - certainy NOT if they intended flying from London, so therefore not our two friends Rob and Andrew.

Must get my pen to the paper now.


Two and a half Hours and Two pages!

Yes...the sum total of yesterdays efforts BUT atleast I have the scene mapped out.


Thursday, 15 April 2010


last night so nothing done. H insisted on watching the "historical" first preelection TV debate of the political party leaders. Nick Clegg came over to me as the most fresh, radical and honest(but I would be heavily penalised financially if the LD's got in) The Tory D avid Cameron came over as a complete Little Lord Fontelroy - terible politician....GORDON bROWN - genuine -but more of the same - so Godness knows who I will tick the box for on the day. A booming TV set from another room kept us up half the night! It came on early again this morning. Went out to have a look where it was comming from and saw a man leave next door with his case and the noise immediately abated - so fingers crossed it'll be quiter from now on.

Will write today. I will!(Rolands needing to come out)


Can you believe it!

Our hotel "caught us" taking food out of the breakfast room this morning and said this wasnt allowed and they would be billing us 6 euros each per day for this service. I couldnt beleive it - this is a nice hotel and not cheap...what a carry on..tomorrow Im going to go to reception after breadfast and ask if they want to frisk me for the odd illicit bread roll! Otherwise, after a morning of work emails, we've had another full on day of sight seeing - but nice. Went to Ostia Antica - incredible but terrible facilities/poorly dislayed relics- you are free to jus walk across 2000 year old mosiacs! and chaotic organisation/mess as usual. Had another tastey and cheap falafel dinner tonight.

Have jsut heard the news that my georgeous niece hasnt been offered a place at vet school - after being kept waiting for 2 moths plus following her interview.That feeling of rejection isnt only the domain of aspiring writers!

Want to begin a new chapter tonight after taking a little break. Will stick with the Roland character as I feel I'm pretty with him at the moment after spending the best part of a week getting the first draft of introducing him into the story sort of right(I hope). H is doing his evenning yoga on the floor of our hotel room.


Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Another new Chapter drafted!

Tonight after a further 2 1/2 hours I have finished the first draft of the Chapter introducing the Roland Character. I have him viewing flats in the Village but thats all I'm saying. Pleased with it - but then one usually is at the end of a creative first draft...will workshop it and see.Fiddled about with my digi dictaphone to see if I can email existing files(on background material interviews) to be typed ...think files need to be zipped up and dont know how to do it!If it works can try dictating and emailing this latest chapter too(I'm hopelessly slow at typing up and ALways (unless Im just sketching out a scene sometimes)write first in long hand - I like it better that way anyhow.

Did mammoth sightseeing today ..must have walked 6 miles - out all day til 7ish...found a middle eastern eaterie which does great food o we had falefel lunch and dinner too...a great change from all this rip off pizza/pasta/fish meals...its 00.35am local time and H is complaining stll up so signing off and to bed now!

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

some thoughts on a powerful piece of music

Mike...I thought it interesting about your utilising a specific piece of music in your novel to spark soemthing within a character/between characters...I have just this same thing sketched out for later on in my own writing. I thought about Roland showing empathy to Almir - once theyve been having an affair for a few months and have become closer than just the sex - Almir's down for a second time after Trudies mugging and Elyes's deportation. Roland tries to get Al to open up but not very succesfully - he relates his own recent experience of grief following his mothers death - and Al tells him" people say, don t they, you never really completely grow up til you lose a parent; but what if you lose both parents and at the same moment - when you are just 15 years old - and 30 minutes before you were sitting around the kitchen table eating dinner together...It makes an old man of you, a bitter old man of you at 15!" (or words to that effect - not sure yet ...just have a brief notes sketch of it so far. Roland then is so moved he cant think of anything to say ..he shares a piece of music with Al...which " Gerry -an old queen I know - we've never had sex but he's always been around for me, since I was in my early 20's and satrted doin stuff - you know - with guys -- and I always went to him if I had things on my mind - he's my fairy godfather? mother?(not sure which) to speak..this old guy , I went to see him when my mum passed away and he put on this music and he didnt need to say anything cos' that music said just exactly how I was feelin...Roland puts on Pergolese's Stabbat Mater....then for the first time - hearing it Al cries in Rolands presence and Roland holds him in his arms and rocks him as he cries like a baby(well - something on these lines)..What do you think?


Sunday, 11 April 2010

A new Chapter is nearing completion

I have done well working a couple of hours a day drafting and editing a new chapter which introduces the Roland character to the novel. Apart from writing today from 10am to 11.30am and again betwwen 4 til 7 pm H and I meet up with friends who have a house in a town near Palermo they came in by car and took us to the beach for lunch but - my GOd- the traffic , the traffic! Lunch turned into a bit of a disaster for me - we went to a seafood restaurant but due to language difficulties and some ripping off if you ask me, all I ended up with was bruchetta and mineral water!
By tonight I was starving hungry so H and I went back to a good local restaurant round the corner from our hotel I had "meat balls" which actually turned out to be bits of ham rolled around a strange stuffing..oh well! There still a very loud band playing in a pub next to our hotel so no point in going to bed yet! Off to Rome tommorrow on the overnight sleeper train

the highlights of Palermo for me...well, lets see....The Catacomb mummies hung up on the walls like skeleton puppets(v. Micheal Jackson Thriller video), the Modern Art Museum, The Tango Milonga I went to and danced with two very young, attractive local women(one set of convincing tangos, the other a bit of a disaster), the canolo pastries, the expensive rip off meals in restaurants!the terrible traffic which makes crosing the road like a death row last walk..and the bloody N O I S E !


Friday, 9 April 2010

Thanks for your comment Mike!

I am in a MUCH better place with my writing. I have had a while in the doldrums and feeling its all hopeless and a waste of my time or an impossible up hill struggle BUT...But I think this has been a very necesary and important part of my development as a writer. The best lessons are always learned by reflecting on the error of ones former ways...I have spent this "difficult" period reading and rereading what Ive done on the novel so far plus again looking through all the feedback and distilling out the important recurring themes and have incorporated them internally I think and hope Ive moved forward with it - I think I have. I know it doesnt make the actual writing any bit easier but I have got back my enthusiasm for writing and for writing AND WANTING TO FINISH -this- story... told in -this- novel.

Today I did a couple of hours work from my notes/sketch of the new scene with Roland being shown around the flat which brings him into the Village (and thus, later, ultimately incontact with Almir) so its an important link in the chain of my tale. I am pleased with how its going. I may even choose to read it out in class next term as one of my workshop pieces...but I HAVE TO FINISH OFF FIRST!

I'm almost done with reading The Spell by Alan Hollinghurst - and thats given me a lesson in character development and narrative voice. I might add I am enjoying it very much too.


Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Am in this for the long haul !

...Ive been reading Alan Hollinghurts "The Spell" and realise how much more work I have to put i to get my prose to the right standard, to make it work...Ive just re read my latest drafts of Chapters 1-4 plus some scene sketches, there are good bits but the overall impact of the prose isnt what I want it to be...its not flowing right...I JUST HAVE TO KEEP AT IT..I think that it may now be best just to keep going and try to get to the end without any expecttion other than to finish a complte first draft AND then to completely revise it. What hindering my goal is my hopeless computr skills! I consatntly edit ans then find that the edits are not saved and then have to do it all again and then later only find that the rwrong versions been saved or Ive got multiple versions all over the place. This wont do. It''ll just end in chaos so I must get more organised with all of this - atleast put everYthing in one file.

Today I thought about and actually accomplished sketching out in note form a new scene wher Roland is viewing a flat in the village. I will start writing this and see where it goes. I dont want to go on another downer - but am not happy with the drafts I have completed so far. Also, I only have had 2 out of 12 guinea pig readers give me fedback - one said "found it totally gripping" and no futher critique the other - which was more helpful was harsher on POV and especially the narrative voice - which I believed I'd nailed BUt with the distance of a week now realize I havent quite got it right still. It has been helpful critiqueing Nicki's first drfats of her new novel Romeo and Romeo - it llows insight into how something can be good but not quite right in its curent form and how to make it stronger.

Its incredibly expensive eating out here. The hotel does a great breakfast - which we enjoy on the terrace each morning after yoga on the balcony of our room which has a view directly onto Mount Etna in one direction and out over the sea in the other. Dinners out are delicious but obscenely priced. This is a tourist trap but the four days we've had here - apart from my temporary deafness - have been a tonic.

Off to Palermo by train tomorrow - a journey of 7 hours!!!


Monday, 5 April 2010


Uneventful journey here via Gatwick with dear old(non striking )B.A.BUT on day one I wentcompletely D E A F which was unnerving to say the least...I suspected ear wax as have known I needed treatment for that for some time but hav been utiing it off. So its been two days of ear drops and sign language with H and this evenning at 5 I have a syringe full of water and gyerol in each ear ...and now I can hear again. I spent 1/2 an hour on the balcony just listening to the birds again. Not done any writing since arrived...though critiqued Nicki's draft first Two Chpters of her new gay teen novella - which I liked. She gave me two different beginnings and I liked the second better...critiqing other peoples work IS tremendously insightful into ones own writing psyche I find. I am itching to do another short story...might have a go whilst we are away...maybe Vera Linge - the Pest Control one Ive sketched out . but I must return to Sweeping Up or it'll go cold. One of the hardest things seems to begin again after an absence following a period of enthusiastic productivity.


Friday, 2 April 2010

First post since my"writing day" writing day I ended up not doing any writing at all...I was tired and fel asleep and justed watched tv - and this wek havent done alot...tried editing down my First Chapter Thursday afternoon but dodnt get too far. Ive had really bad tinnitus since mid week and its affecting my ability to concentrate. Oh well - maybe the warmer Italain climate will help. We are off tonight to Gatwick and fly out tomorrow morning.


First post since my"writing day"