Tuesday, 29 June 2010

a little bit of editing

..of my new chapter two...only about 1 hour and a half this afternoon as I got caught up with work and other stuff, then had a haircut at 5 pm in Soho, then stayed out for tango til 8-10pm. Did the critque of Simons reading for next monday in Cafe Berteaux over green tea and a vanilla slice.
Hot and Humid!

Tomorrow the readings.

Monday, 28 June 2010

application required...

I am still trying to sort out all my edits. I’s taking bloody ages…on one level I wish I’d done them straight after my work shops ; however an another level I was able to carry on and work on producing new material, so now I do have a fair ol’ lot(though much more to go!)Having the distance of time from the workshops and now some several weeks/months! later re reading everything does shed a different spin on everything and it’s much better this way. Just a bit of pressure to get these four chapters done by next Monday!

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Up bright and early

another sunny day looks like! Yesterday was tremendous. Very hot . Took our guests on a walk through Minsmere and over to Dunwich. Saw a dead snake on the road. Managed to do some writing /editing Saturday morning before they arrived and whilst they were here and last night read and critiqued the 4 pieces for tonights class work-shop. This morning want to do some more editing to get my chapter two out of the way. I have decised now to submit the internet cafe scene as my chapter 4 and NOT the one which introduces Roland.


Saturday, 26 June 2010

Georgeous Morning in Aldeburgh!

Up early and did yoga and meditation practice then niped down to the High street deli and bought some stuff for lunch. Walked down along the fron to beyond the Bru and now all set to go with my editing of chapter2-4, fortified with tea and a sausage roll!

Friday, 25 June 2010

need to go to bed!

Just finished an email to my new mentor - E - with chapter/plot outline, current synopsis and thoughts I had on the plot, the flash backs and the ending after a couple of hours thinking about them this morning before we went over to Orford for lunch at the Oysterlry, followed by a 5 mile walk and a stop off on the home leg in to car at Iken Church - a favorite spot. We bought organic stawberrys and plum jam paid for with coins into an honesty box. This evening went to the pictures and saw Lebenon - powerful war film - though I think we all got the message by 5 minutes in that war isnt, actually, a very good idea! Then strolled the prom in the late evening light. Few people about. Lovely sky!Delicious full moon. Then came back and did some writing from 9.30pm until 11.30pm

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Plenty to chew over!

I havnt completed my redrafts post feedback of my chapters 2-4 yet – so I ve brought all the feedback on all the scripts in a black binliner(how apt- I hope NOT) up to Aldeburgh to plow through..I know Julie is going as Chpter two but some of her from that original chapter will appear in the new chapter two – which was basically my original chapter 3. Chapter 3(new) will be Julies fourth visit to Almir(four weeks later) …I didnt workshop this but tutorialed it with Alison…and chapter four will be Roland(the chapter I am workshooping on 5th July with City) but which I’ve already workshopped in Vicky Gruts Novelists club and got positive thumbs up…I have another chapter- with Almir visiting Elyes at the internet cafe…which could be chpater three..chronologically it fits more or less–again, my fellow City students haven’t seen this chapter but I did tutorial it with Alison (last Monday and she thought it was very good….so perhaps I might use that instead – then incase she and the rest of City peers hate the Roland Chapter…anyhow , plenty to chew on this week!!!


Wednesday, 23 June 2010

It's going well but still no final decision on POV

My tutotrial with Alison Burns was helpful. All very positive feedback about the chapter set in the internet cafe - ticks galor! So v. encouraging...we talked through a few other things, again POV - as this scene is written in omniscient...Alison suggested I might want to keep it as its "so good", though there are a couple of places where a pov shift to Almir would work slightly better - we concluded that I should just maybe carry on with what works until the completion of a first draft.

The specific question I asked about whether I should show Almir having counselling for Post (war) traumatic stress syndrome - in the chapter I showed in the tutorial(not one the class/my peers have seen or will now)and whether the scene where I havie him log onto the internet to look up P.T.S.using his real(kosovon) name nad nick name)which he has as a password. Alison thought they worked effectively.And the idea of revealing Almir's real original name(his first nameonly) so early onis not a problem. The reader who's but the other charcters Almir meets do not know...Roland only finds out at the end and the reader only discovers the reason behind the name change right towards the end.

My new idea for the way in which to end - Alison thought too was interesting and plausible. Iobviously am not going to give it away here.

I approached Emma Sweeney - Emily Pedders replacemnet tutor at City now she's on maternity leave - regarding becomming her mentee after the Cert. course ends to help me complet a first draft of this novel by Christmas. She has agreed and we now have one meeting a month booked from July until(and inc) December...so am excited about that(if also a little nervous).

Last night in class - handed in my Commentary, which actually took me ages! and the book blurb. We did a dress rehersal run of our readings for next week at the Art Workers Guild.
Off the Aldeburgh around late lunchtime today until Monday. H has hired a car - its a year since we've had one . I may atempt a drive once we get up there. I need to take all my critues from chapetrs 2-4, inc tutorial feed back, with me and start to edit these chapters. This is the final piece of assigment work I will nedd to do for the Certificate course. They have to be handed in on 5th July! I have a Company Aawy Day next Saturday and a Tango party at Sadlers Wells Saturday night - so have to get moving on it this wekend. We have guets saturday, staying over on Sunday too. I also have some work - work to get done - draft a new revised recruitment ad before the end of tomorrow!


Monday, 21 June 2010

Assignments and stuff

Finished my Book Blurb and worked on my Commentary assigment over the week-end and also re read and made minor alterations to my 4 minute reading. Its a real sunny summers morning today, in contrast to much of the weekend which was more like early March than June!

Nikki Cornwell - the children's writer who lives round the corner from me and with whom I have formed a writing"bond" - we critique each others work in progress -has just announced she has her had her second book accepted for publication! Well Done Nikki!

I have a tutorial tonight with Alison Burns, which I'm hoping will help me sort out a few things I'm still stuck on in my head. Ive send Alsion an scene I wrote before the course began - with Almir visiting Elyes in the inetrnet cafe...its mostly done in omniscient POV.


Thursday, 17 June 2010

The reading is comming!

about 10 days now til our City Course end of year reading at The Art Workers Guild and in last nights class we did another run through giving oneanother feedback on content and delivery. I declined from having myself videoed. A useful exercise - and - I have subsequently this morning- completed a few minor edits that make it stronger. Also completed a blurb. This week and weekend have to do the commentary essay - have started this already(whilst in Berlin)...but I know it'll take me most of the next few days. Then its focus on furthr editing and revision of Chapters 2-4,which have to be handed in by 5th July.

I have decided to buy time with a private mentor to help structure my completeion of a final first draft - which I'd dearly like to have done by December - before I go off to Argentina again.


Tuesday, 15 June 2010

chilled after my windmill retreat on he north norfolk coast

Came straight into City Uni late yesterday afternoon armed with Sheringham bought fresh crab sandwiches, cuppa tea and a kit kat(mercifully I refrained from placing a knotted handki on my head and rolling up my trousers!) from my weekend buddhist mediation retreat. Had a coupl of hours before class and so sketched out my Blurb...think I have it now so can tick that off my to do list . I'm workshoping in class next week the Roland intro chapter...am quite nervous after what my peers feedback about the other recent chapter involving him although after a few days to let it settle I found the feedback helpful. I am going to make the necessary changes which I do agree will work better (make Roland drug averse, include more on his week at work, let him become more obseesed with Al AFTER they have had sex for the first time - not before, make Al more reticent to Rolands initial aprroach.This means I'll probably now scrap the material I have planned to use for they first date in the local gay pub - gven the afoementioned - I ont think they'd choose to meet up there - atleast initially...as both characters are intersted in keeping fit, I am toying with the idea of maybe Roland inviting All to practice hoop with him one saturday morning and it could develop form there? any COMMENTs for City peers would be appreciated.

need to shower now and get off to London Bridge for a work meeting.


Saturday, 5 June 2010

Further thoughts on characterisation

I felt Mike's refelctions on my blog entry about our characters being real people – in our heads – was intersting. I too was rather annoyed when some people giving feedback said – Almir wouldnt speak like that, it sounds too street (when the research interview I did with the Albanian professor at SEES indicated that a young Albanian man with little english comming to London for the first time would not have difficulty with Enlgish pronounciation – and – especially if he lived in a place like E17 , would quickly pick up the language of the street.
Also if felt many people giving feedback didnt apreciate/have knowledge of how gay men do it – crusing I mean – it IS cold and matter of fact – like a business transation almost - and usually sex comes first then the romance(if that comes at all) – so the comment that -” how can this become a love story when they cut to the chase so quickly didnt ring true for me.
ALSO I was surprised at the number of commentators who’d never heard of the term “batty man” – which is the perjorative term usied by homophobic black (men mostlty)people in reference to gay black men.

Perhaps the answer to all of this is to modify for the “less informed” reader – elaborate by spelling out meaning which might be ambiguous or unknown in the popular mind;also to make it more literary – its fiction after all – so that it makes for an easier and better read – I mean eg the dialogue – like Rose Tremain has done in her book The Road Home where she has her Romanian immigrant protagonist speaking perfect english like all the other characters…

I may – as a result of the last City workshop feedback on the bakery pick up – have Roland avoid taking drugs and be anti quick pick ups/one night stands – he’s had a few and sees the “scene” as superficial – ok when he was in the closet for a quick occaisional anonymous foray – but now he’s comming out – he wants more – the attraction to Almir IS sexual at first but I do agree that Almir needs to be more coy/guarded to the come on – I will have them dance with each other a little longer in the scene I workshoped and also a few more brief encounters before they get to this point. Almirs needs to have more curiousity about Rolands motivation – maybe he asks him if he wants to chuck hoop(basket ball) on a saturady..

I think too that I will make his arousal less sexual over this scene – It will come afterwards – when theyve become passionate lovers. I think too I will make a short scene about the night out at Barcode – minus Roland on e – maybe he does still go back to the Highbury flat – then feels numbed by the experience …or just aknowedges it as anyomymous sex, which doesnt fulfill his needs entirely.
I will show his week at work in the new job – maybe AFTER he’s started the affair with AL – that would make him more distracted for sure – if theyve already had great sex – he wouldnt want to get out of bed to go to work and all he’d think about would be his next fix of the sexy, horny Al!

a little more about Rolands back story I agree with too – though theres some in the previous chapter which City hasnt heard but which I work shopped to excellent feedback in the Novelist’s Club – my other work shoping outlet at the moment. I read through all the City feedback and Novelists club feedback again – late last night before I went to bed -I slept like a log – so I must have made peace with it all. Often thats the best approach I am finding in response to “heavy” or conflicting feedback /comments/critique – read it again after the distance of a few days- then sleep on it.


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Thursday, 3 June 2010

Lovely Day!

It really was such a beauty today - I even got Santander Bank to transact my money transfers, unbelievably!(Well - it was my fourth visit inside a week)...came home and critiqued a fellow student 's from the Novelist club first 30 pages and synopsis - took me all afternoon ! But having to make myself look at other people's work so closely I am finding tremendously helpful when I come back to complete a rewrite of my own material. One more to do tomorrow for Saturdays Novelist's club meeting and then 4 critiques to do for City cousre workshop on Monday night - no time for my own stuff til after that! Then need to move on with the end of term essay which I have begun in draft longhand - that shouldnt be too hard to do - it will also give me an excuse to review my blog - I havent really looked back on my entries since I began. I also have to do a 100 word jacket blurb for my novel and tidy up chapters 2, 3 and four - so I'll have to "section off" some blocks of time to get it all completed by the end of the month.

I also want to rework "My Angel Face" short story that I wrote last year and recently had feed back on from Vicky Grut/The Literary consultancy - it was really complimentary but I need to rework a couple of bits - but its worth I think looking at this piece again - I need a new title - a german one perhaps - something reflecting the Berlin setting. I also am gagging to get going on another short story I sketched out and began last year - Obiedient Niece - so - maybe when Ive completed all this course work I'll take a pause from the novel and work on these two smaller projects for a while.

Some kind, thoughtful soul let their mut shit turds in a neat little line all along our front fence - just as you step out on the street. Our house keeper E cleared it away with a bucket of water and bleach. Low and behold - after working on the critique in the back garden I went out to post a couple of letters and someone else had let their "best friend" - DO THE SAME THING!!!! I had to chuck a second bucket to wash it away - have a nice day - all you dog lovers out there!!!


Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Dry run

Tonight taxi'ed in from Stanstead to City Uni for wed night class - we stuffed 150 invites into addressed envelopes and these will be posted out to agents for the 30th June reading at the Art Workers Guild. Did a dry run through reading tonight - mine went well - continue to make small adjustments here and there. Got back to Walthamstow about 9pm and passing the Walth School of Music and Drama noticed that Forest Writers were meeting inside ...so popped in and joined them for the end of their evening. Havent been able to get there for ages because it clashes with the City Course.


was a good boy last night

I critiqued the first 30 pages and synopsis of a childrens nvel from a fellow writer particiapting in Vicky Gruts Novelists Club - two more to do before Saturday's workshop. I also looked again a- briefly at some of my old material on the Alison character I had originally down for Sweeping Up the Village and also character nortes on trudie - both are useful but as reference notes for new draftsonly. I also peeked at a short story I started last year when I completed the City Uni Short Story Writing course with Katy Darby(which was - if anyone out there is thinking of doing a course in short story writing - bloody excellent)... the story - entitld Obedient Niece - is about child abuse. I felt what I've written on it so far is good and I could soon work this up into something decent of around 2- 2.5k words. I will consider doing this as respite from all the critiques I now have lined up(4 more for the Cert in Novel Writing next Monday...

leaving Berlin for London soon. just have popped into the cafe across the street to check emails etc.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Its grey and raining in Berlin...

...AN I BOUGHT THE 1910 windup gramaphone, along with a 1920's wardrobe and long case pendulum clock(Ive aways dreamed of owning both a big horn wind up gramaphone and a long case pendulum clock) We are having them shipped to London - they should arrive - hpefully intact - in about 4-6 weeks.