Sunday, 27 March 2011

Another chapter re drafted

Came in last night at 9 ish and started work on the redraft of another chapter and had finished it by 1am. Edited this today as a cold has delevoped! Bouying myself up with hot chocolate made with 70%Green and Blacks chocolate bar chunks.
Saw Never Let Me Go yesterday afternoon at the Odeon Panton Street. Thought it a fair adaptation of the novel. Enjoyed. Menacing scenes of crowds,protest noise and hovering helicopters as we came out into Leicester square(Public Sector Workers protest march). Glad to get onto the tube and get home.
Bren Gosling

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Arrived back in London

at 7.15 am today after a long flight. How absolutely beautiful it all looks. Our street in Walthamstow village and our garden is bursting with spring plants. It all seems so fresh compared with Buenos Aires. Three months there was great - did loads of writing aswell as tango practicebut am glad to be back in England for spring. H has- incredibly- gone for a job interview today. I cooked us lunch after a walk around the village and going through my mound of post - then went to bed for 1 1/2 hours.If I am up to it I'd like to try to get the rewrite of chapter four done so that Emma will see it with the other stuff Ive sent her before we meet for my next tutorial at The Welcome Centre in Euston next Wednesday. "More Tales of the City" has arrived from Love Film - yippee! I am now going to sit and watch it with a cuppa and a bit of victoria sponge cake left for us in the fridge by Heather, our yoga teacher, who house sat while we were away.
Bren Gosling
Bren Gosling

Sunday, 20 March 2011

The moon

Last night after going to the cinema and sitting thorugh 2 hours plus of American Hollywood crap ( Last 3 Days) we decided to walk all the way from the centre of town(Lavalle) back home to Recoleta. When we got to the cemetery we stopped to look at the beautiful moon through a Hubble Space telescope some astronamer had set up on the pavement. It was asounding looking at the moon in all its pitted crater glory - the detail of it you could see was amazing. This morning we went for a long walk through the eco park as far as the river Plata...also amazing with the skyscapers of Puerto Madero zooming up above all the bullrushes and vegetation....and the first time in 3 months I can say I have managed to escape this city's constant traffic din.Am going to edit the Chapter three re write later(after a milonga lesson at 5).

Bren Gosling

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Have finished the rewrite of Chapter Three

Worked for four hours on it last night . Together with about another four to five hours over the past few days it was hard going. I re wrote from scratch, basing it on the original draft but completely re writing most of it. The scene now opens with a dream sequence which I think works well. I have shifted the POV entirely to my protagonist which was challenging as I had to somehow describe the setting which I'd previously shown through the other characters POV. A very useful if arduous excersize though and I hope its a stronger chapter for all of the work done.

After much procrastination have now booked to go on the Writers Progress 'TAILOR MADE' retreat at Circle of Misse in France in a months time. The writer in residence is Emma Sweeney my mentor, so I am hoping the week will prove helpful and productive at this key stage of the rewriting. The food and setting look good !

After two weeks away our landlord came back at 8am this morning getting us out of bed. It will seem strange having him around the apartment again. Milonga lessons today and tomorrow and tango and tango VALS workshops and a milonga on Monday and Tuesday as part of the Queer Tango Marathon. Back home to London on Wednesday(overnight) arriving Thursday and I'm looking forward to going home now.

Bren Gosling

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Re writing dialogue...

can be tricky. Its not a few words here and there its the whole chunk of dialogue that has to work. I am still slogging away at my re write of chapter three which has a fair bit of dialogue, and difficult dialogue to boot in that it aims to show an awkwardness between two characters meeting for the first time. I am re writing POV from one characters(original draft) to anothers(my protagonist) which is taking time to get exactly right. Should be there in another session though I hope.
Bren Gosling

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Its like being back in the early 1970's

Ive now experienced two power failures here in Buenos Aires in under a week.On Thursday I arrived for a tango lesson out in the sticks and there was no street lighting. The taxi driver at first didnt want me to get out because of a group of street kids loitering but I assured him that Id been assured I'd come to no harm. But he was convinced they were dangerous. I survived and got into the building unscathed and had the first 30 minutes of my lesson by candlelight and without music. Last night the power went off in our block in Recoleta and only came on again at 5am . 32 degrees, high humidity and no fan meant for one sticky night! But it took me back to growing up with the powercuts we had in Briatin when I was in my 14/15 in the early/mid 1970's.

Have begun the rewrite of Chapter Three. The theme /scene remains the same but I am changing the POV and have started it with my protagonist in a dream. I wrote the dream openning(excuse this aweful pun)yesterday morning - the first time Ive written a dream scene. I think the idea must have come from the novel I'm reading currently - Skin Lane by Neil Bartlett.But I am only using my dream once not thoughout my novel. Have nearly finished Neil's book now - when the power went off last night H and I went down to the Cafe Josephina and sat al fresco with hot chocolate and read our books.
Bren Gosling

Monday, 7 March 2011

Finished the re write of Chapter two...

and comparing it with the original version, its quite different - and - I hope much better. Spent much of today editing it and have now sent it to Emma ready for our next tutorial. Had a block about starting the re write of three though because I need to change the POV and for some reason its making me up tight. Oh well...had a good tango lesson and am off out tonight to practice - on the roof I hope if its not raining.
Bren Gosling

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Am reading a brilliant novel at the moment

Skin Lane - by Neil Bartlett. Beg, steal or buy a copy and turn the first page and I guarantee you you will be hooked.Thank you Neil Barlett(in the extremely feint possibility you may come across this posting)!Thank you.
Bren Gosling

Friday, 4 March 2011


SEX - always an interesting topic and a challenge to write, I agree. For me, of contemporary writers, Alan Hollinghurst does it well in The Line of Beauty( though I dont have a copy of the book to hand as I am in Buenos Aires at the moment); Ian Mckewan too - in a very different way, capturing the awkwardness of it in On Chesil Beach. In my own writing I learned a difficult lesson the hard way .My novel Sweeping Up the Village is essentially centred around the development of an affair between my protagonist and the other main character; plenty of opportunity for writing about sex very early drafts last year, when I started to think about the development of this main relationship in my novel I wrote lots of (very bad) sex scenes, most of which nolonger exist or have been completey transformed in their re writing. The key is for me comes back to show and tell - its important that I include some sex scenes to describe the passion and the physicality, after all here are two lovers engaged in an intimate relationship and I want to bring the reader in and up close to share their turn ons and their pleasure of it. BUT... and here is the caveat, its about how much detail and what to leave out as much as what to put in. And it also depends on what the scene is doing in terms of showing the reader(I agree with Emma on this) ; is it early raw animal attraction or naked lust? Is it an emotional tension eg a shift - from being just sex to something more(love, obsession, uncertainity) or is the sex incidental to the overall purpose of the scene , and just needs a passing mention.Like in everyday ordinary life sex happens but its what signifcance is attached to it and by whom and what are the consequences of it happening that matter to me as a stortyteller. Its about quality not quantity- like most things. I am finding myself often using the close third person POV from one characters perspective for most of the scene , to so build up of tension and then I often finish the scene with a shift to the other characters perspective ( but again in close third person POV, as this is the style I am utilizing for this project) - just for a paragraph or even only a couple of lines, so as to underline/emphasize the impact of what has just occured in the scene on the other character(usually my protagonist).The consequence in other words is more what I am after , when I think about writing sex.

I've just remembered another couple of good reads for examples of the art and skill of writing sex and dare I say it the 'L' word. Both novels I would absolutely recommend also because they are both fabulously good reads.

The Great Lover by Jill Dawson
Giovanni's Room by James Baldwin
oh yes, and there are passages also in After You'd Gone by Maggie O'Farrell which do it for me very well too.Hope this helps!

Bren Gosling

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Have started the re write of Chapter two

because it just feels thats what I need to do. I keep comming back to the opening section(the first 4-6 chapters of the story) in my mind because I know I have to get this right, with the chronological sequence of character introductions and the (new)inciting incident(which will link directly with the climactic scene in the novel).

Yesterday I spend a few hours close reading a piece of research entitled : Understanding the ocupational deprivation of refugees; A case study from Kosovo - by Gail Elizabeth Whiteford from The Cnadian Journal of Occupational Therapy. I have had this article for some months now. Its really useful for my protagonist characterisation- to set his recent past up in my own head so that when I now begin the story again on the page I can hopefuly make it come alive more - with this 'inside 'knowledge. We'll see. I also read again some photocopied articles from the City and various other writing courses Ive done - about Showing and Telling and how to achieve immediacy in writing fiction. Also an article from the Guardian by Tobias Hill about the process of writing itself and his personal experience of it - which amused me but rang true. I then close-read again my new chapter one to set my self up for todays writing task (of the rewriting of chapter two). After two hours I now have 300 words of the first scene of the new chapter two! Not bad.I am ok with this, it always takes me ages when I 'm beginning a new piece - I have to get the openning right before I can allow myself to go on. Time for lunch now, well deserved!;siesta then tango practice. I plan to return to writing more this evenning after dinner.