Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Editz, I haz dun them

Well, I've got to input all the changes to the word doc, and sort out the bits where I've written 'THINK ABOUT THIS' and 'THIS PART NEEDS TO BE GOOD'. So there's a few more days of work still to be done. I'm getting there though. Should hopefully be ready to send to Agent Victoria next week. If I can get rid of all the tedious repetitions, that is. Repetition is my worst writing crime. Here's what happens: I come up with a nice turn of phrase, pat myself on the back for being so clever... and then realize that I've said exactly those words earlier in the book. *sigh*

In other news, my unbelievably lovely friend Mikey B brought me the best present ever from New York:

And it's signed! Best present ever, right? I think I'll read it over Christmas. At the mo, I'm reading GOING BOVINE, by Libba Bray. Has anyone out there read it? I am loving it. I can't remember the last time I read a book and had no clue where it was heading - it's a magical mystery tour of a book.

Here's something lovely for you to look at, in case you haven't already seen it:

Isn't it gorgeous? IMAGINARY GIRLS is due out in June 2011 from Dutton. It's written by my friend Nova Ren Suma, who is made entirely of loveliness.

That's all for today, folks. Hope you're keeping warm, wherever you are. Unless you're in Australia, in which case I hope you're keeping cool.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

ENTANGLED book trailer!

Excitement! It's the ENTANGLED book trailer. Hope you like it. Make sure you turn the sound up nice and loud because the music is pretty damn cool (in my humble opinion).

The trailer was created by me - creative visionary *cough*, Gareth Barker (awesome art director with the patience of a saint) and Massive Dog (musical genius and all-round top fella).

Here's the youtube link.

So... you like? 

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The finest two words in the English language

THE END. I typed those six letters about twenty minutes ago. My heart was thumping and I thought I was going to throw up.

Really mixed feelings about finishing this novel, for reasons I won't go into right now. Suffice to say I doubt I'll ever have to write anything else in such adverse conditions.

For now, I am eating celebratory wasabi peas and thinking about what to write next.

NaFiNoWriMo has been a success. Thanks to all you proper NaNoers out there for spurring me on.

Friday, November 19, 2010

19th November 2009

That was the day I got The Call, or rather a series of calls with a few emails thrown in. Entangled had been out on submission for a month, and there'd been some to-ing and fro-ing and meetings and such like for the past couple of weeks. But Thursday 19th was THE day.

I was at work, which makes these things 100% more awkward. Many furtive phone calls, much sitting at my desk with my head in the clouds. It's hard to remember the details. One thing I do remember is that my hands felt tingly, and it was very hard to type with tingly-hands syndrome.

So, I had a two-book deal with Quercus and it felt bloody brilliant. Everyone kept asking when the first book would be coming out. 'January 2011,' I said. There were two different responses to this, depending on whether I was talking to someone who worked in publishing or not. Non-publishing folk said something like, 'Blimey! That's aaaaages away.' Publishing folk said, 'Blimey! That's pretty soon.' Yes, it's a little-known fact that time moves differently in the publishing world.

Entangled is released in just under seven weeks. Crikey.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The case of the missing flamingo

Yesterday I hit 70,000 words on the novel, which is good news indeed. I was aiming for a total word count of 70,000, but I ain't done yet. Three major scenes to tackle and then I get to type those magic words, THE END. I've somehow managed to stick to my personal goal of 1000 words a day to get this thing finished in November. A bit of discipline was just what the doctor ordered.

Lately I've become a little bit obsessed about something and I thought I might as well share it with you. When it comes to writing, I'm not a planner. I'm what's known as a pantser (lovely moniker). I fly by the seat of my pants, with little or no idea of what's going to happen next. It's an exciting way to write, because essentially you're in exactly the same position as the reader - hopefully on the edge of your seat.

But I find myself worrying about all the possible alternatives - the things I don't write. What if one of those gazillion other options would have been better than the one I chose. For instance, I wrote a scene where a couple of my characters went to a cafe and were served by a Portuguese waitress. The scene is perfectly adequate. But what if they'd entered the cafe, sat down and found themselves being served by a flamingo wearing a bowtie? Now that would have been interesting. The story could have gone down a whole different route. It could have touched on so many important issues, like the ridiculously low wages flamingos are being paid these days. Or maybe not.

OK, maybe that's not the best example. But you know what I mean, right? Are there an infinite number of alternative versions of the novel floating around out there somewhere? Where the characters argue, or run off without paying, or dance the Macarena, or kiss? Who's to say the version I've chosen to put down on paper is the right one - the best one?

Hmm. This is all a bit philosophical for a Tuesday. I'd better go and make a cup of tea.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Last Ever ARC Winner...

... is Clover, who blogs at Fluttering Butterflies. Congrats, Clover! Please get in touch with your address and let me know if you want the ARC signed or not.

Thanks to everyone who entered the contest. I've had word from the publisher that we have now officially run out of shiny pink ARCs. Awwwww. Never mind, they'll soon be replaced with actual, real books with purdy covers and final final final text.

I hope you all have fun plans for the weekend. I'll be writing. NaFiNoWriMo continues. Can you sense my enthusiasm oozing out onto the keyboard? No? Oh.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Today is the official launch of an exciting new business venture. Editor extraordinaire Sarah Stewart and I have joined forces to form The Lighthouse Children's Literary Consultancy. Feel free to have a mooch around our shiny new webite.

You can find us on Twitter and on Facebook and you can email us at lighthouseliterary@gmail.com

If you want to find out more, or you've got any questions, please get in touch!

Now where are those champagne glasses?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Go somewhere else!

Morning, folks. Just to let you know that there's a guest blog by me over on the Quercus site. I talk about book covers. Go have a look here, if you fancy it.

I'm very busy writing wurdz, so I must dash. TTFN.

Monday, November 8, 2010

NaFiNoWriMo update

Greetings. NaFiNoWriMo (National Finish Writing Novel Month) is progressing well. But I keep reading about amazing NaNoers who've written 25,000 words in a week. I bow down to their awesomeness. My progress has been much more modest, but at least there has been progress, which is more than I can say for the previous few months.

I'm on course to finish the first draft by the end of the month. In fact, I only have four or five major scenes to write, but they're biggies. I've done something entirely out of character and PLANNED them. Next to my desk is a big sheet of paper with character names and bullet points and headings like 'Things to add in' and 'Things to check' and 'The end'. I even used coloured pens. Fun times indeed. I'd love to post a picture for you, but then you'd know all the sekrits, and we can't be having that, can we?

In other non-news, I've started watching The Walking Dead. Anyone else watching?

Anyone got any NaNo progress to report?

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Last Ever ARC contest... probably (UK only)

Happy Friday! I've decided to give away my last ARC of ENTANGLED. The finished book avec gorgeous cover should be ready soon, so I figured the pink loveliness that is the ARC should go to a good home. I'm not saying it will be easy to part with  - we've been through a lot together.

The ARC is very easy to care for, requires minimal watering (no watering at all, actually). All it asks is that you read it once or more and tell all your friends about it.

To enter the contest:

1. You must live in the UK. (Sorry, international peeps!)
2. You have to be a follower of this here blog.
3. Please complete the following sentence...

I would be the ideal ENTANGLED ARC owner because...

Closing date is Friday 12th November. Good luck!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A dangerous obsession

I remember the good old days. They were happy, carefree and full of candyfloss and toffee apples. *sighs wistfully* Ah, those were the days. I wish I could turn back the clock and appreciate each and every moment for what it was: pure freedom.

Of course, that was B.W.C.O. You know what I'm talking about, don't you? What?! YOU DON'T! Oh my. Before Word Count Obsession, of course.

Those heady days spent writing ENTANGLED, when I only looked at the word count when I'd finished writing for the day - and sometimes not even then. It just wasn't important to me. I didn't even think I'd reach the end of the novel, so word count was irrelevant. Such innocent times.

Alas, those days are long gone. Now my eyes are drawn to that number on the bottom of my word doc every couple of minutes. That number that refuses to rise as rapidly as I want it to. Every hundred words is noted...

Just... got... to.... reach... one thousand...

N.B. Imagine this in the manner of a certain cartoon character who always seemed to be talking to himself while struggling to climb a huge mountain. Here he is:

Lion-O! Thundercats! Hooooooooooooooo!

But I digress (yet still add to my word count, so who cares?!)... The point is that I wish I could free myself from Word Count Obsession. If only there was a cure. NaNoWriMo isn't exactly helping, even though I'm not participating. When you read on twitter that someone has written 1000 words in ten minutes, which happens to be the exact word count it's taken you all day to achieve, it's somewhat grrrrrrr-making to say the least.

Please tell me I'm not alone. Perhaps we could form some kind of support group.