My NaNoWriMo Word Count Widgets!

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Proud Mummy Moment.... Little Toots performed in her first school Nativity. She did brilliantly! She's never been keen on showing off in front of strange grown-ups (and you don't get much stranger than a bunch of P1 parents all grinning at their own particular darling) but she grinned and waved away at us and said her line beautifully. In fact, she said it beautifully twice; the kids onstage were chattering too loudly the first time!

Writing is taking a back seat over the next week, while Lovely Boyfriend and I prepare for the madness that is Christmas. He will actually be offshore for the 25th, not getting home until late on the 27th. We'll then have a big Christmas Two on the 29th and have an absolute blast. I'm not sure who's more excited, the Twotsies (plus Gormlet) or the supposed grown-ups!

But I have every intention of cracking on with editing Agoraphobics Anonymous in a week's time. I've edited about 70 pages so far, and read a bit further on my Kindle (but couldn't take notes as Gormlet was busy discussing her school writing project with me!) There are sections to iron out, sections to destroy and pretend I never wrote in the first place, and sections which don't need much work at all. I've got my fingers crossed that this will be a more commercially viable book than Hospital Corners for my first publication. Here's hoping.....I'll try to keep you all updated on my progress and start posting snippets on Facebook once I'm happy with the final draft. For those of you who don't know, I have a Hospital Corners Facebook page at

Hope to see you there! Technically I also have a Twitter account, but I don't use it very much. I'm registered as MissEsme....which I hadn't realised could also be written as Misses Me....hence I get a lot of annoying Twitter updates on my mobile that have nothing to do with me or my work!

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Bitmead Bursary....

.....was won by fellow Authonomite, Jo G, with her fantastic book Lacey's House. Third place was another fellow Authonomite, Andrew, with his book The Poet. And I rounded off the Authonomy 1, 2, 3 by coming second with Hospital Corners!

Obviously I'd have loved to win, but I'm over the moon with coming runner-up. It adds another credit to my writing CV (I can say I've come runner-up in 66% of the writing competitions I've ever entered!) and I'm hopeful that someone will eventually take it on. Legend Press will get back to me in the next few days with the judges comments and I'll take them on board.

I also finished NaNoWriMo with a healthy wordcount and will get busy rewriting and whipping Moving Meditation into shape over the next year. But first I'm going to concentrate on finishing off Agoraphobics Anonymous. I think it probably works better than HC as a "first" novel by an unpublished author, and I hope a lovely agent or publisher will agree with me! I start on the editing/rewriting tomorrow.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Hurrah and, indeed....


I have completed the NaNoWriMo challenge for my second year in a row. And I still have four days and, therefore, a minimum of 4000 more words to write before I officially stop and go back to Agoraphobics Anonymous.

I've loved watching my new characters develop, and the storyline that was entirely absent at the start of the month, has slowly taken shape in my mind. Once I've prepared Ag Anon for submission, I will come back to Moving Meditation and start afresh. This time I'll actually prepare character bios, a proper timeline etc etc. I simply couldn't do it any earlier because the characters were still revealing themselves to me. But now I have the people, situations and places for the third book in what has turned into my Lovingdell Series!

Now I'm going to curl up and watch Downton Abbey for three hours before preparing a lovely, stodgy, comforting tea and going to see Big Toots give her Brownie promise!

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Halfway there....

...and the wordcount is looking good. I've written a minimum of 1000 words every day thus far, and my average is just under 2000. the neat little chart at the top of this blog shows my progress: red means I haven't updated my wordcount today, yellow means I wrote under 1667 words and green means I wrote over 1667. I'm on track to reach that glorious NaNoWriMo Winner's Purple Bar - hurrah!

So - what's happening in Lovingdell this time?

Gerry and Mary Walker run a tai chi group in the area and have started a new class at Lovingdell Psychiatric Hospital. It's attended by many in-patients (tai chi is excellent for people in the early stages of dementia and is a natural mood-lifter and calmer) and a handful of local people who aren't in-patients (but possibly should be). Gerry looks like a lugubrious stork, and Mary has been mistaken in the street for Dawn French. Their marriage is in tatters, mostly due to the fact they have a muderdering schizophrenic son....who's about to be released from Broadmoor into the hospital at Lovingdell.

Martha lives under her mother's thumb. She's too scared to tell her she's dropped out of teacher training in order to write the world's next Nobel Prize for Literature. Oh, and the fact she's a closet lesbian (she's so far inside the closet, she's in Narnia). She is forced to attend the tai chi class by Les, a somewhat friend of hers who runs the little cafe she hangs about in while she writes her great work. Apologies for the poor sentence structure there; NaNo is about getting the words down!

Maddie is an in-patient at the start of the novel. However, after three weeks, she's allowed home and appears to be doing well, battling her chronic depression. She's friendly with Martha and Steve.

Steve has lost his job, his wife and his pride. He's referred to the class by Dr Bailey (from Hospital Corners) as she believes he's suffering clinical depression. He's also referred to a psychologist, but she gets under his skin somewhat and it becomes apparent that Steve has a bit of a temper on him.

Watching this motley cast are Tamara and Peter. We don't learn much about Peter, apart from what he tells Tamara on their lunch dates after each class. Tamara went to the class seeking enlightenment. She's still mourning the loss of her husband 10 years after his death from cancer. At the start of the book, she tries to hide her grief behind aromatherapy oils, crystals, reflexology, reiki, organic FairTrade ethical clothing and a multitude of bracelets, rings and multi-coloured scarves. In the words of Marth: she reeks of patchouli and despair. However, after the first class, Tamara realises she's been hiding from herself and starts reinventing herself into someone a little less "alternative". She starts the book looking pretty hippy-dippy but ends up the sanest character in the book.

About to make an appearance in the class is Daniel Walker. He's spent six years in Broadmoor but is now deemed fit for a phased release back into the community. Although he killed a neighbour, his schizophrenia was to blame and he's been doing well on the right medication. Or has he? Before developing the illness, Daniel was an expert con-man and fraudster.....

So, when someone ends up dead, who's to blame?

Duh duh duuuuuh!

Friday, 9 November 2012


....the way to increase your wordcount by a ridiculous amount!

I was delighted to learn that another local lady was participating in NaNoWriMo this year. We met up in one of the local pubs last night, chatted for a bit about ourselves and our books (turns out she's the au pair for a couple of girls who are the Twotsies friends at school!), and then we turned to our computers and wrote for three and a half hours.

In that time, I added over 4800 words to my NaNo total! The words just kept on coming, spurred on by the fact I didn't want to leave after a measly hour. So I kept on writing beyond the point where I would normally stop (generally not much more than 2000 words a day), and kept on writing....and on and on.

This all meant I could have a relaxing morning with Lovely Neighbour, playing Mahjong until lunchtime and having a grand old time. I then came home and started on my 1000 words for today (the total I must write each day to stay in the Master Class Skeleton Marathon). I've finished up in time to have a cup of tea and relax some more over a book before I collect the Twotsies from school. We have a fun weekend planned with Lovely Boyfriend (who I've been thinking of today as he attends a funeral) and his daughter (henceforth to be known as the Gormlet; it's a long story and the Twotsies are now also known as Porglet Maximus and Porglet Minimus!). We're going swimming....although it'll probably be more splashing than actual swimming as I try to teach the Twotsies how to swim without their armbands.

Happy weekending folks. x

Monday, 5 November 2012

Writing first....

....housework second. That's my priorities for the day!

I've managed 1990 words today and I'm pleased with how things are turning out. Surprised, but pleased. Martha appears to be taking on her own storyline and I guess I'll just have to go along for the ride! Steve is turning out roughly as planned, as is Tamara. Mary has turned into completely the opposite of how I originally wrote my notes....but it's all working out and I think it'll pass muster.

Once the housework is done, I plan on doing some planning. Sitting down and working out a rough plot for each of the characters to work through. I'm splitting the book up into mini sections, based on principles and quotations from tai chi. So I need to take a look through the tai chi set and come up with enough ideas to see me through to the end. I already have a nice idea in place for the next section: Grasp Bird's Tail. Thank you to Martha for being so dirty-minded.....

Saturday, 3 November 2012

3 down....

.....27 days to go. I fell slightly short of my personal goal of 2000 words today, but Tamara simply didn't want to say anymore.

I thought I'd start to introduce my characters for Moving Meditation, now I've got three of them fixed in my mind. I'm not sure how many other POV characters I will include but here's who I have so far:

Martha: a twenty year old college drop-out, busy penning her literary masterpiece over free refills of coffee at the shopping centre. She's full of teen-angst she's never quite grown out of, hates her contemporaries and is terrified of her Mum discovering she's dropped out of teacher training. She's aided and abetted in her deception by Leslie, the manager of the coffee shop she frequents. He has concerns over her doom-and-gloom attitude and the cuts he sees on her arms. He's the one who persuades her to find a hobby. She settles on the local tai chi group who have been giving a demonstration in the shopping centre.

Steve: a twenty-five year old, recently redundant pharmacologist. We first meet Steve in A&E, where he's having a wee chat with Dr Bailey about injuries received. From his wife when she discovered he'd not quite got round to telling her about the reduncancy for two months. Silly boy. He's stressed out, depressed and utterly miserable. He didn't want to lie to his wife, but she's pregnant and has suffered numerous miscarriages in the past. She's none too happy and he's going to have to get his act together if he stands any chance of repairing his broken marriage. Dr Bailey encourages him to manage his depression through attending tai chi.

Tamara: a sixty-three year old vegan, desperately trying to fill the void in her life left when her husband died ten years ago. Her four children despair at her "hippy-dippy-ditzy" lifestyle and she despairs at their endless consumerism and love of McDonald's. She also learns about the tai chi class whilst in the shopping centre.

Characters who will be making an appearance in some form or another include Peter, a wealthy elderly gentleman who appears to have everything going for him in life; Mary the plump and genial tai chi instructor; Gerry her gawky, gangly and morose husband; and Maddie. Maddie has no reason to feel depressed. No marriage break-ups, no miscarriages, no estrangements from family or friends. It's called clinical depression and she's drug resistant.

As you can probably tell, the theme of this book is depression and its many and varied causes. I'm hoping to inject the writing with my own brand of dark humour to stop all my readers from feeling depressed too. I hope the ending will be as happy as that of Agoraphobics Anonymous, for at least some of the characters.

More tomorrow, I hope.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Day 2 of NaNoWriMo...

...and I've discovered a fellow NaNo'er in my home town! I'd toyed with the idea of trying a write-in event at the local library, but wasn't sure if it would work if the only people to turn up were Lovely Boyfriend and self. But we may be a trio.....if the library agree to us taking up electricity and seating.

As you can see from the widget, I'm keeping up with my slow and steady approach. I now have two chapters and two characters, with another new person to get to know tomorrow. I hope she's as talkative as Martha and Steve have been....

Oh, and fans of Hospital Corners will see how the infamous Dr Bailey is getting on with things nearly two years later!

Thursday, 1 November 2012


....but steady. Those are the watchwords for this year's NaNoWriMo. Last year I went all out to finish the 50,000 words in as few days as possible. This year I'm making sure I write between 1000 and 2000 words each day, and that's all. Obviously, if I get properly stuck into a scene or situation, I'll keep going....but otherwise I'm doing what needs to be done and no more. I'm also making sure it's writing I'm happy with.

Yes, I "won" NaNoWriMo last year with nearly 51,000 words in something like 27 days. BUT, anyone can do that. If you put your mind and plenty of time to it, anyone can write 50,000 words in 30 days. The trick is writing something you're happy to put your name to. I wasn't happy with last year's effort, even as I wrote it. My character couldn't just order "coffee" - it had to be a double chocolate and vanilla  macchiato with extra whipped cream, caramel sauce and sprinkles, served in a large, cardboard cup with one of those annoying corrugated sleeves that are supposed to protect your fingers from getting burned but don't and a lid you can't drink through.

This year, I'm just ordering coffee.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Excellent News.....

......Hospital Corners has been shortlisted for the Luke Bitmead Bursary 2012!

I've spent the past four days feeling rather unwell so this has made my day! Actually, it's made my entire year because it suggests I'm doing something worthwhile with my time after all. Even if I don't win (which I'm not expecting), I get to go to an awards ceremony with the other 9 finalists in London! It's a good job the DWP worked out my benefits because I'm going to need a new posh frock :-)  I just hope the ceremony coincides with a time Lovely Boyfriend is onshore; I'm sure he'll look gorgeous in a tux. :-)

Writing-wise, although I haven't written anything over the past week since completing the first draft of Agoraphobics Anonymous, my mind has been working away for NaNoWriMo. I even came up with an entirely new character in a dream last night and I think I'm narrowing in on the focus of the book.

Moving Meditation: Cosmic harmony, spirituality, inner peace, depression and lies....

Monday, 15 October 2012

Countdown to NaNo....

...has started.

You may have noticed a new NaNoWriMo widget at the top of the blog. It does the same kind of thing as the other widget - show how much I've written - but this one should display a graph of each day's count. That's because I've signed up to the Master Class Skeleton Marathon being held by my local region - Scotland, Elsewhere. I MUST write a minimum of 1000 words each and every day of November, otherwise my name will go up on Anastasia's Wall of Shame....not something I'm keen to happen!

I know I completed NaNo last year, including the basic Skeleton Marathon. I wrote something every day of the month, but some days were 3000 words, some simply a single sentence. Now I HAVE to write the bare bones of a chapter each and every day.....eek!

I haven't been writing today; I'm waiting on a phone call from Lovely Boyfriend to tell me he's ready to come round to Lovely Neighbour's flat and lay some carpet for her. She's the reason I didn't get any writing done yesterday either - we have a tendency to get talking! But I hope to get back to Agoraphobics Anonymous tomorrow and throughout the week, possibly even taking my wee purple netbook round to Lovely Boyfriend's for the evening, in order to get that final 10-15,000 words finished! He'll have to get used to sitting writing of an evening anyway, seeing as he's also participating in NaNo. Good luck, darling xx

Friday, 12 October 2012

Spring clean in autumn.....

....that's how the Twotsies and I have spent our afternoon. Well, we weren't going outside with the rain - it was BUCKETING down all morning! The river at the end of our street is a gushing, brown mess and I'm glad the new flood prevention works (which meant closing the road for about 8 weeks over the summer and another 10 days last week) are, well, working!

We couldn't go out for the last day of our Tattie Holiday's, but we took the opportunity to work our way through the various boxes, drawers and shelves of toys. We now have two big bags for charity and I'm confident there's now room for Christmas to happen!

I'm also getting the girls bunk beds and some new storage systems from Ikea; which means it'll be easier for them to amuse themselves when I'm busy writing. At the moment, most of their favourite toys are in stacked crates - which they can't access without Mummy....annoying when they decide they "need" Polly Pocket halfway through Chapter 27.

How's the writing going? Well, I've taken quite a few days off this week - a fun shopping trip (saw boots, bought boots, love my boots), Lovely Boyfriend returning home and Big Toots' birthday yesterday (7....where did the time go?!). But I've been thinking over the ending of Agoraphobics Anonymous carefully and know where I'm taking the next few chapters. Then I simply have to decide how the characters are going to pair up (if at all) and finish off with a "6 months later" epilogue. I'm really pleased with how I've dropped in little clues and tips for the reader, but don't be taken in! There are twists and turns aplenty, as always with my work. Twisted mind = twisted fiction!

As for NaNoWriMo, I'm back with my Moving Meditation idea and I'll just have to see where it goes come November. I have a vague idea for each character, and I'm hoping they'll start talking to me once they're down on paper. Then I can let them lead me where they will to that all important 50,000 word target. I'm glad I've had October as a warm-up; I've managed 22,000 words in just over 2 weeks. And I didn't have a clue where the story was going's hoping November goes as well!

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Victory is mine.... quote Josh Lyman in "The West Wing".

I checked my bank balance today and nearly fell off the sofa when I saw the total. After 4 months of scrimping, saving and living off packets of Beanfest, the DWP have filled my coffers with back-payments from their erroneous benefits judgement. I can now afford Christmas.....:)

And in other Good News: I've written nearly 15,000 words in the past week! And I think I might even keep most of them....

Agoraphobics Anonymous is at the 2/3rds, nearly 3/4s point. Angela and David are making great strides with their recoveries and are now only a month away from meeting in person. They've admitted their feelings over the phone (awwwww) and poor old Ryan has had to come to terms with the fact the woman of his dreams is now also the woman of someone else's dreams. I feel quite sorry for Ryan - he's a decent bloke at heart; uncomplicated and lonely. His wife's left him, taking the kids with her, and now he 's realising Angie has been using him. He resents that, whilst at the same time wishing she'd use him some more.

I don't know exactly how things are going to turn out for Ryan, Angela or David. I have the big scene planned in my mind, when they meet up for the first time. But I don't know how they're all going to react to the news, and what it will mean for any of their relationships. I guess I'll find out in approximately 21 days (the deadline I've set myself to finish).

NaNoWriMo will re-start on the 1st November, which is why my little word-count-widget has set itself back to 0....I hope someone in NaNoWriMo Officialdom remembers to change the coding to 2012. I'm giving myself 21 days to finish Agoraphobics Anonymous, and therefore 10 days to plan the NaNovel, entitled Moving Meditation.

Yes...the madness continues. But now it's madness with the heating on :-) Thank you DWP.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

I must be maaaaad.....

....because I'm setting myself the challenge of completing Agoraphobics Anonymous in the next 30 days! Obviously, a very rough first draft.

And why am I trying to write 1000 words a day? Because I want to start work on another book for NaNoWriMo, and spend November writing 2000 words a day! Like I said....I must be maaaaad!

Originally (heck, not even 24 hours ago), I was going to use NaNoWriMo to complete Ag Anon. I was going to be an official NaNo Rebel - working on a book already in existence. And then I got thinking and completely reversed my opinion.

The new book? Moving Meditation - something like five or six POV characters attending a tai chi class for various reasons of their own. Now, that might sound a little like last year's NaNovel - Tai Chi Choos. Well, yes and no. I haven't looked at last year's NaNovel since I wrote it, as I become increasingly aware that I was hating the whole chick-lit genre.

Now, I'm taking the MC and including her story as only one of the POV characters - and she'll likely be a stronger, tougher, edgier character than the floppy, whimsical, sappy girl I originally created. Maybe - I'll just have to wait and see how she writes herself.

Yes - I'm pantsing it.....writing by the seat of my pants with minimal outline, plot or even an idea as to who is who, why and when. I hated the story last year because I wrote to a strict outline and killed off any chances of spontaneity. I've written Ag Anon btsomp, and it appears to be working. I can only keep my fingers crossed that Moving Meditation will work just as well.

Right.....another 300 words to write today, at the very least, so I'd best get cracking!

Monday, 20 August 2012

A change... as good as a holiday, they say. Well, I can't go on holiday but I can change things around! I hope you all like the new blog design. Although purple is my favourite colour, I fancied something a bit different and settled on the zebra-print. Not only does it reflect my original training as a Zoologist, but it also reflects the black-and-white nature of BPD.

I've had some fun with my writing today, although I haven't particularly added to my word count. I spent a couple of hours making a paper Scrabble board! The two central characters in Agoraphobics Anonymous play each other online, and I needed to work out what words they could play whilst chatting to each other. I'm very particular about details, so I didn't want to write down "newels" gave a score of 12, when actually it gives a score of something else....I also wanted to make sure nobody could turn around and say "but you've used 7 letter "s"s and there's only 6 available". I'm a great one for minutiae!

Now I'm going to spend a couple of hours attempting to learn the drums....I'm determined that I'll be able to play a "knock-out drum solo" in 3 weeks. It might not be a very long solo, but I want it to sound and look impressive. I just don't think it's possible to fake playing the drums onstage! I don't have a drumkit (that arrives at tomorrow night's rehearsal) but I have sticks and things to hit - namely the sofa, a large book and my thighs! Let's get ready to rock!

Saturday, 18 August 2012

The unexpected jalapeno peppers in life...

I started writing this post a few days ago but my computer is on go-slow/crash every five minutes mode. I can't work out if it's the computer itself, or my new internet provider. It keeps freezing up when I'm browsing online. Big Toots is rather disappointed because she was in the middle of a new Moshi Monster SuperMoshi Mission (if  you have Toots of your own, you'll know what I'm talking about!). Even though I closed the browsing session, I still have the sound effects ten minutes later! So I'm writing to the accompaniment of a creaking, dripping, ghost ship......

But it illustrates the point of my post - life sometimes throws you an unexpected jalapeno pepper. Let me explain....

At 40,000-something words, I FINALLY wrote my panic pizza chapter. It's a chapter I first researched about 8 months ago, and I've been saying "next chapter, next chapter" since chapter 3. Halfway into the book, it's finally written.

What's a panic pizza? Well, it's a way of looking at anxiety in general. You can't deal with all the anxiety in one, big lump. You need to cut it into small slices and then deal with them one bite at a time. Angie and David both have to identify the "slices" of anxiety in their life - something they're both finding nearly impossible. David, whilst trying to eat a too big slice of real pizza (to illustrate the point), came across an unexpected jalapeno pepper....much like me and my computer today!

David knew how to deal with the real pepper (a glass of milk) - but it'll be interesting to see how he and Angie deal with the metaphorical jalapenos in their recoveries. They'd better get a move on though - they'll be meeting up in another 20,000 words!

Saturday, 4 August 2012


...slowly but surely, Agoraphobics Anonymous is taking shape.

The past couple of chapters haven't been pleasant ones to write - a suicide, an alcoholic with bipolar disorder crashing and burning....but that's the stark reality of life with mental ill-health. Not everyone is going to be lucky enough to recover and get to a point where they're happy with their life.

I look outside on this glorious, sunny summer afternoon and thank God I was never successful at my umpity-dozen suicide attempts. I look at photos of Big Toots and Little Tootsie, plus Lovely Boyfriend, and smile. No, I'm not working despite the DWP's best efforts, and I'm having to scrape by on £71 a week, but I've worked out how my head works and I manage my condition the best way I can.

But there are millions of people out there who are depressed, suicidal or just plain miserable about their lives. Not all my fictional characters will have a happy ending, but I hope that healthy people reading about their journies will take the time to think about a friend or loved one who isn't well. Mental ill-health isn't about poor will-power, or a lack of's an illness and deserves as much support as any other illness. You wouldn't tell someone with cancer to "just buck up" so don't do it to someone with chronic depression.

I promise to keep writing about mental ill-health until I run out of conditions to cover. And I hope people will keep reading the stories and develop a better understanding of everything involved.

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Good news....

....I have had a request from a publisher for the full manuscript of Hospital Corners! It's my first positive response and I'm over the moon. In fact, I have butterflies the size of vampire bats swooping around my stomach whenever I think about a real, live (well, obviously...) commissioning editor reading MY book!

It's a wonderful boost to my confidence after 16 outright rejections and a spell of not knowing where to take Agoraphobics Anonymous. I still don't know exactly what I'm going to write next, but I know I'm going to keep on writing because I must be doing SOMETHING right!

I've taken two weeks off from any kind of writing as it's the summer holidays and Big Toots and Little Tootsie were staying with me all last week. We had a blast with our local church summer mission and Lovely Boyfriend. But Lovely Boyfriend goes back offshore today, and the Toots are on holiday with Granny and Grandad for a week, so it's fingers at the ready for some fast and furious writing sessions. I'll hopefully keep you all posted on the progress over the next two weeks.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

30,000 and counting...

....22 chapters and I have a clearer idea where things are going for Angie, Ryan, David and the rest of the group. 

I realised, chatting with Lovely Boyfriend one night, that I was running the risk of turning my novel into a self-help guide to the 12-steps and CBT. That's not what I set out to write! So, after a couple of hours on the phone, I came up with a vague idea that has now started cementing itself in actual words. There's still some way to go (I've probably got to go back to some earlier chapters and tweak things, as you do when you suddenly develop a new plotline) but there's actually some light at the end of the tunnel. 

I was really starting to panic about where I was taking my characters and what they were going to do for the next 30,000 words. I still don't have the fine details worked out (I don't have chapter outlines like I did for Hospital Corners and my NaNovel effort), but I have a STORY which is what counts.

It's not going to be pretty, but that's what first drafts are all about! And it's not going to be pretty for some of the characters either - but that's what happens with mental ill-health. Not everyone in the group is going to get better. And it's often the people who least expect....

I'll be very much a part-time writer again over the next few weeks (which is typical, when I actually have an idea of where to go!) because it's the summer holidays and I have two small Tootsies to entertain. The weather has improved today, so we've been exploring the gardens of our local National Trust property and discovering a roosting bat (well spotted Big Toots!). However, rest assured that my brain is ticking over the Agoraphobics Anonymous characters as I go about my own life.

Friday, 6 July 2012

The wheels are churning....

...ever so slowly, Agoraphobics Anonymous is pulling itself out of the bog of "what the hell do I write now" and into the land of "Ping! That's a good idea".

I haven't even been able to call myself a part-time writer these past few weeks, I've been so busy with getting on with the other bits of my life. Blame Lovely Boyfriend for one. The school holidays for another. Me being stuck about what to write for three. Benefits issues, mediation appointments and general all-round slowness of ex-hub to do ANYTHING I ask him too.....sigh.....but progress is slowly getting made.

But it's no wonder that some days I just want to hide under the duvet and wait for the sun to go down...not that I've been able to see much sunlight through the persistent grey clouds! Apart from the one day last week, where Lovely Boyfriend and I took a picnic into a stone circle, spent an hour lazing in the only sun we'd seen for weeks, and ended up looking like a set of red, stripey bookends where the sun had burnt our faces around our glasses....oh deary, deary me.

However, today I made the supreme effort to: a) get out of bed at a reasonable time; b) do all the housework/chores I've been ignoring for the past week; and c) WRITE something. ANYTHING. And the result is seven hours of computer time reviewing, tweaking, re-writing, and newly writing to bring the chapter total to 19. Something like 27000 words now exist where, a year ago, there was nothing but a vague idea for a title and two characters. I hope to get a bit more finished tomorrow before I'm invaded by Big and Little Tootsies. They've spent a week with their Dad and assorted Grandparents, hopefully not getting too flooded out.....I'm sure I'll hear all about it tomorrow!

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Once again...

...profuse apologies from a Part-Time Writer who appears to be getting more and more part-time!  All I can ask is your patience as I battle my way through depression brought about by the DWP and their decision to cut my benefits by more than half.

At the moment, my time is spent in two ways:

1. Curling up under the duvet in an attempt to spend no money on food or electricity.
2. On the computer; not writing but frantically searching for a job that meets my requirements for living a happy life, and not one where I'm contemplating cutting my wrists with the food processor blades.

Saying that, I did work out a brief outline for the next four or five chapters of Agoraphobics Anonymous and I started work on the next chapter yesterday (whilst simultaneously praying for my car to pass its MOT - it didn't, but thankfully it was only £90.85 in total to get the MOT and repairs necessary). Because the group follows the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous (indeed, any Anonymous group), I'm writing a few chapters based on Step 2 - finding a Higher Power to believe in. David and Angie are pairing up to discuss their own particual beliefs and finding they enjoy each others virtual company (even though they have vastly different Higher Powers to look up to).  Poor old Ryan is sitting nearby, feigning interest in his book, while Angie ignores him in favour of her new friend. 

Coming up soon is a neat little idea I discovered in my research: The Panic Pizza. Great idea, but poor old Ryan's going to walk away from the evening feeling rather sad.

Thursday, 31 May 2012

20,000 words and counting...

..well, I've broken the 20,000 word barrier with Agoraphobics Anonymous at long last!  Blame the gorgeous weather and even more gorgeous Lovely Boyfriend for the sloth-like speed! We've been making the most of the sunshine - taking Mad Mutt out for some lovely walks around the Angus countryside and turning my garden into a garden (rather than a place where wild bushes grow).  But it's now turned back to true Scottish weather and I can concentrate on writing again.  It's not raining in the traditional sense; it's just the air is full of water.....

So - where do I stand with the writing?  Hospital Corners has been rejected by all 15 agencies I sent it to, and I'm going to start preparing the next round of submissions next week (once Lovely Boyfriend has disappeared back to his oil rig).  Once I've been rejected by all the agencies, I'll turn to small publishers and then to self-publishing.  The publishing world is full of people like me - first time authors with a manuscript and social network connections.  Self publishing is taking off with the likes of Kindle offering free/cheap books....the days of advances and signing fees are over for Miss Joe Average.  So I'll offer my work to the big, bad world by myself and keep trying with the next book.  That doesn't mean I wouldn't accept a big, fat advance cheque and contract from an agent/publisher though!
Agoraphobics Anonymous - I've looked at all my research notes and now I need to start linking the sections together in a vaguely logical way, without tying myself down too much.  I've written a fun "Socratic Dialogue" chapter but now I want to move onto the relationship between Angie and David rather than Angie and Ryan....that's what the SP promises and that's what I shall deliver!  It's a fine line between walking the characters through the necessary therapy and over-egging the pudding and writing a self-help book.  That's not my intention so I shall be working hard over the next couple of weeks to get the characters talking to me again. 

That's if a new idea doesn't take over first.  I had a dream the other night which has definite possibilities as a story....possibly a longish short story or novella rather than a full length book, but it's a great little idea and I'm glad I wrote it down before it disappeared on me!  A lot of research will be needed, this space!

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Apologies for my absence...'s been a few weeks since I last posted and it's all been down to the DWP.  I've been super-stressed about having to appeal their decision, and it doesn't help that other benefits have now been stopped because I'm not "entitled" to ESA.  So - no Income Support and, as a domino effect, no Housing or Council Tax benefit, which meant a letter from the Council demanding rent payments from this I spent much of last week either in bed or curled up on the sofa.  I still don't have a solution to the problem, but I've done all I can (sent in an appeal - which means a tribunal in 2 to 6 months time.  But it also means I get placed onto an assessment rate and can re-start Income Support etc). 

Anyway - this is a writing blog so what have I been writing?  Not much.  My confidence took a mighty knock when BOTH books went crashing out of MAYhem in the first round.  However, I started reading Ag Anon again yesterday, re-writing bits here and there.  I also have another bit of the plot sewn up - the reason why David is paranoid about spiders.  It was one of those things I threw in out of nowhere, so I'm pleased I've managed to come up with a reason! 

I'm off to take a look at chapters 6 onwards before deciding what happens next. 

Friday, 27 April 2012

Fresh panic...

....according to a 20 minute interview with a nurse who didn't have any of my medical records and hadn't spoken to my psychiatrist OR psychologist, I'm fit for work.  The fact I go to the supermarket means I'm able to cope with unplanned changes....if anyone can work that one out, please let me know!  And, despite the fact Lovely Boyfriend had to drive me to the assessment centre, I'm able to go to unknown places on my own!  Grr.... 

Combined with some grumblings with ex-hubby, it's meant another week of not much writing.  However, I've now entered Agoraphobics Anonymous into Mayhem (a fun competition on Authonomy where something like 120 books battle it out to see which one gets the most votes).  I'd already entered Hospital Corners, but we were running short in a couple of groups and I volunteered Ag Anon to fill a slot.  SO - despite all the stress and worry I have about things out of my control, I'm going to spend my morning working on Ag Anon, because that IS within my control.  Oh...and sending my psychologist a very long, rambling, panicky text message asking for her help!

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Panic over...

...the book, I mean.  I've finally worked my way through all of "When Panic Attacks" and now the fun begins!  I've typed up pages of notes about all the different techniques I think I might use in Ag Anon and I'm going to print them out then cut them up into the different exercises/discussions.  Then I'll be able to work out some sort of order for them to appear in....I can't have the anti-procrastination section if Angie hasn't been procrastinating over step 1 of her anxiety ladder; and she can't create an anxiety ladder if she hasn't first partaken of her panic pizza; and she can't do that until she' see what I mean? 

I find it utterly ironic, by the way, that the chapter I kept stopping at was the one covering procrastination! 

Anyway  - I'm hoping the toga scene will get written next week before Lovely Boyfriend gets home and I get all distracted through not seeing him for so long (2 weeks tomorrow - boo!)  Then I'll be taking much of the following week off as we're taking dog and caravan to Inverness for a few days - lovely.

Why a toga? Well, why not....

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

A day of rest....

...after a busy day yesterday.  Perhaps I was being overly ambitious - an hour of Zumba in the morning followed by an hour of dancing for Fame in the evening?  I'm very aware of some of my muscles today.....

Rehearsals are going well for Fame and the show is going to be a lot of fun.  A lot of hard work but very enjoyable.  There were quite a few grunts, snorts and giggles last night as we attempted a basic lift!  I must say it's nice to have an almost equal number of males and females for a change! 

How's Ag Anon going, I hear you ask (and if you weren't asking, well I must be hearing things!)?  Pretty well, although I've had to stop for a few days for more research.  I'm sitting at just over 14,000 words now, and it's all uploaded at
I already have 3 very positive comments and 4 backers (how many of them will be long-term remains to be seen!). 

Today I'm going to add in some emails between Tracey (the Ag Anon moderator) and Rhona (the psychiatrist who devised the programme).  If you've read Hospital Corners, you'll remember Rhona.  She was Esme's flatmate and friend during their nurses training, before training in psychiatry and counselling Stewart.  She was Dr B's mentor for a few years before retiring, and now she's helping out Tracey, a recovering alcoholic and agoraphobic.  She's also Ryan's Auntie R (although I should probably make mention that she's his Great-Aunt, seeing as she's in her mid to late 70s by this point!).

As for Hospital Corners - it's still doing the rejection rounds of agents.  I've had 6 definite rejections and can only presume that the remaining 9 agents are also going to say no.  In another 4 weeks I'll send off round 2 and see if that has any better luck.  It might help that I can now reference my latest book, to show I'm not planning on being a one-trick pony. 

So saying, I'd better get cracking!  And I've just realised that I made myself a cup of tea over an hour ago and it's still sitting in the kitchen.....

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Still researching...

...although I'm starting to get a stronger idea of the shape of the work Angela and David will go through in their bid to overcome Agoraphobia.  The people in Bath weren't helpful in the end, but I've got a couple of books of my own which are providing some structure, and I've borrowed a copy of Alcoholics Anonymous "12 steps and Traditions" because I want Agoraphobics Anonymous to run on similar lines, but with a heaping of CBT and Exposure Therapy on the side.  Agoraphobics Anonymous really is the place for those people who have given up hope of ever living a reasonable life ever again. 

I'm hoping to have enough of a structure in place so I can get back to being creative and break that first 10,000 word barrier in the next week...but I'm struggling at the moment with my own mental health issues.  I'm in the middle of being "assessed" by the Department for Work and Pensions for my benefits and they may force me back into work....I'll tell you - researching Agoraphobia has kicked off even more of my own issues!  Under some of the criteria given in these self-help books, I'm bordering on it myself!  And I'm trying not to push myself into doing the exercises in the place of Angela and David - I've got enough to deal with with all my other "issues"!  So, I've had a few days feeling rather overwhelmed by the number of things I "could" be working on, and wondering how many I "should" be working on....combine that with a tight rehearsal schedule for my next show in September and there's one stressed out chocoholic at the moment (never good when Easter is just around the corner and the shops are full of cheap deals!). 

Never mind - I'm hoping things will settle down in the next week or so and I can start feeling happy with my life again.  Poor Lovely Boyfriend has had to put up with many tearful sessions while I try and explain that even though I'm getting depressed, I'm actually happy with things...honestly! 

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Research Central....

...that's how it feels at the moment as I plough through various self-help books and websites in my bid to put together "Agoraphobics Anonymous".  I've just emailed a place, based in Bath, who specialise in treating phobias and OCD, hoping they can help provide me with some starting materials for this all important workbook.  I can't afford to get anything wrong with it!  Even though I'll have a disclaimer to say that the advice is not from a medical professional and you should always seek proper, medical advice, I want it to be realistic and for some people to possibly benefit from it in a small way. 

The workbook will cause me more stress than the actual novel, I'm sure!  I'm nearly 8000 words in now, and finding Angela, Ryan and David's voices easier.  Sissy is still very much an unknown quantity, but her input will be minimal and mostly in the form of being "Moderator" of the online support sessions David and Angela "meet" and fall in love in (although I don't think David's aware of how much his sister is involved with the programme - he thinks she's just being a bossy big sister, forcing him to "attend"). 

Anyway - I'll have to quit my research there for the day, as I have my own medical issues to deal with.  I have to get to Dundee for a medical assessment for my benefits....thankfully, Lovely Boyfriend is on hand to drive me there and provide some much needed moral support.  At least I can use my anxiety and difficulties in the new book!

Sunday, 25 March 2012

I'm a real author...

...I got my first rejection slip yesterday, and rather than feeling disappointed, I'm celebrating the fact!  OK - a teeny bit disappointed as well, but not devastated....really starting to get to grips with all my BPD therapy after nearly 4 years of it! 

Therapy is at the forefront of my brain tonight, as I muse over the next 5000 words of Agoraphobics Anonymous (henceforth to be abbreviated to Ag Anon).  I've decided that in order to draw my fourth necessary character further into the story, she will be the person running the online support forum where Angela and David meet and fall in love (and she's also David's sister, his only real point of contact with the outside world).  She will have produced a workbook to go alongside the forum, so I'm going to have to do a lot of homework into CBT and effective exercises for the pair to go through.  I may start each of the latter chapters with a segment from the workbook, which means I may very well have to write a damn workbook first!  I'll be collecting my first genuine self-help book tomorrow and I'll be picking my psychologist's brain at our session tomorrow afternoon! 

And, as an added bonus, I might be able to utilise some of the techniques myself!  I'm not agoraphobic, but I avoid places that cause me stress (because the BPD exaggerates the negative emotions, meaning it becomes "intolerable").  It makes going new places or for job interviews "impossible" (I'm using "" marks to show that this is just my interpretation of the situation - it would be tolerable and possible, but only after I've gone through the therapy!).  So, it'll hopefully add some authenticity to the thoughts, feelings and reactions of the two agoraphobic characters as they attempt to venture out into the big, bad world. 

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Nearly 5000 words...

...of the new book are written and I'm loving these new characters!  Four completely different personalities, all linked together in some obvious and not so obvious ways.  I've even managed to link in a character from Hospital Corners.  Not one of the main ones, but Rhona Ellingham, Esme's friend and flatmate and, eventually, Suzannah Bailey's confidant.  Yes, somehow the new book is also set in and around Bath and Bristol and I'm having great run reading aloud the sections in my best attempt at a West Country twang!  Thankfully I can manage a reasonably decent one, from emulating my lovely grandparents!

How's Hospital Corners faring in the big, bad world?  Well, I've had to email acknowledgements of receipt and nothing else.  I know it's only been a week since I sent off the first batch of submissions, but at least I've not had manuscripts returned by first available post!  It's a long waiting game now - one to two months of silence will mean I break out the W&A Yearbook and try again, with hopefully a stronger covering letter and synopsis. 

In my personal life, I'm rehearsing for Les Miserable at my old school (back-room back-up chorus!) and we've now settled on a show for LAMS - Fame!  Workshop/auditions are on Sunday so I'm off to the lovely land of YouTube to find the song and lyrics to prepare!

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

We have lift off...

...Agoraphobics Anonymous has made it from brain to paper.  Well, the first chapter and a bit anyway.  It's amazing how my brain has suddenly kicked into writing mode again!  And the characters are already leading me down some completely unexpected but exciting paths.

Angela - the lead female is seriously agoraphobic.  She lives within 32 square feet of her house, too terrified to even sleep in her bedroom for the memories.  Something happened to her when she was 19, something that kick-started her agoraphobia...

Ryan - the long-suffering postie.  He'll be key to Angela's recovery.

David - the male lead who's agoraphobic, but not to such a great extent as Angela.  He can go out of the house with his sister.  Surprisingly, he's just turned into a recovering drug addict.

Sissy - David's big sis, and a nurse. 

Them's the main cast.  Like Hospital Corners, the story will alternate between the different POV's as Angie and Dave struggle to overcome their conditions in order to meet in person, after falling in love over the internet. 

Monday, 19 March 2012

I need a theme song....

...OK, maybe not a theme song, but an idea of "theme" and what mine is.

BPD can make life really frustrating.  I'd never be any good in a book group because I never read books with a view to interpreting the subtext.  I read for enjoyment.  I read for a good story, for characters I can empathise with.  To me, Animal Farm will always be a nice little story about animals taking over a farm.  S*d the Russian Revolution!

I think I only passed English exams because we spent hours dissecting themes and subplots/subtext etc as a class.  I.e. the teacher told us what it was about and then we wrote down what he said. 

Now I'm struggling to articulate what my themes are for Hospital Corners.  Deep down, I know they're there and roughly what they are, but getting them written down in plain English...bah!  I've asked for help from my Authonomy buddies, and will let you know if I ever get beyond the following:

1.  It's not mental's mental hell.
2. Don't judge people by their outward appearance.
3. Sometimes things are simpler than they first appear; sometimes they're more complicated.  Sometimes they're both at the same time.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

To joke or not to joke...

...that is the question I'm facing today.

Query/covering wouldn't think it would be hard to say "I'm looking for an agent for my book.  Any chance you might be interested in taking me on?", but oh boy....

After spending days going through QueryShark for ideas, I then read my W&A Yearbook and some more UK-based stuff and realised that the Americans do it totally differently (and it sounds a lot more fun!).  We have to be business-like over here....a simple statement saying here's my book, here's me.  I tried to stay all professional but it just sounded plain boring!  So I snuck in some humour...just a little bit to reflect my personality.  Then I snuck in a bit more and then I snuck it back out again.  Where do I draw the line?  I think I've picked the right amount...I hope so anyway. 

My OCD tendencies are having a ball today, as I work my way through the first 15 agencies on my list, preparing separate Word files for each with their specific requirements set up, all pages numbered in their sections, all ready to go....Little Tootsie helped me pick out some nice big, strong envelopes for the rejections to come back in :-)  If they send the pages back, I'm hoping they might have left some useful markings/scribblings for me to decipher and incorporate into further submissions!

On with the organising...I plan to post/email the first 3 tomorrow!  Apologies to anyone in Brechin who might want to buy chocolate; most of it appears to have made its way to my living room.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Count down to submission...

...6 days.

I promised myself that I'd start submitting Hospital Corners by the end of March.  Then I promised my psychologist that I'd start submitting earlier than that, in order to work on knocking my perfectionism on the head.  So I've made a pact with a fellow Authonomite and we will have submitted our manuscripts by the 20th March.  Start or spring and all that....eek!

I woke this morning feeling slightly depressed.  March is one of those months that brings me down for no discernable reason.  Maybe it's the changes in light that make it harder for me to get to sleep and then wake up?  I don't know, but I'm determined to work through it!  After an iffy start to the day, I downed 2 cups of strong tea and got to work on the book.  I'm happier with my synopsis (I'm now on version 7) and I've re-written the ending to better reflect what happens when someone realises they have BPD (based on my own experience, of course.  Everyone reacts differently but I'm assuming it's a similar thought process).  I'm a LOT happier and have drawn a line under the book.  Lovely Boyfriend has taken the 4th draft offshore with him to read and will point out any hitches as he finds them (mostly apostrophes and other assorted punctuation that disrupts the flow)...but unless he points something out, I'm going to leave it.  The book is not 110%, as I'd prefer, but it's 90+% and more than suitable for submitting. 

So - this afternoon will be spent waiting on Asda mannie and working my way through the websites of agents listed in the W&A Yearbook.  They all have different submission guidelines so it's important to check their specific wants!  Some want a one page synopsis, others an "outline".  Some want a full page biography, others a single short paragraph.  Some will only accept paper submissions, others email.  Hopefully 6 days will be enough time to research them all!

Thursday, 23 February 2012


...I finally bit the bullet this week and took a stab at writing my synopsis.  Something every book needs, apparently, for submitting to agents.  I've taken a step further in that direction too, by purchasing The Writer's and Artist's Yearbook, something I'll need to pick agents/publishers to submit to.  It's all getting scarily real!  I'm also working on my pitches/query letter - the is a great place for heaps of helpful (de)constructive criticism on how and how not to do it.  I'm going to edit one more chapter of Hospital Corners this afternoon and then I'll be working my way through her archives for more useful titbits.

For those who are interested (and don't mind finding out the ending of Hospital Corners), here's my current draft synopsis. 

HOSPITAL CORNERS explores the lives of two women with mental health problems, from multiple viewpoints.

Miss Esme Smith arrives at her local hospital on a winter’s night.  The hospital has changed a great deal since her previous visit, and she feels old, anxious and confused as she tries to make her way around the unfamiliar buildings.  On her wanderings, she sees other patients and we learn of their reasons for being in hospital.  Esme’s hopes of a short stay are dashed when she’s detained by Dr Suzannah Bailey, who’s convinced Esme tried to kill herself.

Suzannah has her own medical issues, but tries to hide them under a professional front.  She lives her life by rules and regulations, strict order and discipline.  It doesn’t make her popular amongst her staff in the busy A&E department.

Charge Nurse Julie Simpson hates the fact Dr B checks up on every patient and obviously doesn’t trust her to make correct diagnoses.  Dr Alex Stevens shares this frustration when Suzannah moves Esme from under his care.  Suzannah’s decision to retain Esme in the crowded A&E department is professional suicide, and neither Alex nor Julie can understand her reasoning.

Suzannah spends hours trying to understand Esme’s case, stealing personal diaries to help her in her quest.  At this point, it becomes clear that the other patients “seen” by Esme are actually hallucinations and memories of her own life-story.  Esme suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and has been in and out of hospital for most of her life. 

Julie and Alex team up, concerned over Suzannah’s disintegrating behaviour.  Alex reveals that he was once in a relationship with Suzannah, but it ended due to her Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.  He knows that Suzannah is only concerned with Esme’s case because she believes it will help her solve her own mental health problems.  Julie and Alex confront Suzannah, who breaks down and confesses that she, too, suffers from BPD. 

Alex persuades her to look at Esme’s case with an open mind.  Suzannah agrees and meets with Esme, trying to look at her as a face, not a case.  The rest of Esme’s life-story is revealed, including the fact she tried to commit suicide as a child.  Suzannah realises she’s in a strong position to recover from her condition, and is determined to move on with her life instead of denying she has problems.

Esme’s second husband, Brian, arrives at the hospital and explains that Esme suffers from dementia.  While Esme believes it’s a winter’s night, it’s actually spring.  When faced with Brian, she doesn’t recognise him, first believing him to be her father and then to be a stranger.  In the final scene, the only one written directly from Esme’s viewpoint, Esme stands up to her reflection in the mirror, banishing her BPD demons.  But as she looks away from the mirror, her memories fade and she’s left once more as a confused and elderly woman.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Things are going well... my little corner of Angus.  OK, so lovely fella went offshore yesterday (not the best Valentine's present - but he made up for it with a gorgeous necklace), and the diet is taking a bit of a beating, but I'm feeling rather happy with life.

I'm now up to 179 in the Authonomy chart, with 25 backers and a heap of positive feedback.  I'm about halfway through reading the book again, re-writing sections to tighten POV.  Possibly I'm not doing it properly, because I'm not finding huge amounts to re-write!  I'm quite enjoying spending prolonged periods with each of my characters.  Today has been the turn of Dr B; watching her journey from unapproachable, distant, snappy and stand-offish (OK, so most of those words mean the same thing, but I like to spread myself when not writing for a market) to human, fragile and terrified of her new life without boundaries, has been quite something.  It's Julie's turn next, which is where I think more re-writing will happen, as with Alex's chapters.  It's the "normal" people I have trouble with!

Next job will be pitches (again!) and synopsis, and research will start this afternoon into the murky pond of "the query letter".  My aim is to send Hospital Corners to someone, be it agent or publisher, by the end of March.  Wish me luck!

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

New ideas...

...are brimming.  New characters are starting to make themselves known inside my head...a new novel has started its process of moving from a vague idea and title, to solid people and solid situations.  It's rather exciting!

But first, I have to finish editing a manuscript for a fellow Authonomite (under 100 pages now!) and then edit/re-write bits of Hospital Corners and get it ready for submission.  I hope Angela, David, Ryan and Melissa can keep themselves busy at the back of my mind until I reach that point! 

Hospital Corners is slowly climbing up the ranks again, and sits at 207 this afternoon.  Mostly thanks to a couple of fabulous backers whose support means everything to me.  I'm not fussed about reaching the editor's desk (although, of course that would be wonderful!), but the fact these two people believe in my book means the world to me.  Thanks Richard and Bev.

Outside of writing and editing, my life has been ticking over quite nicely.  I'm over the horrible bug Big Toots passed on, and I've been doing my sessions at the gym with vim and vigour.  I've even broken out into spontaneous jogging on the treadmill, something I'd never have dreamed would ever happen!  Tomorrow is "dress shopping" day with the real Esme.  Not a wedding dress (definitely not!), but hopefully a size 12 kick-ass foxy dress to impress a certain lovely bloke.  Said lovely bloke gets home tomorrow, after 2 weeks offshore, and I can't wait for my promised "world's longest cuddle". 

Tuesday, 24 January 2012


...although I'm glad Big Toots is turning into such a caring, sharing wee girl, I'd rather she kept her germs to herself!  Day 4 of feeling under the weather...

I'd hoped to make great inroads into editing my friend's manuscript, but I'm not even a hundred pages in yet.  And Hospital Corners has gone back onto the backburner until that's out the way!  Sigh...

I had a very strange dream a couple of nights ago, that I'm half tempted to shape into something, although it's not my usual genre at all (reading or writing!).  A dystopian thriller/sci-fi that I think would work really well as a storyline in Torchwood....set either at the London 2012 Olympics, or a hundred years in the future.  If my brain wasn't stuffed with cotton wool, I'd be able to rough something out....but as it stands, I'll be spending the rest of today on the sofa, dozing along to a DVD and waiting for my nightly pick-me-up call from a certain someone.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

The diet continues....

...and the gym sessions too!  So far this week I've done 2 circuit classes and gone hill-walking.  The view was fabulous but my ears nearly froze.

I've finished reading through the manuscript for my friend and have made a few suggestions to her on how I feel the pace could be tightened up.  I've loved the challenge and can't wait to see the revised draft. 

I'm about to print out the 2nd draft of Hospital Corners and make a start on the next edit.  I knew I wouldn't be able to stop myself from getting stuck in earlier than intended!  I've had some good reviews and suggestions, so now it's up to me to really get it whipped into shape.  I'll also be working on my synopsis and pitches (shudder!) and will hopefully be sending it out to agents in the Spring.  We'll see how that goes....

Right - time to load up the printer with fresh paper and ink while I prepare my Slimfast lunch....then it's the hairdressers and a quiet night in. 

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Squiggle-eyed New Year greetings..., I'm not hung-over from New Year partying, I'm editing a 300+ page manuscript and I need a break for 5 minutes.  I'm clearly out of practise - I could read reports and protocols all day long, once upon a time.  It'll come back to me, I'm sure.  And I'm loving it.

A fellow Authonomite has taken up my offer to review her MS and I'm loving the challenge.  It gives me something to fill my time whilst giving me a break from Hospital Corners for a few weeks.  That way, when I take another look at it, it'll be with fresher eyes (and ones attuned to editing).  My next edit of HC will involve splitting the book up by character and reading each one separately, making sure I capture a consistent voice and don't suddenly have them knowing something they shouldn't.  I'll be tigthening up the opening, with much thanks to another Authonomite for his clear and utterly brilliant advice.  It's nice when a published author and experienced editor tells you the right words are there, just not necessarily in the right order.  Well, after this editing for a friend, I'll be putting HC's words in order!

That's all for today.  Other than to say that the diet has started (slipped today as editing and chocolate go hand-in-hand - no thanks to my neighbour who dropped round a pile of unwanted Xmas chocolates!) and I had my first session back at the gym yesterday.  Back again tomorrow before lunch with a new friend.  And then picking up the Tootsie's from nursery and school and hoping they've got over the present-fuelled buzz of Xmas. 

Happy 2012 everyone.