29/02/2012

A real critic

I wrote a short story over the weekend.
On Monday I gave it to the OH asking him to tell me what he suspected as he read it, and whether he was surprised by the denouement. His only comment when he gave it back was "Very good." Pressed further, he added "The man was a prat." True but not what I was after.
Next step - show it to M, my daughter and best critic.
She read it carefully and said halfway through the first page, "I think she's OCD."
I was afraid I'd overdone that sentence - made a note to change it.
Two pages later she guessed the outcome too soon.
A discussion ensued, during which it became clear that I had made my hints too subtle.One of my failings is to be so bound up in my story that I forget my reader is coming to it fresh, without my insight into the plot.
After a re-write, M's opinion was that I had succeeded in making my character sound more sinister, and the hints would now lead the reader up one or two blind alleys. Great - just what I'd been aiming for.
Sorted, sent off with fingers crossed.
Every writer should have a daughter like M.

27/02/2012

Last night

Apricot clouds silhouetted the small local mountain last night. The horizon was turquoise over the sea eight kilometers away. An hour later the sky was blue-black - night falls rapidly here.
The quarter moon lay on its back like a saucer without a cup, one bright star high on its left and another low down to its right. I must learn their names.
Someone was having a party - I think Barcelona won - and children were playing in the street, but outside the bar it was cold enough to need a fleece. The volcano might not have its usual February snow-cap but the wind blows bitter at night.
On my terrace one lone cicada signaled its solitary state. It's been doing that for weeks but there's no reply - has it mistaken the lack of rain for spring?

26/02/2012

New notebook!

To anyone who thought I was mad - I bought a new notebook yesterday and today I wrote a complete short story! Of course I'll have to look at it tomorrow to see how it can be improved, but I am well chuffed. It's one for the WM competition about New Year resolutions, so perhaps that's a good omen for this year?

25/02/2012

A bad workman?

Was wondering why my new writing had stalled. I've been busy re-writing, but even so.....Then this morning, on my good-for-the-arthritis walk, it struck me.
For years I've been writing in an A4 notebook, but a while ago I acquired an old ledger - a hundred empty pages of lovely old paper in hard covers. Couldn't waste it, could I? But it's too heavy to carry round so I've been tearing out the pages and putting them in a ring binder, which is lighter but still awkward.
Today's shopping list is headed "Notebook".

24/02/2012

No photos thankyou

There I was with a short story simmering away nicely. Thought a cup of tea and a biscuit would help it along. Sat with same on the terrace, watching cat sunbathing and wondering what it would be like to be able to rest my nose on my back feet. Took a bite of biscuit and - Arrghh!
A crown broke off. It's been in my mouth for 40 years (courtesy of NHS when my son was a baby) but I had no clue it was about to quit. It took the underlying tooth stump with it, and it's right in the front. Not a pretty sight.
First thing this morning we drive to the dentist - they know us well as the OH had major work done recently. They were shut for refurbishments till Monday. Probably spending the thousands we paid for his teeth.
So I'll be writing the story to take my mind off the fact that Sod's Law seems to have been written especially for me.

23/02/2012

Random thought

Having added to my blog, I clicked on "Next blogs" and over half of them were religious.
Is this average or should I take their proximity personally?

What kind of fool?

A recent conversation -
Me - "Have you seen the news coverage of Mount Etna? Those poor people!"
Him - "Don't feel too sorry for them - what kind of fool chooses to live that close to a volcano?"
Me - "Er - our kind. We're less than an hour's drive from a mile-high one."
Him - "Ah - well - now you mention it...."

22/02/2012

writing abroad

So here's the thing. I'm a writer. A good one. Unpublished. This is not a contradiction in terms, or blowing my own trumpet without cause. Many of my rejections have contained a personal comment praising my work.
  A couple of years ago an agent liked one of my books enough to sign me up, and copied me in on every refusal she got from publishers. "Liz writes well but..." was one common theme, and the other? "As Liz lives abroad, publicity would pose problems."
  Last year a literary critic read another of my books and wrote that it was "an extremely readable novel". I added his quote to a submission, but the reply was -  "Peter's recommendation counts for a great deal. Unfortunately we are only considering writers based in the UK."
  We can't afford to move back to England, so what's the answer? I wish I knew.



Rain please!

One of the upsides to living here is the weather. Well, usually! For weeks now we've been expecting/hoping for rain. Yes, I know - if you live in UK you can't understand why we're complaining, can you?
But we've only had a few showers since this time last year, and precipitation is our only water supply. If we get rain near sea-level it falls as snow on Mt Teide which filters through to underground aquifiers.
So while the UK is apparently about to have a heat wave, can we please have your rain?

21/02/2012

Carnaval

Another bank holiday - and you thought they had enough in England! This one is for Carnaval - (Shrove Tuesday - Mardi Gras in New Orleans) Which gives me a chance to get to grips with blogging.
Wish me luck - I'm new to this game!