about this blog

This blog documents my staying at home and writing (and the subsequent whatevers to that writing). It also serves as an online journal for friends and family. It is more-or-less guaranteed to be sans intérêt to most anyone else.

search

validated

validated xhtml 1.0
validated css
Powered by Pivot
thepowerfactory \a mark of quality
Sending news to Mum and the world since last week

2004 Reading List

Being a list of books read during the current year.
Sourcery
Hogfather
Moving Pictures
Pyramids
Soul Music
Mort
Faust Eric
Small Gods
Carpe Jugulum
Jingo
Men At Arms
Feet of Clay
Maskerade
Lords and Ladies
Reaper Man
Witches Abroad
Guards! Guards!
Interesting Times
Equal Rites
The Last Continent
Wyrd Sisters
The Eighth Colour
The Light Fantastic
Dark Side of The Sun
Strata
Only You Can Save Mankind
Johnny and The Dead
The Discworld Companion (with S.Briggs)
- Terry Pratchett
A Child Across The Sky
The Wooden Sea
The Land of Laughs
From the Teeth of Angels
A Marriage of Sticks
- Jonathan Carroll
Northern Lights
The Subtle Knife
The Amber Spyglass
I was a Rat!
Clockwork
Count Karlstein
The Ruby in the Smoke
The Shadow in the North
The Tiger in the Well
- Philip Pullman
Charmed Life
The Lives of Christopher Chant
Witch Week
Howl’s Moving Castle
The Magicians of Caprona
- Diana Wynne Jones
What a Carve Up!
The Rotter’s Club
A Touch of Love
The Dwarves of Death
The House of Sleep
- Jonathan Coe
The Empty Sleeve
Smith
The Sound of Coaches
Blewcoat Boy
- Leon Garfield
The River Styx Runs Upstream [Le styx coule à l’envers - Nouvelles]
Ilium
- Dan Simmons
The Black Book
Set In Darkness
The Hanging Garden
Hide And Seek
Black And Blue
Bleeding Hearts (Jack Harvey)
Witch Hunt (Jack Harvey)
- Ian Rankin
The Wish List
Artemis Fowl [2]
- Eoin Colfer
Smoke and Mirrors, Neil Gaiman
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, J.K.Rowling
The Shining, Stephen King
Eastern Standard Tribe, Cory Doctorov
Free for All, Peter Wayner
Desolation Point, Dan Brown
Darwinia, Robert Charles Wilson

2003’s reads can be found here.
writing
§
birthday preparations

The net is really like having one of the best encyclopedias in the word at your elbow, not counting a friendly sort of librairian, named Google, who is willing to run around and bring back the information for you. Want some details on 17th century church clocks? It’s in the British Museum. Seeking to see if my church tower is really feasible as a design? Well here is a similar one.

Countless material, too much to mention: how did people cope before the Net and Google?

I am busy revising chapter two. There are parts that will need cleaning, tidying, cutting, but this chapter is falling into place, and I am counting that it will give me the voice and impetus to move on through to the first draft of chapter three. And then four…

But not today. Today I must prepare for Kim’s party. Her 9th birthday was actually last Saturday but we’re doing a thing for friends and so forth tomorrow. I have put my foot down—I hope to some effect—saying, no, you are not inviting all your class when we agreed on three people (not counting the other three who will be coming, and Emiline and Nadja. But hopefully the latter will be able to help me stay calm). Then off to prepare party games to occupy them. Wrap pressies and prizes. (Mum, your packet and letter both arrived OK). Do some shopping. Tidy, clean and put everything away where small grubby hands can’t grab at it. Rent a couple of videos just in case. So all this means that I probably won’t be able to work over the weekend either… We’ll see.

mail me about this: top of entry | top of page
writing
§
three lines a day...

After five days of writing three lines a day, and not liking even that… Last night I sat down and wrote three pages (approx 600 words) just like that. It’s filler, not advancing from where I am stuck, but it was a relief to feel the words coming out.

So what is filler?
In this case it was a description of the town of Mouldburton that I felt needed to be used to sceneset before we get to the Police Station. Methinks that this is what is probably what is needed, more filler—if the worst comes comes to the worst, I can always cut it out later—but I believe that I am so obsessed with the plot points that I am forgetting the rest of the story. Which is, when you come down to it, filler.

While I have been dried up in this manner, I have been revising chapter two. As the voice in chapter one is totally different, and is not the voice that I need to cultivate at the moment, I will come back and revise that one latter. So looking at chapter two I realise that I have pages and pages of ‘filler’. It’s needed: to describe a place, set a scene, create a mood and so on. I must not be scared—at least, not yet. I also managed to work in a description of Colin. Generally speaking I don’t like character descriptions, especially books or chapters that start with them. I like my characters to be seen and described through other people’s eyes, and then by how their traits affect what they do and how. This also means that descriptions can be slightly misleading at times, or become clearer as we peel through the layers of different people’s views to get a new idea. So as Colin is the principal narrator I needed to let people see him, but without him describing himself. So I managed to slip that in in a bit of filler.

mail me about this: top of entry | top of page
life
§
a strange day

Woke up this morning with a headache. It clinged on for most of the day, get worse at times. At the moment it has calmed, but there again I have taken so many painkillers and drunk various things that something must have finished by having an effect. I have just checked the air pollution alerts in case it was that, but these are ‘5 – moderate’ on a scale of 1-10. Hard to tell. Air does seem a bit hard, but I don’t know if this is the headache giving that impression.

Went in this midday to have a last lunch with colleagues. I wouldn’t say that I was particular close to them, not in comparaison to other places where I have worked, but they were all willing competent people, and once initial sillyness calmed down everyone get on reasonably well. One can do worse. While I was there I had to retreive my unemployment papers back from MB. According to these I was supposedly serving notice from 18 July to 17 July 2004. And my hiring date was wrong. The guy at the Unemployment Office had laughed at the notice dates. Of course MB was most offended that I asked her to correct all this. And while I was at it, I asked that she checked everything, arguing that as there were already 3 mistakes, she might as well see if there weren’t any more. The guy who prepares these papers was furious, more probably because everyone knew that he had fluffed badly rather than because of the work to do. Well, he should have looked more clearly.

Apart from that, only wrote three lines today.

mail me about this: top of entry | top of page
writing
§
sunday

I’ve only done three pages today and it’s not going at all. I don’t see this scene. This is McHarry’s introduction, but that isn’t a problem, I can see him quite clearly, I have probably lived with him the most. Except for Stone, because McHarry came along about five years ago, whereas Stone has been around for twenty. But Stone today is twenty years older than when I first met him, so, in part, I’m discovering how he has changed. McHarry now… He’s always had this age. I suspect that at school, in University and even after, he always had this age. Just waiting to grow into it. For him, this story is how he grows out of all that. Just a bit. Stone doesn’t change. He doesn’t need to. This isn’t his story after all. For him, it’s just a bit of lark between jobs.

So I know where my characters are, and where they have to go. I know the plot points that I have to get over. But I still can’t see all of this.
. . . . .
Yesterday I noted down the initial Ideas for King Rodney III of 14 Upland Drive a companion story for Bill (Note to myself: I should translate Bill one of these days.) At the moment I just have the premise for Rodney. The initial idea is just that. It can be an idea, a paragraph. It can be a character or an incident that arrives fully-formed. It is not the story, just the bud of one.

After a time—for me at any rate—other parts fall into place. I already know who lives at 16 Upland Drive, but I’m not sure about number 12 yet. And other things like that. And so, somewhere along the line I find myself with a cast, a start, an end and a middle. At that point I can write a synopsis and get down to breaking everything up into scenes and chaptable chunks.

Then there is the blurb. This is very different to the synopsis. It is more of an elevator piece. For a start it doesn’t reveal the hook of the story, how it ends. I feel that it should talk about what drives the story. Often this will be the conflict that underlies the plot but it doesn’t always have to be like that. The blurb, in my eyes, is what would then push someone to read the story. But writing it first (even if I can change it as I go) means that I have that clear in my mind before starting. Of course, I can discover along the way that I’m wrong and that, in fact, something else is driving the story, but anything to get it written.

This gives the writing process as a nice clean line of: idea -> synopsis -> scene breakdown -> chapters -> blurb -> writing -> edit -> revise synopsis & blurb. Sort of like writing by numbers, no? I’m sure it’s all a lot messier than that.

mail me about this: top of entry | top of page
writing
§
chapter two

I have just finished about 24 pages of chapter two. If anything these pages are a little more dense than those of chapter one. This is a rough first draft, and these two chapters are the two that I had the best planned out, almost blow for blow. All the plotpoints are in there. Gramps’ voice has come over fine. Colin sounds right but his interior voice isn’t there yet. And I’m afraid that there is too much description in places—but not of the right things and events. This is all probably in line at this stage so I will panic myself at a later date. I intend to reward myself with a pizza tonight as I feel that this is decent progress. I know I won’t keep it up for a month. But if I get over the first humps and hurdles, then I know that I will get there.
. . . . .
Reading Jonathan Carroll’s “A Child Across the Sky” today. So far, so wonderful—lovely dialogue, lovely non-sequitors, lovely throwaway descriptions. These are getting better as I read them. I will never, ever be able to write something as accomplished as this. Ohhhhhhhhh. But I can’t put it down. Good calm evening in perspective.
Sweet dreams.

mail me about this: top of entry | top of page
writing
§
progress report

Chapter one in the zeroth draft currently takes 25 pages. There are a couple of passages that hold together (yes, at this stage, just a a couple) and these seem tell me where this chapter should go. In fact it is like no other in the book and needs to fell like a saga or Beowulf or similar. I managed to slip in two lines from the Scottish play (relating events outside when Duncan is murdered). This is the feeling that I want to aim for for it. The way that everything plays out here is quite barbaric in places, but it is needed to set the scene, and it sows a lot of important background material for the rest of the story (and anyway, they were barbaric, in a way). The question is, should I do the second draft on this now, or should I move on to the next chapter… Probably move on. As I figure that this will be around 30 chapters, this means I need to write a chapter every two days…

Quick aside: suppose that I do manage to write the zeroth draft in two months. In no way does this mean that the book will be written in that time. Rewriting and revision will probably add at least another four months to the program. I started planning the story in this form back in December at the same time as Juliet, using this to knock out ideas when I was too tired to work on Juliet. Parts of the story (Stone and everything about him and his kind) go back over twenty years. And the Police Inspector has been around for about five years. I shall probably work on Died when I feel this one is getting overflogged. Unless I do something entirely different. I had an idea—and this was really the ghost of an idea—about a King with a very small Kingdom. Something in the vein of Bill for a slightly younger age group.

mail me about this: top of entry | top of page
writing
§
dog-day nights

The French say ‘canicule’ for a heatwave. The strict translation of this in English would be ‘the dog days’, what the French, in turn, call the ‘Indian Summer’: those days at the end of the summer when the long hot days come back. They are called ‘dog days’, the original meaning of ‘canicule’, because at the time Sirius, the dog star, rises and sets with the Sun.
So we are having a minor heatwave. The capacity of the temperature in Paris to quickly soar is rather worrying. It goes from a pleasant 12 degrees to 24 and more overnight. It is as if there is no longer a temperate zone between the two. And once the heat gets inside the flat it is nearly impossible—apart from sleeping in the bath—to get cool.
So between insomnia and heatwaves, my nights are not exactly much fun at the moment.
. . . .
Up to 14 handwritten pages on Pirates, but this isn’t good work. I have got neither the voice nor the rythmn yet. Up to recently I’d have said that sunch a proposition was prevarication. Now, I’d be less inclined. The voice is the way that the story unfolds to your ear. All (good) books have a voice. No, I’ll correct that, all good tales have a voice. The rythmn is just that, just as much in the writing as the speed of the writing. So I plough on.

mail me about this: top of entry | top of page
un-work
§
just remembered

I must update my résumé now. Get it back online. More work.

mail me about this: top of entry | top of page
writing
§
pirates, pirates

I forgot to say that I started Pirates the other night. And now with today’s every cloud has a tarnished lining news, that means that I have 2 months clear before me to finish at least the first draft. Currently I am right in the middle of the opening chapter and am wondering if this would be better off as an epic poem rather than an ordinary chapter. Anyway I have written twelve pages of version zero.

What is a page? Stupid question, no? Well, I found when writing Juliet that it was convenient to write on A4 sheets in landscape format, and just write on the left-hand side. This left me the other side of the page for notes, scribbles, corrections etc. And this is what I am doing now. So I suppose that 12 of these pages is worth just 6 ordinary manuscript pages. And ordinary manuscript pages are probably half the size of real life laid out book pages. This then means that I have written 3 pages. Suddenly I don’t feel half as happy as I did before…

What is a version zero? Version one will be the manuscript that I will type in, so version zero is the first draft. I’ll then come back over this and integrate the notes, corrections and changes in order to make version one. I hope that version one will be very close to the finished document. This wasn’t the case for Juliet.

mail me about this: top of entry | top of page
un-work
§
the crunch

So that’s the noise it makes…
I dragged myself to work this morning after another hollow night. I say hollow as it is not fair to call them sleepless. I do sleep. Until about 2 o’clock and then again from 7 to 8. So you see… ‘hollow’ seems to be the right word.
I got the letter yesterday, it arrived at home and Ludivine signed for it. Last night I sat down with a couple of bottles of red wine and prepared for today. The first thing was a series of letters, the first asking not to have to work my notice. The other letters got more and more weird according to possible answers to the first. As it happened, the first was accepted. It took all morning, and the fact that I sat down doing nothing but tidy my desk. I didn’t even switch on the computer. The wastepaper basket is full, it was that sort of tidying my desk. I may now leave the company Friday at 6 o’clock and only come back mid July to collect my papers.

mail me about this: top of entry | top of page
life
§
recent books and films

Ludivine hired some DVDs for Kim last weekend. While there is not much to say about Dragonheart—which was a nice thought, playing up to Kim’s dragon obsession—except that there was a good story in there somewhere struggling to get out, and that I never realised that a smirking CGI dragon could be so annoying for something that didn’t exist.
The real treat was Shaolin Soccer. Words fail me to describe this. Football leaves me indifferent, whether playing, watching or overhearing dolts raving on about it. This film was basically The Full Monty (thanks to Ludivine for pointing this out), as Kung Fu footballers instead of strippers. It was completely unbelievable, hilarious (just when you thought that it couldn’t go farther, it did), kitsch, full of wonderful CGI and terrible costumes and make up (the girl’s shaved head? She looked like an extra from Star Trek). We all loved it.
. . . . .
Just finished Pratchett’s Wyrd Sisters, this was the best so far: the most accomplished, written, referential, the most complete. I also demolished Strata and Dark Side of the Sun. What was interesting in these two was that the idea of the Discworld was hovering there (in space?) before he started work on the series. I also read The Colour of Magic, Witches Abroad and Equal Rites. I am currently reading Lords and Ladies. And greatly enjoying it. Keep my self occupied while waiting for the executioner.

mail me about this: top of entry | top of page
work
§
The head executioner’s breakfast

If you really are to be beheaded, it is in your interest that the Head Executioner has a good breakfast. Else he will hack away and botch the job. While the sports reporters will just say: “Well, it wasn’t one of old Lefty’s better jobs and not a really memorable match, but he did break through the gristly bits in the end… ” it is nevertheless my neck on the line. And I feel that I don’t want it botched.
. . . . .
What really messes me up about all this—besides the not knowing—is the way that it effecticely ruins my summer with Kim. I had put my holiday days aside for this summer, taking care not to use them up in advance. And, because of the stupidity of MB and Hubby, I have been sorely tepted at times, days when I have come into work crippled with back pain, but unable to afford to day a day of unpaid sickleave… Just because I believed that the work that I was doing was recognised as possessing some worth.

If I get my notice anyday soon then I have 2 months presence left. That takes me to mid July. Right in the middle of my planned time with Kim. And, of course, MB has said that unlike everybody else she has fired, she wants me to work my notice. Even if I were to find a doctor who’d be willing to put me on paid sickleave—I mean two weeks backpain and sleeples nights is normal fare, it’s easier to give medication to hide the symptoms, than to allow me to get away from MB for a while. Putting myself on sickleave is no good anyway as all it does is extend the notice period.

I am feeling a bit bitter about this all.

Things are also complicated by the unemployement benefit rules. Besides the time-wasting of all the meetings and rubbish that you get called along to participate in, all the monies that you receive on leaving are converted to a daily salary equivalent. If all goes normally, I will leave with 5 weeks’ holidays, and two weeks (pro-rata) annual bonus. This combined with the one-week holding period that they instigated to cut down on unemployement payments, means that I will have to wait 8 weeks before I even see any benefit. Or, if I do find another job quickly, then they won’t let me start by taking time off to be with Kim.

Either way I’m fucked. This is why I am feeling more than a bit bitter about all this.

mail me about this: top of entry | top of page
writing
§
blurb for Died

As I have started work on Pirates, and in order to start getting things ready for the next, worked on the ‘blurb’ for Died today. Of course, this may change en route, but it is designed to get my creative juices going. So here goes:
. . . . .
The First Time I Died…

He is known as Mr Esterhaze, but that is not his real name. He is known for his magnificent puppet theatre, but that is not his real occupation.
Jill, however, knows the truth. She knows because her best friend is one of the little girls that Esterhaze has killed. And now they’re out for revenge…
. . . . .
Definately the sort of book that I’d like to read.

mail me about this: top of entry | top of page
work
§
lessons in getting myself fired #25

I heard a strange swishing sound this afternoon. It was probably the axe just slipping by, or possibly the sound of the stone running along the edge, making sure that everything is good and sharp and ready. In fact, this ridiculous situation has been going on for so long that I am starting to get a crick in my neck from waiting here on the chopping block.

That’s life, I suppose.

So, this afternoon MB called me into her office: the company will not be making me an offer to retain my services, after all.

. . . . .
What does all this mean?

Last Thursday, in what seemed a sort of panic, MB came to see me. “I have read through your resumé, she said, I think that I would like to make you an offer to keep you on in a different capacity. Of course, you won’t be interested.” I liked that last bit.

You know my point of view, I replied, I would be perfectly happy to consider a written offer. Yes, yes, she said. I will pass it on to you.
Friday she said, Oh, I haven’t finished, can we talk about this later. Fine, I replied. What about Monday?

Monday she still hadn’t finished and proposed Wednesday. I started to suspect delaying tactics.

After today’s short discussion that went nowhere—although we managed to finish on a good note—“We all do what we have to do.” she said. “Yes, I replied, you do what you have to do, and I’ll do what I have to do also.” Suddenly she was interested, “What do you mean by that?” “I’m sure that I mean much the same thing as you, no?” And I left her office. And called a lawyer.
. . . . .
I am supposing that, after a good weekend’s thinking-it-over, she thinks that the possibility of losing in court in 2 years time—that’s the time it takes to settle things in French courts, and probably the reason why this is not a litigatious society like the US has become—is worth her while if it means she can fire me today as she wishes. I have looked at the situation and sincerely believe that not only is the firing for the reasons that she gives not justified, but also that she has not respected the procedure. And so that I stand a good chance of winning and getting a royal 2 months’ pay as compensation for those heinous crimes. She has, even now, probably budgetted that cost. Hell, I’m sure that she has budgetted a generous 3 months, just in case. Which is why laws to protect workers here in France are totally ineffective and do not cause companies to hesitate in the slightest in hiring and firing. They know that time will always be on their side.

mail me about this: top of entry | top of page
life
§
goosebumps in the night

Someone remarked that there is a convention in teenage slash movies that the kids, when they get into the mysterious house in the woods, will always split up. This is strange for two reasons—everything about the world that they live in is otherwise identical to ours, except that while they are usually the ideal demographic, we have to understand that they have never seen a teenage slash movie, nor even heard of such a thing, and thus have never learnt that they should never separate. The other strange point is that no director has thus far (as far as I know) played with our expectations on this point, kept the crowd together, and managed to slash them all anyway…

Anyway, these obscure references were brought on by going to see Séance last night (‘Kôrei’ for the purists).

There were some wonderful creepy moments when the goose pimples rippled over your skin. But the central premise of the story was so disappointing—surely, like for slash pics, people have seen enough films to know that you call the police, the ambulance, anyone. You do not try to turn things to your advantage, nor cover up. The attempts to establish the motivation for not doing this were not credible either. While they said the words, there was nothing in their characters or past actions to support that. That said, I liked the film making, the rather dowdy acting, the creepy effects, but not the story. Shame.

mail me about this: top of entry | top of page
writing
§
And sometimes it all just falls into place...

I spent all day yesterday working on Juliet and then Pirates. Juliet, in order to get it finished; Pirates, because I had been pulling at the leash for a while now. Although I’d love to start writing I think that I need some more preparation, so I was writing out lists of info about all my characters: the four who are central to the story, the secondary line of folk, even the ghosts and bit parts. I want to get to know these people…

Around 1 in the morning, I thought I’d reread Juliet. I was surprised to find that the first chapter is not as bad as I thought it was! In fact it was quite good, and I even chuckled in a few places. What’s more, this was in places where I should have which I found encouraging. I will re-read the second chapter tonight and see if I have the same reaction.

mail me about this: top of entry | top of page
writing
§
well, I’ve got some good news, and...

Of course, I’m doing all of this to take my mind off of being fired.
. . . .
Yesterday—well, to be exact, the wee early hours of this morning—was a red-letter day. I finished revising Juliet. I also, very unwillingly—very, very unwillingly, even—admitted what I had been suspecting for a little while—since I wrote the synopsis in fact—that the structure doesn’t work. More than that, even supposing that I do get that straight, it definately needs a new adjective pruning. In places it is bursting with the things. Overwhelmed, drowning in them. Usually I let out a small argh at this point. Big argh.

When I restarted on this mess—last December I think—I had one basic guideline: finish the stuff. I started Juliet deep in that fury of righteous writing and have been ploughing on ever since. But—I am beginning to ask myself—how much is this finishing and how much is it starting to ressemble flogging a dead nag. Now I know that authors are susposed to get a form of post-natal blues, and depreciate all achievements. This is not that.

So, since this morning I have the pruning shears and metaphorical scissors and stickytape out on the typescript of Juliet.

mail me about this: top of entry | top of page
writing
§
at last some good news

Well, as I just revised the synopsis for Juliet I thought that I’d try and write one for Pirates.

This was a pretty amazing experience. I’ll explain why: I have been living with the idea of this story for a couple of months now, even if elements—the character of Stone, for example,—go back twenty years. I have been thinking it through and making notes, some detailed, some just ideas, but today was the first time that I attempted to sit down, pull those together and see if they made a story. They do. A spiffing one with twists, turns and surprises right up to the end, even if I do say so myself. It is a sort of cross between Treasure Island and Peter Pan, so that means that the Jonathan Swift elements have gone. And it’s all a much more a boy’s tale than Juliet which is much more a girl’s tale. (Oh, I’m sure that Kim would like them both, but that’s the way that I see things.)

The other thing that this has is that the plot is a lot simpler without the Y structure like Juliet. It’s also strange because I thought McHarry was the central character and it has turned out to be Colin. This is very nice, but a bit surprising.

Oh frabjous day!

. . . . .

Curious, both Bill and parts of Pirates date from more than 20 years ago. There are also some of Lenny’s adventures from just a bit later. I was thinking that I should get to thinking about Died as that hasn’t had 20 years to distill down to a story, but I had forgotten about Juliet which just came from the image of the horse waiting below the window in the rain. The first provisional title was The Storm Pony. Anyway, currently I have the first 2 chapters of Died very clear in my head (and Esterhaze is a very nasty person) but perhaps I should work on that like Pirates.

And then my great worry… what do I do after that? Oh there is that Dreamcatchers story idea. Perhaps I should also take notes for that…

Or perhaps just bask in the idea of the wonderful synopsis for Pirates for just 10 minutes more…

mail me about this: top of entry | top of page
life etc.
§
What is the most difficult?

Yesterday I had two strange experiences. The first was the formal interview required under French law before one can be fired. Surreal wasn’t the word. No, sick was more like it. You are being praised to the heavens to such a degree that it starts becoming suspicious, but you’re still being fired. I think that I would have prefered the treatment of a boss that I heard about from a friend: you were called into an office; he would have his checkbook in front of him—“How much?” was the question. And you collected your papers on the way out.

Then I tried to write a synopsis of Juliet. I consulted about 15 sites through Google. All explained in length how to write a winning synopsis that is guaranteed to sell your book. I imagine that the quality of writing and the actual book should also have some merits, so I took the titles with a small truckload of salt. What I did manage to pull together was a rather sketchy—and at times contradictory—structure and modus operandi. The part that I found the hardest was the idea that the final document should just be one page long. I tried that, it became a blurb, not a synopsis. Yet, all the sample synopses that I found online were about 3-4 pages, so I don’t feel bad about mine being in the same case.

Initially, Juliet has a complicated structure—a ‘Y’ shape. With two stories paralleling each other until they join. During the forks of the Y, events happen on one side and are paralleled on the other. To make things worse from my point of view, initially everything was chronological, but this made practically all the first scenes, rabbit ones and Juliet didn’t get introduced until chapter 2 (when reading this to Kim, she just assumed that Juliet was a rabbit too. Oops! I changed everything to start with Juliet and establish her first). In the synopsis this comes over as choppy. Now, of course, because of all that, I have severe doubts about everything. And it took about 4 draughts to get the beginnings of the current synopsis.

The fact that I’m trying to write the synopsis is actually good news. Thomas, a friend of Ludivine’s, knows the editor in the Children’s division of a reputable British publisher. I must send her over the first three chapters and the synopsis. Now, my reasonable self knows that nothing will come of this except a polite refusal letter in a few months. However, it is nice to know that I will get even that. It also means a slight foot in the door when Pirates (which will be better than Juliet by a magnitude of 10) is finished. And that could be fun. And if that is not the one… well there is always Died.

mail me about this: top of entry | top of page
reading
§
more book title complaints

Just finished reading The Wooden Sea by Jonathan Carroll. It was a great romp, and interesting twist on old time travel paradoxes and generally a good time was had by all. Parts of it were riotously funny: I burst out laughing when the central character met his father during one of his time jumps. Very funny, very well done.
The only bad thing about the book was the title. In French it is translated as “À l’aube du huitième jour”. Now this is a theme in the book, and so is not so bad as The Amber Spyglass being translated as ‘The Amber Mirror’ as happened for Philip Pullman which is plain false and inexact. What annoyed me is that Carroll could have called his book, The Dawn of the Eighth Day quite easily. But he didn’t. He called it The Wooden Sea. That is part of his creative process, the book title is part of the book. So why do translaters (in France), or perhaps publishers, change the title? Ludivine postulates that they are frustrated writers and so this is an area where they exercise their ‘creativity’. It could be an answer, but it seems like a poor excuse.

mail me about this: top of entry | top of page
writing
§
halfway point

I have finally hit the halfway point in revising Juliet. I have 27000 words under my belt for a total of 53000 (I just checked). It is, has been, and probably still will be, laborious.

I read a paragraph out loud once, then again. Then I check that what I actually said was what I wrote—quite often there’s a first difference here. Then I check that what I read was what I wanted to say—quite often I find that I may have made a slight mistake. Then I check for flow, repetition, rythmn, sound… Then when I’m happy with it, I also check that paragraphs and punctuation are as I think that they should be.

Then I change the typeface from the pleasant serif face that I used earlier, to a typewriter-like face, and change the colour to black. Passages that I had signaled as ‘in need of a re-write’, were coloured in blue.

Then I move on to the next paragraph.
. . . . .
The printer cartridge that I ordered has still not arrived. Of course the site said that it would arrive last Thursday. It is being delivered by the post and now they have a tracking system in place. It is supposed to be delivered to work which is in Paris, 20th district. The packet went to Gennevillers which is pretty normal. Now it seems to be in some warehouse in Creteil which is less normal.
Meanwhile printer output has gone from a dark silvery grey to faint pencil lead colour. Last night when I printed out the names of the new European nations for Kim to revise, we had to draw over the text to render it visible.

mail me about this: top of entry | top of page