Friday 28 August 2009

Friday Stuff

I'm taking a break from competition angst and enjoying myself. The new story is proving fun to write, it might be pants but I actually don't care too much, it's just nice to be creating again instead of worrying about 'getting it right'.

I also continue to be inspired by my new surroundings - the thatched cottage villages with duck ponds and lovely pubs and the plethora of Agatha Christie characters strolling the streets. Oh and the historian in me is loving the nearby ruined Wolf Hall and Littlecote House with it's suits of armour, resident ghosts and tales of the wooing of Jane Seymour by Henry VIII.

I have a budding rural romcom in me and since I heard the grisly tale behind the Littlecote ghost the stirrings of a historical story too. Here's a link to the ghost-watch report if you're interested. It's supposedly one of Britain's most haunted houses.

On the down side I am currently mourning the end of series 1 of 'The Mentalist' and the best alpha hero ever created IMO, Patrick Jane - so sexy, so arrogant and yet tortured and infinitely lovable. Until series 2 (or until series 1 is released on DVD) I shall have to content myself with internet peeks at the man (or is it the character?) voted sexiest man on US TV:

Tuesday 25 August 2009

The F Factor

I have been ignoring my writing rule number one (well actually I've just decided it's my only rule) - 'Don't ignore your niggles'.

I haven't been able to throw off an uneasy feeling about my competition chapter missing something despite getting good crits from people. I got carried away with knowing I've got the emotion, an alpha hero I can actually fall in love with (and want to secretly heal because of his past) an opening line I'm happy with and conflicts that feel consistent.

So what's the problem? The 'F' factor, that what's missing - that 'fun 'n flirty' vibe so important for Modern Heats. I think I got bogged down by my H & h's shared backstory, there is just so much emotion there that when they get together flirting isn't exactly on my heroine's agenda.

Now it is possible I can re-write from a different starting point and keep her antagonism further under the surface but I have to say I feel a little flummoxed. Suppose I put the F factor in and in doing so lose the other stuff I finally managed to get right?

I did start my new idea yesterday, just to have a standby in case I can't make MM work but given I spent ages thrashing out my conflicts for Maverick Millionaire all I can say is thank goodness the deadline is a while off.

How do people manage to write four of these a year and get them right???

Need chocolate :-(

Thursday 20 August 2009

How to open doors and other useful tips

I have now moved on to 'Secret Billionaire'. Yes, really! (Just in case there are any lurking doubters out there) And have been doing some research about my hero's undercover job as a doorman. I realise this might sound like more procrastination but it's actually helped me overcome my mental block about the story.
I was reading some interesting posts from hotel doormen about what they love and hate about their jobs when I clicked on an question in my google results - 'How do you open a door?' Yes, someone actually spent a couple of minutes of their time logging on to to type in a question asking how to open a door. 
Were they just testing to see if anyone would answer them? (They did, requesting more details about the model of door, type of handle, angles... Sorry, drifted off to sleep at that point).
How sad is it to sit at your computer spending a valuable portion of your time writing about opening doors? Err, right, on that note it's time I went off to do something more useful instead :-)

Tuesday 18 August 2009

The joy of polishing (or should that be procrastinating?)

I love polishing. Not the housework variety, because despite having been paid good money for my household tips (the husband is still rather disbelieving about that) my real heartfelt housework tip can be summed up as 'Life's too short'.

However I do enjoy going over and over a piece of writing and substituting a word here, cutting a sentence there etc. In fact I suspect I enjoy it rather too much. Every time I read my competition chapter I see a glaring error and I'm starting to think that no matter how many times I read it I will keep seeing stuff I don't like and I will never, ever be satisfied with it.

So, I'm going to have to set myself a deadline to leave it alone to rest (or ferment???) and actually get on with the writing I'm supposed to be doing - the partial to send to Richmond that I have developed inexplicable stage fright over. Before Jackie points out (although probably not publicly because she's too nice) that I already set myself a deadline to move on to Secret Billionaire um, yesterday, I will quickly set myself a new one - before the end of this week I am going to start my re-write of SB.

In the meantime just a little more indulgence of looking for any lurking cliches or 'was's or 'felt's that might have crept in when I wasn't looking :-)

Before I get my duster out I just want to pass on three really good editing tips I read recently:

  1. If you write something you think might be unclear, it is. Big time. Change it or cut it.
  2. Make sure you've started your scenes late and left them early.
  3. If you find you've said the same thing more than once - choose the best and cut the rest.

Thursday 13 August 2009

The Name Game

Okay, I'm trying to distract myself from the fact my competition synopsis is still eight lines too long despite drastic pruning. The annoying thing is it was the correct length but it was missing character development, so I've put that in, tried to strip out external plot and...

So, I'm thinking about names instead. My hero was originally called Matt Munro but it was pointed out to me that he was a crooner who inspires granny crushes, not a great name for a Modern Heat hero then. So I've finally come up with Matt Marshall. Please tell me now if he's a famous porn star/mass murderer/fluffy cartoon character so I know if I can do 'find and replace' in my word doc!

I've also been thinking of a name for my hero in my new story idea (the notebook kind of fell out from under the bills and my pen just got scribbling, very naughty I know). So I want to take a poll - he's (probably) royalty in a small independent european Principality so I've been looking at the family tree of the Liechtenstein royal family (procrastination, moi? :-)

I have:
  1. Karl
  2. Josef
  3. Lukas
  4. Max
  5. Alexander
Any preferences?

Okay, getting back to that synopsis, honest guv ;-)

Monday 10 August 2009

The Look of Lust

According to recent research men spend almost a year of their lives ogling women - the average man stares at 10 women each day which has been calculated to take 43 minutes (how do they calculate these things???), so between the ages of 18 and 50 that will add up to 11 months and 11 days.
Not exactly unexpected news but what did surprise me was that women apparently ogle 6 men a day, spending 20 minutes a day on this pastime. Erm 6? I don't know about you but coming across 6 men a day worth ogling would be a freak occurrence for me (6 a year in some places I've lived would be a challenge...)
If Michael Weatherly, Simon Baker, Hugh Jackman and Rupert Penry Jones were walking about the streets why would I need to post pictures of them on my blog???

Friday 7 August 2009

More wobbly than a weeble

I'm currently resisting the temptation to throw my competition entry in the bin and work frantically on a new idea. However, working on the assumption  you should never make rash decisions (because they're often mood inspired) I am being a good girl and working hard on finishing the chapter. The notepad with the new ideas is still calling me though, perhaps I should bury it somewhere beneath some bills?

My only consolation is that while I'm being more wobbly than a weeble, weebles do actually manage to remain upright at the end of the day. I shall finish it, send it out and hopefully my CPs will tell me I'm being a muppet :-)
How many kids toys I can compare myself to in one blog post I wonder???
Anyway, time to get back to work...

Thursday 6 August 2009

Too tough to talk

A recent e-mail conversation with Jackie has got me thinking. What do you do when your hero is too tough to talk? My current hero, Matt, is not the type to ever talk about his emotions. He's got a hard edge and has had a tough childhood he would never want to talk about, not even to the heroine. I could make him but it wouldn't be in character.

So, my question is - is it sufficient to have his internal POV reflections and heroine finding out and understanding about his past, maybe alluding to it but not pressing him about it?

Bah, what can you do with these men who don't want to talk???

Monday 3 August 2009

Getting back on track

I'm back and determined to catch up and get myself into gear. Big apologies to everyone who is still waiting for emails from me, I promise I haven't forgotten you - I've just been a bit swamped lately.
But a few days relaxing in the sun, breathing fresh swiss mountain air and having a couple of relaxing massages has revitalized me and I'm now determined to get down to work, master my new software and WRITE!
I was relieved my experience at the hotel spa was faultless - at a different hotel several years ago I was asked if I was really sure I didn't want to swap my relaxing massage for an anti-aging wrinkle busting treatment! The cheek, I was only 30!
No, the only embarrassing blip to my trip away was at airport security when I was asked to remove my shirt jacket and had to mumble that I wasn't actually wearing anything underneath. Thankfully I wasn't forced to strip so my blushes were spared ;-)

Now, time to focus - here is my Maverick Millionaire, Matt (my comp entry hero), how can I fail to be inspired?