Monday, 28 September 2009

Layer Cake

Okay, so this post isn't actually about cake, sorry! But I knew cake would get your attention :-)

It is however, about layering. As in how could I possibly have forgotten about it? You know, Kate Walker, the onion, and Shrek ;-)


Anyway, thanks to Jackie for reminding me. I got so het up about making all my conflicts clear instantly that I forgot about only revealing the upper layer of the conflict first - then I can unravel it as the story unfolds, making it worse and worse until the Black Moment hits.

So I pruned, shpuggled a bit about the fact my CPs were right (again!), dumped some loved text into my cut text document, promising myself I'd use it somewhere else. Sigh. 
And now I have a better chapter, one within the competition word limit too. In fact I'm in such a good mood I'm going to let you have your cake after all :-)

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Body counts

My body count (i.e. number of dead people contributing to my story conflicts) is really stacking up in 'Reluctant Heir, Passionate Affair'. A sign of laziness perhaps? 
I'm currently struggling with Bryony Green's comments on ihearts about the Modern Heat hero not necessarily being as tortured as other series' heroes. Yet how to balance this with making sure the conflicts run really deep? Should he be just mildly tortured?A little bit upset? I think maybe it's to do with a lighter touch. If anyone's got any ideas I'd be interested to hear them.

Anyway, so far this is the body count tally for my WIPs:

Maverick Millionaire - 1

Secret Billionaire - 1

Reluctant Heir, Passionate Affair - a whopping 3!

I do have several (now put aside) stories containing no dead people so I'm not sure why I've suddenly gone so morbid.

Have any of you reached a higher body count than me? Do tell :-)

Monday, 21 September 2009

Still here. Just.

Both writing and life have been like wading through treacle lately. My brain injury medication is being adjusted and the side effects are hellish. It’s making my balance problems worse and I'm having loads of accidents - knocking shop displays over, banging my head, breaking things and this morning shutting my finger in a window. Add a nasty cold on top and my grumpiness has reached new heights. The Wicked Witch of the West has nothing on me - as the man who parked outside our house and decided to empty the rubbish from his car into our personal bin discovered. ;- )

Which is why I was so touched when the gardeners finally drafted in to clear our jungle (very out of place next to the perfect gardens of St Mary Mead) bought me a present. We’d been chatting during the day and they knew about the accident but it was still a lovely surprise when they presented me with a gift before they left - a potted red geranium, a splash of colour to cheer me up, they said.

Perhaps I should get them in to help me prune my chapter? It was 500 words under the competition limit. I edited it and I'm now 1000 words over! Ah well, will have to sit down and have a good look at it. Or send it to somebody less grumpy :-)

BTW I take it everybody participated in International Speak Like a Pirate day at the weekend? In case anybody missed it, here's something to get you in the mood...

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

It's Official

I have crossed over the line from normal writing obsession and am now three stops short of Dagenham (i.e. Barking - for anyone unfamiliar with the London Underground system).

Yes, I am now as barking mad as our terrier who thinks she can scare off the RAF, currently using our croft house as target practice, by squeaking her toy.

It’s the broadband withdrawal that's done it (have now given in and driven to internet cafe). Without CPs and blogfriends to be my reality check (or, less politely, to tell me to stop being a muppet) I have even taken to dreaming about technical problems with my competition entries. In a dream last night someone lectured me at length about my secondary character interaction and the banter between my hero and heroine.

Angels giving me good crit or a sign I’m officially over the edge?

I suspect the latter.

In an attempt to draw myself back from over-angst I have designed a teeny little questionnaire about my current comp idea (please leave you answers in a comments field. You get a reward if you get to the end J).


(1)  Titles. Which option do you prefer?

(a)   Reluctant Heir, Passionate Affair

(b)  Hot Nights with the Playboy Prince

(c)   The Prince’s Indecent Proposal

(d)  To tell me to stop thinking about titles, which are irrelevant really, given you don't get to choose them, and get on with writing the damn thing


(2)  Princes. Compatible with Modern Heat?

(a)   No, they belong in historicals or Moderns at a push

(b)  You might be able to pull it off, AITE and all that

(c)   I’ve no problem with the concept as long as it fits the guidelines


(3)  Your reward. Would you rather… 

(a)   Have a date with George Clooney

(b)  Be analyzed by the Mentalist (aka Simon Baker)

(c)   Have a chocolate feast


Okay, so you might have to use your imagination to claim your reward but thanks for taking part in my poll and pulling me back from the edge :-)

Unless of course you didn’t, in which case you may find yourself reading in the news headlines that a mad hermitess has been found roaming the Highlands muttering about stripping out too much external conflict (not to put any pressure on you or anything ;-)

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Getting Steamy

I may have finally cracked the problem of how to make friends in a new community when you a) work from home and b) don't have any kids - find a steam room! 
Littlecote House (mentioned in my last post) has a lovely leisure club and I've taken to lolling about in the pool area while the husband goes and does very unappealing gym stuff. Every time I go in the steam room someone chats to me - I've had more conversations with potential friend types in one week than I had in a whole year in Scotland (I'm not blaming the Scots, I would like to point out - they just happen to be outnumbered by sheep in the area we bought a house).

The steam room has even given me some writing inspiration - a hot shot american tycoon was in situ the other evening, having been helicoptered into the hotel grounds, and as a result I now have yet another story idea with a very steamy opening. I can't possibly write another competition entry or it will start getting ridiculous - how on earth will I choose which one to enter? 
Perhaps I ought to point out that the tycoon type didn't inspire me in that way and my husband was present at all times!

I've also taken another step out of my hermitess ways and yesterday went to the Reading chapter of the RNA, headed by Julie Cohen. I tried not to be too fan-girlish but think I failed. I had to tell her it was 'Delicious' that had inspired me to write for Modern Heat (or Extra as it was then) in the first place. It can't be too bad to be told how much someone likes your books, surely? I hope not anyway!

Just in case this interaction with the rest of the human race has been too much for me I now have a break - we're off home to Scotland for a week to sort out the heating so there might be radio silence from me for a while. In all reality we'll probably drive the 35 miles to an internet cafe when the broadband withdrawal kicks in...