Saturday, 24 October 2009

Competition Obsessive Disorder

If you've entered the Mills and Boon competition or are just about to, then the above condition requires no further explanation.
Symptoms may include muttering about internal conflict in your sleep or trying to explain the 'action and reaction' thing (explained so beautifully by Jackie) to non writing 'civilians'.

Distractions from Competition Obsessive Disorder to date:
  1. A baby cold picked up in Liverpool that has now grown to the kind of monster proportions favoured by King Kong, Godzilla et al.
  2. A bizarre accident involving the leg of the ironing board and my nose (don't ask).
  3. Listening to "Passion" by Louise Bagshawe, so utterly engaging that my own writing feels even more hobbyish than usual.
  4. Remembering there are things other than writing that matter in life. Like

Tuesday, 20 October 2009


My days in Liverpool were surreal. Every taxi driver was Jim Royale from 'The Royale Family' and insisted on giving me a detailed history of each building we passed. The tests (so tiring I actually fell asleep on the desk at one point during a break) were at times a bizarre mix of 'The Generation Game' meets 'Who wants to be a Millionaire' but sadly without any prizes :-(

After being shown 50 pictures of objects and asked how many I could remember I was so tempted to say "Oh and the cuddly toy, do I get the cuddly toy?" but I had a feeling that humour would not encouraged. Shame, as I was also tempted to respond to the question "Why do people pay taxes?" with the answer "Because they haven't got a good enough accountant!'

Back home shattered and wrung out, I'm struggling to gather my resources to rewrite my chapter. So I'm trying to focus on fantasy, on escapism, which is what my chapter is all about really and what I've been enjoying listening to with my Louise Bagshawe audiobooks, (titles including "Glamour", "Glitz", "Passion" and "Sparkles"). Her wonderfully written alpha males and exotic locations are an inspiration IMO.
I'm still waiting for M&B to develop an audio programme in the UK. If I lived in the US I'd be allowed to listen but because I'm in the UK I can't. Neither can I get my computer to read the ebooks I've purchased for copyright reasons, very frustrating given I have paid for them...

Anyway, I've  come across a real live prince who looks nothing like Prince Charles :-) He's HRH Prince Emanuel Filiberto, Prince of Venice. An exiled prince working in Geneva as a hedgefund manager (so says wiki anyway :-) There are a lot of House of Savoy exiles in Europe, plenty of fantasy fodder for my 'future heroes' file. 

I've also found a picture of my hero's villa on Lake Como. 

Yes, it's working, I'm starting to feel better already...

Monday, 12 October 2009

A Dickens of a Week

Ten days since my last post and what have I achieved? 
Erm, pass. 
But by bizarre coincidence I went to an RNA chapter meeting on Wednesday held at a pub called 'Great Expectations' and then a few days later had a drink at a The Wagon and Horses at Beckhampton, visited by Charles Dickens in 1835 and used by him in 'The Pickwick Papers'.
Is it a sign? A sign I'm spending too much time in pubs maybe ;-)
But now comes the nitty gritty, after some excellent advice I've realised I've made an old mistake yet again - making my hero do something because I wanted him to, even though if I thought long enough about his character I'd realise it wasn't quite right.
So, more tweaks and a note to self to really think hard about character before plot in order to maintain credibility. 

Unfortunately most of this week will be taken up by brain testing in Liverpool which I know will wipe me out but if necessary I shall revert to the Red Bull and sweets combo that got me to the RNA meeting, it's truly dreadful but as effective as a defibrillator.

Is anyone else still tweaking their comp entries or have you already done the deed?

Friday, 2 October 2009

A little known fact

It is a little known fact that marshmallows are essential for synopsis re-writes. Well the husband didn't know about it at least. In fact he questioned the need for the late night drive to the 24 hour garage yesterday, before going away for a business trip today. The accountant in him brought out the "wholly and exclusively rule"that's applied to business expenses i.e. was it really essential for my writing? I replied that it was and he said I was welcome to argue that one with the taxman should the need arise.

They are also virtually fat-free but it was decided, on balance, that the taxman probably wouldn't be too interested in that. Although knowing you're eating something that isn't too fattening must reduce your stress levels and enable you to write better, surely?

So, I have my marshmallows, and I also have a DVD of the first two series of 'Moonlighting' which I'm only allowed to watch once I have a satisfactory rejigged synopsis. I absolutely loved this programme in my teens and the banter between Cybill Shepherd's and Bruce Willis's characters is inspiring, as is the sexual tension between them.

Perhaps I should point out there are other essential factors for synopsis re-writes as far as I've been able to garner - a focus on internal conflict (especially if its Modern Heat), so a clear idea of what is going to keep H and h apart. And also making it obvious how they're going to resolve their conflicts - what is it about them that is going to enable them to heal each others wounds?

All in one page? What about a bit of external plot structure in there? 
Pass the marshmallows.