12 Books in 12 Months

writing books and blogging about it



Touch Typing

The other morning I forgot how to touch type. I don’t know if it was down to tiredness, or lack of concentration, or perhaps a touch of mild bubonic plague; but whatever it was I was coming out with endless streams of jumbled consonants.  In the end I had to start watching what my fingers were doing on the keyboard in order to get coherent sentences out of them.  Best administrative assistant / writer evar.

Any person who has tried to write 2000 words of fiction every day over a sustained period of time will already know that touch typing is A Good Thing.  It means you can get lost in the words, letting them fall out of your brain and onto the screen in record time without breaking your concentration to remind your left index finger where the ‘f’ key is (which defies logic as it is – the ‘f’ key doesn’t have that bump on it for decoration, brain, it’s there so you can find it without looking).

Probably the worst thing you can possibly do in a ‘forgetting how to type’ situation is ironically most people’s default position, namely to overthink it.  If you go ‘oh, I’ve made more mistakes than usual, what’s going on there?’ you start to come up with outlandish ways to explain your ineptitude, which then gets progressively worse because you’ve been dwelling on it rather than getting on with what you’re meant to be doing.

I suspect if you didn’t pay any attention at all you’d probably work it out of your system naturally, and as long as you proof read your correspondence with due diligence no one need ever be any the wiser.  Although I don’t know that for sure, because I fall into the ‘noticing and wondering what’s the matter with me’ camp rather than the blitz era carrying on regardless group.

And this, dear reader, is what is known as a First World Problem – I gather there are some people out there who don’t even have any hands. Touch typing is but a distant dream for those brave souls and yet they struggle on.  Presumably they dictate their novels to a secretary, or upload them directly to Audioboo.

Verily, this is food for thought.

Chapter One

If you click below, you can listen to me reading chapter One of book 5, which you may remember is about a wizard sheep called Ovid.  And a small boy called Eric.  And an as-yet unnamed dragon.

I wanted to do the whole first chapter but am apparently limited to 5 minutes, but it’ll give you the general idea.

Let it… penetrate.

The Ugly Man

The concluding part of my introduction to The Ugly Man.

If you listen carefully, you can also hear my mega-creaky chair complaining in the background every time I move.

A Reading

Here, for your delight and delectation, is a second reading continuing your introduction to The Ugly Man. He does have a name, but you don’t get to know what it is yet.

In other news, I wrote another guest post for Mslexia, if you would like to have a read.

Are You Sitting Comfortably?

A couple of people have suggested lately that one way to get more words done is to record myself telling the story rather than taking ages typing it all up.

Whilst doing the whole thing that way would undoubtedly end up as a rather mad sounding stream of consciousness for about 90% of the time, I think there’s a lot to be said for doing some audio excerpts. It means that interested parties can have a listen, and it’s helpful to me to read out what I’ve written because hearing it back will help me decide what works and what doesn’t. I also recently read an article by A L Kennedy pointing out that if you want to find your writing voice, you should probably try speaking in it.

So, here is a wee excerpt about Ingmar, a troll who looks out for our vampire heroine from afar. I think the introduction to his character works quite well in the third person, although at some point his internal thoughts are going to be put out there. But I’m not sure I’ll be able to do it in a Swedish accent without sounding like an awful caricature. At the moment I am leaning to having a different character’s voice or perspective in every chapter, to make it easier for the reader to engage with individual characters.

Incidentally I did four takes of that, so the notion that it’s quicker than typing is somewhat misleading!

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