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12 Books in 12 Months

writing books and blogging about it

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characterisation

Poisonous Mushrooms

Cats = Comedy

Lol. This post isn’t really about poisonous mushrooms, that was a cunning ruse to get you attention. It’s really about book 9 and why I’ve been finding it hard to write. I believe it’s a question of genre.

With specific genres, plots tend to come fairly easily once I have a character in mind.  The story grows up around the characterisation and dialogue – probably because those are the bits I like playing with most.  To give you a for instance, when I was doing fantasy in May I was given two character suggestions and knew immediately what I was going to do with them, so I sat and wrote it. 

Humour is not a very specific genre, and to be honest I don’t have a specific character in mind.  My vague plan was to write about the experiences of recent graduates living in the city in a sort of bubbly, chick lit way – Sex and the City but with real people who have real relationships, money issues, terrible flats, identity crises, whatever.  Not just any old real people, but real Scottish people. 

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All Made Up – Janice Galloway

This morning I trumped along to Charlotte Square once more to see Janice Galloway talk about her new book.  Following on from her anti-memoir about her childhood, This Is Not About Me, volume 2 is about her teenage years in Ayrshire and is called All Made Up.  I sense a theme.

The event was held in the RBS Main Theatre, and it was rammed.  The girl sitting next to me, who was writing about it for Three Weeks, had seen Galloway before and didn’t find this remotely surprising.  I sense I have been missing out – I came because the programme blurb looked interesting.

As the lights go down and everyone settles in, event chair Ruth Wishart introduces All Made Up as a book “where sex and music jostle for priority status.”

“And Latin,” Galloway chimes in.

This sets the tone, and leads the author into an explanation as to why she doesn’t see the book as a straight memoir.

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A Progress Report

Today being the 27th of the month, I am remarkably close to the half way point of the whole 12 books in 12 months fiasco (unless you count book 13, I suppose, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves).

Unfortunately this happens to be the point where progress has slowed down an embarrassing amount.  I ought to be basically done with book six by now, yet I’ve only written about 10,000 words.  Almost all of which is background and characterisation that I foresee myself editing down to maybe a few paragraphs in the final book.  It’s the type of stuff that it makes sense to know as an author, but probably feels a bit long winded and boring to the reader.  Pottermore, rather than the material a gripping plot is crafted from.

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Book Six Excerpt

This is an excerpt from what I’ve written for book six, but it’s really just background characterisation and I don’t think I’ll end up using much of it in the final draft.  Still, thought I should point out I’ve written something…

Nicola woke up with her face stuck to the cheap plastic keyboard of her work PC.  She rubbed her cheek to get rid of the indentations, but knew from experience it would take a while to return to normal.

The monitor in front of her stopped playing its screensaver, revealing a too-white document that was a mess of m’s and 8’s and ‘hn’s.

Still, at least she’d saved her story this time.

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What I Did On My Weekend (by Ali, age 25)

Given that I’ve just had a long weekend off work, you might be forgiven for thinking that I would have caught up on book six.

Sorry to disappoint, but I huvnae.  I wrote about 5000 words, so wasn’t completely bone idle, but given that I’m supposed to be covering the Edinburgh International Film Festival for The Edinburgh Reporter over the next couple of weeks on top of work (and blogging, job applications, etc – you know the drill by now) it probably wasn’t the best way to go.

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Journalists Wanted

Are you a journalist?  Have you ever known or worked with journalists?

Then I need your help.

My sixth book this year is about the staff of a recently shut down local newspaper deciding to start up a zeitgeisty current affairs stroke gossip website, probably called something like ‘Michty!’ (the genre for this one is Scottish), and getting it terribly wrong.  With hilarious consequences, of course.

I am hoping to gather some anecdotal research, which is where you come in.

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