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12 Books in 12 Months

writing books and blogging about it

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Forest Cafe

August Thanks

Today is the last day of August and therefore it feels like time for a progress report.

I have just over 15,000 words of book 8 written in a delightful stream of consciousness that makes no sense whatsoever; a situation unlikely to be improved by the fact I have a full day of work ahead of me and guests staying in the flat for a few days who it would be churlish to ignore. 

I’ve been writing in first person from the point of view of several characters, and accidentally switching tenses all over the shop.  This will almost certainly make for a narrative that feels immediate and tense and worthy of all manner of high praise…  That or when I go back to it I’ll be so confused and irritated I’ll consign the whole lot to the recycle bin and try to forget it ever happened.  I considered posting an extract by way of example, but to give you a proper sense of the nonsense it’d need to be 1k +, which seems inappropriately long for a blog post.

I have mostly been writing on my laptop, which has been the case with the bulk of the project, although I did actually scribble quite a few notes by hand this month (how retro) and I also typed out a few sections on my phone in queues at the Book Festival.  To the untrained eye, I was the only loser who was playing on my phone instead of reading a book.  Little did the general public know that in a couple of years they’ll be picking up the very book I was writing on my phone from the festival book shop!  Muahahaha, etc.  Except they really won’t.  I can’t see book eight being my debut – not unless there is some kind of drastic book shortage that necessitates the publication of things that need so much re-writing it makes your eyes water. 

By way of research (it’s scifi this month, by the by) I have read half of The Jennifer Morgue by Charles Stross and the first chapter of Neuromancer by William Gibson.  Oh yes, I am that prolific a reader these days.  It turns out having a vast pile of recommended books did not translate into having time to look at them all – who saw that coming, after my amazing track record?!  The only book I’ve finished this month is The Moth Diaries by Rachel Klein, which is a good story but doesn’t have much bearing on genre fiction.  Not this genre, anyway.

Naturally I am disinclined to take responsibility for my own actions and therefore lay the blame for this appalling lack of reading squarely at the feet of festival season.  To be fair the festival has been very distracting, although it has also been amazing in terms of making blog posts more diverse.  In fact I would like to thank Andrew BlairEmily Dodd, Ruth Dawkins, Harry Giles, Bethany Anderson and Mara from Toto Tales for their excellent guest posts; Amanda Palmer, Rod Jones and Andy Stanton for letting me interview them; and the Edinburgh International Book Festival for having me along to an amazing range of literary events over the past couple of weeks.  All of you have made things a lot more colourful around here, and generally helped to set a blogging precedent I am unlikely to maintain.

Which is nice.

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Edinburgh Blogger Meetup

Are you a blogger?  Do you read books?  Do you like to sometimes talk about those books online or even in person, with other humans?  Then golly goodness have I got a treat for you.

Tonight is the night of the first ever Edinburgh Book Festival blogger meet up, as detailed in a guest post from Bethany at Subtle Melodrama on Monday morning. I’m going along, although I don’t know if I really count as a book blogger.  I sometimes post photographs of books I’ve recently bought or read, but don’t generally review them – I’m too busy writing my own.  To be honest I think anyone who blogs is more than welcome to come, as long as they have a passing interest in reading.

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What I Know About Creating Fringe Shows So Far

Today I have a guest post from blogger and Fest Magazine kids editor Ruth Dawkins on how husband Young Dawkins’ 2011 PBH Free Fringe show, What I Know About Women So Far, has been a definite team effort.

It’s not always easy being married to a poet. Young and I use up a significant number of babysitting credits not on romantic dinners, but on evenings in dingy pubs, where I sit and watch him reading to half a dozen people. He is always shouting ‘that’s a poem’ in the middle of our conversations, and rushing off to scribble down a phrase or idea. And we spend hours trekking around stationery shops looking for just the right notebooks, because no others will do (yellow Levenger – A4 – lined).

I have always consoled myself with the thought that maybe, one day, Young would write a lovely poem about what a wonderful and supportive wife I am.

In some moment of madness, earlier this year, Young agreed to do a solo show as part of the PBH Free Fringe. He may have still been on some crazy, slam-induced adrenaline high after his time at the Poetry World Cup in Paris, or he may have genuinely thought it was a good idea… I will never know.

All I know is that it has taken over our lives for the last couple of months. We had no idea what was involved (and I use ‘we’ intentionally – this has certainly been a joint venture). Doing a ten minutes slot at someone else’s show is one thing; doing a whole hour by yourself is quite another.

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36 Hours of Poetry and Literature

It’s all go in the Forest Cafe over the next 36 hours as 3 Bristo Place hosts a pair of epic marathons in performance and writing.

I had hoped to join in with the latter, ominously titled They Shoot Writers, Don’t They? But unfortunately prior engagements (work today and a mega exciting interview on Friday, more on which after it happens) got in the way and I can’t make it.  Still, I’m planning to pop in and out of the forest for the latter part of the event, and hopefully I will be blogging about it in a live stylee.

Here’s the background, courtesy of Rachel from Inky Fingers:

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How To Successfully Stalk Comedians

In this guest post, award winning author Emily Dodd gives you a taste of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival’s seedy underbelly – the twilight world of stalking.

I’m not talking creepy or romantic stalking. Successful comedian stalking is quite different; a fine art with the ultimate aim of making the comedian laugh. Then you have arrived, then you are funny.

I first started stalking comedians in the Fringe by accident. I’d recognise them and greet them like one greets an old friend. I was so ridiculously friendly that they were polite; perhaps thinking I was someone they knew but didn’t recognise. You could see them racking their brains trying to work out who I was.

A real friend, Vicki once caught me mid-stalk with Simon Amstell.  She edged away, embarrassed. I went to find her afterwards.

“What were you doing?!” she exclaimed.

“I don’t know” I confessed “I just forgot I don’t actually know him.  It keeps happening..”

Continue reading “How To Successfully Stalk Comedians”

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