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12 Books in 12 Months

writing books and blogging about it

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procrastination

An Interview

I did an interview for the STV website yesterday, which you can read here if you’d like a little more information on this project.

One of the questions asked that didn’t make it into the article – possibly because I was a little thrown and babbled a bit! – was ‘what do you hope to achieve with this project?’  I found it interesting because it made me think.

If I’m being completely honest, I’m doing it because I want to be noticed.  More than that, I want someone to notice and go “hey, she’s good, maybe we should pay her a sum of several pounds to write some things.” In fact, I blogged on the subject of freelancing and its frustratingly voluntary nature here only a week ago.

I am slightly worried that this answer is too cynical for a quirky project like this.  I’d love to say I’m doing it purely for my love of telling stories, but I’d be lying.  I do love telling stories, but ultimately I have rent to pay. Sorry, idealists.  Having said that, I want to pay it by doing something I love, which is pretty idealistic…  Oh, but I also hope to improve my writing style immeasurably in a comparatively short period of time.  So there’s a less materialistic concern for you!

In news more pertinent to book  one, why do I know nothing about Ancient Rome?  According to the laws of childhood – as set out in the finale of the last series of Doctor Who – everyone does ‘Romans‘ in primary school.  So why is all my research new to me?!  Amy Pond is not significantly younger than I am!  I think maybe we did Tudors and Stuarts an extra time…

And it’s not particularly useful, but I liked the line in I Clavdivs that Livia Drusilla (Caligula’s grandmother) was once bitten by a snake, which promptly died.  Because she’s venomous, do you see?!  Siân Phillips did a cracking ‘evil schemer’ in that show.

Diarists

How many words are there in The Diary of Adrian Mole?  I have googled it, but no joy.  Meanwhile the auto-filling-out search bar function would much rather I was looking for Diary of a Wimpy Kid.  Which is around 20, 000, for those who are interested, and has a very yellow website.

I’m unlikely to find myself lacking the Caligula material to make 50k, but have been idly pondering that the diary/blog format seems to naturally be shorter than the average novel.  Bridget Jones, for example, is around 36k.  Diary of a Nobody is just under 40k.  I’m nowhere near either of those totals, mind you, so perhaps I should stop pondering and get on with it.

On which subject, does anyone know any good internet quizzes a crazy emperor might do?  I reckon he’d definitely have a go on the love calculator, which gives him and his sister (Julia Drusilla, the one he really loved – after she died he swore on her divinity and nothing else) 72%.  Pretty good.  Although Dr Love, owner of the love calculator, says the relationship would suffer good and bad times and that a lot of communication would be required to overcome potential problems.  I don’t get the impression that’s how Caligula tended to resolve things.  I think Dr Love might have been flayed.

Procrastination In Disguise

I read an interesting post on Nicola Morgan‘s blog today in which she was talking about research, and the fact that doing too much can hinder the writing process because you get bogged down in details that you could add later.  It’s essentially a slightly different take on my own advice to myself (as seen in the ‘about’ and ‘FAQs’ on this very page), and it’s reassuring that a proper published author feels the same way.

This is especially relevant to book one because obviously I can’t write from Caligula’s point of view without knowing anything about him, but I’ve got so much material to read/watch that if I go through all of it first, I’ll get to the end of January without having written a word.  Essentially, because I don’t know very much about him, or Ancient Rome, I need to be conducting light research as I go, but only enough to get things in the right order and the right sort of shape.  Then I can change stuff and add detail at a later date.  2012, maybe.

So there we have it.  Research is nothing more than an insidious method of procrastination, making you think you are doing srs work when actually you’re putting off the task at hand – namely, writing.  I need to nip it in the bud, before I get to the point of having 3 days left to write 49,000 odd words.

I’ll get on to it right after I’ve watched all 12 episodes of I, Claudius and read all 5 volumes of Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

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