Search

12 Books in 12 Months

writing books and blogging about it

Tag

WIP

#WIP: Book Five Excerpt

He hated the cousins.  They weren’t even first cousins, he muttered to himself indignantly, they were his mum’s cousin’s daughters.  Hardly even relations at all, really.

They were two sets of identical twins.  The oldest pair were Violet and Daisy, who were 9 and a half and enjoyed ballet, horse riding, and ‘accidentally’ setting things on fire.  The younger two were Jasmine and Lily, who were aged 7 and three quarters and mainly liked digging holes.  They looked exactly the same as their older sisters but for being a tiny bit shorter, and all four of them were the spitting image of their father – mum’s cousin Simon.  What this meant in practice was that they were broad shouldered, ginger haired, and decidedly abrasive.  They also liked to dress in various shades of shocking pink, which meant you could always see them coming.

Eric thought this was probably because they liked to give you a bit of time to start properly dreading their arrival.  When you saw the wall of pink tulle ahead in the distance, your stomach turned to lead and you wanted to run as fast as you could in the opposite direction.

“No wonder their mum works abroad,” he thought gloomily, lowering his head into his hands as they took it in turns to hurl insults through the door, “I’d leave the country too if they were my kids.”

Helpful Resources

Further to my Procrastination? post, I thought it only fair to put up some more links to interesting sites you can read on the internet instead of writing 12 books in 12 months.  I like to think that reading people’s websites is a bit like people watching, ergo totally like researching characterisation.

Well, I didn’t think of it like that til about ten seconds ago, but it sort of makes sense actually.  Anyway, get your eyeholes around the following:

Billygean – a very funny and open blog about living with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.  The writing in this is excellent – there’s no sort of ‘oh, poor me’ stuff to make you feel uncomfortable, rather it’s warm and engaging and often very funny.

Pictures for Sad Children – webcomics.  Funny webcomics.

Dystopian Fuschia – a bit like my Daddy Long Legs site, this has all kinds of bits and pieces on it.  The focus is humorous comment on telly.  Not for those who like Russell Howard, though.

Hope you like these, and have a nice Easter weekend.  I will be writing a bit (1,747 words done so far today), but I’m not sure how much.  This is at least in part because I have Stuff To Do.

To elaborate, for no very good reason, tonight I’m heading out to the Cameo Cinema’s second night of horror (which will run from 11pm till around 7am tomorrow); then getting the train over to Fife tomorrow to have a picnic in the rain with my family.   Sleep is for the weak, after all.

Oh, and I’ll have to watch the first episode of Doctor Who anywhere between one and several times.  Well, those sci fi and fantasy novels are due any day now…

The Ugly Man

The concluding part of my introduction to The Ugly Man.

http://audioboo.fm/boos/338175-ugly-man-excerpt-3

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.

http://audioboo.fm/boos/338172-ugly-man-excerpt-2

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!

Research

I’ve done bugger all research for this book, and as yet I haven’t had time to come up with any sort of outline, let alone a chapter plan. Nevertheless I’ve steamed on and written around 10k so far, most of which is actual fiction as opposed to stream of consciousness padding.  I’m not sure whether my voice comes through in the same way as it has done with the last couple of books, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

In the last issue of Mslexia, Susan Hill gave an interview in which she suggested that ‘write what you know’ is a load of old cobblers.  Who would want to read about the minutiae of your daily life, she asks. Surely the point of fiction is to take you away from such mundanity?  Writers ought to use their imagination.

A somewhat cynical look at the already fading Paranormal Romance genre may not be entirely what she was getting at, but a certain amount of imagination is required to write about a teenage vampire.  I’m not immortal, or overly sensitive to UV, and I didn’t spend those formative teen years sucking blood.  Well, not any more than is normal for young persons of that age range.  So most of this is going to have to be made up.

Still, I’m a bit worried about running into clichés.  The imagination is influenced by what you’ve seen and read, which means that the more research I’ve carried out the better because I can avoid doing things that have already been done.  Unfortunately I’m limited to ironic viewings of the Twilight movies, 3 episodes of Being Human, and half a short story.  I am, therefore, a mite concerned that my imagination will tread paths already trod.  Frinstance I have been leaning towards sticking a werewolf in there – like that hasn’t been done to death.

Unless I think of an original twist.  Maybe it could be a werewolf FROM SPACE.  M. Night Shyamalan eat your heart out…

April’s Genre…

… is romance.

Originally I had planned to write some kind of beautiful unrequited love story, but then I thought no, that’s altogether too literary – I’m going to get my paranormal romance on and sell 100 000 e-books like Amanda Hocking

I’m still going to include an element of unrequited love, though.  What better narrative reason is there to keep people apart than having one of them a vampire who cannot reveal his or her true feelings because he or she loves the other person too much to compromise their safety?  And what better way of gearing this towards a Twilight loving audience than have the vampire a fifteen or sixteen year old girl, loving a boy she can never have from afar?  That’s an experience everyone has at some point or another.  Well, except for the being a vampire part.

The only suggestion I’ve had for this month was that the girl should be called Jennifer and that she should work in a dog grooming salon.  I think I will change this slightly so that she has a job walking dogs, ostensibly to earn a bit of extra pocket money but in actual fact to help her blend in and feel more human.  This girl has teen angst to the max.

This decided, all I need to do is conduct a little bit of research into the genre.  An initial Google search in my lunch break led me to the Harlequin website (that’s Mills and Boon), and the rather brilliant first chapter of ‘Demon Seduction’ by Pat White.

Stand-out lines of exposition include:

“back then she was just a girl, terrified by Marcus’s demon cousin who’d wanted to slake his need with a human virgin.”

I hate it when that happens.

“Having been created from human ash of the Great Fire of Rome, Ash could assume human form better than any other creature of the dark realm.”

As documented by Pliny and Tacitus, no less.  This author is quite the classicist!  Well, that or she read the Wikipedia entry, like I did.

“His mission was to fill her with his demon seed against her will, the very act he’d defended her from when she was but sixteen.”

Is this a good time to mention that whilst I love romance, I can’t take it seriously?  I feel this will add to the challenge.

Some excellent dialogue in the tale included:

“Mickey, you wanker, what’d you do that for?”

Which I think was to reemphasise that the story is set in Engerland, and:

“Go find yourself a husband to take care of you.”

This places our heroine as a frustrated feminist trying to make it in a man’s world – we later find out she also wears baggy jeans and army boots.  FYI, that means it’s OK for her to become a sort of sex doormat later on.  So what if she allows herself to be seduced by a poorly characterized Ash Demon?  That doesn’t mean she’s conforming to a stereotype, if anything she’s breaking it by defying the expected spinster/dyke path.

 And so what if she flunked out of uni because she was busy lurking around in thickets searching for demons to kill in order to win her father’s grudging respect/love?  She doesn’t need all men to validate her, just her disinterested, misogynistic old pa.  Is that so wrong?  Of course not.

I don’t think this is quite the type of tale I’m aiming for, though.  The nearly having sex but not quite scene is right there in chapter two; all inappropriate nudey fairy statue stroking and nipples akimbo. Stephanie Meyer doesn’t reach that point till three books in!  I have severe doubts about my ability to write a non-comedy sex scene, so I think I’ll probably follow her example.

This will involve looking out a few of the more popular paranormal romance / dark fantasy (is there a difference?) authors, I suppose.  Popular authors at the library where I used to work included P.C.Cast, Charlaine Harris, Christine Feehan and Sherrilyn Kenyon.  Anybody know any more?  I’d be particularly interested in short stories and flash fiction, just because of time constraints…

A Link and a #WIP

Here is a piece of flash fiction you should read, particularly if you are a fan of fine literature.

And here is a snippet of what I have written today:

We sat like that for what seemed like hours – although I suspect it was only twenty minutes – before Cookie bounded in from his bath completely starkers.

“COOK,” I bellowed, mortified, “pit some claithes on!”

Baffled, he looked down at himself, but even then the realisation of what was wrong took a while to dawn on him.

Then he registered Mhairi, and all at once he seemed to understand.

“Good day,” he said to her with a polite bow. “You must be Mhairi.  Will you excuse me for a moment?  I appear to have forgotten my clothes.”

In case this needs explaining: Cookie is an old pal of Victor’s who is losing it a bit, and has run away from the nursing home his daughter stuck him in.

In Which I Discover I Am Not Superman

The night of writing dangerously was not as successful as I had hoped – although to be fair, my hopes were ill defined and woolly round the edges to begin with.  I think ideally I wanted to bash out 30,000 words and be like HAH, TAKE THAT INTERNET!!!!!  But that would have involved typing 125 words per minute every minute for the solid four hours, which was never going to happen.  Unless lack of sleep helped me evolve into Superman.

Pic from transportationnation.org

Between 2am and 6am I wrote just over 5,000 words, but I had hoped to manage more.  There again I did claim I would write from 12-12 (because it’s 12 books – clever, no?), which didn’t happen.  Had I actually done that, rather than catching up on the drafting of some STV articles and wastefully falling asleep for 2 hours, maybe I’d have got closer to achieving my unspecific catch up goal.

I think I have to resign myself to the fact that 50k will not be reached this month.

But on the plus side, the following sites are great if you’re too spaced out to concentrate, or just want to laugh.

Hyperbole and a Half

Hark, A Vagrant

Also, have you filled out the census yet?  I have!  I was sad to see there wasn’t a box for any other info into which I could put I was writing 12 books in 12 months, but I still feel it was worth my time.  For more on that, read my interview with Edinburgh-based genealogist Kirsty Wilkinson.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: