Archive of ‘The Novel’ category
So, I just finished writing this massive post about how I totally thought I’d deleted a huge chunk of my novel (No, I haven’t forgotten I’m supposed to be writing a novel. I mean, I’ve TRIED to forget, but it WILL keep popping into my head when I least expect it), and had therefore freaked out ever so slightly before starting again from scratch, and how, really, that was the best thing that could’ve possibly happened, because at least I meant I didn’t have to feel obligated to keep writing that crappy novel any more, and could start a whole new, better one…
… and then I found the missing document containing The Novel.
I had re-named it “Hi”, and saved it in my “Accounts” folder. You know, as you do.
GOD, I really miss Florida.
And now I have to get back to the, er, two sepparate versions of the exact same story I’m currently working on. Gah.
1. Worked on my novel. Remember my novel? Huh. Me neither, apparently.
Wordcount when I started working on my novel this week: 13,175 words
Wordcount as of rightthisveryminute: 11,752. (Although some of those don’t actually count because they say things like “Chapter One” and “Chapter 2″ and stuff. )
So. Obviously something went way the hell wrong there. I mean, I realise I’m no expert, but, you know, pretty sure the wordcount isn’t supposed to go down with each new writing session. The problem is… well, it’s me. I’m very… edit-y. And I know! I know editing-as-you-go is EXACTLY the thing They tell you not to do. I know that! I’ve read the same “How to Write a Novel” books They have. But I just can’t help myself. If I’m not happy with something at the start of the book, I can’t write any more until I’ve gone back and fixed it (trust me, I’ve tried. Can’t.). So that’s what I did, which is why I ended up a couple of thousand words down. I thought up some more words while I was in the shower this morning, though, so I will add them in soon and I will have even MORE words. Some of which I may even like!
2. Worried a lot about my upcoming flight to Florida
Yes. Two weeks today, people. And I thought I was OK with it this time. I mean, OK, I’d woken up in a cold sweat a couple of times thinking, “OMG, I’m not going to Florida AT ALL, am I? I’m going to my fiery, or perhaps watery, death!” but I was mostly OK with it. “Planes are very safe,” I told myself. “They hardly ever crash!” And then this happened. And since then, it’s been pretty much all I can think about: we’re talking nightmares, freak-outs, the lot. I know it’s irrational, so no one needs to give me the whole “It’s the safest form of travel!” thing (Seriously, I don’t think I know ANY scaredy fliers who are actually ever comforted by that statistic anyway. Especially not right after a major air disaster.) but knowing it’s an irrational fear doesn’t make it any easier to stop myself worrying about it, so, yeah, fun times! Especially for Terry and my parents.
(Also: there is almost always an air disaster right before I’m due to fly. Almost always. I’m starting to think I’m some kind of Harbinger of Doom to the air travel industry…)
3. Tried to do yoga
You know what’s really boring? Yoga. Seriously.
4. Cleaned the house.
My house was really clean while the internet was down. Now? Not so much.
5. Hit the “refresh” button on my browser repeatedly while muttering “Is it back yet? How about now? NOW? I wonder if it’s back yet?” It wasn’t much fun, but hey, it passed the time.
6. Half-heartedly weeded the garden.
Like, really half-heartedly. In the sense of “I was wearing a skirt and nice shoes at the time, and I didn’t want to get them dirty”. Note to self: buy house with no garden. Or with live-in-gardener. Stupid garden.
7. Went to St. Andrews.
It looked like this:
Rubin also got a haircut that day. He looks like this now:
Then, in the evening, the internet would come back up, and I’d have to try to cram a full days work into a few short hours. Which was just as much fun as it sounds, really.
And that was my week of No Internet. Luckily for us, it seems be working again, and thank God for that, I say: I don’t think my novel would have survived another couple of days!
Fi, (Of “Shoegal” fame) tagged me in the “Show Us Your Blog Spot” meme that’s been doing the rounds this month, and because this meme carries the threat “If you are tagged and do not participate, you will become allergic to cabbage,” I thought I’d better do it. I like cabbage, what can I say?
Anyway, as the name suggests, the rules of this meme are that you have to show everyone the spot where you blog. Because I blog for business rather than/as well as pleasure, we have a home office, which is where both Terry and I can be found… well, most of the the time, to be honest. I showed you a close-up of my desk last month, so here is a…. um, the opposite of a close-up. Predictably, Rubin is in the picture too:
My blog spot
Cleverly, I managed to totally obscure the view of the desk with my person, but meh, you’ve seen it before, so whatevs. It’s all pretty self explanatory: desk, chair, fluffy dog… The large silver case you can see underneath my desk is my Sephora train case, which is what I keep my face (i.e. my makeup) in. Yes, I need THAT MUCH of it. Because our house is tiny, the only place I can really keep it is under my desk, but I rest my feet on it while I’m working, so it works out OK.
To the left of my desk is Terry’s desk. (He’s not there because he’s not been feeling well today, poor soul, and has been lying on his bed muttering “The daggers! The daggers!”:
My, but he keeps a lot of crap under his desk, no? Yes, we sit next to each other all day long. No, it has not affected our relationship one bit, on account of we don’t actually speak to each other most of the time. He listens to stuff on iPlayer most of the time, and I’m on Twitter all day so hey, problem solved!
Immediately behind us, on the opposite wall from our desks, are these attractive Ikea shelves:
The red boxes contain photos, memorabilia and various bits of paper we don’t ever look at. The wooden box on the bottom right contains chargers for all of our various gadgets. It is slightly too small for this purpose. The overflowing basket in the bottom left is Rubin’s toy box. His bed is also in this room, but I had to move it to take this shot, because the room is so damn small. (I also had to hold the camera above my head. Seriously, could. not. swing. a. cat.)
And that’s my “blog spot”. I very occasionally blog from my bed, but only once in a blue moon because, well, my butt gets sore when I do that. And the ground floor of our house is so cold I rarely venture down there, so this is where 99% of my blogging happens. I know you care about this , Internet.
Also, while we’re talking about my writing, which we weren’t really, but hey: I’ve added a button in the sidebar which shows you the current word count of my novel. I’ve done this to try and force myself to actually write some of the stupid thing, and also so that excitement can build as you all count down to that magic moment when I decide that, actually, I can’t be bothered writing a novel no more, and throw in the towel. As you can see, at the time of writing, I have completed 4,709 words. At least eight of them will not be deleted at a later date, those being the words, “Chapter 1″, “Chapter 2″, “Prologue” and “By Amber McNaught.” Damn, but I’m good at this!
I know I’ve said this before, but because I’ve never shied away from the thought of repeating myself to the point of tedium, let the record show that I? Really don’t like New Year’s Eve. Basically, the passing of time freaks me out to the max, and so anything that serves to emphasise that passing (birthdays, New Year’s eve, any film with a montage scene…) is just one big ol’ depression fest as far as I’m concerned. God, you wish you were partying with ME tonight, don’t you?
Now, once again, I was going to do a kind of “year in retrospect” entry today, maybe with photos to represent each month and stuff, but then I realised that:
a) I can’t be bothered
b) Everyone is probably out partying, anyway
c) It’s not like I’m a small country or something, with a history that merits repeating at the end of the year, in a “Sky News Review of the Year” kinda way, so maybe I’ll just give that one a miss, hey?
Anyway. Normally I don’t bother making any resolutions at this time of year, because I don’t like setting myself up for certain failure (this is a very “glass half full” kind of entry, isn’t it?), so other than the usual “Buy more shoes”, which I always resolve, just so that I can feel like I’ve achieved something, I normally give the resolutions a miss, too.
But. This year I’m going to make one. And I’m going to try to keep it, because, let’s face it, it’s not like I’m getting any younger here, so my New Year’s Resolutions are:
1) Write a novel.
2) Buy a lot of shoes.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that I will probably manage to achieve at least 50% of my resolutions. Actually, let’s be honest, I have already ordered a pair of shoes, which will arrive in the first couple of days of 2009, so woo hoo, go me!
Anyway, we’re off out tonight so that we can group around the TV to watch the lonesome piper play his melancholy lament from someone else’s house (It’s the Scottish way) so it only remains for me to wish you a good new year when it comes to you, and to hope that 2009 is everything you wish it to be. Now I’m going to go and get drunk.
Happy New Year!
(note: not actually a picture of me celebrating New Year. The budget doesn’t run to that. Just pretend.)
p.s. – The more observant/bored of you may notice that the blog design is currently borked. I know. Terry is working on it. Fun!
I would apologise for the lack of posts here over the Easter break, but as that would involve pretending that I’d had the intention of doing anything AT ALL over the break other than lying around on my bed and eating chocolate eggs, I think I better not. Lying makes the baby Jesus cry, you know.
Actually, I DID have some plans for the long weekend. In between chocolate eggs, for instance, I had a vague idea of maybe dashing off a quick novel or two. No, really. I’d kinda pictured myself taking long, bracing walks in the lovely Spring sunshine, and returning home refreshed, to rattle off a hundred thousand words or so which some famous literary agent would auction off to the highest bidder, and then I’d sell the film rights and be rich, and think to myself, "Whew! Thank God I decided not to lie around all Easter eating chocolate eggs, eh?" Then I thought, "Screw that," and decided just to go with the chocolate eggs thing after all. Maybe I’ll regret it, maybe not. All I know is that I had the best Easter ever, doing absolutely nothing, and now that it’s over I really miss it. I wish that could be my life from now on.
I actually think Easter may be my favourite holiday. It’s way cheaper than Christmas, for one thing, and, being the absolute heathens that we are, there’s no obligation to do anything at all, which totally rocks. Also, it marks the beginning of Spring, and if it hadn’t snowed more or less all weekend, that would be a Truly Great Thing indeed. (JUST DIE ALREADY, WINTER. JUST. DIE.)
I did have an idea about The Novel, though, all joking aside. The idea was this: I COULD TOTALLY WRITE A NOVEL. As opposed to, you know, just sitting around thinking about it. This weekend I did quite a bit of sitting around thinking about it: I would expand on this, but it would be something like the twentieth time I’d written a post here saying "I actually think I might finish The Novel this time. No, really, I totally think I will!" so I’m just going to skip it. Like I said, lies make the baby Jesus cry. And also: there’s still plenty of Easter chocolate to be eaten…
Hi, remember me? The girl who sometimes posts here, but then disappears for days on end, only to come back and give you some crappy excuse about how she actually had to – gasp! – do some real work for a change?
Yeah, sorry about that.
Anyway, now that I’m back, I’m probably about to disappear again, for The Voice of Temptation (a.k.a. Erin) has spoken to me once again, and has persuaded me that, as it’s National Novel Writing Month, I should really be writing my novel round about now.
You remember my novel, don’t you? That’s good: I’m glad you remember it because I sure as hell didn’t. In fact, even although my novel has its very own category here at the blawg, I notice with shame that I only ever wrote three posts about it, with the last one being… um…. November 27th, 2006. And that one wasn’t even about my novel.
Well, now that I’m doing NaNoWriMo, of course, all that will change! The challenge is to write 50,000 words during the month of November, you see. So far? I’ve written 3643 words. (That 3643rd word was a good ‘un, though.) So, yeah, go me! I will totally be getting this novel written by the end of November. I wonder what’s on TV tonight?
In other news, meanwhile… actually, no, there is no other news. So I really should go and get on with writing that novel, shouldn’t I? If you see me back here procrastinating tonight, feel free to kick my virtual ass and tell me to get back to it.
Also: never drop sherbet on your floor, or even down your dress, say. Just a little handy household hint for you, there. For no reason.
Remember that novel I was writing? Yeah, it would be good if I’d actually done that, wouldn’t it? Why, I could be sitting here with a book deal and an agent right now, but instead? Well, instead I’m sitting here with the remainders of last week’s cold, no novel and no money (Note: SEND MONEY). Way to go, Amber!
Actually, I’m not surprised at the non-completion of the novel: it’s pretty much par for the course by now. The reason I know this? Well, earlier this year I stumbled across my very first diary – what would have been my very first blog, in fact, had blogs been invented when I was 10, which they hadn’t. You should be pleased about that – trust me. Anyway,here are some extracts:
“I have started writing a book called Jumping for Joy. It is about a girl called Elaine Shaw and a pony called Carmen.”
“I have given up writing my book.”
“Nothing else exciting happened so I’ll go now to finish the book I’ve started writing. It’s called ‘A Horse of My Own’ and I think I might possibly be able to keep it up.”
“I’m also getting on well with my new fiction book, ‘Jumping for Joy’ and I’m hoping to get it published when I’m finished.” (Amber’s note: Ha! Yeah you are!)
Things I must remember to take on holiday with me:
1. camera and plenty films
2. diary and pen
3. book I am writing, ‘Ponies Galore’
4. extra notebook and pen (What, just in case you finish Ponies Galore and decide to dash off another one? Wait… am I having a conversation with my younger self, here?)
5. Observers Book of Horses
6. Riding things
8. Walkman and cassettes
Did you pick up on the fact that I liked horses? A lot? And that I’ve been failing to complete novels since I was TEN YEARS OLD? (Actually, I did finish one of them. I think it was ‘Jumping for Joy’. I’d give you an extract of that, but I gave it to my friend Rhona to read, and she never returned it. I like to think that Rhona re-reads it every year, just to remind herself of the antics of Elaine Shaw and her pony called Carmen, but, y’know, probably not.)
It makes me sad to think that I’ve been failing at something for such a long time. I doubt that ten-year-old Amber would be impressed with the adult version of herself. I mean, for one, I have no ponies; for two, I haven’t even written any books about ponies; and for three, George Michael turned out to be gay, people. I also didn’t grow up to be a pop star, which was the career I had in reserve, just in case the whole Olympic showjumper/latter day Patricia Leitch thing didn’t work out. Which, of course, it didn’t.
I really should go and write that book now, huh? (Or maybe just go to sleep?)
Well, The Novel is currently sitting at around 6,000 words, and, amazingly, I’ve so far managed to keep my "I will write every day!" promise ALL WEEK. Well, except for Friday and Saturday, but hey, it was the weekend, cut me some slack here. Of course, as good as 6,000 words sounds, it’s actually a bit of a tragedy, because when I started last week, it was 30,000 words long. So really, I guess I’m on -24,000 words. Ah well.
Anyway, speaking of novels (see the seamless transition there? I mean, you can TOTALLY see why I fancy myself as a novelist, can’t you?), this week is Buy a Friend a Book Week, so you should all head over to Trashionista, which is edited by my lovely Shiny colleages, Diane and Keris and feast your eyes on all of the goodies on offer – guest blogs by chick-lit authors, signed copies of books to win and lots of other totally fab things.
And while I’m doing a bit of a plug-athon, Linda of Passionate Blog has started another blog (yes, she’s a busy lady) to showcase her fiction writing, so go and take a look at that too.
I better go and write now, hadn’t I?
So, I’m writing a novel. God, I know, how tedious of me. Everyone is writing a novel these days. Even Terry has tried it, and, to be perfectly honest, I’d be surprised if Rubin doesn’t have one in the pipelines too – "My Life With Wolves" or something. The thing that’s different about my novel, though, is that, unlike all of these other novels I’m always hearing about, it’s highly unlikely that mine will ever be finished. I’m the mistress of procrastination, remember, and if there’s one thing I know how to do, it’s how to do a job badly.
I am writing my novel very badly. I’m stopping and starting with depressing regularity (Well, the stopping is regular, anyway. The starting, not so much.) Every so often I’ll have a rush of enthusiasm, and I’ll spend two or three weeks hammering away at the keyboard, frantically cranking out word after word, absolutely convinced that this is totally going to be the BEST NOVEL EVER and that when I’m finished, why, an agent will probably snap me right up and I’ll be rich and famous like JK Rowling, and will spend my days lying on a chaise in a silk nightgown, sipping martinis and typing a few exquisitely crafted chapters every now and then, The End. (Agents who are reading this and who are desperate to make this dream a reality: call me!)
Anyway, this latest break has been the longest one so far. I had a rush of enthusiasm back in 2004, and another one in 2005. Both of these happened when Terry was ill and I was all “adversity maketh the man!” and all that, but then the business got busy and I started spending all my time looking at shoes on the internet, and gah, no novel. Last night was the first time in about six months that I’ve so much as opened the folder in which the novel lives, though: I had been drinking wine and I thought that would cushion the blow, but nope, not a chance. The Novel was horrifically bad: so much so that I decided to start again from scratch. So I opened a new file, changed the font a few times, and then… nothing.
Well, actually, not quite nothing. I have about 2,000 words, but most of them don’t count because I just copied and pasted them from the last, doomed draft of the novel. Tonight I will copy and paste some more, and maybe even add some shiny new fresh ones, and, in this way, we will proceed for the next week or so, until I eventually throw my hands up in horror and announce, that GOD, I am so never going to be a novelist! Why do I ever tell myself I could be a novelist?
I do it, I suppose, because it’s still my most deeply cherished dream. One day I will do it, and I’m mentioning it here because, hey! If I give up this time, you all can shout at me, ‘kay?