Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Vale Anne McCaffrey

Anne McCaffrey, a Hugo winning American science fiction writer with a wide ranging imagination, has passed away at her home in Ireland. Her strong female characters were an inspiration to me as young woman. It's hard to pick out which of her novels I liked best because they were all intriguing. If pressed I would have to say The Ship Who Sang - the first of her books that I read - and the Pern novels have always resonated with me most strongly although I do have a particularly soft spot for those set in the Crystal Universe too. In reality I loved them all. Anne McCaffrey also wrote a number of books with other authors including most recently with her son, Todd. She will be missed.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Bye Bye Nano Target

So a whole bunch of things - mainly health related - decided to attack me all at once and something had to give. It was either me or the word count. I won.

It's not that I haven't still been working on my novel. It's more that I have been less interested in how much I've written and more interested in technical stuff like making sure the plot works and the connections to the first novel are in place so the story arc is where it should be. I'm actually very happy about what I have achieved so far - and, of course, there is still a week to go so there will be more words. I won't do a count up again until November 30 and while that won't make me a 'winner' it will do. I expect the final total will be around 20,000 words added which will advance things nicely - and, given what has been happening, is not too bad at all.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Remembrance Day 2011

It's just gone 11:00 AM on 11/11/11. We're at home and set an alarm to make sure we remembered to listen to the radio at the hour. When the Last Post began we stopped for a minute in silence in memory of the fallen in so many wars. We do this wherever we are at this time and on this day because we believe it's important, not just because we have lost family members in war although we have. These are men and women whose lives were cut short, who left behind families and friends whose lives were changed irrevocably. They were defending something they believed was important enough to be prepared to lose their lives.

So you will understand how disappointed I was a few years ago at a major shopping centre when there was no announcement over the public address system, no playing of the Last Post and no acknowledgement of those who died. I doubt it would have been noticed even if they had. Anyone in the shops nearest me at the time - trendy fashion boutiques with music blasting so loud it was deafening - wouldn't have heard the announcement. I hope things have changed. They may have given that we have just had the reality of war brought home to us again by recent events in Afghanistan.

The symbol of Remembrance Day is the field poppy. It grows across Europe, its scarlet and crimson petals a poignant reminder of spilled blood and, at the same time, renewal. Many years ago I visited the battlefields of Flanders. It was a grey, blustery early Spring day and the poppies showed bravely against the fields. It was a touching reminder of Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae's well known poem In Flanders Fields. You can find the words of this beautiful poem and more about McCrae here.

As it happens, just outside my window, I can see the last of this season's field poppies in my garden. A breeze has come up and the earth beneath them is scattered with every shade of red as their petals fall like drops of blood. A gentle reminder. Lest we forget.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

NanNoWriMo Report One

By the end of Week One I had reached 11,527 words - and I'm very happy about that especially as along the way I've also written and discarded around 2,500 words that just weren't working. Day One was an effort. I struggled to even reach the magic number needed to ensure there will be 50,000 words at the end of the month (it's 1667 in case you're wondering). For some reason I just couldn't get my writing rhythm flowing. Tried all the usual tricks. Irish harp music - I wrote all of the novel that this one is the sequel to listening to that and it usually switches on my brain. Reading over the plotline - very rudimentary but it does exist. Eating - I suspect it's just as well my scales need a new battery. Nothing worked. Then Day Two and I was away.

All in all I'm happy with the progress. Fingers crossed I can keep it up. I think I can. One of the great things I brought from my experience at Clarion South was the knowledge that I can write to a deadline. It really is just a matter of deciding to do it and not allowing yourself to be distracted.

Friday, November 04, 2011

NaNoWriMo Update

As of 1:15 PM on Day Four I have 6,125 words. Are they all good words? That I can't say but they do all advance the story and develop the characters.

Thursday, November 03, 2011


Okay there must be a reason but why on earth would someone looking for accident lawyer info or monclereshop/ugg boots be directed to this blog? I do hope they weren't disappointed.

So It's NaNoWriMo

There may not be much blogging over the next month, only a few figures now and then, because - I have gone over to the Dark Side. Well not really but I have signed up for NaNoWriMo which is something I always swore I wouldn't do.

For those who don't know about it NaNoWriMo is a bout of collective madness that overwhelms parts of the writing world in November every year. NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month because it started in the US but it has since become world wide so the name is not really accurate any more. Who cares. It's a great incentive wherever it's based. The objective is to complete a 50,000 word draft in November. That's a whole big pile of words so there's much need for encouragement and support and the NaNoWriMo organisation provides that. Those who sign up range from complete beginners to professionals and I've been almost looking forward to the experience.

We're now two days in and for various reasons it's been a shaky start but now I've hit my rhythm and things are happening. I'll keep you informed.

Just in case you really don't care about thousands of sweaty writers struggling to get their daily quota down have a look at these treats for Dr Who fans on Tansy Rayner Roberts' blog. She's doing NaNoWriMo as well this year and there are some hints here too.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Guesting on The Battersblog

Lee Battersby has been inviting a series of guests to post on his blog, The Battersblog, over the past weeks on the subject of Art. I was lucky enough to be invited and you can read my post here. While you are there have a wander back through the other Treacherous Carrots posts. There's a lot of interesting ideas there and we've all taken very different approaches to the topic.