Tag Archives: Inigo Montoya

Feeling WiP-ped

The poppers have all been popped. The bubbly’s been drunk. The streamers have faded and the clean-up’s been done and life, in short, has had to return to normal.

So, yes. I got a book deal. It’s fabulous, and all, but it doesn’t mean all my work here is done, or anything. Quite the opposite: it means I’m at the start of something which will, hopefully, take up the rest of my working life.

Writing books.

Photo Credit: srgpicker via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: srgpicker via Compfight cc

I’ve been working on a new WiP for the past few weeks, and the other day I took my word-count past the 20K mark. This, I have to admit, feels pretty good. The story is flowing (so far); things are holding together; I’m even enjoying it, despite the sheer slog. For, even though my mind has been all over the place these past few weeks, this is no time to rest on one’s laurels; rather, it’s time to push forward and keep going. One tiny victory doesn’t mean the battle’s won, and all that.

A general rule when you’re writing is: never gather dust. As in, when you’re waiting to hear back from an agent, or when you’re chewing your nails as competition results loom, or when your book is out on submission with publishers, or – as in my case – when you’re in that limbo between accepting a deal and getting on with the necessary paperwork, the best thing you can do is keep writing. Work on something else. Take your mind off what is, no doubt, the giant crater of stress which has smashed its way into your tender, tender psyche. Soothe yourself with more words, and do whatever you can to keep yourself from dwelling too much on things you can’t control (like the entire publishing industry). Plus, the fact that my deal was for two books means that anything I write which goes towards a second book is a good thing. (I’m conveniently ignoring the fact that my publisher has yet to see, sanction or even vaguely approve of this second book I’m writing, but we can worry about that later. Right?)

It might interest some of you old-timers around here to know that my new WiP is (drumroll…) Tider. Mark III. Yes, yes, I know – haven’t we been down this road before? Well – we have. Tider was the first book I wrote when, as a newbie with no idea about word counts and such, I created a 150,000 word beast of a novel which was part SF, part epic fantasy, part YA and all rubbish. I rewrote it last year in a much neater package, remodelling it as a futuristic MG story about a fracturing family and one girl’s bravery, and it was loads better.

Loads better, but still not right.

The idea for Tider is one which has been in my head for years. I have been tormented by it for at least a decade, now, and every so often the babble of the characters becomes too much. I thought, when writing the last version (the futuristic MG), that I’d cracked it, but it proved not to be the case. The core of the idea is still there, waiting to be told properly, and this newest version is my attempt to finally put it to rest.

I’m a bit afraid that, much like my beloved Inigo Montoya when (SPOILER ALERT) he finally kills the Six-Fingered Man, my life will fall apart when I finally tell this story the way it should be told, and get it out of my brain for once and for all. ‘I have been in the revenge business so long,’ Inigo says, ‘that now that it is over, I do not know what to do with the rest of my life.’

Preach it, Inigo.

Image: twitter.com

Image: twitter.com

I have been thinking about Tider for so long that now that I’ve finally written it*, I do not know what to do with the rest of my life.

Well. I can always move on to my next idea, which is already starting to take shape. I have a heroine, and she has a name (and it’s amazing), and she has a very cool pet which she’s trained to do incredible things, and she…

But, yeah. *ahem* We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves, here. Write the current WiP first, and then think about the next. This time, I’m determined to write Tider the way it should’ve been written all along, but if it doesn’t work – again – then I think I’ll hang up my spurs. Maybe I’ll sell the idea to Neil Gaiman and see what he makes out of it.

Come to think of it, that’s not a bad plan…

Happy weekend, everyone. Tune in tomorrow for my review of a brilliant, and astonishingly accomplished, book, Claire North’s The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, and with any luck I’ll see y’all back here on Monday.

 

*Fingers crossed I’ll be able to say this in a few months!

Five Times Five

Mesdames et Messieurs,

Please find hereunder my version of this splendid post, which I saw for the first time on the blog of the marvellous Lady Rara Saur (who, in turn, snaffled it from here.) It asks one to detail one’s top five preferences in five different categories and so – me being me – I had to have a crack at it. I love making lists, particularly if they’re not lists of things I have to get done. (Having said that, I like making To-Do Lists, too, because I’m the type who likes to tick stuff off when it’s completed. But anyway.)

On with the show.

Tap-tap-tap Hello? Image: chazzw.wordpress.com

*Tap-tap-tap* Hello? Is this thing on?
Image: chazzw.wordpress.com

Five Things I Am Passionate About

1. Writing and Reading. I’m lumping these in together because, in my mind, you can’t have one without the other.

2. Child protection – whether that be on an individual, personal basis or a governmental/NGO/macro level. I want to live in a world where no child knows fear, or want, or hunger, or neglect. I want to be part of making that world.

3. Education – particularly literacy and numeracy. I’d love to see the fostering of a culture where education is seen as something to be striven for, and where people are encouraged to be proud of their own academic ambitions. The more widely read we are, the less likely we are to repeat the mistakes of our past, and the more likely we are to accept others for who they are.

4. Living ‘small’ – by which I don’t mean living a lesser life. I mean living a life wherein love, and family, and community, and togetherness, matter more than who has the biggest house or the most expensive car or the ‘best’ job. Whatever happened to happiness?

5. Equality. Peoples, races, nations, genders (all of ’em)… we’re all the same, beneath the skin. It amazes me how people think they’re different from, and therefore better than, people in other countries/other religious groups/other types of relationship. Why can’t we all just get a grip, and put the fear aside?

Five Things I Would Like To Do Before I Die

1. See my work published. I would love to see one of my books, battered and dog-eared and torn and cherished and loved and read to shreds, in the hands of a child. It might take the rest of my life, but hopefully it’ll happen someday.

2. Visit Iceland, and see the Northern Lights. Just – because.

Image: theguardian.com

Image: theguardian.com

3. Live in Paris, even if it’s only for a little while. I can’t imagine anything more wonderful than slipping down the boulevard for a few pains au chocolat and slipping back home again, looking chic and nonchalant and exuding sangfroid, and actually locking your own front door behind you. Of course, knowing Paris, you’d have to walk up sixteen flights of stairs to a garret room for which you’d be paying through the nose in council tax, etc. – but it would be so worth it.

4. Repay my husband, my family and my friends for all the support – both practical and spiritual – they’ve given me all through my life, but particularly since I decided to follow my dream. I don’t think they’ll ever know how much it means.

5. Reach a moment of total mental satisfaction, knowing that I have done what I was put on earth to do and that I have done it as well as I possibly could, just once.

Five Things I Say A Lot

1. ‘Sorry!’ (I’m the kind of person who, when they walk into a door, will apologise to the door. Yup.)

2. ‘I forgotted.’ (This is the way I tell my husband that I have forgotten something. I try to make it sound cute, in order to cut through the irritation. Weirdly, when it comes to dates, anniversaries, phone numbers, birthdays, significant events and so on, I have a memory like a steel trap. For practicalities, I am useless. Go figure.)

3. ‘Ya big eejit’ (Irish for ‘You rather foolish person.’ Normally, this is self-directed, but it can also be used as a term of both abuse and affection to almost anyone.)

4. ‘Ah, no worries, I’ll be grand. I’m sure they can make something for me.’ (Usually recited when I’m about to go out for food, anywhere, and whoever I’m dining with starts fretting about whether or not my ‘dietary requirements’ will be catered for. As a vegetarian, I still get looked at like a space alien when I ask what a restaurant’s meat-free options are. ‘Well, we have salmon,’ I get told, a lot. ‘Salmon’s a living creature too, you know,’ doesn’t usually go down well as a response, FYI.)

5. ‘Feck!’ or some derivative thereof. Contrary to popular belief, this is not a vile swearword; it’s equivalent to ‘darn’ or ‘poppycock’, and is utterly inoffensive. I have a variety of colourful phrases which would be considered vile, but I’ll leave those to your imagination.

Five Books or Magazines I’ve Read Recently

1. Fire and Hemlock by the goddess that was Diana Wynne Jones (It’s a book.  It’s Awesome. Technically, this was a re-re-reread, but that hardly matters.)

2. An old copy of New Scientist (one of the benefits of being married to a nerdy-type.)

3. The Food supplement from the Guardian newspaper (I’m always on the hunt for recipes.)

4. ‘The Pardoner’s Prologue’ and ‘The Pardoner’s Tale’ from The Canterbury Tales. Someone was writing an essay on it and needed a bit of guidance, and it was nice to blow the dust off my PhD for a few hours.

5. The Skull in the Wood by Sandra Greaves. (It’s a book. It’s Awesome.)

Five Favourite Movies

1. The Princess Bride. Gotta be. ‘No more rhyming now, I mean it!/Anybody want a peanut?’ used to make me laugh to the point of puking when I was a kid. I also love Miracle Max and his ‘I’m not a witch! I’m your wife!’ But the main reason I love this movie can be summed up in two words: Inigo Montoya. My crush on Mandy Patinkin is alive and well to this day.

2. Willow. I’m really not sure what my favourite thing about this film is – the gorgeous baby who played Elora Dannan (who’s probably got babies of her own by now), the wonderful Ufgood family, the devil-may-care Madmartigan (for whom I may have had complicated feelings, looking back), or the scary-as-all-hell witch-queen Bavmorda who literally gave me the freaky collywobbles for years.

3. William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet. This movie defined my teenage-hood. Claire Danes? Leo di Caprio? Rock music soundtrack? Hells, yes. It’s also the first movie I saw on my own in a cinema, which gives it extra significance.

4. Life is Beautiful. I have complicated feelings about this one, insofar as I loved it when I saw it, but I’d never be able to watch it again because my first viewing of it almost killed me. Suffice to say everyone should give it a go, but be aware that it will break your heart.

Image: snarksquad.com

Image: snarksquad.com

5. The Never-Ending Story. I watched this one again a couple of years ago and wept, not only because it’s still a gorgeous movie but because it reminded me of my childhood so much. The bit where Atreyu is on board Falcor and they fly around a piece of space-rubble and the Ivory Tower comes into view and the music just swells up… yeah. I generally get something in my eye around that point.

So! There you have it. If anyone wants to take part in this meme, be sure to link back to Benzeknees – and let me know, too! I’d love to read your answers to these questions. Adios!

 

NaNoooOOOoooWriMo…

I may have done something foolish yesterday.

No. Scratch the ‘may have done.’ I did do something foolish. It could, however, turn out to be the best thing I’ve done in quite a while.

So, what did I do? Well, I signed myself up for NaNoWriMo, didn’t I.

Image: thesnapper.com

Image: thesnapper.com

‘NaNoWhat?‘ I’m sure some of you are saying – well, fear no more. I shall explain.

(At this point I cannot resist a picture of Inigo Montoya. Please stand by:

Image: quickmeme.com

Image: quickmeme.com

Okay. Normal service can resume.)

NaNoWriMo stands for ‘National Novel Writing Month.’ Every November, people all over the world pledge to write 50,000 words during the calendar month, and at the end of that time they submit their work (for counting purposes only) to the NaNoWriMo website. If they have reached the grand total of 50,000 words, or more, they are declared ‘winners’; if not, well, there’s always next year.

The idea behind it is to encourage people to write enough words to form a first draft – you’re only supposed to write for the month, not edit or any of that fancy stuff – so, in theory, there should be just enough time to get it done. The website offers encouragement, tips and tricks, all the help you could want and lots of support from your fellow NaNoWriMo-ers, and I think it’s a great idea. I’ve been wondering about taking part for a while now, and so yesterday I did what I normally do when I’m making a big decision, i.e. I agonised about it forever and then just threw caution to the wind and signed myself up before I could talk myself out of it.

I spent some time yesterday, once the deed was done, putting a little bit of flesh on the bones of an idea I’ve had stewing for a while. It’s an idea I haven’t thought about too deeply, so the story was a total sketch – all I had was a title, and a vague notion of the central characters. (NaNo is supposed to be about writing a story from scratch, not about putting the finishing touches to a project you’ve had on the go for a while, but I don’t think anyone really minds as long as you’re writing.) As you might expect for me, it’s going to be a children’s book, and it’s going to involve family ties and friendship, and noble self-sacrifice for others, and deep, life-changing love (but not the yucky kind. This will most definitely not be a ‘kissing book.’)

I promise, I promise it won't be a kissing book. Okay? Image: smallreview.blogspot.com

I promise, I promise it won’t be a kissing book. Okay?
Image: smallreview.blogspot.com

One character who I am quite clear on is the Antagonist – and he deserves that capital A, for he is a nasty creature – and I’m letting him settle in my head. The whole book will take shape around him. An ancient evil force, whose prison is made weak and who is finally released in error by a child, he will wreak all kinds of dreadful havoc. In preparation for getting started, I’m thinking deeply about a few things, including: ‘When I was eleven, what were the things I was most scared of?’ and ‘When I was eleven, who were the people I loved the deepest?’

Of course, I haven’t written a word. I can’t even write the title into my Word document before November 1st, because I would consider that cheating. However, I think a bit of mental preparation can’t hurt.

I’m also going to write this book in the third person. I’ve made that very clear to my brain just in case it starts to write in first-person, which seems to be its default setting. I haven’t tackled a full-length project like this in the third person for a long, long time, and I’m looking forward to that. Third-person gives the writer a bit more freedom than first-person, but it also means the reader isn’t as involved in the action. As a reader, I don’t really have a preference for one over the other, but as a writer I want to make sure I can handle both types of narrative voice with equal ease. So, this is my chance.

Of course, my NaNoWriMo project may well turn out to be nothing. The story may work, or it may not. I might reach my 50,000 word target, or I might burn out at the 20,000 word mark. I’m hopeful something great will come out of it, something I can work on and perfect well into the new year, but even if it fizzles out I know that nothing related to writing is a waste of time.

I still feel like I’m being a reckless so-and-so, though. Will you wish me luck? I’d really appreciate it.

And hey! If you want to take part yourself, here’s the link you need: NaNoWriMo. Have you always wanted to write a novel? Well, here’s your chance!

Happy Tuesday, folks. While I’m here, thanks for all the feedback I got – not all of it via WordPress – on yesterday’s blog post. It seems to have struck a chord with some of you, and I’m glad.