Friday, 20 November 2009

Multiple choices...

Sorted! I've grasped the spiky horns of my dilemma, wrestled and tugged them into a manageable shape that now point the way forward. I am now, simultaneously, writing two books. Well, two versions of the same tale. Both with a modified plot, but one with farcical humour and the troublesome fairy, and one without. Voila! When an agent eventually reads one and cries, "Loved the story, dahling, but where's the magic/introspection/plot?" I can whip out the other version with a flourish and a grin, "Here's one I prepared earlier!"

And writing in first person is fun; 'I' can be thorough, thoughtful and threatened in one version, and a flirty, fanciful fairy-lover in the other!

I may even publish one under a pseudonym, and then sue myself for pinching my idea. Think of the publicity, the money I'd make...

Is this what a multiple-personality disorder feels like?

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

What's a girl to do?

My course has finished and I now have my MA - I've got a letter to prove it so they can't change their minds and demand it back! It's been like learning to drive: the seminars, workshops and assignments were the driving lessons, the final project was the 'test' and now we've all been cast out unsupervised onto the motorway where the real learning takes place. And by God, it's scary out there...

Suddenly there's nobody directing you through a series of one-way streets, or guiding you the right way around a roundabout.

Or preventing you from crashing into an oil tanker...

I'm definitely in a curious position right now. My part-novel has provoked conflicting opinions from the professionals involved in the marking process: The Fairy has to go versus The Fairy has to stay/ The plot's all wrong vs The plot's right for the genre/ The pace is too fast vs The pace has to be fast in this kind of novel.

I know these are only opinions, not holy commandments etched in stone, but one way may lead to publication, the other will leave egg on my face.

I guess the answer lies in trusting your own judgement. Using everything you have learnt from the course and everything you know about the genre. God knows you've read enough similar books. But where does this self-confidence come from? Can I find some on ebay?

Now, I know certain truths about the world: bullies will get their comeuppance - it's the law of the universe; too much chocolate makes your clothes shrink; only men with deep-rooted psychological problems find me attractive, but, strangely enough, none of these concepts are useful in this situation. What's a girl to do?

On a more positive note, Mr Bubonic Plague hasn't been back to torment me!

Monday, 9 November 2009

Knee-lenth boots from now on...

Okay, I have two addictive and unhealthy habits: one is smoking and the other is watching X Factor. I've had the therapy, tried the willpower method and even used the patches (one on the arm for nicotine and two over my eyes to block out the telly), but to no avail. I remain addicted.

I have a designated smoking-room - well, it's more of a front doorstep really, and I quite often share my space with the local wildlife. There's been a badger grubbing around for food, several snuffling hedgehogs and most of the neighbourhood cats. Once, I was so engrossed in the book I was reading, I almost stubbed out my fag on a coppery slow worm coiled lazily at my feet. And I thought that incident was terrifying...

This morning I was out there with the usual book in one hand and a ciggy in the other enjoying the winter sunshine and the waft or newly hacked grass when out of the corner of my eye, I spied movement. Not flippy enough to be reptile, but too small to be badger cat or goat. There, in my front garden, looking me squarely in the eye, was a rat. Yep! A rat! It wasn't even an alpha-rodent but a scrawny, scabby furred, chewed ears kind of creature. I leaped to my feet, hopped around a bit and let out a banshee wail whilst flicking my book ineffectually towards the beastly bastard.

It stopped, bared its sharp ratty teeth in a gesture of contempt and slowly turned before ambling its way down the path. I, meanwhile, was still doing the hot-coal shuffle on the doorstep and hyperventilating so much that even the black spots before my eyes had gone all fuzzy.

Oh, God, oh God, not again! I can't bear it!

Heart beating wildly, I stumbled inside gasping for breath. Suddenly the sound of click, click, click surrounded me - the sound of claws clicking on the laminate floor! On God! It's inside! My poor heart ricocheted around my rib-cage as I turned, wide-eyed, to face my tormentor...

That bloody dog!

Honestly, how much more stress can one person stand? Why can't those damned rodents keep to the drains where I don't have to see them? I'll be jumping every time I see a spider, or hear a scraping noise. They'll be carrying me, stiff-limbed, to the looney bin, because abject terror will have me flat-packed against the wall, glassy eyed and drooling mouth frozen in a Munch scream.