Friday, 27 May 2011

Writing And Marriage

Sometimes I think that writing is a bit like marriage; or at least a long term relationship.

At first there is the all consuming buzz. Your new novel is the only thing you can think about, its all consuming and you struggle to pretend to be a fully paid up member of society as you think about your characters, environment and (if you’re writing romance) that all consuming first love scene. It’s a bit like having an affair but without actually committing infidelity.

After a while the first flush of passion wanes a little. It still feels a bit like a guilty secret - especially if you’re doing it on the side of work, family and life etc, but the dazzle is less.

Half way through the first draft and you’re beginning to wonder if its all worth it but you continue anyway - because you believe in the happy ever after.

And then you get to the end of first draft and its like you’re celebrating the engagement party - yes the happy ever after is in the bag.

After a bit of time out you realise that you’ve got to put the hard work in if there is ever going to be a wedding and so in the run up to the wedding (second draft) you’re carving out the bits that work and don’t work to result in the perfect day.

And so at the end of the second draft you think you’re there. Only to realise when you get back from honeymoon that there is still some serious work to be done on your relationship (novel).

Right now I’m likening the next draft to wedding plus children and about ten years. You’ve struggled, you’ve accepted massive change and in effect you should be near to perfection. But there’ll always be things you like, things you don’t like, things you want to change and things you think that if you do change you wonder if you’ll suffer for.

There’s no doubt about it, at this stage the real work is required, and I’m not just talking about the novel!

Monday, 16 May 2011

Talking of Footie and Birthdays

Well what a weekend that was.

It started off early on Saturday morning as my eldest son who is nine was playing in the final of his football league.  All the matches were played at Chester football ground so this was a major event and incredibly nerve wracking, both for us watching and him playing.  The kick off was a nine am and by nine forty five I was physically drained.   I must admit the team played well and had many chances to score but unfortunately it was not to be.  However, the other team didn’t score either so no one lost.  Being only nine they don’t do extra time or penalties so both teams will share the Shield for six months each.   It was rather nice that there were no losers on the day and both teams should be proud of themselves for playing some very good football.

I’m not what you call a football fanatic, but living with three of them in the house, you do tend to get involved and it was a lovely atmosphere at the stadium with mums and dads shouting for their boys alike.  Talk about proud – I was positively puffed up.

More football followed in the afternoon with the FA cup final but the boys went to watch it elsewhere, leaving me in peace for a few hours.   And I used my time wisely by playing with my new toy – a Kindle.

I have been debating the merits of e-readers versus books for a long time but have finally decided to take the plunge.  My kindle will never replace the good old fashioned book as there is nothing like the feel or smell of a book so I don’t see it as the demise of the hard copy.   We live in such of an age of technology these days though that it doesn’t make any sense to ignore it.  Rather, I think you should use it the best way to benefit yourself.

Anyway, the Kindle was a birthday present (for yesterday) and it had arrived in the week.  Of course I had to take it out of its box in advance, just to make sure that it had arrived in one piece and on Saturday afternoon I decided that it would be prudent to charge it up so that it was ready and waiting for me on Sunday morning.  Well of course then I had to connect it to Wi-Fi, and register it, and it made sense to download some samples of books too didn’t it?  I did resist the urge to start reading then – because that wouldn’t be right now would it?

No, I put it away and went to get ready to go out.  The boys were spending the night at their cousins so we went out for a lovely Italian meal with some friends.

It was weird waking up on my birthday with no children, but it was very chilled out an relaxing and thoroughly enjoyable – although I did get to the stage when I insisted on picking them up because I was missing them.

In the morning I did have a chance to play with my new toy properly and so far I’m really pleased. I love the fact that you can download sample chapters of books for free so that you can see if you want to buy them.  I picked quite a few of my wish list and am now compiling a must have list.  I found the Kindle easy to use and to read and I’m looking forward to saving my baggage allowance when I go on holiday at the end of the month.  So far I’m really chuffed with it but I’ll let you know how I get on.  As far as I’m concerned it will never replace the paperback, but as I’m desperately trying to declutter my house, it will come in very handy.

In the afternoon we went swimming, went out for tea and then spent the evening with friends enjoying wine and cake.  I got some lovely kindle vouchers too, so I can spend freely on my first books.  Can’t wait.

All in all a fantastic weekend. Now I just need to recover.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

A Royal Wedding and The Middletons

I must say I'm not an obssesive Royalist, but I do believe that the monarchy plays a part in what puts the Great in Britain.  People complain that they are a financial drain on society but when you look at the amount of tourism they bring into the country they also put an awful lot back.  Watching the wedding on Friday I thought it amazing how it brought so many people together. 

What was especially lovely was to see a Royal couple who have taken the time to get to know each other and are genuinely affectionate together.  I wish them joy in their marraige and hope it is a long and happy one.  I think William and Kate will bring new depths to the monarchy and are just what are needed to bring a modernity to the institution.

What is strange for me is the fact that the name Middleton is banded around constantly in the press because that's my  name too.  Unfortunately the name is the only thing we have in common (wouldn't say no to some of their dosh or connections).  My husband's name is Mike and what is really weird is that we chose Catherine as a name for a girl if we had one.  We ended up having two boys instead so there is no current Catherine Middleton in our family (although my husband's grandmother was Catherine Middleton).  But doesn't life play strange tricks on you at times?

I must say though, I'm proud to share their name.  I think they showed an enormous degree of grace and style on Friday befitting of any Royal Wedding.