Saturday, 15 January 2011

Back to work.

After a really lovely solstice/Christmas/New year celebration I am finally installed, ahead of time, in Winchester. It's been a terrible wrench leaving home and I found myself wandering around, the day I packed, touching things I think of as completely home - the blue and white china I started collecting two decades ago, much of which is from charity shops, the bookshelves my husband built, the wooden box I bought when I moved to the Island in 1994. I have deliberately not brought favourite things from home, because home is Devon. This is my work place, so I'm supposed to be working. My commitment is to write 1000 words a day, because that's when I feel best about my writing, even if I'm also writing something else like an assignment. This counts, and so does my diary. So I very quickly rack up words anyway. With 4,000 words ready to go off for my fiction assignment (thanks to the very welcome help of a fellow student!) I am ready to start seriously editing the next thing, a collection of poems. The problem is, they all sound a bit similar in style, because I've been reading a lot of Erica Jong and Sharon Olds. I also want to write a sestina, but I've never tried. They seem so contrived when you look at them on the paper yet they sound so gorgeous. Since we're doing sestinas, villanelles and sonnets in A363 shortly, I thought I would work my way through that chapter and see if one of my long poems (which needs serious cutting) will work in a new format.

Otherwise, I'm quietly looking at the novel, not setting myself a huge workload, but pottering with new scenes rather than whole chapters. I need a new way of novelling, just taking a run up at it means the beginnings are full of ideas but I'm running out by the end. So my novels accelerate at the end and fall off into anticlimax. Although I had no fun at all writing the radio play for A363, I have found some of the screenplay writing stuff useful for writing cinematically, like a film. So I'm playing with that.

The assignment I have been most confident of, partly because I've got my head in the sand about it, is the 'creative toolkit' one. For this, I've put together a sequence of poems and a short story, but I've left these until last to work on. I'm going to print them off and stick them on the shelves so I can see them when I'm slacking relaxing after a hard days work. Meanwhile I'm putting a photo up of the silliest cat ever. She was sitting on the desk looking out at the birds and obviously got tired - and curled up like a snail.  Silly Saffy. Or as she is known in the family - (big breath) Teeny Tanley Fat Fluffly Saffy Doolins Bave. And when middle daughter was working at the vet's, she did try and get all that on the computer...I shall miss the cats too.


  1. Happy New Year! and good luck with your writing plans. I don't know if you're looking for any further reading, but if you are, there's a really nice book about novel writing called 'Between the Lines', by Jessica Morrell. I don't know if it will inspire you but there is certainly a lot of info in there. I also really like Brian Kiteley's creative writing exercises - they fit in well with novel writing, as you can write about the same characters and themes whilst playing with all these other ideas. :)

  2. Thank you! I'll have a look at your recommendations, I like the idea of creative writing exercises, I find them useful. By the way, 'School Dinners' was lovely, great twist! Though it's hard to beat your kite story. I admire lots of people's writing but that one I really wish I had written myself.

  3. Was fascinated by your work load, shall follow this with interest. Sorry about the cats and missing home. Carole.

  4. I'm not a cat-lover, but I'm loving this one! Thanks again for all your help. 1,000 words a day - something to aspire to.