Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Writing three books at once...

I know writers who fall deep into a book and write and write and write... I can't do that. Sooner or later I get stuck, I run out of plot and wonder where it's all going. (This would be easier if I was a plotter, I know, but I just can't organise a book until I've written it.) But I'm in the happy position of having a book to finish (A Baby's Bones 2), a new book to write and a book to edit (Secrets 3). It's refreshing going back to a project that I haven't read for many months, while I still get to play creator with the new chapters. I don't know why I write two books at a time more easily than one, but in the last eighteen months (the cancer years) I have written at a snail's pace. Getting back to normal is lovely.

Meanwhile, I have had the pleasure and privilege of reading books by a local writer. You know one of those people that writes fluent, rich books but can't get a book deal? I could see what he was doing wrong - and it's a familiar story, I made many of the same mistakes when I started out. Too many characters, no clear main character, too complex a structure with too many point of view characters, soft chapter beginnings that don't drag the reader in. If I have learned one thing on this journey it is to consider the reader. What are they going to get out of the book? What do they need to enjoy the story?  I know the answer for my genre is characters they find interesting. So often fantasy writers focus on the fantasy, but that's just setting. Ultimately, we want to invest in the people on that journey. I hope to see my friend progress towards publication - he certainly has the persistence and imagination to do it. 

I've also been succeeding with a problem I've had for fifteen years - type 2 diabetes. My blood sugar had shot up and I finally had symptoms. I was looking at more medication and insulin. I've finally given up on the NHS advice of lots of complex carbohydrates and looked into a new approach. It's finding approval in the US and Sweden already and research is pushing it into the NHS as well. My blood sugars are in the normal range, not OK-for-diabetics and I will have to reduce my medicine. Better still, my mood has stopped rocketing around with my blood sugar. As a welcome extra, I've lost a lot of weight, but that's not the best thing about it. Diets are incredibly hard to stick to because you get hungry, and crave your favourite foods. This diet cuts off the sugar rises and falls which dictate appetite. I can feel empty but not yet hungry - in fact I have to be careful I don't just fast all day. Anyway, this is a man who recommends you break up 70% chocolate into squares and put them in a jar, to help yourself if you get the munchies, so he understands. If you're worried about developing or have type 2 diabetes, you might like to look at this website or this book: