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Showing posts from July, 2009

Ready For A Fright?

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Doh! There is nothing like bragging in cyberspace about how brave you are to be put to the test. When Tom announced that both the weather conditions and the tides were ideal for a run in the boat I went a bit deaf and pretended it wasn’t going to happen. To be fair to Tom he was quite prepared to go out in it by himself, but that’s a bit of a slippery slope. Pushed to the edge, you discover each other’s strengths and weaknesses and how you work as a team (or not, if you’re going to the Antarctic with James Cracknell) and we’ve always done very well together at sea.

So there we were, the one bright, sunny morning
this week, sitting in the car. I was speechless with fear, trying to control my quivering bottom lip (and my quivering bottom) whilst Tom gently explained the plan. I still couldn’t speak in the dinghy, and sheer terror meant I needed a wee as soon as we got aboard. It was after I’d had a swear at the loo, because it’s so difficult to flush, and Tom, sounding rather sa…

The Seven Summary

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Gaelikaa, whose thoughtful, reflective blog about her West meets East life always makes me stop and think, has tagged me to describe myself in seven words. Here goes:-

Tenacious. I will abso-berludy-lutely cling on to what’s important to me. Seven years ago my dear friend, Ann, got me into running. We joined Epsom Allsorts, a women’s group with formidable skills in talking and laughing whilst running. The club's highlight was the dreaded Hogsmill Ladies 5 Mile Race, which gave me my first taste of competitive running. As a novice runner I learned that by doing the work, hanging on in there and putting one foot in front of another you can achieve half marathons. It’s a lesson I apply to everyday life. Every novel starts with a single word.

Warthoggish. When my daughters were little they were very impressed by a nature programme about a mother warthog defending her young. ‘Ooh, that’s just like you, Mummy,’ they said. No one makes my babies cry and gets away with it as one or…

Flotsam and Jetsam

‘I couldn’t half do with a sit-down,’ says my hairdresser, . Not quite the words I long to hear when she has my hair in one hand and a pair of scissors in the other, but I’m sure it will be fine. It’s like a youth club in the salon today with the amount of school kids on work experience before going off to college in September. The trouble is they keep floating back to ask what to do before being sent off to arrange the shampoos or tidy the magazines. More worrying is that every time one of them hovers, my hair is in danger. As another child is sent away on a mission I have a fleeting sense that something strange has happened, but by the time everything’s been blow-dried and straightened, I’m lulled into a false sense of security... until I wash my hair. The ‘something strange’ is that several layers have appeared, especially in my fringe, and I’m now channelling Suzi Quatro. ‘It’s fine,’ says Tom, ‘exactly the same as usual.’ Little does he realise how dangerously he is livin…

The Good Ship Floats Again

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It's that time of year when I start thinking, ‘I’m never going out on that boat ever again.’ But sailing is what Tom loves to do. He’s just replaced the stern gland with a stuffing box (no, don’t ask me, I haven’t a clue) and generally fussing over her so, reluctantly, I decide to give her once last chance.

The launch gets off to an inauspicious start; we arise bright and early and go down to the estuary. The plan is that we will board the boat, still on its trailer, on dry land then The Pirate King and his Merry Crew, the folks who run the river here, will tow us, by JCB, deposit us in the middle of the channel and wait until we’re happy that the boat isn’t about to fill up with water again. But no, we arrive at the appointed hour to find that The Pirate King & Co. have arisen even brighter and earlier and dumped the boat in the river on a rising tide. Furthermore, the inflatable’s on board. Berludy great. Tom goes off to have words with The Pirate King whilst I wait on…

Doing the Write Thing

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Wednesday
Write blog on plotting. Read blogs. Watch tennis. Give stern talk to self; must finish plot of Make, Do and Mend tomorrow and get writing.

Thursday
a.m. Day 4, Week 1 of Runner’s World SmartCoach 16 week training programme which will take me up to the Cardiff Half Marathon. Run 6 miles, (one warm, one cool, four at tempo).

Continue reading blogs plotting. Eat quite a few Peach Loops (nothing to do with peach and everything to do with sugar and gelatine) whilst desperately trying to make characters play.

p.m. At last! A teeny little chink of light shines in the dark world of my plot. Congratulate self and eat several more Peach Loops (named after a fruit therefore good for me).

Friday
Easy run: 2 miles. Watch tennis.

Saturday
Reach 5000 words. Worry about money and decide to enter short story comp.

Sunday
Steady run: 7 miles. Week One total: 17 miles.
Go to dinner with The Axe Murderers aka a delightful pair of artists we met at the top of a mountain.

Monday
Week Two: Card…

Plot Luck

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This week, when not enjoying the company of Rose and Si (a lovely long weekend) or preparing the house for timewasters prospective purchasers (Octogenarian couple seeking small bungalow and new friends. One man and his dog having a nosey. Woman looking for small holding.) I’ve been thinking mainly about plot.

Now plotting is something that scares the bejesus out of me. It scares the bejesus out of a lot of people and there are folks who charge good money to tell you how to overcome your fears. I once attended Robert McKee’s Story seminar. I had a great time and learned more than I needed to about Roland (Fine Young Cannibals) Gift’s socks, because he kept slipping his shoes off, and a lot about what not to do when Robert McKee is talking, but if you buy Robert McKee’s book ‘Story’ it’ll give you the nuts and bolts about plotting without the socks and at a fraction of the price. For a simple explanation you could do a lot worse than pop over to The Blood Red Pencil and read Maryan…