annanotbob2's Diaryland Diary


Reading and writing

Well. Things can surprise a person, n'est-ce pas? We got some printer paper and I found the file for the whole first draft of the novel - it said 30 pages which worried me - I knew I'd finished the National Novel Writing Month challenge that year - 50,000 words written in November, which would have to be more than 30 pages, even single spaced like this. I must have lost some of it, or misfiled it or fucked it up somehow - I mean, Jesus, I wrote it in 2006, I haven't looked at it in fifteen years and god alone knows how many changes of computer it's been through - did I really expect it to still be there. just waiting?

Well it was - it's my eyesight, or rather the thick layer of salt from the sea breezes coating the lenses of my glasses and making me mistake 80 for 30. I must try harder to remain chilled till I know for sure it's all fucked up.

I changed it to double spaced and printed it off - suddenly we're at 151 pages, Bloody hell that's a thick pile of paper. I took it to bed to have a go at reading it. The first chapter was a bit of a slog - that's the one I put up on Critique Circle back in 2007. I critiqued quite a few other people to earn some crits of my piece. Opinions varied but I went along with some of it, made some changes. We fell out when I got into a row with someone who insisted that no sentence should ever be longer than 33 words. She had supporters as well - I thought they were all lunatics and left in a huff. I did make one pal there, a British bloke who went to Mexico for his gap year in 1979 and hasn't managed to leave yet. We're still friends on Facebook and chat quite a lot - he's a lefty too and keeps up with UK politics. The other effect of critique circle was that for a while, and even now when I'm reminded, I became unable to finish a sentence at all; you can add punctuation as long as you like if you know what you're doing - one of Virginia Woolf's novels has an opening sentence that goes over three pages and several changes of first person point of view - it's not very readable but it's not ungrammatical, and although I never did take it quite that far, whenever I remember Critique Circle I find myself shying away from the full stop, but I won't this time, really I won't, look:. My eyes/lenses are again unable to see the details - I hope I ended that with a colon then a full stop. Whew.

So I read the first chapter, mercifully short, and ploughed on, aiming to finish the second then read someone else's novel, it being bedtime and all. But I found I liked it! I was intrigued by some of the characters (not all, some need work) and as I have no idea how I got them to the end of the story, I wanted to read on. Wow. Bloody hell. I mean, let's be realistic - a lot of it is pure shite. It was written under NaNoWriMo conditions, which put quantity of words over their quality all day long. Some days were easier than others, but sometimes I really struggled - the aim is to average 1,666 words a day, without looking back or rereading more than the last sentence written the previous day and you'll have a rough first draft of 50,000 words in thirty days. So on really bad days I'd change every don't to do not and it doesn't flow at all, especially in direct speech. But I have something here. It needs a lot of work but if I do some every day I can do it. My Sheffield writing buddy is running a free 'pitching' workshop next week so I signed up for that, to learn how to pitch my book to agents or publishers. The worst that can happen is that I lose momentum and don't get it done but if I finish a decent draft, enough people have shown interest that if I can't sell it to a publisher, I'll get fifty self-published as it turns out that's free.

Apart from that it's been a weird weekend with loads of torrential rain - yesterday it was endless - and 35 mile an hour winds, which, it turns out is too strong to walk in when you don't have to. So I walked a total of 0.15 of a mile, bloody rubbish. Today I did 3.7 - much more but not the seven miles I was needing to get my average back up, and I got soaked twice.

Now I'm going to bed - nearly half one, miles too late. Today I was grateful for a snuggle up with my newest relative, Baby F, not even three weeks old. If there's anything better than babies then I don't know what that is. (No, not sex. Or sweetcorn.)

Hope you're keeping safe - my niece's husband and daughter have both had covid recently; he's double vaccinated but was still very ill. Too ill to watch telly. That's proper poorly - none of us want that. So keep safe dear ones xxx

12:50 a.m. - 04.10.21


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