Sunday, 27 July 2014

Random Round-Up

As someone who works in puzzles (as well as being someone who spends a lot of time on the internet) I sporadically discover cool bits of trivia, or quotations that make me smile, or really interesting articles. I always want to share these with people, but they rarely seem like enough to make an entire blog post out of. So, I thought I'd do this instead - a monthly (more or less...) round up of Cool Stuff. Like this:

I was checking a wordsearch about kinds of poultry when I discovered this beauty. Rebecca dubbed it 'The Iridescent Wonderduck' which I like a lot better than the official name — The Black Indian Duck

This is an amazingly beautiful element called Bismuth.
An art installation in Sydney called Forgotten Songs featuring 110 empty bird cages that play the songs and calls of 50 bird species that were driven out by urbanisation. The paving stones on the floor display the names of the species in question.
A quotation from my calendar.

Monday, 14 July 2014

Blog Hop

Something a little different today. Nickie at Meadow Orchard invited me to take part in a fortuitously timed 'Around the World' blog hop about the creative process. Hello to anyone who may have followed her to me! I'll be passing the baton on to two friends of my own: 

Rebecca at Parsnip Buttering who blogs about mad recipes and cures unearthed from a treasure trove of old books. Rebecca will also be mentioned in the answers to the blog hop questions below. 

Angharad at Life with Anorexia who blogs, writes, draws, paints and creates collages as a means of exploring her mental health. I'm terribly terribly envious of her ability to create celtic knots in something other than a square or rectangle shape. 

Question: What am I working on?
I'm working on a detective story based (very loosely) on characters from Beauty and the Beast, using a detective I've written about before called Henrietta Whitlock. I thought it was going to be a straightish murder mystery (the Beast is murdered, Beauty suspected) but I've found that in the writing process it changes and develops in a way I find quite thrilling and now there almost has to be a werewolf in it... 

Question: How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I haven't quite worked that out yet... Henrietta Whitlock was originally conceived as a steampunk Victoria era detective but having scrapped that manuscript I'm not sure what period I'm setting this in now. Nor have I completely decided whether or not there will be magic. It is definitely not going to be a police procedural in the modern crime fiction style. I could use magic to justify its being more of a Golden Age locked-room mystery. That would fit nicely with the werewolf. 

Question: Why do I write? 
I've been asked this before (in my creative writing module at uni) but I've never really had an answer. I suppose because I day dream a lot and there's only so much day dreaming I can do about myself? Or because I want people to be able to invest in my characters as much as I can invest in the characters I love? Because it's something I can do and no one can quite take that away from me?

Question: How does my creative process work?
The several times I've entered (and completed) NaNoWriMo, I've had a plan in place from the beginning. Not always a very clear plan, but definitely enough material for several days, a set viewpoint character, a set tense to write in. It's worked, I can't complain, but it doesn't feel fun.
Now, I've got no plan, things keep changing and developing in ways I didn't expect, I have no idea how I'm going to drop clues about the murderer, what method they used, how my detective is going to solve the case... but I'm having a blast doing it! 

In terms of how do I actually sit down and do the writing - I either need full on pressure or none at all. NaNoWriMo worked for me because I only had 30 days, I had to keep on top of my word count. In later years, when I had a full time job and other hobbies to juggle this became exhausting. And yet, when I was at school trying to pass the most important exams of my life, it was my break from that. Now, I go to a pub with Rebecca, write, eat some food, people watch. There's no pressure at all. No one except me cares if I write any words at all. That's freeing and is, I suspect, a large part of what's made writing fun again.

Friday, 4 July 2014

Theatre Trip: Let The Right One In

Last night, I crossed another theatre off my list of London theatres when Rebecca and I went to see Let The Right One In at the Apollo Theatre. Weirdly, it started at 7.45pm so we killed some time first in a pub where I added another couple of pages to my novel (about which more later). 

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Book Chat: Man of Property

It may be only Thursday, but I'm having a very exciting week book-wise. First, I learned that one of my favourite authors, Robin Hobb, is bringing out a new book in my favourite series, and that she'll be signing it in London next month! I am so excited.

Then I finally got the tape measure (or rather, badgered Rebecca to let me borrow hers) out to see if there was any space in my room for a bookcase and there is! Since I don't particularly fancy lugging a flatpack bookcase from Argos by hand, I think I'll wait until I've got some time off and have it delivered. I'm very much looking forward to storing my books in style, and in my own room rather than the lounge.

In less exciting news, I finished The Man of Property by John Galsworthy this week. It doesn't quite count as one of my fifty classics because I blithely put the whole of The Forsyte Saga down, but it's a step!

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