Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Words written today: 700.
Total words this week: Just under 8,000
Total words in WIP: Just under 12,000
There are maybe a 1,000 in my notebook too.
But, I reckon I’ve reached saturation point. I’m knackered, and need a holiday! I had hoped to go back home with a tan, but I’m as pasty white as I was when I arrived. Tomorrow, if the sun comes back out, I might sit by the pool.
In total I’ve got around 12,000 words and when my mentor has been appointed I will need to send the first 10,000 to be critiqued, which was really what this was about.
Hopefully I’ve learned that if I can write flat out here, I can get on and do that in Bangkok too.
Thank you for all your encouragement. I kept going because I wanted to be able to come here and tell you how much I had managed to write.
Monday, September 29, 2008
I haven’t started today as I’m blogging first which is probably a big mistake as I’ll be out of oomph.
Yesterday I did about 700 words in the morning, of my synopsis. I’m writing this alongside the novel so I can see the pace more clearly (I kid myself – I can’t see this yet, but hope to eventually) and the order in which I am
And I started … to hear voices.
I had a visitation …
After all these words – which are really amazing for me –
From the ‘thing’ on my shoulder.
This time he couldn’t say ‘you can’t do the words’ … because here I am, DOING the words. So he said ‘You can’t handle the story. You can’t do this. You don’t have enough going on in the story…
It appears to be true that in all the thinking about writing succinctly and being conscious of ‘am I moving the story forwards?’ I seem to be worrying about whether I have enough material…
Anyway … I have learned - thanks to the support of the Novel Racers – to write through some of these voices.
And that, you little sh*t on my shoulder, is what I’m doing.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
The resort runs a courtesy bus service three times a day. Normally they expect you to be two and a half hours in White Sands, but trust me, I love Koh Chang – this is my fourth time here – but two and a half minutes is enough in White Sands … Sorry. So I had to purchase milk, Paracetamol and enough DVDs to last my stay all in about 15 minutes.
Last night’s movie, Where the Truth Lies, was ghastly beyond belief. Nothing redeeming about it, tragically, not even Colin Firth. Soooo, I had to buy something else to watch, cabbage brained as I am after 1000 words of writing. I’m rather pleased with my mixture of films:
The Good German with George Clooney, Cate Blanchett and Toby Maguire. I know something about this … it’s based on book … I’ve heard it’s good.
Chicago with Catherine Zeta Jones, Renee Zellwegger and Richard Gere. I’ve never seen it. Husband would rather poke his eyes out that watch it with me – although oddly he was prepared to see the stage show… all those long legs in fishnet tights, maybe?
Million Dollar Baby with Clint Eastwood, Hilary Swank and Morgan Freeman. Love Morgan Freeman … never seen it, seeing as it’s about boxing, but I’m told to forget that and watch it because it’s good.
Romeo and Juliet with Leonardo ‘DiCraprio’ and Claire Danes. Never seen it, but I love the play; Son’s been watching it at school and we’ve been discussing the relative merits of setting Shakespeare in the modern day. Son has been ‘biting his thumb’ at his sister, since watching the movie.
Love Actually, with both You Know Whos: Just another chance of watching the divine Hugh wiggling his hips; as well as fancying
Shall We Dance? With Richard Gere, Jennifer Lopez and Susan Sarandon. Never seen in, but total mush for the brain that Husband won’t watch unless I blackmail or bribe him. Love Richard Gere in Pretty Woman – clearly I’m loving emotionally constipated men who break out with the help of a sexy woman.
The Wedding Date with Debra Messing and Dermot Mulroney. I thought this was a wildcard, but Husband’s just told me on the phone that we’ve seen this. Whoops, not a good sign, but I’ll probably watch it again, seeing as it’s proper mush.
Note to Husband following phone conversation: We don’t watch movies together at home, not, because as you said ‘you’re always writing and want to go to bed early…’ but because I want to watch things like the above, and you want to watch ‘guns, aliens, save the world’ films. We have no Venn Diagram.
Words written today: 1,012
Friday, September 26, 2008
It's nearly 6pm and I'm fed up of the sight of my laptop so I'm not going to take it into the lobby for the wifi.
Tonight's film is Where The Truth Lies. I've never heard of it but I chose it because Colin Firth's in it.
I'm back to dialogue tomorrow so the words should be slightly easier.
Sent via BlackBerry® from AIS
Thursday, September 25, 2008
I sit in the chair by my balcony window, writing ... and sometimes gazing out at the entertainment. He's stolen 3 flies/moths from the colony of ants on the balcony.
Today I've written 1,048 words without the need for paracetamol! However, I did catch myself asking aloud if I wanted a cup of tea. Nothing too alarming in that, except that it was in a Yeovil accent. I've never lived in Yeovil, but I think I may be going a bit stir crazy. Hmmm, and it's only day 2.
Tonight's movie is Miss Congeniality. More mush for my worn out brain. I think Sandra Bullock is hugely talented - and this film makes me laugh out loud.
Thank you to Lovely Leigh who has given me this gorgeous award for welcoming her to the blogging world a year ago. Is it really only a year? I feel I've known her longer than that.
Now, for my own nominees: Helen at Redders, Husband who hasn't got a blog, but left my first message, which was beyond exciting and still reads my blog today... Spiral Jen, Caroline and Liz F. Really, I'd include all the Novel Racers because they made me feel so welcome.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
I might not be able to keep that up as I also needed two doses of paracetamol today aswell.
My tea intake has been a bit OTT - I might need Husband to send an emergency package of tea from Bangkok!
Rewarded myself with Bridget Jones' Diary. All that talk of Colin Phwoarth and Hugh Grant, well, what can you expect?
Can't post on my laptop. I'm hoping my trusty Blackberry won't let me down.
Sent via BlackBerry® from AIS
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
The Arrivals Hall at Trat Airport:
Monday, September 22, 2008
One is that I kept my internal flights to Koh Chang – couldn’t get the money back anyway – and last Friday night, after Music & Lyrics, I decided that I would go and write. So tomorrow I fly down to “Elephant Island” for nine nights to make progress on my book.
The second is the cancellation brought into focus my awareness of my … confidence issues and my inability to keep to my own deadlines. Each time I’ve had any sort of crit I’ve had a corresponding ‘Ah ha!’ moment. I feel sure that had I been in the UK I would by now be doing the OU course, or an MA (Husband's permission permitting). But, I’m not, so a couple of weeks ago I sent my first chapter to The Literary Consultancy to see if they would consider me in a suitable place with my wip for their mentoring programme. This consists of a one to one mentor in the form of an experienced author critiquing up to 10,000 words on six occasions through the year. At the end of the six sessions you can submit the whole manuscript to be read and critiqued by one of their readers.
I heard back from them on Saturday regarding my first chapter. The mentoring co-ordinator was ‘impressed by these opening pages’ and thinks that I have the qualities ‘firmly in place’ that they are looking for in mentees. From the little they've seen 'the novel already ticks a good number of the current publishing boxes.'
I met Julia Bell through TLC who supply writers for Skyros’ Writer’s Labs – Julia used to read for TLC and she speaks highly of them. I have corresponded with Rebecca Swift regarding the holiday and the other services they offer. I also have been in touch with Zinnia regarding her experience and I am impressed with the way that TLC dealt with Zinnia’s criticism and complaint.
Of course there are still no guarantees of anything – they don’t take on only those they think they can whip up into shape for publishing – but I am excited about receiving feedback on a regular-ish basis to the hard work I am doing. I’m really motivated to get on and receive some feedback and am sure that the deadlines imposed will help me to focus and stop … playing Bejewelled.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
But I’ve got a confession to make, and I thought if I came here on a quiet Sunday, and owned up, nobody would really quite notice. Husband said ‘You CAN’T blog about this. You’ll lose all credibility’ and I thought ‘Hmmm, do I have any credibility?’ I think probably not, so it’s quite safe to say out loud. I’m among friends, right?
On Friday evening, feeling a little bit low (loooong lunch the day before) I went and sat down at the television. First I started scrolling through the channels, but at sixty odd channels I soon abandoned this plan to look at the … whatever the Thai version of the Radio Times is.
Oh how my heart leapt at the sight of ‘Music and Lyrics’ starting in five minutes. For any considerably classier than me readers out there, Music and Lyrics is a … frankly a pretty silly movie about an old has been pop star (Hugh Grant) who is given a few days to write a song for a barely adolescent, but nonetheless top of the pops, hit singer. The problem is he does music but not lyrics. While he is trialling a lyricist his manager has introduced him to, Drew Barrymore comes to water his plants. She keeps finishing the end of the lyrics for them. Needless to say, it’s all daft as a brush, but Drew Barrymore is cute and carries baggage which Hugh Grant sorts out and he’s … well, terribly tasty, I think.
Did I catch you out there? Did you read that far? I said I thought Hugh Grant was terribly tasty in that bumbling, charming and very naughty English way that characterises nearly every movie he’s done. And, really I think I’ve suddenly understood Lovely Caroline and her Simon Cowell thing … although seeing Hugh Grant’s and SC’s names in the same paragraph is rather alarming.
And I sat there, watching, laughing and even a bit of blubbing (I was feeling a bit sorry for myself, okay?) thinking 'Oh I do love a bit of romance.' But the weird thing is, I don't in books. In films, yes, romance ahhh (I go a bit fluffy around the edges) but not in books. How strange that is.
Friday, September 19, 2008
Thursday, September 18, 2008
But I did it. I wrote 1,021 words and finished the 'cat out of the bag' scene, at 9.50pm. Then I had a bar of chocolate and watched a bit of crappy tv. Bliss.
My MC says "... and there isn’t ANYTHING anyone can say that would make me think otherwise.”
But do you know what? There was. And the other character said it.
They may be no writing today as I'm a lunching lady. I must try to remember not to wear my flip flops. Real expat wives and ladies who lunch do not get refused entry to posh hotels.
I will try and write my 100 words a day when I get back because I'm trying to be a good girl.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
I stop for regular tea and fizzy mineral water refreshments, and the odd game of Bejewelled. I'm in a big dialogue scene which I like. I find dialogue easier (than other parts of the writing) but it's a cat out of the bag situation and I'm not yet certain how it's going to happen. The character who lets the information slip isn't malicious so I have to make it sound a genuine mistake.
Anyway, I just stopped to eat a particularly lovely lunch - as illustrated - which I ate while watching Blackadder on the BBC Entertainment channel. It's street soup and cost 35 Baht which is about 57 pence.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
I've never read any Meg Cabot, though I know several of her titles.
Can anyone recommend something I might enjoy so I'm not an interloper at the event?
Now that the State of Emergency has been lifted, let's hope her PR people don't cancel. I am still, when reminded, very sad about my writing course.
Monday, September 15, 2008
According to accounts in the local press the original was better. I’ve never been a big fan of Nicholas Cage and it was a bit violent for my taste but if Husband and don’t compromise with movies, we won’t ever see anything together.
My main reason for going was to see how they presented Bangkok. I like seeing places I know in movies – it’s worth remembering that setting is as important to those that know the place, as those that don’t. (I recently read Two Caravans which is set in my home county, and honestly, apart from the names of places, I could hardly ‘see’ the place. I enjoyed the book, but it didn’t feel ‘home.’)
Bangkok Dangerous didn’t feel a big Hollywood movie - despite Nicholas Cage – which is no surprise since the Pang brothers are predominantly Asia based (I think.) When they made the version released in 2000 it was an entirely Thai cast and Thai production team. I was delighted to see that the Nicolas Cage version was mostly a Thai production team too. One of the concessions they made to the second making of the film was the hit man in the original was a deaf mute – but my local rag says ‘Since the A-lister “needs to have some lines,” the twin directors make the hit man’s girlfriend deaf mute instead.’
Poor Nicholas Cage had to run around Bangkok in full motorbike leathers so he spent a lot of the film looking unattractively greasy. I did wonder what the love interest saw in him. The girls in the go-go club looked way too cheerful from the limited experience I’ve got of being inside those places. The majority of them have looked sad and bored when I’ve taken tourist friends inside.
They made our home look pretty real, I thought: filthy, polluted, busy, colourful, friendly and characterful.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
I’d really like to stamp my feet, and stomp up and down the corridor in a flumpy-footed manner… Sometimes I’d just like to behave badly and shout, and stamp a bit more. But I don’t because I understand; I do so hate seeing both sides of any story.
When you’ve been out all week in the office – or worse still – travelling to offices in other countries, or going off to school, you want some down time, yeah? You want some slouching about in your fisherman’s pants? In Husband’s case he wants to play ‘world domination’ games on his computer; Son wants to do any kind of slouching that isn’t homework and Daughter today wants to be moving everything to her new bedroom, so not exactly slouching, but definitely nesting.
But me, well apart from Thursday when I got to adorn myself in my gladrags and socialise, I’ve been home writing and stuff all week. So now I want to go out with my family … but they don’t.
I’ve written 300 words today. It’s taken me all day – why am I so slow?
Friday, September 12, 2008
Thursday, September 11, 2008
I donned a smart frock, scrubbed the ink stains off my fingers and made my way to Ploenchit for 10am… along with around 70 others from the British Women’s Group. This was almost us.
We drank earl grey tea, and there were scones, brownies, lemon cake, chocolate cake and more.
The Ambassador talked to us about what was going on in Thailand at the moment and then his wife, who is the Honorary President of the BWG told us about the Residence and the changes to it over the years. She shared funny anecdotes about Ambassadors past.
It was all in all a lovely morning and I dare say will feature in a book at some point.
If you come here via Caroline's Black Boxes widget, please leave a comment.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Anyway, I’m fairly sure you’ll all say 'whatever works for you,' but it appears that I need to get things right, before moving on… “Just get the story down first” doesn’t seem to work for me. I can’t bear all that mess. So I’ve finished Chapter One – for now – it’s certain to change again, but it’s done for now and not a first draft anymore. And I’m a couple of hundred words into Chapter Two.
I had made a comment on Sunday to Husband over lunch that I felt like going to Kinokuniya, one of the bookshops here and giving my bank card a bit of a bashing. (I imagine this was all part of the recovery programme) but Son’s ears pricked up and he asked if he could come… Now, I never say no to books for Son (or Daughter) but this was THERAPY. The damage inflicted to my bank account needed to be caused by books FOR ME. So I suddenly lost interest in going, since I’ve just purchased 3 books for Son online. As a reward to finishing chap 1, I went off today to Kinokuniya to do some abuse.
Here’s my booty:
Monday, September 08, 2008
Operation Cheer Up concluded with some self diagnosis:
- That I require a Sunday roast … so we went off to our local, The Londoner.
- That I need to watch Tootsie again. In the event, it was the thought of watching it that helped with the therapy.
- That this should be accompanied by chocolate. Okay, this one was more than just thought about. This one was literally executed!
- Following lunch I went with Husband for a foot massage at a place along our road. I had an hour’s foot massage, quite the best, most blissful one I’ve ever had, for the grand total of 100 Thai Baht/£1.60/$2.90 (plus tip.)
So I think that's it now: wallowing over. Thank you for your kind words and virtual hugs. They were very much appreciated.
Sunday, September 07, 2008
I took my grande English Breakfast tea upstairs and - okay, yes, and a muffin … I was still feeling sad, okay - and went to perch at the window. This was my view, so I didn’t come for that, did I?
Yesterday there were two girls. The first one had the body of a teenager and the face and posture of a bad tempered, disappointed woman of indeterminate age. She was dressed cheaply in rubber flip flops, a pussy pelmet denim skirt and an orange spaghetti top which had an embroidered butterfly on it.
The second was her opposite. She was tall, beautiful and immaculately groomed. She worked really hard on her manner, smiling at all the guys that came past while she ran her hands coyly through straightened hair. She leaned on a lamp post (really) and hooked her gold sandaled foot up behind her. When one guy did come up to her they chatted for a while and then she squeezed his arm muscles playfully, before presenting him with her backside which he (equally) playfully smacked. All of a sudden her face changed – the flirtatious smile was gone – I think he must have told her he wasn’t interested because he moved off.
I’m not sure at what point I realised she really was the first girl’s opposite – she was a katoey - a ladyboy.
Saturday, September 06, 2008
It started on Friday evening. Daughter was at a sleepover with four friends; Son was watching TV and Husband had braved the tropical rain storm to get home for his last phone meeting of the week.
Through the wall I could hear Husband on the conference call – him talking loudly as though to someone slightly stupid and the tinny voices of his colleagues from the speaker phone. I was finishing off Two Caravans when the email bleeped red on my Blackberry.
Every time the thought had entered my head that the writing course might be jeopardised by the political unrest here I gave it a firm whack away. It would be fine, I said, it’s in Koh Chang not in Bangkok.
Yesterday the news came: The Literary Consultancy has taken the decision to cancel the course. I’d tried so hard not to think this might happen but at the same time I understand. If I were in the UK thinking of coming to a country under a State of Emergency... well, I don't think I would.
Lovely Husband is telling me to go anyway… it's all in the diary, got everything in place at home - have a break, he says, but I don’t need a break – I need a writing course.
See, I just need a good slap for being a spoilt and selfish.
Friday, September 05, 2008
I’ve really got out of the habit of 100 words a day, and need a big boot shoving up my backside. The part that I’m working on has turned into a ‘I simply can’t work this out’ kind of project so rather than open it, harrumph, close it again I have to take it a sentence at a time. I can do that: one sentence at a time.
I have earmarked next week to write (apart from Thursday). I have two weeks before my writing course on Koh Chang and I’m feeling an amateur, fraudulent and devoid of imagination; but also quite a bit excited.
One sentence at a time is my new mantra…
Thursday, September 04, 2008
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
Nothing really changed yesterday. The announcement about the state of emergency came at 7am, and the children left for school twenty minutes earlier so they were off on their way to school before we even knew about the situation. School made the decision to stay open, but cancelled after-school activities so everyone got home at the same time.
I'd got a big group for Book Club expected yesterday morning, just around the corner in Bitter Brown on Asoke (road) so I texted everyone to let them know I would be there as normal. Everyone else turned up too. Lots of the Book Club members are seasoned expats that have seen ... well, volatile times in other countries so no-one was frightened to go out. (We had a good meeting discussing Tim Winton's Cloudstreet which I really wanted to like more than I did. I'm not sure I understood it all - I need a conversation with the writer about some of the themes! I struggled hugely with the Australian vernacular, despite many years of Neighbours while a student! It was beautifully written, and the characters wonderfully drawn. He writes women really well, and I was desperate to know more of their stories.)
I've never done politics on this blog, and I'm not about to start now, but it may interest you to know what's happening here for me as an expat. It was quiet around town. Public transport unions were threatening to stop in support of the demo and there was considerably less traffic on the roads than normal. None of us would go anywhere near to Government House where it's all happening but there's nothing to be seen where I live.
Thanks again to all of you for your good wishes.
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
Blogger was playing silly buggers yesterday and I couldn't log on, couldn't post and nor could I comment. I was bitterly disappointed because I've told you all before how much I LOVE opening up my new word document, labelling it with the new month's name and beginning the new month's postings. Anyway, I did all that in Word and then couldn't declare it to the world. I cut a sad and tragic figure, non?