Saturday 30 May 2009

Done ... until the next time I read it through

Return of the editor complete...

I'm beyond tired and a little sad - I really do feel that the only thing left to do on 'Not exactly as long as it was...' is purely cosmetic proof reading.

So - final word count - 92,330 words in 269 pages.

I even have one day left of the holiday to do some serious work planning - 11 English lesson to the end of the Y6 course - another sobering thought.

We will be giving lots of time over to 'Treasure Island - the musical' - a scary thought!

I even feel all parent-ally having made time to take the offspring to Thorpe Park and persuading the challenged one to give the rides that have a height restriction a go. It was a good day.

The boring stuff beckons:
Now for the other things to do -
  • marking
  • housework
  • working
  • shopping

Well I have one whole day - no problem!!

Thursday 28 May 2009

Good Day at the Editorial Office

The only good days are the ones ending in submissions so, unlikely as it may be, I actually managed to complete an online submission today : -0

Give or take the big blog fun I'm only just off one hand's worth of those.
The Haiku version of the book has never been turned down - word count 95,000 and perhaps it coud be tweaked a little lower! Yes, it still, still has all plots, sub-plots and themes.

And what's with i-Quote posting twice everyday? Keeping the writing brain busy - 'cos lets face it editing isn't writing!?! elaineamsmith on Twitter i-Quote response Haikus. Check them out! I love them!

Plus I got READING TICKETS :-0 :-0 (Double oooh! So much more expansive!)

Not exactly sure I can leave it alone

I thought it couldn't be tweaked again - until I read it this morning




Page 1

Dad parked in front of the familiar redbrick building, but even from here I could see that things had changed. Above the white stone entrance there was a new school crest. It showed a beast standing on two legs, with sharp teeth, lolling tongue and limp front claws, that leered down at the visitors to school.
“D-ifferent!” I commented as I hurried around the car to join him.
“Umm! Mr Jenson’s ‘lost’ toupee isn’t still flying from the flag pole?”
“No-one ever proved that was me,” I squeaked but my footsteps faltered.
Dad smiled, with a steely glint, as he put one hand on my shoulder to keep me walking forward. We stepped into the reception area, then pressed the buzzer by the viewing window, and waited. A tall woman, with two biros stored through the bun on the back of her head, marched briskly over from her desk at the back of the office.
Dad was distracted by her unusual hair accessories, “G–ood Morning. I’m Simon Trainer, and this is my daughter Jess. We’re here to see the Headteacher.”
She whipped a pen out of bun storage and tapped it on the desk as she checked the Head’s diary, “Mr McIntyre is in his office. I’ll just let him know you’ve arrived. Please push the green button and I'll let you in.”
Dad and I exchanged glances that condensed his lectures and my promises to small, but significant, facial twitches. Then I pushed, and the lock release. We walked into the brown, tiled corridor and sat while we waited.
“Mr McIntyre will see you now,” called the assistant as she approached.
We followed her into the room which was dominated by a long curving desk. Mr McIntyre was reaching into one of the furthest drawers. He seemed to freeze for a moment. I watched him draw a deep breath before he swivelled around.

Tuesday 26 May 2009

Not exactly ... as long as it was - under 100,000 words

Right - ignoring all other versions - I am going to post the new first page tomorrow.

I have been editing, re-writing, editing, polishing and generally slaving over the book for three days solid - banned from all internet access.

Got lots done - must remember that, any time I need to get work done: don't go on the internet!
I've been saying that to the Minnow for years - don't know why I didn't apply this rule to myself until this weekend!

CURRENT WORD COUNT - 98,000!! Final drafting still to go on Chapters 10 to 20
Yet still all plots, sub-plots and threads are present.
It's amazing how much fewer words you need when writing in active rather than passive verb forms.

Wednesday 20 May 2009

Boy's Toys

Well, it went like this:
one minute I was being all helpful (because I do read every comment on the Bransford Blog) so I just clarified a point of order - on the subject of why two of the 'boys' were squabbling!
You know, serious stuff like who said what first t-h-e-n, next thing I know, I've got 'offers' coming at me from all sides!

Cheers Nathan!
I was struggling to keep from joining in and that would not have been helpful!

ps I know how to delete comments too - I know kids from my school hang out here!

Tuesday 19 May 2009

i-Quote Challenge - the writing response

  • Inspectors are back
  • Partner seeking alternative employment
  • A1s
  • Never getting on a computer long enough to make it worth my while getting my 'pendrive' out of my pocket -

The only thing I make time to write is my new writing challenge - I call it 'i-quote response poetry'.

I think it could be the makings of a book!! What do you think???

"Without love in the dream, it will never come true." -- Robert Hunter
Loving foundations -
strength beyond tensile limits:
unbreakable bonds.

"If you do not conquer self, you will be conquered by self." -- Napoleon Hill
Don't conquer yourself,
others line up to do it:
be you - keep true - one!

"It is not my business to think about myself. My business is to think about God. It is for God to think about me." -- Simone Weil
Thoughts about oneself
surely, like shiny 'talents',
show active wisdom.

"Commitment is what transforms a promise into reality." -- Abraham Lincoln
'Promise' means nothing,
the 'sorry' of things you'll do,
just hot air and hope.

"Better by far you should forget and smile rather than remember and be sad." -- Christina Rosetti
Smile and forget - eh?
Not to sadly remember?
Sounds like man's advice.

"Any time that is not spent on love is wasted." -- Tasso
Don't waste time on love
guard and cherish each minute:
arduous ardour!

"Stop asking if the glass is half full or half empty. Instead ask "What's in it? How did it get there? What can I do with it?" -David Kaufman
Half is perfection:
Suggests refreshment shared now,
plus more for later.

Summer laps lazy
dripped rain, after heat hazy,
weather of whimsy.


Thursday 14 May 2009

Not exactly ... as long as it was - Chapter one

We parked near the front of the familiar redbrick school. Even from here I could see changes. The front of the school was now dominated by a decorative shield. At the top were three stars dangling from a cord and, underneath those, was an odd-looking lion standing up with teeth, tongue and front claws all visible.
“It looks more impressive than a tree, a book and a couple of moons,” I commented nervously, remembering the old school crest.
Dad smiled reassuringly, and put one hand on my shoulder, as we stepped into the carved, white, granite entrance. Everything looked so familiar, and yet subtly different too. We pressed the buzzer by the small window and waited. A grey-haired woman, with two biros stored through the bun on the back of her head, bustled in from the other office.
Dad was not distracted by her unusual hair accessories, “Good Morning. I’m Simon Trainer, and this is my daughter Jess. We have an appointment to see the Headteacher.”
She checked the Head’s diary, “Mr McIntyre is in his office. I’ll just let him know you’ve arrived. If you’d just push the button there, I will unlock the door and let you in.”
I pushed and then felt the door release. We walked into the brown, tiled corridor and sat side by side and looked through the glossy prospectus.
“Mr McIntyre will see you now,” called the assistant as she approached.
We followed the secretary just a little way into the room. I looked at the curving desk that ended with matching filing cabinets. Mr McIntyre was reaching into one of the lower desk drawers and he seemed to pause as he became aware of our presence. His head moved to the left and his face turned slightly up. I watched him draw a deep breath before turning to face us.

Wednesday 13 May 2009

Not exactly writing

Been working on the re-editing - go Beth!! 105,000 words and shrinking!

I think of the book - in this form - as the Haiku version of the first - edited and abridged etc

Have been writing poetry about relationships on Twitter - I-quote keeps dragging me (kicking and screaming) there, so here we go:

UN-KNOWN Knowing sounds certain- More self examination; psych-emeleon

HUMAN? Not really human: bitter, depressed and mourning - feels - somehow - other

RELATIONSHIPS RUST Neglect encrusts care; you tarnish the core of love, take it for granted

Sestina -six word poem
In-relationship's comfortable is dull in-sensitivity now.

EYES SEE OUT We live our lives, each thought, word, feeling and deed, so why are we self-blind?

(Nathan Bransford says...)
TIMELESS NOT TIMELY Eye to brain and heart, words digested are soul's food. Salves spirit - melds mood!

Tuesday 5 May 2009

Driving haiku

I did observe all rules of driving, honestly, but something the boy said yesterday has been spinning in my head since I heard it.

Maybe poetry got throught the autistic filter:
'I dance to the music of my own heart'

Oh! Oh! Looks like it's time for another Haiku

Life's tarantella -
I dance to my own heart's beat;
I'm not square or round.

Dusting off brain cells

Editing is a challenge ...

It's not so much the twice written descriptions I object to cutting. Once is enough.
I'm treating the book as a Haiku challenge - how few words can you use and still say the same thing?
Worryingly, I have found myself changing words and substituting not 'up-levelled' vocabulary but 'dummed-down' instead.
I read the advice on self-editing I found on the on-line writers forum entitled 'Kill the baby'.
This is just so apt - I do think of the book as a member of the family.
I have kept a copy of the 'whole thing' and am not unhappy comparing the original manuscript with the new one. Briefer and tighter - no wasted spaces and all that - the story is still true to the intent.
I have begun Edit 2 - Return of the editor!
Every word is again fighting to explain it's presence on the page

I even managed to comment without feeling the need to count syllables or look for appropriate rhymes - phew!
I was worried when I woke up and realised I was counting my first thoughts in syllables - composing almost in my sleep! That is taking Haiku poet status to an unhealthy place!

Only the 4 Haikus today and that was because Twitter wasn't updating in real enough time!

Monday 4 May 2009

Edit 1 complete

Too little coffee and too much editing - job done!

Word count - 109,055 - plot, sub plots, threads and storylines all present and correct!

Now it's time for late lunch/ early dinner - then some real work... thank goodness for Bank Holidays!

Two-thirds edited

Finished up to the end of Chapter 15!


There are a lot fewer words getting the chop from the middle third of the book - I hope this just indicates better writing once I got into the swing of it and the whole thing seemed less daunting.
Either way I'm looking forward to the first lot of feed back from the target audience!

I got a lot done - Editing, Twittering and Blogging! Busy day!

White cumulus clouds
drift in a sky of soft blue;
my thoughts follow too.

Come in Character
Loud, scary music -
barking much worse than their bite;
had such fun tonight!

Cutting words away;
editing all of today
so the numbers fall.

To grapple with words
capturing image and rhyme;
it's how I spend time.

Sunday 3 May 2009

Busy, busy morning...

Got as far as persuading Windows 2007 to mesh with 2003
Then spent some time with the essential tasks of Twittering and Blogging - and a little washing and 'stuff':

Sun’s reached its zenith;
Slippery minutes ticked by -
Time must be liquid.

My beta reader,
positive, helpful and nice,
helped me chop and dice.

(She really read the first chapter and asked all the correct questions and wanted to read more - early days in the process. I have two more unrealated (to me and each other) 14 year olds reading the book. This should give me useful feed back re writing style and content.)

130,000 to 113,000 words – still editing

Saturday 2 May 2009

Poetry is not exactly writing

Honestly, I am working on the book really

Gina wrote a Haiku and it kept buzzing around in my head - until it came out here:

My life-script was writ
before I was even born;
my part, once lived, ends.


Friday 1 May 2009

Will someone not rid me of this need to write on Blogs...

and Twitter?!

Oh dear! I'm seemed to be addicted to writing verse!

I only wandered onto Twitter because I noticed someone was ‘following’ – ‘back off with the smug’ all ye who have a mighty hoard following your every tweet! I’m excited!

While there, I noticed that Swine Flu (H1N1) is a popular topic for ‘tweeting’ at the moment – I came over 'all poetical' and had to write another Haiku.

Soon I'll be in need of interventions, or I’ll be communicating only in form poetry, then where will the family be? Poor things!

With most profound apologies to the Bard because I just couldn't resist it a little plagiarism (seems to be every where at the moment):


Out! Out! Damned germ spot!
One! Two! Then pestilent 'flu!
Will hands ne'er be cleaned?

Editing - so it must be the weekend

Editing is a very worthy occupation, and I won't hear a word said against editors - in general!
But editing is not exactly writing, is it?

After my first visit, to my second Writer's Circle, I have decided that I have to write something everyday!

Owing to the need for sleep, I have decided that my minimum daily writing toll must be a Haiku.

I know that purists frown on form, but you'll have to count me out of the 'pure' zone because I love Haikus.

Counted syllables -
the distilled essence of verse;
expansively brief!

On my Twitter account, which is, after all, the ideal place for a Haiku or two - I wrote today's first offering:

Deep spreading shadow
clawing back comforting night .
Shroud me dark mantle.

Haikus inspired by the visit to the Writers' Circle



Crystal protected
ancient detritus - once lost
or loved - now displayed.



hand expressed spirit of each.
Limitless the price.

As this was written in less than 5 minutes in total hysteria for CIC - I thought I'd see if I could improve it


hand depicted images;
what cost art? Priceless.

It has been an art-y couple of weeks as the 'resident artist' reaches total stress - for her this translates as vaguely bothered!