Monday, 30 July 2012

TMI Monday - The Universal Constant of Bridesmaid Fugliness

Welcome to an Olympic TMI Monday. This differs from other TMI Mondays in no way except that I am writing this whilst wearing a Union Jack leotard and twirling a baton.

  1. As the intro might have hinted, I have been watching some of the Olympic fun this week. Admittedly, it was mostly the bits where the camera pans to the Queen looking bored, but the Games are young so I expect I'll actually watch some races and stuff at some point. Til then, there's this past Olympic clip to enjoy. Over and over again.
  2. I was Matron of Honour at my sister's fabulous wedding on Saturday. As my sister had been lovely and bought me a gorgeous dress to wear, I felt it was only right to turn up with shockingly bad hair. Or my stylist felt that, one or the other. I said as she was wave-ironing it: "This isn't going to look crimped, is it?" To which she responded with an indignant denial. Soon as she'd finished, I went to take a look, and LO! IT LOOKED CRIMPED. Thus the Universal Constant of Bridesmaid Fugliness was upheld.
  3. My personal hangover cure (last invoked on Sunday) is: lucozade, salt and vinegar crisps and raw tomatoes. I don't question it. It just works.
    This image belongs to Cait Peterson and can be found here:
    Image from Cait Peterson's pinterest board.
  5. Following on from last week's TMI post where I mentioned the whole getting-sued-for-using-copyrighted-images-on-your-blog thing, the amazing Cait Peterson has created a pinterest board with creative commons images people can use. She rocks. Take a look - there are loads of awesome shots. Please remember to link back to Cait's site though, coz that's just good manners and shiz. Here's an image I've fallen in love with in particular because it makes me think of Blackfin Pier in my new WIP.
  6. I *think* 2 of my CPs are on the brink of signing agents. I have already pestered one into letting me interview her as soon as it happens, and I'm just fizzing with excitement.
  7. Due to #1 and #2, this week has been pretty stop-start in the old writing department. I started off pretty well with a few thousand new words for TRANSPARENCIES, then got my agent's revision notes for PURGE and changed gears to work on that. But in the spirit of not completely neglecting my new WIP, I geeked out watching this documentary about parallel universes, string theory, M theory and other ubergeekery. All in the name of research, of course.

Monday, 23 July 2012

TMI Monday - Heroes, Eyeballs and Disparate Youth

It's another TMI Monday, and a lot has been going on lately. Here are the 6 things I'm expelling from my brain cavity this week...

  1. In a week where truly awful news has hit the headlines, there has also been one particularly stellar example of humanity and heroism. You may have heard about Steve St. Bernard, the New York City bus driver who caught a 7 year old girl in his arms after she fell from a third-storey window. This story made my week a lot brighter.
  2. The outline for my new WIP, TRANSPARENCIES, is done. Have I resumed drafting it where I left off to work on PURGE  revisions? YES, finally!
  3. I went for a meal to a restaurant on the weekend with my 3-year-old niece. She's at that wonderful age where bodily irregularities are highly entertaining to her, so my father showed her his cut-off-my-finger trick (it does miraculously screw back on), and I demonstrated my ability to move my ears independently. This was not as impressive as the finger trick, apparently, but I did inform her it was a much rarer talent. She nodded sagely and we left it at that.
  4. My first ever guest blog post (about the pros and cons of query contests) went live this week over on Rachel Horwitz's blog. It was lots of fun, so I'll be looking out for other blogs I can sneak onto sometime...*eyes your blog with intent*
  5. You may have noticed that the images on my blog have, er, changed a little bit. To be honest, I got freaked out by this cautionary post by Roni Loren about using images (even with disclaimers and the best of intentions) and being sued if you don't have express permission/ownership of them. So, I've removed any images from this site that I thought might fall into that trap, and have replaced them with... other pictures. Yes, you could say I have used this as an excuse to put pictures of me in random poses all over my blog. You would be right. SUE ME. (No, please don't.) One I'm rather proud of is the Friday Snippets eyeball, which I freely admit I photoshopped to get rid of the eye bag and map of veins coursing through the white... What? I'm a writer. I don't sleep. 
  6. The TRANSPARENCIES playlist is growing steadily, with a few new additions this week. This is one of my favourites.

Monday, 16 July 2012

TMI Monday - The Wig's Debut

Welcome to another TMI Monday, where I share 6 random things that have happened or have just been taking up brain space over the past week.

  1. The Amy Winehouse Wig Outing (AKA my sister's hen party) finally happened on Saturday night. For those who have asked for evidence, here is a photo of said wiggery. It was a great night... from what I can remember.
  2. Kind of following on from #1, I travelled home on the train feeling extremely ropey on Sunday, but was massively cheered up reading this post on Janey Godley's blog about a couple breaking up on a train.  
  3. My writing this week has been more outlining than writing writing. Not a bad thing, actually - I'm very much a plotter, so having a clear idea of what will happen chapter-by-chapter helps me to avoid hitting brick walls in the first draft. It's also helpful when it comes to writing the synopsis and dreaded query pitch. Having an outline to refer back to helps me gain some perspective after I've spent a few months wrapped up in my characters' lives.
  4. I got some new faces to add to the Purge Wall. Check out the page if you haven't already - and there's always room for more if you fancy being a part of it... *waves yellow lipstick at you in a menacing fashion*
  5. I wrote my first ever guest post this week. It's about the pros and cons of entering query contests, and will be up on Rachel Horwitz's blog later this week, so please check it out and let me know if you agree/disagree/think I'm nuts.
  6. I've made mention of doing the Running Man a few times here and on twitter. What you may not realise is that I'm being deadly serious about this and do, in fact, take something akin to patriotic pride in it. Here's why....

And yes, this video is a perfect portrayal of Welshness. I should know.

Monday, 9 July 2012

TMI Monday - Fenton, Firefly and the Thundercats in Space

Another few random little deets from my week this week. But it's still TMI.

  1. I did something a bit clever this weekend. I decided to write a complete chapter-by-chapter outline of a future WIP, and it turned out pretty great (I have had CP confirmation of this). It also made writing a synopsis SO much easier, and I suspect it'll make the drafting fly. FLY, I TELL YOU.
  2. I love speaking with my agent. Part of this is because she tells me to do things like read The Owl Service by Alan Garner and watch Firefly... so that's what I'll be doing this week. I'll also be writing a post about how I found my amazing agent later this week - so watch out for that.
  3. This clip was discussed as inspiration for a possible smexy-scene-interrupting event in one of my CP's manuscripts. "FENTON!!!" FTW.
  4. The day of the Amy Winehouse dress-up looms ever closer, and I worry that I don't have enough transfer tattoos. That would just be awful. I have one, and it's a good one, but somehow not enough...
  5. I can't get a MS idea out of my head. It's not even a fully-fledged idea - it's basically a spoof of the Thundercats in space. I HAVE A MOTTO PICKED OUT AND EVERYTHING. I am convinced it would be epic, but this could well stem from my lifelong ambition to BE Cheetarah, and not any writerly savvyness.
  6. My mam read my blog for the first time this week. She said she really likes that song by M83.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

The Perfectly Unexpected

It was a gorgeous day, and E and I were zipping along the bypass when I decided to take a photo of Rhuddlan Castle as we passed. I took out my phone and snapped, and in that instant I not only managed to get the castle in all its sunshiny glory, but a car which was also zipping along the bypass - in the opposite direction.

My phone doesn't have a high-speed shutter. We were zipping at about 70mph, and so was the other car. And I'm no fly photographer. But in that instant, I caught not only the castle, but a perfect shot of something completely unexpected as well.

And that was a revelatory moment for me. That something unexpected appearing in a brief glimpse of what you thought you were looking for...only to find yourself faced with a new prospect entirely.

That was exactly what happened to me when I first had the idea to write PURGE. My first attempt at writing it happened a few years ago, and although the scene that inspired the story is no longer a part of the MS, I'll never forget that one, clear idea and how it eventually snowballed into something I'm so, so excited about.

It wasn't so much a scene as a glimpse of one - my MC being ejected from a cylinder full of goo, lying naked on the grille floor as two salvagers look down at him in shock (they didn't expect to find anyone in a storage unit on a disused moon). That was it.

When I started to build on that, the story went in a very different direction for a while - it was more Red Dwarf-ish, with my MC tagging along with 2 life-battered and cynical salvagers in their equally battered spacecraft. But then my MC became Mason, and Mason had his own ideas. Or more specifically, he had a voice, and I couldn't not listen to him. And the MS took a very different, very twisty kind of turn, and the rest is... well, hopefully you will get to see what the rest is, one day. Hopefully.

But Mason wasn't what I expected, and neither was PURGE - and that was no bad thing. Certainly better than an old green car!

Monday, 2 July 2012

TMI Monday - Beetles, Wigs and Calvin Harris

Yep, looks like this may become a Thing. Here are another 6 random bits of information I dare say you don't want to know...

  1. I have approximately 120 published novels in my TBR pile. I keep looking at it and weeping inside.
  2. Pitch Black is one of my all time favourite films. So is Rebecca (the Joan Fontaine / Laurence Olivier version). But I can only quote chunks from one of them.
  3. I betad 2 manuscripts this week. Both very different, both excellent. I think this vaguely relates to #2, and how my brain is basically a cerebral manifestation of the Calvin Harris song 'I get all the girls'. BUT, finishing these 2 MSs also signals the end of my beta-reading for a while, as I can't do that and work on my new WIP. I may get all the girls, as it were, but can only concentrate on one at a time. (Yes, this bullet point has gone to places I didn't intend. Oh well.) 
  4. I celebrated my 5th wedding anniversary on Saturday, which somehow resulted in me wearing metallic cherry nail polish. I keep catching sight of them in my peripheral vision and thinking they're red beetles. Freaking out is involved.
  5. The Amy Winehouse wig has arrived.
  6. This song is amazing, and is on the playlist for my new WIP - a YA supernatural mystery called TRANSPARENCIES.

I think that's enough random shiz for this week. Kat out x

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Ninja Badminton and New WIPs

I'm not a runner. You can tell that quite easily by looking at me. I loathe exercise generally, except where it's dressed up as a game, and then my competitive streak kicks in.

This is how I have come to be a lazy person who plays badminton like a freakin' ninja every Monday after work. Depending on when you're reading this, that could be RIGHT NOW. *Waits for this momentous existential realisation to hit its mark.* Yeah. Anyway.

For one hour each week, I sweat my butt off to beat my best friend of some years in a game where winning means... well, very little. But I have an imposed timescale (one hour, every Monday) a goal (kick my friend's ass) and a driving force (my grit-yer-teeth stubborn refusal to lose at a game involving shuttlecocks). For the most part, this works. I may have a purpler (yes that's a word) face than my friend at the end of the game, but her ass is MINE for that week - figuratively - and the purple just makes my cake-eating grin stand out more.

What I've come to realise is that I have to apply these same factors to getting some writing done. In the past, this has occasionally happened - for example, where an agent has requested a revision. Your timescale is basically going to be ASAP-but-no-more-than-three-months-realistically, your goal is fixing any MS issues and working on the notes the agent has given you to woo them into making an offer, and your driving force is, of course, I WANT AN AGENT AND TO GET PUBLISHED AND SEE MY BOOKS ON BOOKSHELVES IN BOOKSHOPS... or something like that.

Because I haven't really had ALL those factors in play for the last few months (except with the revision I just mentioned), I haven't had that sense of urgency pushing me to work on my new WIP. Well, that's about to change. I want to have another MS ready to be pitched by the time I go on holiday in November, which really doesn't leave me much time for faffing about. I'm really, really good at faffing about.

So, writing the words makes it official: I will have a first draft of my new WIP ready by the end of September. It will be betad, edited and polished by the end of October. IT WILL BE DONE. You can kick my butt otherwise, and you know how I hate that. Especially if there are shuttlecocks involved.