Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Today's News

Found an interesting blog, My Dog Ate My Manuscript. Great title, and the content covers most of the things that get in the way. Do have a read.

Right folks, it's already 10.25 here in England and I haven't written a word. Going away to get on with it as I have a scene in my head that wants writing before I lose it. So no more ramblings today.

Monday, 10 August 2009

Nostalgia 'aint what it used to be

One of my aspects of character is that I tend to be interested in the past. No surprise there, is there, as it's probably one of the things that made me an historical novelist! But one of the scary things about getting older is that I often think about some incident in my life and then realise '**** that was 30 years ago!' This happens more and more, sometimes - as with the end of steam engines in regular service - the figure is actually 40 or more.

This morning I was thinking about folk music. What started it was that yesterday, while cleaning a gutter out, a song came into my head that I haven't heard for a very long time. I'm not sure who used to sing it but possibly the Spinners - that's the Liverpool folk group not the guys from Detroit with the same name. (I like their music too but that's another story.) The song was a version of A Roving though I don't recall the Maid coming from Amsterdam or some of the coarse lyrics listed on the web. This was a folk song, not a rugby song, after all.

What out this song into my head I don't know, but it took me back, in my mind, to the old Manchester Sports Guild, whose folk nights I used to attend regularly with my then-girlfriend Catherine and even, on rare occasions, on my own. People like Mike Harding and Boys of the Lough used to appear, and on nights when no one of this class was booked members of the audience would get up and sing, often unaccompanied. These people varied in ability from excellent to brave, but we all had a good time, helped no doubt by the ever-open bar. Catherine and I would usually depart in time to stagger to the 23-30 train to Bury, but I think proceeding were generally winding down by that time anyway.

There was a great deal of Scottish and Irish influence in the music, but a lot of it also referred to English history. One wonderful female singer - whose name I wish I could recall - even had a song about Henry I and his brothers. There were also loads of references to the struggles of workers in the 19th century, and of course there was that wonderful Ewan MacCall song The Manchester Rambler. In my memory we all sang it every week - though I'm sure we didn't - and knew every word.

I could show you where the MSG once stood, though not a brick remains. (It fell victim to the continual redevelopment of Manchester that has robbed of us so many fascinating buildings, as well as a few, like the MSG, that were undeniably grotty but served a purpose.) The memory lives on

Sunday, 9 August 2009

A week of (some) achievement

This has been a good week for me. My mood has held up really well and I have achieved quite a bit, including the most writing I've done for some time, mostly concentrated on the R3 project. The test will be to sustain progress next week. I am not quite enjoying writing yet but at least I seem to have go to the point where I can endure it as a task of work.

Given that I spent most of my life longing to be a full-time writer, and now have the opportunity, it's ironic that the writing process has become a struggle to me. I can only think it's one of God's little jokes, but I've come to the view that the only answer is to persist. I'm pretty sure He doesn't want me to jack it in or He'd have sent more money and I'd be living at the seaside.

Amazingly I have actually written out a plan for the whole novel! There are even odd bits of conversation or plotting ready to be slotted in, like prefabricated parts. This may seem straightforward and obvious to many of you out there, especially those with logical minds and structured ways of working. However to me, who has never consciously planned anything of a literary nature, it is almost revolutionary. Whether the end product will be any better remains to be seen.

Monday, 3 August 2009

Author Page at Amazon.com, redux

Those of a nervous disposition will be pleased to know that I've replaced the 'mad professor' photo on the Amazon.com author page with one that looks a bit more civilised. The page does look like quite professional now, and even feeds in this blog. As it's all free publicity I have to say it seems like an excellent tool, one which I commend to my fellow authors. In the current climate anything that helps to sell a book or two has to go down as a Good Thing.

Another Short Story

I have it in mind to write a short story around Constance of York, the heroine of Within the Fetterlock. There's a practical reason for this, at least potentially, I'm not just doing it on a whim, or for fun. However, at the moment I haven't a scooby what to write about, although it could be about any aspect of her life not covered in the novel. (I don't want to rake over old ground).

Any suggestions gratefully received. No prize for the winner though, I'm afraid, though if it's a really inspiring idea I haven't thought about I will credit you when and if the thing is published.

Alianore Audley may also get her own short story in due course.