Tag Archives: novel

You Say Goodbye…

pregnant-working-momUp until today, my little baby bump had been mercifully sleepy while I was writing. This bodes well, I thought. I might even have rubbed my hands, thinking of all the free time I’ll get while on maternity leave to write while it slumbers in its moses’ basket.
Not today. It’s practicing for the Olympic gymnastics in there, I swear. Therefore, it seemed fitting to post a little ditty about my pregnancy I wrote a week or so ago. You could even call it a poem I suppose (yes, a poem).

You say goodbye…

Goodbye, second trimester. Hello third trimester.

Goodbye feet. Hello indigestion.

Goodbye white bread. Hello 5am leg cramps.

Goodbye to picking things up off the floor. Hello to getting stuck in the stationery cupboard.

Goodbye to button up jeans. Hello elasticated waistbands.

Goodbye to fitting behind the steering wheel with a coat on. Hello to looking and feeling like a pin cushion.

Goodbye to the boss’ rocket fuel coffee. Hello rennie tablets.

Goodbye cute belly button, hello thing that resembles a punched eye.

Goodbye heels. Hello to walking like a robot with no knee joints.

Goodbye to doing anything fast. I had better get used to it. Hello wriggly baby, looking forward to meeting you. Goodbye serenity, hello to family.

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Just a random extract….

I’m aware that I haven’t posted anything for a very long time. Life has been a little busy since I last blogged. I have bought a house and become pregnant. All very nice, but writing has taken a bit of a back seat.

I have nearly finished my WIP, currently at the 100K mark (it will need a lot of editing), but in the meanwhile, here is an extract at random (part of chapter 8):

Mei stopped and looked up. Snow rushed on the breeze. Red flags on the Government buildings billowed proud. She jumped as a flake landed in her eye. Rubbing it did no good. It burned like no pain she had known before.
‘What’s wrong?’ Alex asked.
‘This way.’ She pushed past her, trying to ignore the agony searing across her face, and strode round the corner to the taxi rank. ‘This one’ll do.’ She rapped hard on the window, startling a catatonic driver from his sleep. ‘Open the boot,’ she yelled. As it popped open, she checked around them for danger. It was too quiet. Where were all the cars?
‘What the hell is up with you?’ Alex asked, having caught her up. Mei noticed she was scratching her arm. ‘What happened to your eye? It’s gone all red.’
The pain in her left eye made it almost impossible to think. But in the distance, she could hear a collective roar, like the chant of football hooligans. And then she saw them, running in a swarm, un-coordinated and swaying as though drunk, but determined. They were headed straight for them.

Please visit http://www.facebook.com/LucyGhose and click the ‘like’ button to keep updated with my writing journey.

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November writing blog – Trip to London

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I have been a bad best friend in the literary sense. The cardinal sin is that I have abandoned my blog. The last time I wrote, the piglets had trashed the broad bean crop and was anticipating take my book to the Frome Literary Festival.

Since then, the piglets have gone to the woods (not a euphemism) and I’ve put my book back under the bed (this one is a euphemism). But Autumn brought more than a simple change of seasons. I bagged tickets for the Foyles Discovery Day in London, hosted by London agents Curtis Brown and Conville & Walsh. You have thirty seconds to pitch your book to an agent, at the first table available. So it’s a stomach-squeezing mash-up of speed dating and X-Factor, but isn’t on TV. And I already had my idea, tried, tested and rejected by most of the literary agents in the capital. I was a pro, and some of them might even recognise my face from the dazzling cover letter in my submissions. What could go wrong? Oh yes, having read the rules (aren’t there always?) I found out that it was for fiction only. Shit. 80,000 words of non-fiction will be as good as an electric fence with no battery attached.

Ah, the perfect chance to try out a fiction idea I came up with about ten years ago. Why ignore an idea for so long? Truth is, it’s steeped in science theory and given that I got E grade in science for GCSE, I didn’t think I was best placed to. Actually, it was a double EE grade – quite ironic as it took me ten years to find my bollocks, figuratively that is, to use another adverb.

As my trip to London loomed and I panicked about logistics, I reminded myself that I spent five years living in the city. Why should I panic now? Because I had the added delight of wittling down my rather complicated theory into less than an ad break. Cue the kitchen timer.

It took me a Saturday afternoon, but if I spoke fast with no stuttering, I could manage it. I typed it out of course. I’m a nightmare and go to pieces when put on the spot. I got the first page of my novel as good as I could get it, printed it all out, packed my weekend bag and off I went.

Most of the train journey up there, I spent feeling sick. Not good when the only chance of outlet was a cubicle with a disobedient lock and probably covered in several specimens of urine. Oh and thanks St Denys for the signal failure. That added an extra thirty minutes to my journey of panic. I only ate half my sandwich that day.

After a night at my sister’s house, the day came. I got my Oyster card (I had to be briefed on what it was) and off I went. My resolution this time in London was not to take the Underground everywhere, like I did when I lived there. As a result I never had a visual map in my head. I opted to change this now. Good job I opted for trainers and not my vintage heels. I made it to Foyles bookshop with ten minutes to spare. I went to the top floor where a lengthy queue had already begun. It felt rather like waiting outside a nightclub. Someone with a clipboard walked the line and ticked off our names. We all made small talk with each other. The lady I was stood next to had come back from Spain for this and someone else had come from Sweden, I think.

The queue began to move. At the front, there were markers. Another queue fed in from the side to a doorway. Those were the children’s authors. Then I was at the front. I held onto my folder tight and tried to use my years of amateur dramatics to calm down. Though this was parallel to singing solo, except I wasn’t caked in make-up and not a soul knew me.

I leant forwards. I could see someone sat down at a table, still and quiet. The agent was reading their page. My turn soon.

‘Step back, please. Behind the marker.’ A man was ushering me away from the doorway. ‘We don’t want people overhearing anything.’

‘I couldn’t hear anything,’ I protested, but the bouncer had gone to check off more names.

‘Next please.’ A lady with a clipboard was ushering me forward. ‘The table at the end.’

I ‘good lucked’ the queue and set off past the tables, not daring to look at anything apart from the end table. I got a lady. I sat down and put my folder on the table. ‘Are you going to time me?’ Silence. Well done, idiot. You’ve screwed it up in under a second.

She smiled. ‘Well, no not really. But we want to give everyone a chance.’

I noted the watch on her desk. ‘OK.’ I start my pitch, trying not to make it sound too scripted. My face was getting hotter all the time. But she was nice, saying ‘yes’ and nodding at times.

When I was finished, she looked interested and suggested I read Michael Crichton’s State Of Fear. I already had read some of it, so we had a good chat about that. She asked me if it had a happy ending, what was to blame for the events in the novel and whether I’d finished it yet.

Was a happy ending important? In this kind of book, she thought so. Because one where everyone dies is a real downer and note a good feeling to go away with. Keep the pace up and make the science easy to understand.

She seemed to be wrapping things up. I picked up my first page. ‘Do you want to read this?’ I asked.

‘Oh yes,’ she replied, taking it from me and folding it over.

I thought of the email we’d been asked to include on the page. ‘So you’ll email me?’

‘Yes.’

So that was that. I was moved to a holding pen with other people, jittery from their pitches. ‘Did it go well?’ I was asked.

‘I think so, she seemed to like my idea and said it was current. She didn’t read my first page.’

The bookshop girl nodded. ‘Some agents do things differently.’

So that’ll be me checking my emails constantly for the next month then.

We were then herded into a café and sat in groups at tables in a rather noisy café on the top floor. We had one expert to grill. Questions ranged from what to include in a cover, to ‘how important is an online profile?’ He said ‘not very’, but did say later that he would Google someone as part of the process.

With two hours to kill, I trundled off to do some research. Part of my novel is set in London, so off I went to Trafalgar Square and the Churchill War Rooms. I also passed the Cenotaph and Downing Street. I just about had enough time to take some ‘selfies’. Then back to the bookshop for the panel event.

This is when I had self-confirmation of the geek that I am. Waiting in the lift, an agent hopped in next to me. I couldn’t help but stare. Luckily she was heavily into her i-phone and didn’t spot me goldfishing. She’s six inches away, I thought. I could hear the gasp in my head.

The queue for the panel event was more of a crush on the top floor, us all waiting to get in. My back was aching by this point, but passed the time talking to a girl from London about science fiction. She stopped halfway through a sentence and gasped, as a man bustled past.

‘What is it?’ I asked.

‘I think he’s like the director of the agency.’

I gasp too, both of us rubbernecking as he goes through the crowd. I spot the agent from the lift and another I recognise from their website. I take a good look at their clothes. Well turned out, look just like their photos. Is this what being starstruck is like?

On to the panel event. They seemed so down-to-earth, even SJ Watson, debut author of Before I Go To Sleep, chuffed yet humble. I learnt that a survey found 75% of people see writing as hobby. Be 100% sure in your idea, trends change, take the reader somewhere new.

We were told that the pitch was a ‘fake’ pitch – to use the advice from the day and submit to agents. If you have no luck, think whether the book is the book you needed to write to write your best one. If the pitch doesn’t work, maybe something is wrong with the book.

On reflection then, it was a very useful and valuable weekend. I did some research at locations and got some handy tips along the way. And 100 photos later, I am now a pro at ‘selfies’.

Please visit www.facebook.com/LucyGhose to see photos and click the ‘like’ button to keep updated with my writing journey.

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Blog Number Three – What’s In A Name?

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My manuscript is out with agents. I’m in literary no man’s land, so what am I to do?

I could wait and constantly hit refresh on my email inbox. But what will that do, except give me RSI and a bad mood?

Don’t stop writing is a top tip. Don’t languish. I could carry on and write my second instalment My Dorset Piggy Tale – Revelations, or try something completely different.

I’m tempted to start writing a science fiction disaster novel. Yes, that’s right. Me, who got double E grade in Science GCSE. I was more interested in flirting with the boys. Nobody noticed that I avoided doing science homework and coursework for the last year. In my defence, how could I find excitement in a subject when all we did was copy what the teacher wrote on the blackboard?

Since then, we’ve had all manner of blockbuster films screaming through the screens at us, namely Flood and Day After Tomorrow. Nature is terrifying in its power when it demands. Science matters. We should take notice of what we’re doing to the planet.

So this idea I have…What is the story and who are the characters are legitimate questions, but my first question is an immediate one. Maybe the most important one. What writing name do I go by?

I’ve been happy to use my maiden name for My Dorset Piggy Tale. My surname is a difficult one to pronounce, but a distinctive one. And many people who know me still use it, even though I’ve been married for three years. Maybe some people remember it from my days at the newspaper. I’m comfortable writing in my own voice, about me and the pigs.

But SF is unknown territory to me. A daunting, scary one where I feel I don’t belong because I have no background knowledge to speak of. A bit like going into a garage when my car’s broken. The mechanics have the upper hand straight away because I don’t know how to change a tyre or what a catalytic converter is.

My instinct is to use my initials, mask my gender. But why deny myself? My name is who I am. Otherwise I may as well bind my breasts and chop off my hair.

I shouldn’t give in to my inferiority complex. This I have given a name. Marjorie. She is an old lady with a cauliflower blue rinse. She sits on my shoulder, telling me my book is crap and I know nothing about being an author. It’s easier to imagine my complex as a person so I can tell her ‘bugger off, I’m not playing with you today.’

Just because I have a womb, it doesn’t make me inept at SF writing. Five years ago, I’d never have dreamt I’d be writing about pigs one day. But I have, and I am.

Maybe this week I will start my SF novel or maybe I’ll carry on with my second ‘piggy’ book. I’ll see how I feel. But I’ll be brave and use the name my parents gave me. Except the ‘Lucinda’ bit. That’s only for the doctor and the dentist.

 

Please visit my author page where you’ll find photos and sample chapters of my book. Click the ‘like’ button to keep updated with my writing journey. www.facebook.com/LucyGhose

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Blog Number One – Writing Life of An Unpublished Writer and Blog Virgin

With some uncertainty, I’m popping my blog-writing cherry. And what better way to start than typing with one hand, as I eat a block of cheese? After a day in the office, I needed a bit of cheese. Sorry.

I’d never considered writing a blog before, what with a full-time job, keeping sheep, pigs, chickens, a dog, and trying to finish my first proper novel. And trying not to neglect my husband, my time is somewhat limited.

One of the Top Ten reasons people have for not ever having written a book is ‘I have no time’. The response? ‘If you really want to do it, make time.’ So I have.

I wake up at six a.m. every day and write for two glorious hours before hauling my arse to the day job which pays the bills. Writing is a compulsion and my memory is terrible. I’ve just finished writing 75,000 words about my agrarian adventures.

If it isn’t published, at least it should provide some entertainment to my eighty year-old self when I’ve forgotten the sheer hard work and hilarity which ensued from it. In the first six months, I was nearly crushed by a pig sty, tried putting suncream on the pigs, and there was the inevitable trip to the abattoir. The day I opened the airing cupboard to find a parma ham staring back at me, I decided these tales needed to be written down.

At the suggestion of a writer friend, I’m starting a blog. Why, when I’ve got enough writing material to write another two books? I’ve got an author page on Stalkbook www.facebook.com/LucyGhose where I put all my writing news and smallholding-related pictures and status updates.

Not everyone has an addiction like I do to writing status updates, which is close to rivalling the cheese obsession.

I’m glad I can’t smoke or drink Stalkbook, because if I had to cold turkey, I honestly don’t know how I’d cope. I’ve managed to be a bit more reserved about playing games on it, in order to create writing time. To the point, where I’ve had to buy myself a kitchen timer. But I still need to check in before and after work.

Stalkbook has that nifty ‘like’ button, instant gratification on what I’ve written, but blogs are an unknown entity to me. Who would want to read my blog?

Maybe it’s because I’m one of those unpublished writers, I feel the need to get my story out there. I used to be a journalist, writing for a readership of 30,000 across Dorset and Somerset. But that was different. I wrote what I was told to, not what I chose to. They were a captive audience, wanting to read about events where they lived. So now, why should people care about my life?

The inferiority complex kicked in, when staring at the blank page. Maybe that’s why I needed the cheese.

Could I self-publish my novel instead? Yes, of course. But the temptation would be to hit the enter key, see it up there in all its glory, and then find a glaring error. I’ve re-read my novel several times now and I’m still finding things wrong with it. I’d be in danger of constantly fiddling it, so it had as many different versions as Star Wars. I want someone else to say ‘Yes, that’s good. We’ll take it.’

What should I write about here? ‘Pigs’ was the suggestion. Obvious really, as I’ve been writing about them for five months. And I will, but given this is my first time, I thought I should explain my current situation. And how I started writing in the first place is a tale for another time…

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