The Power of Story

theendIt’s finished! Phew!

Yes, I finally finished The Book Without An Ending (actual working title: Beneath The Water) and, let me tell you, it was a massive relief.

As I write without a plan, there are always several ‘oh, bugger, what on earth is going to happen next?’ moments, but once I get half-way or two-thirds in, I usually have a clear idea of where it’s heading. The details of this can change, but there is a general, comforting gist. Not this time.

After typing ‘The End’ (hooray!), I took the week off from writing, but kept having those annoying post-finishing thoughts about things I could have added/made better. Urgh.

Still. It’s away on submission, so there is nothing more I can do right now – except obsessively check my email for news, of course.

So, I have been catching up on email and admin/accounts and, more importantly, Reading For Fun. Such a joy after being on deadline.

I loved Anne Marie Casey’s smart and engaging The Real Liddy James, and am halfway through Pretty Monsters by Kelly Link. I haven’t read any of Kelly Link’s stories before and they are extraordinary. Next, I’m going to dive into Maggie O’Farrell’s This Must Be The Place which I wanted to read the moment it came out. I am a huge fan, but I forced myself to wait so that I could give it my full attention.

In other news, my eldest turns sixteen next week. Sixteen! I am always wobbly and emotional before my children’s birthdays, but this does feel quite significant. She is talking about university and the next stage of her life and it is really beginning to hit me that she will, one day soon, leave home. Gah.

To celebrate the Strange And Terrible Linear Passage Of Time (or, ‘birthday’, if you prefer), we had a family trip to Comic Con in Glasgow. My daughter and I did our first ever cosplay as a mother-and-daughter demon hunting team and we met the fantastically talented (and lovely) Hillywood sisters.

We also saw Jenny Colgan speaking on a panel about writing and publishing Science Fiction, stocked up on cuddly Totoro toys (you can never have too many), and generally had a blast.

If you have never been to a con and like the idea of being surrounded by lots of folk being unabashedly enthusiastic about the stories/fictional worlds they love, I definitely recommend it. And as a writer it was an inspiring and energising reminder of the power of story.

Writing Challenge Check In: Week 4

thor-2-poster-loki-tom-hiddlestonOh my goodness, we’re half way through the challenge. How are you guys doing?

My revised goal (to rewrite the follow up to The Language of Spells) isn’t quite as easy to track (I’m rewriting and cutting, as well as adding new words), but I was planning to have finished the first third by today.

Um. That hasn’t happened.

Moving on quickly to cheerier matters… I saw Thor 2 and I’m pleased to report that it was great fun. If you like action-packed superhero films with humour, then you’ll love it.

Plus, y’know Thor with his shirt off and the delectable Loki. Yum.

The wisdom of Discworld

end of world switch

May 25th was Terry Pratchett appreciation day, during which fans and supporters wear lilac to celebrate his work and to recognise his ongoing battle with Alzheimer’s.

I missed the day this year, but I love Pratchett’s books (especially those starring Death, Susan, Tiffany Aching, Granny Weatherwax and The Watch) and I love these Discworld quotes that have been made into posters. Head to Buzzfeed for the full set.

time is a drug poster

[Via ArghInk]

Film News: Much Ado About Nothing

I *heart* Joss Whedon (and that Shakespeare dude ain’t half bad, either) so was interested when I first heard about Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing, but now I’ve seen the trailer (Nathan Fillion! Amy Acker! Wesley!) I’m properly excited. Meep!

How about you? Do you fancy it? Or do you think the Branagh version (with the fabulous Emma Thompson) is the definitive adaptation?

On geekery

My daughter got taken shopping last week by her aunt and uncle as a birthday treat. She is twelve and shopping-as-fun is a very new concept. She’s at that wonderful (and sometimes scary) stage of working out who she is, what she likes, and how she wants to reflect that identity to the rest of the world through her choice of clothes, books and music. You know, that tricky stage that lasts until – what – your forties? (I’m thirty-five and still feel seventeen half the time – don’t ask me).

She came home sporting a necklace made from scrabble tiles that spelled the word ‘geek’. I’m so proud (all those Vlogbrothers videos I showed her have obviously sunk in). Mainly, though, I’m excited for her. I’m excited by her enthusiasm and developing interests and, whatever those turn out to be, I just want her to have them. To be passionate about and engaged with the world.

Understandably, my daughter’s necklace confused her nana slightly and I garbled an explanation, saying something about reclaiming the word and how it couldn’t be an insult if you fundamentally disagreed with the idea that to be intelligent, interested and enthusiastic was a bad thing.

The poster (pictured above) sums it up. It’s available for pre-order  from DFTBA Records for $12.

Friday Five: The ‘huh?’ edition

[Image credit: Terry Lightfoot}

I’m so close to finishing the book and am unable to think of anything else. Or at all. These links may amuse you or they may make you go ‘huh?’ – I am currently unable to make value judgements of any kind.*

1. These handmade leather wings from ThinkGeek are undeniably brilliant, but I think I like the customer warning even more: ‘Wings Do Not Enable User To Fly’. Heh.

2. I’ve just set this as my desktop background. Van Gogh’s Starry Night with added TARDIS.

3. More Doctor Who; a preview for the next installment of is available here. Yay!

4. Word nerd? There’s a wealth of information on the meaning and origin of words and phrases over at Mark Forsyth’s (The Etymologicon) Inky Fool.

5. A great piece on writerly procrastination by Emma Darwin. Getting through the door in the wall.

* Except those involving snacks.**

**And, yes. I’m aware it’s Monday. This is just the way I roll at the moment.