Friday, June 09, 2006

With a little help from my (cyber) friends...

Although the temperature continues to soar and drought warnings are becoming increasingly dire, thankfully the long dry spell in my writing seems at last to have come to an end. Rather sheepishly I have to admit that this minor miracle has been brought about, not by finding the right music or remembering to use my lucky mug (I'm sure it did help though), but by the support of the writing sisterhood.

So. I decorated the stairs and landing, conquered the ironing pile and entertained the children in the style of visiting heads of state for the whole of the half-term holiday-- anything to avoid confronting the fact that the w-i-p was not, in fact i-p at all. (I also avoided the blog on the basis that it's hard to write about it being hard to write.) But then the children went back to school and I was left with a choice. Go back to work (Office. Gossiping in the tea room. Surfing the net instead of working.) Or go back to work (Upstairs. Laptop. Lucky mug.) I knew what I wanted to do, but I didn't know if I could do it.

Salvation came first of all in the shape of Penny (Jordan, HMB queen and fairy-godmother type figure, who is endlessly patient, encouraging and inspiring), Sharon and Carole from the NWG, and an evening in the pub during which we talked not just about writing, but enough to make my mind swing back down that path... so that when I recieved lovely positive emails from Eva and Annie I was ready to come back here and find out what had been going on during my self-imposed exile. (There was also the added incentive of another chapter of Eva's wip to read. She always makes writing a novel seem like the most effortless thing in the world.) I ended up sneaking in (late as always, dropping pens and tripping over desks in my efforts to be unobtrusive) to Annie's writing coach lessons. And then, prompted by Eva I nipped over to Julie Cohen's blog and found myself hanging on every word of her fabulously honest, detailed account of how Delicious came to be published. (I am also, at the moment, hanging on every glorious word of the book itself. If you haven't read it yet do so immediately.) What she shows is that it can be a marathon, not a sprint and that the details count. Also, her maxim that the focus must be 100% on character and conflict was enough to send me scuttling straight upstairs to my hot little attic with renewed purpose. Thank you Julie.

Sadly I'm a person for whom purpose alone is not enough. I need stationery. Having discovered Fiona Harper's blog I had the perfect excuse to go out and buy a lovely new pinboard, some prettily coloured card (was feeling inspired already) and some drawing pins to recreate the oh-so-simple but marvellously useful plotting device that she uses. She goes to the trouble of including a picture of her own board, and gives details of what each coloured card represents. I think she might be my new Best Friend.

Always, though I return to my well-thumbed, annotated, underlined and much loved copy of Kate Walker's Twelve Point Guide to Writing Romance, which Penny gave to me when I first set out on my quest to write. I suppose I knew then that it wouldn't be easy, but what I didn't anticipate was the sweetness and generosity of the people I'd 'meet' on the way.

A huge thank you from a grateful new girl to all those ladies who've made it, but still take the time and trouble to offer their advice and encouragement to those of us who aren't there yet.



Blogger Eva said...

Welcome back, Imogen!

Isn't it uncanny how we both felt compelled to write today about the fact that we aren't alone in the sometimes eerily quiet world of the imagination?

(I must remember to Refresh my browser more often. I missed your post until well after I blogged.)

4:33 pm  
Blogger India said...

I thought that too, Eva!

(am ashamed to admit the extent of my incompetence in public, but could you pleeeease tell me how to do links?)

5:11 pm  
Blogger Eva said...

Here's a good tutorial on creating links courtesy of Blogger.

5:57 pm  
Blogger Annie said...

Okay, okay, so I'm even later than Imogen, and I don't know how to do links either - I just ask Eva to do them for me - late, ignorant AND lazy. Beat that, Imogen!

It's good to have you back!

7:17 pm  
Blogger Stacy Dawn said...

Good to see you back Imogen!

9:56 pm  
Blogger India said...

Ahh, thanks Annie and Stacy (definitely one of our most loyal and supportive cyber-friends). It's good to be back! (So good, in fact, that I got up at 7am on a Saturday morning while the kids were all still sleeping to do some writing. Is that good? Or just mad?)

8:01 am  
Anonymous Julie Cohen said...

Thank you, Imogen and Eva, for saying you're enjoying my blog--I'm so glad my sweat and pain can help others! ;-)

Also really glad you're enjoying the book, Imogen.

11:51 am  
Blogger Eva said...

Delicious isn't available yet in Canada! No fair.

3:21 pm  
Blogger Annie said...

It's madly good, Imogen. Keep it up!

4:19 pm  
Blogger Fiona Harper said...

Hi, Imogen! I'm glad my experimental plotting device (my board) helped. And , of course, it's a really good excuse to indulge in my stationery obsession...

Good luck with the wip!

8:22 am  
Anonymous Sharon J said...

"A huge thank you from a grateful new girl to all those ladies who've made it, but still take the time and trouble to offer their advice and encouragement to those of us who aren't there yet."

And so say all of us!

12:30 am  
Blogger Kate Walker said...

Hi Imogen

I'm late with this but I've only just stumbled on your blog by following links from other poeple's and I just spotted your mention of my 12 Point Guide. Thanks so much for mentioning it - and I was thrilled to see that you said it was 'much loved'. What a lovely compliment.

I'm so happy to know that the book has been some help to you and I hope that one day you will join the ranks of those who have 'made it'. Good luck with your writing - I'm sure Penny will tell me if you make it


6:17 pm  

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