Saturday, July 24, 2010

A Saturday Quickie

For those of you who don't follow Nathan Bransford's Blog (and if not, why not), he linked to this gem on the five stages of querying.

Have fun.


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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A.D.O.L.A.B

Ever sat down to do something and been distracted?  Ever wanted to get on with a job and got lost in your thoughts?  You may have ADOLAB.

This a recently diagnosed condition that seems to affect writers more than any other group, though it has been known to hit other creative people.  What does the acronym stand for?

- Attention Deficit Oooh, Look A Butterfly...

It happens when you sit down to work on your latest novel or short story and you get distracted.  It can be something in a garden, the bath that you remember has to be cleaned, or the cat litter tray that needs de-odourising.  Anything that distracts you from the task at hand: writing.

Research shows that teenagers suffer from a similar condition, ADYHM (Attention Deficit You Hate Me) when they are approached by their parents to help around the house.

It may not afflict you, but be aware of the signs, for tomorrow you too may suddenly find the urge to write has been replaced by a desire to clean the house.


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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Blame

I've been reading a book called The First Blitz.  It's a history of the German bombing of Britain in WW1 and it reminded me of the following poem.

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Blame not the soldiers and sailors
Blame not the airmen in the sky
Blame only the men and the women
Who send others out to die.

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Monday, July 12, 2010

What Did You Learn This Weekend?

Over the weekend I learnt (or relearnt) several things.

1 - Kangaroo farts don't contain methane.

2 - When the aircraft were banned from the sky after 9/11 ground temperatures in the US increased by 2 degrees.

3 - Good friends are still glad to see you or hear from you, even if you haven't spoken for over a decade.

4 - Expensive solutions are always preferred to cheap ones, even if the cheap ones work just as well...or better.

5 - I like odd things.

6 - I like listing things in numbered order.

7 - Even the best actors can be in terrible films/programs and not perform well.

8 - I can still beat my kids at chess.

9 - If you don't start things, you'll never finish them.

10 - Making lists is an easy way to write a blog.

Now it's your turn.


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Friday, July 09, 2010

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Driving Behind Lorries

One of my pet hates is being behind a lorry, van or other large vehicle. It's not because they are slow, though they usually are, or because they throw out diesel fumes that leave me coughing and pulling weird faces in disgust. It's because I can't see round them.

When I'm behind these monsters, the road ahead is invisible to me, so I get impatient and try my best to overtake the vehicle.  It becomes the most important thing in the world to be in front of 'that thing', even if it's doing a respectable speed.

Why? Like a lot of people I don't appreciate not knowing what lies ahead. I want to know what I'm doing next week, next month, next year. I want to see the futurre clearly so I need not worry about it (or so I can REALLY worry about it). I want to know where my next wage cheque is coming from, where my children will be in the future and if they'll be safe.

I can't know these things so I, like a lot of other people, take control of what I can.  When I overtake the lorry I can see the road, but I can't change the road and I still can't see what's over the horizon or round the next bend.

For now, I am going to stop overtaking vehicles that go at a decent speed and keep back from them so I don't choke on their fumes. I shall calm down, concentrate on what's more improtant and live a good life, instead of obsessing on a future I cannot change and, mostly, cannot influence.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Low Days

We all get low days, sometimes lower than others and yesterday was one of mine.

I was typing, listening to MP3s and wondering 'what's the point' when a song serendipitously played. The song is called Together My Friend, and was written by a friend of mine, Sonia King, over 20 years ago. I've printed the lyrics below so they can give you a lift too.

She has her own website dedicated to her music now and four albums to her name, but I don't think she's ever bettered this song.

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When life gets hard,
and the mountains seem high,
When you're weary,
you may want to give up and die.
Just remember what God has promised
to those who would endure.

Don't give up now my friend,
you have made it this far.
In the morning look up, see a bright morning star -
a new beginning - a brand new start.

Together we'll walk on through this life.
and help each other along the path,
with the Word of Truth
as a lamp shining brightly
through the night.

When the mountains are high
you must keep on climbing.
Keep the goal in sight,
a new day is dawning.
Press on towards the high calling;
the prize and the mark!

Yes when life gets you down and you feel all alone,
when you're crying and sad I just want you to know,
and remember - what God has promised
to those who would endure.

Time is short now my friend, we don't have very long
to prepare in our lives a foundation that's strong, -
to start over - to change a world gone wrong.

When life gets you down.
When mountains get higher -
Just remember - the future is brighter.

When life gets you down,
Never think of dying
only - fighting - to the very end
and together my friend, we will have made it.

When you've come to the end of the race
then you've won.
God's promise of grace will then speedily come
for enduring - to the end of your life which you've done.

So carry on and be courageous!
We will be strong through all the trials
which each one faces.
When life gets hard and the mountains are hard to climb.
So walk on - until the crown of life is won!

Together we - will walk in peace - in harmony & love.

(copyright Sonia King 1987)

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Enjoy the day.


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Monday, July 05, 2010

Top Ten Books

If you had to pick ten books that had the biggest influence on you, what would they be?

It's a question that I've pondered since reading Boudica's blog on the subject, and working on the assumption that if I can't remember it then it didn't, I have come up with this list.

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe.  To this day I don't why this book left an impact on me, but since I read it as a teenager, the story of Okonkwo has always been in my mind.
Harry Potter series by JK Rowling.  I don't often cry, but this series brought floods of tears for reasons that I only discovered whilst reading book 6.
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley.  Another book that has stuck with me for reasons that I'm not sure about.
Freakonomics/Superfreakonomics by Levitt & Dubner.  Two economics books that make sense.
Medieval Lives/Barbarians by Terry Jones.  Proper history about proper people told with humour that explode more than a few myths.
The Complete Robot by Isaac Asimov.  Fantastic stories about our mechanical friends.
Seeds of Change: Six plants that transformed mankind by Henry Hobhouse.  I find it amazing how the world turns on such small events.
Islands in the Sky by Arthur C Clarke.  The first SF book I read.
On Writing by Stephen King. The best advice on writing out there.
Space Captain Smith Trilogy by Toby Frost.  Funny.  Just funny.


So that's my list.  Ask me again in a few years time and it may have changed as other books make an impact.  What does your list look like?

Friday, July 02, 2010