Monday, May 17, 2010

Quick catch up

Turning off my Bangkok topic Twitter stream has been very good for me. It’s still bloody awful out there and everywhere I go I hear people say their company is sending wives and children home. But going on Twitter now means I hear my writing and blog friends talking about normal stuff and not dead bodies and fighting. I feel less anxious. 

I won’t go home until Son has done his exams… so we went to school this afternoon for a geography exam – it was only open for exams today – and we got there and back without seeing anyone with guns; we saw no razor wire, or burning tyres.  I did see some sand bags but I pretended they were for the rain. I waited the three hours in the coffee shop with my laptop rather than going home.  And I wrote. Well I got myself ready for the next step of writing.

In the gym on Sunday (oh yes! I was there voluntarily…) I was listening to A Conversation on The Writing Life with Julia Cameron and Natalie Goldberg. One of them described the different drafts that they do. In their second draft they write out a description of each scene’s business and they stick it together and then up on the wall. I’ve always been a cutter and paster: actually cutting up my essays and sellotaping them back together again in an entirely different order so this idea resonated with me. Then Liz said something in her post here about writing a synopsis in order to diagnose where the plot holes are.

I am struggling with the gargantuan thing that is my draft. It’s too big to see any sense in it so I’m going to make a mixture of these two pieces of advice in the hope that it gives me something of a manageable size to work with.

Oh and check this out: I'm one of the 32 blogs! Please come back on Thursday. I can't wait. Caroline's work is extraordinary. Her writing is like poetry that I can understand without having to read it six times. (Oh dear, don't think too badly of me.)


Queenie said...

JJ, you're doing brilliantly. When do Son's exams finish? There was some potentially useful wisdom about synopses on The Literary Project's last post, might be worth checking that out. I looooove Natalie Goldberg, she's bonkers but brilliant.

BEAST said...

I know you were all worried about me again today. So let me put your minds at rest. I made it home today in one taxi door to door. No incidents, no crash, no need for more bread.

I was so happy I could have kissed the driver, well that is if he hadn't had so much hair growing out of his nostrils, and if I had been a woman of course, which I'm not, or haven't been, ever, luckily for JJ.

Seriously. Many thanks for your comments over the weekend. I was flattered and touched, though not literally of course, more virtually, luckily for JJ.

liz fenwick said...

JJ - you are doing so well in handling life with the crisis around you and your work. Just as you are doing in your real life take things one step at a time - you'll get there.

Beast - glad your journey was better!


Fran said...

Just as well you have a book to bury yourself in and write. It's all sounding very frightening out there. Stay safe.

Debs said...

Love the photo and want to say how well I think you're coping.

I'm one of the 32 blogs too and can't wait.

Beast - glad you got home safely.

Angie said...

I'm glad to hear your family is keeping safe. The news from Bangkok is worrying, but you are managing admirably. Hang in there!

Manuscript-wrangling should be a sport, but that looks like sound advice for the second draft. You are well on your way. :)

I'm excited to be taking part in the blog tour too. See you Thursday!

JJ Beattie said...

Queenie, last exam 24 June (aaaggh.) We're all doing okay; I feel quite mad and emotional but I know why it is so I'm just trying to run with it.

To tell the truth both writing ladies in the recording sound stark staring mad but I understood what they were saying!

Beast, so glad you got your white bread!

Liz, thank you.

Fran, yes it does help unless I can't move it forwards and then I'm frustrated and anxious! Not a good mix.

Debs, thank you too. Yay Thursday. Can't wait.

Angie, thanks lovely. I really hope it means I can get a grip on it.

SpiralSkies said...

Natalie Goldberg is fabulous... what a good idea to listen as you exercise, I must try that. Genius!

Hope Son's exams go well and that your world stays gun-free until he's done.

DJ Kirkby said...

I'm one of the Thursday gang too, how exciting! I adore Caroline's writing. So glad that your son got to his exam. Hope you're all able to come home soon. xo

Lane said...

Well done for staying sane.
I love Cameron and Goldberg too, although Ms Cameron was a bit OTT bonkers in Floor Sample if I remember rightly.

Well done on making it home Beast (it sounds so odd calling someone Beast:-)

kanishk said...

So let me put your minds at rest. I made it home today in one taxi door to door. No incidents, no crash, no need for more bread.
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