I just got back from a weekend away in Norwich scouting whether or not Norwich will be a nice place to relocate to in two years time when relocation is something we are going to do. At no point did we hear anyone talk loudly about shooting or stabbing anyone, which did happen the evening before we went in our current homestead, so that bodes well. But of all the nice things about Norwich, of which there were many, the one that really clinched it for me was seeing the flyer advertising that the Norwich Waterstones was hosting an evening with Emma Donoghue, author of Room, one of last years Booker prize short-list. This never happens in the town I currently live in. Unfortunately for me Emma Donoghue’s visit to Norwich was not going to happen until a few days after I was there, so I had no chance at all of going. I’m not sure if she was just doing a reading or a q+a, but had it been a q+a, and had I been able to go, I know what question I would have asked.
A few months ago I was working in a job that afforded me a bit more down time than I was used to and so, knowing that the first draft of my book was almost complete, I spent a lot of that time reading as much advice as I could on how to take a rough first draft and turn it into a polished finished product. Some of that advice seemed obvious, some of it less so. Some parts contradicted others, a few common points emerged. Having just finished the second draft of my book here is what I found from going through the process.
Toward the end of last year I finished the first draft of the novel I had been working on for quite a long time. I had started writing it in early 2008, took a forced break from it due to illness at the beginning of 2009 and finally reached the end in December 2010. It was the third novel I had attempted and the only one to get as far as a finished draft. I didn’t really have much of a clue what I was doing when I started it, I had a general plot and several ideas for things that would happen along the way, but other than that I didn’t know what I was doing. I think when I started it I expected I would write five chapters, maybe six, before realising I had run out of ideas entirely. But that never happened. Instead I managed thirty chapters spread over 92,000 words with a beginning, a middle and an end.
Now of course, as a thousand writing websites insist, the real work begins.
When I first bought my e-book reader about eight months ago I was initially sceptical about it. Most of that scepticism was put to rest on the first day when a combination of the bizarre beauty of electronic ink and the ease of buying a book and immediately reading it on the train were so wonderful that those initial concerns just faded away. I have since become a near complete convert. Now when I hear of a new book my first act is to look it up on the kindle library to see if it is available. When I discover one that is not I click the ‘tell the publisher I want to read this on kindle’ button, and then impatiently order a paper copy anyway. I am happy to have e-books and traditional books alongside one another and am comfortable reading either, but e-books are fast becoming my preference.
Continue reading “Minor e-book criticisms”