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Friday, 27 December 2013

Instalment 31 touches down...






HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO YOU ALL!

AND ALL THE VERY BEST FOR 2014 XX

INSTALMENT 31 IS LATE BECAUSE IT'S XMAS...
 
AND I'M SURE YOU GUYS WON'T HAVE HAD MUCH TIME FOR READING EITHER...

HERE IS A LINK TO ANOTHER LITTLE WRITE-UP FROM CURTIS BROWN - WHICH MENTIONS MY BLOG. THEY'RE SO NICE! :)
 
CATS NEXT TIME...
 
SJS X
 
 
 
 
 
INSTALMENT 31:


 
 
Or catch up with the whole novel to date:



 
AND PLEASE LIKE MY FACEBOOK PAGE TOO.
ABNORMAL NEEDS BIGGER BETTER WINGS!!!
 

Thursday, 5 December 2013

New Instalment Up!



Hi guys!

I came to stick the new instalment up & realised that I'd forgotten to prepare my update - here.

So there isn't one. Well, there is, but this is it.

All the #discoveryday shenanigans has made me late with this instalment, and disorganised in general. 

Sorry.
 
But it's nearly the weekend, it's nearly Christmas & aren't we all having a BALL!?!

XXX



Or catch up with the whole novel to date:

AND PLEASE PLEASE LIKE MY FACEBOOK PAGE TOO.
ABNORMAL NEEDS BIGGER BETTER WINGS!!!


Thursday, 21 November 2013

A Little Discovery...

Last weekend I went to Discovery Day at Foyles Bookshop in London Town :)



 


This free event, brainchild of Curtis Brown Literary agents (and in association, this year, with sister act Conville & Walsh) was to enable writers from anywhere on Earth to go and pitch their novels-in-progress to living and breathing literary agents.



 
 
 
In preparation for this significant event, I gave myself two weeks to compile and practice the requisite 30 second pitch, trying to devise some intelligent questions to boot. And, for the remainder of my prep time, I usefully bricked myself. I've never done anything like this before, and I've been writing forever.
 
 
 
 
 
 
When it came to crunch-day, my boyfriend and I travelled down from Nottingham on the train. That morning, my nerves somehow transformed into a twisted sense of excitement, despite this being ABNORMAL for me. Normally, facing interviews and similarly terrifying situations, I'm sick with panic. I've clammed up before panels when job-hunting, I've cancelled interviews through fear. 
 
But I practised my pitch over lunch in London, asking my boyfriend to scarily act as agent. Then we headed off to Foyles too early, masterfully avoiding the pub. 

There are many other write-ups which detail the day's events, so I'm giving a stunted but flavoursome taster of my own experience here. My heart began its obligtory pounding as I was directed to my allotted agent. Which was Clare Conville.  



 


I've had feedback from both Curtis Brown and Conville and Walsh before - on previously submitted novels, so I felt, at least, some (imagined) familiarity on seeing Clare. But, as others have said about #discoveryday, everyone was so welcoming, reassuring, friendly and interested in what we had to say, they made things much easier anyway. I didn't see or hear any ogre-like roaring. 
 
My pitch seemed to go quite well, although - can you really tell for sure? Clare was lovely and enthusiastic and gave me useful pointers. I'm writing my novel-in-progress online (on this very blog, in fact), so I was keen to know if pre-exposing one's work (to try and gain readers) scuppers writers' chances of traditional publication. And the repeated and positive message I took away from the day was:
 'If the book is strong enough it will not matter'. 
 
My one regret is that I didn't take notes whilst there, only photos. (I looked round at people scribbling during the panel event and silently mocked them for not just: 'Subliminally absorbing it'.) However, I've forgotten loads already. As well as being a sieve-head I think it was generally overwhelming. I wish I'd recorded my session on my phone (as I heard one writer did.)  
 
So. My little discovery on #discoveryday was that I'm not quite as timid and jelly-fied as I'd supposed. Perhaps, when it really matters, when it's something you've yearned for, slogged over, been 100% serious about, all of your life, then it's far too important to let fear destroy your chances.
 
 



 
 
 
And this last picture shows the back of me, far left! :) And a lovely writer I met on the day in the foreground with agent Gordon Wise.
 

Keeeeeeeep writing.
 
 
 
Sjs :) 



 
 
 

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Cats with freaky eyes....

 
 
 



This is Mogli, my four-month old kitten.

You may have seen her here before! You may also notice something interesting about her? Well, I've been looking into this and it's called COMPLETE HETEROCHROMIA IRIDUM.

AKA Different coloured eyes; bit easier to say.

It's apparently more common in animals than humans whereby it almost always involves one blue eye.
 
Gripping, hey?

 Wiki can tell you more about that!

But I was interested to learn that a number of people I've obviously heard of and SEEN on TV have forms of this intriguing trait....

I wonder if you'd noticed? Because I hadn't. They are:

David Bowie (the only one I knew about)

Dan Ackroyd

Kate Bosworth

Robert Downey Junior

Simon Pegg ?!

Jane Seymour

Kiefer Sutherland ?!

And Christopher Walken.

Amazing ey? They must have been hiding their eyes under their hats.

I've always been fascinated by this genetic phenomena because - as a child - I always wanted different coloured eyes.


Anyway! The 29th Instalment is also up for grabs!


Or catch up with the whole novel to date:

AND PLEASE PLEASE LIKE MY FACEBOOK PAGE TOO.
ABNORMAL NEEDS BIGGER BETTER WINGS!!!





 
 
 



Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Wondering how to rattle off emails in a hurry?


Get your SUPERFAST kitten to do them all for you...




 
 
 
 
 
Blimey, could there be another instalment ready????
 
 
 
Yes indeedy, the 28th one can be found right here:

Or catch up with the whole novel to date:

 
AND PLEASE PLEASE LIKE MY FACEBOOK PAGE TOO.
ABNORMAL NEEDS BIGGER BETTER WINGS!!!




 

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Hypnotising Your Kitten...

Hypnotising Mogli...

For the same reason someone might seek hypnosis to eradicate bad habits, I decided to give: Removing Mogli's naughtiness a bash this week...






Steps to take:

  • As she starts to fall sleepy on your knee, whisper calmly whilst gently stroking her nose
  • Tell her that she's feeling sleepy, that she must surrender all control
  • Remind her that she is so cute and beautiful when she's GOOD
  • Remind her that she's living in a lovely home, with delicious food at the end of one meow
  • Remind her that she ought to be grateful
  • Tell her that she looks unpleasant with her ears back, her pupils dilated and her claws out
  • Tell her that, contrary to her belief, she's not big and scary when she does that sideways, bushy-tailed maneouvre at you
  • Chewing feet is BAD 
  • Tell her that her toys can easily be confiscated
  • Say that she should never be biting the hand that feeds her
  • Tell her that the sofa is not a scratching post, that we are NOT ladders
  • Tell her that it's no more interesting on the worktop than on the floor
  • Explain that she should be over playing with her shit in the litter tray by now
  • Bring her gently back out of the trance by stroking her tiny soft paws

If she wakes up scratching you, give her to Oxfam.

ONLY KIDDING!



27th instalment of ABNORMAL can be found right here:

Whilst the whole novel to date is here:

AND PLEASE LIKE MY FACEBOOK PAGE TOO.
ABNORMAL NEEDS WINGS!!!








Friday, 20 September 2013

Kittens & Writing don't mix...





10 Reasons why Kittens and Writing don't mix....

 
1. They meow for dinner every other hour (well this one does)
2. They nonchalantly trample your keyboard or jump on it when you're not expecting itttttttxxxxxxxxxxxx ________________ ffffffffffdkxkvoapvvvvvvv
3. They draw you, by some kind of osmosis, into playing with them instead of working
4. They lie on your arms (and look so comfy) that you don't want to move them to write 
5. You're too busy taking too many cutesy pictures to fart about with wordplay
6. They climb up the Yukka repeatedly, so that you have to get up & pull them down again and uselessly tell them NO for the umpteenth time before cuddling them and playing some more
7. They think that fingers moving up and down a keyboard is an interesting game
8. They scrabble up your legs, leaving tiny pinholes, at those vital creative moments...
9. They sleep on your warm humming laptop when you leave the room
10. They make you too aware that life really ought only to involve: eating, shitting, playing & sleeping. On repeat





 
 
26th instalment of ABNORMAL below!

Or read the whole novel to date:

AND PLEASE LIKE MY FACEBOOK PAGE TOO.
ABNORMAL MUST NOT BE CONTAINED!


 



Tuesday, 17 September 2013

A Little Distraction...




This has absolutely nothing to do with Abnormal...

Just wanted you to see what I'm up against now!

This is Mogli helping with the hoovering.

Hope everyone is well!

Hoping to post next instalment by Friday :)

Mwah,

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

ABNORMAL - One Year On


So...

I’ve been writing ABNORMAL for over a year now... and I thought I’d ask myself (& you guys):

How’s it going? Where’s it going? When might all this mayhem end?

How?

From my point of view the project hasn’t gone too badly – so far, at least! The actual shape of the story has turned out better than I’d hoped, with some unexpected plot elements taking (even) me by surprise.

But what do you think?!

The pressure of ensuring that a decently-dressed piece of narrative is ready, and posted roughly every fortnight, has been much harder to cope with. It’s meant me striving to get slightly ahead when other commitments (or irresponsibly-taken holidays) have poked their noses in, and/or rushing like buggery to catch up when I’ve failed to do this in advance. All whilst paying close allegiance to quality. This means a constant shortage of time, whatever the circumstances. Which means not enough publicising of ABNORMAL which, in turn, means I simply haven’t got the word out far enough.

But I’m still glad to have done it. It’s an ongoing experience, a challenge and an eye-opener. It’s been nice not to have to write in isolation, for a change, it’s been sociable. It’s been good to have regular feedback and support, which I’ve really appreciated.

Where to & When?

If ABNORMAL was destined to be a full length contemporary novel (which was kind of, roughly, my intention) then I’d be aiming to write about 100,000 words.

This would mean that, at this point in time, I’m about halfway through. Yes, that’s all! Even after a whole year of attentive dedication...  But this actually seems realistic to me because it normally takes me at least two years to write a book. I'm therefore roughly on target.

However, I’m not sure that ABNORMAL is completely normal. Or whether it really ought to be.

It may break some rules. It doesn’t have to play the game. It can do what it likes. Don’t you think?

In reality it’s likely to be shorter than a traditional 100K word book. In January 2013 I calculated that I had enough plot (& this is a very rough estimate because it flexes as it goes) for about 70,000 words. Now, it may be slightly more than that but I haven’t had time to properly tally up. So, who knows?

I guess it will have to remain a surprise.

But please tell me what YOU think / expect / would like?

Just tell me anything J








Oh yes, and before I forget! I made a couple of changes to the bits about Rainbow's mother in the last instalment. Please therefore re-read the sections (I think there are only 2) that mention her. Apologies for the subtle changes (barely noticeable, to be honest.) But a slight cock-up that had to be corrected J




25th instalment of ABNORMAL below!

Or read the whole novel to date:


AND PLEASE LIKE MY FACEBOOK PAGE TOO.
ABNORMAL MUST NOT BE CONTAINED!


https://www.facebook.com/AbnormalANovel?ref=hl





p.s.  New (rehashed) article on the wonderful wikiwormmagazine website: here
 
 
 
 
 

Monday, 19 August 2013

One whole year of ABNORMALITY!!



Hi Guys!


Wow.


Tomorrow is the anniversary of the 1st chapter of ABNORMAL going live.


And I can't quite believe it. Time is a wily old creature, and far too zippy for my liking.


But in celebration of this anniversary fact, I'm doing nothing. I'm resting.


Therefore there is no witty post today.


I'm going to have a snooze instead. I think I've earned it.


I've made the next instalment longer (even whilst being on holiday) as an anniversary present.


So, thanks for continuing to read ABNORMAL!


And extra special thanks to everyone who has commented.


And if you're reading this now and are about to read some of ABNORMAL next, please take the time to comment if you possibly can, just to let me know what you think. I still badly need feedback and support - and that does includes the good, the bad and the indifferent. 


Very many thanks again!




 
24th instalment of ABNORMAL below!
 
 

 
Or read the whole novel to date:

 

 
AND PLEASE LIKE MY FACEBOOK PAGE TOO.
 
ABNORMAL MUST NOT BE CONTAINED!


 
 
Have fun & get outside, it'll soon be autumn.

SJS :)
 
 
 

Thursday, 1 August 2013

How to stay positive when trying to succeed in Creative Ventures....


 
 
  • Pretend to be someone more successful, like the fake spy in True Lies, and the falsehood may just rub off on you 
 
  • Create an ‘accolade file’ for all your examples of positive feedback or successes. Take pride in it. (And if you never make it BIG, you have proof of how agonizingly close you got)
 
  • Create little newspaper effigies of all the professionals/clients who have turned/let you down (Literary Agents, for e.g.) & stick them in the vermicomposting bin with extra worms 
 
  • Do naked yoga 
 
  • Remember that if you give up trying you will never succeed, so you mustn’t ever give up
 
  • Hang around with losers, it’ll do your ego no end of good
 
  • Seriously though, remind yourself that there are people out there who sit around and do fuck all every day; so pat yourself on the back. YOU ARE NOT ONE OF THEM
 
  • Drink alcohol or smoke dope to numb the pain
 
  • At low points, play the Muppet Song at full volume & shout along (record & stick on facebook)
 
  • Go and do some gardening, can’t you see that it's getting desperate out there?





 
 

  

And here's the TWENTY TURD instalment of ABNORMAL!


Instalment 23:




Or read the whole novel to date:




AND PLEASE LIKE MY FACEBOOK PAGE TOO!
I STILL NEED HELP WITH SPREADING WORMS!!




Have a sizzing week!
 

SJS :)









 
 

 



Tuesday, 16 July 2013

TEN ways to kid yourself (or others) that you are writing



         10 ways to kid yourself (or others) that you are writing

 

1.     Switch on the computer and open Word. Type some random letters / characters to fill up half a page and then disable your screen-saver. Leave page on display then go and make a cup of tea
 
2.     Print off aforementioned page of gobbledegook and scratch some apparent pencil corrections onto it. Leave prominently on your desk. Go and make a nice coffee
 
3.     Spread a number of notebooks, text-books, novels, paper cuttings and loose A4 notes all over your desk; sprinkle on some pens and a highlighter, a pack of post-it notes, perhaps.  Well done. Go and have a biscuit
 
4.     Stick your feet up on the desk and lean back in your office chair. You are thinking about your novel; fleshing out the characters. This gestation period is essential for writers. But while you’re waiting for the Muse to properly strike, get some brain food for company
 
5.     If it’s sunny, do this step outside on a blanket
 
6.     If it’s evening, why not try it in the bath?
 
7.     If it’s early morning, sleep in! You can tap your dreams for inspiration (especially if they’re freaky.) Remember to memorise these fragments to write down once you’re up
 
8.     Eat dinner with a notebook propped on the wine-bottle in front of you. Stick a pen behind your ear, a busy laptop by your side, (remembering to minimise facebook and Twitter, of course)
 
9.     Run ideas past your partner, even if there’s no response. An affirmative grunt is sufficient, if not good. He/she will have heard and registered that you are mentally writing as you speak    
 
10.   Do your banking, diary updates, letters to a friend, to-do list, filing and social media at your writing desk. If it’s done here it constitutes writing. Just about

 

                            P.s. I don’t do ANY of these things. I’m 100% busy all the time.





And here's the NEXT instalment of ABNORMAL!


Instalment Twenty Two:

http://novel-by-sjs.blogspot.co.uk/p/latest-instalment.html



Or read the whole novel to date:

http://novel-by-sjs.blogspot.co.uk/p/the-novel.html



AND PLEASE LIKE MY FACEBOOK PAGE TOO!
I STILL NEED HELP WITH SPREADING WORMS!!


https://www.facebook.com/AbnormalANovel?ref=hl


LOVE YOU ALL!


SJS :)




Friday, 28 June 2013

Ten great reasons NOT to become a writer...



One -   You might start scrabbling up some lucrative career ladder and make loads of money instead


Two -   You won't have to write every day ;)


Three - You might not become a lunatic, trailing loose mental wires... (no guarantees, obvsly)


Four -   You might become less intense a person, less anal, with a dash less OCD (no guarantees though. Chicken / egg argument and all that)


Five -   You won't approach every personal trauma with: "Oh goodo, this'll make a cracking plot"


Six -     You might not stow away conversations in a notebook or get kicked under the table by your partner for staring at people


Seven - You could have a BRILLIANT looking garden, and hobbies


EightYou'll save loads of money on ink and paper, notebooks and pens. (Unless you become a journalist or a parish councillor instead)


Nine -   You might maintain a healthy distance from yourself, dodge being over-analytical or self-absorbed. (You might even get out more and find some friends :))


Ten -    You might not end up with a pallor to rival Edward Scissorhands', square eyes and ruptured radial tendons, RSI or a chair-shaped arse. (no guarantees because you might be in IT)



Or you might just find that you can't NOT write and, in that case, JUST GET ON WITH IT!



So here's the latest instalment of ABNORMAL!


Instalment Twenty One:

http://novel-by-sjs.blogspot.co.uk/p/latest-instalment.html


Or read the whole novel to date:

http://novel-by-sjs.blogspot.co.uk/p/the-novel.html


AND PLEASE LIKE MY FACEBOOK PAGE TOO!
I STILL NEED HELP WITH SPREADING WORMS!!

https://www.facebook.com/AbnormalANovel?ref=hl



SJS :)



Tuesday, 11 June 2013

10 differences between UK frogs & toads... (that I know from being an amphibian nerd)

And everyone needs to know this of course:



1 - Toads walk whilst frogs will jump (easy one first, you knew that already, yes?)

2 - Frogs lay spawn clumps in the shallows; toads lay strings in the deep water around weed

3 - Toad tadpoles are black with stumpier tails, frogpoles are lighter, bigger, speckly, shy

4 - Frogs have a black 'eye patch' and have spots or stripes (like pool balls)

5 - Toads are nobbly, lumpy-looking things and are dull brown in colour

6 - Frogs have more pointy faces whilst toads have a more rounded smile :)

7 - Frogs usually live in or near the pond whilst toads wander off, living up to maybe a mile away

8 - Frogs & toads return to their birth pond to breed but the toads are covering great distances!

9 - Male toads squeak when other males amorously mount them, frogs say: "get the fuck off me, mate"

10 - Sometimes fish get caught in the fray as this video demonstrates. Fish don't squeak and this is their downfall, in this situation...






And after that educational programme, you'll be wanting some light entertainment to read?

And I have just the thing.....


THE NEW INSTALMENT OF ABNORMAL!


Instalment Twenty:

http://novel-by-sjs.blogspot.co.uk/p/latest-instalment.html


Or read the whole novel to date:

http://novel-by-sjs.blogspot.co.uk/p/the-novel.html


And please LIKE Abnormal on facebook too. STILL NEED HELP SPREADING WORMS!!

https://www.facebook.com/AbnormalANovel?ref=hl



SJS :)