Writing Comps, Knitting and Farmville Frenzy

An impossible puzzle

An impossible puzzle

So another fortnight whizzes by and suddenly we’re in December. Thankfully, Christmas gift buying is under control and hubbie has a job for the new year (hurrah!)

For the last two weeks I’ve been caught up in competition entries, knitting projects and (in the last twenty-fours hours) farming. I think Farmville 2 could be the downfall of my writing career. This is the reason I don’t play computer games like the rest of my family – because I don’t know when to quit. I was farming until 2am this morning and my ‘just ten minutes’ at lunchtime stretched into two hours.

If you haven’t come across the Farmville app, it’s a little make-believe world where you grow and sell fruit and veg, and care for farm animals, to make money to buy more fields, livestock and work buildings. The children each have their own farm on the two ipads loosely known as mine but when they’re asleep or at school I can ‘just keep things moving’ (i.e. Take over for a few hours.) it’s beyond addictive. Even now the game is calling to me.

My son's (my!) farm

My son’s (my!) farm

The other distraction has been knitting. I’m making toys for the children for Christmas, including reading and following my first ever knitting pattern – this lovely Deramores fairy doll my friend showed me on Facebook. The pattern might be straightforward (if time consuming, with 38 pieces to knit) but the instructions on how to assemble it are clear as mud to me! It might just remain on the ironing board!

I have five or six concurrent projects, including making up my own (so far unsuccessful) Elsa doll – it’s no wonder my brain is full. Like anything I do, I run at it full pelt, knowing it will fizzle out and I’ll be left with crates of wool and bits of half-knitted toys (like my loft full of paintings). So far writing is the only creative endeavour that had endured. Hopefully that’s a good sign.

Christingles and Poorly kids

Christingles and Poorly kids

Needless to say, I didn’t get shortlisted for the ITV Be a Bestseller writing competiton. Not to worry, I’ve kept the dream alive by entering the Janklow and Nesbit / Mumsnet novel writing competition, so fingers crossed for January. At least the competitions are forcing me to tidy up my early chapters and think about my synopsis, even though Finding Lucy is only half finished.

And that’s it, aside from horrid colds that have swept the family, one member at a time, and the Christmas Fair (which required two decorated pringle pots, a chocolate donation, a bottle donation, raffle tickets to be sold, event tickets to be bought, and a Christingle charity candle to be filled with coins.) Unfortunately my daughter was too poorly for us to go to the Christingle service so I made the children one each so they didn’t miss out.

The tree is decorated, the chocolate advent calendars opened, the floor is covered in tinsel. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. I hope all is calm and bright with you this festive season!

My Brain Hates Me

This is my brain

This is my brain

My brain hates me.

Ever since I started back writing after the summer holidays, when I sit at my laptop and stare at the shambles that is my current work in progress, my brain shrugs and says, “nah, I got nothing.”

But 4 a.m. after a crazy day of laundry, school runs, home work sessions and Rainbows drop offs, it comes up with the most Technicolor, conflict-laden, heart-wrenching epic dreams.

Take last night: My dream included a man chasing me through a hotel, where the darn door locks wouldn’t work and I had to climb out the window, only to discover some pots by Tibetan Monks being sold as tourist junk, inscribed with, ‘free my people’ and ‘I live on one cup of rice every fourteen days’ (?!), and a journalist insisted on taking photos of me holding them in awkward poses, while in the background two people were uncovering a dead infant beneath the foundations of the hotel.

I mean, WTF? In the day time, I can’t decide if one of my lead characters in Finding Lucy is gay, but I can construct some warped version of an NCIS program in my sleep? Where’s the fairness in that?

I can only assume that my creativity is buried beneath Christmas shopping, school paperwork, reading homework, ironing, shopping, cooking and concern that hubbie is still between jobs, and it only manages to free itself from the shackles when my conscious brain is out for the count. I’m going to have to stop eating chocolate and reading Harry Potter at bedtime!

Oh for a virtual iPad to record my dreams, then I really would Be A Bestseller (I sent my entry in last week and now wait in terror for Friday, just in case by some scary freak accident I get selected and have to appear on TV!)

I Want to Be a Bestseller, Oh Yes (Oh No)

The judges don't look at all scary

The judges don’t look at all scary

This week I’ve been working on a competition entry, flagged up to me by fellow blogger and authors Pat Elliott and Helen Yendall.

The UK based competition is being run by ITV This Morning and Curtis Brown (an agency I’ve submitted to in the past). The entry has to be the first 3,000 words of a work in progress (I wonder how many NaNo first drafts will be entered) together with a one-page synopsis.

As my WIP has three POV characters, back story, tarot mysteries and hidden secrets, I found it almost impossible to write a coherent one-page synopsis. I’m also reliably informed that having three POV characters in the first four chapters is pretty confusing, so I don’t expect to go far.

And actually that’s fine with me, because even though one of the judges is my idol Marian Keyes, and the prize includes a six month writing course and representation by Curtis Brown, the idea of being shortlisted leaves me quivering like a cowardly jelly.

Why?

No desire to sit on these sofas!

No desire to sit on these sofas!

Because the five finalists have to go to London in a couple of weeks and appear on live TV. I think they might even have to read out some of their novel. I genuinely can’t imagine anything worse. Even meeting Marian doesn’t tempt me. I couldn’t get a book signed by Joanne Harris, even though I love her novels, because I was too embarrassed.

Shy, introvert, HSP, anxiety, whatever my affliction is, meeting new people terrifies me.

So, I’ve entered, I’ve worked hard on my entry and I’m reasonably pleased with it. But don’t wish me luck because I’m not sure I want it! Thankfully, having watched the launch program, I don’t think I’m in any danger of having to sit on that couch!

Oh for the days when writers sat in their drafty garrets and spurned the public!