With thanks to very famous author lady, Anne Dunlop who kindly tagged me and made me feel ridiculously happy!
What words do you use too much in your writing?
I copied and pasted my last 2 books into the wonderful site of www.wordle.net which is a fabulous form of procrastination if ever a writer needed it! It turns your book/poem/letter to the milkman into a work of art and the more you use a word, the bigger Wordle makes it appear.
The words I use most often are: “so” “like” and “just” *
BUT I do know I use “actually” and “probably” a lot because of my vacillating nature. Perhaps. **
Which words do you consider overused in stuff you read?
Any long descriptive guff about the main character. I don’t mind a brief outline of their appearance but I want to decide myself what colour their eyes are, what they’re wearing that day and how large their arse is thank you. I’ve been known to stop reading when an MC is bemoaning her unruly red hair and curvy size 12 shape – per-lease! And if I see another “Prada” or “Louis Viutton” anything I shall be sick.
What's your favourite piece of writing (written by you)?
Simply because I remember it made my Bestselling writer friend Claire Allan spit Diet coke out at the screen when she read it and it made my day/year/life when she said that.
THE SPILT MILK THING
‘Oh my God!’ My mother’s voice was a shrill as a peacock’s. And I’d never seen her move quite so fast. ‘Look! Thomas! Quick – get the teacloth! Quickly I said!’
Milly’s face was a mixture of bewilderment and entertainment. She’d only ever seen displays of this comic magnitude on the Teletubbies. She watched with interest as her Grandmother tore the cloth from my hastily returning dad’s hands and hurled herself at the spillage on the carpet.
‘It’s ruined!’ She wailed. ‘Ruined! Look at this – it’ll stink to high heaven!’
‘Mum,’ I started – conscious that Milly’s face was now pinking slightly and tears had started to well in her confused blue eyes. ‘It’ll be fine. It’s only milk. Here – use this…’ I offered a baby wipe, which she couldn’t have stared at with more disgust if it had had a swastika printed on it.
‘What is that?’ she screeched.
‘It’s a baby wipe – I tell you what, I swear by them – they get rid of anything off anything and I don’t know what I ever did before I had Milly because they’re a miracle invention…’ I leant over to scoop Milly up and away from the ‘carnage’ ‘They’re great, aren’t they Milly?’ I tickled her gently, not wanting her to become distressed as my mother continued to swoosh and swipe away at the ‘damage’ my little girl had done.
My dad returned to the scene with a bowl full of water and washing up liquid. God, some things never changed did they? That was their answer to everything. They just never moved with the times. They probably didn’t even have a spray gun of Dettox in the house. How archaic could you be?
My mother was still muttering and tutting to herself.
‘How did it happen?’ Dad asked.
‘Just dropped it!’ Mum almost spat, re-enacting Milly’s little slip-up as if it might just secure her a call-back to RADA. ‘Straight on the floor!’
‘Now hang on a minute!’ I started. Acutely aware that Milly was being held accountable for this and she had never in her life been made to feel guilty or responsible or anything bad for any spillage or damage howsoever it had occurred in our house at home – this was not going to start happening now!
‘The bottle slipped off the table’ I helped. ‘Look – it’s a shiny surface, the table must have tilted a bit and the bottle slid off…an accident’
It was one of those ‘TV dinner’ tables that open up like a deckchair in front of your chair. Polished to within an inch of its life (unlike the mantelpiece that held so many photo frames and ornaments I was amazed it didn’t groan with the strain as well as the bad taste and dust) it was no wonder the bottle slid off. Torville and Dean would have had a hard time standing still on it.
‘It’ll stink!’ My mother continued.
‘Dettox spray.’ I said calmly. ‘That’s all you need. Washing up liquid won’t stop the smell – this is Dettol in a spray – kills bacteria, stops odours, brilliant stuff.’ I was beginning to sound like an advertisement. ‘Have you got some?’
The look on mum and dad’s faces was priceless. It was a look I now remembered from being at home when ‘Tomorrow’s World’ had been on the telly. In particular the one about the advent of CD’s. They’d been showing their viewers exactly what could be done to a CD and it’s virtual indestructibility (of course we all know now the bloody things jump just as much as vinyl!). But the minute the strawberry jam had been wiped off and the thing had still played perfect music, the look they gave each other was - well, the same as the look they were now passing each other. Sheer disbelief that this kind of thing could actually exist in their lifetime - coupled with the worry that maybe it could also produce some mind-altering waves that would one-day lead to global brain-melt. My Nan had had the same reaction to the Mash advert aliens but that’s another story.
‘I’ll take Milly down the road to get some.’ I said.
(From Book No.1 “Labrats” re-titled ”Reconstructing Jennifer”)
Regrets, do you have a few? Is there anything you wish you hadn't written?
I kinda wish I hadn’t spent the best part of six months writing book #3. I kept changing the title every day and it felt like I was ploughing a field of syrup wearing welly boots. I hated it. I had to end it at 85thou in the end and move onto something younger and fresher – we just lost our connection. I cheated on my 85thou dark chick-lit thing with naughty bits for a Young Adult. Oo-er Missus.
How has your writing made a difference?
I’ve made so many (virtual but they’re very real and dear to me) friends through joining Write Words, the online writers’ community that I suppose it’s not the writing that’s made the difference but the Wonderful World of the Web and the amazing support and confidence and encouragement I get from these wonderful writer friends I’ve made.
(I *heart* you all… sob)
Oh, and I also now have "writer's arse"
We’d. Love. To. Represent. You.
Least favourite words
Do you have a writing mentor, role model or inspiration?
I adored reading Jilly Cooper and tried to write like her when I was a pretentious teenager.
Marian Keyes opened my eyes with ‘Watermelon’ and made me think I could write this stuff too if she bloody well could.
Keris Stainton kept me going.
Michele Brouder still does. So do Fionnuala, Clodagh and Luisa, Anstey, and Claire, and Trina, Zoe and Emily … do I sound like The RomperRoom lady?
And they’re all such fantastic writers. I feel privileged to know them.
The dream: to see a book I’ve written in print. In Waterstone’s, Sainsbury’s, Smiths, everywhere and to stand by it and smile. So simple.
Reality? Currently to find an Agent who loves my writing as much as I love producing it – which would give me all the incentive and deadline I need to stop arsing about doing meaningless quizzes on Facebook.
Keep an eye out for “Double History” which is the Young Adult thing I’m presently working on. It’s a departure from the Chick-lit I’m used to penning and I’m having such a blast writing it - it’s GOT to succeed!
Now I'd like to tag:
Jacqueline Christodoulou (sp?)
* ** Just read this back and I DO use "arse" a lot, I noticed!