Sunday 30 December 2012

Interesting question

Today my son asked me how to use a comma.  He is only six and I would be incredibly proud of how precocious he was if I wasn't sure it was a stalling tactic. 

I don't know how to use a comma.  I am embarrassed to admit it, but I have some very faint ideas and have used self help books and usage, but I am not really sure.  I wasn't taught about the comma at school (that's another story) and so far I have not been in a situation where life and death hung on the matter of a comma.  I have got by, just like everyone else. 

I am pretty sure I over use commas, and usually go back over everything I write and remove about half.  I use them when I pause, when I take a breath, when I need to slow down the pace.  And at least one comma in the preceding sentence could be replaced by 'and' - and perhaps should. 

It is all a bit hypocritical of me.  I do feel that if I write a story and expect people to read it I should write it using correct grammar and spelling and in a way that makes it easy to read.  Knowing about commas and semi colons and when to use them are the sort of tools that should make a story teller's life easier.  I am a firm believer of using the tools correctly, of putting in the foundations and laying out the stall.  If you want to build a castle in the clouds, using hyphens and ellipses properly will make that foundation stronger and allow a more scintillating tower.  It's the old story of getting the basics right so that you can get wilder and more creative with the fripperies. 

Two things occur to me.  The first thing is that I need to do some research on grammar and usage.  The second thing is that I shouldn't have written this under the influence of Tia Maria. 

Wednesday 19 December 2012

Cats in the Bible on Amazon

I've got Cats in the Bible on Amazon as well now here

(less expensive on

I found it!

I thought I had lost it.  It is a shabby, red ring binder and it is full of the poetry I wrote when I was younger, ideas for novels, ideas for stories, scraps of folklore and myth - a magpie's bundle for a writer.  I thought it had been thrown out years ago, and I missed it.

I have always wanted to write, from when I was very tiny, and for years I thought I would never be able to.  Now I am more confident, and I can spend some of the holiday time looking over what I have done in the past and seeing what sparks are struck. 

Finding my folder is the best gift I can ever have. 

Saturday 15 December 2012

Done it!

I've published Cats in the Bible, available here

I hope people who read it enjoy it.  I have had so much pleasure and entertainment from my felonious felines over the years that is impossible not to share the stories. 

Wednesday 5 December 2012

I need to work on motivation

On Monday I was in a warm room in a happy mood and feeling fine.  I managed 500 words.  Yesterday I was in a foul mood, with a headache and the room was so cold I was sitting and typing with a duvet round me.  I managed just under 4,000 words. And some of those four thousand words were definitely in the right order.

Today is lovely and sunny but cold, and I am next to a south facing window.  Finger's crossed for a few thousand more words.  I would rather be productive in comfort.

Tuesday 4 December 2012

Christmas Presents

I have just about finished my Christmas shopping.  This is more by accident than design.  I don't have to buy for many, so I can get the stuff in easily.  A few presents are magazine subscriptions (the gift that keeps on giving, and giving and giving and giving and it always takes four attempts to cancel any subscription).  Most of the rest of the presents are alcohol.  It is a reassuring thought that so many gifts can be taken care of by something 40% proof. 

Monday 3 December 2012

I'll Procrastinate Later

I've just added a new box.  It is some of the works in progress.  I just have these ideas and never get around to them.  I have put them out in view (or some of them) to shame myself into getting around to doing something like actually write the bits down.

I once heard that Roald Dahl had an exercise book where he carefully noted all the ideas that he had.  I think it is an excellent idea, and at some point, when I get round to it, possibly next week, I shall set up something similar.

Something else that I could do with copying is Roald Dahl's work ethic.  He didn't even have a word processor either.  He sat down every day and worked.  Stephen King does the same.  I do agree that actually sitting down and tapping at the keyboard is the real key to success in writing.  All I need to do is start the actual tapping. 

Saturday 1 December 2012

A different view of things

I finally cracked and got glasses.  I was getting handed all these serious medicines and I couldn't read the instructions, it's my age.  So I trotted along to Specsavers, got a nice basic pair that the Hospital Fund will cover and came home. 

Ds was supportive in his own way.  He nearly fell on the floor laughing when he saw me in my glasses. 

I finally broke out the glasses last night.  dh, dad and myself were all planning on sitting and watching something that had been recorded for about a year, which we had been promising ourselves we would watch and last night we actually did.  So I settled down with my knitting and put on the glasses.

I don't know exactly what I expected, but it was really odd.  I could see my knitting perfectly.  I could see all the tiny details on the tube of hand cream next to me.  I couldn't, however, see the tv.  Anything more than three feet away was a sort of fuzzy blur.  As evil cat was sitting some way away she looked like a sort of tabby cushion, which was a huge improvement.  It was not such an improvement not being able to see the tv.  Apparently I have excellent long distance vision for my age.  Last night it was less of a comfort than it should have been.

I spent most of last night feeling like an elderly and stern spinster, with my glasses perched on the end of my nose.  I looked down to see through them and get the detail of the knitting and over them to see the tv and the really wonderful show.  And got something of a headache.  Never mind, at least I can read the small print.