Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Better later than never?

I could swear I'd written more posts after the one on December 8, but none came up in chrome or opera browser. I have not only finished restructuring Bell Tower Blues, but also undertaken a big revision of Too Many Cooks? (yes, the question mark is part of the title), the book I wrote in November for nanowrimo (see badge). Last night I moved an idea down that I've had for ages for a new novel in the series because I could not work it out at night in bed in the dark, which is where all my creative writing happens first. I've been struggling with it mentally for about 10 days/nights and the idea simply would not develop into a story, so I've made notes of everything that could be relevant and put it away for a few months. I'll add the new Link for Finch's Folly. That was the first sequel to the original novel  in that series, which is not published as a blog. At the time of writing I had no idea that I would continue and make a series of village crime mysteries out of it, but the characters are strong and needed more attention.

I am starting to get ideas for a sixth nvel in the series, having ditched the one that should be taking place. My two unlikely heroines (Cleo Hartley and Dorothy Price) tell me they have nowhere near finished with detection as a way of life, and there are certainly enough shady characters in an around a village to make good stories worth telling (even if they are fictional). Dorothy used to have a boyfriend, and remembers him nostalgically, so maybe I'll move him from Canada (to where he 'escaped' marriage, and a country I don't know at all,) to France, where I went this summer and a country I know a little better, and have her meet up with him again there. I'm rather tempted to make him an old drunk, like someone I met in France this year enjoying the oodles of cheap plonk available, but I won't  touch the integrity of Cleo, and certainly not of Dorothy, who has battled through life as a poorly paid pianist and is enjoying being a help sleuth in Cleo's agency. The big question is how this guy came back to Europe and did not look for Dorothy, but it's a bit like my own story of being isolated in a foreign country and not really having anyone to champion me. No, I'm not brooding about it or looking for anyone, but a lot of the Dorothy character is alter ego. I had another alter ego character, but she got on my nerves so I killed her off.

That sets me thinking of how many people I annoy and has me craving for forgiveness. I'll try to do better in 2015.

Another resolution is to ditch my current PC, which overheats and switches off regularly, despite several attempts with external fans to keep it cool. The cost of replacing the cooler, which is built into the all in one (i.e. with monitor) and cannot be replaced by me, would run into a lot of euros and therefore be a waste of money because the software is not up to date, either. So I'm using an old, decrepit, oh-so-slow laptop with a mouse attached and I think I will start surfing around for a viable alternative. It has to has to fit in with a lifestyle of living and working in one main room. The old PC also lost its network when I was installing a new router (no one takes the blame for that, but I had a friend here and did not do anything wrong to the PC installation) - the network just collapsed and had to be replaced with an external one (yes, there is such a thing - a USB plug-in). The old router had broken down after working perfectly for years. Fortunately I don't really need a WLAN.
I suppose other people's tales of PC calamities are just as long and sad.

I heard an interesting programme introduced by A. McCall Smith, who has had terrific success with his novels - easy to read and often in the guise of Ramotswe, part of a now prolific series set in Botwana. I'd love to call him a role model, but M.C. Beaton is just as porlific. It takes a while to get used to her sometimes wildly incorrect English, whereas McCall Smith's English is lovely.What you need is an agent who believes in you, but I'm not even sure my books are suitable for proper publication and living in Germany makes it more difficult to find out! Yes, my friends and (few) relatives don't read the books, either. I feel embarrassed even asking them, since I don't really want to hear how bad they are. I enjoy writing and reading them on my kindle in PDF format convinces me that they are in fact quite amusing, light reading (that's deliberate because when I'm writing I want to escape from the troubles of the world into my own little, invented corner of it). So what was in the programme? He said writing was like playing God. You decided what would happen to the characters that were your creation - of course, life experiences go into writing (that's me talking again). He also quoted someone as saying a writer is never lonely because he has populated his own world with people - that is definitely true of me. My characters are my friends. The baddies are not my enemies, but enemies of the invented characters or places and can get the chop if they become too awful!
This rigmarole of a post has to come to an end. It's Xmas again, usually a rather bleak time in the years I don't go to the UK, but I actually said farewell last time and I'm really not sure if I'll go there in the winter again. I also realised last time how little meaning the UK really has for me. The relatives I still know are nice to me, but forget all about me as soon as I leave. I don't forget about them, but I'm not part of their
lives any more. My son says it's because I deserted them. That may even be true, if gong abroad to get a job doing what you've trained for is desertion.....
One question remains: How do you say farewell to the spirits of yesteryear?
I'll leave you on that bitter-sweet note.