Less than a week to go! This getting very near finishing the novel is exciting. If you’d like a sneak preview of what I’ve been doing with myself, you can read an extract of Cold Light here – it’s a chapter from the first third of the novel, and I’ve called it ‘Same Old’.
The editor of The Manchester Review, the poet John McAuliffe, told me that in the extract, Lola makes ‘whole family’ sound like a swear-word. There isn’t, I don’t think, any other way to say those words.
Other interesting things this month included the third meeting with my mentor. We talked a lot about my characters, and their motivations for doing the things they do. I have a very self-absorbed first person narrator, but I didn’t want her lack of interest in the people around her to mean that the other characters in the novel were pale and insubstantial. Working that out took a few long conversations and some fairly brutal rewriting – but I think I’m nearly there now.
We also talked about where to go next – and what to do once I’m finished with Cold Light. I have an idea for another novel, and some ideas for ways to make money while I write it – but I can’t have a mentor forever. I need to figure out a method for writing and living as a writer where I can hold my own hand through the tough bits and cheer myself on when it is crap and also give myself the much needed kicks up the arse, when needed. I’ve already learned some good techniques for managing my time and working out how to do a really, really big project without going mad, so I’m sure I’ll work this out too.
I wish Creative Writing MA courses covered this kind of thing. I should probably write an extra module…
I’ve been doing lots of outsidey things this month too. Readings at the Chester Literary Festival and the Liverpool Chapter and Verse festival at the very swish Bluecoats. An interview with a Swedish journalist and creative writing workshops in Morecambe and Freckleton as part of the Lancashire Library Service’s Adult Learning Festival. A Special Word Soup for National Poetry Day in Blackpool, and planning another one which will be tomorrow, in Preston – and specially Spooky for Halloween.
If you feel like seeing Jenn in the flesh, I’ll be reading (again, from Cold Light) at the Manchester Blog Awards on Wednesday, at Lancaster Literature Festival on Friday and at the Birmingham Literature Festival on Saturday. In-between, I’ll be sleeping and frantically writing.
And buying wedding shoes…