Sunday, 11 July 2010

Top Gun for Girls


How are you all? The wind has been whistling through the empty corridors of WKDN for the last month for a good reason - a self imposed internet ban to try and get the edit of 'The Beauty Chorus' done before the children broke up for their eleven week (yes, that's right, *11* weeks ...), summer break.

It's done :) Had a ridiculous amount of fun immersing myself in the world of my girls again - in fact I didn't want the book to finish. Hopefully this is a good sign - or perhaps a world populated by beautiful, brave women and dashing Spitfire pilots is rather more compelling than groundhog day in a compound which is currently sizzling at 122 degrees. I mean, just look at today's image - this is Maureen, one of the real ATA Spitfire girls. They were incredible women - I really want the book to do them justice. The rewrite has had me laughing and sobbing my eyes out (not simultaneously obviously), for the last month, and I hope it has the same effect on everyone who reads it.

I've had Jools Holland on a loop for the last month - his updated take on 'Tuxedo Junction', is rather what I hope to achieve with the book - take something that's been done a hundred times (WW2), and give it new life. I love this story - really love it, (which is just as well because after the copy editing I'll be reworking it again :).

So, it's Sunday roast for 14 tonight to celebrate and thank the friends here who've pitched in to help with the kids and acted as daily cheerleaders ('How's the book going?'). The pilot returned from Johannesburg this morning with a joint of beef that took up half his hand luggage, and the apartment's fragrant with the smell of cinammon and star anise as I'm poaching pears for pudding.
It's strange being here for the summer - there's no sense of changing seasons, no markers like Wimbledon or Glastonbury. Every day is literally the same. No cut grass, no blue skies, no starlit nights ... but today the manuscript is safely back with my brilliant editor, the roast is in the oven, and the wine is in the fridge. Here comes summer - let's enjoy x

TODAY'S PROMPT: I don't know about you but I can't read fiction while working on my own books - unwanted phrases and tics start leaching in. I've been reading a fantastic book by Elliot Grove, the Raindance Writer's Lab. It's about screenwriting, (I'm planning to write the screenplay of 'The Beauty Chorus' during year two of the MA), but there are some brilliant exercises in there for novel writers too. One of them asks you to define the concept of your work - is it high or low. 'High' concept work can be summed up in a short phrase - for example 'Alien' is 'Jaws in Space'. 'Low' concept work is woolier - harder to define. It goes without saying that Hollywood likes high concept. So, today's prompt - can you define your book in a short phrase. If not, try the 25 word max 'blurb' needed for reviewers. Off the top of my head I came up with 'Top Gun for Girls' for 'The Beauty Chorus'. What's your concept?
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