Monday, December 03, 2007


What with life, things and whatnot, it appears that I have been neglecting this poor blog woefully. I know that if it were a plant and my words were water, that after 13 days it would be looking a little on the brown and dried up side. But on the whole the neglect has been because of good things.

The strike ended the day after I started a strike inspired series! Having said that the word on the street is that the negotiations will collapse, so I may have to bring the series back.

I also went to the Alberto Giacometti retrospective at the Pompidou. In fact it was the 2nd time I had been that week. The first time I went I discovered this view over Paris...

The 2nd time I discovered portions of Giacometti's atelier that had been cutaway when his wife was finally forced to move out in 1972. When I first moved to Paris, I lived round the corner from where Giacometti's atelier once was. I kept hoping that by passing that scruffy little door with the tiny plaque, that creativity would pour out and fill me. I don't know if it did, but I do remember that the first time I saw a full sized real life Giacometti in Venice (don't ask) I was blown away by the strength of emotion contained within those scratchy lines. Seeing so much work together made me feel as if I had a new depth of understanding about this artist. I knew which pieces of work I wanted to see, but I also felt that I understood his journey more and who he was.

Apart from that as I mentioned before I have picked up the MS/WIP, bloody mess of a book and started ploughing through that first draft. Chapter 1 (now Chapter 2) was critiqued by a group made up of several members of the 'Paris Chapter' of SCBWI. When I first opened up the critiqued document my initial reaction was: WHAT THE F... Hang on...

I've described the process of writing the first draft as verbal vomiting onto the paper. I spew it all out and then sift through it to see what is good. With short stories that tends to involve a fair amount of cutting. This time though I realised I had written half a story. Well not half exactly, more a skeleton; I got it out so quickly that sometimes I forgot to get the characters to sit down.

That initial critique has turned on a different part of my writing brain, the 'Who are you? What do you see?' part. The writing process is so different to the first it's almost like writing the book again. It's exciting all over again.

Also at first I felt that I needed to have every chapter critiqued to the extent that the first one was, but the critique gave me so much food for thought that I sailed through 2, 3 and 4. At Chapter 5 the brakes screamed as I came to a halt. I've managed to write it, but I now see how this group is going to work for me. These red light chapters, they are the ones that need critiquing.

So, blog I apologise for the neglect. I really will try to water you more often, but you understand why now, don't you?


Marie said...

I'm glad the writing is going well and the critique has been useful.

My first draft was the same - I often wondered if it would ever look anything other than a big mess. However, now that I'm rewriting it, it's all becoming exciting. It's looking more like a novel now.

Good luck!

Verilion said...

Thank you Marie. I am very excited with the rewrite, I'm just worried I won't have enough room on the cupboard for all the extra post its!

Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

Ah, well at least you're out there somewhere, I was beginning to wonder.

The time with the crit group really seems to be paying off - I'm always amazed just how much one benefits from working with a crit group - not just from having them crit your work, but also critting their work - because when you see what doesn't or does work in someone else's writing, you inevitably become more constructively critical of your own work.

Good luck with the MS and keeping having fun!

kimy said...

I love, love, love the view from the pompidou .....not to mention the special exhibits - I am so bummed that ma soeur no longer lives in paris and hence no excuse to visit (if one needed an excuse?) but so little time, so many places (and books) (and blogs)

and no worries...if the blog doesn't understand, your blogmates do. keep on keeping on dear v.

Sam said...

I was at the Pompidou a few times, but I can't get over my initial distaste for the whole building. I don't even like how the exhibits look there. That said, I was appalled at how badly the musée d'Orsay was set up. Ack. What were they thinking?

Minx said...

Oh, there you are, and about time. I was just going to send out the sniffer dogs!

Writing is a good excuse for non-blogging so all is good.

Debi said...

We'll let you off.
This time.

Shameless said...

Ah, I got so used to seeing that same post, V, but now here you are. Great: And you are right to focus on the book. But good to have you pop in and let us know what's happening. I'm glad you're deep in words. :-)

Verilion said...

Hi Vanilla, I am amazed how this critique is working, a month between sessions is good as well. Just as I am running out of steam it's time to start all over again!
Thank you Kimy. You know you can always come and visit Paris ;)
Aww Sam, well I guess that is difference of opinion. I love the Pompidou. I haven't been to the Orsay for ages. I kindo f got really bored with that whole era, but maybe I should go back to see whether I agree with you or not.
Oooh don't send the sniffer dogs Minx, don't think tibo would like it! Thanks Debi and Shameless.


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