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[sticky post] Making it up as I go along

Me too

My name is Carol Lovekin. I'm a writer of stories, a flâneuse & radical feminist.

I write contemporary fiction set in Wales in which the everyday is threaded with elements of fable & magical intrigue.  This is my personal writing journal - a version of daily pages & written primarily for my benefit.  You are welcome to join me.

The written word turns me on. When I write I do so in order to hear my authentic voice. There are places I go to in my writing I can’t always access in my life. I breathe in & writing enables me to breathe out.  I write in order to heal, & so I don’t lose sight of the important things. I write to leave something attached to whatever exists after I am gone.

I write because I can’t take decent photographs.  Or play the piano.  Or juggle.

My admiration for Virginia Woolf is boundless.

Copy of il_570xN.313976642

I have recently completed my second book, Finding Dora.  It's a ghost story with magical overtones, family secrets & a haunting.  The story concerns Cadi, a fourteen-year-old girl determined to uncover the mystery surrounding the deaths of her father & her little sister, both of whom died before she was born.  There is sadness & love; a ghost, a little knitting & a good deal of rain.

The myth of Blodeuwedd (recorded in a branch of The Mabinogi) is - like the rain - a thread running through the story.

I am seeking agent representation &/or a publisher.

(Once upon a time I self-published a book I still love - The Gift of Weaving - a novel about the practice of Goddess-centric magic.)

I'm have recently embarked on the first draft of my next book.

This journal is where I hone my writing, pursue my feminist agenda & occasionally rant. I am unapologetically candid whilst endeavouring always to be kind. My aim is lucidity, humour & passion leavened with occasional glimpses of personal trivia. I strive for intelligent comment but have been known to stray into the absurd.  Essentially, I make it up as I go along.  I particularly enjoy sharing with women, women writers, feminists & Goddess women.

From time to time, Misty the cat writes a post.

Defining 'better'

To the Lighthouse (Readthisandweep)
'If I kiss you where it's sore,' sings Regina Spektor, 'Will you feel better, better, better, will you feel anything at all?'

Feel free to kiss me until I die of it. Only make me better, please.

It's the word 'better' I take issue with.

'Are you feeling any better?'
'Er.. a bit...'
'Oh good. There we are then.'

And they assume you are better. As in fully recovered. A 'bit' better is a bit. A bit is a part of something, not the whole. I am a 'bit' better then, albeit still harbouring chest gremlins & by half past three in the afternoon, I'm in need of a nap. I am not fully recovered. Nevertheless, I'm working again - fine editing Dora. Still finding witless commas & semi-colons with no directions. Shifting the odd sentence, extracting an extraneous word here & there.

My oh my, it's good to be back.

And when I'm not doing that, I'm scribbling notes for RiverBook, writing irreverent pastiche here on LJ & blowing my nose a lot.

Off to buy milk now & maybe chocolate. It's Strictly Come Sequins tonight.


Notes in the margin

To the Lighthouse (Readthisandweep)
If I ignore it - this vile 'thing'-  will it go away?  Perhaps...

If I ignore my characters, will they do the same? Apparently not. The main protagonist of RiverBook invited herself into my bedroom this morning. Brave soul - it's not nice in here - I only hope she held her breath & didn't catch anything...

As it turned out, she only dropped by to appraise me of a useful snippet of information. Which I duly noted. And then I had to cough rather fetchingly so that was that.

Onward & sideways...
To the Lighthouse (Readthisandweep)

Well, yes... on many levels... In this instance & in my case, posting to LJ. You know me, I like to keep up & am normally diligent. Setting aside the recent, tragic sadness - there are no words I care to share in public - which kept me to myself this week, other elements now conspire.

Dear reader, you find me beset. In no way - as I have just indicated in my Letter to America - can I be described as 'A Pretty Sight.' Rather I am, A Sight with Sore Eyes. Gritty ones, with added cotton-wool head & a rogue throat. A pox on germs & on those who litter them, willy-nilly & with no regard for others. Pox & rats, frankly.

This is the bit where I'm meant to be picking up the threads & be present in my own life. Gird my useful lions & so forth. Write another book. It's autumn - my favourite! Season of mists & mellow whatsit. Any 'conspiring' & 'loading' is more snot than sonnet however... (I know - technically, it's an ode - I'm too ill to argue with you. Or care.) And my 'clammy cells' are, well, not to put too fine a point on it, exceedingly clammy indeed.

Sorry. *abandons ghastly plays on words & apologises to Mr Keats*

Suffice it to say - no work is being done. I'm going back to bed before my head explodes...

Thank you for allowing me to whinge.

ps: I'd invoke Mrs Woolf but I fear she will take exception to my lack of poet as icon reverence...

Dipping my toe in the water...


It's only been five days since I posted & yet it seems like weeks.  Put it down to 'stuff' & leave it there...  After a while though the need to write something here becomes quietly urgent. The act of creating a story involves a series of parts - parts of a process. From the first glimmer to the final edit, making up a story takes the writer every which-way. And I like to record the unfolding of it.

Unless there's stuff distracting me & then I don't. It's all going on though. Here's where I'm at.

I'm going to write a story I'm calling RiverBook. I know what it's about & I know who's in it. They have names & their individual stories are emerging. Other than the two main protagonists though, the rest are chorus. I like it that way.  And I like that I'm about to test my ability to write peripheral characters who, although they're pertinent, are nevertheless peripheral.

It's tempting (& in my case, necessary) to go to town when conjuring characters, regardless of their role. I tend to have fifty percent more information about mine than ever ends up in the books. Once I know them inside out, the trick is knowing what to leave out.

Less is mostly more. You read it here ad nauseum.

A river runs through this story & fortunately for me, a lovely one lies close by where I live & it's where I enjoy walking. I like sitting on the bank for a while, listening & trying to work out what the water's telling me. Trickle, trickle, little stream... And here's the deep dark silent pool where who knows what may lurk. I walk on, watch as the river picks up speed & flows like a bolt of glittering cloth. The swans almost always show up & some days the heron joins in, flap-flapping across the water. I make my notes.

I already have a great many.  It's almost time to begin.

To the Lighthouse (Readthisandweep)
Is that an axe I see, glittering between the trees? Does the huntsman track me through the woods, threatening to cut down my tree?

I fear it may be so. After over a year of sitting up there, alternately peering out between bare branches & abundant leafage, I find myself giddy with vertigo & desperate to climb down.

The river you see, calls to me. It is water I crave. And thereby hangs a little tale...

Those of you who care about such things will know how much I enjoy swimming. Since I overcame my fear of deep water, swimming has become as essential to me as walking.  I love to swim (& last week mastered floating.) Yesterday I conquered another fear - of having my face in the water. Again it was one of those do-or-die moments & by the end of the session I'd mastered gliding underwater with my eyes open!

I can't help but make the connection. The deeper I immerse myself in the swimming pool, the more I find myself focusing on RiverBook. Someone who knows the outline of TreeBook suggested to me the other day that the 'secret' I've conjured isn't worthy of my characters. She didn’t say it was a cliché - but it almost is!

Admitting this is massive. It means, thousands (thousands) of words are possibly now redundant. An entire storyline may be on the verge of being relegated to the Dead Darlings file. The house overlooking the beach may be abandoned, left to the mercy of the jackdaws. The piano could fall silent & the secret garden succumb ever further to the wilderness tangles...

You know what? This is pathetic! RiverBook has a garden! And a house! It will almost certainly have birds & may even have a piano. Who knows what I could salvage?

It's food for thought.

'Pass me the rope ladder, Marjory, I’m coming down!  And rinse out my mercrone cozzy, I can feel a water spell coming on...'

In which I submit...

To the Lighthouse (Readthisandweep)
I'd forgotten how tiresome it can be. How mind-numbingly laborious. Writing submissions is like taking exams at school - terrifying & tedious in equal measure.

It's been a while since I looked at the various versions of my synopsis for Dora. The bones are there & yet they're all a bit 'whatever.' Having reaquainted myself with the best book on the subject - Write a Great Synopsis by Nicola Morgan - I spent a couple of days on the thing. What Nicola reminds me of is - fear is futile. It's only a synopsis. She insists, ...the synopsis is unlikely to lose you a deal if the letter and sample are wonderful.

That helps a bit, only it doesn't because deep down I know - it has to impress... & because it's more subtle than an outlone, it's harder.

A synopsis isn't a plot outline. An outline is created largely for the writer - so we don't lose track of what our story is about. (Good luck with that, girlfriends.) It's a pain because it has to contain every last detail. A synopsis reduces our elegant prose to something far more mundane & it's a pain because we have to leave so much of the story out.

A synopsis isn't supposed to bring a tear to the eye or have the reader on the edge of her seat. It's function is to show the story hangs together & makes sense.

Easy, right?


And spellcheck still isn't working... Rats...


Full Moon...

Crone Moom
This is an actual shot of last night's Harvest Moon 'balanced' on top of St Michael's Tower on Glastonbury Tor!

Virginia Woolf 2

Yes. This morning I began the process once more.

(And already, a rejection.) One cannot fault this particular press for tardiness. I'm vaguely comforted by the reason. As a small Welsh press - with an even smaller English language imprint - this one is reducIng the number of English titles it considers.

I'll take that...

Back to the list. It's a laborious process. Each letter must be tailored to meet the requirements of the individual publisher/literary agency. I'm focusing on email submissions first.

In other news, it's a gorgeous day.

* Virginia Woolf
~ The Waves
Spider: Insy Winsy
Man, she's been busy.

My notebook looks like an inebriated spider with pencil toes ran riot. A kind of arachnid Edward Scissorhands only more manic. The pages are filled with 'random' - the way the sky is filled with stars. I tried to make sense of it & failed. It isn't that I can't or shan't - I simply don't have the energy right now. It will have to wait.

After a busy week in which only a single day (Friday) was just for me, I'm tired. Not tired of people - people are fine - I'd rather they didn't all show up in the same week. That's all.

As a hermit, I'm a bit rubbish, frankly.

ps: Spellcheck isn't working...


To the Lighthouse (Readthisandweep)
Carol Lovekin

I'm a survivor of
arrested development

I write to catch up


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The day is
full of birds
sounds like
they're saying words
~ Kate Bush

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Reading is where
the wild things are
~ Jeanette Winterson

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In Memoriam
The Cat of Glory

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And there shall come
amongst them a CAT of
such GREAT Glory that
all who see it will
~ Edward Monkton

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October 2014


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