The View from the Dog House (Pt. 7)
Is there a right way to write?
Some authors write in a particular genre and all their work relates to that genre. Crime, horror, fantasy, sci-fi, romance—these spring to mind instantly. When asked, she who thinks she must be obeyed at all times says she writes character driven fiction. However, within this you have a whole raft of themes.
You have crime with the Connie Armitage stories. What Friends Are For has murder and intrigue woven into life in a rural village and characters experiencing very contemporary issues that many readers can relate to.
The short stories in Tea Break Tales all contrast sharply but within them there is mystery, plans for murder, observations on life, and in The Misfits the stars of the show are animals. But what animals! And in just that one story there is high drama, comedy, laughter and tears—a real emotional roller coaster.
We think variety is important; otherwise there is a risk that writing becomes formulaic. Authors write in very different ways. Some start with an outline and build a structure with flow charts, pictures and story boards to work from. Some embark on major research before doing anything else. She who thinks she should be obeyed at all times doesn't work like that. She gets an idea, picks up a pen, and starts to write and the story unfolds as she goes. She might tweak things as she types it up and then edits, but her stories just grow from that one thought.
We are much the same. We think of the letters we have written and our blog posts as just having a conversation and see where that goes. We do sometimes flag up subjects we might want to talk about in the future but that is a ploy to pique the interest of the reader and hopefully entice them back for more. We haven't, however, sat down and made a list of the things we intend to say. That would be boring and we like to be spontaneous.
Her books tend to be between 30,000 - 40,000 words which classifies them as novellas. People like that as it is easy to read the whole thing in a sitting. Her novel, however, (New Beginnings), is full blown at 83,000 words. There is another major difference between this and her other books. None of the novellas or short stories contain sex but sex is very relevant to the goings on in New Beginnings. As well as being integral to the story this book is set in the fashion world in the eighties and that, apparently, was a very sexy place to be in every sense.
She started writing this novel thirty five years ago when she first left London. She only finished it at the beginning of this year—it had been sitting in a file gathering dust. Quite why she decided to finish it this year we don't know but it was really funny watching her get back into it. She had forgotten a lot of what she had written and it seems that she was actually quite shocked at some of the sex! The expletives were many and expressive. We can only imagine what was written! We have no idea. We do know what the other stories are about because we have listened as she recorded audio versions. We don't expect to be hearing an audio version of this but she has been heard to say that it would make a good film which is another good reason she is in search of an agent.
She has got a poem being published in The People's Friend this month. It is very amusing but based on fact when she was asked to provide ID before buying wine. Naturally we knew about this because she was full of righteous indignation when she got back to us in the car. (With the wine.) We were shocked—it is a brave soul who tries to come between her and her wine we can tell you. But we also heard the poem because she always reads her poetry out loud—she says it is the only way to be sure that it scans.
We are not sure what today is going to bring. We couldn't walk in the extreme heat for several reasons including the fact that the hot ground would hurt our paws. Now we have had weeks of the threat of thunder and lightning (which we don't like) and we have had rain. We don't walk in the rain as for some reason wet ground irritates our paws. Sensitive little souls aren't we. We do like snow though! Don't see much of it but we do like it. So it looks as if we are in for an uneventful day at Teale Towers although you never can tell. Watch this space! Meanwhile, love, licks and waggy tails from the Dog House. Oh - and here is the poem!
Sign of the Times
I went to buy some wine –
Oh, just the other day.
The cashier looked a sweet young lad
But then I heard him say,
‘You got I.D?’ he asked me,
His eyeball fixing mine,
‘What! Me?’ I said, ‘I.D?’ I said,
‘In order to buy wine?’
He didn’t flinch, just held my gaze,
Not so much a flicker –
I was, however, well aware
Of others with a snigger.
My wine and I are great fond friends,
Not to be cast asunder.
I was quite shocked I have to say,
And looked at him in wonder.
‘I’m sixty three!’ I said to him
‘And could well be your granny,
And no I do not have I.D.
Just cash to pay, you savvy?’
He held my gaze, held out his hand
And took the money offered.
‘I never would have guessed,’ he said.
I took the change he proffered.
I smiled at him
And took my change
He’d really made my day.
‘Your mother should be proud,’ I said
And went my merry way.