Sunday, September 28, 2008

Digging up the Bones

A nice lie-in and a lazy start to the day today, hurrah - I didn't even surface until nearly 9am. Bliss. Plus Lord H made scrambled eggs with chicken on toast for breakfast, so that's set me up for the morning at least. And I've made a plum and nectarine crumble for lunch, so I have Wife Points too, aha!

And I needed all the energy I could get, as the whole day has been spent editing The Bones of Summer and updating the synopsis. Much to my joy and surprise, the editor hadn't suggested any major changes so most of it was tweaking and tightening up the text. So that was great, as I've done it, read it through for sense, improved the synopsis and then sent the whole bundle off to the agent for his delectation. Or possibly not. This time, bearing in mind that Bones is the sequel to Maloney's Law and won't therefore attract the interest of any mainstream publisher, I've suggested that I would be happy to tackle the small press with it myself, to save him the wasted effort of contacting the big boys. I do think that's the best way forward on this occasion but, for courtesy's sake, I'll see what the reply might be.

I've also struggled - and I mean struggled! - my way through Colm Toibin's The Blackwater Lightship. Groan. Is it just me or is AIDS literature hugely hugely dated now? Call me a mean-spirited bitch if you must (and I won't blame you at all if you do), but I am bored witless by novels about fragile young men wilting around waiting to die while their friends and family hyperventilate around them. Which is basically the storyline. All hugely sad in real life, I know, but dull dull dull in literature. And, for a Booker shortlisted novel, some of the writing was very clunky indeed (though that's par for the course these days, I fear ...). A couple of times - well, more, actually - I found myself laughing when I shouldn't have at the melodrama of it all. Or maybe I just have no soul. Very possibly. Also, I don't know if Mr Toibin has ever met a split family at all - speaking as one who knows, some of the scenes were completely unrealistic and Helen would never ever have confided in Paul at all, let alone as quickly and easily as she does. If I'd been in that situation, I would have called him a no-good interfering fucker (which he is, btw) and told him to leave. (Actually I did that to an old boyfriend once in the middle of a party - everyone was most surprised, but it did get rid of the problem. We all had a great party afterwards ... And I so enjoyed laughing at his attempts to reverse his car - ah happy days). But back to the book - as well as a cliche of a plot, there are no nice or sympathetic characters either. Except possibly Larry who only turns up on Page 123 - and is a breath of the proverbial when he does so. Unfortunately, he's not around enough for the novel to improve. It was a relief when Declan was finally rushed - hopefully for ever - into hospital. Frankly, I wish he'd died sooner - which reminds me of my mother's critique of the film, Titanic: for God's sake, sink, damn you, sink ... As you can tell, I'm going to have such fun discussing it all at the University's book group in October, ho ho.

Anyway, tonight, I have the thrills and spills of the Strictly Come Dancing results programme, and then the pain and misery of Part Three of Tess. Don't tell him, Tess - you can still save yourself!! Damn it, no - the girl just won't listen. If only people paid more attention to me, their lives would be so much happier, you know.

This week's haiku:

Days of mist and ghosts.
The house holds its history
to itself. Brooding.

Writerly Facts:
Time since The Gifting submission to publishers: 4 months, 1 week and 1 day
I get most thrills from writing a novel, but most satisfaction from editing it.

Today's nice things:
1. Cooked breakfast
2. Editing Bones
3. Haikus
4. TV.

Anne Brooke
Anne's website


Jilly said...

I think fragile young men wilting around the place have replaced the consumptive young women reclining on the chaise longue in 19th century fiction! I'm sure this says something profound about the progress of women over the same period. Fragile young women don't seem to feature at all in modern fiction.

Anne Brooke said...

Very true - I hadn't thought of that!