Saturday, September 22, 2007

Yacoubian Yawn and the four-figure advance ...

Sigh. Deep deep sigh. I know I'm probably going to get throttled (virtually only, I hope) for this, but I've just finished Alaa Al Aswany's The Yacoubian Building, and I'm still attempting to raise myself from the slough of utter boredom it cast me into. (Pause to make a mental note never ever to be seduced by the phrase, "International Bestseller", again, and never at any cost to believe anyone who tells me they know I'd love it. No matter how close the person doing the telling ...). In the words of the great Catherine Tate: what a load of s**t!!! Mind you, it did have a good first two pages. No, a grand and classy first two pages. But really and truly I should have stopped there. By the time I was on page 22, I knew it was a no-hoper and I just didn't care enough about anyone. Way way too much telling and info dumping, and not enough showing. Or maybe that's just the Egyptian way of writing? I don't know and, frankly, I can't be arsed to find out either. I skimmed lightly through the rest of it, knowing that noble Lord H had bought it for me as I'd asked him to - and the relief when I came to the words, "The End", was indescribable.

I then turned to the front and my eye was caught by a puff (writerly word for a nice quote given by another writer) from Patrick Gale (hmm, can I even put those words in that sentence without being sued??), which said: "An Egyptian Tales of the City ... I was furious when it ended. Sequels, please!" Oh Lord, no. I should have known. I utterly hated ruddy Tales of the City too - load of tripe. Maupin's only good book is The Night Listener. Trust me on that one! I would rewrite Gale's quote to be: "An Egyptian Tales of the City - which surely says it all ... I was delighted when it ended. No sequels, please!"

Anyway, today I have received my four-figure advance for Maloney's Law, hurrah! I'd love to write it was £7850, but then my essential decimal point would be missing. Which makes it a more realistic £78.50, and ah that 50p makes all the difference, you know. I'm going to spend it on a nice piece of jewellery. Either that or the 2.30 at Kempton Park. But, hey, I'm not complaining as it still nets me more money than I've earned for A Dangerous Man, tee hee. And gives me my first ever advance cheque: so thank you for that, PD! A writer's life, eh - I'll try not to let success change me!

For the rest of today I've been working away on The Bones of Summer, and now have that key conversation scene nailed, thank the Lord. First draft style anyway. And I think my next scene will be more of an action piece, as I don't want the reader (should there be one) to drift off into wondering what's for dinner. Perish the thought indeed!

I've decided to stay in today and (whilst not writing) sprawl on the sofa groaning, as I still don't feel that good. And I do want to be well enough to do golf tomorrow, or what's a Sunday for? Lord H has been out shopping though and has brought back the Saturday papers and (bliss!) the Guildford Book Festival brochure. I've decided not to do too much this year, so am only going to four things. I couldn't resist Julian Clary (who can?) or Gyles Brandreth doing Oscar Wilde, so those two are a must. And there are a couple of poetry events which look quite good, though sadly none of them are me. Ah well. I've also booked a fantasy fiction evening, as it could be useful for the edits to The Gifting. And maybe the sequel to it as well, if anyone likes the look of the first part, that is.

Tonight, I'm intending to droop like an overripe banana whilst staring blankly at the TV and (not) doing sudokus. So no change there then for a Saturday evening ...

Today's nice things:

1. Finishing The Yacoubian Yawn (sorry, Building)
2. Holding that four-figure advance in my hand (where be me decimal?...)
3. Flicking through the book festival brochure.

Anne Brooke
Anne's website


Anonymous said...

Hi, Anne. Thanks for the visit to my page.

Now about your entry here. I know just what you mean. I am so tired of being lured in by "award-winner" or "bestseller" or "must read". What the hell? I sometimes feel I'm on another planet. I don't get what is so great about some of these supposed "must-reads". The storytelling is dull, the book is slow, and (as I am reading mostly mysteries these days) the mysteries are easy to figure out. And does no one edit these tomes? Or copyedit? Who are these reviewers giving it glowing responses?

Anne Brooke said...

Hi, Haley! Thanks for the visit here too.

Nice to know there's two of us who feel wearied by so-called "bestsellers" these days! Honestly, the whole literature business is so far up its own behind that I fear it may never find the way out!



Graeme K Talboys said...

I think it is sure fire no-no when the word 'bestseller' appears on the hardback cover. How do they know it's going to be one unless they are going to spend a fortune hyping it? The money would be better spent on encouraging new talent and, yes, on editorial staff with the balls to stand up to these 'bestselling' novelists.

Congrats on the advance. My first (only) ever was a nice round £100. I was thinking of having it framed, but put in the bank before the publisher could change their mind. The shine was taken off when my first set of royalties arrived and they had taken off £200 against the advance. Ho hum.

Hey diddley-dee, a writer's life for me...

Anne Brooke said...

Hear hear! And, hey, well done on getting more than £200 in royalties - result!!



Jackie Luben said...

Congrats on the advance, Anne. No point in Graeme getting his knickers in a twist on having the advance deducted - it is after all what it says on the tin - an advance (on royalties) and with luck you'll earn lots and lots more than that. It's only the very very big people whose advance is so huge, it is never earned back in royalties.

Anne Brooke said...

Thanks, Jackie! And very true indeed!