The Best Books of 2017 – a Guardian look at the year
Writing as Craft
If you’re an aspiring writer or even an established one, this is an article you shouldn’t miss.
The Big Smoke
I step out of the deluge and into a smoky London pub and feel a sense of disconnect. Strange. Smoking was banned in pubs years ago. Then I look around and realise why. It’s some kind of tourist attraction. There’s an old radio blaring out some 1940s music and everyone’s in costume — except for an older couple standing at the bar. Good, it appears to be functional. I could use a drink.
“A whisky, please.”
The barman gives me a quizzical look. “You can have a beer and like it. Don’t you know there’s a war on? And seein’ as you’re a stranger, your first glass is on the house.”
I take my beer and find an empty seat, taking a healthy swig as I sit. I’m so glad I didn’t pay for this, it’s vile. I finish up and decide to leave; the rain has stopped. I stand for a moment on the threshold and watch the people hurrying home. The still-wet pavement glistens in the evening light.
That’s when the bombs fall.
Books that started life in NaNoWriMo
With National Novel Writing Month starting on November 1, you might be feeling a combination of Rocky-esque determination and sweaty nervousness. After all, this is the month where established authors and aspiring writers alike from all over the world take the challenge to buckle down and pen a full-length novel. Whether you’re a rookie or a veteran, participation is no ordinary feat. The goal is roughly 1,667 words per day, 11,669 words per week, with the grand total of 50,000 words due by November 30.
But before you sharpen your pencils, fire up your computer, draft up your outline, or play The Final Countdown, get inspired with these 24 books that can trace their roots back to NaNoWriMo projects. Not only did books including The Night Circus, Water for Elephants, and Fangirl reach the finish line, they reached the pinnacle—publication.
Read the full post on Goodreads:
More about Elsie
Back in March, I “interviewed” a character for my current writing (see here: https://talltales2016.wordpress.com/2017/03/27/elsie/ I didn’t get to ask her many questions because she was such a great talker! She didn’t make it, but I’m sure she’ll find a home one day. She’s been tapping at my mind, asking to be put in a story NOW. There’s not even a hint at an outline, but I wrote a short piece about an incident in her working life. I hope you enjoy it.
Jim was a steelworker, something he’d never intended to do, but circumstances forced it on him. He grew to love his work, the smell of the molten iron, the heat – and even the noise. Others called him foolish, or even mad, but steel was what made Jim tick. While his workmates rushed off when the factory whistle blew, Jim would stand a while and listen to the sounds of the workshop shutting down for the night.
Through the nearby partition, he heard the last of the grinding-wheels stop its growling and grumbling and he opened the door to the grinding shop. All the women had already left, but as he thought, little Elsie was still there, looking for crumbs and slivers of metal.
“Lass? It’s time to go home, didn’t yer mam fetch you?”
“Oh, Uncle Jim! She went home early. A stone broke and cut her arm bad. Now we’ll be short, so I’m looking extra hard for the bits of metal.”
“Come here, there’s something I want to show you.”
They went back into the machine shop and Jim marched over to some bins along one wall, lifting the lid.
“Elsie, come and look!”
The bin was full of corkscrews of bright metal, all in shimmering rainbow colours. Iridescent greens vied with deep purples. Blues, reds and even yellows shone in the gloomy corner. Elsie’s eyes widened.
“Uncle Jim, what is it? It’s so pretty!”
“It’s metal shavings from the high-speed planer. We call it swarf. It won’t stay pretty for long because it will rust. Here, watch your fingers, this stuff is sharp. Can’t have two of you needing an expensive doctor now, can we? Take these bits, wait for them to go dull, and sneak them in with your sweepings. Bit by bit mind, or we’ll both be in trouble.”
Elsie wrapped the steel curls in a bit of old sack. Jim saw her frown lessen as she realised she could help her mam.
“C’mon love, let’s walk home together.”
Elsie skipped out of the door for the first time since she started work.
Genre according to Philippa Gregory
Some rather bizarre views on genre from Philippa Gregory — or do you think she has a point?
Double Chocolate Curly Dock Seed Cake: A Healthy, Decadent Delight!
Writing goes better with cake. Better still when it’s gluten-free, sugar-free and partly foraged.
Source: Double Chocolate Curly Dock Seed Cake: A Healthy, Decadent Delight!
Uh-oh … Cynicism Time…
Source: Uh-oh … Cynicism Time…