Thursday, 31 January 2013

Mission Accomplished: 1 Serialised Novel

Today I finished my serialised novel after four months, 83,000 words, two notebooks and approximately four packs of post-its. It has been the best experience I've ever had writing.

Seriously, you can't write  Spray Painted Bananas and feel miserable while you're doing it. That said, the last chapter nearly killed me. It was fun, NOT easy!

One part of my brain feels burnt out and the other is buzzing. I'm thrilled by all the positive comment pouring in and excited by the counter which has reached 340,000 hits. But while this is all wonderful, I have also noticed that people keep asking the same question: What are you writing next?

Next?! I cry. You mean I have to write ANOTHER novel?


And yet it's not such a crazy idea really, is it? That's what writers do.

My husband is particularly pleased that I've completed this novel so quickly.

'That means you can write three novels a year!' he said.

Ha. Ha. Ha. Not happening. Speed isn't everything, my friend. I don't want to write War and Peace, but I don't want to write comics either.

I'm pleased though. When I began this challenge I trusted that it would come together. But I didn't expect to create something I would become so fond of.
I think it's the most complete novel I have written to date. And best of all it has a REAL spray painted banana on the front cover, which would look very fetching on the shelves of Waterstones or even better, on the screen of my local ODEON.
Alright I think I'll stop there. I'll need some imagination for the next book.

Above, the book trailer I illustrated when I was still plotting. I originally was going to call the novel 'Spray Painting Bananas' until someone said it sounded like a 'How to..'!

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Upcoming: Blogging for Beginners Workshop

My next Blogging for Beginners Workshop is taking place on Saturday 9th February in South East London and there are still a few spaces available!  
If you'd like to begin a blog but aren't sure where to start, or perhaps you've already started but still have lots of questions, then why not come along to a friendly and informative workshop? I'd love to share with you what I've learned over the last 4 years of blogging!
Saturday 9th February 2013
10am - 2pm
77 Tower Bridge Rd
How much?
About me
I'm the author of 'Shop Girl Diaries' (Salt Publishing) which began as a blog and was winner of the CompletelyNovel Author Blog Awards 2010. I've contributed to Publishing Talk's Guide to Blogging, Blogging for Creatives and written about social media for Mslexia magazine and The New Writer.
For more information and booking please visit my Workshop Page 
Otherwise don't hesitate to contact me at 

Friday, 18 January 2013

Em, aren't you being a hypocrite?

Blog: Em, aren't you being a bit of a hypocrite?

Emily: Why's that?

Blog: Don't you tell everyone in your blog workshops to write regularly?

Emily: Yes...

Blog: So, you are being a hypocrite.

Emily: But I do write regularly. I've never written so much in my life.

Blog: Maybe it's a computer error then because lately none of your blogs have been showing up.

Emily: Ah. No. I haven't written any blogs.

Blog: But you said...

Emily: Not here anyway, but I have written lots for Mslexia and one for the Writers' Hub.

Blog: Boring!

Emily: I'm also three chapters away from completing a serialised novel called Spray Painted Bananas. That's more than 75,000 words worth of free reading material. In fact I'm a bit gutted I won't be able to pitch it for publication now, I've grown quite attached to it.
Blog: Boo hoo... 'nanas schmanas...

Emily: What more do you want from me?

Blog: Wake me up when you post a blog.

Emily: So, you're not going to read my book?

Blog: Nope.

Emily: Even though I've been working on it for 4 months... for the love...  

Blog: Fine! Give me the link.

Emily: Thanks! Here it is.

Blog: Now sod off and write a blog.

Emily: Done!

Blog: Smartass.

Monday, 7 January 2013

A Brief Encounter with America

I've returned from America. The immediate consequence of this is that I no longer have a cute accent. People remarked on it in shops over there, 'Oh my gad, I just luuuve it!' was the general consensus.
Would I be right in thinking the British accent to an American is what a French accent is to a Brit?
Incidentally, part of my reason for going to America, apart from spending Christmas with my husband's family, was of course to correct my 6 year old nephew's pronunciation of Water. It's an annual exercise with repeatedly disappointing results and goes a bit like this:

Me: War-tah
Nephew: WARRA
Me: No, Waaaar-tah.
Nephew: WARRA!
Me: Oh whatever.

America is the place where I feel most British. Anywhere else I consider myself European with allegiances to two countries although little inclination to belt out the national anthem of either, and much less with a hand on my heart. Although to be fair, the Spanish anthem doesn't have any words, so I couldn't belt it out even if I wanted to. But in America I do feel and have fun being British. There I feel a desire to befuddle people with cockney rhyming slang or echo the well spoken characters of Enid Blyton books.
While secretly I think American spelling makes a lot of sense, there are some words I can't take seriously. For instance the word 'restroom'. A temple is a restroom, a yoga room is a restroom, but as for the lavatory... really? It's childish but I enjoy asking where the loo is, or the toilet is, because in America they sound like rude words.

America is different. More so than I expected. I didn't realise that they didn't have Boxing day over there or that they would look at me blankly when I asked for mulled wine. I asked for it at a fairground and the woman shook her head, 'This is a family park, we don't serve malt wine.' They didn't have any mulled, malt or ordinary wine in the family restaurant where we ate later. It seems quite common in America to separate alcohol from family establishments, which is strange, because when you're with all the family you generally need a proper drink. As for their no alcohol until 21 policy, don't get me started. You can be married, have kids, a driving license and own a gun by 18, but you can't have a drink... How did that happen?

What stands out most of all about The United States is that everything is bigger. My sister in law has a fridge that would be sold as a one bedroom flat if it were in London. The second thing that stands out for me, and I feel like a country bumpkin for saying this, but everything looks like it is in the films. Before we headed to Washington DC, we spent a couple of days in New York.
Arriving in the Big Apple was so exciting to me. I loved the traffic lights, the taxis and the policemen carrying their coffee and doughnuts. I loved the blinding lights and the bagels.

It's funny and wonderful how the ordinary for one person can be extraordinary for somebody else. That's the great thing about travel. So here's wishing that the New Year brings us all more adventures in distant places!