Thursday, November 30, 2006

You can find the book here...

For some stupid reason, my Google account keeps telling me that I do not have access to this blog. For shame.

Anyway, I've published the document on the web for anyone to see. You can look at it here.


In a haze of steroids, I finished my 50,000 word masterpiece today. My intention is to put it up here, so if you want to read it, you can do so. However, I don't want to hear any criticisms of it, because it is, after all, a 50,000 word first draft written in 30 days, with only a week of prep time beforehand. And, because of the daft version of Word I have, I haven't even been able to spell check it.

So, don't expect too much. Nevertheless, it turned out a lot better than I expected, and writing it really was a lot of fun. I will certainly be having another go next year, although it would be nice if some people I knew in real life could be persuaded to join in.

Thanks to all who minded me and did my share of the washing up while I was writing. And to Google, without which none of my half-assed "research" would have been possible.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


I have a chest infection. How bad is it? I'll tell you how bad. I actually went to the doctor, which for me means it must be bad. And now I have antibiotics, steroids, and an inhaler. Most importantly, though, I have a sick note from school work and so I can stay on the sofa and watch Pebble Mill Firefly for the rest of the week. And finish my novel.

Here's a top tip for you. If you, like me, often choose to accompany your blog posts with random pictures you find on the Internet, do not ever conduct an Internet search using Google or some other search facility (because Google is not a verb, let's remember that, kids) for images of chest infection. MY BLASTED EYES!

Instead, I have found you these lovely puppies. Aw.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Consumer tips for winter

Hello everyone. Regular readers of this blog (all four of you) will remember the only time I ever gave consumer advice before, which was when I advised people living by the seaside in the winter to stock up on their Silcock's Base. Well, now I have another piece of winter advice for you, and it is this: do not buy Kleenex anti-viral tissues. They are so rubbish! Here's why:
  1. they cost €4.20 for a box
  2. they're so fat there's only about thirty tissues in the box
  3. the middle layer of the three balmy layers is covered in these stupid blue dots (they're the anti viral!) which, if you're particularly ill, you don't notice until you've blown your nose and then you think "oh shit, blue is coming out of my nose, I have space tuberculosis" and you become convinced, in your less lucid moments, that you will die
Mister Monkey kindly struggled down the chemist in the teeth of a howling gale to get me these tissues yesterday, and they are already nearly gone. Useless. Do not buy them.

As an added, supplementary piece of advice, can I suggest that you do not start reading a book about the great influenza outbreak of 1918 either? It does not make you feel better.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Heroes, the best way to take your mind off a bad cough

It's just great. It's got comic book stuff and sci fi stuff and crazy paranormal stuff and it's creepy and gory and full of people who make you go "don't trust him, he's very bad" and full of stuff that makes you go "holy crap." We are loving it, here in the Monkey house.

The most fun thing we've learned about it is that the dude who plays Hiro still works part time at Industrial Light and Magic as an animator, which presumably makes him a huge enormous geek.

Here is better whingeing

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Phear my speed writing skillz

41,001, bitches!

This is the best book EVAH!

Five days to go

You eejit. Oh noes, the Brain Science man on the Panel last week was right! Women can't do hard sums!

Man, I wanted to punch that guy in the nose. Typical woman's response, get all emotional.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Four days to go/four weeks to go

37,000 words written. But my cough is so bad that I can hardly write. If only I was in a garret somewhere. Still, Molly and Archie are back on track, bless them. They are fun, I wish I could do them better justice.

Still, at least I still have my favourite Saturday night programme to console me. There was a lovely atmosphere on Strictly Come Dancing tonight. I guess everyone knew Claire and Brendan were going home, and everyone just seemed really cheery. The sad thing is, I don't really have anyone I'm cheering for in the finals. Naturally, last year I wanted Zoe Ball to win, but this year my underdog is Carol Smillie. Not really for her, necessarily, more for Matthew. He's such a pro. He always looks at her like he's madly in love with her, which is exactly how your dance partner should look at you.

Although I reckon Louise and Vincent will win. He is also top class, very funny, and she is genuinely a really good dancer.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Six days left

NaNoWriMo finishes in six days, and I have 20,000 words left to write. Fun, huh? Luckily for me, two of those days are weekend days, and today I am sick in bed with one of those awful colds that has gone to my chest and so I sound like I'm breathing through a bowl of thick soup, so I don't have to work. Molly and Archie have let me down a little, or I've let them down, in that I've left them speeding through Europe, Molly at the wheel of a car belonging to a classical pianist, and Archie in the boot of a car having been kidnapped by a Hungarian film director. The Hungarian film director's girlfriend, who was driving, has just crashed the car into the wall of a furniture factory outside Eferding in Austria. They have been stuck there for a couple of days now, because I wasn't sure what to do with them, but I think I've got it now.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Buy me this!

I have never seen Antony and Cleopatra , and the RSC are running what looks like a wonderful production of it in London in the new year.

Oh, I want it.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Of Human Bondage

I read this book on the recommendation of several people on ILB. It was wonderful. It is the story of an orphaned boy with a club foot who gets sent to live with his parsimonious vicar uncle in the south of England during the latter half of the 19th century, and tells of his life there, in public school, and trying to find his way as an adult. He has a disastrous love affair and lives in almost constant threat of running out of money. Along the way he learns about art, philosophy, people, love, hate, responsibility, religion, and all the Big Things in life. It's very funny, warm, epic, sprawling, terribly English, and I loved every single bit of it. Maugham is, I think, deeply unfashionable, but shouldn't be.

New album at last

I downloaded this last night off iTunes. I should probably have gone out and actually bought a physical copy of it, but hey, it's instant gratification.

I don't know if I like it. I loved Pulp so much, and it's easy to think that the reason you love a band so much is because you're hopelessly in love with the front man--and who can resist him, really--but you forget that all those other people moving around out there on the stage are doing their important things too. And gradually, as they dropped away, the Pulp sound changed, and then, gradually, Jarvis got older and his politics changed too. So everything's different now. And it might take me a while to get used to it. Nobody gave We Love Life a chance, but it is a truly great album. Perhaps, after I've listened to it incessantly for many months, I will love this one as much.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Hey, who wants to hear my Yves Klein joke?

"I study at the Yves Klein school of Judo."
"Really? What belt are you?"

Sunday, November 05, 2006

More nano talk

Mister Monkey correctly pointed out that if you're going to write a book about SPIES who are also ACTORS, then you have to have them both SPY and ACT somewhere at the beginning of the book, rather than just talk about it. He came up with the great plan of having them start with ACTING in a film, and then, after a day's shooting, head off to do some SPYING. This is what I have now done, and I am so stupidly pleased with the new and improved first section of the book that I am putting it here:

Somewhere off the coast of Chile, a ship of His Majesty’s fleet bobbed like a cork on the sea. Had there been any qualified observers, they would have noted that it was beam on to the swell, and that at any moment, if it did not right itself, the slightest change in the weather could have it over, sails flopping in the water like washing in a puddle.
The captain of the ship was all too aware of his predicament, but at just this moment he had not the luxury of doing anything about it, for he was trying very hard not to be stabbed in the neck. A vicious prisoners’ mutiny was underway, led by a hellion they had picked up in Chile and were bringing back to England to undergo a show trial which, it was hoped, would put women everywhere off following her example. The woman in question, it turned out, knew how to take a hostage, and knew how to climb. She also knew how to inspire her followers, and as the captain fended off his assailant with some considerable skill, he saw her shrug the outer layers of her garments and proceed to swing herself aloft.
“Mister Bragg!” he shouted for his first lieutenant, finally managing to unbalance the mercenary who had been lunging at him and deliver a sharp stab to his upper thigh which would lay him out but hopefully not kill him before the doctor could get to him. His first lieutenant looked up at the rigging to see the young woman slithering up it as lithe as a leopard. Both men sprinted for the ropes and began to follow her. The captain gained on her after very little time, for he was an athletic sort, much given to races with his subordinates on feast days when there was time for sport. Fast though she was, the young woman could not outclimb him, and she realised it as she drew closer to the maintop. She left off climbing and shinnied out to the end of the yard, wrapping her hand and foot in the clewlines and turning to face the captain with a brandished short sword, a flashing smile, and panting breath.
“Give this up,” the captain said. “Your fellow prisoners have made a sorry show of things below, and there is nowhere to go.”
She cursed him.
Somewhere below them, the captain’s crew had regained control of the wayward vessel and turned her to run before the freshening wind. The sails began to belly out, and the captain and the woman found the rigging a lot livelier, and their movements more greatly hampered than before. The ship began to move. The captain was now on firmer ground than the woman, as the whole structure they stood on began to sway and pitch with the roll of the ship. The woman looked less sure of what she was doing. She looked anxiously at the deck below.
“They’ll kill me,” she said eventually. “You know they will.”
“It’s no more than you deserve,” the captain said. “You killed twelve people.”
“They started it,” she argued. “They came after me first. I was minding my own business. I was a missionary, and they came after me. God abandoned me, so I’ve abandoned him and his laws.”
The captain’s feet edged ever so slightly closer to her, and the blade came up again between them.
“I’m not a judge,” he said.
“You could plead for me,” she said.
“After what you have done here?” he said. “You did things nobody should do.”
Her face took on a wild look. She dropped the blade. “And them?” she asked. “They did things to me that nobody should ever do.”
“I know it,” he answered. “And god help you, they have made you mad.”
“Mad is right, captain,” she said with a wild sob. She turned from him and without warning, launched herself from the end of the yard toward the glittering sea. She seemed to fly, and at least had the good sense to jump out as far as she could.
The captain barely had time to understand what she had done before he had followed her. They hit the water within a split second of each other with an ungodly smack. The captain could swim well, however, as was part of his competitive nature, and he pulled himself to the surface like a seal and immediately began to search for her. From the ship he heard a cry of “there, cap’n, she’s behind you!” in among the frantic ringing of bells and cries of “Cap’n overboard!”
He allowed himself a second of relief that she had survived, and struck out after her. Even here, even after everything that had happened, she still fought him. As he came up beside her she kicked out at him. As he pulled himself up along her clothing, hand over hand towards her head, she lashed at him while struggling to stay afloat. She was not as strong a swimmer as he, and she was already starting to tire.
“You are a fool,” he said. “You could have been killed.”
“So could you,” she said.
They bobbed for a moment in the ocean and the captain looked back to see the men lower the jolly boat and pull towards their position. In a last, desperate bid to be free, she kissed the captain. “Please don’t let them kill me, Edward,” she pleaded.
To her immense surprise, he passionately returned her kiss, holding her head with one hand even while he held them both afloat with the other. “They will not have you,” he said, “not while I am alive to defend you.”
A shout of “CUT!” came from somewhere to their starboard side, and they could hear the sounds of an outboard motor. Archie squinted upwards towards the hot, Mexican sun. “Good this, isn’t it?” he said, continuing to hold on to Molly. As the zodiac buzzed towards them over the sea, they trod water and spread out their arms to the side to enjoy the warm sea. “I can’t believe how clear the water is,” said Molly, looking down.
“Did you remember the plan of the plantation?” Archie asked.
“Yes,” Molly answered, just as the zodiac reached them. “Don’t worry, we’re all packed. You just need to get dressed.”

C'est le fromage, no? But fun.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

And we're off...

Here are the first 445 words. I will not be posting any more of the book until at least the beginning of next week (unless it somehow turns out to be amazingly good). But I'm pleased to have got started.

Molly felt the ladder slip out from underneath her. She had, of course, overstretched, which Archie was always telling her not to do, for this very reason. She tried to hook her trainer around the top rung and hoosh the rickety steps back into place, but they were too far gone, and if she tried too hard she would go with them. She let it fall. Dangling from the cross beam, she sighed heavily and waited for her legs to get themselves settled long enough for her to think about pulling herself up. She could already feel a tingle in her hands from the not-quite dry creosote (or whatever it was) on the cross beam, and she realised she hadn’t got a great hold and might start to fall soon if she didn’t do something. Her belly was suddenly cold. The zip of her hoody was stuck up under her mouth and she tried to spit it out but couldn’t. So she bit down on it, steeled herself, and tried to pull herself up. It was a really long time since she’d done anything like this. Her arm muscles weren’t quite sure how to pull her, and her joints weren’t quite sure how to lever her, and she found herself wondering if she’d put on any weight, or if her hands had lost their strength, and as she thought, with great effort but no noise, she managed to haul herself up so that she had her elbows hooked over the beam. From there it was easier to swing her legs out a bit in order to swing the rest of her up until she was stomach down over the beam, poised for a smack, but safe and willing to wait for someone to come.
It was half an hour before anyone did. She flattened herself against the beam a little in case it was Archie, making the split second decision not to let him know what had happened. She couldn’t bear to hear him complain about the whole thing one more time. It was a terrible idea. It was a stupid way to spend your life. When he had agreed to spend two years doing whatever she wanted, he didn’t think it would be anything like this. It was pure stupidness. He would say stupidness as well, and even in her impersonation of him in her head, she corrected him.
But then it was Fergus who came into the church, and although she was relieved to see someone who would just do what he was told with no argument, she was disappointed that he wasn’t Archie.