The gable of the great hall rose high to the front, a huge chimney boasted diminutive battlements, and other lower layers of pink castle sprawled out haphazardly in front of me. There were three small turrets, upended cones that had been meticulously finished round and round with ever smaller and smaller lichen dotted tiles. Tiny mismatched windows blinked in the sun: circles, squares and one narrow bent rectangle. Sections of roof ended randomly, some with mossy little steps to nowhere; one jutting brick triangle had been shaped to fit the side of a sloping turret.
Excerpt from TENDU by Ailish Sinclair
And that really is all today. Because: busy writing. Been sucked in to the manuscript and am finding it hard to leave.
Crying while writing. Crying while editing. And even crying while thinking about writing, as the scenes, both happy and sad, play out in my mind. It’s no wonder I’m sometimes dehydrated!
So, am I the only one?
Tell me I’m not.
I can’t be.
Emotive writing is, just that. Springing from emotion. Causing of emotions. If the writer isn’t fully immersed, how can the reader ever be?
But then, I read other things, sensible things really. Like, when we market our books, they should be regarded as ‘products’ and we should not be emotionally attached to them. This is meant to work well. It makes better ‘business’ sense. And we should write to a ‘market’ and design covers to a genre stereotype. The first one I can maybe manage, at least while marketing, but certainly not while writing. The rest, no. It all flows fast and organically out of me and I have no choice but to go where my heart takes me.
So. I sob on. The latest line, from SISTERS, to set me off was: In the midst of great loss, the newness of a baby helps.
I’m welling up just looking at the line now, overcome by all that it references.
This emotional aspect of writing is one of the many reasons good, thorough, even brutal, editing is so important. We, or at least I, need someone less attached, someone who did not write the words and scenes, to look at the work objectively and say: this could be better, this is not clear, were you under the influence of one of your stronger prescription drugs when you wrote this? Because in our, or my, invested blubbering state, we might not see it. We might not know.
The book is on its way back for edit three soon (GWL did spoil me with their three editing process, and I won’t do less now), so all is well there.
It is possible that illness is making me worse, crying-wise. I feel a bit pathetic and vulnerable. But that will pass. I will get stronger again. And you’ll get nice sensible and scenic posts about castles and standing stones 🙂
But for now, I recover – from both medical conditions and writing – in the garden. Among the flowers. With a candle.
On a happier note, one that doesn’t make me cry anyway: I’m doing a signed book giveaway over on Instagram. See it here. It runs all week (June 19th- 26th 2022) with one of each book up for grabs and it’s a worldwide competition.
It’s mainly set in a fictional castle in Aberdeenshire.
It incorporates the 1597 Aberdeen witchcraft panic.
There’s a stone circle.
There’s 16th century Christmas.
And there’s a love story.
Isobell needs to escape. She has to. Her life depends on it.
She has a plan and it’s a well thought-out, well observed plan, to flee her privileged life in London and the cruel man who would marry her, and ruin her, and make a fresh start in Scotland.
She dreams of faery castles, surrounded by ancient woodlands and misty lochs… and maybe even romance, in the dark and haunted eyes of a mysterious Laird.
Despite the superstitious nature of the time and place, her dreams seem to be coming true, as she finds friendship and warmth, love and safety. And the chance for a new beginning…
Until the past catches up with her.
Set in the late sixteenth century, at the height of the Scottish witchcraft accusations, The Mermaid and the Bear is a story of triumph over evil, hope through adversity, faith in humankind and – above all – love.
I get easily distracted by the places and things that I write about here and forget to mention other writerly bits and pieces of note in some posts. So here goes!
I recently did an interview with the lovely Tonya Ulynn Brown on her blog The Rose and the Thistle here. Tonya’s review of THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR came out while I was in hospital last year and it really cheered me up. I tweeted about it from my bed very early in the morning, having finally worked out how to use the WiFi. I remember the scene so clearly: the dimmed light in the ward, the wall clock with its strange night and day depiction, the quiet padding about of nurses, and the prick of the blood sugar checking device. At least I had performed some worthwhile task from my bed. I was almost working! A man instantly tweeted back to me that I was being too ‘self congratulatory’ in mentioning the review. And that only encouraged me…
In the interview I ask such questions as: Is it really good enough? Is it, in fact, bilge? Or nonsense? Or the worst thing that has ever been written in the whole history of the world?
And dispense advice like: Don’t let other people tear you down and tell you you’re doing it wrong. People have strange agendas when it comes to the writing of others. Do your own thing. Go your own way.
And then over on Goodreads, this one from Alex came in yesterday. “I was moved and shocked by what I read but also took solace from the portrayal of genuine historic figures in the book such as the vile Alexander Young and the decent Benjamin Lay, Peter Williamson and Benjamin Franklin whose kindness and determination make a difference to those reduced to the status of chattels.”
And the last writerly mention: the group
I’ve started a wee Facebook Group to promote Scottish books. Your own or those you’ve read, fiction or non-fiction, about or set in Scotland or written by a Scottish author. If you’re interested feel free to join here.
All my novels are on Kindle Unlimited, Amazon’s lending service, and that has a 30 day free trial, though some people are being offered 3 months for free just now. See all the books here. Also in paperback.
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