29 Nov 2010

Hestia...is a novelist

*victorious air punch*
Yes, shuffle up there J K Rowling, get squeezed together Ian Rankin and Jackie Collins because...there is a NEW kid on the novelist bench!  Yes! MEEEEEEE!

As you can tell from the pic that accompanies this blog post, I have actually managed to write the prerequisite 50,000 words for National Novel Writing Month (nanowrimo).  Actually, I managed 50,300 words, but, well, yanno, I don't want to brag :-)

It has not been without incident.

Most days for the month of November I have been sat at the computer in my jammies until well after midday, with the knock on effect that breakfast has become lunch and lunch became a packet of kitkats and a mug of coffee.  To be perfectly honest, I have sometimes only managed to scramble into my clothes before Sonshine has come home from school.

Most painful and most comical - certainly if you happened to be looking in my lounge window the other morning, was me trying to fix a wonky bit on one of the blinds on the front window.  Leaned over too far, discovered that there was no longer anything underneath me to support me, did full Warner Bros walking in mid-air thing, plummeted to ground RIGHT onto my tailbone.  Spent 2 days hirpling around like Quasimodo with PMT and blind is STILL wonky.  It can fucking stay that way until Tertarus comes home to fix it.

I have also managed to go to the supermarket for the weekly shop and leave the bag with the freezer stuff sitting at the back door for 2 days, gently defrosting (yes, it was before the snow).

I also managed to burn 2" off my fringe by frying some fish for dinner on Friday.  The usual story - subzero kitchen necessitates a gas burner on to heat the place while I get the fish on to fry and sling the chips in the oven.  I needed more vegetable oil for the fish and bent down to take bottle from cupboard beneath hob.  And, lo, my newly straightened hair was frazzled in the flame of the small ring lit to heat the kitchen.

So that meant an emergency trim.  I couldn't bear to go back in to the hairdressers with my ragged fringe, so Sonshine did it.  He may have a great career ahead of him in something, but hairdressing isn't it.  Still, at least I don't smell like a death row inmate now.

I have also forgotten birthdays, wedding anniversaries and nearly a parent's night at school as I struggled to fill plot holes the size of the Grand Canyon.

Sonshine is a pale shadow of a child, seeing as how he has had no fresh vegetables for a month, only chips as his distracted mother lets him play endless hours on Minecraft on the mac as she tries to work out a plausible way to get her hero to the mental asylum where the heroine languishes.

So pissed off was Sonshine with my even more slatternly house-keeping skills over the past 30 days he said: 'Mum, how much do you love me.'
Me: ' Why, more than anything (that's why I still live with your father)' <- no, I didn't REALLY say the bit in parenthesis.  But I thought it REALLY loudly.
Sonshine: Do you love me more than your own life?
Me: Of course
Sonshine: Do you love me enough to stop writing that book?

An unfortunately long silence then ocurred which gave Sonshine the answer that he expected.

I promise you, I have started to make it up to him by taking him to see Despicable Me at the cinema. And not falling asleep through it.

But that is over now.  The words are done.  The story is told.  The manuscript (I use that term exceptionally loosely - it's a collection of disparate words and phrases that are not even in the right order) has been verified and e-mailed to myself (just in case any sad git out there pilfers my idea).

My darkest moment was undoubtedly when I went for a long, self-absorbed walk through the wood in the rain, wondering how to best structure a pivotal moment in the book - when our heroine is having an innocent conversation with our hero in the garden, while her husband and his conniving mistress look out from the darkness of the dining room windows.....and realised that it was basically Othello I had created.  Oh yes, that was a terribly dark moment.  But my fellow nanowrimos, Ania and Sara, kept me buoyant by reminding me that since my hero was neither black nor a Venetian prince, it wasn't really the same thing at all.

The next hurdle came when I realised that I knew absolutely fuck all about life inside a Scottish lunatic asylum at the end of the 19th century.  This is one of the drawbacks of signing up for nanowrimo on a whim - you b'aint spent the whole previous 10 months researching your story. Yet again my lovely friends on Twitter came to the rescue with links to websites and all manner of horrific information that could be useful to me.  And that was the turning point.  From that point on, I felt like I could really do it.

So, dear reader, if you fancy a spot of historical romance, liberally daubed with homoerotic cruelty and madness, get ready to beat a path to Waterstones sometime over the next two years lol!  Publishers, you may form a line....here:-)

Seriously though - a big thank you to everyone who gave me encouragement to keep going with the project and massive congratulations to Ania and Kristina for making it past the winning post too.  In fact, by the time this blog is up, Sara will have got her winner's badge too.

It feels fabulous to get it finished and I hope so see some more of you there next November.  Next year? Again? Oh yeah, there's a SEQUEL to be written now :-)


  1. Well done indeed what an achievement.I know it will be a fantastic read.
    Hope you're celebrating with a glass or three of the fizzy stuff! X

  2. Ain't we great? :D I'm soooo pleased with myself for doing this and proud of us all. Will be blogging later :D

  3. Blooming well done you!!
    I've wanted to write a book for years but never got more than a chapter done ha ha.

    Can't wait to read it - off to Amazon now to pre order!! xxx

  4. Congratulations - and as I said before don't forget to invite me to the glamorous book launch!

  5. Well done you - does that mean you are back in the blogging world - I have missed you? the plot sounds juicy - I will buy a first edition given the opportunity x

  6. Congratulations - wonderful news!
    Missed your sense of humour whilst you've been beavering away.

  7. The importance of vegetables to children is overstated. I can't believe you still actually fry food in actual oil - if the rickets doesn't kill him, arteriosclerosis will ....

  8. I think it's amazing what "you lot" (Ali, Ania, Sara & Kristina & others) have done in a month. Such an achievement. :-)

  9. Congratulations Ali.
    Let us all know where we can get a copy.
    By the way, I will be heading your way in the spring, probably with another musician friend, so you'll have to let me know of any pub venues we could play at.
    I promise to cook if you'll let me.

  10. I am heartily impressed by all you NaNoWriMo babes, even if some other life aspects got slightly side-lined for the month. I'm sure Sonshine will forgive you one day ;-b

  11. Mystica - thank you!

    Chloe - thanks - I'll try to get better balanced for December lol!

    Legand - that's brilliant news! Would be FAB to meet you! Keep me posted as to your locations and YES you can cook for me. But you'll probably have to smuggle most of the ingredients into the country lol! Certainly, to the island :-)

    Lori - thanks for leading the cheerleading -and for being in the chat room last night when I was on the radio with Dax! *mwha*

    Viv - I am Scottish. I fry things. It's my reason to BE.

    Jane - thank you!

    Mrs P - you might be fortunate enough and get the ONLY edition lol!

    Mrs TNMA - well, I'll need STYLED for that of course :-)

    Butterfly - just get on with it. Honestly if *I* can write 50k words then anyone can. I'm not saying my 50k are any good, you'll notice!

    Ania - WE DID IT!!!! *jumps up and down*

    NS - looking forward to having a slap up meal at yours. In the Spring. After the snow has gone. We should get a BLOG group booking for dinner!!!

    Thanks for all the positive strokes chaps, I'm still finding it hard to believe that I've done it. And now, suddenly out the other end and it's DECEMBER!!!!

  12. Dearest Ali, well done you!! I'm sure it'll be brilliant. I cannot wait to read it! Bring on the glamorous book launch! I'm sure I can sort you out an outfit.

    Hope your hair's OK, I can't believe you let Sonshine cut it. You are hilarious!

    Off to dig out your email from a pile of junk. I did read it but I was in a shop and my iPhone's been dropped AGAIN!! I am having no luck with phones at the mo. Will call you this week. Love C xx

  13. PS. Still trawling through tons of emails! It would be quicker to send you a reply by horse and cart! xx

  14. "hirpling"? is that a word? i think i might be a little in love with that word because it is exactly what i've been doing lately due to a bum foot (wait...a bum foot? that sounds...odd, whatevs).

    congrats, missy!

  15. Polish Chick - you have just inspired me to write Hestia's next post: Very Good Scottish Words that EVERYONE should use on a daily basis ;-)

    Christina - thanxoffly! Got your e-mail - sorry you had to trawl through loads of stuff to find mine lol!

    Ali xxx

  16. utterly brilliant, well done you, that is no mean feet, I hope you reward yourself well and often...and welcome back to the blogs!!

  17. Mrs YaH - thanks and very glad to be back ;-)

  18. I am incredibly proud of you. I still want to read it if you think it's for public reading, and I will be very glad to have you back and blogging, though I must say twitter means you feel a bit omnipresent anyway (In a good way).

    Three cheers for Ali!

  19. Congrats, Ali! That is one hell of an achievement.



  20. SB - thanks - it IS a hell of an achievement, but I reckon that I'll need about another 50,000 to tell the story properly!

    LM - I am a goddess, I AM everywhere. Like germs.

    Thank you!!!!

    Ali x

  21. Many congratulations. That really is something. Would love to read it!

  22. Dear Sensible Footwear - there's still a VEEEERRRRRY long way to go! But I promise, if it's remotely interesting by the time I've finished with it, you can read it!

    Ali x

  23. So impressed you have found the time and commitment to write a book, really am! could never do it, always end up looking at nail polish blogs or celeb gossip and never get down to anything!! Comforting to know I am not the only person who has little er adventures in the kitchen - it is amazing the muddles I can find myself in, just horrifying, I really should not be left at home unsupervised...right, off to hose down the worktops and remove porridge from the walls..


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