Monthly Archives: October 2011

How’s your output ?

Phil: From the department of reading people’s press releases out on air, currently replacing BBC news, there is a bit of a fuss about NaNoWriMo or the National Novel Writing Month.

The idea is that during November, participants try to write a 50,000 word novel. That’s an average of 1667 words a day. Every day. For a month. Wow.

That’s a hell of a challenge. Kate vs The Dirtboffins is 83,000 words and took us around 8 months to produce and that’s with two people working on it. OK, so we both had jobs and other distractions and the result is a finished manuscript rather than the first drafts that NaNoWriMo will be aiming for, but it’s still a big mountain to climb. I have pondered the idea but even though I don’t have a proper full-time job at the moment, just can’t see how I could do it. I mean, don’t these people eat ? Do they sit in their garrets typing all day ?

So if you are having a go, I salute you. But please don’t send you efforts to a publisher on 1st December. I bet they aren’t looking forward to them and anyway, there are better things in the slush pile already !

Visit the NaNoWriMo website.


Filed under Phil, Writing

Stylish, me?

Candice:  I managed to get an invite to the Style Birmingham Launch event the other week.  This is about the fourth year that Birmingham has held this kind of event and somewhere along the way I’ve been involved in some shape or form.  It’s an interesting premise that they have tried to get off the ground outside of Brum, catwalk shows and in store events over a weekend.  Its all quite exciting for the second city, which gets bashed on a regular basis as being behind Manchester on the style stakes.

This year’s was in the Town Hall, a rather sumptuous building designed by the same chap who created the Black Cab.  I could go on, as I did the reopening of it many years ago, but I wont bore you.  Just to say, as my sister and I sat down in the circle seating to watch the show I said “I’ve touched that ceiling,” and pointed 100 ft up.  It was an interesting experience for someone who doesn’t like heights!

Hosted by George Lamb, it was a chance to see what was going to be hot fashion wise and get some ideas for my two fashionistas, Kate and Tracey.  Their characters are very image driven and I need to keep up to date with new styles and brands to mention this in the new book and future short stories. I have to say, it was more high street than high end so not as many ideas as I’d hoped but I think my sister and I came out with a long list of purchases!

The biggest shame was the lack of after party.  After much primping, it was all over in an hour and then we went home.  The previously mentioned shoes did good though, surviving a 10 minute walk to and from the carpark.

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You don’t deserve books

Phil: I was going to base this post on the article in the Observer bemoaning the death of chick-lit. The premise is interesting and since we’ve written a novel that might be in this category, I ought to be really concerned that the market for the genre has dipped by 10%.

But then I read the comments. There I discover that Phud defines chick-lit as “Shoes, shopping and shagging. Turgid, whimsical bollocks written by middle-class, middlebrow, wine-sipping chocoholics.”

This has me worried. Am I a middlebrow, wine-sipping chocoholic ? If I am, should I care ?

Let’s start from the top. I am middle-class, in fact both of us are. There are a lot less working-class people in the UK than there are people who claim to be. If you are sitting in an office and sipping a coffee that didn’t come out of a jar marked instant, then you can stop pretending to be one with those toiling at the coal face or labouring in an ironworks.

Middelbrow ? I had to look this up since a brow in the middle of your face is probably a mustache. According to Wikipedia, the term middlebrow describes both a certain type of easily accessible art. Is this a bad thing ?

Wine-sipping. Not me. I don’t understand the stuff. Give me proper British beer. I won’t be mentioning Candice’s drinking habits, but if anyone else wants to in the comments…

Finally, chocoholic. Not me. Never touch the stuff. Honest.

So we probably are everything Phud hates.

Actually, if I want that sort of odium, then the Guardian/Observer message boards are the place to go, in the mainstream anyway. Left wingers are often portrayed as humorless miseries and a very small number of them do their best to fit the caricature. You can’t simply enjoy something, the pleasure has to be earned. It’s a bit opus dei for me. The pleasure is in the pain of the journey rather than the destination. Maybe if we insist readers flagellate themselves while reading, our book will be seen as a “good” thing.

Why is it that “hard” art and literature is seen as better than the accessible stuff ? Jack Vettriano is loved by millions but according to the art world, his output is rubbish. Surely there is a skill in making things easy for people ? No one ever tells you that a difficult to follow set of instructions is better than an easy to read version do they ?

Not being one to miss a marketing opportunity, if you feel that a book should be an agony to read, should you not only be a “glass half empty” person but a “glass half empty and what there is in there is a sprinkle of broken glass and a pile of puetird dung” person then please buy the special edition of ours. It’s will cost £5000 but I will personally come round and jab you with sharp objects as you read. And shout rude words. You don’t get the last 3 chapters either ‘cos you might enjoy finding out how it all ends. That way you can be miserable and happy.



Filed under Phil, Writing