Saturday, 27 August 2011

Novel progress, Highgate cemetery and onwards and upwards

Morning folks, I am the happiest girl alive - it's official! I have had an amazing week editing the 'novel'. I've made my way to chapter 44 of a 40 chapter book (don't ask) - which I think says it all. Apart from Wednesday, when I went to London - which I'll mention in a mo, I have worked everyday from five hours up to a staggering ten hours on Tuesday, 22 Aug. Ten hours? I don't do that many when working at school! I have literally lived, breathed and slept this novel and it has paid off because (drum roll needed) this is the final week of my self imposed deadline 31st August. Yep, I have just Saturday (today), Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and big old Wednesday, till midnight if needs be, to complete. So, I need to write this blog as quickly as possible as there is a novel to complete.

Wednesday saw me and the family take a very lonnnnnnng day trip to London to accomplish a couple of items on my 40th April Fool list - namedly, to visit Highgate cemetery and to cross the Abbey Road zebra crossing (made famous by the Beatles). Anyhow to cut a long story very short, we managed to visit both. If you've never visited, Highgate is cut into two halves, West and East cemetery. We booked our tour of the West cemetery and had a delightful guide who entertained us throughout with her stories and snippets. I have to say, I wouldn't mind being buried there myself, it is so beautiful. It might be a morbid subject, but I have always had a strange facination with graves and burials, so I was in my element - though the kids thought it a bit weird that we were treking about in a graveyard. I could write for eons regarding the beautiful statues and Victorian symbolism, but I won't because I have a novel to edit. But please take a look at their website and I urge you to visit as these good people have kept the cemetery open through sheer hardwork, backache and charity donations. 
The Abbey Road crossing, postcode NW8 9AY - was a highly comical affair. We arrived to find a huge crowd of tourists dashing back and forth, defying death be leaping infront of on-coming traffic, purely for a photo opportunity. I have to say, I did feel sorry for the drivers, it was like a mad game of 'frogger' - though there would have been a lot of photographic evidence should anyone been hit. I had to smile at the thought that this unassuming zebra crossing was given Grade II listed status in December 2010. Any way, we waited for ten minutes, by which time at least fifiy people had diced with death (even though traffic is supposed to stop at crossings), before the traffic calmed and we could gain the picture that I'd hope for. Worth visiting, if not for the Beatles element but the entertainment of others playing photographic 'chicken'.

We finally arrived home at about ten o'clock, which had been a long day of sightseeing but well worth the effort, as we snatched some time to view Big Ben, Houses of Westminster and London Bridge in order to show the children a few more sights other than a fancy "graveyard" (their words not mine) and a zebra crossing! Actually that last line does sound a bit mad when broken down to the basics - sightseeing a graveyard and a zebra crossing - oh well, tick, tick, both crossed off my 40th April Fool list.

I didn't make it to my Grace Dieu Writers' Circle on Thursday, purely because I was busy editing and rewriting the novel. And, I have a feeling that I won't be at my Mad Hatters group this coming Wednesday, for exactly the same reason - I'll be working up to the wire on 31st August. Though, I do have a bottle of bubbly on ice ready for Wednesday's deadline day.

Last Thurday saw the arrival of the GCSE exam results for the pupils at school - I went, as I always do, but it's so hard not to cry. I want to cry with joy for the ones that did well and cry big tears of sorrow for the many that mess it up or just miss their grade. I find it is such a difficult couple of hours but hey ho, it is part of school life and it's the final time we get to see the pupils that we've supported.... until they grab me whilst walking down the street saying 'hey Miss, do you remember me?' then I have to conjure up their name in an instant, hoping that the old memory hasn't failed.

One event which popped out of the blue this week, was the a deep clean of my desk! Now, that rarely happens because I like lots of nick nacks around and about whilst writing, but the over flow of paper was doing my head in. So during one of my 'free hours' I had a throw out. It did me the world of good, having a clear desk and a clear head in which to work. Hubby was shocked too, but hey, that's another story.

1st September - I plan to start researching for the next book - I've already set out a timeline of tasks consisting of research, writing, editing and proofreading which should enable me to complete the next novel in a shorter and more organised time frame. I have learnt from my mistakes with 'Her' and am excited at the prospect of beginning the madness - sorry, I mean process again. My choice for a working title is currently 'To honour and obey'.

Whilst researching the new book, I shall be searching for an agent for 'Her' - I realise it may well be a long, hard slog to get anyone to look at it, but it was written to go out into the big wide world and search for a publishing house.

Poleswroth Poetry Trail - which I haven't mentioned for a while, has announced that the poetry installations should be erected during September, so I'll keep you informed about when and where 'Jutt' is to be positioned. For further details and a whole load more on poetry, check out Mal Dewhirst's blog at

O.K. that's it from me for this week - please give me a tiny, even a incy wincy, nano second of a thought on Wednesday, 31st August - any time between eight thirty and midnight, as I shall be completing the final sections before the bubbly gets popped and swiftly drunk. Remember you can follow me on Twitter at Odwyer_author. Enjoy!

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