Sunday, 13 November 2011

Painting with words

It's me again. I'm back now from my holiday in Skye - well, I have been for a few days, but things have been busy after our return, so apologies for the lack of updates. First of all, I'd like to say a big "Hola" to my new followers. This blog might not be much to look at now, but I'm hoping it will go on to great things, so stick around if you will.

The holiday was amazing - it's certainly the most beautiful place that I've seen in the UK. Not everything that we wanted to see was open, as it was a bit out of season, but everyone we did meet was exceptionally friendly and accommodating. If you're ever up there, make sure you check out Jann's Cakes - it's a tiny place but full of gorgeous cakes and chocolates, all made singlehandedly by the owner. Incredible!

The cottage was fantastic too. With the view overlooking the loch and out to the sea, I would have bought the place if I could. There are seals to be spotted too but we didn't manage to - probably just the wrong time of year. This is a view of the sunrise from the kitchen, but the same view could be had from the upstairs landing, which has a small sitting area with a window sill deep enough to function as a desk. I could have set up shop there quite easily.

It occurred to me while I was away that anyone visiting this blog would have no idea what sort of stuff I actually do. This is probably because I find it so hard to categorise. I suppose I would say I write contemporary stories usually revolving around the foibles and flaws of one central character. They don't necessarily change for the better by the end - I think it's more realistic that way. To give you more of an idea, I thought I would put up a link to one of my stories, as I feel the best way to get a picture of a writer is to read some of their writing. This story was previously published in the excellent Writer's Muse. The editor, Jim, is a diamond geezer, and is on an open call for submissions, so short story writers check it out. Anyway, the story is here.

Regarding book news, I've been sadly unproductive since getting back. I'm going to give myself a metaphorical kick up the jacksie and get a good portion done before Christmas. But, as I said, I have been busy since Tuesday - my lady wife and I decided that the time was apposite to paint the living room, a job that was needing doing, as we were getting new sofas delivered. The painting took long enough, and when the sofas came it took an hour just to unwrap them. The amount of packaging was ludicrous; by the time I'd piled up the earth-damaging layers of cardboard, polystyrene and polythene in the hall, we were effectively trapped. But back to the painting. It struck me during the job that painting a wall is like writing a book. You start off with broad brushstrokes, getting all the material down, then you stand back and have a look and see a load of blotches and imperfections. So you have to do it all again, and do all the fiddly filling-in bits round the edges of lightswitches and so on, much like making sure all the little scenes in your novel fit together and add up. Then it still looks awful, you start to panic and have to ask someone for help...

That last bit may or may not be the case. But both jobs require several different stages if you want a half-decent result. What about you? What would you compare your writing to?


Jayne said...

Hello Nick! What a lovely picture of the sunrise. All my writing / editing analogies end up comparing it to gardening - pruning, weeding, something that looks like a prestine lawn one day suddenly shows mole hills everywhere the next. I don't know where all this comes from - I've never yet had my own garden! But still, they seem to be the descriptions I reach for. Good luck with your writing!

Nick Wilford said...

Hi Jayne - thanks for following my blog. The gardening one is a good one. A novel needs constant maintenance to keep it looking good!

DRC said...

I compare writing a novel to painting a masterpiece. By writing and finishing a novel you've merely created a blank canvas. By editing it, you're slowly but surely added brush stroke after brush stroke, building and bringing an image to life, and then when you've finished, you have your own Mona Lisa... ;)

Nick Wilford said...

You put it better than I could, DRC. Maybe one day I'll create my very own masterpiece!