I would go so far as to say today was a real crap day, I would use another swear word, but this is a family blog so I shall restrain myself. The sky was very grey so I didn’t put my paintings out as I thought it might rain, which was a touch annoying, then I realised that it was 31st July the end date for Easel Challenges art competition, which was even more annoying.
Guess how many entries there were into the art competition…3! Seriously, I was offering £500′s worth of prizes and there were only 3 entries. It said in the T&C’s that there must be 50 entries into the competition otherwise it will be null and void, so I was well within my rights to say the competition wouldn’t go ahead and leave the prizes for the next competition, but I felt absolutely terrible for the people who had entered so instead I refunded their money and closed the site down. The site wont be closed forever, it just needs to be looked at. I need to reorganise the competition structure and include smaller competitions with no prizes or smaller prizes or something. The site is a great idea, I’m just unsure what I need to do to make it work, so at present I just need to have a think about it and do some more research. I had been trying to find a members gallery plugin so artists could upload their paintings to their personal profiles, which would have been a great conversation point, but none of the plugins worked with the program I am using and other plugins don’t seem to exist, so it’s back to the drawing board. Steve said he would write a gallery when he has more time, which is brilliant, but until then Easel Challenge has been put on the back burner.
Steve made a fantastic full english breakfast to help cheer my spirits and after we had eaten I got on with some more reading and dissecting. I think I have picked quite a hard book to work from as it includes about 10 short stories, which have no real relevance to the main story, so as I read I need to think carefully about the story I am going to write. I’m halfway through the novel and I think i’ve worked my story out, as the story progresses I can tweak my idea more.
After tea I painted the watercolour for the lady who said she would be returning tomorrow to collect one. I spent more time on it than I should, and it’s better than the others, but I couldn’t help myself as I wanted it to look nice for her as she said she would go to the effort of coming back. Most people don’t come back as they have other things on their minds and other things to do, but if she does it’s ready for her and her new home. I should have taken her phone number really, but it didn’t occur to me at the time.
When I finished painting Steve and I watched the Exorcist and Horrace had a run in his ball, but he didn’t run far and instead chose to sit in the corner in the dark. I’m feeling a little bad for Horrace at the moment as i’m worried that he may feel a bit caged in and lonely. We give him lots of attention, but he doesn’t like being handled, so we can’t take him out of his cage unless he’s in the ball and sometimes I think he may like another hamster to talk to or curl up with, someone of his own, who understands him and he can spend time with. On the other hand I may be worring about nothing and he may be quite happy and not lonely at all, I have no idea, I don’t know how deeply hamsters think about life.
Oh my god it’s nearly August! I was supposed to have finished this code in April! Still, it’s nearly done now. Good job really otherwise we’ll be at the dole office very soon!
I got up at 6am this morning! Get in! I spent all morning working on the Site Administration section. Prettifying it (there’s that word again!). By half 10 I was hungry so I made us both an english breakfast. That was very nice. I carried on coding (with Sid James) while Stacey washed up.
Stacey had some admin to do on Easel Challenge, so I faffed around a bit while she did that, then it was back to coding. I coded on through until 5pm. Wow, I did a 10hour plus day! Jesus, it’s been a while! Then I caught up with the blog before making tea.
Tea was Griddled chicken breast with mash, cabbage and gravy. Very nice it was too. Stacey had a commission to do this evening, I really wanted to get on with the shop, but my brain had just had enough. I watched a bit of TV while Stacey painted, then I remembered I had some films on my external hard drive. I eventually found ‘The Exorsist’ so we watched that before bed.
Surprisingly I didn’t get straight to sleep, but it was a fantastic day.
We had a very late start today so my paintings didn’t go out on display until late. I sat outside in the sun for a few hours the paintings whilst I dissected the novel I had bought. After a while I came to the conclusion that people may be a little put off with me sitting there watching them looking at my paintings, like an over-bearing shop assistant watching your every move, so I moved inside to continue going through the novel – also, i’ve spent nearly every minute of every day over the past few months with Steve’s in view so I was a little lonely sat outisde by myself and came inside as I missed his face. Many more people came over to view the paintings when I moved inside, I could hear them talking about the paintings with each other and everyone was very complimentary which was nice.
I hoped to get halfway through the novel today, but I never managed it that far as taking notes takes much longer than I thought. A good story is coming into mind as I am reading and I am learning a lot. I read a lot so I thought I knew a lot about books and story structure, but now I realise it wasn’t really the case and novels are much faster and don’t have as much info in them as I thought – an awful lot is left up to the readers imagination.
Steve popped to the shop to buy some wine and after tea we watched some comedy on TV which was a nice change as all we have been watching is americans being shot and murdered in 24, Prison Break and Dexter. Then it was time for bed.
After a ridiculously late night you wont be surprised to hear that we weren’t up early. It was gone 11 by the time I’d showered! Today was supposed to be a work day. A new work day at that, one where I start on the real site… So that’s what I did.
I transferred all the files from the little notebook and set it up locally on the big laptop. I created a theme for the demo site, and set to work prettifying it. (It’s a word now!) This basically took until fourish when I became coded out. I did achieve a lot though. The site was working, and I’d sorted the main demo site website areas. The remaining bits were the management and site administration. I’ll crack on with those tomorrow.
Next I started on the shop for this site. As well as Stacey selling her art outside Wanda, we thought we may as well put it on here too. I was coded out like I said, so I gave up after an hour.
I was very happy with myself, it was a gorgeously hot day, it was Saturday night, so I thought we deserved a treat. I cycled to Spar at Pentlyn for some wine. When I got back I made a Spag bol, which was lovely. We drank wine, watched TV and then went to bed. It was around midnight by this time though. A very productive day.
On the road again… Moving on to Looe. We packed up remarkably quickly, almost to the point where we thought we must have forgotten to do something, but we hadn’t. We set off to Liskeard for supplies and a book. Liskeard is a remarkable place. This is the second time we’d been there looking for something specific and then found it in the very first shop we looked at… I think if we go back we’re going for the winning lottery ticket.
As it turned out the book we bought, athough by the right author wasn’t the right type of book, so we went to Looe to rectify it. Unfortunately Looe didn’t have the right type either. I got a Dan Brown book I hadn’t read though. I know intellectually I am not supposed to like it, but it’s just so easy to read.
We had some fresh cockles and mussels from a stall on the road. I do like incouraging these places are they are all too few and far between these days. They are so nice and it helps the locals.
We then went to the campsite and set Wanda up. She enjoyed being flat, as did we. The next great thing was Wi-Fi… Wow… What was the world like before the internet. I set some more downloads going, and upgraded my iPhone software, installed some software updates, basically all the maintenance I’d been missing. During this time I did the washing too. It had been well over a week since we’d done washing, so we were running out of clothes etc.
Stacey sat outside in the sun reading and making notes. I made pasta salad, rice and peas, fresh salad and a dressing, all in preparation for the barbecue to come. I also uploaded the video of the band we saw a week ago in Minions:
Then it was time to eat. We had boneless pork chops and large chorizo sausages. It was very nice.
After washing up I pottered around a bit then decided to watch the last few episodes of Green Wing while Stacey was painting. I had no idea it was so late when we started watching it, but by the time we’d finished the remaining 3 episodes it was nearly 2am… A late night, but a nice day. Happy to be back in civilisation.
We moved on today so after saying goodbye to the wonderful showers on Cheesewring Farm we packed up and headed south to Looe. We had to get some supplies so we stopped off in Liskeard to go shopping and look for a trashy novel to dissect. Luckily we found a novel by the author I was looking for in the first shop we stopped in, then after we went shopping we set off to Looe. On the drive to Looe I looked at the novel and realised it was a horror rather than a romance, which was a bit of a grind as I didn’t realise the author wrote horrors, so we decided to stop off in Looe to see if we could find a romance instead. We wondered around all of the shops, but even though this author has written over 300 novels we couldn’t find a single romance, all we could find was horror. In the end I chose a romance by a different author, one my nan loves, and then we headed to the campsite to set up.
The new site has wifi so Steve can get on with the final bits of the software and make it available online, which is great news.
The pitch we are staying on is mostly clover rather than grass, so hopefully there is a four leaf clover on the pitch somewhere and we will both have lots of luck with what we are doing – let me know if you can see one in the above photo and I will go and pick it.
It took a little while for me to set up the display, but as soon as it was done I started dissecting the novel. Wanda has travelled all over the world and she has lots of stickers on her backside which have been put there by all of her previous owners, so I think Steve and I need to add a personal sticker to the collection.
The display attracted a little bit of attention, which was nice. A nice lady in a long pink dress came over and had a look and then complimented me on the painting by stating she wished she had my talent, an older tattooed gentlemen also came over and had a look at them for a long while, but he didn’t say anything and a lovely little boy who was about 8years old and was passing on his bike shouted out “is it ok if I look at your pictures Miss” came over and had a look. Then a lady who had just recently moved to the area said she would like one of the large paintings for her new house, but she would like a view of Looe from the bridge, so I told her I would do one for her and she said she would be back on Monday to collect it.
I managed to dissect 3 chapters of the novel before it was time to pack up for tea and i’ve already found a few something interesting. When I write a novel I include something in chapter 2 and then mention it again in chapter 6, or chapter 3 and chapter 10 etc and although this author does do that she does it in a completely different way, a much better way. The author mentions something in the beginning of a chapter and then puts the info I would ordinarily put in a different chapter at the the end of her chapter, it’s as if she is confirming details in the same chapter to make sure the reader understands, then she will bring it back into the story at a later chapter. I also realised how fast the pace of the novel is, usually I would mention a party or some kind of occasion that is going to happen in a different chapter and then include a lead up to the occasion in other chapters, but this author writes about a party or some kind of occasion in one paragraph and then BOOM the next paragraph you are already at the party. It’s amazing how little you need to write in order to make the reader feel that they know a character and understand their feelings. The dissection is going really well and a plan is already coming into my mind how to tackle the new novel.
After a lovely Barbecue cooked by the wonderful Mr Steve I decided I needed to paint some more local scenes as I am sure people will want to buy paintings of places they have been, so whilst Steve watched some Green Wing I got on with 3 more paintings and before we knew it it was 1.45am! Definately time for bed.
Today we woke around 10ish. I got on with coding. I am nearly finished, which was the point of staying on the is 45 degree campsite, I was supposed to finish.
I spend the day going over the site and finishing off bits and bats that I’d found. By 4pm I was pretty much done. Ready to move to a site with Wi-Fi so I can update the the main www.interlinkweb.co.uk site. We would be moving to the site tomorrow so tonight would be a small celebration.
To that end Stacey and I walked up to the off-licence and bought some beer and wine. It was a lovely evening and we enjoyed the walk. When we got back I played guitar for a bit, then we chatted for hours before having omlette and chips for tea. We carried on talking and drink and played cards and then I fell asleep watching a film in bed.
A productive, successful and happy day.
I spent the day today researching romance, what a lovely way to spend the day hey. I was basically looking for a good romance novel to use for the structure of my novel. Steve helped me try to find Danielle Steel ebook as I thought she was Mrs Romance, but the one I wanted wasn’t on Kindle and after more research I was glad that we couldn’t find it. I’ve never read a Danielle Steel book in my life, so I sincerely thought she was romance, therefore she would be a good person to work from, but I was wrong. The more I researched Danielle Steel the more I found out about her (obviously) and the general consensus from other writers is that she can’t write and she writes general fiction rather than romance. There is a writers rule where you are not supposed to tell your reader the story, but instead you must show them – for instance if someone is angry your not supposed to write ‘burt was angry’ instead you must write ‘burt slammed his fists on the table’ – and other writers were constantly bad mouthing Danielle Steel for keeping her audience on the outside of a story by telling her readers what was happening rather than letting them inside the story and showing them what happens, which is a huge writers faux pas (but she’s still hugely famous so I guess in reality it doesn’t really matter).
I scratched the idea of using Danielle Steel and researched more about romance novels, which are hugely frowned upon. This is thought to be due to the fact that women write these stories and they are read by women so men poo poo them and their worth in a writers world as they give women an unrealistic view of love and they all have happy endings, which isn’t like real life – last I checked Star Wars is completely unrealistic and it has a happy ending, but as it’s not written by a woman men are fine with that – it’s like going back to the work place in the 60′s where womens thoughts and ideas are deemed to be worth less than men. In defence of the romance novel – which I personally don’t read, as I thought they were just a kind of soft porn – they are the best selling novels in America and Europe and from my research I have found that unlike other genres they haven’t been touched by the recession, in fact they are thriving. Since the start of the ebook sales of romantic novels have soared as the women who formerly didn’t want to sit in a public place holding a book with a scantily dressed woman being held by a big butch man on the cover are now reading these romances in secret on their kindle or iphone, therefore they are selling more. One romance publisher sells a new romance novel ever 4 seconds! That’s incredible.
After some research I found my chosen romance novelist who I shall use and I will buy one of her novels tomorrow so I can dissect it.
I also read about plagiarism as I was a little worried that using another authors novel as a structural guide may be plagiarism, but it worked out that everything is hunky dory and it’s not plagiarism at all as all the words, location, characters and story will be different. I have no problems thinking up characters and stories, it’s punctuation and sentence structure I need help with, as the more I read about literacy the more confusing it gets. Also I am never sure when I need to mention details which I will be referring back to in the future, like snippets of childhood memories that are important as they have made the character who they are today, but they’re not really part of the present story. You can pay people to go through your novels, but they only advise you on what you should change and once you change it you will need to send it back to them to be checked again and at around £400 a pop per check I think I will do it my way instead. I did a quick test to see if my idea would work and it seemed to work perfectly so I am incredibly optimistic about this novel. I’ve never really wanted to be a romantic novelist as I found it a bit of a cliche, so I’ve tried lots of other genres including children’s, horror, sci-fi and fantasy, but in all honesty I think I will be good at writing a romance as i’m a hopeless romantic at heart and if they sell who am I to argue?
Whilst I was researching about romantic novels I found out a funny fact – usually the only sexual content in a romantic novel is a passionate kiss, but when romantic novels are translated into German they insert far more sexual scenes and content as the Germans find British and American romance novelists too bland. That made me laugh. The Germans also don’t accept certain titles if the authors don’t have an anglo-saxon name and they make the author use a psudonym. I’m going to write under another name, but I’m not going to say what it is yet.
Whilst I was researching novelists Steve made a fantastic Carrot and Orange soup, which is my favourite and it was fantastic.
Then when the research was done we walked to the shop to get some wine as Steve is on the brink of celebrating finishing the software! Whooppee. When we got back Steve played the guitar and we enjoyed a drink together and a nice chat.
All in all we both had a great day.
The internet was up and down all day today, which was a bit of a pain as I was trying to find a new campsite to go to on Friday. It’s actually far more hard than it seems trying to find a good priced touring site with internet access and you never really know what you are getting yourself into until you get there. Lots of places claim to have good internet, but that isn’t always the case, it hardly ever works well.
I will be sad to be leaving the wonderful showers here as I know they are few and far between, but after a long while of searching I finally found a nice looking and incredibly reasonably priced site with free internet access in Looe. What gets me is that sometimes they charge you for the pitch and then charge you extra for electric. I don’t really understand why they don’t just charge you for the whole pitch if it’s a pitch with electric and put people who don’t need electric on pitches without electric, it doesn’t make too much sense, but it was still a bargain – £13.50 without electric or £16.50 with. Some of the prices of pitches in high season are a little ridiculous, especially the bigger places, which doesn’t make much sense to me either. It’s all well and good to charge more for a site with amenities like a bar, restaurant and swimming pool, but the facilities aren’t free, you still have to pay to eat in the restaurant and drink in the bar, so you are simply paying more for the priviledge of having a bar, restaurant or swimming pool on the site. It’s not like the beer is even cheaper than usual or the food is great, beer is still expensive and the food is just like eating at a Harvester really – ridiculously huge portions of deep fat fried pub grub – so you may as well pay for a cheaper site and go into the local town or village to eat nice food and drink in an adult environment without screaming kids everywhere.
Steve judges a hotel on the sausage they give you at breakfast, if it’s a crap hotel they will give you a crap sausage, but if it’s a good hotel they will give you a good sausage, I now judge a campsite on the showers so I am sincerely hoping that the next site will be a fantastic site with fantastic showers.
I have decided to get on with writing my novel when we get to the next site – until Steve finishes the management system, then I will help him sell it – in order to do this I am going to buy a cheap trashy best selling novel and disect it. Different novels are set at different speeds and different character develop in different ways, so i’m going to go through the trashy best seller chapter by chapter and make notes on everything that has happened in each chapter to find it’s skeleton – time frame; how the characters develop; when characters get hit in the face by a kipper; time of day; setting; speed and pace of each chapter; etc. Then I am going to mould the novel I have already started writing and the characters I have already developed onto that skeleton. See if that works. Apparently there are only 7 stories in the world – romance, nemisis, heros journey, can’t remember the others - and all other stories are similies of those seven stories so I am going to use the skeleton of another novel to make my story into one of them. It’s hard to explain – the characters, setting and story will be different, but the actual structure will be the same, kind of like Star Wars and Lord of the Rings are the same. They are both a heros journey (Frodo/Luke) and all hero’s journeys follow the same structure, they are simply set in different genres – one is sci-fi set in space in the future, the other is fantasy set in middle earth in the past. I know what I mean anyway, they are the same to me.
I’ve been writing for about 10 years, i’ve written 7 novels so far and it gets a bit annoying being continually rejected after you put so much time and effort into something – I should probably get the message and give up, but I can’t seem to be able to do it, writing novels is quite addictive. I realise that the stories I write aren’t mainstream stories, they are a little deep and complicated sometimes and in order for a literary agent to take on a new writer they need to be able to market you. Literary agents aren’t looking for the next big thing, they like tried and tested methods and having writers on their books who they already know will sell, therefore the stories I write need to be mainstream – at first – so I need to write something plain and predictable (which I find quite hard) as that’s what people like. I’m not writing a children’s book, but in one of my stories I really want to include an invisible hippo who likes wearing stripey jumpers, as it sounds like fun. I will try to restrain myself until I am published.
After tea Steve and I played cards and Steve set up some night photos on his camera, I am really looking forward to seeing what they come out like, then it was time for bed.
Woke around 9ish today. I was dressed and after updating the blog, (which took ages on this rubbish Wi-Fi), I was coding by 11. The work I had done yesterday, although amazing, needed to change. This was a little frustrating, but I cracked on with it anyway.
I stopped at lunchtime for a bacon and sausage sandwich, then carried on into the late afternoon. Stacey was busy finding us a campsite to move on to on Friday. Requirements for this are a Laundry, Good Internet, in the South near the sea, and near to some B&B’s. I am nearly at a point where we can start selling it.
Once we have good internet I can put my local copy online and set the main set up to sell. From that moment I will be going round the B&B’s trying to sell. This will be the do or die point. I genuinely believe what I have written is a bargain for anyone who wants it. A hotel management system usually costs in the thousands of pounds, and I’m offering it for a few hundred. I will be genuinely surprised if it doesn’t work.
By four-ish I was coded out. So I faffed about a bit before making tea. Chicken and Mushroom Pie with Chips and Mushhy Peas. We played a few games of cards before Stacey washed up, the a little TV before some more cards.
It was a clear night, and I have recently bought a film for my SLR camera, so as we were in the middle of nowhere I decided to see if the camera would take a great picture of the stars. I left the shutter open for about 20 minutes while we had a game of cards. I have no idea if it will work out though. I’ll put the pic on here if it does.
Then Zebedee boinged into view: “Time for Bed” he cried.