Sunday 3 August 2008

When You're Making Other Plans

‘Life is what happens when you’re making other plans’ – that’s what they say, anyway. And it would seem that ‘they’ are right, more often than not.

As clearly stated in my last blog entry, I had planned to finish the first draft of my YA novel by June 17th and decided to observe a self-imposed blog-ban (both writing my own and reading others) until then. All possible distractions and aids to procrastination were to be avoided – on pain of something slightly less drastic than dismemberment. I was determined. I was driven. I was definitely going to make it... I had no idea that the beginning of August would see me still several thousand words from achieving my goal, despite having stuck to my blog-fast with a fanaticism worthy of several great religions.

I have come to the conclusion that there are three main reasons for this state of affairs, each of which also comes with an upside:

1) I had drastically underestimated how much more work I had left to do. I returned to the manuscript to find that I had summarised a number of major scenes and events in a few sentences, e.g. ‘S is captured and taken to C. He attempts to convince her to join him. She will not do so. Her friends rescue her – not sure how yet.’ In my mind, these scenes had been completed long ago – on paper, sadly, it was not so.

Upside: I had also forgotten quite how much I liked some parts of it!

2) The Athlone Trust, a small charity which my father chairs, needed a website built, sponsors found (four runners entered the British 10K Run on the charity’s behalf this year), letters written, envelopes addressed and stuffed, and research done – all at relatively short notice. It’s a great charity and I was very happy to help, but doing so certainly threw my writing schedule into wild disarray!

Upside: The final figures have not yet been worked out but it looks as though we will have raised over £3,000 when all the money is in and counted – half of the Trust’s usual annual budget. Brilliant!

3) Our house and garden have once again been invaded by builders and, having devoted sizeable chunks of last October/November to evacuating and juggling the contents of three upstairs rooms and the landing, I have recently also spent large amounts of time helping to evacuate and juggle the contents of the kitchen, the dining room and the hall. Tomorrow morning the builders will be sealing the kitchen door shut and ripping the whole thing out. RIP, old friend...

Despite having always loved the old room, however, the process of cleaning it out has revealed to me that the kitchen is, in fact, the ROOT OF ALL EVIL. Ours is a hoarding house, filled with junk, piles of ‘stuff I might need at some as yet indefinable future moment’ and paperwork of all kinds, dating back to the Jurassic era and beyond. I now realise that the driving force behind this absurd stockpiling of, well, everything, is the kitchen. Diving headfirst into cupboards of Narnian proportions (though, sadly, without anything as exciting as a snowy world populated by mythical creatures lurking in the back of them – the most interesting things we found were two old fashioned meat grinders, each in three easy-to-assemble parts), I discovered incredible quantities of crockery (Who has this much crockery? Who?!!), the culinary detritus of decades and heaps of assorted junk gathered together like gossipy housewives in all available corners, nooks and crannies. It’s just not normal, I tell you – no one keeps this much stuff!

Upside: Hmm, I’m struggling with this one. I suppose it’s that the sparkly new kitchen should look lovely when the builders finally unseal the door and let us back in some weeks from now... :-)

P.S: It’s some time ago now, but wasn’t this year’s Wimbledon final fantastic? I was rooting for Federer so that he could make history – how long will we have to wait before someone else has the talent and the opportunity to win the Men’s Singles title at Wimbledon six times in succession? – but Nadal was certainly a very worthy winner. Tennis fans are extremely lucky to have two such talented and courteous champions at the top of the game – each as gracious in victory as in defeat. It’s only a shame that at the end of such a bravura performance, one of them had to lose.


Anne Brooke said...

Those pesky novels - they always take longer and demand more than you think!



Nik Perring said...

Welcome back, Emma!

Nik X

Emma K-F said...

Those pesky novels - they always take longer and demand more than you think!

Ain't that the truth - and spoken by a woman who knows! Thanks for dropping by, Anne - hope you're feeling a bit better now. :-)

Emma xx

Welcome back, Emma!

Thanks muchly, Nik - and thanks also for reminding me to return!

Emma xx

Le said...

Hello Emma - this is an unreated comment to this post - sorry for wrecking the thread ... but I must just tell you how we LOVE Uncle Alonzo's Beard ... we are 3, 5 and 41 and we adore him and want more ...we also love love Anna's pics.

Looking forward to the YA - you go girl! best wishes

Emma K-F said...

Hi Just Like Me,

Many thanks for such a lovely message - it's wonderful to hear that Alonzo is making friends of all ages!

Anna Laura's pictures are fantastic, aren't they? I was very lucky indeed to have her illustrating my first book.

Thank you once again for all your good wishes and for taking the time to drop by - you've really made my day! :-)

Emma x

Anonymous said...

Hi Emma
I tired to contact you through your website but it wouldn't recognise my email address - oh well. Aplogies but this too is an unrelated post - in fact entirely!

Check out this Short-Story Competition from CompletelyNovel - a new online community for writers and readers that lets you share your work online and sell it as a paperback. They are celebrating their launch to the public in October with a competition for short stories to appear in their CompletelyNovel Launch Anthology. Winners are being selected by people from across the publishing industry.
More details at

Best wishes


Emma K-F said...

Hi Robert,

I'm sorry you had trouble getting the website to recognise your e-mail address - I've no idea why that might be.

Anyway, many thanks for tracking me down here and letting me know about CompletelyNovel. I shall take a closer look forthwith!

Emma x

Anonymous said...

Hi Emma

That's great. The website hasn't been launched to the general public yet but if you think you may be interested in signing up you can leave your email address and they'll let you know.

Just a note about myself as well to clear up any confusion: I'm aspiring to be a publisher and so I've been on work experience at various publishers, CompletelyNovel being one, to gain knowledge and skills etc. On Friday I kind of [understatement] SPAMMED some writers with the short story annoucement. I don't wish it to reflect badly on CompletelyNovel as that wasn't my intention, but it is certainly a lesson learnt.

Anyway I'd like to thank you for your interest and if you have any more questions please don't hesistate to get in touch.