I'm pleased to announce that the Meg Ryan Talisman did the trick - the big red cross has been wiped from my front door. Judging by the number of neighbourhood folk who've inquired after my health since my self-imposed quarantine was lifted, I must have briefly been part of Local Gossip - how thrilling.
Funny how life can give a writer unexpected gifts of insight - being cooped up all that time (okay, it was 5 days but I have 2 small children so triple that) and then getting back into the swing of things again was a really useful exercise seeing as the new YA novel I've begun is about a teenager suffering from agoraphobia...I got a small but useful whiff of what being safe and sound at home feels like and how much of a mental leap it is to go back outside again. Just a hint of the mindset I'll need to get myself into - maybe it wasn't Michael Parkinson's fault that I got ill after all, but my own mind playing Method Writer.
Speaking of mental leaps, it has taken me a long time to be able to write "funny" again. When I wrote Girl, Aloud (Jan 2010 - don't all rush out, it's aaaages away) I had no agent, and no expectations other than to please myself. And I did. I made myself laugh something rotten (terrible thing to admit but if you can't laugh at your own jokes...) Since then I've completed a more serious book. At first it was a struggle not to stick silly jokes in, but after a while the voice became second nature. Now I've had to go back to funny, only it's not just myself I've got to please...I worry that if I can't recreate the scenario in which I wrote the first book, I'll never make a success of this one. Barmy? Yes, especially considering the fact that I was 8 months pregnant when I wrote Girl, Aloud.
The Australian had better RUN.
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3 months ago