Minus 4


NANO Excerpt II

Outside the hoar frost ran the length of the washing line. Birds flitted from branch to branch and from fat ball to seeds to peanuts before flying across the garden and into the conifer tree. The weather forecast said it would be clear today and sunny but the freezing fog which had appeared last night hung about the garden mingling with the chimney smoke which drifted across the lawn. Orla unplugged the landline. She didn’t want to answer any calls apart from those that came through on her mobile. Anyone she wanted to talk to knew the number, it was only the outside world she was shutting out. It felt good.

© Diane Becker 2008

Ups and downs


The end of NANO means the start of the editing process. Today I’ve begun adding comments, highlighting passages that need moving, deleting the crap and doing endless tweaking. One minute my foot’s on the accelerator then I come across an unexpected hump which slows me down again … But hey, once you’re in the groove, it’s almost fun!

Running on Empty

This is a short unedited extract from my NANO novel Running on Empty.

Another blue tit landed on the hawthorn branch then hopped onto the bag of black sunflower seeds, nodding this way and that. The robin dropped out of the lilac onto the terracotta tray that held the mixed seed and the sound of a train’s whistle startled them both and they flew off. Somewhere up the road a neighbour pushed his hover mower, taking advantage of the dry day to cut his grass as short as possible before winter arrived. There had been hailstorms in Devon this week, six foot drifts of hail floating on floodwater. So much for global warming, she thought. Orla kissed her husband goodbye as he fastened his cycle helmet, adjusting it under his chin. He put on his neoprene gloves and fluorescent cycle jacket and wheeled his bike out through the front door. She finished mixing the flapjack and pressed it into the tin then shoved it in the oven. She licked the spoon and put it into the sink with the pan. It was four fifteen. She sat down at the computer whilst the cat sat on the chair next to her licking its tail. The tail seemed to have a life of its own which was, she thought, more than she had.

© Diane Becker 2008

Nanowrimo Winner

nano_08_winner_viking_120x238Lots of coffee this morning to celebrate 61,035 words written over the last twenty four days. Now to begin the slower process of shaping it into something resembling a novel. The story only deigned to emerge in the last 5,000 words but at least now I know what I was writing about!

Conflict, tension and resolution


Image location: Manchester Metropolitan University

Took the train to Manchester on Saturday for a creative writing tutorial at MMU.

Played status games (I was a number 5) – we all ignored 10, but felt compassionate towards number 2 who was a victim, we felt of social injustice.

We learned about dramatic structure and how to use it in screenplays, how to create conflict, contrast and dramatic tension.

In groups we wrote the opening scene for an extreme situation. Ours was located on a station platform. This was appropriate given that I’d had to stand up all the way there. This created some tension, if not for me then for other people on the train – one of whom was clearly claustrophobic – but it gave me something interesting to write about.

The resolution? Oh, I finished NANO (reached 50k yesterday) though I’m continuing to the end of November. Yikes. Can’t believe I said that! Link to my NANO page here.

Six Sentences


A big thank you to Robert McEvily in New York for publishing Off the Wall, a small yet significant step off the road to obscurity.


Woolf meets Kerouac?

Not managing to do much else whilst NANO is on apart from write. The synopsis for my ‘novel’ reads: A stream of consciousness novel rooted in the minutiae of the everyday. Think Virginia Woolf meets Jack Kerouac, then think again …

To what extent the editing process will alter this, I’m not sure and I’m tempted to post an unedited extract up here. Maybe later. I’m having a day off to catch up with myself. I’ve produced 35,000 words in under ten days and though fairly impressed with the word count, I want to come back to it tomorrow when I’ve managed to shift the Monday blues. I guess Woolf and Kerouac would have carried on regardless …