Friday, 10 December 2010


Hi, everyone! How has your week been?

Mine's been up and down, to be honest. So I thought I would make that the topic of my Friday Five.
  1. On Tuesday I woke up at 5:30 to find myself smushed into the wall by the unprecedented presence of a dog and two cats huddled on my bed. This was soon explained when I realised that my teeth were chattering and there was ice on the INSIDE of my windows. No joke. The boiler had stopped working in the night and therefore I had lost both central heating and hot water. I'm lucky not to have died in my bed. It's more or less fixed now, though (apart from me having to go into the false roof and empty out a bucket every now and again) so don't worry. I promise to finish revising FrostFire before I choke for any reason.
  2. How to Train Your Dragon! Picked up the DVD on impulse while grocery shopping on Saturday. I'm so glad I did! It's the best film I've seen in ages. It's beautifully written and designed, has a wonderful score, and treats you to a thrill-packed action adventure with fully rounded characters and pitch-perfect emotional stakes. I want a Toothless of my own so much, Father Christmas. I promise, I'll be a good girl forever...
  3. Working on three linked synopses for The Big Secret Project has been something of a challenge. I mean, I realised it would be different than working on a standalone book, but no one warned me HOW different. Normally when I start seriously trying to put together a story my head is full of millions of sprouting ideas and I just start trimming them off until I have something that looks both manageable and interesting. But in this case I need ALL the ideas. I need three booksworth of ideas. I can't afford to go cutting off the inconvenient dangly bits. Somehow I have to make sense of all of them and get them into the required order and shape. Hard. It is very. More on this next week, possibly with diagrams.
  4. Today, I had one of those unexpected days where you have a long To Do List and you square your shoulders...and somehow it all works out and you get everything done and you end up with a wonderful glow of satisfaction. Chrismassy satisfaction. I dug all the snow and ice off my front and back paths. I decorated my Christmas tree. I drank mulled wine. I took my dog for two long snowy walks AND I had a blinding inspiration about Big Secret Project, which fills me with relief and happiness. It's a Christmas Miracle! Hurrah!
  5. Today's crowning glory - I got an email from Veronica Roth telling me that I was one of the winners of her giveaway for ARCs of Divergent, her upcoming debut Dystopian novel. I'm ecstatic, because I was already really excited to read this, and now I don't have to wait until next year!

That's my name on there! Yay!

So on Tuesday I was convinced that this was going to be the worse week ever, and instead it's turned out pretty well. There's a lesson to be learned from this. Hang on long enough, and almost everything will get better eventually.

Now, before I go, I had a reader email recently from Faith, asking:

"I like to write as well,but I have a problem I will think of something, usaully it turns into the main part but then I cant figure out how to start it or finish it.So I just give up can you help me."

I don't think this is necessarily a big problem. Not all writers work from start to finish in order, and it sounds to me like you're a non-linear writer, Faith. Stephenie Meyer famously began writing Twilight right in the middle of the story following a vivid dream, and it didn't do her any harm.

My advice to you is to go with it and have fun. If you have an idea for what seems like the middle of the story, then write it. Enjoy yourself. If you let yourself get drawn into the story and characters, you'll hopefully find that your brain starts to fill up with other ideas for where to take them. Either, like Stephenie Meyer, you'll carry on writing until you eventually get to the end, or else other random scenes from later or earlier in the story will begin to appear in your head one by one, and you can keep writing them until you figure out how to link them all together.

I hope that's helpful, Faith! Have a lovely weekend everyone, and check out How to Train Your Dragon, if you haven't already.


Isabel said...

YAY!!! I'm so happy for you, Zoe!! I hope you enjoy DIVERGENT! I'll definitely check out HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON, now that I've heard you praising it so much. Anyway, have a great weekend, everyone! I'm getting my Christmas tree tomorrow, plus I'm going to go see my friend in the Urban Nutracker (Sadie, a follower of this blog, actually. If you're reading this, Sadie, I'm really excited to see you dancing as Clara! :)) so I'm definitely looking forward to my weekend. BTW, Zoe, how did you like HARRY POTTER 7 Part 1? I never really asked you. :)

Zoë Marriott said...

Thanks Isabel. Your weekend sounds like it's going to be fantastic. Why is there no Urban Nutcracker here, I ask? WHY?

I had complicated feelings about HP7. I'll sum it up by saying that I thought the acting, direction and cinematography were all brilliant, and objectively it might just have been the best of all the HP films so far. But I haven't been THAT depressed when I walked out of a film for quite some time. Oh, Dobby! *Weeps*

Isabel said...

Well, would you have preferred it if Dobby's death *hadn't* been emotional? (Raises eyebrows) You have to give it to them; that scene was very well done. I agree that it is probably the best Harry Potter movie so far. I have to say that the main reason for my depression walking out of that movie theater was that I'm only going to be able to see part 2 in when, like, the SUMMER? Gaah!!! I can't wait that long; it's torture! Did you watch it in 3D? I wish I had. It would have been so muuch awesomer. Wasn't the part with Bathilda Bagshot soooo scary?

Oh, there's no Urban Nutcracker in the UK? I see the original Nutcracker every year, but this is only the second time I've seen the Urban Nutcracker. Very, very excited. It's very different from the original. It's more... ah... well, urban, I guess. Haha. Have you ever seen the normal Nutcracker? I really want to see Swan Lake sometime. I think the music is absolutely BEAUTIFUL!

Lynsey Newton said...

OMG YOU HAVE DIVURGENT!!! OK so how much so I can borrow it? ;)

And Dobby....I was very upset. Just watched it yesterday.

Zoë Marriott said...

Lynsey: Sorry to disappoint, but I don't actually have it yet. I've just found out that I won it, and since I've only received one postal delivery (no parcels) in the last...(counts on fingers)...twelve working days, it might be a while before I lay my hands on it. Nrggh.

Isabel: Of course Dobby dying needed to be sad - but in the book you carry on reading and get a happy ending. When the film just cuts you off at that point, the bleakness feels really overwhelming. I wish they had done the book in one film.

Isabel said...

Yes, that would have been nice, in some ways; however, notice how very few scenes from the book were not included in the movie, because they could include everything without going overtime. If they had included everything *and* done it all in one film, it would have been at least 5 hours long. Plus they get more money this way. AND, one more Harry Potter film to look forward to. How sad it will be when it's all over... *Sigh*.

Zoë Marriott said...

But that's not always a good thing, Isabel - keeping each and every original scene from the book, I mean. Books and films are and should be different. Just like the LOTR films cut out Tom Bombadil and various other extraneous details, I personally could have done with a few less scenes of Harry and friends camping out in various picturesque locations. They could have compressed that a lot, I reckon. But that's just my opinion.

Isabel said...

Hmm. That does make sense, I guess. But in some earlier HP movies very important scenes had to be cut out, or changed. I guess it's just a matter of which scenes to include and which not to. Some scenes from the books just wouldn't have worked out in the movies, so I understand your point. Now that I think about it, they could have cut out a few scenes from the book, if only to make the movie run smoother and faster-paced.

Isabel said...

Zoe: I believe you said, earlier, when I told you that I was reading FIREBIRDS, that HOPE CHEST was a good example of Garth Nix's work. Well, I was determined (and still am) to read FIREBIRDS from start to finish, even though that's rare for an anthology, so I only just finished HOPE CHEST. What a great story! The message is so compelling, so deep, and it completely exposes human nature in its raw form. It's been a while since I've read a story thats moved me so much in this particular way. I'll definitely be looking into Garth Nix's work, as this was the first I've ever read from him and it impressed me thoroughly.

Zoë Marriott said...

That's great, Isabel! If you liked Hope Chest, I bet you'll like his Abhorsen Trilogy. The first time I read it, it completely changed the way I looked at world-building - and zombies. I'd start with that if I were you.

Isabel said...

Definitely! He has such a powerful voice, I can't wait to check out more of his work. BTW, in the "about the editor" or whatever you call it, Sharyn November said she would be publishing another FIREBIRDS anthology in 2006 called FIREBIRDS RISING. Was that ever published? I'll be looking out for it.

P.S. Just decorated our Christmas tree; it looks beautiful! Last year we were in Brazil for Christmas, so it's been two years since we've had one. :)

Zoë Marriott said...

Yep, she did, and it was called FIREBIRDS RISING. I didn't like it quite as much as FIREBIRDS, but there were still some really decent stories in it. It's worth getting hold of if you can.

Oh, you must have missed having a tree. I'm looking at mine right now. Twinkly lights *oooh*.

Isabel said...

Haha, same! We have so many awesome ornaments (like from Ethiopia and South Africa and Mexico) and our Christmas tree smells soo good! I definitely missed it last year!

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