A book by any other name …

I have no title for the novel I am writing. Not even a working title. I also know it doesn’t matter that I don’t have a title. I do spend time thinking about it though, and I came across a blog post by literary agent Rachelle Gardner, which you can read here. In it, Rachelle suggests a series of steps to help unlock a title for your book. I have been working through them, and it’s been an excellent exercise in focusing on themes and words that are key to my novel. As a result, I have a possible title, and at the very least, a clear direction for it. Thanks to Rachelle for bringing that clarity.

The typewriter has landed

I have a typewriter. After reading about them and blogging about them here, I asked for one as a Christmas gift, and started searching. I had thought I would get any old model, but after a bit of browsing on Ebay, I became more selective about design, period and portability. I decided on a Olivetti Lettera 22, a 1959 specimen, which had great write-ups as a design classic. I secured my model, complete with immaculate case and vintage Croxley script paper.

Here it is:



It’s a thing of beauty. Compact, well-designed, a lovely colour. It’s a great example of form and function. And some thoughtful soul had posted the entire instruction manual on a Flickr page.  It’s much easier to type on than I imagined, though my overzealous bashing does cause the keys to stick sometimes. Not to mention the overtyping to try to correct my plentiful mistakes. Still, I have started a short story draft on it, and it feels like exactly the right medium for the early stages of this particular tale.

I thought I might ultimately aim for something like this:

Too much?

Feeling writerly

I’m just finishing a writing retreat day at Retreat West. The sun is setting on the Exeter skyline, on what has been a beautiful winter’s day. Here is the view from my desk as I write this post:


I’ve never taken part in a day like this before, and I’m surprised how it has focused my mind on the job at hand. I’ve written nearly 2,000 words. A new chapter in my novel, which, earlier in the week I was struggling to get started with. Thanks to Amanda Saint, who organises these days. Tea, coffee, cake and lunch were all provided. So I’ve been able to simply write. Luxurious. I will be back.


P.S. Nearly two weeks into 2013, and I haven’t posted about my new, old typewriter. Yes, I’ve succumbed. Stay tuned.

Anne Tyler fan club

Am I going to post every time I find an Anne Tyler novel in a secondhand shop? Who knows? I found this one in a Lyme Regis charity shop at the start of the year. A good omen, I thought:

BackWhenWe Were Grownups
I find it reassuring to have a Tyler on my ‘to read’ pile. I never got around to mentioning another I found at the Tavistock Pannier Market last year:
The Amateur marriage
Anne Tyler makes me want to write more, better.

Fresh resolve

It’s that time of year (i.e. the beginning) when last year’s missed targets don’t matter; a kind of amnesty on failed resolutions. I can wipe the slate clean and embrace the optimism and resolve that, for me, is unique to a new year. Here are a few of the targets I’m hoping to hit in 2013:

  • Complete the first draft of my novel
  • Submit more work
  • Meet all MA deadlines in a calm and orderly fashion
  • Read, a lot
  • Walk, more

I hope you have had a positive start to 2013.