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Louise's current project is to make all her sweet romances available on the internet.
Look out for her new Regency romance, Regency Fortune, coming soon!


Monday, 27 April 2009

5000 Words - and a line!

That nice big line you draw under the bottom of things and say: 'Finished!' My degree is done.

The last 5000 words was on the strategies Toyota use to maintain market position. Nothing to do with being a writer? Well, no, actually. The hardest thing in an essay (I think!) is to come up with a thesis. You have to decide what you want to say then hang all the other stuff around this spine - the clearest example is with my last essay, a mere 3500 words on the building of Holyrood. I decided that had they done risk assessments all the way through, and acted when important milestones were missed, they might have come in on time and in budget. Each paragraph in the essay talked about what happened when they didn't do this, and what happened to other parliament projects such as the Welsh one who did risk assess. Any material that didn't fit this main thread got thrown out. Sometimes sadly because I'd done loads of research. With a bigger essay, and material one's less familiar with (Toyota!) it's harder to find this spine. But a good spine is what gets you good marks, and sales.

Writing a book is exactly the same, and I think finding this theme or premise is the hardest thing about writing a book. All books need a spine running through them. The plot of the book might be about a heroine opening a business and trying to do well, and that sets a lot of scenes for you, but if your theme is that honesty is the best policy, then that too sets a lot of scenes and characters for you. Robert McKee talks about this in his book story - he charts out all kinds of variations. For example, if honesty is your theme, then pushing this to the limit gives you a character who lies to themselves. I might dig up his book and review it again.

Anyway, the wonderful thing is that give or take a day's training in Preston, a hospital appointment to check out the blind spot in my eye and an application to Burnley College, I am free to get back to The Find a Man Campaign.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

A New Adventure

I am going to do a workshop for Calderdale Libraries. This is the blurb I sent them:

Lancashire author, Louise Armstrong, has dozen sweet romances in print. She is currently turning a film script (The Find a Man Campaign due out 2010) into a novel. You can read about her writing life at http//:louisearmstrong.blogspot.com

Workshop - we'll be looking at the structure and ingredients of a perfect romance (hint: you start with a hero to die for) followed by a workshop exercise designed to intensify your descriptive powers.

Now, back to Toyota and their management strategies.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

3,500 Words on Business

I didn't want to study Business Studies - I wanted to study English, but at the time I enrolled on my evening degree course, you had to do two subjects, and I thought Business might look OK on my CV. It just goes to show that you don't always know what's best for you because I'm deeply thankful I took it.

The two disciplines are very different - English is no longer about books (they say things like: 'The author doesn't matter). It's about taking a lens and viewing the text through it. Marxism, say, or psychoanalysis or Colonial theories, or Queer studies, whatever theory is fashionable at the time. I got a lot out of the course overall, but I struggled to understand people like Lacan and found a lot of it unrealistic and horribly trivial.

Business, on the other hand, is about taking a big, huge complicated mess and simplifying it. What could be more interesting and real than taking a hole in the ground and producing a landmark building? My last project is on the Scottish Parliament - Holyrood. Death, drama, power struggles, comedy and tragedy, it's all there. From the comfort of a chair I've been enjoying the BBC programme and wading through the reports and audits on the fiasco. Then you get to compare it with projects such as the Welsh Assembly and the Australian building which went somewhat better and figure out why. Wonderful stuff. I'm sure it will help me write better novels because the process of research and piecing together what I want to say about it has taught me loads as well.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Find a Man Campaign

Hurray! Everyone likes the first chapter of the Film to Book project, so I can now say that it's going to happen. As well as writing the script, Chrystal Rose is producing the movie and it is set to come out in 2010. Several titles have been suggested, but the one I like best and want for the novel is 'The Find a Man Campaign.'

The sooner I can get my last essays finished, the sooner I can get back to it!

Writer's News was interesting this month - an article about a new trend called 'urban fantasy' caught my eye. The Glass Cliff fits the genre description perfectly. I'm right on trend, although I have to admit it was accidental!

There was also an article about the competition from other media. It seems that what readers want from books is the emotional experience that only books can deliver. This explains why the deep POV for third person is now so popular in the States - and we always follow their trends, so that's something to think about, and become proficient in.

Monday, 6 April 2009

Teeny, Tiny Cheque

One from the BBC today. Better than nothing, but don't give up the day job!

This week, when I wasn't at maths, the dentist, work, Pilates, college interviews or any of the other things that so get in my way, I finished the first chapter of the film to a book project. I am pleased with it. I sent it to be critiqued, and will send it to the film person, to see what she thinks, but now I'm going to have to change gear: it's time to finish my college work. At least this time, when the two essays are done, I'll be able to draw a line under it.