Friday, 19 March 2010
Workshops, proofs and head-butts.
The last few days have been so busy I didn’t even notice the blog’s birthday. Never mind, I’m sure my millions of readers will have celebrated it in their own special ways in Latvia, Transylvania, and all those other places where it’s required reading to give residents insights into the crazed British psyche.
The busy-ness is threefold. First, I’ve just set aside a nice chunk of pages which are the proofs of the book I wrote last October in that hectic spell. I love getting proofs to read and correct; it’s the fact that the onscreen words have suddenly started to morph into that delicious object – a book. I’m about halfway through and, so far, the typesetters have done a great job. Despite the care I take editing and re-editing copy before I submit it, I always find things I’d like to change. But you have to resist those impulses because even minor deletions and additions mean wholesale re-setting.
So instead, I find myself saying either ‘Hey, did I write that? It’s not bad,’ or, more frequently, ‘Hey, did I write that? It’s crap’. On the whole though it’s another of the jobs that give you that warm feeling that you are, after all, a writer.
The second thread of the busy-ness is the need to get my thoughts together for a talk/workshop I’m giving next Tuesday to a keen local writers’ group. I’ve got plenty of notes on different talks I’ve given in the past but I always prefer to try to tailor material to the specific audience, so I raid the old stuff, juggle it around, and add new stuff.
And the third busy thread concerns last night’s CSI Aberdeen event. I mentioned it before – a charity evening during which groups had to solve a mystery I’d written. I briefed the actors who were playing a mother, daughter, family friend, daughter’s boy-friend and the police forensic medic. The groups interviewed the actors, did fingerprint checks, examined evidence and did tests with chemicals. At the end, they presented their results with explanations of how they’d arrived at them and details of motives etc. It was great fun and everyone seemed to enjoy it. In fact, one of the solutions was ‘wrong’ but it was much better than mine and I’ll use it in future. I did ask permission of the guy who dreamed it up and he was just pleased I liked it.
I chatted with the actors afterwards and, apart from learning things which will make it even better next time, I heard that:
• The family friend, part of whose character was to be a flirt, had a great time coming on to the women who interviewed him. He said to one ‘Are you single?’ Her reply was, ‘Yes, and so’s my mother’.
• The daughter was played by a very attractive young woman and one of her questioners had asked his group specifically if he could interview her. They said yes and he spent almost the whole 5 minutes just looking at her.
• 2 groups suspected the police medic was the murderer.
But, best of all, in one of the groups there was an ex-CID inspector – a great guy, and he told me the true story of one of the scenes of crime he’d attended. It’s his anecdote so I can’t just steal it, but it was a hilarious tale of how he came to be the only serving police officer who’d been assaulted by a corpse – literally. The corpse head-butted him.
Now, back to the proofs. Normal service may or may not be resumed some time soon.