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Monday, 21 February 2011

Monday Musings

The weather is grey and dull and rain is pouring from the skies. Great that we went out yesterday and visited another snowdrop garden. I love snowdrops - green clumps with the dainty white heads hanging down, gently dancing in the breeze. You can see a selection of British Gardens open at snowdrop time here. As we race towards the end of February, crocuses and hellebores are in bloom and green shoots of a variety of plants are poking through the earth. It seems magical. It's been a long, cold winter in Britain this year and this show of new plant life gives me hope that the winter will end - right now it seems as if winter will carry on forever. I can't imagine what it would be like to feel hot sunshine on my face :D

Entertainment seems to be something which has been around for me this week. I want to entertain with my writing. I also want to be entertained and I'm getting a clearer idea of what I find entertaining (and what I don't).

We went to the geological society meeting and heard a young man speak about his work with the British Geological Survey. He gave a cracking good talk - lots of up-to-date interesting information, presented well. What I really enjoyed was his obvious enthusiasm for what he does and I found his talk hugely entertaining :) Some of his work involves donning a hard hat and harness, then abseiling down a cliff face with a high pressure water hose. He turns the water on and sprays the cliff face to clear away dirt and lichen - and of course, the laws of physics being what they are, he swings away from the rock face. That's not a problem until he finishes spraying. Turning the water off means he swings back in and has to make sure he stops himself crashing into the rock! All this so that imprints can be taken of fossil remains in the rocks. These fossils are some of the oldest on earth, from Precambrian times (over 500,000 million years ago).

And our entertainment didn't stop there; we went to a local theatre at the weekend - usually a good evening out - but The Lieutenant of Inishmore was a black comedy with lots of gore. Buckets of it, literally! Fortuately we had a seat at the back, well away from the splash zone :D
I was impressed by the actor who had some sort of harness round his ankles and was winched upside down for at least 15 minutes! (He was being tortured). He managed to speak his lines and bring some humour into his acting.
This provincial theatre puts on plays of a high standard. This one just wasn't to my taste; too much violence to be entertaining.

I finished reading the revised Mystery in Morocco last night and while there are a still a lot of continuity mistakes and errors of various sorts, I liked it :)
So, I've achieved one of the things I set out to do: write the sort of book I want to read. One I find entertaining. Woohoo! :D

I'm now filling in my table of what each character knows and doesn't know, and what the reader knows and doesn't know - otherwise known as collecting my red herrings which I strewed so generously through the story. It's slow work.

For a mystery to be entertaining, I think most loose threads should be tied in. The book has to reach a satisfying conclusion; and while I can't anticipate what readers will find satisfying, the ending has to satisfy me. It also needs to be the ending which the story is heading towards. The 'wrong' ending can ruin a good book.

This book will be the first of at least two books. So Holly Lisle's new course, How to Write a Series came just at the right time for me to include the information in my revision :)

Over to You
As entertainment has been around for me this week, I'm wondering what you find entertaining. Is entertainment important to you? Do you want your book to be entertaining? Or are there other considerations which are more important?

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