Out of Context

In my last post about my book it was kinda fun to boil down a lot of what I’d been working on to bullet points – obviously they’re a lot more expanded in the book but I wanted to give a flavour of what you can expect.

So I thought it would be amusing to pick out some quotes, and leave them completely without context:

“Gritting my teeth, I told myself that I was supposed to be having an adventure, and I was damn well going to have one.”

“I have to say, pouring cocktails into my mouth from a shiny teapot was extremely fun, and I drank rather a lot.”

“As mum always said, “what goes up, must come down”, and I had visions of what coming down was going to look like.”

“So that’s how I found myself on stage in a Toronto hotel, miming the words to a Backstreet Boys song that I wasn’t even sure I’d ever heard before…”

“For dinner one evening I’d ordered pork chops. I got 4. Lamb chops? Seven.”

“If there’s one thing that my hangovers do not enjoy, it’s blazing sun and relentless heat.”

“It was loud, bright, colourful and utterly inexplicable. And it was fabulous.”

So, that’s what you’ve got to look forward to!





My first competition

I recently entered a writing competition, held by my local writing group.

The brief was to write a ghost story of 1,000 words. I must admit, short stories are not my forte, and I’ve never written (or indeed read) a ghost story. But an idea popped unbidden into my head, and I thought, “what’s the harm in entering”? I’d never entered a writing competition before but writing to a brief was good fun.

Last night was our Christmas Social, where the winners were announced. And I’m extremely proud to reveal that I came in second. There were 15 entries, I believe, and the judge commended the high quality of the writing across the board.

I wanted to share the feedback I got, because I’m extremely excited to have placed in the competition, and to have received such positive comments from the judge.

“Very different to the winner, and only very narrowly placed second, ‘Nine’ gives us a dark little glimpse into the aftermath of a serial killer’s actions.  This original and deeply unsettling story forces us to pay attention, to pick up on the clues scattered throughout and to piece together what’s happening, and is extremely cleverly constructed. 

“I particularly liked the opening line, and it missed out on first place only because in places the language could have been tighter and more polished, which would have had the effect of throwing the ending into even sharper focus.”

I’m delighted with the feedback and have already gone back to the story to see where I can apply it, to learn and improve my skills as a writer.

Word Count Milestone

As I write this, I’ve just achieved 20,000 words completed!

It feels like a massive achievement, that’s a lot of words. I also have a long, long way to go yet. Research tells me that memoirs are usually in the region of 80-100,000 words long, so by that reckoning I’m either a quarter or a fifth of the way there. Which sounds a little less impressive to my ears.

But I still have plenty to write about – I’ve actually only finished the chapters for 5 or 6 countries (though I’ve started plenty of the others), so I don’t think I’ll be lacking content.

Of course this is only the first draft, and I know there will be a lot of work to do once I’ve finished it. And I still have at least 8 countries to visit before I can complete even this first draft. Did I mention that this is going to be a long-term project?!


Introducing the A-Z

If you’ve looked at the page about my project, you’ll know that I’m on a mission to visit at least one country beginning with every letter of the alphabet (and if you haven’t read that yet, go read it now… I’ll wait…)

All caught up? Great.

As you can see, it’s a fairly involved project. I’ve still got a fair few countries to visit before I’ll be able to finish the book, and unless I win the lottery (or meet a fabulous benefactor – any interest?), it’ll be a while before I get there.

So, to keep me motivated and on track to write up the countries I have already visited, and get as much of the book done as possible in the downtime between my trips, I’m keeping this website up to date with my progress. I’ll be sharing updates, excerpts, pictures, and anything else that might be of interest.

I hope you’ll join me for the ride!