Thursday, December 21, 2006

Finished ... shopping

I finished the last of my Xmas shopping on Wednesday. The feeling of relief was immense.
Today in Melbourne it is very hot and dusty, but not as smoky as yesterday, when we had the highest pollution reading ever (I think), comprised mostly of airborne particles, i.e. smoke from the bushfires. Right here in the middle of Melbourne, my house is not likely to catch on fire (unless someone is silly enough to leave Xmas lights going and they short out). But there are a lot of people out in the bush who have been on high alert for more than a week. As one said yesterday, "I wish the bloody thing would just come so we could fight it and be done."
Our house seems to be suffering from pre-Christmas bah and humbug (not me, I'm hiding from them all and writing). You would think the joy of being on holiday and not having to go to work would cause some level of happiness. Apparently not.
Having spent many $$ on gifts, I was reluctant to spend more on books (a good reason to hate Xmas actually) so I decided to do something I'd been considering for a while - get out some old Patricia Cornwells and read them and try to work out why I dislike the last two Scarpetta books. And I think I've figured it out. The recent books have been written in first person/present tense. The old ones are in first person/simple past tense. She seems to be one of those writers who can't handle present tense. She's not alone. It can be clunky, slow and verbose, the opposite of the immediacy you might be trying to achieve.
Go back to simple past, Ms Cornwell. Do us all a favour.
And I also read (in one day - you can tell I'm on holiday!) "Small Steps" by Louis Sachar. Terrific book. Great example of raising the stakes for the main character, making things gradually worse and worse, while you're biting your nails, hoping that this time the guy makes the right decision.
OK, back to the rewrite I'm working on. I've read Miss Snark's crapometer for the day - it'll be days and days before she gets to my entry. I can wait.

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