April has been such a dry month this year. I’d been panicking about sowing my seeds too early at the allotment after the temperature dropped, and then decided I’d maybe done right, glad my sowings had at least got a bit of moisture to start them off. I’ve also gone ‘no dig’ with my spuds, which has raised eyebrows. My plot-neighbours have decided the opposite and are going for deeper trenches this year. Half the fun is chewing it all over, as long as you don’t mind that the apocalyptic commentary on whatever approach you’re taking usually comes after you’ve already committed!
Fortunately I don’t grow sweetcorn, which has been the source of the greatest chewing-over between plot-holders this season. You see, there is a canny badger on the site who is partial to the golden crop. In a bid to outwit our striped friend, one gentleman is planting his sweetcorn inside a fruit cage. I overhead his pal scoffing at that, this badger can almost certainly pick locks! Well, in that case, he’d consider installing lasers. Immediately I had visions of the badger, clad in spy gear, dropping down on a wire from the nearest tree, glint in his eye.
I had a wonderful author visit to Seaton Primary School this month, running a session for KS2 (years 3-6, in case you were wondering), followed by a creative writing workshop for Year 5. The children were fabulously imaginative and engaged. I’m super-grateful to Jenny at the independent bookshop, Owl and Pyramid, for setting this up. Since things have opened up post-pandemic, it really has been very special to get out there and meet readers. I’m gaining confidence with each visit and it’s been heartening to get some great feedback from teachers… instructive and inspiring which supports their work in the classroom. I’ll take that.
My first lot of notes arrived from my editor for the new book this month too, so I’ve had my head deep in thoughts about re-writes. This first stage of the editing process usually pays close attention to the structure of the book, making sure the pace is working, prodding characters into life, identifying plot-holes and those saggy bits that lack enough tension to drive the story forward. It doesn’t matter how lovely the editor, most writers seem to agree there’s a heart-sink moment when you get these notes. My brain screams, I can’t do it, there’s been some terrible mistake, someone mis-took me for writer, I have no ideas left at allllll! This panic has a name: Cognitive Dissonance. It’s where your neurons scramble for ideas to try and resolve the crisis of contradiction, searching every dusty recess of your cranium for something that might help, anything in fact, and slowly, slowly, ever so slowly, finds glitter amongst the dust. Then you’re away, freshly fired up to make this book the best you possibly can. That is, until the next round of notes arrive…