My children's names are Ruadhri, Caitlin and Benjamin - not on the top ten lists

How many boys’ and girls’ names are there? Hundreds of thousands I imagine. So why is it I have managed to use the same name twice for different characters in Something Fishy? Because I wasn’t keeping a list. This is something else I’ve learned the hard way writing my first adult book. The problem never arose with my children’s books. They were short enough to keep a tally of the names in my head, and I tended to write them quickly. But here with my 150,000 word project which I’ve been writing over about five months now, and a largish cast of characters, it’s a different kettle of fish. So over the weekend, I shall be rereading and drawing up its dramatis personae. From now on, every book will have one from the first word.

Live and learn!

In case you were wondering, the most popular names in the UK in 2009 were: 1 Oliver; 2 Jack; 3 Harry; 4 Alfie; 5 Joshua; 6 Thomas; 7 Charlie; 8 William; 9 James; and 10 Daniel. For girls: 1 Olivia; 2 Ruby; 3 Chloe; 4 Emily; 5 Sophie; 6 Jessica; 7 Grace; 8 Lily; 9 Amelia; 10 Evie. Mohammed would in fact topple Oliver if all the different spelling variants were aggregated. There are plenty of lists of most popular names on the Net which can be a very useful resourse. I’ve only used 7 out of the above 20 ones. I should probably include more to be as modern as I can.

Writing my first adult novel has been a learning experience. Having only written books a few tens of thousands words long at their very longest (many were less than 5,000 words) up to now, suddenly having to organise a manuscript that’s currently just over 100,000 words has been tricky. I had originally created just a few large files, that I added to in a rather haphazard fashion as ideas occurred. They were labelled ‘Marcus story’, ‘Latest’, ‘New bits’ – shockingly vague and hopeless! It’s left me unable to find things I know I’ve written somewhere, despite using ‘find’ on Word.

So I’m now working on a chapter by chapter basis. If I get a brainwave for a later event, I write it quickly and store it in a very clearly labelled file, such as ‘Scottish hotel bit’, ‘microchipping bit’ etc. It took me a while, but I got there in the end.  You’re probably rolling your eyes in dismay but honestly, I never had this sort of problem with my concise children’s books!

I wrote about this!

Great news! I had an article published in the Weekly Telegraph online edition. Read it here. My Dad was a lifelong Telegraph reader so he would have been very proud! (Do read the comments too – quite an argument got going!)

I also translated a poem about Creuse Masons for my other website, www.bloginfrance.com. I’m pleased with it. See what you think.

I’m behind with my Build a Better Blog Challenge, but not too disastrously, so hope to catch up soon. But I’ve been very busy writing. I’ve switched from my living in France book to my fishing mystery, Something Fishy, and now have nearly 99,000 words written. It’s going very well. Finding the time is the frustrating thing, but I’m soldiering on!

Insomnia is becoming a problem too. I find that I have so many ideas buzzing round my head after writing in the evening that I just can’t sleep. Poor Chris, he puts up with me wandering in and out of the bedroom at all hours of the night! I should probably adjust my writing schedule but evenings are really the only time I can sit for an uninterrupted hour or two at the computer. Life gets in the way during the daytime.

To keep me on my toes, I’m going to do a round up of the week’s writing I’ve done every Friday. Life has got in the way a bit this week with two sick kids and trips to health clinics, but enough of excuses. I’ve done quite a bit of writing none the less. Just need to do a bit more!

So, word counts so far on my works in progress. The titles are all working ones only, so if they make you cringe, don’t panic.

Heads Above the Water: this is my life in France book. Currently at 47,000 words. You’ll find the first 2,000 words here. This project is taking priority at the moment.

Something Fishy: racy fishing mystery. 86,000 words. I have more material written for it, I just need to organise it into chapters. Reading the closest I’ve found to this a modern fishing mystery, and I don’t feel threatened shall we say!

Tricot Treat approx. 20,000 words but very disorganised. This is a knitting/yarn bombing mystery. Plenty of progress in my head but not on paper!

Brownie. Teenage fiction about a girl with a hopeless mum who moves to France. 22,000 words. Coming along nicely, have most of it plotted out in my head. Oh for a few more hours in the day …

Knitting for Frenchaholics: 5 patterns so far. I’ll post more about this during the week. It’s quirky and fun.

I have 3 blogs now – this one, www.bloginfrance.com which I post to every day, and I have a new one on the Angling Line’s website, Steph’s Blog, with a fishing-related theme.

And this week t-weekly, the online Daily Telegraph, has accepted a 1,000 word article. Cool!

Spent a fascinating morning at the archives in Gueret today. I shall be going back regularly from now on. So much to find out about Les Fragnes.

Time to take Rors to judo. I sit and write while he’s getting physical. I enjoy my Friday nights in the car!