Sunday, December 2, 2007


BBC NEWS | Magazine | Misery lit... read on: "The bestseller lists are full of memoirs about miserable childhoods and anguished families. Waterstone's even has a 'Painful Lives' shelf.

Why are authors confessing their hurt so freely and do readers find morbid enjoyment in them?"

good luck

Home - "And I'm pleased to announce that I chested the 50k line two days before the month was out and can now officially call myself a NaNoWriMo 'winner'.

But let's hold the champagne. I may have written 50,000 words in a month but my novel is still unfinished, which means I'm still waking up every morning and reaching straight for the laptop and writing 2,000 groggy-eyed words before breakfast (alas, the word counter doesn't recognise when you see double).

So I've now set myself a new deadline of 75,000 words before Christmas, which should be a piece of piss if the last 30 days are anything to go by. I have to confess, though, that I have cheated just a little bit with this. Although, hear me out. I'd like to explain how I don't think it's cheating at all.

First of all, I didn't actually write a novel. What I wrote was an autobiographical account of my mother's five year illness with vascular dementia and eventual death in a care home. I believe the current hot publishing buzz word is misery memoir. But I approached it as a novel and tried to write it as one, so I do think of it as a novel. . . . .

Step forward NaNoWriMo.

The discipline of it made me sit down and do it every day and amaze myself with how much was actually ready to pour out of me. There were many mornings when I thought I had nothing in me, but ten minutes into tapping away it would always come.

A reminder yet again (because I forget it so easily) that the only solution to writing is to just sit down and force yourself to write. The solution to any writing problem will always be solved by the very act of writing.

And treating this misery memoir as a novel gave me that emotional distance I needed to get it written, as well as allowing me to make discoveries about my relationship with my mother as if I were reading about two characters in someone else's novel.

The Longest Death is a novel full of anger and despair and outrage, but thanks to NaNoWriMo, I wasn't consumed by any of those emotions while I was writing it. There was only ever time to get out of the way and allow the words to write themselves.

So in that sense I think I stuck to the spirit of the contest and am allowing myself to feel proud of the achievement.


Thursday, November 29, 2007

NaNoWriMo - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

NaNoWriMo - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "The project was started by Chris Baty in July 1999 with 21 participants in the San Francisco Bay area. Since then, the event has been held in November 'to more fully take advantage of the miserable weather.'[1] 2000 was the first year NaNoWriMo had a website; instead of a message board, the group had a Yahoo! club. It was also the first year many of the ground rules for NaNoWriMo were laid out, such as disallowing previously started works or co-authored books. 140 participants signed up for participation and 21 completed 50,000 words. In 2001, Chris Baty stated that he expected 150 participants; 5000 signed up.[2] At that point in time, sign-ups were not automated, so the end of October and the beginning of November were spent with Baty and a small team of volunteers signing the massive backlog up by hand. Other troubles included a hacking of the site and massive bandwidth use forcing Baty to turn down the idea of official wordcount verifications.[3] 700 writers crossed the finish line that year."

NaNoEdMo - Pick up that red pen

NaNoEdMo - Pick up that red pen: "Welcome to National Novel Editing Month! (Otherwise known as NaNoEdMo, or just EdMo) You have entered the portal to the crazy world of novel editing. Have you written a 50,000 word novel but haven't edited it yet? Then you've come to the right place! It is here that people from all over the world gather together to spend 50 hours in March editing their novels. This is not as easy as it might sound but the forums are available to get advice and ask all the important questions you may have. Advice from real published authors will also be here to help you and a certificate of completion awaits each winner at the end of the month. We know it's a crazy thing to do, but it is loads of fun and we do hope you'll stay. We've got many pots of strong coffee brewing to help keep you going as well as a store room full of sugary candied goodness just waiting for you to jump in and start editing!"

Friday, November 2, 2007

the end

Full text / script of the play The Taming of the Shrew Act V by William Shakespeare: "

Fie, fie! unknit that threatening unkind brow,
And dart not scornful glances from those eyes,
To wound thy lord, thy king, thy governor:
It blots thy beauty as frosts do bite the meads,
Confounds thy fame as whirlwinds shake fair buds,
And in no sense is meet or amiable.
A woman moved is like a fountain troubled,
Muddy, ill-seeming, thick, bereft of beauty;
And while it is so, none so dry or thirsty
Will deign to sip or touch one drop of it.
Thy husband is thy lord, thy life, thy keeper,
Thy head, thy sovereign; one that cares for thee,
And for thy maintenance commits his body
To painful labour both by sea and land,
To watch the night in storms, the day in cold,
Whilst thou liest warm at home, secure and safe;
And craves no other tribute at thy hands
But love, fair looks and true obedience;
Too little payment for so great a debt.
Such duty as the subject owes the prince
Even such a woman oweth to her husband;
And when she is froward, peevish, sullen, sour,
And not obedient to his honest will,
What is she but a foul contending rebel
And graceless traitor to her loving lord?
I am ashamed that women are so simple
To offer war where they should kneel for peace;
Or seek for rule, supremacy and sway,
When they are bound to serve, love and obey.
Why are our bodies soft and weak and smooth,
Unapt to toil and trouble in the world,
But that our soft conditions and our hearts
Should well agree with our external parts?
Come, come, you froward and unable worms!
My mind hath been as big as one of yours,
My heart as great, my reason haply more,
To bandy word for word and frown for frown;
But now I see our lances are but straws,
Our strength as weak, our weakness past compare,
That seeming to be most which we indeed least are.
Then vail your stomachs, for it is no boot,
And place your hands below your husband's foot:
In token of which duty, if he please,
My hand is ready; may it do him ease.
from myemail:-
Dear NaNoWriMo participant,

When you sit down to begin that novel of yours, the first thing you might want to do is toss a handful of powdered napalm over both shoulders---so as to dispense with any and all of your old writing teachers, the ones whose ghosts surely will be hovering there, saying such things as, "Adverbs should never be...", or "A novel is supposed to convey...", et cetera. Enough! Ye literary bureaucrats, vamoose!

Rules such as "Write what you know," and "Show, don't tell," while doubtlessly grounded in good sense, can be ignored with impunity by any novelist nimble enough to get away with it. There is, in fact, only one rule in writing fiction: Whatever works, works.

Ah, but how can you know if it's working? The truth is, you can't always know (I nearly burned my first novel a dozen times, and it's still in print after 35 years), you just have to sense it, feel it, trust it. It's intuitive, and that peculiar brand of intuition is a gift from the gods. Obviously, most people have received a different package altogether, but until you undo the ribbons you can never be sure.

As the great Nelson Algren once said, “Any writer who knows what he's doing isn't doing very much.” Most really good fiction is compelled into being. It comes from a kind of uncalculated innocence. You need not have your ending in mind before you commence. Indeed, you need not be certain of exactly what's going to transpire on page 2. If you know the whole story in advance, your novel is probably dead before you begin it. Give it some room to breathe, to change direction, to surprise you. Writing a novel is not so much a project as a journey, a voyage, an adventure.

A topic is necessary, of course; a theme, a general sense of the nexus of effects you'd like your narrative to ultimately produce. Beyond that, you simply pack your imagination, your sense of humor, a character or two, and your personal world view into a little canoe, push it out onto the vast dark river, and see where the currents take you. And should you ever think you hear the sound of dangerous rapids around the next bend, hey, hang on, tighten your focus, and keep paddling---because now you're really writing, baby! This is the best part.

It's a bit like being out of control and totally in charge, simultaneously. If that seems tricky, well, it's a tricky business. Try it. It'll drive you crazy. And you'll love it.

Tom Robbins

Tom Robbins is the author of eight novels, including Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, Jitterbug Perfume, and his latest, Villa Incognito.

Tom Robbins - Google Search:

Thomas Eugene Robbins (born July 22, 1936 in Blowing Rock, North Carolina) is an American author.

The Sleeper Awakened Part One - Arabian Nights Tales

The Sleeper Awakened Part One - Arabian Nights Tales:

"'During the reign of the Caliph Haroun Alraschid, there lived at Bagdad a very rich merchant, whose wife was far advanced in years. They had an only son, called Abou Hassan, who had been in every respect brought up with great strictness.

'The merchant died when this son was thirty years old; and Abou Hassan, who was his sole heir, took possession of the vast wealth which his father had amassed, by great parsimony, and a constant industry in business. The son, whose views and inclinations were different from those of his father, very soon began to dissipate his fortune.

Abou Hassan had always envied young men of his own age who had been more liberally supplied, and who never denied themselves any of those pleasures in which young men too readily indulge, and determined in his turn to distinguish himself by making an appearance consistent with the great wealth with which fortune had favoured him.

Accordingly, he divided his fortune into two parts. With the one he purchased estates in the country and houses in the city, and, although these would produce a revenue sufficient to enable him to live at his ease, he resolved to let the sums arising from them accumulate; the other half, which consisted of a considerable sum of ready money, was to be spent in enjoyment, but he laid it down as a primary rule . . . . " source of Jeppe paa Bierget and The Taming of the Shrew (Jeppe på Bjerget in modern spelling) and my own tale for NaNoWriMo

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


from my email:-

Dear NaNoWriMo participant

Well, we're on the cusp of another beautiful noveling November. The turn-out so far has been phenomenal. Between our main program and Young Writers Program, we'll have over 90,000 authors on board by the end of the week, making this officially the largest NaNoWriMo since the event was first adapted from an Andorran mule-wrestling ceremony back in 1999.

For those of you who are new to NaNo, I want to quickly run through the noveling schedule for the month ahead.

Step 1: Keep reading this email; learn the secret of NaNoWriMo.
Step 2: Wait for 12:01 AM local time on November 1.
Step 3: Write a novel.

No problem.

Okay, back to Step 1. The secret of NaNoWriMo. Which is this: There is a door in your brain. The door has been there your whole life. You may not have noticed it before because it blends in with everything else in your brain. Weird art. Mismatched furniture. Squishy gray bits clinging to everything.

So what does this door have to do with your novel?

Your job this month is not so much writing a book (which is intimidating) as it is finding that door (which is easy).

It's easy because you'll have guides in November who will take you right to it.

These guides are also known as your characters. They're kind of an abstract notion now, but you'll meet them in all their glory in Week One of NaNoWriMo. They'll be a strange lot. Insecure warlocks. Stamp-collecting squirrels. Teenage detectives.

Whoever shows up, go with them. And go quickly. You may have a general sense of where you're going together; you may not. It doesn’t matter. Just write your allotment of 1667 words (or more) on November 1. Don't edit any of it. Editing is for December. Then come back and write another 1667 words the next day. And the next. And the next.

By Week Two, you'll be at the door. A few words later, you'll be through it. You'll know you're there because the writing will feel different. Less like work, and more like watching a gloriously imperfect movie with cringe-worthy dialogue, heaps of confusing tangents, and moments of brilliance so delightful that you'll want to scream.

Once you've stepped through that door into the vast reaches of your imagination, you'll be able to return there as often as you like. It's an enchanted, intoxicating place, and there are other great things besides novels in there.

But we'll talk about that later.

For now, here's our game plan for the coming week.

1) Make sure you've affiliated with a region and then made it your Home Region. This is a two-step process. You do it by signing in and then going to the My Regions page of My NaNoWriMo. The far-left tab gives you a list of regions to choose from. Choose one by clicking "affiliate," then go to the far-right tab called Home Region and make sure your region is ticked.

2) Make sure you have your Edit Profile settings geared to allow emails from us (if you got this, you're good), and that your email program knows to accept messages from Pep talks from esteemed authors will begin landing in your inbox this week, and will continue to arrive every four days or so. To turn off emails from us, just head to Edit Profile and change your settings to "No mail."

3) On November 1: Begin writing. At this point, you'll be able to begin updating your word count on the Author Info tab of the Edit Profile page. You can do this on the honor system by just typing in the number, or you can paste the whole book in and let our robots count it for you. If you paste your book, please scramble it first, using instructions in our FAQ. You can also post an excerpt of your book in the same area of the Edit Profile page.

4) For the first week of the event, the site will be on fire. This year we moved to a completely new back-end system, and it has made me beat my head against the wall almost every single day. Pages disappear. Parts fall off. Error screens everywhere. It handles high traffic the way a country lane would handle a freeway. We have so many plans on rebuilding the site it for next year it's not even funny. But for now, we have to work with what we've got. Russ is making all the improvements he can to make it suck less.

If the site isn't functional, just postpone updating your word count until the dust settles. NaNoWriMo does not live on a website. It lives in your heart, in your powerful typing fingers, and in your dramatically escalating word count.

We'll keep working on the site. You keep working on your novel.

Together we will rock November.

Happy noveling, everyone! We're so glad to have you writing with us.


Monday, October 29, 2007


Tess Does NaNoWriMo: "I am 'Tess' and 2007 is my first ever attempt at NaNoWriMo. This blog will be my way of keeping tabs on my progress, and hopefully it will help me stay motivated so I can be a winner."

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Nanowrimo 2007 Kick-Off

from my email:-
The Birmingham and West Midlands Nanowrimo 2007 Kick-Off will be held at the Malt House Pub, 75 King Edwards Road, Birmingham, from 4pm onwards. It's at Brindley Place, on the canal, overlooking the NIA and Sea Life Centre.

malt house loc: Birmingham - Google Maps

The staff at the Malt House have kindly agreed to reserve a space for about 20 people. In the event that more people turn up, I'm sure we can spread out. As long as people buy at least one drink, the management will be happy. We'll have a big nanowrimo sign on our table to let you know who we are.

Rolnikov (Stephen) and I, the two ML's for Birmingham, will be there of course. We'll do all the formal stuff in the first hour or two: introductions, handing out freebies, initiation rituals etc. Stephen and I both have family commitments, so we probably won't be staying out drinking late into the evening, but obviously everyone else is free to stay as long as they like.

Stephen will be bringing his camera to record the occasion, and there may be other people with cameras too. If you don't want your picture taken, just let them know. I'm sure everyone will be considerate about this.

Looking forward to meeting some of you on Sunday,

John Greenwood

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Johannes V. Jensen

Johannes V. Jensen - Autobiography: "For many years I was engaged in journalism, writing articles and chronicles for the daily press without ever joining the staff of any newspaper.
Nor have I ever belonged to any political party.

After extensive journeys to the East, to Malaya and China, and several visits to the United States, I inspired a change in the Danish literature and press by introducing English and American vigour, which was to replace the then dominant trend of decadent Gallicism.

The essence of my literary work is to be found in my collection of poems, which may be regarded as a reaction against the fastidious style of the day bearing Baudelaire's poisonous hall-mark.

My poems represented a turn to simple style and sound subject matter (Digte, 1904-41, 1943 [Poems])."

Johannes V. Jensen (1873-1950) developed his theories of evolution in a cycle of six novels, Den lange rejse (1908-22) [The Long Journey], which was published in a two-volume edition in 1938.

From Nobel Lectures, Literature 1901-1967, Editor Horst Frenz, Elsevier Publishing Company, Amsterdam, 1969

This autobiography/biography was first published in the book series Les Prix Nobel. It was later edited and republished in Nobel Lectures. To cite this document, always state the source as shown above.

Johannes V Jensen, 20. January 1873 - Google Search

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Best in Science Fiction and Fantasy, from Silver Age Books -

The Best in Science Fiction and Fantasy, from Silver Age Books -

What Is Theaker's Quarterly Fiction?

Theaker's Quarterly Fiction publishes fantasy, science fiction and horror; to date most of the contents might best be described as science fantasy. It was launched in 2004 with the goal of encouraging the eponymous Theaker to do a bit of writing every few months, because writing stories makes him happy. As time has gone by, and it's kept going, other writers have begun to make more ambitious contributions.

The format was initially modelled after that of the Medico-Legal Journal, the official publication of the Medico-Legal Society, and, like that esteemed publication, every issue is designed to be a good, solid read. You can sit down with a cup of tea and lose yourself for a couple of hours in thrills, adventure, laughter and wilful foolishness. Hence, stories tend to be longer than in most small press magazines, with serialised novels not being uncommon.

Theaker's Quarterly Fiction #19

Theaker's Quarterly Fiction #19: "ln theory, two of our issues a year should be specials of some kind, so that we can still justify calling the magazine a quarterly. This year, we’ve decided to have a Halloween special. Luckily, we had some suitably scary submissions! “Pumpkin Jack” is the most appropriate, for obvious reasons, and so that’s where we begin the issue. It’s a story by Laura Bickle, about the discoveries a pair of bored teenagers make in and around their grandma’s isolated home. I’m not totally familiar with the way that pumpkins grow in real life, but there’s definitely something strange about these ones!"

just imagine

from my email:-

We got this email today from your imagination. It was misaddressed to us, so we're sending it along to you. We hope it finds you well.

-----Original Message-----

This is your imagination. I know work, school, and general craziness have been keeping us apart lately. But there's something we need to do together this November.

It's called National Novel Writing Month. For it, we'll bash out a 50,000-word novel, from scratch, in 30 days. You and me. Writing a book. Together.

I need you to sign us up. Because I don't have any arms.


Your imagination

Friday, October 12, 2007

Historical geography

Historical geography - browse maps | British History Online:

"Ordnance Survey 1:2,500 Epoch 1 The County Series maps at scale 1:2500 for Birmingham, Cardiff, Chester, Chichester, Colchester, Coventry, Durham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Lichfield, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Oxford, Portsmouth, Salisbury, Southampton, Winchester, Worcester, York and much of central London.

Ordnance Survey 1:10,560 Epoch 1 The County Series of Ordnance Survey maps for Great Britain. Begun in 1840, this is the first comprehensive historic mapping of England, Scotland and Wales."

excellent site new to me -worth a bookmark

How to Write a Personal History

WorldVitalRecords Blog » How to Write a Personal History

Day One: Write down a list of various questions you would like to ask someone else. Start out with ten.

Day Two: Answer these questions yourself, adding as much detail as you want.

Day Three: Add your basic vital statistics, such as birth day, marriage, children, parents, locations lived in, and other things that are important to you, such as ecclesiastical information, occupations, fraternal organizations, political affiliations, clubs, hobbies, etc.

Day Four: Look at a timeline such is found in the e-Sourcebook of American History. (It is a free download that came when you signed up for the newsletter. Look for the newsletter confirmation letter in case you didn’t download it at the time you first confirmed.)

Day Five: Use the timeline to help in the recollection of memorable historical events and your, your family’s and others’ reactions to them. Do the history books reflect your feelings on the events that have so far transpired in your life? Why or why not?

Day Six: Make sure that the questions and answers are typed.

Day Seven: Email to a close relative, or to whoever may be interested to make sure that the history has multiple copies available.

This is not meant to be an all-inclusive article concerning personal histories but something to get readers started.

By Amanda Forson, World Vital Records, Inc


Dystel & Goderich Literary Management :: Submission Requirements

Dystel & Goderich Literary Management :: Submission Requirements: "Contrary to popular belief, we like our unsolicited queries to be concise, well-written and well-proofed, and as devoid of gimmicks as possible. Tell us who you are (past writing credits or celebrity status is helpful to know about but not mandatory), what your project is (a summary paragraph is good), and whether you have submitted this project to the entire publishing community already."

Sunday, October 7, 2007

sunday jottings

I am an Official NaNoWriMo 2007 Participant

Hm | National Novel Writing Month
thread in the Regional Lounge Europe :: England :: Birmingham
Bringing the novels home in Birmingham.

on a very very slow server

Saturday, October 6, 2007

National Novel Writing Month

National Novel Writing Month:
"Russ is working around the clock on the site's turtle slowness and the "unable to connect to database" errors---both caused by the same issue of heaps of people accessing the site at once

. . . The slowness and connection problems are frustrating, but the number of sign-ups causing it is exciting. It's going to be an amazing, record-setting November, and I'm thankful we have the next couple weeks to get everything fine-tuned before the big event commences. Thanks so much for your patience!"

classic web site mistake having an opening date


nanowrimo - Google Search

too much traffic on

The connection to the server was reset while the page was loading.

ad I had a job uploading my new thumbnail yesterday too
- taken with the K800i videophone by Sony Ericsson

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Proust Questionnaire

Proust Questionnaire and for your characters too

The young Marcel was asked to fill out questionnaires at two social events: one when he was 13, another when he was 20. Proust did not invent this party game; he simply responded to the questionnaires. At the birthday party of Antoinette Felix-Faure, the 13-year-old Marcel was asked to answer the following questions in the birthday book, and here's what he said:

  • What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
      To be separated from Mama
  • Where would you like to live?
      In the country of the Ideal, or, rather, of my ideal
  • What is your idea of earthly happiness?
      To live in contact with those I love, with the beauties of nature, with a quantity of books and music, and to have, within easy distance, a French theater
  • To what faults do you feel most indulgent?
      To a life deprived of the works of genius
  • Who are your favorite heroes of fiction?
      Those of romance and poetry, those who are the expression of an ideal rather than an imitation of the real
  • Who are your favorite characters in history?
      A mixture of Socrates, Pericles, Mahomet, Pliny the Younger and Augustin Thierry
  • Who are your favorite heroines in real life?
      A woman of genius leading an ordinary life
  • Who are your favorite heroines of fiction?
      Those who are more than women without ceasing to be womanly; everything that is tender, poetic, pure and in every way beautiful
  • Your favorite painter?
  • Your favorite musician?
  • The quality you most admire in a man?
      Intelligence, moral sense
  • The quality you most admire in a woman?
      Gentleness, naturalness, intelligence
  • Your favorite virtue?
      All virtues that are not limited to a sect: the universal virtues
  • Your favorite occupation?
      Reading, dreaming, and writing verse
  • Who would you have liked to be?
      Since the question does not arise, I prefer not to answer it. All the same, I should very much have liked to be Pliny the Younger.

Seven years after the first questionnaire, Proust was asked, at another social event, to fill out another; the questions are much the same, but the answers somewhat different, indicative of his traits at 20:
  • Your most marked characteristic?
      A craving to be loved, or, to be more precise, to be caressed and spoiled rather than to be admired
  • The quality you most like in a man?
      Feminine charm
  • The quality you most like in a woman?
      A man's virtues, and frankness in friendship
  • What do you most value in your friends?
      Tenderness - provided they possess a physical charm which makes their tenderness worth having
  • What is your principle defect?
      Lack of understanding; weakness of will
  • What is your favorite occupation?
  • What is your dream of happiness?
      Not, I fear, a very elevated one. I really haven't the courage to say what it is, and if I did I should probably destroy it by the mere fact of putting it into words.
  • What to your mind would be the greatest of misfortunes?
      Never to have known my mother or my grandmother
  • What would you like to be?
      Myself - as those whom I admire would like me to be
  • In what country would you like to live?
      One where certain things that I want would be realized - and where feelings of tenderness would always be reciprocated. [Proust's underlining]
  • What is your favorite color?
      Beauty lies not in colors but in thier harmony
  • What is your favorite flower?
      Hers - but apart from that, all
  • What is your favorite bird?
      The swallow
  • Who are your favorite prose writers?
      At the moment, Anatole France and Pierre Loti
  • Who are your favorite poets?
      Baudelaire and Alfred de Vigny
  • Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
  • Who are your favorite heroines of fiction?
      Phedre (crossed out) Berenice
  • Who are your favorite composers?
      Beethoven, Wagner, Schumann
  • Who are your favorite painters?
      Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt
  • Who are your heroes in real life?
      Monsieur Darlu, Monsieur Boutroux (professors)
  • Who are your favorite heroines of history?
  • What are your favorite names?
      I only have one at a time
  • What is it you most dislike?
      My own worst qualities
  • What historical figures do you most despise?
      I am not sufficiently educated to say
  • What event in military history do you most admire?
      My own enlistment as a volunteer!
  • What reform do you most admire?
      (no response)
  • What natural gift would you most like to possess?
      Will power and irresistible charm
  • How would you like to die?
      A better man than I am, and much beloved
  • What is your present state of mind?
      Annoyance at having to think about myself in order to answer these questions
  • To what faults do you feel most indulgent?
      Those that I understand
  • What is your motto?
and my thanks to:-

Personal site of Stephane Chabrieres: my literary translations, wood sculptures, favorite books, rock albums, movies, paintings, existentialism:


Saturday, September 22, 2007

BBC - Food - Recipes - Faggots

BBC - Food - Recipes - Faggots:

1 pigs caul
500g/1lb pigs fry (liver, heart and lights)
250g/8oz pork belly
500g/1lb onions
75g/3oz breadcrumbs
15g/½oz fresh sage, chopped
salt and pepper, freshly ground

1. Soak the caul in tepid water for 1 hour, then drain and dry.
2. Cover the pigs fry, pork belly and onions with water and simmer for 1 hour. Drain off the liquid and reserve.
3. Mince the pigs fry, pork and onions and add to the breadcrumbs. Add the sage, season with salt and pepper and stir well, adding approximately 2 tbsp of the cooking liquid to the mixture.
4. Cut the caul into 10cm/4in squares. Shape the mixture into balls and cover each with a piece of caul. Place in a baking tin and cook in the oven at 200C/400F/Gas 6 until brown.
5. Serve with thick, rich gravy made from the reserved cooking liquid and the juices from the tin in which the faggots were cooked.

Keith Floyd

Chris Baty says

from my email:-
Dear NaNoWriMo author,

You know what time it is? Time for a novel-length email about things afoot at NaNoWriMo!


We'll be opening sign-ups for another noveling season late at night on October 1. Between now and then, all of the content on the current site will be archived, and the forums will be wiped clean for the 2007 event. All active NaNo accounts from last November will stay active, and Script Frenzy log-ins will work as well.

We'll be turning off sign-ins this Monday so we can have a week of thing-resetting and something-migration that Russ swears is very important we do without anyone hanging around the site watching us. We will miss you that week, but we'll be reunited in October, and we can share stories of our time apart then.

At the end of the last NaNo, I invited everyone to join me in publicly posting a couple big, fun, scary goals for the new year. Then we went after those goals like otters on lutefisk, and kept a progress log of it all in the NaNo forums.

You can see what kinds of amazingly scary goals people set for themselves (and pulled off!) here:

Officially the YoBFSA comes to a close when NaNoWriMo 2007 begins. If you are a YoBFSA participant who has achieved one of your goals by then, please let us know by sending an email to with the subject line: BFS Winner. We'll email you a certificate in October to commemorate your achievement.

My big, fun, scary adventure? I set out to learn basic Spanish and work on my radio production skills. Did I earn the certificate? You better believe it---I'm even a proud graduate of Piedmont Adult School's Spanish 1A class. My radio production skills: still ailing. But it's a start!


We're going to be implementing a bunch of new things this year to help get the site ready for a freakishly superpowered future. These include an entirely new back-end system, a new server, and new Author Profile pages (more on this below). Some or all of these things will break spectacularly and immediately upon launch. We will hurry to fix them. They will break in different ways. We will fix them again. This will last most of October.


So you know those beautiful gray book-like author profile pages with the turning pages we've had on the site for the past three years? We're saying goodbye to them this week.

I know, I know. The design was so beautiful and sleek it made us weep. But as nice as it looked, it caused us a lot of problems, financial and otherwise. The system was built by a genius designer/programmer who created it in such a complicated way that most professional Flash programmers wouldn't touch it. Which meant every time something broke or needed an update, we had to hire a Flash Yoda who charged us Jedi-level hourly rates. Last year, adding a "Winner 2006" image to the winners' photos, changing a few text labels, and adding a European character set cost us $2000.

That made us weep too, but for different reasons. The other problem was that the tidy, magical books are very hard to slip new features into without a major overhaul. Which is bad because we receive dozens of great Author Profile page feature suggestions from participants every year, and we also have tons of our own ideas for new things we want to integrate into the pages.

We'd like comment-able novel excerpts, customizable participant blogs with room for audio and video, in-dash Twittering, an "encouragement capsule" where friends and family can upload morale-boosting messages to be released to writers when they hit certain word-count goals, and a billion more things.

As a first step towards a future where we can easily add new modules to the AP pages, we'll be launching a much more expandable system on October 1. It's clean and pretty, and over the course of the next year---knock on fundraising wood---we'll be able to add the exciting new features and powers you've been requesting. Once in place, those cool new functions will make the current Author Profile pages look gray and lifeless by comparison.

In case you missed the announcement in the last newsletter, we're going to have some extraordinary help writing the pep talks we email out to participants in November. In the last email, I revealed that NaNo 2007 authors would be receiving a pep talk from none other than novelist Sue Grafton.

Now I'm here to unveil the identities of three more of this year's NaNoWriMo pep talkers. They are...drum roll please...the ferocious Garth Nix! The fantastic Naomi Novik! And the awesome Neil Gaiman!

Yep. These writers have all answered the no-pressure-at-all call to inspire 100,000 authors in various states of noveling exaltation and despair with their kind words. We actually have eight pep talkers signed on for this year, but Tavia has asked me to wait until the site relaunches to share the identities of the other four. Which I've agreed to do. But one of them is Tom Robbins.


See? This is why I shouldn't be in charge of these things.


Did you know we run two events in November? There's NaNoWriMo, which you're already familiar with. And then there's the completely separate Young Writers Program, over at Where kids 12-and-under and K-12 classrooms taking part as a group enjoy their own private creative mayhem. Authors in the YWP get to pick their own word counts, and they receive extensive curriculum, activities, games, YWP participant and winner certificates, private forums, and a VIP lounge for teachers. We also mail a free poster, progress chart, button pack, and sticker bundle to the classrooms to help incite noveling in the students.

The whole thing has gone a little bonkers in the last couple years, growth-wise. Last year, we had 15,000 kids and teens take part. That number will likely double this year.

That’s the very good news. The bad news is that we don't have enough money to host NaNoWriMo and the Young Writers Program and continue our Libraries in Southeast Asia project.

Donating 50% of our net proceeds from donations and merchandise sales so Room to Read can build libraries on our behalf has given thousands of kids in Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam the chance to fall in love with reading. But now we want to take the next step, and help kids around the world fall in love with writing. And to do that, we need to start putting 100% of our resources into our own programs.

Happily, Room to Read is doing great. They were a tiny start-up when we first met them, but they've since mushroomed into a global philanthropic powerhouse, raising over $1,000,000 per month in donations. Go Room to Read!

Since becoming a nonprofit ourselves last year, we've struggled to find the funds we need to keep the doors open and servers humming year-round for NaNoWriMo, Script Frenzy, Young Writers Programs. With every dollar as precious as it is, we want to focus the donations we receive on what we do best: Hosting life-changing writing adventures for kids and adults.

We hope you'll join us in that goal by making a donation to NaNoWriMo when the site opens in October. We also hope that those who loved our Libraries in Southeast Asia project will continue to support Room to Read directly through their website,


So true. So true.

See you on the site in October!


Friday, September 21, 2007