new directions

March 2, 2009 at 8:41 pm (Doing, Writing) (, , , , )

Exciting things are blossoming this spring – Ink & Keys is going pro!  After lots of thinking, planning, dreaming, and researching, I’m setting up my own freelance copywriting business.  Very soon, all your copywriting needs will be met by Ink & Keys – Ethical Copy.  I’m incredibly excited.

Ink & Keys will specialise in writing for the publishing industry and for ethically and environmentally minded individuals and companies.  Book blurbs, web content, reports, advertising, letters, shoutlines – anything you want, I can turn my hand to.  If you just want to follow my adventures, I’ll be keeping you all up to date right here on this blog.

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Liars’ League

December 10, 2008 at 6:16 pm (Doing) (, , )

I’m not sure what to say about the event I went to last night.  It was very well attended, that’s for sure (I spent the evening sitting cross-legged on the floor due to lack of available chairs).  Everyone was very enthusiastic.  There were candy canes.  Um.

The basic premise is that six short stories (800-2,000 words) are read aloud by six actors.  The stories varied from fairly bad to reasonable, which was slightly disappointing, but not a giant surprise from an amateur event (that’s not to say that the quality at amateur readings is always low, because of course it’s not – I’ve heard some amazing work).  I think that the main thing that bugged me was that the actors who read the stories were so… actory.  The silly voices and over annuciation really detracted from the writing.  Yeah, I think that’s what bugged me.  I’ll give it another go, though, because maybe I’m just judgemental.

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Sorry, trees

November 5, 2008 at 11:44 am (Doing) (, , , )

I’m feeling pretty heinous about my paper consumption lately.  As a writer and a reader, I use a lot of paper – so many books, so many printed drafts.  I try to keep my printing to a minimum, editing on screen and printing double-sided, but I feel like a baddie every time I hit that print button.  Working in publishing and seeing the amount of paper that we get through is pretty scary, too, though my company is one of the best for implementing green policies and sourcing environmentally-friendly paper.  So, as I’m hardly going to stop reading or writing, I’ve been wondering what I can do.  The first step that I’ve come up with is not to send Christmas cards this year, but to buy something from Oxfam Unwrapped instead.  It’s not a big change, I grant you, but it’s a start.  I’m still doing well with my 2008 NY resolution not to use carrier bags, so I’ll definitely be adding some more green resolutions in 2009.  What do you suggest?  What gree nsteps have you been taking lately?

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Literarily floored

October 29, 2008 at 11:36 am (Doing, Reading)

I went to a poetry reading on the Southbank on Monday night. Man, did I feel out of my depth! I used to be a literary powerhouse, up to my ears in unknown authors, literary theory, discussion groups, and events and loving it, but since I got into publishing, well, I think my brain has turned to mush. Contemporary fiction coloured mush. I want literature back!

So, here’s my plan – stop reading free books from work just because they’re there. Simple, really. I’m also going to join the Poetry Library, which is lovely. I will be literary again by 2009!

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Sorry!

October 25, 2008 at 5:45 pm (Doing, Reading, Writing) (, , )

It’s been too long again – this is why I always gave up on diaries as a kid.  I’d miss writing for so long and then it didn’t feel like a true reflection of my life/thoughts/feelings, so I’d bin it.  Don’t worry, though, lit fans – I’d never give up on you.

I was in Amsterdam this weekend and then enjoyed a few restful (*ahem* lazy) days at home, so I’ve been reading, knitting, internetting, watching bad daytime TV (who are these Gilmore Girls and what the hell is happening on One Tree Hill?), and making lists of Christmas presents.  I went into a toy shop in Amsterdam and bought five presents, none of which were for children…

So, what have I been reading?  I’m still blissfully immersed in Lorrie Moore’s Collected Short Stories – so many stories!  I’m nearly done, though, and I’ve got The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco lined up next.  I’ve been missing my medieval literature lately, so that might soothe me.  Also, the name Umberto reminds me of a Point Horror novel (shush, you!) I read once; the one where the guy is chopping people up and delivering them to his next victims in pot plants.

One week until nanocraziness.  My parents are visiting that weekend, so I’ll get a late start, but I won’t be out of the country like I was for a week last year, so fingers crossed for many words.  I’m lipsty if you want to buddy me.

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Editorial ambitions

August 21, 2008 at 8:18 pm (Doing, Publishing) (, , , , )

Gosh, I’m rather terrible at updating this blog.  Bad me.  I’ve probably lost the few readers that I had.  Okay, new leaf time!  I’m in my new flat, with internet, and it’s time to stop being a lazy blogger.

Right – to the subject of this post.  I work in publishing, but I’m not exactly in the role that I want to be.  Like every English Lit graduate with their eye on the publishing game, I want to be an editor.  I’m very grateful for my current job – I landed it fairly easily, I work for a big publisher, the people are lovely, and I’ve learned so much about the industry – but I’ve been there a year and I’m not getting any younger (I graduated my BA four whole years ago, unlike many fresh-faced publishing newbies).  If I want to get into editorial before my teeth fall out, I’d better get a wriggle on.  So, when a vacancy for editorial assistant at my imprint came up, I went for it.  And didn’t get it.  I’m not bitter; in fact, I’m rather glad – the role wasn’t quite right for me, but the whole process of applying and being interviewed has given me some focus.  The job was in commercial fiction, which I made a good stab at being enthusiastic about, but the book snob won through and I was exposed for the literary luvvie that I am.  The editor who talked this through with me gave me some good advice – stick to your passions.  I could have got the job in commercial fiction and been there until 10pm every night, working my arse off but having no love for my books, but everyone involved in that scenario (me, the authors, the books) deserves better.  After a year in publishing, my conviction to be an editor is definitely still strong, but there’s no point leaping into the wrong job in my eagerness to get ‘editor’ or ‘editorial’ into my email signature.  I just have to be canny is all.  And hope that Virago come a-knocking…

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Resolutions

January 1, 2008 at 5:23 pm (Doing, Reading, Writing) ()

Well, as usual, I’ve got a list of resolutions a mile long, but you guys aren’t interested in food I’m giving up or anything like that, so I’ll break it down to the reading and writing ones for you.

1. produce a full draft of the novel I’m currently working on

2. only buy from indie bookshops (exchanging a gift from Waterstones doesn’t count, right?)

3. read more work by writers I’ve not previously read

4. keep this blog up to date with lots of reading and writing gems

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Reading in coffee shops

December 3, 2007 at 9:59 pm (Doing, Reading) (, )

So, how long do you think that you can eek out one decaf filter coffee whilst engrossed in a good book?  My record in Prague last week was one hour and twenty minutes – at that point the very cold dregs in the bottom of my cup no longer constituted a drink and I felt compelled to move on.   Despite having spent a whole 40 koruna (about a quid) and mimed a pulsing migraine to specify the necessary decaffeinated nature of my beverage, I felt guilty for taking up a chair when I no longer had any drink left.  Or did I feel that if I stayed any longer, I’d be obliged to buy another coffee?  Just what is the etiquette of time versus cups?

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See you in December

November 22, 2007 at 9:00 pm (Doing)

Ink & Keys is off on a well deserved holiday!  I promise to blog lots of exciting things on my return…

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Indies vs chains

November 17, 2007 at 5:37 pm (Doing, Publishing, Reading, Seeing) (, , )

I recently made a pledge to myself that I was no longer going to buy from bookshop chains and, instead, I would do my little bit to support indies and secondhand bookshops.  Living in London, this is not a hard thing to do – I have already found a fabulous indie that I’ve fallen in love with and I spent this morning in and out of the secondhand bookshops on Charing Cross Road.  Books are the driving force in these shops and the atmosphere that they create is fantastic.

I’ve never really liked Waterstone’s and, despite having worked in one during my MA, I’m not a big fan of Borders, either.  I find these chains terribly sterile and loaded with crap like book lights, Japanese-gardens-in-a-box, and nodding alien things rather than literature.  The thought of buying books from Tesco or Asda frankly makes my skin crawl – “Oh, I’ll have some onions, Quorn sausages, shampoo, and, yes, the new Charles Frazier, please.”  I understand what attracts people to these chains; it’s the cheap prices and reassuring uniformity.  Luckily, none of the books that I would consider buying are ever in the ‘buy for a fraction of the price ensuring that no one except the store makes any money’ offers, so I can trot down to my gorgeous, full-price indie without my wallet protesting that I’m forgoing a bargain.

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