October 30, 2010

NaNoReMo - an alternative challenge for November

As I said in my last post, I'm feeling a bit left out of the writerly group hug that is NaNoWriMo. So when I read that author Natalie Whipple was doing NaNoReMo instead, I thought I might hitch myself to that wagon.

Also, I just happen to have 12 novels balanced atop my bedside at the moment following a successful visit to the library and an out-of-control bookbinge at the Borders warehouse sale last weekend,* so my reading list is already sorted:
* at $1 to $5 each, it would have been a crime to leave them languishing there, wouldn't it? Even if the bookshelves chez Fantapants are about to split their sides...

October 28, 2010

No, no NaNo

Since I'm not spending too many hours at the Day Job at the moment, I had been toying with the idea of attempting NaNoWriMo again this year, even though my last attempt at it was a dismal failure. (I got to 20,000 words and realised that the plot, characters and action of the book I planned to write weren't worth pursuing. It was disappointing, but at least working at NaNoWriMo speed made the ensuing failure apparent in two weeks, instead of the two months I might have spent trying to prod and poke that dead donkey back to life if I wasn't on some sort of deadline.) If nothing else, I was attracted by the promise of getting the new Scrivener for Windows at half price if I made the word count.*

But my plans have been skittled by a new schedule for revising 'Little Sister'**, which means that most of November will be consumed with filling plotholes and tying up loose strands of back story. So, inspired by Kate and Meghan, who both used October as a quasi-NaNoWriMo for their WIPs, I now plan to celebrate Ja(nuary)Lo(cal)Ma(nuscript)Mo(nth).

To all the NaNoWriMo-ers out there preparing to do battle, I salute you and I leave you with wise observations from 2009 NaNo participant, John Green. Happy writing!

* having downloaded the beta version of Scrivener for Windows recently I reckon it's worth paying full price for, anyway. I'm considering proposing to its virtual corkboard.
** now due to be published in May 2011.

October 24, 2010

October 21, 2010

What she watched: Made in Dagenham

Made in Dagenham is a dramatisation of the 1968 strike by women workers at Ford's Dagenham (UK) plant which led to the Equal Pay Act. It's a heartfelt, heartwarming, Full Monty of a film which left most of the (full) cinema smiling.

The movie captures the feeling of working class England in the late 60s well. Peppered amongst the scenes of the women picketing the factory, taking their protest on the road to other Ford factories and garnering media attention for their cause are snippets from the characters' private lives - mums' run-ins with bullying teachers, husbands suffering from post-traumatic stress after WWII, the girl who aspires to be the next Twiggy. While some of these kitchen drama scenes add to the film's themes, others seem to have been included for 'awww' value (in particular, the repeated references by the women about each other's clothes really started to annoy me).

For me, the most interesting aspect of Made in Dagenham is its critical look at the union 'boys' club' at the time, particularly the men at the top and their complicity in the continued discrimination against female workers (in the interests of the greater population of male workers).* As a longtime union member, this was a side of unionism I'd not considered before, and a poignant reminder of how hard women have had to fight to realise something approaching equality, even amongst those who claim to support us.

As the movie's postscript tells us, two years after the women's dispute was resolved by MP Barbara Castle (played in true Queenie style by the lovely Mirada Richardson) the UK's Equal Pay Act was established. What isn't mentioned is the fact that, 40 years later, women are still paid less than men, which seemed like either an odd oversight by the filmmakers, or a deliberate omission so as not to interfere with the movie's happy ending...I don't know which is worse.

I leave you with some inspiration from Brother Billy

*That said, Mr Fantapants felt that dividing the men in the film into two camps - evil-doers (the union heavies, Ford management) and bumbling fools (the lead character's husband, the female MP's parliamentary secretaries) - was one of the film's weak points. In fact, the only male character who comes off with any balance is the factory's union rep (played by Bob Hoskins, natch), whose desire to see the women workers treated equally is explained by the fact that his mum was a single parent.

October 20, 2010

Sex, drugs and vampires in Sydney this November

I'm going to be on a panel discussion called 'Sex, drugs and vampires: everything you secretly wanted to know about young adult fiction but were too afraid to ask' at Surry Hills Library in Sydney on 26 November (despite the fact that Finding Freia Lockhart contains none of the titular elements, ssssh!). Also on the panel will be Georgia Blain, Laura Buzo and William Kostakis - fine company to be keeping, methinks!

Sydneysiders, I hope to see you there :)

October 4, 2010

A postcard from Seattle

Generally, the only mail to grace the Chez Fantapants letterbox is bills, so I was chuffed when the postie brought a postcard from Anna of little.red.boat. The postcard was sent as part of Anna's Snailr Project, in which she travelled 7000 miles around the USA by train and offered to send postcards from her trip to strangers.

I was even more chuffed to see that the postcard illustrated the 'types of moustache visible in gentlemen of the United States' and discovered that Mr Fantapants himself sports a (mini) 'Seattle':

Here's what the postcard said:
Interesting fact: The men of Seattle, Washington are an alarmingly over-groomed lot. I notice it first with one guy whose eyebrows have been plucked to within an inch of their lives, and whose hair looks like the painted-on helmet of a GI Joe. I assume he's an exception brought about by his equally well-manicured girlfriend; but five minutes later I spot another, hair hard and not one strand out of place, eyebrows too thin, too short, and with a constant look of startlement. And then I notice they're ALL like this. The men of Seattle have too much time (and moisturiser) on their hands. OFFICIAL.

Hehe, couldn't agree more. Thanks Anna.