Stuck for something to read last night, I tripped across a book called 'The Screenwriter's Workbook' by Syd Field and pulled it down. His approach would probably strike most writers as brutally structuralist, being as it is an approach to creating the standard three act/two plot point movie script, but for all that I've always found his stuff good for inspiration regardless of what I'm actually writing. Like he says himself, writing a script (or in my case a book) is a little like climbing a mountain in the sense that you're aware of the rock immediately below you and the one immediately above you, but you're not aware of the whole mountain. You just deal with each small situation at the time and forget the rest. The Workbook is like having the opportunity to take a step back and take a look at the way something is built, in terms of its underlying structure. Stealing Light is without doubt the most carefully structured thing I've ever worked on, and it's an approach I believe is working for me.
The McKenzie book on back exercises came through the post today and, as I suspected, it's pretty much the same as the exercises the NHS physio gave me a couple of months ago. Those worked at the time, but then I got worse again. Probably, in retrospect, because I was still doing a sucky job sitting in a crap chair at a desk, a substantial portion of which, I suspect, started life as a door.
Again, things are improving, slowly: I tried one or two of the exercises this morning and did in fact feel some improvement, so perhaps all the online praise does indeed count for something. The nice thing about having the book is it explains why your back is the way it is. The physio I had was nice enough, but had a bad habit of forgetting she wasn't talking to another physio and flinging a horrendous variety of technical terms at me before flinging me, really none the wiser, out the door again.