Friday, 28 November 2008

"BRrrrrrrrrrrr - Cold writing"

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The last few weeks have been challenging but this week I've been able to breathe a sigh of relief and even try to get some of my own writing done! So I decided to pay a visit to my recently abandoned writing hut and..............WOW it was COLD!!!!

I needed the following to get settled and writing:

Furry Slipper Boots
Pair of wellie shoes
(for crossing the mud)
Two oversized jumpers
One warm thermal top
A stripy wool hat
Large mug of hot tea
Packet of Ginger-nuts
Laptop, journal, glasses
A fab fan heater
And a table lamp
Super comfy chair
Last but not least, my -
IMAGINATION

The good news is that once the fab fan heater got going and my fingers defrosted, I did get some writing done.

So I'm back in the land of the semi-awake. I've managed to do a little bit of writing. The Bodmin Bookworm is going well with students from Robartes, Berrycoombe, St Petrocs and St Tudy having sent some fab writing on History, Myths and Legends to read. (Click on the links if you want to have a read and/or leave comments) I have no more hospital appointments until after Christmas (hope I haven't tempted fate here). So now I intend to begin catching up with your blogs.

Oh and I guess I really should start preparing for Christmas.............

Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells.....................

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Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Floating away with exhaustion....

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Just a little note to say that I haven't given up on blogging I am just simply exhausted. It is a busy time with half term, children's Birthdays and lots more stuff that comes with being a Mum ..... And health wise.....well I won't bore you......but suffice to say it is slowing me down. On the writing front things are up and down. I am just managing to keep up with my Bodmin Bookworm job. The November theme is 'History, Myths and Legends'. We still have a lot of work to do getting the project going. At the moment we get a lot of writing submissions from a couple of schools but not others.

I'll try and write something more interesting just as soon as I can find matchsticks that don't keep snapping under the weight of my eyelids!
Love to all!
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Thursday, 16 October 2008

Blog Award, Post Pals, Writing progress


A BIG thank you to Pat from Write up the Hill for this, my first ever blogging award. It has put a big smile on my face - turning a pants day into a much brighter one.

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Apparently recipients of this award have to answer the following questions using one word answers. I am not known for being succinct but here goes.............
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1. Where is your cell phone? handbag

2. Where is your significant other? upstairs

3. Your hair color? brown

4. Your mother? Leicestershire

5. Your father? London

6. Your favorite thing? friendship

7. Your dream last night? Bizarre

8. Your dream/goal? published novelist (ok so that was 2)

9. The room you're in? lounge

10. Your hobby? crafts

11. Your fear? Loss

12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Here

13. Where were you last night? lounge

14. What you're not? mean

15. One of your wish-list items? holiday

16. Where you grew up? Leicestershire

17. The last thing you did? Read (with kids)

18. What are you wearing? jeans

19. Your TV? Off

20. Your pets? None

21. Your computer? On

22. Your mood? relaxed(ish)

23. Missing someone? Nan

24. Your car? Old

25. Something you're not wearing? G-string knickers (ouch)

26. Favorite store? Bookshop

27. Your summer? wet

28. Love someone? Yes

29. Your favorite color? Red

30. When is the last time you laughed? Today

31. Last time you cried? Today

OK, I also have to pass this award onto another 5 blogs that I love (and who haven't already got this award) – this is a bit hard because I love many more than 5 but here goes....



Michelle - Kernow Creations ; Nik - Watching 9987 ; JJ - Tea Stains ;

Caroline - Caroline Smailes & Paige - The Last Word .

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OTHER NEWS..........

I've finished writing the first draft of my young children's book that I mentioned last week. I've really enjoyed writing this story and I'm hoping that the editing process won't kill my love of it.

Anyway...I was inspired to write this story by the brave children I've encountered at POST PALS. Post Pals is a charity that asks volunteers to send post/cards/letters/gifts to sick children. A simple, affordable & effective way for anyone to bring smiles to children & their family. Please check out their website at http://www.postpals.co.uk/ .

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

New Ideas & All Things Scary

The Bodmin Bookworm theme for this month is 'All things scary'. What is a little bit scary is facing groups of children in assemblies and classrooms. But I'm having fun. We've only just started to receive writing submissions - it would be great if you could pay the site a visit and leave comments on children's work. (so far: Lanivet & St Tudy schools have submissions)

After practicing to be a human pin cushion (lumbar puncture) -I've found the past couple of weeks a bit of a struggle health wise. I got a bit down about not being able to keep up with my own writing and blogging.

BUT a few days ago I started writing a new story that I feel positive about. It is such a buzz to be writing again. It's as if writing works as a powerful drug on my mood. When I lose myself in my writing it is the most wonderful exhilarating feeling.

Friday, 19 September 2008

Writing Desert


A few definitions of desert: dry, barren, uncultivated, uninhabited
Also can mean: abandon
Both of these would describe my writing week!!
Do not confuse with dessert: sweet
Yes I can almost taste the sand in my dry mind.
Yes I am panicking.
Why are some weeks so fertile and yet others so barren?
Back to 'dessert' - with its one more 's' - maybe that will stimulate my mind and cheer my sombre mood.
Off to find something which contains copious amounts of sugar!

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Phew! Bookworm frenzy!


I've been working hard on designing/writing the Bodmin Bookworm. This afternoon I've made all pages 'live'. The 16 blog pages are still under construction and need more work but if you want to have a browse click on www.bodminbookworm.blogspot.com and follow the links etc. If you have any (tactful) suggestions please let me know.
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Michelle & I have also been working together on the posters and leaflets ready for the Bodmin Bookworm launch date on the 22nd September 2008. Michelle has written about this on her blog: www.kernowcreations.blogspot.com .
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I am sorry that I am slow catching up with some of your blogs. It's been a rough week health wise and my energy has mostly gone on the Bookworm.
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My one treat was to see 'The Duchess' on the cinema yesterday afternoon. I loved it. But then I'm a sucker for a costume drama. The movie website is: www.theduchessmovie.co.uk . The acting, I thought, was brilliant. High emotions, romance and drama with a splattering of beautiful actors and scenery. Fab!
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Ok - must get off this computer before I become a permanent part of it. I have a 'Crunchie' chocolate bar awaiting me (if I can ignore the beseeching looks of my children who have already had their chocolate treat and would now quite like to eat mine!).

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

BACK HOME! And all change....



I'm back home! The map above shows the regions we've been visiting. Not sure if it's readable but hey it looks colourful.

Kids are back at school tomorrow so have just been doing the mad hunt for their PE bags, showers, nit comb, ironing etc.. My baby is starting full-time school - bless - so both my children will be out from 9am until 3.15pm.

So what will I do with my time?

1. I have a new and exciting job, working a few hours a week, mainly from home. It involves me creating, editing and managing multiple blogs for a local creative writing initiative that will involve all school aged children in the immediate area. (One community college, 11 primary & home school) The aim is to promote reading, writing and creativity in a fun way. The blogs will showcase submitted work and offer a chance to read and share ideas. More info to come but here's a sneak preview of an option for the logo (note the link is not yet active)



2. After editing and editing I've decided I now hate the children's book I've written. I can't bare to look at it. I feel it has let me down. Changed from the book it promised to be. I feel cheated. I realise that those of you who advised me to put the book away for a while before beginning edits were right!!!! So now feeling as I do, I'm putting away the evil manuscript for a while. As of tomorrow I start transforming some scribbled notes into a plot outline for a new book I want to write - a fantasy adventure aimed at the 12+ age band. I'm soooooooooooo excited.

And over the next few days I plan to catch up with all of your blogs.

So new school term, new job, new book - all change.




Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Holidays and Wordless Recreation.

NO I haven't disappeared from Blogland!

The kids and I are stopping with my mum up-country and have embarked on a heavy visiting schedule - taking in family and friends that we don't see as often as we'd like because of the distance involved. Hubbie is left at home, working and enjoying peace and quiet.

Ahhhh! The school summer holidays - they sure do eat up my delicious writing time and leave me with childcare indigestion!! Yet, it's also good to spend time with my babies.

Meanwhile, my time and access to a computer is limited. Therefore, please forgive me for not keeping up with your wonderful blogs.

Although behind with my writing yesterday I read about a concept that Dorothea Brande discusses in her classic book 'Becoming a Writer'. It is the idea that 'wordless recreation' can be beneficial for a writer. By starving yourself of reading, talking, writing (and any activity that involves words) on returning to your writing you will be eager and inspired. Personally, I see it as a time for the unconscious mind to mull over ideas and concepts. It would give the wordy 'chatty' side of my mind a rest. I've never consciously carved out 'wordless' time but often desperately crave reflection/meditative time alone. I can see how it may benefit my writing. I intend to start incorporating 'wordless recreation' into my schedule (or at least will do when the kids are back at school).

Oh and......a note for Nik's Disco Kettle - my mum's kettle has a very curvaceous figure and seductive 'ding'. Could there be a potential romance for DK?

Thursday, 31 July 2008

Day 2 of Black Boxes Photo shoot......

I was in BIG trouble with my daughter yesterday because she hadn't been included in Caroline's photo competition. So, dodging the rain, I took some photos using her in them. She's happy now. Sorry Caroline - I promise that this is my last entry.









Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Black Boxes Photo competition....

So here are my entries to the Caroline Smailes Black Boxes photo competition. See http://openingblackboxes.blogspot.com for details and other people's entries. I have only posted them in small format and so the badge isn't clear to read however, on the competition blog they should be easier to see.

This was a costly photo shoot........I had to pay my son with chocolate, the monkey with a knitted banana and the parrot with a taste of freedom!

Please note: no animals were harmed in the making of these photos.











Friday, 25 July 2008

Inkheart....bringing characters to life


I've just finished reading 'Inkheart' by Cornelia Funke. (Still having problems with my thumb/hand so using my time to read more)
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Inheart centres around characters who are able to bring written fiction to life when reading aloud. There are a couple of problems with this skill. One: when a fictional character appears in our world, something or someone from our world must disappear to replace it. Another drawback of this talent is that it can be dangerously unpredictable and lets face it there are certain fictional beings that are best kept between the pages of a book. This book cleverly plays on people's love of books, the magic of story, escapism and the joy of being read to. It explores the relationships between reader, author and characters. This is (again) a children's book but if like me you are a nutter for books and story then I suggest you give this book a try. There are plans for Inkheart to be made into a film by the same people who made the Lord of the Rings films.
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So I ask you to consider the following questions:
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1) a) Which of your creations/characters would you most like to see come to life?
b) And what would you say to them?
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2) a) Which character/creation would you least like to see in this world, and why?
b) How would you react to seeing them/it in the flesh?
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If you want to read any more about Inkheart then click here for the review on the Chicken House website or/and visit www.corneliafunkefans.com .

Friday, 18 July 2008

931 words.....and still the fear

I managed to write 931 words today - hoorah! After the setback with my thumb/hand I am pleased to be writing again.
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I was busy carving up my wayward first chapter when Michelle stepped in and offered me some sound advice. This resulted in me writing a new first chapter with the idea of using the original as chapter 2.
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Confused? Can't blame you. I confuse myself!
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So I should be happy. You'd think! But,
I'm worried...
Scared...
Terrified...
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Of what?
Well - let me ask you - how do you know if you're any good at writing stories? I've loved reading and creating stories my whole life. I've finally decided to take it seriously. Every day I continue to write, pouring my heart and soul into this labour of love. I ache to be a published author with my book on a bookshop shelf. Yet, I don't know if I'm any good. What if I'm kidding myself?
But...then I ask myself the question: would you write even if you knew you'd never get published? And the answer would be 'yes'. Strangely enough. Even when I've been unable to write for just a few days, I miss it. I feel like a piece of me is mourning and I become grouchy.
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This writing lark sure is strange - don't you think?
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On a lighter note.....I've just finished reading yet another book 'The Joshua Files: Invisible City' by MG Harris. A very good read. The scholastic website blurb summarises the book like this:
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" An ancient civilization is awakening. An ancient Maya prophecy is unfolding. One boy - Joshua - holds the key. When his archaeologist father goes missing in Mexico, Josh suspects alien abduction. But when he realises his dad was murdered, Josh is caught in a race to find the legendary 'Ix Codex' - a lost Mayan prophecy which predicts the end of the world."
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In fact the book is better than the blurb - which is always great news and often not the case! On http://www.lovereading4kids.co.uk/ they have placed the book in the recommended areas for the 9+ and 11+ age group. But I'm 31+ so yet again age banding is inaccurate :-) Oh and the paperback book comes inside a unique bright orange plastic sleeve which not only looks great, stands out on the shelf (great marketing) but also protects the book!
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M G Harris has an interesting blog of her own at www.mgharris.net which is worth a visit.
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At the moment I'm obsessed with children and young adult fiction - the sense of adventure and fast pace is addictive. I soooooooo want to be as good as some of the writer's I'm reading!
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Off to read more kiddie fiction..........................

Monday, 14 July 2008

Read, read, read....

I am sorry I've not been blogging. Just as my eye gets better I develop a nerve problem in my right hand (all the fun of MS). So I've had to take a few days break from pen and keyboard! Excuses over!

So what have I been doing...............lots and lots of reading. I figure that this is still productive because all writers must read. The advantage is that I love reading.

What have I been reading over the past few days????

"Outcast" by Michelle Paver

"In Search of Adam" by Caroline Smailes

"Give me a Sign" by Shanta Everington

"Midnight for Charlie Bone" by Jenny Nimmo

All very different books, All very good. Check out the links by clicking on the author's names.

Now I'm off to catch up with all of you in blogland.

Monday, 7 July 2008

The Flubbafish family & lack of patience........


'3' things......

FIRSTLY - enough laughing, I know I can't draw. But I thought I'd share my rather 'special' example that I made for the Junior creative writing club at school.

Today, Michelle and I asked them to create characters for an alien family recently arrived on Earth. They decided that the family would be called the 'Flubbafish' family. Mum, Dad, sister, brother and pet Floop (hybrid hamster/seal/....) were created. Their artwork was far superior to mine (not that that's difficult, but it was very good). We had lots of fun drawing, colouring, sticking on post-it notes and creating personalities. Next week we'll create their home planet and write a Flubbafish family diary detailing their first experiences of our world.

Today's session was great fun and I'm looking forward to next week. This colourful way of creating characters is just as useful for us adults (especially if you're like me and have never grown out of colouring and sticking.)

Go on - give it a go!

SECONDLY - I FINISHED my first edit on Friday. Feels good.

THIRDLY - I've only just realised that writing requires a lot of patience.

OH poop! This is not a personality trait I possess!

I wish I'd realised this at seven years old when I set my heart on making writing my career! Or at least considered the 'need for patience' when a year ago I decided to treat my writing as a job and not just a hobby! All this editing, more editing and then waiting to hear back from subs (and I haven't even got to this stage yet)............I feel myself getting tense.........what if I don't live long enough?...... Aghhhh!!!!

I get impatient : at the lack of hours in the day; with not being able to write more; at not getting time for research; that my writing is not improving, my knowledge not growing fast enough and with needing greater energy to write out all the stories in my head. I could go on.... but 'not' has appeared too many times in this paragraph for my liking.

But I do love writing. So......................I guess this a 'life lesson'. I must overcome my impatient nature (and lack of grammatical skill) and be a writer despite my personality faults.

I want to be a published author - Now, now, NOW, NOW, NOW!!!!!!!!!! (stamping my feet, clenching my fists, gnashing my teeth, red in the face...........................and reaching for the Yellow Pages to look for 'Patience Therapists'......P....Pa......)

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Cute excuse........


Minty - my friend's new puppy........

I would have written far more today but I was doing a bit of puppy sitting. Isn't he adorable? You've got to admit he's a pretty good excuse for not working hard. Of course I will transform my puppy sitting experience into a literary masterpiece. Does that mean I can count it as 'research'? Can that few hours of cuddles, play and mopping up be considered part of my writing experience? The thing about having a good imagination is that I use it for bad stuff - like creating far fetched excuses for procrastination!! I promise to go and do some more editing just as soon as I've finished this post - paw on heart!


Ok - Tam tagged me to do this Meme. So you can write to Tam if you fall asleep reading this. Actually, it was the first time I've been personally tagged - thanks Tam - I'm chuffed.

What were you doing ten years ago?

Pre kids. Working as a sweetie rep for Trebor Bassett. Socialising lots more. Sleeping in on Sunday mornings. Amateur musical theatre. Cub scout leader. Part of Melton Mowbray writing club. Having piano lessons with a fascinating and intelligent lady from Brazil. Buying too many shoes. Keeping the local pubs in business!

Five things on my to do list for today

Well day's nearly over but it was:

1) finish doing my first edit of book (also known as making pretty colourful scribbles) - still to do!

2) Do my 100 words (seperate to edit) - still to do!

3) Learn how to use my new dishwasher that hubbie only plumbed in last night. (I am sooooo excited - no more washing-up or moaning about the mess on my sides)

4) Puppy sit.

5) Sort out boring pile of paperwork and finances. (this one is carried over daily)

What are three of your bad habits?

1) Talking too loud and too much (apparently)

2) Worrying

3) Bit grim - but - scratching my scalp when I'm nervous.

Other than this I am damn well perfect! Would I lie to you?


What would you do if you were a billionaire?
Spend lots spoiling the ones I love. Write (and get published - hey I'll have plenty of bribe money). Buy a gorgeous old house with land, sea view and a library. Set up a literacy charity. Travel and learn about as many different cultures and places as I can. More charity - I'd hate to be rolling in it whilst other people aren't.

What are some snacks you enjoy?

Chocolate (I couldn't survive without it). Red Wine (is that a snack? - don't care it is to me). Chilli Heatwave Doritos (oh hell these are the bane of my waistline at the moment). Cashew nuts (unsalted). Oh and loads more but I'm already sounding like an unhealthy bloater!!!

What were the last five books you read?
Wolf Brother (Michelle Paver)

Spirit Walker (Michelle Paver)

The Dream Master (Theresa Breslin)

The Dream Master Nightmare (Theresa Breslin)

The Welsh Girl (Peter Ho Davies)

ALL great books!!

What five jobs have you had?

Natwest - branch customer services (hated it)

Events organiser for Go-Karting track (men in suits fulfilling their dream of F1 success).

Powergen - business customer services

Sales & Law Recruitment (finding jobs for clever people)

Trebor Bassett (part of Cadbury) - Area Sales Representative (busy eating boot full of freebies meant for customers)

Name five places I have lived

Melton Mowbray (pork pie land)

Vale of Belvoir (just up the road from Melton but sounds good)

York (great city)

Canada (Well...in truth I haven't lived there. Haven't even visited. But I needed another to make five and it looks beautiful)

Cornwall (North and West - gorgeous, gorgeous place)

Okay YOU CAN WAKE UP NOW!!!! Stop snoring, it's making me sad! My life will be sooooo much more interesting when I'm a hugely successful author. Think JK Rowling and double the success & opportunities (is that possible?) Anyway.........when that time comes could someone be sure to tag me for a Meme so that I can show off. Thanks :-)

Sunday, 29 June 2008

Invitation.....ordinary detail....

The photo today is one I took at my God daughter's Birthday party which was held in a beautiful setting. (Behind me games & cakes continued) The open gate seems to be like an invitation to 'come on in'. If we were invited into our character's lives what would we find? What personal yet mundane things would be discovered? Often ordinary details reveal a lot about the person. I've tried to think of some examples and made them into a type of 'Meme' set of questions. I've answered the following 6 questions as me. But the same questions could be directed at our fictional characters.



Q1: What is by your bedside/on your bedside table?


A1: By my bedside on the chest of drawers is: a jewellery box; glass of water; half drunk cup of camomile tea; three books (Spirit Walker by Michelle Paver, In Search of Adam by Caroline Smailes and The Pack by Tom Pow); a pen; notepad; set of mini drawers full of craft bits; book catalogue; bedside lamp (ceramic tree house lamp that have had since childhood).



Q2: Name ten things that are in your fridge:


A2: One pot of Humus (nearly empty); one pot of Moroccan flavour humus; salad stuff; cheddar; semi-skimmed milk; green pesto; strawberries; Muller yoghurts; mayonnaise; Total Greek yoghurt.

Q3: Name 5 things that are in your handbag/briefcase:

A3: Many receipts dating back to the dark ages; reading glasses; various vouchers that I'll forget to use; assortment pens; mini notebook. (There is lots, lots more in those dark scary depths)

Q4: Name three web addresses that will come up automatically on your search bar with only the first letter as a prompt:

A4: Amazon, blogger and eBay.

Q5: What's in that unassigned junk drawer where all the clutter gets put?

A5: Cables for goodness knows what; assortment of batteries; a coaster; spare Christmas tree light bulbs; sellotape; plug adaptor; various pens and pencils; used stamps waiting to be sent for charity Post Pals.................................could go on because it's amazing what can be housed in this Tardis like drawer.

Q6: Describe five of the pictures that hang on the walls of your home:

A6: Photo of a Springer Spaniel pup in a spring; Black and white old photo of 'Mousehole' in West Cornwall (near Penzance and where hubbie proposed); Forest scene painted by late step-grandmother; Photos of my children; Acrylic painting of boats in small cove (also by late step-gran).

Okay, so you get the idea. I tag everyone who reads this to either answer as themselves or one of their characters. But only if you want to :-)

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Sea Dreams...

Above is a picture I took in Fowey on Monday. A gorgeous sunny day. It was our 7th wedding anniversary and we spent part of the day gazing at the sparkling water and pretending to be yuppy yacht owners. I think our clothes and the fact we had to count out change to pay for lunch, kinda gave it away. LOL.

When I look at this photo I feel as if I'm travelling out to sea and suddenly my imagination takes me on an adventure.

I took lots of photos and spurred on by Michelle at Kernow Creations http://www.kernowcreations.blogspot.com/ I intend to download some onto Red Bubble http://www.redbubble.com/. Also visit Michelle's new blog http://www.michellethirtysomethings.blogspot.com/ where she has written an amazing thirty minute piece that may require hankies.

The editing is going slowly. I feel very grouchy and I think it's because for the past few days I've not written anything for the fun and love of it. It's weird how much I 'need' to write. Anyone else feel like that? Tomorrow, I think I'll do a timed piece on the photo above and let myself sail away on a sea of dreams.



Sunday, 22 June 2008

What if? Danny Wallace style....



As a writer I love the 'what if?' writing prompt. (What if I was a super hero? What if the moon fell out of the sky? etc.....) In fact I've spent an entire life day dreaming and have considered many a 'what if?' scenario.

Jonathon Ross had writer Danny Wallace (http://www.dannywallace.com/) as a guest on his Friday night show. He has taken the 'what if?' principle to the funny extremes and made a successful career from it. He's written about trying to become a King, inadvertently started a cult and written about his adventures when trying to catch up with old school friends. If you are able to, watch him on http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/. Look in the 'last 7 days' - Friday 20th June.

Danny Wallace creates his own writing material just by putting a 'what if I did this?' into practical action. For instance he talks about how he considered 'what if I said yes to everything?' Whereas I would use this prompt for a piece of fiction; he actually tries the idea and writes about his experiences.

The possibilities for fiction & non-fiction are endless. It was interesting to see how someone else used 'what if?' As per usual I'm excited by the potential for creativity.

PS sorry if I'm not posting/commenting as much as usual - still having problems with my vision. Whinge & excuses over!

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Snail pace editing....& TV book clubs



It seems that I am very slow at editing. Is this perhaps something I will improve at with practice? I dearly hope so. I had a bad day with my eye yesterday. Today I covered my virgin copy with red, blue and green. Using these permanent 'Sharpie' markers was intoxicating. Unfortunately this added high did nothing to improve my progress!

I passionately want to mould this story into a book I can be proud of. This leaves me feeling something akin to stage fright every time I sit down to work.

On a different topic: I just had a leaflet on Richard and Judy's Summer Reads enclosed with my Book People leaflet. They offer all eight books for £24.99 with free p&P (www.thebookpeople.co.uk). Wish I had the money :-( . I have to admit that the Richard and Judy Book club (www.richardandjudybookclub.co.uk) often includes some very good reads. TV book clubs like this, offer reading inspiration to the masses which seems to be a good thing. I especially enjoy the author interviews they include on their show. I am obsessed with learning about authors; their writing lives, writing tips and inspiration.

Monday, 16 June 2008

Ready, Steady, Edit.....

I have printed out my first draft and I smile. Then I panic a little as I think (aka worry)....... Now I have to edit it. It has to be so good that someone will want to publish it. What if I miss some obvious style faux pas and am laughed out of the publishing world? Etc. Etc.

So then I rush up to my bookshelf. I am sure that I have at least one book that advises on editing a novel. On my shelf I find "The Marshall Plan for Novel Writing" by Evan Marshall. It is a little dusty and forgotten. When I bought it a few years ago, I thumbed through and read little. This time I quickly search the contents and find the section on editing. There is lots of useful advice. But I'm not that comforted. Why? Because with so much to consider; I am feeling a little nervous.

I do a small search on the internet. One of the first sites I find is http://www.suite101.com/writingandublishing. On this I find plenty of advice. In fact, I see myself spending much time browsing some promising looking articles and perusing the blog links.

My complete first draft sits next to me. I look at it lovingly. There are still no coloured pen edits and the pages are pristine. Tomorrow, I will begin to carve it up with a new set of felt pens!

Any kind and useful tips/comments will be gratefully received.

Thursday, 12 June 2008

First Draft Completed.....

CELEBRATE!!!!

A quick post as my eye is sore & blurred *****I have just completed the first draft of my children's book.******* Hooray! I am very very very excited. I am celebrating with the above drink. I know the editing and redrafting is before me, but for tonight I am just very happy to have the book completed in its raw state. Yippee :-)

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Hidden story....


This is one view of my writing space looking tidy and serene. A fifteen pound tiny desk from the paper which I have a soft spot for. An old dining chair adorned with a chintz cushion from a car boot. If someone had told me ten years ago that I'd love floral chintz I would have suggested they didn't know me very well. Yet when I saw this tasselled cushion amongst someones unwanted tools and toys I knew it had found a home with me. On the desk is a giant shell for burning incense and a coaster that I painted myself on an evening with friends at a paint-your-own pottery shop (www.4u2paint.co.uk) . Even looking at the photo makes me homesick for that little writing space. However, this photo shows only half of the story..........................


Here (on the right) is some of the clutter and unappealing lack of organisation that I left out of the first photo. Doesn't look so serene now, does it? And this is actually more organised than the rabble I have inside my house. But when I'm at my desk and open up my laptop, I look at the greenery out of the window, listen to the stream and ignore the clutter elsewhere. Once I'm writing, I'm in a different world anyway.

So do I have a point to all this????? Well yes, a tenuous one. It made me think of the hidden story in every 'thing' and 'person' we encounter. We can learn of the reality and true story. But we can also look past the reality and look for the million fantastical possibilities.

How exciting: as writers we are like detectives searching for real and imagined truth. We discover and reveal a multitude of worlds and people that without us would never be known. How fab is that?

From my positive tone you can probably guess that I did have a successful writing day. I am a chapter further on and am now much closer to the end than the beginning of the book!!!! :D If anybody is out there reading this, I'd love to know how you feel about your writing.

Monday, 9 June 2008

Writing: Ups and downs......

Okay - so I was soooo pleased with my writing output on Saturday but then......yesterday I got distracted at the beach and then today its 2pm and I've not got a word further. How is it that one day I am inspired and dynamic; then another day I'm uninspired and lazy? Deep down I know that I am just procrastinating and the best thing I can do is go down to my little hut and start writing. I will ignore the anxiety, make myself a coffee and try. Do you think Jane Austen ever had this problem???

Saturday, 7 June 2008

Sunny writing day...

Today I am happy because I managed to write approximately two and a half thousand words of my children's story. I'm also enjoying my photo writing challenge. The photo on my last post resulted in a fantasy piece of writing; which shows that an ordinary photo doesn't have to produce ordinary writing. There are other worlds and extraordinary creatures to be found in the most mundane and unexpected places.

I've also been exploring the world of blogging and have subsequently added a few new links. So as you can see, my eye is doing much better; long may it last and improve further! However, now it is time to give it a well earned rest in the hope that it'll be up for more tomorrow!

Thursday, 5 June 2008

New writing photo challenge...

I'm setting myself a minor challenge to use as a writing exercise. I'll use it as a type of writing warm-up or just an added bit of practice. I'm going to take a photo and then write about it. So instead of picking an image out of a magazine at random and doing some spontaneous free writing; instead I'm going to create my own pictures of different subjects that capture my interest. I'm planning that the creative process will happen at two levels; the visual and the written. I'll let you know how I get on!


Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Writing Life

Since Moira Andrew's workshop (see post 21st May) I have been inspired to not just journal everyday events but to try and attempt to create poetry from them. The past few days it has amused me to note just how much moaning us British people do about the weather. So today, I created a poem from my recent conversational moans with others. My little girl learnt to ride a bike recently and so I wrote a short poem celebrating this milestone. Similarly I wrote about my children's first experiences of kite flying. All these topics are mundane and will probably never be published. However, I am glad that I am flexing a writing muscle that is under exercised by trying to record events not just as journal prose but also in the form of poetry.

Saturday, 31 May 2008

Family writing day......


Today I hosted a writing day for some adult writer friends and their children. The challenge was for me to create writing activities that would keep both adults and children engaged. In addition I also wanted to be able to join in myself and write.
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There were five adults and five children. For the youngest children (aged 3 &4) I arranged some simple colouring and left them to play. The eldest three children were all six years old and impressed me with their standard of work. They created a fictional character using worksheets I designed and then made this character the hero of an adventure story. The end result was a handmade mini book with illustrations. We adults did exercises on the themes of obsessions, phobias and storytelling. Both adults and children got together to share their work; which for me was one of the most fun parts of the day.
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In between writing the children did quizzes and plenty of running around the garden. The adults did lots of chatting about books and writing. Everyone did plenty of eating!! It was a fun albeit exhausting day for me. However, despite the commitment of playing host and leading the writing activities; I actually managed to write a piece that I feel could end up being the basis for my next book.
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Whilst researching I found a couple of useful sites. A writing site with lots of tips and exercises that I did not get time to fully explore: http://fictionwriting.about.com . A site full of resources for children such as word searches, puzzles, colouring etc: www.abcteach.com . I also used a book called 'Get Writing' by Paul Johnson (ISBN 0-7136-7312-5) that has templates and instructions for making simple but effective books/booklets/cards.

Monday, 26 May 2008

Vision problems....


A couple of months ago I had a bad episode of optic neuritis. A few days ago I had a relapse that has left me with poor sight again. This is making it very difficult to work on a computer or read anything. I have to cover the bad eye and squint with the other. My kids suggested I should get a pirate eye patch!

My head is buzzing with ideas and my children's book characters are left suspended mid-action. It reminds me how much I rely on reading and writing. They are so much a part of my life that I feel as if a piece of me is missing when I am unable to give them attention. Time will heal but unfortunately time on the computer will delay this and aggravate the symptoms. I'm thankful for talking books as life without any story would be hell. Meanwhile, I'll keep scribbling down notes and hopefully be able to do more soon. Maybe I have to use this time for thinking, dreaming and incubating ideas.................................

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Workshop Inspiration

Today I attended a free workshop at Bodmin library. Part of a series of workshops entitled 'Words for Well-Being'; this morning course was facilitated by Moira Andrew and entitled 'Writing and Remembering'. This wonderful lady, author and poet inspired me with her practice of capturing everyday moments in her poems. She explained that where some people take photos, she instead writes a poem and this seems akin to my need to keep a journal. It was a real treat to spend a few hours writing, reading, listening and learning. I was encouraged to write out of my comfort zone and this in itself is important. Moira Andrew has a website: www.moiraandrew.com . If you are interested in the idea of using 'words for well-being' then also check out www.lapidus.org.uk an organisation that concentrates on exploring literary arts in personal development. Something healing, inspirational and magic can happen when we put into words our feelings and experiences.

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Constructive Procrastination....

When I was meant to be working on my children's story I was instead writing a poem for inside a Birthday card. My only defense is that the card is for a dear friend and so this departure from my work shouldn't be classed as straightforward procrastination! Anyway, whilst trying to find a the right word to finish my little ditty, I came across a site called 'Rhyme Zone' that helps you find rhymes, definitions, synonyms and lots more. Of course I started to play with this neat tool and have now run out of time for writing! The web address is http://www.rhymezone.com.

Sunday, 18 May 2008

A place to write....



I have two favourite places to write. Top of my list is the small summer house (renamed my writing house) that is at the bottom of my garden. We moved to this cottage three months ago and the summer house has been one of the best things about this new home. After tiny, damp homes with no space to escape I feel lucky to have found a rental property with this hidden gem. Second on my list are cafes that sell excellent coffee and don’t mind me making one cup last an hour or more.

These two preferred writing spaces couldn’t be more different. The summer house is quiet and cost effective. Cafes, in contrast, can be noisy and a potentially expensive way to get your writing done. I love knowing I have a small place I can retreat to in my own garden; it is what I’ve always dreamed of. However, I find the busy energy in a cafe stimulating and sometimes inspirational. Oh and of course the caffeine and sugar helps! I’d go to cafes more often if I could afford to do so.

I have spent time writing in all sorts of places and I think it’s worth trying different locations. It’s also an idea to get used to being able to write anywhere. The hardest challenge for me is writing with young kids around, but its not impossible. Many writers talk of their favourite places to write. I recently came across a blog by Candy Gourlay called ‘Home Sweet Shed... the making of’. There is plenty of writing space inspiration to be had on this blog and there are plenty of great links as well. Take a look at http://homesweetshed.blogspot.com/

Friday, 16 May 2008

Living The Creative Life

There is no doubt that I feel happier when a good proportion of my day is spent engaged in creative activity. Oriah Mountain Dreamer, http://www.oriahmountaindreamer.com/ suggests that we need to fully incorporate our creative work into our daily life . Check out her book 'What we ache for'. Similarly Natalie Goldberg, http://www.nataliegoldberg.com/ , believes that the most important thing to do if we want to be a writer is to write, write, write!!! This may seem obvious but how many of us avoid doing the creative work we passionately crave? In all her books, especially the classics 'Wild Mind' & 'Writing Down the Bones' she offers help to get past the excuses and inner sabotage that is common to creative minds.

On that note I am trying hard to 'be' a writer and write daily. I also try to include other creative activity such as my card making and music. For me it's hard getting past the inner critic that reminds me that grammar is definitely not my strong point. Or the little voice that tells me I should be spending more time with my children and points out that my house looks filthy. However, I do know that I love to create stories and that I am bursting with ideas. So I intend to keep on writing and recognise that creative expression is an essential part of my happiness. So far this commitment is proving worthwhile and I'm enjoying the satisfaction of seeing my children's story take shape.
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