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.
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