Monday, 21 December 2009

The view from the inside of my eyelids...

In short I've spent most of the past three and half weeks staring at the insides of my eyelids!
A relapse that amongst other things affected my vision, followed by high dose steroids that made my heart go crazy.....well I've been really poorly.

So did I see much on the backs of my eyelids?
Uh not much - at first at least. But as I've started to improve and my brain has started to wake I had plenty of time to consider what's important to me. Had a little time to be scared too. And of course I indulged in a little escapism via my imagination that although stunted has not completely died.

I've really really missed reading. Resting is no fun if you can't read. Or watch tv or do anything much. The last couple of days I've managed to read very briefly (like Christmas cards) but cause the words are blurred and don't tend to stay still it causes pressure and pain that isn't pleasant. But I'm now able to watch a bit of TV at least and am a little more sociable when people come to visit. .

I'm missing my online blogging anf Twitter connections - hope you're all enjoying the festive season. A big shout out to Helen Hunt & DJ Kirkby - hope you're both recovering well!

Happy Christmas & a fantastic New Year 2010 to you all.
Hope to be back in contact soon. Hubbie is reading me some emails and comments and keeping me partly updated but can't wait to catch up properly.

Disclaimer: It is way too difficult to read this screen properly so I'm just typing and not checking or reading - so apologies in advance for bad spelling/grammar/etc etc.

Monday, 30 November 2009

Have a cuppa with your characters on their day off...

The following section from "Necropolis" by Anthony Horowitz [Book 4 in The Power of Five series] fed my imagination and sparked inspiration:

(from page 155, hardback edition:)
"...all the books in the library are biographies."
"Of all the people who have ever lived and quite a few who are still to be born. We keep their entire lives here. Their beginnings, their marriages, their good days and their bad days, their deaths - of course. Everything they ever did."
(You also learn that these books contain all the things that haven't happened yet)

The young hero enters this very real library through a dream dimension. The speech quoted is by 'The Librarian' who apparently has no other name and is the only librarian in an endlessly large library.

I love this whole concept. It got me thinking and I've come up with a few questions and ideas to prompt further writing and thoughts.

What would be written about you on a good or bad day?
What about those in between days? The days that come and go without major incident. The ordinary days. The days that appear to fly by in blur or drag miserably.

What about the characters in your present WIP? We don't really give them an average day to live during the course of a novel or story. Why don't you take time out to write about one of their ordinary in-between days? If you feel it necessary to justify this time spent then you could use this average day as a catalyst for something bigger. After all, in life, it is often the small things that can affect huge change. A ripple effect can start from what may seem an inconsequential event.

Whether you choose to create more from the day or not - it may help you get to know your character further if you spend a day with them that is outside of the chaos, action or intensity of the plot.

Make a date with your character to have a cuppa and a catch up. Do you really know them? Are they the person you thought they were?

If you try this, please let me know how you get on.

The Power of Five series of books has its own website at . For further information about Anthony Horowitz and his writing he can be found at and on Twitter at .

Monday, 23 November 2009

Wasps, leaks & rewrites...

The good news this past week is that the rewrites for my YA novel are going well. After completing a first draft and round of edits I had this nagging feeling that the story would work more effectively when told from the perspective of a first person narrative. But I knew this would require a lot of effort. So I decided to work on 3rd person and 1st person versions of the opening chapters with a view to comparing the two.

After completion I was sure that the first person narrative worked best. I gained a second opinion without sharing my own feelings. This reader was very enthusiastic about the first person narrative saying that it brought the story to life. Therefore, I am now busy rewriting my YA novel in first person. The plot, details & story are there already but nevertheless it is a lot of work to change the perspective. Am I mad? Probably. But mad or not I feel sure I've made the correct decision.

What about the wasps? Well I was writing in my writing hut when a dozy irritable wasp appeared from nowhere. I thought it was a loner come to shelter from the rain. But ten wasps later and a screaming phone call to my husband I realised that there were a whole family of the stinging nuisances. I hate killing anything and so at first tried to shoe them out windows and door. This wasn't an effective method. The wasps were grumpy and one dive bombed my head at such force that I began to lose my nerve. I'm ashamed to say I let my husband put the wasps out of their (& my) misery (aka slaughter them). Even though I don't like wasps I still felt all sad.

And the leak? With the wasps gone I thought I was free to continue with my writing. But then I noticed a slow spreading leak across my writing hut ceiling. I could have cried. Hubbie came to the rescue after my emotional plea and re-covered the offending side of the roof. Phew!

So all is well in my writing hut at the moment. The heater is at full blast and slipper socks are a must but it really is my favourite place to write.


Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Three books worth reading

I recently entered a competition held by Caroline Smailes and was lucky enough to win a signed copy of "Heaven Can Wait" by Cally Taylor.
What it's about....Lucy Brown has a fatal accident the day before she's due to marry Dan, the man of her dreams. Lucy's given the choice to either go to Heaven or stay with Dan as a ghost. She takes the second option which is dependent on her fulfilling the task of finding a soul mate for a dorky stranger. Whilst she's busy trying to complete this challenge her friend Anna is making moves on Dan.

Lucy Brown is a wonderfully honest amusing character and the after life is imaginatively portrayed. Cally Taylor's witty writing makes this a very enjoyable tale. A heartfelt laugh-out-loud delight. To learn more about Cally Taylor visit her website.
Next I recommend two books by Cecelia Ahern whose intelligent enjoyable storytelling remains commercially successful and accessible to a wide readership. Am I envious? Just a tad!

'The Gift' is a Christmas fable about the underestimated value of time and how we choose to spend its limited currency. The story is character and relationship focused with a touch of mild fantasy.

A touching and thought provoking novel that stays with you long after you've finished reading it.

'The Book of Tomorrow': After her father's suicide Tamara Goodwin and her withdrawn mother leave their wealthy Dublin lifestyle to live with family in the country. When a mobile library visits their remote new home, Tamara finds a magical book that helps her discover herself and the dark hidden secrets that lurk within her family.

A wonderful idea realised within a tight plot that enables you to join Tamara on her suspense filled journey of discovery.

Oh and the hard back edition is beautifully designed and so lovely to adorn your bookshelf.

If you'd like to learn more about the talented Cecelia Ahern and her books then visit her website.
Time for me to go and work on my own writing. The rewrites are not progressing as fast as I'd hoped. I have a million genuine excuses for this lack of productivity but to be honest they are all pointless in voicing because in the end if I want to write I just need to get on with it. Less moaning, agonising and self-criticism. More scribbling, key tapping and grafting. (That told me!)


Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Distraction or Inspiration?

This past week I've found it hard to concentrate on my writing. This is a busy time of year for us starting with my son's sixth Birthday yesterday and continuing at a chaotic pace until after Christmas. Apart from this specific time, life in general holds many distractions for a writer trying to desperately carve out their writing time. I began to consider: which distractions could be viewed not as time away from writing but instead as inspiration for writing?

Distractions come in many guises. Certain activities that distract from your writing time are easy enough to turn into inspiring moments spent. For instance time spent with family at the beach or doing a craft activity with children can help us create realistic character relationships, write about emotions and describe the waves crashing against rocks.

However, many distractions in our life are not so easy. There's the tedious responsibilities such as cleaning the bathroom, paying bills and doing your tax return. Then there's the irritating time drains. For instance: having to ring customer services for the tenth time to inform the obnoxious unable-to-think-outside-the-box customer representative that they have yet again miscalculated your bill.

I ask myself: can any distraction become inspiration?

Can the metamorphosis of distraction into inspiration enable our every moment to become an interesting, productive writing moment?

I think the answer is yes. Being a writer isn't just about sitting down with your manuscript editing and writing. It's about making the choice to commit to your identity as a writer so that during every moment you're willing to actively be a writer.

Maybe with this commitment, even the most irritating or mundane parts of life will become meaningful, useful and/or enjoyable.

On that note I'll get back to you after I've scrubbed the toilet and let you know if I managed to find any sliver of inspiration from that!


Wednesday, 21 October 2009

"Why do I Write?"

Whilst working on a novel writing becomes a job. Although still a pleasure, I find myself losing touch with the simple joy of writing for writings sake. That’s not to say that I have stopped writing in my journal, scribbling down ideas and writing (bad) poetry – I still do this, but just not as much.
Recently I realised it had been a while since I’d just sat with a notebook and written about something like the musical quality of the stream that runs past the bottom of my garden or written a story with no other purpose in mind than to amuse myself.

This realisation encouraged me to remember why I write. I clearly have a passion to write books that people will enjoy reading. But what of all the other reasons I write? What drives me to put pen to paper over and over again? Why do I write? Well here are some of my answers to this question:

Whether writing fiction or non-fiction, a poem or a self-indulgent journal entry; writing helps me make sense of life. Putting into words a special moment or glorious sight makes these things real and becomes a scrapbook of life.

I’m fascinated by people and relationships. It’s exciting to illustrate in words the beautiful complexity of human interaction and personalities through the creation of fictional characters.

I crave the infinite possibilities I can create using just a pen and my imagination. This provides me with hours of endless fun and escapism. It also allows me to try living many lives and experiences without physical or practical restrictions. It gives me even greater joy to share these experiences and characters with other people.

As well as a playground for my imagination, through writing, I find I discover learn and explore ideas in a way that I can’t do in my mind bogged down as it is with the noisy chaos of living. It provides a forum for my lifetime need to question ‘why?’

Story is my obsession. Whether I’m writing reading or telling, I use story to frame my every experience and journey through life.

On a basic level that I still can’t understand: I need to write. I crave writing. Writing defines who I am and when I’m not writing I feel unhappy.

There are many articles on the internet on the subject of why writers write.

George Orwell wrote the famous essay ‘Why I Write’. The Guardian has interviewed many writers in a regular feature with the title ‘Why I Write’ and it’s interesting to discover various reasons and explanations. On his website Carlos Ruiz Zafon, author of ‘The Shadow of the Wind’ answers this question. A short but interesting answer was written by writer Bernard Maclaverty. But one of my favourite articles, and the one I’d recommend, details Stephanie Calman’s (author of ‘How not to Murder Your Mother’) reflections on her own motivations to write.

Why do you write?


Wednesday, 14 October 2009

That old chestnut: Show not tell! (and living with my inner critic)

I've been busy editing and fairly pleased with my progress. But yesterday I was going through a couple of chapters that displayed a terrific amount of 'telling' and not nearly enough 'showing'.
Had I regressed? Had I learnt nothing?
Trying not to panic I busily scribbled all over my 1st draft , made extra notes and took shaky deep breaths.
Yet my inner critic taunted me with:
'well you obviously haven't learnt anything'
and 'fancy making such rudimentary mistakes'.
And 'blah, blah,'re kidding yourself if you think you can write...blah blah."
If you've an inner critic like mine you can fill in the blanks. If you haven't got one of these inner bullies then I congratulate you (and wish I was you).
After my initial biting of fingernails I decided to google some 'show not tell' writing advice.
I found some reasonable advice but I was still worried that I had so easily forgotten these basics when writing my first draft.
I was finally comforted by an excellent article by science fiction writer Robert J Sawyer. He explains that in a first draft he does a lot more telling in the process of working out events and characters. That to carefully shape every sentence during writing the first draft can be disruptive and block your writing flow.
I breathed a sigh of relief.
It all made sense. Of course the editing process was the place to enhance and amend. (Duh!)
I wasn't a complete failure after all. (although maybe a little dim)
I stuck two fingers up at my inner critic and returned to my editing with enthusiasm.
Read Robert J Sawyer's useful and interesting article by clicking here. Even if it's old news and you know it already, I think it's worth a read.
Please share any of your own editing stories & inner-critic-bully stories.
Hope your writing is going well today!

Thursday, 8 October 2009

"Coming Soon on Wright Story" PLEASE READ: the following post details a new blogging schedule!

(Poster above designed by my daughter & modelled by my son.)
For too long my blogging has been erratic and disorganised. Therefore in an attempt to organise, revamp and make my blog reader friendly I have devised a plan. (Oh yes, she says rubbing her hands together)
Starting now I will attempt to focus on a minimum of two weekly blog posts.
My posts will fall into the following categories that will be reachable via the 'Contents' bar at the top of my blog:
  • Wright Writing - an account of my writing life and relevant writing activities!
  • Wright Web Watch - these posts will feature something or someone interesting I've found on the Internet and will revolve around the topics of writing, reading, story, creativity......
  • Wright Reading - occasionally I may write a post about a book I've enjoyed or/and found useful.
  • Wright Photos - original but totally unprofessional photos may be used to adorn any of the above posts. As regular readers know, I do sometimes like to share pictures taken in my garden and in my home county of Cornwall.

I make no apologies for the cheesy content titles I have chosen. (okay just a little sorry)

I will try and exclude 'Wright Waffle' as far as possible. However, I will apologise in advance for the times when waffle seeps in, sometimes (like now) I just can't help it.

My Twitter page @wrightstory is a good place to discover my day to day musings. (Warning: Wright Waffle will often be found on my Twitter page but at least it will be limited to 140 characters)

Please wish me luck as I embark on my new organised blogging plan. Hope you enjoy (or at least humour) my attempts.


Sunday, 13 September 2009

School holiday lessons....

This is fairly random but I just thought I'd wish you 'Happy Roald Dahl Day' for no other reason than I think RDs stories are wonderful.
It has been so long since I signed on to my blog that it took four attempts to enter the correct information. I realise this is not a good sign.

Where have I been?

Not far. It's just I've been suffering from the overwhelming all consuming school summer holiday time & energy drain. (Drama queen - me? Never)

But I have learnt two lessons from this school summer break. They are not entirely new lessons but the sort that you forget and relearn as painfully as the first time!

1. Working from home is quite useful until the children are at home and kept prisoners indoors by the rain.

2. Setting impossible goals leaves one with nothing but the feeling of failure. (Maybe not impossible but I was certain I'd edit my novel over the summer. Convinced that my enthusiasm would be all I'd need to achieve this goal I failed to remember ill health, a job, husband's unpredictable hours, British weather & a string of the unforeseeable type of events one encounters.)

In addition I have found it practically impossible to dedicate much time to my blog or Twitter these past few weeks - I've had to prioritise in favour of my children . I am now just grateful to have got through the summer without a breakdown. And I'm happy to say that health wise I am doing quite well at the moment and the editing is back underway.

How was your summer?


Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Editing the Seven Seas

This week I will begin editing the first draft of my YA novel.
What's with the photo?
What is its relevance?
Mmm, about:
"Setting sail on the next stage of this novel writing journey".
I know!
But I was a little stuck for images. I had to make this one fit somehow. Sort of.
This photo was taken on a showery day in Lerryn, Cornwall. A couple of weeks ago we went on a boat trip from Fowey to Lerryn and back to celebrate my goddaughter's Birthday. Despite the rain showers it was a fun trip for all.
So here's the thing: I'm actually quite nervous about beginning the edits.
Because when I edited the children's book I wrote last year it all went horribly wrong. I edited out every last scrap of joy.
I learnt a lot in the process of writing and editing that first book.
And I am excited about this YA novel. I'm really pleased with it and in many ways am looking forward to polishing it so that it can truly shine. (Yet another cliche inspired sentence. Note to self: must ensure novel is free of them)
Yet, I've still got butterflies in my stomach. (Surely that's an original description of nerves. No? Been used before? Damn!)
Maybe I'm so nervous because this novel is worth getting right.
Or I'm just chicken.
Please share your editing wisdom.
Ease my anguish - throw me a life raft! (Okay that's the last nauseating pun)
And wish me luck.
Well time to depart on this next journey.
Anchors away!
(Sorry I just couldn't help but put in a departing dose of cheese. I promise that my novel will be free of such things.) (Hopefully)

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Celebration - First Draft Complete

Yesterday I completed the first draft of my YA novel. The word count total for this first draft was 74,030. By far the largest single piece of writing I've ever finished.
I'm especially happy with what I've achieved because of all the health set backs I've had recently. Last night I was buzzing & jittery - not sure what to do with myself and missing my characters already. I decided on wine, food & celebration!
I'm really pleased with this first draft and can't wait to start editing it. Any advice on how long I should leave it before starting the edits?
I've so much other work to catch up on but am already getting distracted by the sequel I have partially planned in my head.
But for today - a little rest. My 5 year old was awake half the night with nightmares. He bounced to school. I'm dead on my feet. Oh to have a child's energy....

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

5 things this week......

I haven't been a very good blogger - sorry about that. So what the heck have I been doing? Here are 5 of the things I've been up to this past week...........

1. I've been busy writing my YA novel & have completed 37 out of 40 chapters!

2. I read 'The Demon's Lexicon' by Sarah Rees Brennan. An amazing YA urban fantasy book. I challenge any reader not to fall in love with Alan & Nick. I don't know how I'm going to wait until next year for the sequel.

3. I attended my children's school sports day. Cheered loudly & generally became over involved. Photo opposite is of my five year old being a super star.

4. I've been enjoying the Lillies that my friend gave me. Every time I come downstairs I smell their wonderful sweet aroma & enjoy the sight of them decorating my dining room window.

5. I've ordered a copy of the Writers and Artists Yearbook 2010 in the hope that I will soon have my YA novel at a stage where I can start sending it to agents. (remaining hopeful)

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Kindness of Strangers Blog Tour 2009 : Michael Harling author of "Postcards From Across the Pond"

Today I'm joined by Michael Harling, an America author living in the UK who has just embarked on his: Kindness of Strangers Blog Tour 2009. I am his first stop on a geographical tour of the UK & US. Please make him welcome.
Below, Michael tells us a little about himself, his blog tour & his amusing experiences of visiting Cornwall:

The First Step
11 June 2009


A wise man once said, "A journey through 1,000 blogs begins with a single post," or something like that. As this is my first step, I ought to introduce myself and my mission.

I'm an American expat, formerly of New York State (up where the cows live, not in The City) now residing in a market town in West Sussex. I wrote a book about it and managed to get it published, but none of this makes me anyone special. In fact, there is very little about me that is special, which is why I wanted to do something different, and why I am attempting to tour the blogsphere using other people's blogs.

Cornwall is a great place to begin. Kat, a woman I have never met, has graciously agreed to let me camp here for the night and post on her blog. She has, at this early stage in the tour, captured the spirit of this adventure, and I hope that spirit finds its way to others (or this is going to be the shortest epic journey since my buddy Chris Collins talked me into hopping a freight train to Toronto with him when I was twelve, resulting in embarrassing incidents involving the station manager, the rail road police and our parents, and absolutely no forward movement).

So, Cornwall, where the land ends, or beings, depending on your point of view. As an American, it's more Land's Start for me, but that doesn't make the theme park and tourist tat surrounding that particular outcropping of rocky shoreline any less tacky. Still, I was thrilled to see it when we visited a few years back, even if they did try to charge me ten quid to have my photo taken by the famous sign.

Cornwall was lovely, quaint and full of pirate lore—everything a visiting American could want. Our little holiday cottage was crammed with appropriately pirate-coastal-town knick-knacks and located at the end of a short lane so narrow we could barely squeeze our tiny Daewoo Matiz into it. Also, I might add, I was mugged by a particularly raucous sea gull in St. Ives while enjoying a tasty ice cream cone and a stroll by the sea. It was really quite startling, and left me with sore head and just an inch of the pointy end of the cone. Shouldn't they be served with ASBOs or something? Or shot? We have seagull in the States, but not one ever tried to rough me up and rob me.

That notwithstanding, Cornwall was a nice place, and it's good to be posting from here—the titular culmination of Britain and a location I have actually been to and enjoyed—on this first of (one hopes) many stops on my tour of Blog World.

It should be fun, as long as they keep the seagulls in check.

Visit Michael & learn more about how you can become part of his Kindness of Strangers Blog Tour at:

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Multiple Character Disorder

How many characters and story threads can you hold in your head at any one time?

I’ve been considering how many characters and story lines I hold in my mind. I am writing a young adult novel, have two partially edited children’s books, write short stories and Haiku and am always jotting new story/character creations down in my notebook. In addition to this I am an avid follower of about six TV dramas, read fiction daily and watch films. Then there is the daily interaction with ‘real’ people and their characters and stories.

Add to this the fact that when I read, write or watch quality drama I become totally involved with the characters and their individual stories. I’m probably crazy but I find myself thinking of these imaginary characters and their lives even when not reading/writing/watching TV. I ponder over their plights and look forward to learning what happens next – especially with my own creations which are more than real to me.

Whilst considering all this I soon realised that I have a strong ability to be able to follow a large quantity of multiple stories and characters. Not only that but I am constantly expanding the possible characters in existence by creating new people in my imagination.

So do I have a fiction based multiple character disorder? Sort of like an addiction to people and their stories.

Is there a limit to how many characters/stories I can hold within my mind?

I’m thinking that this may be a typical gift/disorder found amongst writers. So please tell me – does this multiple character and story hoarding sound familiar to you?


Wednesday, 20 May 2009

The Gargoyle

" The Gargoyle " by Andrew Davidson
I've just finished reading "The Gargoyle" by Andrew Davidson.
This was a fascinating book. At the beginning I wasn't sure I could continue reading this book so explicit and horrifying were the descriptions of the main character's burn injuries and subsequent medical treatment. However, I'm very glad I did. This novel is full of endearing interweaving stories and fantastically created characters. It carries you on a thrilling journey that includes romance, fantasy & mystery. This is a book I would definitely recommend reading. If nothing else, you will marvel at the incredible amount of research the author must have had to do and the creative way he uses that information. Apparently it took him seven years to write.
I found an interesting Guardian article that explains a little more about the book and gives a wonderful insight into the author Andrew Davidson. Worth a read.
I am a little slow with my writing this week. I could do with a burst of energy. I'm still enjoying Twitter and this is the best place to keep up to date with my daily writing journey.
Okay must go and work on my YA novel as it has not had enough of my attention this week.


Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Short Stories & Spring Flowers

Photo above: some of the hundreds of bluebells spread throughout my garden.

Especially at the moment, it's a real pleasure writing in my hut at the bottom of the garden. The sun is warming the small space and keeping my mood afloat. It takes me forever to cross the small lawn (mobility has been poor) but that's okay because I have to pass masses of spring flowers including the above bluebells. Just before my writing hut is a huge Jasmine bush that has a sweet intoxicating fragrance. Once in my hut the running stream provides a constant melody. I am loving the people who planted this garden and saw fit to construct a summer house.

This past week I have managed to write two short stories and two more chapters of my YA novel. Having recently focused on novel writing I haven't written short stories for a while. I came across a useful site 'The Short Story Website'. Its contents contain advice on writing and reading the short story, competitions, events and projects.

I've just finished reading 'Sepulchre' by Kate Mosse. Not an easy read but certainly worth the effort. The story, characters and descriptions are skillfully written. An engaging read. It has been my companion for more days than a book would normally need to be and so now I've finished I feel a little bereft.

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Twitter & novel writing updates....

I've decided to give Twitter a go. I often don't have the energy to write a full blog post however, Twittering only requires a few words. I'm also looking at the possible uses of Twitter for the Bodmin Bookworm creative writing project that I manage.

YA novel writing update.....
I've been struggling health wise but have been trying to write even just a couple of hundred words a day so that I can keep focused and in a routine.

Bodmin Bookworm work......
I've just sent a case study to hopefully be included on the Everybody Writes website. It will be exciting to see the project on this innovative national writing site. I'll post an update on this when I hear back from the manager of the site.
I've also been working hard on ideas for improving and expanding the project. Hopefully one day the Bookworm may be available to all school aged children in Cornwall.

Keeping up with other people's blogs.....
Having had very limited energy and my paid work on the internet already taking my spare energy......I've sadly not been a very good blogger - I will try to visit and comment more often. I know I'm always full of excuses!!!

Do you Twitter? If you do please leave me a comment with your link; that way I can follow you on Twitter.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Plotting away

Natalie Goldberg is the rock star of writing gurus. I adore and respect her constant ability to assist, inspire and comfort me in my writing life.
If I just randomly dip into any of her well thumbed books I am sure to find a pearl of wisdom that will enrich my writing. Sometimes her advice is of the inspirational kind and at other times it is more practical.

Today I opened up her book ‘Thunder and Lightening’ (Bantam Books, 2000) and found advice on plot and narrative. Any advice on plot and narrative is greatly appreciated. My book feels like it is going well but I am always worried as to whether my plot is sound and will carry the reader on a satisfactory journey.

Here are some of the things Natalie Goldberg wrote in the chapter ‘Shall We Plot Along’:

“Our human lives seem to unravel – there’s no apparent plan. But a fiction plot illustrates the universal structural law of Karma. You do something and there is a result. Plot is the direction, the core we only see – if we’re lucky – when we turn around and look back years later.”

And in reference to her struggle with plot when writing her novel Banana Rose: “My job was to grab my reader’s hand and move her along, hook into her longing for meaning – what’s next, what will happen to Nell now that she did this, then this. There had to be forward motion.
I realised that there is a reason cars are not equipped to go backward for long distances. We all have an impulse to go ahead.............”

And: “But, of course, we also need to be interested in the novel’s character to get in the car in the first place. If he’s a real dud, we won’t care what happens to him. The author will lose us no matter how many action firecrackers he tries to explode. If we like or identify with the character, we just might go a piece with her even if she’s just bumbling down the side of the road.”

All Natalie Goldberg’s books include lots of anecdotal accounts of her life, written in an amusing way, that explain how she came to learn the gems of advice she gives. The above quotes don’t really do her justice. She has a website . Check out her books they are definitely worth a read.

I am waiting for the time when I can afford to attend one of her writing courses. Guess I’ll have to publish the bestseller before I can afford the flights to the US. Today was a good writing day and so I hold out hope!!!!!

Thursday, 19 March 2009


My hubbie and I have just spent a long weekend in a cottage (on the RHS of picture above) in beautiful Lamorna, Cornwall. This was a Birthday treat for me courtesy of a few family members and a well deserved getaway for us both!

Lamorna Valley is a beautiful area just West of Mousehole and Penzance. Lamorna Cove was just a minute further down the road from our cottage.

Hubbie was especially happy because we were opposite the Lamorna Wink pub, an old Cornish pub with bags of history and a million trinkets and pictures hanging from the walls and ceiling (oh and Betty Stogs Cornish Ale):

Apparently the 'Wink' refers to the past when the landlord would turn a blind eye to smugglers.


We had a fantastic weekend.
Since then I've been on a bit of a 'go-slow'. Which has hindered my writing and blogging. Although I've managed a few humorous doctor/hospital poems that cheered me to write.
It's been a couple of weeks since I've paid a visit to the blogging world and I come back to the most amazing news: Tam and Jon have both got amazing book deals. I am so happy for them both!
So as I start to 'go-faster' I'm impatient to progress with my YA novel and enjoy the fact my writing hut is now toasty warm from the sun!

Friday, 27 February 2009

Time flying by....

I woke up this morning old!
I looked in the mirror and I had definitely aged.

When did it happen?
I'm not sure, one day I was young and now I'm not so young. I guess time just crept up on me. And it seems it's true that time goes faster as you get older.

Maybe it's because my Birthday is only a week and half away.

So what about the writing - well so far I've written over 28,000 words of this YA novel. I also had a good writing group meeting yesterday where we wrote Haiku; were inspired by different music selections & created a nonsense word and meaning. It's great fun to exercise our writing muscles in different ways.

And reading - well I have to recommend: "The Giver" by Lois Lowry - a truly excellent thought provoking read that will stay with you long after you've read it. And "A Certain Slant of Light" by Laura Whitcomb - a ghostly romance with a difference - after 130 years of not being seen Helen is seen by a young man in her host's English class - very clever.

If you want to read more about these books or would like to discover new books check out Shelfari - - a social networking site for people who love books. You don't have to join though to enjoy the site. If you search for a book you really loved it will bring up further recommendations by people who like the same books as you. Give it a try.

Okay - enough random ramblings - I'm off to eat vegetable soup (I'm trying to be healthy) (trying)!

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Writing frenzy & fiction addiction........

This past week I've been writing, writing, writing...............and it has felt soooooooo good to be able to write regularly again.

Every bit of my spare (after kids) energy has been spent on glorious words.

I'm tired but happy.

I'm missing my characters every moment I'm apart from them.

I lose hours whilst typing away.

And - although not always a good idea when working on a novel- I've been reading lots as well.

Which has made my spirits soar (and my cliches worse apparently!)

I'd missed writing and reading soooooooooooooooo much.

Being able to indulge in both - well - I've been ecstatic!

And because I haven't done so for ages I've posted a beach photo - from a gorgeous day in Early January.

Now I'm off to go feed my fiction addiction............................

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Winning a copy of 9987......

I am grinning this week because I won a signed copy of newly released "9987" by Nik Jones. The challenge was to create a character in 25 words or less. Check out the details of the competition, my entry and more about '9987' here.

Some copied blurb on '9987'..............
"The shop is everything to him - always neat and tidy, safe and reliable, the rental DVDs carefully categorised, alphabetised and memorised. He thinks he knows his customers, until the bloodstains begin to appear - on grubby banknotes, on porn DVDs, and on the shop's fresh new carpet. Then the girl comes into his life, green eyes and fresh scarlet slashed beneath her thin cotton blouse. He wants to rescue and protect her. He wants to be with her. Forever. Murky and disturbing, "9987" is a jagged, tragic crime story set in a disturbing, uncaring world where only three things are constant: fantasy, loneliness and love. 'Gripping, cinematic, voyeuristic. A delightfully disturbing debut' - Caroline Smailes ("Black Boxes", "In Search of Adam")."
I am looking forward to reading my signed copy soon.


Writing for this competition was one of the few things I managed over the past couple of months and so winning it has made it extra special. I am now just starting to get back into my writing and this has given me a positive boost of encouragement.

So back to my cold writing hut and back to the characters of my YA book. They've waited mid-action long enough. I am so excited to write more of their adventure!!

Off to find my hat & oversized woolly jumper...........................


Monday, 12 January 2009

Overdosing on TV drama & characters

Brothers & Sisters cast: courtesy of The Radio Times /copyright ABC

So I'm busy - that is busy watching TV!!!!!!

All a result of the very testing need to rest & inability to read for more than ten minutes. Thanks to the marvellous invention of SKY+ I am managing to watch tons of TV dramas and films during my testing-resting time.

I have to admit that I am a sucker for TV dramas both US and UK and watch an eclectic mix.

Over the past couple of weeks I've been watching re-runs of 'Brothers and Sisters' and am now eagerly watching Season 3.

Why do I like this series? 'Brothers and Sisters' revolves around the simple, but potentially fruitful, focus of a large family called the Walkers. It is the individual characters and their relationships that seem to draw the viewer in.

I love escaping into other worlds, creating heroes and special powers. However, a huge part of what really makes a story I think is the strength of the characters and their relationships. Once we care about a character and their journey, we are hooked.

A good writer (script or novel) reflects what it is to be human: the raw emotions and the battles we face on our individual journeys. As much as an individual & their journey is unique it is equally full of common experiences. We all hurt, lust, love & rage. We all struggle in relationships and have moments of ecstatic joy and bottomless despair.

Part of our job as writers may be to help the reader feel less alone in their own individual experience. Fictional characters can be companions & mentors. As a reader and as a writer we also get a chance to live our lives in someone else's shoes - widening our perspective & experiences. Fictional characters also take us on fantastical journeys providing escapism & entertainment.

All that from 'Brothers and Sisters'?????

Well......okay maybe I am trying to justify my testing-resting TV time! :-)

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

The "Don't Speak Too Soon" Moral!!!

First of all - a Happy New Year 2009 to you all! Hope you had a fab Holiday season and that this year proves to be your best yet!

Secondly - you'd think I'd learn to keep my gob shut! (I hear my friends and family chuckle at this mad idea).

Not many days after I finished writing my last post and had finished beaming at how well my writing was going and how good my health was.....................

Yep you guessed it! I ended up having a horrible and scary MS relapse. Over the last few weeks I've been unable to read or write more than a couple of words as well as a few other very unpleasant symptoms.

BUT I am on the mend and the good news is that, (after admittedly being a gibbering scaredy Kat), I'm feeling positive and determined to make the most of the good times. I am impatient to get writing and reading again; I've missed both very much.

Today I've done a lot (aka too much) of Bookworm work and so need to get off the computer and have a rest. But soon I'm hoping to write a post free of boring explanations and catch up with you all. But I won't speak too soon. In fact this year I'm trying to chill and not plan too much.

I just wanted to say that I still love blogging and have missed you all very muchly! And thanks to all who left comments on my last post - it was great to come back to comments. And Debs - thank you very very much for giving me an award - it gave me a big smile when Michelle told me I had that to look forward to when I finally got back blogging. I shall collect it as soon as I can! :-)

Sending out BIG 2009 Hugs

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