Saturday, 31 December 2011
I have lots of lovely friends out there, people who are ready to offer advice when needed, folk who have the same interests, and hopes and dreams. This last year, I have felt part of a much bigger community.
And I feel I must give a lot of the credit to twitter, the social networking service.
I have made many friends, who have laughed with me, cried with me, and generally made life very interesting and sometimes quite comic. I have done word sprints with people all over the world, during the month of NaNoWriMo, exchanged views and even met up with twitter pals for tea and cake! Something I want to repeat, again and again next year.
From a casual conversation only a few days ago, I have, in partnership with Rosalind Adams set up a twitter list for UK writers using the hash tag #UKwriters. You can read about it on her blog here. We can share news on what's happening, inform each other about writing competitions, events and conferences, as well as any book signings or anything else that a writer might be interested in reading. The response has been truly overwhelming.
Its early days. The idea is to get the hash tag working for us all, so we can spread news quickly to each other. We should never underestimate the power of twitter. It will be interesting to see how it develops.
I leave 2011 feeling happy, looking forward to 2012.
Sunday, 18 December 2011
Maybe you're drawing a line under 2011? And feel you have done enough this year. I dare say you've all done your own review on the past twelve months.
I've spoken to a few of my writing buddies over the last few weeks, and most have made definite plans. Some will be working on novels they started this year, others are editing. One will be writing lots of individual scenes for either radio or screen.
Personally, I'm going to look at the novel I wrote for this years NaNoWriMo, as I'll be beginning draft 2 in January 2012. So I need to know where I'm going with it.
I'll also be filling in my diary with dates for writing events and workshops I've earmarked next year. Its always good for me to get out and about and meet other like minded people.
What are your plans? Is your writing going to twinkle and sparkle over the holidays?
Sunday, 11 December 2011
December is always a busy month. At work, its coming up to our year end, so there is lots more to do, and its harder to find people, even in this age of communication. They tend to take days off possibly to use up the years quota of holiday. And then we do a stock take the week before Christmas. Total madness, and completely out of my hands, but it involves working into the late evening for at least three or four nights. I have that joy tomorrow.
Family matters seem more intense. Children have parties, adults have parties, and places to go, things to do, people to see in readiness for two days of family celebrations.
I constantly have this battle with sleeplessness, progressively getting worse as the years pass, and this year if I look back its deteriorated further. How do I cope? I keep writing through it. That's how I cope. I almost have to give myself permission to just write! Knowing it may not be my best stuff, but its better than no writing at all. Which, if I don't write at all, I feel grumpy and awful about myself.
Usually, after a few good nights sleep and some deep relaxation, I can shake the feeling off for a while, I get a temporary reprieve, and get some more words down on my WIP or whatever else I may be working on, then off I go again. Until it builds up again, and we have a repeat of the same.
This is why I need a better plan, I need to have a definite schedule which is manageable. Something I am looking at right now. Options are, should I choose a word count then plan it into my week, each week?
Perhaps, I should vow to have two early nights every week? Or should I opt for writing out a 'To Do' list each Sunday for the week ahead, and try and complete it. Knowing if I don't, its not so bad as I will have at least done some of the stuff on the list.
Ideas please. What do you do? Do you make lists? When do you find the time to write? Does anyone else suffer from tiredness, if so how do you cope?
Thursday, 1 December 2011
Sunday, 20 November 2011
Most of the time, I'm bone tired. I did the challenge last year, so I knew what to expect. I'll admit, I don't find it easy, I know some of you do, and I envy you! Anyway, I'm still cooking for the family, running the house, although its a bit wobbly, here and there. I'm shopping, and going to work each day.
Throw in several appointments at the dentist, hospital and my daughters school for parents evening, and it doesn't leave a whole lot of time for writing. Surprisingly though, I've managed to still get to yoga, go out for a few social events during the evenings, and at the weekend I've had 'me' time at the pool, and still found time to write the 1667 words a day required. Well, maybe I didn't manage the word count on two of those days, but I have caught them up again now.
What I'm trying to say is, I've had all the stuff going on in real life, yet fingers crossed I'm here on day 20, with 35,000 words written. Which means I have 15,000 to go. I'm over the other side of the hill. The hill that seemed like a mountain back on day one.
Wednesday, 2 November 2011
So what news do I have? I'll keep it simple. After a meet up with two writing buddies at the weekend, I've decided to do NaNoWriMo again this year. I don't have a plan, I wish I did, I was a panster last year, and it looks like it'll be no different this time. There was no time to get a plan together.
Yesterday was the first day, of the madness, the flurry of activity that is scary, exciting, and maddening all at the same time. I got off to a good start and managed to write more than my daily target of 1667 words. At the end of the month I'll have a 50,000 word manuscript, all being well.
All I need to do is sit down at the keyboard. Yea right...
P.S. That's me and Nicola above, and she's doing her first NaNoWriMo this year.
Thursday, 6 October 2011
Thursday, 29 September 2011
Monday, 26 September 2011
Rachel has set our second campaigner
blog post in 200 words or less, excluding the title. It can be in any format,
whether flash fiction, non-fiction, humorous blog musings, poem etc. The blog
If you want to give yourself an added challenge (optional and
included in the word count), make a reference to a mirror in your
post. For those who want an even greater challenge (optional), make your
post 200 words EXACTLY!
the word "imago" in the title
the following 4 random words: "miasma," "lacuna," "oscitate" "synchronicity,"
managed to do all of the above, amazingly! Please do have a read.
cocoon had been buried deep in the earth for centuries. Undisturbed, not a soul
had known of its location, I do not count the undead blood suckers who clawed the soil away to bring it to the surface. They have
always known this time would come.
Miasma hung in the putrid green tinged air,
making breathing impossible. I wore an oxygen mask, and heavy gauge rubber
gauntlets, I could barely turn the pages of the ancient book they had forced me
to work from, the lacuna,
which they hoped I could work out, was the reason for my presence. Synchronicity was vital. I knew they would kill me
pod cracked and tore, the blood-suckers writhed and worshiped on the ground. I
saw nothing, so when the creature stepped out of the trench, I knew to oscitate now would be fatal - I couldn’t help
me a mirror,’ she barked. I did as she asked, knew she was checking for a
reflection. Heard her sigh, ‘it hasn’t worked’, she screeched, lashing out
fiercely with her tail, I ducked as two of the undead flew over my head, crashing onto
the ground behind me.
metamorphosis was incomplete.
Insect in its sexually mature adult stage after metamorphosis
a dangerous, foreboding, or deathlike influence or
lacuna — n
a gap or missing part
to gape; to yawn
synchronicity — n
an apparently meaningful coincindence in time of two or more or similar or identical events that are causally unrelated
I welcome your comments, and if you like my entry, then
please go here and vote for #97, thank you, for taking the time to read.
a gap or missing part
to gape; to yawn
Monday, 19 September 2011
Being out in big open spaces, surrounded by nature is the best tonic for body and mind. So on Sunday I took such a walk over at Calke Abbey in Derbyshire. You can read more about the property here. On this occasion I didn't go into the house, preferring to walk in the 240 hectare Calke Park, of which 80 acres is a National Nature Park.
I took my camera to record the things I saw, its been a while since I've had both the time, and the energy to walk, and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
A lot of the trees are over 400 years old and two are around 1000 years old, and are amongst the oldest in the country, they were once part of the ancient wild wood of the area. Many insects live on
them, especially those associated with decaying wood as is found all over the park.
There are also several types of fungi to be found amongst the oak, lime and beech trees, I spotted a few varieties on my walk as you can see here. The weather remained good all morning, and I missed the showers that happened later in the afternoon.
After four and a half miles of steady walking I was ready for a drink, I really should have remembered my water container, as after a couple of hours I found myself in need of something to quench my thirst. Fortunately, there is a good restaurant at Calke Abbey, serving a variety of delicious hot and cold meals made with ingredients that are sourced locally. I settled for a pot of tea, and a home baked scone with jam and butter which I fell upon like someone who hadn't seen food for a month!
Walking has enabled me to get out and about and discover a variety of surroundings in different seasons. It clears the mind, and allows you head space, which comes in handy when you're a writer, living in both the real world, and the fictional one you visit regularly.
I have learnt things about nature I thought I would never be interested in, like the fungi that grows in abundance in Calke Park or the trees and plants I have seen in their natural habitat.
I felt tired afterwards, I've recently had a virus that refused to relent, and haven't felt able to go out and about much, so the walk was all the more welcome.
Sunday, 18 September 2011
A reminder of the four randomly generated words used to create this piece.
Character - Fortune Teller
Setting - Supermarket
Object - Torch
Emotion - Hope
The format was slightly different this session, we still read out our 100 word challenge, which was set last week, and we celebrated successes and commiserated over rejections. We shared news of forthcoming competitions and additionally we tried out a fun writing exercise.
The rules were simple enough, our leader had prepared four envelopes. Each marked with Character, Setting, Object and Emotion. We randomly selected a card from each one, then we had fifteen minutes to create a story including all four of them. I picked,
I wasn't too alarmed, although there was much giggling about some of the combinations. Afterwards, we read them aloud to the group, warts and all - yet there were very few warts.The pieces of flash fiction that had been created were amazing. Quite unbelievable, given the short amount of time we had to perfect a micro tale.
Later, I'll type mine out, as I wrote it straight into my notebook, and I'll add it here for you to judge for yourselves. I won't cheat, I'll not change anything, other than running the spell checker over it.
Wednesday, 14 September 2011
“The basic idea of the Liebster Blog Award is to showcase bloggers with less than 200 followers.” When you get the award, you keep the love going by giving it to 5 other bloggers who have less than 200 followers.
This was difficult because there are so many great blogs out there, many of which I've recently found because I’m a part of Rachael Harrie’s Platform-Building Campaign. Others I've been following and enjoying for a while.
To share the love and pay it forward, my list of awesome blogs are:
Writing: A Conversation Without Interruptions - This is the blog of Ileandra Young, her writing career is only just beginning and she wants you to be part of it. She has gleefully been penning smut, vamp - fiction, fantasy and comedy since 1997.
A. E. Martin - A writer of both Adult and YA Fantasy, she penned her first novel at fourteen, also an artist in many mediums.
My Road to Freedom - Janina is a woman who loves words, a Chicago freelance writer, who sometimes designs jewellery too.
Fabulosity Nouveau - Wendy is from Johannesburg, South Africa, and in her words, "I am a Blogaholic, Bibiophile, Avid Reader, Reveiwer and Lover of all things Quaint and Eclectic."
The Nut Press - Kathryn Eastman resides here. Reviewing books, tasting chocolate, drinking tea and telling us tales about squirrels when she's not scribbling short stories, articles, and poems that is...
All very interesting people, be sure to visit them soon.
Awardees, this is what you need to do after you've chosen who you're going to give the award to:
- Show your thanks by linking back to the blogger that gave you the award
- Notify the folks you pick to receive the award by twitter, email, etc
- Post the award graphic on your blog
- Check out the winners, their blogs and websites, and most of all enjoy!
Monday, 12 September 2011
A physical description helps us to see how they move through the world, and allows the reader to believe in them. Even their name provides a lot of information, indicating age, background and social class.
Who else is in your characters life? Who do they interact with? How do they interact? Personality is often determined by background. What sort of parents they had can play a big part in how they shape up in life.
I'm always asking myself what my character wants from the situation, or the scene they're in, its important to know how your characters will behave. Creating a well rounded character takes time. Not only what they look like, and where they live, but how they will react to the situations they find themselves in.
How do you create your characters? Do you start with a picture? Or an object, and think who might have owned it, worn it, played with it? Perhaps you make a character study? Or do you develop them as you go along, without doing any planning in advance? How do you create an intriguing and credible character?
Wednesday, 7 September 2011
Write a short story/flash fiction story in 200 words or less, excluding the title. It can be any format, including a poem. Begin the story with the words, "The door swung open" These four words will be included in the word count.
If you want to give yourself an added challenge (optional), use the same beginning words and end words: "the door swung shut" (also included in the word count)
For those who want an even greater challenge, make your story 200 words EXACTLY!