Welcome to my writers blog.

Writing to entertain and encourage other writers. To keep you informed of events, workshops, retreats and conferences available for writers.

The Love of Dance

Sunday, 30 August 2015

A Time to Create and Learn.

My preparations for the York conference, festival of writing, are almost done- session schedules all printed up and seating plan is organised, it is just awaiting the artistic talents of Mark Clementson to enhance my scribbles. I've also sorted out what to take to keep warm and cosy, it can sometimes be cold, other times beautiful and sunny. Taking boots and sandals along with a coat and umbrella! And of course I'm hoping my little ‘old’ car will make it there and back safely. If not my colleague will have to get out and push!

I'm looking forward to getting some more feedback on my own work and hearing about developments with my many writing friends attending again this year. This is a social event as well as a learning environment. All of us sharing and supporting each other as we continue to develop as writers. I'm particularly looking forward to the Saturday night gala where much fun will be had and just a little bevy may be enjoyed with friends from years past.  

There are a few new agents meet along with all of those I have known for years. As always my team and I will be ensuring that the schedules don’t run over – or at least, don’t run into the next session. Thankfully that hasn't happened yet!

This week’s prompt is to use one of the starting points from below and creating a piece of writing of 1000 words which is to take the form of a monologue.
  • She sat back and sneered…
  • From above I see you as an untouchable goddess…
  • I perched on the upturned metal pal, my head between my legs and …
  • Taking the last pill I began to write…

I hope you enjoy attempting this challenge. When you are writing imagine that you are on stage and acting out your monologue. Most of all, have fun with it.

So go on, get writing. 

Friday, 21 August 2015

The wonder of conferences.

Yes it is Friday and yes this is my blog up on time!

I have discovered that making changes in your life aren't as scary as you might think. In fact, they can be quite joyous. I am smiling and laughing more, I have my sparkle back and within this change I have been able to write more, exercise more and have so much more fun.

I'm getting excited about the York Conference. My preparations are well under way and seating plans will be complete by the middle of next week.  Meeting up with all my writerly friends, networking and meeting all the new agents, editors and book doctors is one of the great pleasures of my role. I'm sure there will be lots of laughter, supporting of delegates and probably a great deal of firmness required, but in the end that is what makes the one-to-one meetings run smoothly. Oh, yes and of course the widely used ‘One Minute Warning’!

There will be manuscripts judged, critiqued, support and encouragement given, many a drink and the sharing of business cards and requests for complete manuscripts and on odd occasions the offer of representation. If you've never been before you’ll experience the most invigorating weekend. You will be leaving with your head buzzing and ideas fighting for your attention and eventually you will be able to use all the information you have gained and put it to good use.

So if you are attending this year, I'm looking forward to either, meeting you for the first time or catching up with those of you whom I've had the pleasure of meeting before. Many of you have become published in this last year and I'm keen to know how the process was for you. One thing I know is that the weekend will pass by so quickly, it always does because we all have such an amazing time.

Now if you want a writing task for this week. It will be this. Take a book you are working or you have finished writing and write a three line pitch for it, then a blurb and finally a 500 word synopsis. However, if you not finished a book yet, take a book you have recently read and do the same. Write your own three line pitch for it, a blurb different from that on the back and then a synopsis.
However in case you want a visual prompt, try writing about the image shown here.

So go on, get writing. 

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Trying something new.

It was a strange kind of week. Work was busy, but fun for many reasons. I have been working on a competition submission and have now sent it out. Unfortunately, this competition doesn't give feedback unless you are short-listed, but like many competitions and agency submissions the companies involved are inundated with submissions which makes it impossible for them to respond to all entrances or representation requests. Tough, yes, but it is part of the business all writers have to accept.

I am now working on my next submission which is going to take quite a lot of sorting out. I know where I need to go with it, but the challenge is to get my vision down on to the pages in such a way that the judges will see clearly my characters dilemma and all the obstacles in his way.
During this process I have started to play with a new genre – commercial women’s fiction. I'm having fun with it and the Windmill writers’ members are engaging with it and laughing at all the right parts. I don’t know if this has any legs, so to speak, but it appears to be writing itself, which is a joy.

So we come to the writing task for this week. Select one of the following genres, six of the following words and a season from the lists below. Then before you start writing, research a market to which you will submit your work. 

Science fiction


So, go on get writing. 

Monday, 10 August 2015

Writing out of the comfort zone, can you do it?

Once again time has been swift to pass. I'm sure it actually doesn't go any faster, but I think it is all to do with all the work that I'm doing and enjoying. There is more to come and I had another training session on Friday.

On the writing side, I've been continuing to write new pieces for my new WIP and have been reading through the YA to improve and often change chunks. It is interesting work.
The Windmill Writers this week was full of interesting pieces of work. Lucy read the end of her story she started last week, this character led piece was unanimously enjoyed by all. She is submitting it to a writing competition – Good luck Lucy. Alan brought us a rewritten piece, which has his usual beautiful descriptions and with a little more dialogue will bring a little more pace to the piece. Michael’s chapters were pacey, giving the ready a roller-coaster ride which began to bring all the elements of the book together, skilfully done, always leaving us wanting more. Nicki read a section from EB which gave us a look at the vulnerability of two characters along with a beautifully crafted dance scene. With each chapter we see the character arc developments and each is encapsulated with the well-crafted scene in which they are placed – even the minor characters breath in each scene. I read a piece I had re written and this time it was agreed that it was more blokey. I spotted a few errors as I read, which I will put right with another edit later in the process. Get it finished first and then go back.

The weekend has been busy again, but unfortunately left me with a rather nasty allergic reaction. I don’t often get them as I'm really careful, but obviously wasn't careful enough this weekend. I'm hoping that be tomorrow the pain caused by the swelling which causes my joints to hurt and become stiff along with the vicious evacuation of the culprit and everything else along with it with have abated and I’ll be able to go back to work and catch up with the back log.

So with that off my chest, here is the writing prompt you should have had on Friday. I hope you find something in the image below to inspire a piece of creative writing. How about giving yourself a challenge and write poetry or a monologue. Come out of your comfort zone and try something a little different, you might be surprised at what you might find.
image by Michael Alexander

So good luck get writing. 

Friday, 31 July 2015

The senses can help develop character.

And here we are again – it is Friday! Gosh, and there was work, there was socialising, weddings, parties and yes, even some writing – all of which happened from last Saturday today, Friday. I don’t know how it has happened, but I don’t seem to have any spare time, which is a good thing – mostly.

I have managed to get some writing done, but none of it is typed up, that will have to wait a while. I have rewritten and started to reread the YA I'm submitting to a competition later in the year. I'm quite excited about ridding it of all the unnecessary parts and giving it a tummy tuck! Yes it does have a soggy middle and then there is the rather quick ending. All will be solved, fingers and everything crossed that is.

I have discovered a walk that I can do at lunch times within fifteen minutes and still eat my lunch. It is 1.023 miles. It is good to get out and walk briskly to invigorate the body and brain. I'm also hoping that it will stop the backside from spreading!

Work is going well, lots of new experiences and decisions to be made. Processes are coming together and with the wind blowing in the right direction and a little good luck everything will flow seamlessly as the work flows in. Exciting times. I love my job, I hope it will continue this way.

This week’s writing prompt is to sit quietly in a corner of a room, any room and listen. What can you hear? Don’t just listen to the chatter or the birds, listen to the things that usually go unnoticed the sounds underneath the norm. Now use your other senses - look, smell and feel what is around you. Now pick two of the characters below and put them into a scenario where all your observations are used to enhance your piece of writing. 

You can pick any of the boxes or one person from one box and a second from another. 
The main part of this is to play with characterisation and how you can use the senses to enhance your writing. 

So there you are, go and get writing. 

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Exciting times with work and writing and social things.

Friday made me smile. It was pouring with rain outside and had been torrential most of the day, but inside it was been warm and cosy, most of the time! Which is why I was shocked when I dashed outside with my hair tucked into my trusty old hat and did the high heeled, tippy toe sprint across the car park, through the puddles with my skin glistening on my shoulders. The car was freezing and my heater took ages to heat up, ten minutes, but eventually I was dry and cosy again! The same process happened when I got home. The house was also freezing, but I cooked oven chips so it soon warmed up. Too tight to put the heating on in the summer!

Work has been so good this week. I'm learning more and more and with each day. There are many wonderful people in the office and all willing to support when I can’t find what I need.

Saturday found me attending a wonderful wedding and for the first time ever, I cried. It was a special wedding of two friends of mine. The power of their commitment was radiating throughout the church and the love from them was tangible. At the reception, I touched base with many friends that I've not seen for a couple of years, and made some new contacts. Saw some of the children I used to teach and after four years you really see how grown up they are now. 
Sunday brought a 30th Birthday party and a good time socialising and catching up with my best friend. Lots of fun.

I had my first dancing lesson in three years – I loved it. I can’t wait for the next one. I still don’t have my own dancing partner, but I dance with my imaginary partner, marking things out and it seems to be working and on occasion the trainer dances with me, which is great as he leads so well. So following is easy.

The Windmill Writers were great again this week. We had a chat about how to critique, how critiquing is about receiving and giving. Don’t just expect others to comment on your work if you aren't willing to listen intently and give feedback. We can’t have it being a one way street. After this the critiques given were much improved.
I've managed to get some good writing done and many edits. Things are moving along nicely. Heading for three competitions this year. Exciting times. 

For the topic task this week, I want you to look at the image to find inspiration to write a piece of writing. This can be, fiction, poetry or non-fiction. You decide. Think about your target market, where you will sell your writing and why not give it a go and send it out?

So go on, get writing. 

Friday, 17 July 2015

Editing, plot plans & synopsis it is all a labour of love.

A fantastic week. I've had a lots to do both at my day job and with my writing. I've been having fun with new characters and learning more about them as they allow me to delve into their lives. Even characters I thought I knew well, are surprising me. I'm hoping this is a good thing. During the Windmill Writers meeting this week it was pointed out that the male voice in my piece wasn't male enough. This made me think. So I went into work and spoke to men and after a while I gleaned a new kind of speech pattern that might work. I've put some ideas together and have now rewritten the piece. This means I have lopped off about 300 words and when I type up the edits I’ll see if it has improved.

I'm also working on tightening up a YA novel to enter into a competition. At present it has a bit of a soggy middle. There is a lot of work to be done? And I'm going to have to put together a chapter by chapter plot plan, which I've never done before. I believe this is to show the character arc and the major events in each chapter.  I'm sure this will allow me to see where the weak points might be and if any chapter doesn't have a major event crucial to the plot it might have to go or be restructured accordingly. It will be a labour of love. And the one page synopsis. I still hate them, but will endeavour to make this one the best I've ever achieved. 

Editing is one of the hardest parts of writing. Getting the book written in the first place is difficult enough, but editing is more painful. You may have to chop out whole scenes you are in love with just because they don’t need to be there, they are superfluous to the plot. Hard, cruel and heart-breaking, yes, but it will improve your work tenfold if you are brutal for the right reason. I know this is correct, but doing it is excruciatingly painful. Tearing yourself away from being the creator to becoming the improver. So wish me luck and I’ll let you know how it is coming on as I hack my way through my WIP with my metaphorical sword.

For this week’s writing task choose one of the following:

  • Yesterday should never have happened.
  • What! In the grave yard? You have to be joking, right?
  • Tuppence took sixpence out for a walk and we've not seen them since.

You decided what genre to write these prompts. What is your target market? Think about where this piece of writing could be sent for publication. Why not write, edit and submit your work. Whatever you decide to do, please remember to engage your reader throughout your work

So go on, get writing.