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.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Prompt: I have struggled all my life and...

I am currently knee deep in Christmas cake making, the house smells delicious. I've had to have a few taster cakes to ensure quality and yes, they are yummy. Two batches down and one last lot to make. A batch consists of: One large cake, one small cake and eight cupcake cakes.
I have also made my mincemeat ready for homemade butter pastry. I can feel the pounds going on as I write this, but everything will taste so lovely.

The first official meeting of the Windmill Writers took place on Wednesday 12th November in Chipperfield, Hertfordshire. There were a number of us there at the pub where readings, discussion and general writing chat was had. We are looking to increase our numbers at the weekly Wednesday meetings. If you would like to or know anyone who might like to join our writing circle, then please point them in the direction of this blog or message me for more information.

The Windmill Writers also has a Facebook page: Windmill Writers if you would like to join our online presence the you'll find us on Facebook. 
This week’s writing prompt is to use the

“I have struggled all my life and all I have to show for it is…”

a: A bottle of Vodka and no fixed abode.
b: A child who I love beyond anything else, but only wish I was able to…
c: An empty mansion and a broken heart.

following as a starting point of a piece of creative writing.
You can write this as a journal, a contemplative thought process or a rant at someone. Let your imagination run riot. Make it light and humorous, dark and morose or thought provoking.

So, go on, get writing. 

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Using Dialogue.

A great evening with the Writers Workshop members and agents. This was more of a social than a networking evening with time to catch up, and opening line competition and opening chapter challenge. Once again I was inspired by some of the development many of the authors have achieved and by the gentle nudges from agents to get submitting more and chasing agents. This is my plan for the coming week. 
Add The image below is just a few of the attendees last night.caption
This week I thought you might like to use the image above to practice writing dialogue. As you will already know, the way people talk can enhance their character and tell the read more about the character than a stream of description can. However, to get dialogue right you have to practice. Look at the image above and select two characters, give them a topic to talk about and see where it leads you. 

Some ideas to get you going:
Oh, you have a dog!
So, give me a one line pitch.
I think I might be drunk. 

I'm sure you will get the idea once you start. So, go on, get writing. 

Saturday, 1 November 2014

The Windmill Writers

The new Windmill Writers circle will be up and running on Wednesday 12th November 2014. This has been a long time in development and I hope will allow writers to write, share and develop their own writing skills as well as encourage and guide others.

The circle is designed to give the opportunity to sit and write quietly, share work by read outs and discussions with creative/constructive criticism and workshop writing sessions. There will, in due course, numbers permitting, be opportunities to invite speakers and for members to run sessions.

Image by Nicki J Photography
If you are a writer looking for a chance to come out from behind your laptop and network with like minded people, and ready to share work and comment to help others, then this might be the group for you.
The Windmill is a lovely quintessential pub in the heart of a Hertfordshire village, England. If you would like to have the opportunity to join this group please comment with your contact details a brief description of your writing and your goals for the future. I will contact you closer to the time with further details.

This week we are working from my 'Topic Tin'. This requires you to use  the following to inspire creative pieces of writing. This is a timed task designed to last one hour. You have two minuets to consider the first option. What could you do with it. Three minutes to plot out a basic story arc. Ten minuets to discover your character/s and the final forty five minutes to write. Once your time is up. Stop. Then follow the same instructions with the next prompt. Do this for all three.
1. A grubby cucumber.
2. That last bottle of whisky.
2. The last train home.
All of the above are aimed at getting you running with an idea.

Once you've completed the writing, take time out to have a break. Then go back and review your writing. Do you feel that the work you have stared could be extended into a short story or has your simple plot got legs to develop further? If so, do it.

So, what are you waiting for? Get writing.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Positive Rejection

Autumn is here and I'm back at the laptop writing, yes, I'm reworking a children’s novel. This is the second in the series of the trilogy of ‘Time’ books. The first is out with an agent, and I'm awaiting comments. Realistic, but ever hopeful.

As promised, I will share with you my latest rejection. And as rejections go this one is not so bad, however, it could have been better. This rejection was for new plot lines and opening chapters of three different thrillers. So here it is: Thank your crime novels. In addition to writing vividly and fluently, you obviously have no shortage of ideas and not fear of pushing boundaries. So I wish we could be more enthusiastic about these three. And then went on to wish me luck, and offer to read more should I continue writing.

So what to do next? Whilst at the Festival of Writing in York, I got chatting with a few agents and book doctors and they have asked me to send them samples of my work. This is what I'm now intending to do. Nothing ventured nothing gained. I think I will approach a book doctor first, to get advice where I'm going wrong, or indeed if I'm just pushing the boundaries too much. I will be interested in the outcome of this and of course will let you know what happens.

There are is one prompt with four steps for this blog. Firstly, develop a male character who is strong, confident and self-assured. Secondly, place them in a situation where they are going to feel out of their depth and out of control. Thirdly, the story has to be set in or around the photo image below. Fourthly, write two versions of a short story, one where he fails the other where he succeeds in the task at hand.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Windmill Wonders

Many of you will know that I've been working on my submission for the last few weeks. There has been a lot to work through. I have now managed to fight my way out from the piles of scenes that have gone to make up my submission. There have been many first chapters and re working. It has been a bit of a jigsaw puzzle, but one I hope will show my work off at its best. This was a resubmission after some lovely feedback and offer to resubmit when I was ready. It has taken quite some time for me to get the plots to a place where I feel they show a greater overview of what I want to do with each novel. With those I have sent the opening chapters of each. Hopefully they will still like my writing style, and this time, the plots too. As always, I will let you know how things go.

I'm still waiting to hear back from the children’s submission – nothing yet, but I'm hoping to hear back soon.

Now onto the topic task for this week. The picture below was taken by John Corkett showing the beauty of a Suffolk windmill. Your task this week is to look closely at the image and write a short story that shows what happens in or around the windmill. Things to think about. Who lives in the windmill – is it a working windmill – has it been converted for another purpose? Who lives in the houses around?
by John Corkett

I hope the image inspires you to write some wonderful convoluted characters. Remember that conflict in a story helps to add a little spice to a scene.

So go on, get writing. 

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Fun times at the Festival of Writing – York.

The Team.
Just back from the Festival of Writing I think I have managed to catch my breath after the wonderful, manic and inspiring one-to-ones in York. Catching up with old writing friends and meeting new ones. Touching base with agents, editors, book doctors and writers. Hopefully everything appeared to be as seamless as possible, but underneath there may have been a lot of paddling going on.

We have heard of many successful meetings, offers to see complete manuscripts, fantastic critiques on submitted material, lots and lots of advice and for me: a good kick to get me doing what I should have been doing. So much so that I submitted something yesterday. I’ll let you know what happens. I have also been asked to submit material. This I will be preparing over the next few days.

The workshops have been inspiring throughout the weekend run by agents, book doctors, editors etc. on many aspects of the writing process. It is important to hone your skills as a writer, in doing this you maximise your chances of success.

Networking was in full swing all weekend. Those in the business of writing were mingling with new, progressive and those writers who could almost taste that publishing deal. Everyone was willing to advise, encourage and inspire writers at any point in their writing journey. You never stop learning as a writer, even when you are seen to have ‘made it’ you continue to learn, try out new possibilities and lead the way. Sharing this information whilst networking is one of the most important parts of the conference. Breakfast, lunch and dinner meetings all interspersed with bucket loads of coffee, tea or hot chocolate. Evenings are always a time to relax and chat over a tipple of your choice. Sometimes, if you aren't brave enough to ask questions yourself, you can sit back and absorb information being discussed around you.

Many writers were seen to scuttle off at the end of the day, after dinner to bring out their writing books, or laptops, note books or a Dictaphone and set to work. Twitter went wild - FoW14

If you have attended the conference and you have some good news stories than please post the here as comments.

My team Ellen Hanns, Mark Clementson and myself love hearing about all the work delegates are creating whether it be, fiction or non-fiction. Everyone has their own story and direction. It is at these conferences that these stories often really start to take off and develop into the finished product. So whatever you are writing, keep doing it because one day you will get there.

The topic task for this week is to use one of the lines below to inspire a short story.

  • Seven dead rats are strung up on a washing line.
  • The eyes didn't blink, they just stared forward blankly.
  • As the sun set the shadows crawled across the ground.

So go on, get writing. 

Friday, 22 August 2014

Moving forward or not, just keep going.

I have a feeling that my recent submission didn't arrive at its destination. I'm awaiting a response to my follow up email, which I believe will confirm this. Never mind if this is the case I’ll resubmit and wait again. In the meantime, I'm getting on with rewriting my current WIP 9+ novel. It is a large challenge as the first half of the novel needs to be completely changed. It is fun though. With this being a long bank holiday weekend, I am taking time out from the normal daily chores and spending that time writing. Close the door of the cottage, shut out the world and get my focus back. It all starts tonight.

Just starting the preparations for the Festival of Writing – York. Once again the dream team will be running the show at the One-to-One’s. We are looking forward to seeing you all and catching up on your writing progress. Please feel free to come and say hello over lunch, dinner or around the campus when we are on down time.

For this week’s challenge below you will find four simple prompts. Either start with the words or use them to inspire a piece of writing. Remember to develop the characters and use all the usual smells and bells to bring your work alive on the page. If you decide to write this as non-fiction push yourself to find an outlet for the work.
  • He rubbed it until it gleamed.
  • It is taking over!
  • The hill gave way and the car went with it.
  • I believed I could change him – I was wrong.

I hope you find these prompts inspiring and don’t forget to let me know how you get on. I'm always keen to hear your progress and about your publications.

So go on, get writing.