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, 1 November 2015

A story of the creeping kind.

Gosh what a wonderful weekend and another amazing week at work. It is getting busier all round, work and socialising and I'm loving it all.

My writing has been a bit slower this week, but I am editing and feel that I'm getting closer to sorting out that soggy middle. Today at the ‘Yorkshire Grey’ meeting - YGAW, so many great critiques were given which is what I needed. Extra passion is needed to show how ineffectual my main character feels being unable to do anything about the situation he is witnessing. I think this will give it that added darkness and grit it needs. I've got lots to do and slowly running out of time! I have a deadline and can’t afford to miss this one.

Now I was going to set a Halloween theme for this week’s challenge, but I've decided not to do that, however I do feel that I need to share this lovely big fella with you all. He was found after dismantling an old rabbit hutch. He was so amazing, posing for the pictures. I on the other hand was a little scared that he might jump – thankfully he didn't.

Your writing task is to create a piece of writing that will use the spider in this image as your starting point. What you do from there is up to you. Perhaps you would like to write a piece from the point of view of the spider, a child or the panicking spider hater with a swat.
So go on, get writing. 

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Writerly Chat & Flat Packed Furniture

There have been many things going on this week. Lots of projects to sort out and to start. I had a great chat to a colleague at work, who also has an interest in writing. We were chatting about our various manuscripts and their stages of development. It is interesting to know that I'm not the only one who has WIPs at different points of completion. I've always completed the manuscript and then put it aside for a few months before going back to it. This is to help me when I go through to do the first 'serious' edit. One of many during the creation period. I'm more productive when I have few projects on the go at once. If I get a little stuck with what my characters have done, then I move on to something else for a while and leave them, the characters, to sort out the problem before coming back to find out how they have dealt with the situation. It may seem odd, but it appears to work for me.

My current WIP is a novel that comes under the helmet of woman’s commercial fiction. This piece is mostly light hearted, but follows the twists and turns of love that may or may not end happily. There are definitely shades of darkness running through shown within the sub plots. I'm loving writing this as it is totally different from my children’s work or thrillers.

At the same time as writing the above, I'm editing ‘Locked Inside’ a YA novel. I've had some fun with the edits so far and it is being well received by my writing group. And the good thing about the circle is that they don’t hold back on their punches – if it is lacking in the bells and smells or the POV has changed or the plot is saggy, they find the glitch and as a result the editing improves. If you've not joined a writing circle or group, then I really suggest you find one, but not one where everyone says ‘That’s Lovely, dear’ you need people who are determined to improve their own work and at the same time have an interest in helping others in the group. It is a two way thing. Writing is a solitary existence and sometimes the support of other like-minded people really makes a difference to the overall end product.

I am loving the writing process at the moment – long may it continue.

Windmill Writers has been going through a few changes, as I've reported here before, with losing two members of the group. However, we are still an active group and welcome new ‘active’ writers to get in touch. If you are interested in the group and live in or around Watford, Hemel Hempstead, Berkhamsted or Chesham then why not pop along to The Windmill Pub in Chipperfield, Hertfordshire, on a Wednesday between 19:00 – 21:00 to meet us and see what we are about.

This week’s writing prompt has been inspired by my experience with flat pack furniture, the building of and the dismantling of the old unit and then aiming to utilise the old unit to create some extra shelving for beneath the new desk. You will not believe how long it took and how many issue
s I had, not to mention the bruises! I'm not telling you my story here, you are going to create your own.

Using one person only: The package arrives eventually. It is heavy and only your character can erect it Show us how they go about this. What interactions they may have with others. Show us how this effects them and the process involved in the creation of the flat packed package. Think of all the pitfalls and how that could encumber them. What is the end result?

Using two people: The package arrives eventually. It is heavy your characters have two hours to erect it. Show us how they go about this. What interactions do they have between them and those they may have with others? Show us how this effects them and the process involved in the creation of the flat packed package. Think of all the pitfalls and how that could encumber them. What is the end result?

Using a group of University students: The package arrives eventually. It is heavy your characters have two hours to erect it. Show us how they go about this. What interactions do they have between them and those they may have with others? Show us how this effects them and the process involved in the creation of the flat packed package. Think of all the pitfalls and how that could encumber them. What is the end result?

So go on, get writing. 

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Friends not just writers.

A much better week, although I have to keep being careful for a while longer. But I can cope with that. I’m almost back to being me again. Work was very busy, catching up with everything I couldn’t do whist I was off, but I’m almost there.  I’ve managed to get the house looking more like a house than a doss pit, which is much more like me.
I’ve managed to get a little editing done on my competition entry, which still has six weeks for me to get it ready to submit. I’ve still got a lot of work to do, but it is shaping up nicely. I read some of it at the writing meeting this week and it was received well. The subplots were coming out and they laughed where they should and the area that I was concerned would be a little too risky for a YA they felt it was okay, but I guess if it isn’t it can be removed if it were ever to any further than my group. I do like the concept and I hope once it is honed it will be well received by the judges. Only time will tell as they say.
I set the first writing competition for my writing group The Windmill Writers. The task: Task:
You are to write an article about toilet paper. Maximum words 750. I felt this would be a good challenge to all of our members as none of us have written articles. It is something that takes a certain skill and one that they, and me will have to research to ensure we get the structure correct. I’m excited about how this will pan out. The members themselves will be judging the pieces and the overall winner will be the first to hold the Windmill Writers Trophy for three months. We have the online Facebook membership, but the competition is only open to the members who regularly attend the pub meetings.

We had to say farewell to one of our founding members. He arrived at our first true meeting with Nicki and myself and from that moment the group began to grow. We are hoping that Michael will pop in when he is able as his critiquing and great writing will be missed by all of us. We are hoping he will be able to come to our first anniversary meeting which is to double up as our Christmas party. So I'm going to be thinking up some writing challenges for that. We are a small family of writers who are going to miss this member of there group - not just a writer but a friend, Michael, don't leave it too long before you pop in to see us all. 
Now we get to the writing prompt for this week. You have the choice of two photographs to inspire a piece of writing. Once you have chosen your image, write a story which includes, two children, a great uncle and a pot of honey.

So go on, get writing. 

Friday, 2 October 2015

A Writing Trophy with in a horrid week.

This has been a horrid week. I've not been able to go to work, or write or do anything useful. I've spent far too long holding on to my nose and being tubed up to saline drips; having silver-nitrate sticks sealing my nose and having it stuffed. I went into shock after the prolonged procedure and it totally drained me. Thankfully, my sister and brother-in-law were amazing spending all week taking back and forth to the hospital and my sister sitting with me throughout the operation as the registrar, consultant and nurse fought to stop it. I hated being on the bed having it done, but I think it must have been just as terrifying for Lesley. Hopefully things are settling now, but I'm frightened that anything could trigger it off again. Fingers, toes and everything else crossed too. I've been unable to drive, eat or drink anything hot, exercise or bend down – everything has had to be done in slow motion.  You might think that is okay, but it means that you just sit and vegetate. Thank goodness for my new snuggle blanket! I am on antibiotics, two types and rest, lots and lots of rest. And a return visit to ENT next week. I will be very nervous when I have to go just in case they need to do anything more or set it off again. On the upside: the doctor has said I can drive up to the village. I can get provisions and don't have to worry my friends and neighbours to collect things for me. 
Work, Virgin Media, have been amazing during the whole thing. I am keen to get back to the job on Monday if all goes to plan. 

So this is the first piece of writing I have done this week. I might get to do something during the weekend, if I find the spark. I know it is there somewhere, it is just a case of prising it out of the shadows and shining it up a little. I have so much to get done, as I'm submitting and running out of time. Patience is what I need. Not good at patience when it is down to my own work.

Whilst sitting resting I have received the Windmill Writers Trophy, which is to be awarded for the best piece of writing on a set subject which will be held on a quarterly basis. We will be setting the first challenge next Wednesday at the meeting.
So for the writing prompt for this week is the image below and the opening sentence of: “My granddaughter or grandson would love those!” You take the story further. Think about a publication that you can submit to once you have completed it.
So go on, get writing. 

Friday, 25 September 2015

Stop for a cup of tea

It is amazing how fast these weeks are flying past. I guess it is because I'm loving the work that I'm doing and I'm engrossing myself in my writing at night and socializing at the weekends! Phew, no wonder I'm sleeping so well at night. Well, mostly – often having many weird and wacky dreams. As another writing friend of mine said: that is where some great writing comes from. I hope she is right.

I am having a challenging time, jigsaw puzzling and rewriting my YA – Locked Inside – which had another airing at the Windmill Writers meeting on Wednesday. It was well received and had a few helpful development suggestions, which I'm now considering. I've still got a lot of work to do on it, and to write that chapter by chapter outline. Which needs to show development points, challenges and why each chapter is needed. I find that a difficult part as, like most writers, I love my chapters, but as an editor, I have to think is it relevant and moves the story forward. A tricky process.

I'm delighted to say that one of the writers from my group attended the Festival of Writing in York where she was inspired and discovered many things about the writing craft that she hadn't realised before. With her new found knowledge she is determined to make the changes necessary to overhaul her children’s manuscript. One thing I know for sure is that if anyone can make the changes to lift the manuscript up and get it to shine – it is her.

The writing group received some very sad news about one of our dear members, Dennis. He was a dedicated, talented writer and had a wonderful way about him. He was good at receiving and giving criticism, more often than not, he would say a few simple words that would pin point the section you weren't happy with. To honour his memory, we had a simple candle burning during the session and shared some great work – I think he would have loved it. We laughed and joked and did what we normally do. Dennis you’ll be missed mate.

So I now get to the writing prompt for this week. Look at the photograph below and write about what you see. You can choose to do non-fiction or fiction. There is no guidance for this piece – just find that pen and paper or load a blank document and get writing. Most of all enjoy what you are writing.

So go on, get writing.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

The Festival of Writing - an amazing weekend.

The Festival of Writing in York was once again alive with creativity. Those new to writing, those in the throes of the writing process and others having been published this year or just received their first publishing deal.

I'm in a fortunate place within the festival where I get to see and hear the amazing stories coming out of the One-to-One sessions. I think this year more people than ever have been asked to submit complete manuscripts on the back of their submission to the agents. The buzz around the ‘Spaceship’, or central hall for those unaware of York University,  from agents, book doctors, editors and publishers was that the majority of the writing this year has once again improved across all genre. Unfortunately I don’t get to attend any of the workshops but I've been told that they inspired and the delegates were engaged. I had a brief conversation with a delegate who attended Julie Cohen’s workshop on ‘Learning Story Structure from Pixar Films’ she told me it was very interesting and inspiring.

One of the most exciting parts of the festival comes when delegates, agents and all sit together for breakfast, lunch or dinner. This is a very important part of the networking process. You get to talk, question and discuss all that is writing in a delightful social situation.

If you've never been to this festival and you have a passion for writing, or have always thought you could write then why not start saving up for next year – it is really worth the money you invest to help you along the road to publication.

This year I actually managed to do a little writing during the weekend – a first for me. I've started a new WIP and managed to take it over the 10,000 mark whilst I was there. I'm loving working on this piece and can’t wait to get to the end. If I continue writing at this pace, I’ll be on target for Christmas.
I have been honoured to hear a few chapters from a friend and writer, whom I'm sure will soon be represented and published. I can’t wait to read the whole thing. Exciting times.

I would like you to use some of the images in this blog to inspire a piece of writing from you. There is no theme. Just look at an image and start to write.

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.