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

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. 

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.