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 2009

Writing a cook book

Sometimes it is good to do something different, well that is what I'm told. With this in mind, I've started writing an adult novel and even more surprisingly, I've just started writing a cook book. It isn't that surprising, as I've been going to do it for quite a while. You must understand this isn't a cook book that is going out to print, it is for family use only. I'm enjoying bringing together all the strange recipes I've put together over the years. Some like my Christmas cake won't go in the one that my son is taking to uni with him, but will be in my copy. My Christmas cake like a couple of other recipes are my secrets, well for a while anyway.

With my adult novel I'm currently working on plotting. this has to be right and as you will all know this is the most important part of the book. It doesn't matter how great the writing is, if the plot is weak, the book won't sell or even get the interest of agents or publishers. Believe me, I know that well. Spending time on this is paramount, and one of the most difficult parts, however I still find synopses the most difficult. That is why it is important to network with other writers through, writing circles, conferences and workshops. I'm very lucky to be a member of the VWC (see the link) where manuscript surgeries are of great benefit. So if you are writing and aren't a member of a writing circle, join one, you will see the benefits for yourself.

Try it out first go to a few meetings and see if you like the way it is run. How will it benefit you? Do your research. How long has it been running, who are the members, do they have a website, is there a critique group, do they have visiting agents, authors, publishers? If so go for it. The VWC also runs conferences. This year we had Barry Cunningham, John Jarrold, Jonathan Pegg along with other authors and journalists. The next VWC conference is: 20th February 2010 'Get Writing' so keep your eyes open for notification of ticket sales. Last year they sold out very, very quickly.

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Plot develpments

The summer is here! Where? I think someone has hidden it from me, however this is good for a writer. There are less distractions to drag you kicking and screaming from your laptop or note book. For me this has proved useful. I've been working on my adult novel, which is still very much in its infancy, but I'm quite happy with what is developing there. Although I'm not sure exactly where it is going. I'm letting it grow organically at the moment, writing separate scenes as they want to be written and I think they are all linked, at least they are at the moment. My hope is that the scenes will fit together like a jigsaw puzzle and make sense. Of course this might not happen and it will all be for naught, but I'm getting so much out of writing this, it is dark and completely out of my comfort zone, but apparently it is good. I can only hope the Winchester Writers' Conference is correct and that this project is worth perusing.

I've also managed to find a better/more developed plot line for one of my books that had some interest, but wasn't quite there. This should give the novel a new lease of life and if I approach it correctly, I'll be able to send it out again by the end of the summer.

And not only that, I've a new idea for a YA novel. The notes have been jotted down and I'm liking the way it is going, but the plotting will let me see if it has the beginnings of growing legs. However this will sit and marinate for a while before I get to start work on it. This book will need a lot of research and the ardious task of watching some of Shakespeare's plays. A hard job but someone has to do it.

I'm off now to get started on the children's novel, or maybe the adult one or perhaps the both. I often work on two different manuscripts at a time. This allows me to stay fresh on both. If I write myself into a corner, I move to another piece of work until the other novel sorts itself out. I think it is amazing how this works. I don't know how it works, but it does. It is like the characters go away and have a few strong coffees or something stronger and then come back with the solution. Either that or I'm completely crazy!! Either way, it works - mostly.

Until next time.

Sunday, 31 May 2009

Sometimes writing takes you by surprise...

...and I have to say that that is exactly what has happened to me. I've been happy writing for children and feel that I'm making small inroads with my work, however, by a share moment of madness I started writing an adult novel.

I read the first scene of this to the VWC, to nick someone elses words, just the best writing circle in the world, and after a brief pause when I thought they were all in shock, the outcome was 'it was the best thing I've written yet! Now obviously as a children's writer this was a bit of a shock, but I've embraced this new story and will endeavour to complete the plotted novel. Nothing ventured nothing gained, so to speak.

But don't worry, my children's work is still being written, and I seems that I can write both at the same time. It must be that they are so vastly different that you couldn't possibly get the two mixed up.

I'm off now to do some more writing. Don't forget to check out the links down the side of this blog. There are some very talented writers there. I've just added Mark Clementson. Click here to check him out - sorry his site: http://markclementson.co.uk/default.aspx

Must dash.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Editing, editing, editing.

Boy! doesn't editing take a long time, and just when you think you've done all you can, you take yet another look and start all over again. That's the problem with writers and artist alike, nothing is quite good enough.

Since last posting I'm had another rejection. This was frustrating as always, but what made this harder was the fact that I'd been in correspondence with the agent and we'd spoken about how comments can really help. As you have probably already guessed there were no comments. So not direction, positive or negative. A shame but something that is becoming more frequent. The conclusion I can deem from this is: A. My work is getting worse. B. My work is getting better, but the market is getting tougher. C. They just don't like it. D. I'm getting closer so it is getting harder for them to comment on improvements, but the work just doesn't suit them.
I guess I'd like it to be option 'D' but I suppose I'll never know.

I am now working on a submission for another competition, and trying to polish, polish to make it as good as it possibly can be. I'm even considering asking the children at school to read two different books to find which they prefer as to which I'll submit. Can you tell I'm getting desprate?

The workshop I spoke about in my last post had to be cancelled due to circumstances beyond the organisers control. They are to reschedule and have asked if I would still be happy to run a workshop. They are currently thinking of the end of JUNE or JULY. what I've got planned should be good. I'm now looking to find other organisations to offer workshops too adult or children's. Each session would be for an hour and should all be eventful but challenging.

So I'm now off to get back to the editing.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Toward the end and Creating workshops

Phew! what a week. I've been busily editing Silence Boy! (9+ novel). I'm wondering now if I've over edited and made the story flat. I've passed it on to one of my dependable readers and hope that he finds it enjoyable.
I'm always worried about something when I'm editing. Usually my books have great openings and brilliant endings, but can sometimes have a saggy middle. This is normally corrected with good strong editing. This is always tough, as I hate cutting lumps out, but the manuscript is often the better for it.

I should have this manuscript back in a few days with copious notes I'm sure.

So I'm off now to start preparing for the Federation of Children's Book Clubs May party. I've been asked by the St. Albans branch of FCBC to lead two workshops for the children attending. Now to get my thinking cap on and get creative. I'm looking to make them visual, interactive and most of all great fun. The key to any workshop has to be the fun factor. I'm looking forward to this immensely. so I'm off now to get stuck in.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Still submitting.

It's been a while since I've posted, but I've been busy writing. Since the Get Writing Conference in St. Albans, Hertfordshire, I've been honing four of my manuscripts for submission to an agent.

Unfortunately the agent isn't interested in my fantasy work, but was keen to see some of my contemporary and humours work. I have therefore submitted the four samples. Two of the manuscripts are complete, but will probably need another edit, they usually do. I've also sent the first chapters of my current work. I did have to submit synopses too, which I hate having to write, but I know I'm not alone in this. Most of my writing friends also find them difficult. I think this is because as writers we make are characters come alive, they are interesting and imaginative and drag us into their world. However, when writing a synopsis you have to keep it brief, and factual and the story in a matter of fact way. I find this very difficult. One day I might get the hang of it.

Whilst I'm waiting for a response I'm continuing with my new manuscripts in hope that the agent will find something in the work I've sent that she loves and will want to work with me.

Must dash, as I'm off to write.

Saturday, 21 February 2009

A glorious day.

It's been a glorious day, not only because of the sun shinning down on us, but because today was the third Verulam Writers Day. About 5o delegates were in attendance. Those I spoke too felt they had come away with new ideas, greater understanding and an urge to go away and get writing.

We were all inspired by our keynote speakers: Barry Cunningham - editor and MD of The Chicken House publishing house, John Jarrold - literary agent of 35 years and Jonathan Pegg - independent literary agent.

During the day delegates were able to pitch their work to the relevant speakers. This was a nervous time for many, but I believe everyone found this opportunity a welcome challenge towards their goal for publication. After all, that is why people like me attend events these. Networking is all part of the learning curve and will, one day, lead to something very special indeed.

For myself, I've now got to take another critical look at my manuscripts, to ensure that they are of the highest standard I can get them before I start sending them out. I know that I'll be required to do more reworking, even after it has been accepted somewhere. There is always room for improvement.

I'm off now to get back to plotting out another story, which will sit in my pile of ideas, that may one day find they have turned from ideas, into a novel.


Thursday, 29 January 2009

It's 2009 and I've not blogged yet!

It has been an age since I've posted on my blog and for that I am sorry. It isn't because I've not been writing for that is exactly what I've been doing.

I'm attending a writing day in February and have the chance to pitch to a publisher. With this in mind I've been working on honing my three books - Intergalactic Orksnog, Blades of Time and Troggle School. Which am I going to pitch? Well that is still undecided. I love them all and feel they are each unique, with either lots of slime & gunge, or mystery & mystical moments, or a mix of all of these aspects and more.

Writing a pitch and brief synopsis is difficult as always. I want to tell the whole story, but need to condense it to the bare bones. I need to work out what to leave in and what to take out - never easy.

So, I'm off now to work on my pitches and will let you know how it all goes later.