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, 30 December 2011

Topic Task - Week Nine

There is only one thought for this weeks topic task and that is: One drink too many.
Perhaps you could think about the down side of the subject, and then the comedic. Why not try writing both? Which works best for you? What scenes could you develop from this prompt? Could you include it in your current work? Would it make a good start to a novel? Maybe it is the end scene, but whatever you produce do try to find a good home for it.

So Happy New Year and a fantastic start to your writing development.

So, Get Writing.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Preparations for a New Year of writing.

So what should you be doing now to get ready for a new year of writing? What should your preparations be? To be honest, I start with clearing out the dross, you know the stuff you've been keeping 'just in case' you can squeeze it in somewhere. Be honest with yourself, is it really that important - really? If it was, surely you'd have it in there already, so, dump it. Then I'd look at the various folders and files full of ideas, we all have them, the ones that we may one day. The ones that you'll write up into the most amazing piece of writing - but will you? Be strict with yourself. How long have you had the idea, six months or has it been hanging around for six years. Is it really such a good idea? Or was it just a whim.
Then look at your current work and see what you can do to tidy and clean up that. And finally make sure you have a couple of reams of printing paper, ink for the printer, that your desk is clean and tidy and a new note book to make your 2012 notes.
Have a great New Year and make 2012 your year for publication.

Friday, 23 December 2011

Topic Task - Week Eight

Right, I've been thinking about a challenge I could give you to work on over the festive period. I've decided to give you a scenario and you can work around it, pick bits out of it to use to create your own story.

1. Scenario:
All the Christmas gifts have been handed out. Only one of the characters has been having an affair and has just realised that if they don't get the gifts back, and swapped before the recipients open them life will hell. Who is having the affair and the out come is yours, only remember this is Christmas, there may be more than three people you need to think about. Remember to draw your characters clearly, think dialogue and remember all the senses. 

2. Scenario:
When you live in the country, your car has broken down, two miles from the nearest house and Mummy is ill and not responding, how do you get help? No you can't phone as there is no mobile signal, and you are alone with your younger brother and sister. What you do with this is up to you. I see it as either a short story or the opening of a children's piece. Make sure you use all the senses and how about trying to do it from the child's point of view.

I hope you are inspired by these topics and develop a good piece of writing.

I wish you all a very Happy Christmas and I hope you get time to write and if you do, please remember to let me know if your writing is improving with the help of these prompts.

Go one, get writing.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Topic Task - Week Seven

Where does the time go? I'm chasing my tail at the moment, so once again apologies  for the delay in posting. I'm hoping that you are all more organised than me and you have already sorted out your festive season. I fear that I'll not be ready until Boxing Day!

1. "Brightwood! You did removed the feathers, didn't you?"
This piece of speech can be used as stimulation for a short story, play or just encourage your imagination to conjure up an interesting piece of writing.

2. Foot spa - wrong glasses - used/new tissue
Hopefully one of these three will get you writing. You can use, one, two or all three to get you started. How, when or where you set it is up to you.

Don't forget to research your market. Think of the target audience and most of all - enjoy writing. 

Now I'm off to make some mince pies.  Last weeks attempt was, well lets say - charcholed offerings. I was so busy doing something else, I left them in for an HOUR!!

Go on, get writing.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Topic Task - Week Six

Okay, it is Friday and this is 'Topic Task' time.

The weather has made a turn for the worse. Rain, high and bitter winds. As you are writing this week, I would like you to think about how the weather will effect your characters. Does it make them behave in irrational ways, do they take the challenges that come their way with good spirit? Or are they a complete mess and unable to cope?

1. Taking the ski pole in hand...
Write a short story using this prompt to simulate your ideas.

2. Icicle - Bikini - White kitten. 
Use one, two or all three of these words to inspire your writing. You could create a poem or short story, however, you might like to try your hand at writing a short play or flash fiction piece.

So that is it for this week. Make of them as you will and remember get writing.

And drop me a line if you create a masterpiece you want to share.


Friday, 2 December 2011

Topic Task - week five

Sorry, was busy making Christmas cake and mincemeat and time has run away with me.

This weeks topics are themed around the season.

 A living Christmas tree.
Try your hand at a piece of Christmas poetry. Perhaps have a go at Haiku, free form or rhyming - alternatively do the lot. However if poetry isn't your thing, a short story will do.

Break down - Secret - Blizzard.
I hope these three words will inspire you to write. Once you've completed this task, find a market for your work and submit.

Right I'm off to do my own editing.

Get Writing.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

'Topic Task' Week Four

Sorry for the delay in posting this weeks 'Topic Tasks' but I've been spending some quality time with my grown up son down in Portsmouth. Great chill out time.

1. The night I shouldn't have had.
This could be the opening to a story or just a prompt to kick start a forgotten memory or stimulate a new idea. How you use it is up to you.

2. Rejection - Argue - Babies
Three words to play with. What do they mean to you? How could you use them to create a piece of creative writing?

Don't forget to let me know what you have achieved here on my blog, or on facebook or via twitter. Or if you have written something, submitted it and subsequently had it printed, please let me know. It would be great to pass on your achievements here.

So, go and write.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

When it is working.

I know I'm not the only writer to have times when words don't come out correctly. I've spent days working on various things and have at last succeeded. It is such a wonderful feeling. This has enabled me to get three short stories finished and they will soon be heading out for a new home. Only hope they are well received.
So my tip today is to keep going. Don't worry if you struggle, eventually things come good. If you put in the extra effort the results will be well worth it.  Edit, rewrite, edit and rewrite until you get it right. It also helps to have a bar of chocolate sitting on the side waiting for you to finish each day. The only problem with that is if you don't do the work you don't get the chocolate.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Topic Task - Week Three

It is Friday again and time for then next two 'Topic Tasks' for this week.

I've had a few comments from readers and writers, which have all been favourable.  In particular the word vasectomy seemed to get the thumbs up.

1. Three words to inspire. These words should appear in the story, poem or article. CANDLE, FOREST & SCREW.

2. Scorch marks... This could be a title or something that happens within a story.

What you make of these 'Topic Tasks' is up to you. They could all be dark and mysterious, fun and frivolous or down right naughty. It is your choice. What do they conjure up in your imagination? Got the idea,  now go and write.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Topic Task - Week Two

I hope you last weeks topics gave you some food for thought. Let me know if you were inspired or not.

Remember these tasks are set to help you focus on something new. To challenge yourself. Of course if you see the tasks through to the end you may well find your work in print.

Topics for week two:

1. Think up a YA book idea - brief draft idea, synopsis and opening paragraph. Then look at it - is it worth completing. How could you improve it?

2. Three words: Vasectomy, Copper Tubing,  Lemon Meringue Pie - Write a short story that includes all these aspects.

I hope these ideas inspire you to set the keyboard light. Have fun.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Topic Task - Week One.

I've been speaking to many writers recently and they have expressed an interest in having a writing task set each week. Sometimes, as a writer, you need a distraction to allow your mind to work out a situation that you are struggling with. Taking on a 'topic task' allows the mind to focus on something else whilst the subconscious sorts out the issues with your manuscript. Some people go for a long walk, paint the house or make umpteen cups of tea, but for me a topic works.

The idea of the 'topic task' is to inspire and make you focus on writing something for publication as well as pleasure. Some tasks will need research and it is important to target your market if the task requires it.
So, your first weeks 'topic task' is.

I have given you two options here. Select the one that appeals to you.

1. How many times! - Short story (1000 words) or poem (41 lines max) - target your market and submit.
2. An article for a men's magazine - research requirements and submit.   

I hope one of these will stimulate your creativity. Please let me know if you’ve had a go at one of these and how you found the prompts.

 I will post a new 'topic task' next Friday.

Monday, 31 October 2011

The Child's Creative Bone.

All children have a creative bone, but, all too often it is crushed due to many reasons - issues around them and very little time to experiment with their written work.  I'm considering creating a children's writing club that would meet on a monthly basis and encourage children to discover or rediscover their creative bone.

Would this interest your children? If so, would you encourage them to pursue it? Would you be willing to pay for it?

There would be many facets to the club, which would not only develop your children's writing ability, but would also boost their self esteem.

I'm keen to have feedback from parents.  So if you have thoughts on this please comment.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

VWC writers & visitors.

What a fun night at 'The White Hart' public house in St. Albans. The VWC or Verulam Writers' Circle to the uninitiated were holding their biweekly manuscript meeting. There were a some wonderful pieces of work. The readers ranged from visitors to the president himself. The work being produced by the group as a whole is quite amazing, going from strength to strength.

So what is a visitor?

Visitors are writers keen to know more about the VWC. They pop in to see if the writing circle is what they are looking for and they are always welcome. There are two different types of meeting. White Hart meetings are free, but visitors may have to wait for paid up members to read first before they get the chance to read and get their material critiqued. However, if you want to get a "full taster" then paying the £3 visitors fee (£5 if we have a speaker) at St Michaels is the way to go. But becoming a member is the best value of all. As a member you get to read, enjoy critiques and get first dibs on the special events. Always a good thing. 
And here is a gentle reminder about 'GET WRITING 2012' visit the http://www.verulamwriterscircle.org.uk/getwriting2012.php and book your place now.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

What a Fantastic Weekend.

I had an amazing weekend at the Festival of Romance.  I was there to run the book stall, which was fascinating on its own, but this also gave me a chance to learn much more about the genre.  I discovered I was very naive and during the process I met some wonderful writers.
I have to at this point mention the food. It was delicious. I have been to many conferences and festivals over the country and the food has been reasonable, but this was in a different league.
©Martin Smith - www.silver-images.net
The Saturday programme, much like the Friday programme was full of interesting sessions, lots of networking, and special events! I was rather partial to the cup cake tasting. Was it because it the cakes were handed around by a fine specimen of a shirtless, well honed, young man. It was a delightful lift towards the end of the day.
At the end of the days events delegates nipped off to put on there evening gowns and together with their partners or husbands strolled down to partake of the Rouge Champagne Party, held in the lobby. From there people moved through to have their photographs taken, the image shown is Heidi and Laura from (Total-E-Bound Publishing), with me, in the middle.  Then everyone took up their seats at the dinner tables for the charity ball.. The fun and games began. Awards were given and photo's taken, the  jazz band struck up and the dancing commenced. And before we knew it the time had raced away and we all headed off to sleep.
Congratulations to the organisers of the first, I'm sure it won't be the last, Festival of Romance. A great success.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Festival of Romance

The first day of the Festival of Romance kicked off at around 9am this morning and was a buzz by 9:20 & it didn't stop there. There were talks, Q & A sessions, book sales, author signings and networking galore. There were opportuities to mingle with editors, publishers and agents, oh, and I mustn't forget the book sellers.
I found all the developments with e-books fascinating and I didn't realise how vast the e-book market has now become.
I've made a few new contacts and I'm looking forward to tomorrow when I get to do it all over again.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Festival of Romance

The Festival of Romance

The Festival of Romance is the UK’s first romantic fiction convention. So what is it all about? The festival is open to anyone who is interested in romantic fiction, either as a reader or a writer. There is something for everyone.  Held over two days, Friday 21st and Saturday 22nd October 2011 and takes place at Hunton Park, near Watford, UK.  http://www.devere.co.uk/our-locations/hunton-park

So what can you expect from this festival?

  •   Carole Matthews celebrity author interview
  •   Book fair, panels, debates and reading group
  •  Meet authors and fans from around the world 
  •   Competitions and quizzes
  •  Writing workshop with Sue Moorcroft
  •   Learn from the experts how to write romance
  •  Chocolate tasting with Choc Lit
  •   Meet the Mills and Boon editors
  •   Win a publishing contract with Xcite Books
  •   Fashion show, Book Awards and Ball 
  •   New Talent Award for unpublished writers
  • Judges: Donna Condon, senior editor at Piatkus 
  •  Jane Judd, literary agent
 This looks like it will be another successful event by organised by this company who are establishing themselves within the conference marketplace. To find out more check out their website:  www.festivalofromance.co.uk or you can join their social network: http://festivalofromanceonline.ning.com/

This event is quickly filling up, but tickets are still available. If you are into romantic fiction this is one you really should investigate. 

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

August is running away.

Somehow it is three quarters of the way through August and although the writing is getting done, I’m not being as industrious as I would like to be.  And why is this? I put it down to having my son back from university and lack of sleep. Okay, that isn’t really true, it is being out in the garden and de-cluttering the house and outbuildings. However, today has changed that. I am now focused and determined to write at least 1500 good words each day, more if possible. That shouldn’t be a problem.  I know where the story is going, and how I want it to blend. The characters are screaming at me to get on with it, so that is exactly what I’m going to do.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Winchester Writers' Conference 1st - 3rd July 2011

After some great comments on my current novel ‘Ribbons of Red’ I’m hard at work, but realised I haven’t posted anything on my blog for a while.
I’m heading down to Winchester again to work on the One-to-One desk for Friday 1st -3rd July 2011 and be assured I’ll be writing in my spare time!!!!
There are some wonderful speakers, workshops and seminars to become involved in and if you are lucky you might still be able to purchase tickets. Here are just a few to get you excited: Barry Cunningham who is this year’s Plenary Speaker – I’ve heard Barry speak on many occasions and it is something not to miss. There are a few new faces to the Winchesters Writers Conference this year and many regulars.  David Headley (agent), Teresa Chris (agent), Lorella Belli (agent), Jude Evans (senior editor), Donna Condon (editor), Bernard McKenna (film scripts) and many, many more, seventy in total and that’s  just in the one-to-one appointments.
Winchesters’ Writers’ Conference is a family affair, only the family is rather large. There is something special that happens when writers get together...creativity flows in abundance. T he support and encouragement is delightful and the networking invaluable.
Agents, editors and book doctors are all there to give their thoughts on your work. It is an opportunity to grow as a writer and many attendees met their agent or publisher during their One-to-One meeting or by sitting next to them at the dinner table. Networking never stops – make sure you don’t.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

2011 Backspace Writers’ Conference

This is the 7th Annual Backspace Writers’ Conference which is held in New York City.
The conference runs from the 26th – 28th May 2011, but you can select to attend for one, two or three days. There will be many agents, authors and editors to network with and to help you to enhance our manuscripts.
So what is on offer?
Query Letter Workshops – Opening Pages Workshops – Panel Discussions – General Workshops – Master Classes – Book signing and a special workshop with Donald Maass (Literacy Agent) - http://www.maassagency.com/
All this wrapped up with good food, drinks and like minded people.
There is still time to register, but be quick, time is ticking by, so check out the website for further details: http://www.backspacewritersconference.com/
Personally, I would love to attend, unfortunately do to the fact that it is in New York City and I’m scheduled elsewhere means I’ll have to miss out on this occasion. However, should you be attending please drop me a line and let me know how it was for you and what you got out of it.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Free Yourself to Write

If you've always wanted to make space to write, really write, then this might be the ideal opportunity for you.
Do you fancy a week in the glorious Lycian region of Trukey to write? If so, then check out Philippa Pride's website: www.thebookdoctor.co.uk This break gives you the opportunity to learn, improve or hone your work with the support of a dedicated professional. So what are you waiting for? Go check it out now. 

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Fantastic News from Festival of Writing

Fantastic news coming from the, ‘Festival of Writing’, that took place for the second year at the University of York. Once again this was an outstanding event. There was something for everyone, from the novice writer to the accomplished author. One thing that people might not know is the generosity of the writing community. I’ve heard people say, I don’t go to those sorts of things – I’d feel like a spare part. But this really isn’t the case. Writers are a big-hearted crowd. Willing to talk about their own work, yes, but equally interested in what the person next to them is writing. I guess it really boils down to what you put into it, as to what you get out of it.
I’m in a great position to see, the nervous faces of the tentative writer entering the one-to-one arena, (a place to pitch your work to agents etc.), scared and shaking. I’m not surprised! They enter and find me on the desk. I’ve heard it said that it’s like the fear of entering the doctor’s surgery and getting past the receptionist!! But I do always smile and try my hardest to accommodate everyone’s requests. But there is one thing I can’t do is magic up an appointment if the agent, editor or book doctor is fully booked. If you’ve missed your allotted time, I will do my hardest to slot you elsewhere, but that isn’t always possible. However, on the whole, most writers come out feeling they have received the best critique on their work, some come out with requests for full manuscripts and as it has been the case this year, writers come out with a further meeting booked to sign up with an agent. To ensure that these events run smoothly, we have to make certain that we adhere to timings; hence the day runs smoothly for agents, editors, book doctors and the delegates themselves.
This year I know for a fact that there were at least three people taken on by agents. Many people were amazed at the great feedback they received. You have to remember that this time with the agent will be brief, but they will give you some important advice. Don’t panic if they say some negative things, these can be changed and this is probably where you need to concentrate your efforts. ‘Anything worth doing is worth doing well’, it is a truth that we all have to learn to accept. Festivals like this are there to help you grow your work and extend your talents. So, if you’ve never been don’t be scared, it is fun and you will learn something. I still learn every conference or festival I attend. The writing world isn’t a dinosaur, it is constantly evolving and you have to evolve with it if you want to break into, stay in or try something new. You are only as good as your last piece of work. So take advice, edit and re-edit, then re-edit again before you send your work out there if you are to get the best result. After all it’s why you write, isn’t it?