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

Saturday, 29 December 2012

With New Year, comes a time of ...

I've been having difficulty in deciding what to do for this blog as it comes at the quite time between the festivities of Christmas day and New Year. Topic Task doesn't seem quite right at this time, so instead I've decided to get you to write down the three most important aims for your writing in the coming year.

Having been made to face my own writing crossroads recently I have had to think deeply and ponder where my writing heart really lies. This was not as hard as I had anticipated. To be honest, I just love writing, but I that isn't enough. I have to ensure my characters old and new are kept alive. With this in mind I know in which direction I will now be going. I can't tell you yet, but if all goes to plan this year, I hope to be well on the road to my goal of publication.

To do this I have to make the changes to my writing regime which will enable me to have the time everyday to get some serious work done. However, with working full time this will be difficult, but I need to put the focus back in to get the creativity out. With this said, I don't have time before work to write, so all writing must be done in early evening. I'm hoping this won't make Susan a dull girl, but enhance my writing and take me forward on the path towards my goals.

I've had offers of help from some wonderful people and they can be assured I will be in contact soon.

Therefore your challenge for this week is to select three goals you would like to fulfil this coming year. They don't have to be publication, they could be simply to finish a short story, improve a character, write for ten minutes every day or to attend a writing conference to developing your writing networking. Chose only what you feel you can achieve, there is no point in putting pressure on yourself when the reality is it will cause you writing stress. Write these three choices down and put them in a place that is in clear view. Each time you succeed strike through the aim and add a new challenge.

I would love to hear about your accomplishments over the coming year and your experiences with your work. Do feel free to message me here. It is always good to share good news.

As New Year is fast approaching I want to wish you all a fantastic writerly New Year and much success in 2013

Friday, 21 December 2012

Topic Task - Write a Picture

A fantastic week - even won a bowling match at our work Christmas do. That was a fluke, but one I'm happy about. The first Christmas dinner was a success which bodes well for the second one on Christmas day.
I'm now looking forward to some quality writing time and eating all the things I shouldn't. This means that the trainers will have to come out again to walk it all off all the extra pounds in the New Year!

I hope you had fun with the photos from last week and that the Christmas images below will continue to inspire your Christmas stories to send out in April/May.

1. A wall decoration made from the discarded branches from a Christmas tree and tied
 together to create a festive wall display. 2. A table wreath and candle, made from clippings from a garden fir tree.
1.                                                                  2.
Wishing you all a happy festive season. So go on, get writing.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Topic Task - Write a Picture

A fantastic week. Preparations for the festive season are well under way and my first Christmas dinner is being cooked this weekend. I'm really looking forward to it. A few things still to cook and sew before Sunday and then only the meal. And I get to do it all again on Christmas day too.

So for the topic task this week we are looking at Christmas.
You  have two picture which I hope will inspire you to write a Christmas story. Think about where you might sell the story and make sure you hang on to it until April or May when you can send it off and see if Christmas 2013 it will appear in a magazine, as a book or a poem inside a card. Now is the time to write Christmas.

So what are you waiting for, get writing.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Topic Task - Write a Picture

A week of no writing! I don't know what happened, but I am shocked. I didn't even do any editing or reading ready to edit - nothing at all. In my defence, I have been working on five Christmas cakes and because of this I only have three left to decorate. Time will tell if any writing gets done this weekend, once again it is a busy one. And if it does snow, like they are suggesting it will, I won't be able to go out which means I won't have anything else to do but write.

This weeks topic task is once again to Write a Picture. Below you will see two images that I hope will inspire you to get creative. Write freely for maximum of ten minutes and then read what you have achieved. Then think how this piece of writing could develop. Will it become a children's story, a thriller or a poem whatever direction you feel will suit the piece move it forward and create a piece to market.


Peacock Butterfly

So what are you waiting for? Get writing.

Friday, 30 November 2012

Topic Task - Write a Picture.

I hope you had good fun with the first 'Write a Picture' topic task. I've picked another two images that I hope will once again inspire you to be creative.

1. This image was taken in London.
2. A pink rose in a country garden.

This is free writing. Poetry, short story or start of a novel. Whatever you choose to do make sure you remember all the senses and bring the writing alive on the page.

So go on, get writing.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Topic Task - Write a Picture.

This week we are starting a new theme for our Topic Tasks. They will be called: Writer a Picture.

Each week I'll be posting up a photo to get your creative juices flowing.
For our first week there are two photos to choose from.

Look closely at the image and describe what you see. Think about the aromas that might be lingering around and how they could enhance your piece of writing.
Write what comes to mind. Short story, poem, sketch or any other form of writing.

I'm hoping you won't lose yourself in this maze, but that it will have you fill your writing with twists and turns that lead to one final point.
Use all the senses to describe what your character may or may-not feel whilst they encounter the maze.

Please let me know how you get on. It is always good to get feedback.

So go on, get writing.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Topic Task - Week Fifty-Five

It has been a busy week. The day job was manic, but somehow everything got done. On the writing front, I have been blessed with some wonderful options, and I'm going to be taking them. It means lots of hard work but nothing good is easy.

The preparations for 'Get Writing 2013' are coming on nicely. I'll post more about it soon and of course when the tickets go on sale, I'll let you know.

So what is the topic task for this week?

Photo prompts.

Take a look at the images and try writing something for each.
You could think about aiming to write a piece of poetry for each picture or a non-fiction article simulated by what you see. Of course they could each evoke different feelings which will in itself will guide your writing.

Have a go and play with what you see and the emotions they conjure up for you.
Whatever you write remember to use all your senses to engage with your reader. Once complete think about where might market your work.


Above all have fun with it.

So go on, get writing

Please let me know if you would like more images as prompts.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Topic Task - Week Fifty-Four

Still no feed back on the children's manuscript, getting quite nervous now. On the positive side the manuscript I'm currently reading/editing is okay, well, good actually. At least I like it. I just hope that when it's read the readers will like it too.

I hope the starting sentences last week stimulated your writing and that you got some good material out of it. Don't forget to drop me a line to let me know how your writing is going. I always love to hear from you.

This weeks topic task is to write a 15/20 minute stage play. You will need to research your market. Find out how to set out a script  and all the whistles and bells you will need. Lighting, special effects and anything else to help your characters.

You'll need to get your scenario worked out, characters developed and think about why these people are together and how that will effect the direction of your story. Once you've completed it, why not change the genre. If it is serious make it comedic, play with the scenario and see what works best. Now comes the harder part, find an outlet for your work. Why not try a local amateur theatre group take a look, they might be interested, or set up a showcase with your writing circle. It is great to see your work come to life on stage and hear the appreciation of a real audience.

So what are you waiting for, get writing.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Topic Task - Week Fifty-Three

One of my children's manuscripts is now out being read by my reading friend. I'll get good feed back and find out if the story makes sense. I've been doing a lot of editing I'm just hoping I've not chopped out something that is essential. I find this time both exciting and frightening - it's the waiting and the fear of finding out what they really think. Perhaps this time next week I'll know.

If you weren't aware, I'm going to be involved in the 'Get Writing 2013' which will be held on 20th April 2013. Keep a look out for details on twitter @getwriting2013 or here for an update. It's shaping up to be another brilliant conference.

I had a wonderful day out in London on Monday - lovely company, food and conversation. I've been made to look at where I want to be and think about where my writing passion lies. This wasn't an easy task, but I have followed my heart and gone with what makes me really tick.

So what have I got for your topic task this week?

Writing scenes with animals is quite difficult. You need to capture the animals character and how it interacts with its surroundings and maybe other animals or humans. What your animal is and what characteristics you give it is completely up to you. Write your story from one of the genres below.

1. Children's
2. Horror
3. Thriller
4. Historical Fiction

Good luck with this. Go on, get writing.

Friday, 26 October 2012

Topic Task - Week Fifty-two

Today has been an interesting day. It feels like the change in the weather is blowing away the dross that was hanging around. I'm looking forward to changes I'm implementing to my writing and with luck, by March I will have finished the first draft of my thriller. In the meantime, I'm trying to find a home for two of my children's manuscripts. They will be winging there way out into the world very soon.

This weeks topic task is to use the following opening lines to create a piece of  writing. As you make your selection think about the market you are targeting. Once complete, why not send it out and see what happens.

1. "Why didn't you tell me it was...
2. The fingers gripped tightly onto...
3. For a moment she was free to...
4. Oranges aren't the only fruit that makes me...

Hopefully one of these openings will inspire you.

So go on, get writing.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Topic Task - Fifty-One

You have weeks when the writing is slow and that is what it has been for me this week. If I'm honest it is all due to having lots to do and not enough time to really get into the writing. I've fiddled about with a couple of scenes and spoken about writing to some first timers. It was fantastic to see and feel the enthusiasm they have about their material. The discussion that followed was about the way forward. Editors, agents and publishers and how and when to submit work. It is important to make sure that your manuscript is the best it can possibly be before you push it out to meet the world. So how is that done? The best way is to join a good writing circle and by that I mean one that gives good critiques and has members who have been through the process and are still getting published. Attend as many writing conferences you that you can. there many out there and each will inspire. Networking with other writers working in the same genre is a great way to keep abreast of what is happening. As a writer you need to do the leg work to glean all the information, direction, knowledge and skills to get your manuscript up to publishable quality. And remember this doesn't happen over night.

This weeks topic task is to put your self in the position of one of the characters below. You need to tell the story through their eyes. Your character is in a street somewhere. This could be in a City Centre, in a village or down by the coast. What happens to them, how they deal with it and what effect it has on them is up to you. Chose one of the subjects from below.

A. Street Drinker
B. Vagrant
C. Tramp
D. Memory loss victim.

So get yourself inside the head of your character and get writing.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Topic - Task Fifty

I've had a fantastic couple of days, catching up with old friends and meeting new people. A Bollywood & Bond party was amazing. What made it so great were the people and the effort that went into making costumes and getting into the spirit of the evening - AND the food was exceptional. I have brought a doggy bag home with me.

On the writing front, I've been jotting down new scenes and getting play with my new characters. There has been less written than I had hoped, but what I have done, I'm pleased with.

I've had one of my children's novels re-edited and many things have been brought to my attention. I will now have confidence in sending this one out. Now to see if the editor can also do the one I've just finished!

So what have I got for you this week. As it is week fifty I thought we need to do something special.

The challenge this week is to write a story set at a bus stop. Three characters of your choice are going to be standing at this bus stop throughout the four seasons. Summer, Autumn, Winter and Spring. You need to show us how the seasons effect your characters. What happens to their surrounding, them and the way they interact.

So go on, get writing.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Topic Task - Forty-Nine

It's the end of the working week and I've been writing every day and feel very much in the zone. The is the writing zone not the twilight zone or any other zone! It is the most amazing feeling when the writing is working and something that I wonder if non writers would ever experience. It is something you are driven to do. It doesn't give you the opportunity to stop. Characters are great butt kickers - always digging you to get their story down on the page. How can a writer refuse? I know this one can't.

This weeks topic task is set in either a noisy:

a) Cafe
b) Nightclub
c) Swimming pool
d) House Party

You are in conversation with some one and telling them either:

a) A secret.
b) Some home truths.
c) Hear a false statement.
d) Gossip about a teacher at your child's school.

Make your choices, target your market, create your piece of writing and submit.

Remember, writing is wonderful, publication is amazing - that tasty icing on the cake.

So go on, get writing.

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Topic Task - Week Forty-Eight

Once again I was lost in my edit type-ups and am late again posting my blog. Not like me at all, well, it didn't used to be. I will endeavour to be on time next week.

My editing has been going well and I've had help from my youngest cat, who has decided that sitting on the manuscript is the only way to get her food. I'm just hoping that she's added a little, actually a lot, of cat magic    to the pages which will have publishers meowing for more. I fear mostly she has left fluff and paw prints.

Today's topic task is to put yourself inside the mind of your character. Once you've created your character I want you to put this character in an auction room. They can be the auctioneer, a buyer, a seller or just someone looking around. However, the problem that is about to adhere its self to your character is a young five year old child. A very active child. You need to describe the situation, how this effects your character and how they get out of whatever trouble they are in.

Why not try this as a short play, or a short story?

Whatever you attempt this task remember to have fun with it.

Go on, get writing.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Topic Task - Week Forty-Seven

Those of you who also follow me on twitter will know that I've been really getting structure back in my writing life. It is great. Loving every moment with the keyboard, pen and mark-up pencil. Edits and notes, plotting and re-plotting and getting rid of the soggy middles and stagnant phrases. Yep, I've got them, I think we all do, that is why we have to keep our edit eye keen. I've just picked up a manuscript I haven't looked at for years and found it was good but in need of a good edit-out. It is becoming fitter and I think it will have a good pair of legs once it is pushed back out to be seen.

This weeks Topic Task is to write a piece of creative work that tells the story of a small lie. This lie will cause  great difficulty when discovered. This could be a lie told to your character as a child, adult, by a person close to you or a stranger. You need to show how this lie effects the life of your character/s and how they resolve it, of course if they do resolve it. This could be in the form of a short story or a poem.

Good luck with this one. Go on, get writing.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Topic Task - Forty-Six

Apologies once again for my tardiness. I was taking wonderful son back to university and spent the weekend with him - played pool, haven't done that in over 15 years! I can still do it, I'm pushing the thought to the back of my head that they might have been being very kind, but no, I won fair and square. That is my belief, however don't ask me to play for money. Played three games lost one and won two.

I came back from the York festival of Writing buzzing and rather inspired to look back at some of the many manuscripts still lurking in my cupboards. I've found one that had some great feed back and have decided to spend some time re-editing it. So I've printed off a new copy and will be taking that out into the garden with me along with a pen and pot of tea.
I've also now fully plotted out my thriller after many chats with editors/agents at the conference. It was very useful to bounce the ideas I had which has now formed the completed plot line. I'm looking forward to starting this shortly.

So what joys are there awaiting you in the topic task for this week.

I thought it would be an interesting task to take inanimate objects and give them a personality. You can chose from one of the options below or select a place of your own to develop.
1. Child's bedroom - toy's are the obvious ones here but want about the changing mat!
2. Garage - what would the car say to the motorbike or lawn mower?
3. Bathroom - imagine what the loo might be saying to the bath?
4. The Cellar - this could be fun, dark or down right dangerous.

So if you don't like one of those, then find a place and let your imagination take you on a journey. See how wonderfully creative you can be.
Go on, get writing.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Topic Task - Forty - Five

What a fantastic four days! I headed out to York on Thursday for the Festival of Writing - York. My team and I were running the one-to-one's and it was an almost seamless ship. Once again I was immersed in the world I love the best with like minded people and stimulating conversations.
I met up with authors I've not seen for many years one in particular in over ten years. It is amazing where the time has gone. It was great to connect again with agents and editors, many of whom are now friends. I always come home inspired. I needed a bit of a kick to get my work back on track and now it is. And why? chatting plot lines over with all those creative people.
I've made new friends and rekindled old friendships at the same time as having the most wonderful time.
I need to say here, a great big THANK YOU to my team Ellen Hanns and Mark Clementson for all their hard work and dedication in dealing with some tricky situations and always with a smile on their faces.

So this weeks Topic Task is to think about how you would pitch your work to an agent, editor or book doctor. Think of the 'Hook' to get that immediate interest. Where would your book sit on the book shelf, how does it compare to other authors on that shelf?  Why does your book deserve a second look? Can you write a pitch that will encapsulate your work in less than fifty words.

Give it a go and get writing.

Friday, 31 August 2012

Topic Task - Week Forty-four

I'm looking forward to a weekend full of writing. I've set aside time, have scribbles to type up and a novel to get back on track. I've been writing the odd scene and developing a couple of plots, so there are no excuses not to get my head down over the winter months and finish at least one of them. If you notice me slacking, please shout. 

For this weeks topic task I've delved back in my topic tin and come up with the following.

1. Random words: Melon - Monster -Vesper - Tibbs - Dope - Rice pudding - Spade

Use all of them, some of them or just one to trigger a piece of writing. 

2. I remember...

Show us what you remember and make us feel your emotions.

3. Have the witches all gone or just hiding somewhere?

Use this to inspire a piece of writing.This could be creative fiction or non-fiction.  

I hope one of the above prompts stimulate your writing. So go on, get writing. 

Friday, 24 August 2012

Topic Task - Week Forty-Three

I hope you’ve had some fun working on last week’s topic task.  For this week we are going walking. You are going to drop your character off in a place they wouldn’t normally go. They will have to deal with whatever situation you drop them into. You need to know how that character would react in every possible circumstance. So firstly, select your character. Draw then well and make them complete. Then drop them into the following places.

1.       University freshers event.
2.       The middle of a dark wood.
3.       In a fancy dress shop.
4.       Grand banquet in Knebworth House.
5.       A monastery.
6.       In a naturist beach.

The character you’ve created will/should react differently in each situation. It is up to you to show this through the development of your storyline.

So what are you waiting for, get writing. 

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Topic Task - Week Forty-Two

It is so beautiful out there this weekend, I don't want you missing any of it. So I'm sending you off on a picnic. You are going to have three picnics this weekend. Each will be vastly different. You have to pick your locations to enable you to write the back drop to what is going on the picnic blanket/bench/table. Each picnic must start with the same characters, but doesn't have to end that way. The picnic could be fun, dire or completely mad. You select the situation you want your characters to be in and take it from there. Remember to think about the surroundings and how they impact on your story line. Who else is around or are you completely secluded, and if so is this a good or bad thing.

I'm off now to enjoy the sun with my laptop and my glass of iced water.

Have fun with this and get writing.

Friday, 10 August 2012

Topic Task - Week Forty-One

I’m really looking forward to early September and the York Festival of Writing. So if you are attending I’ll see you there. If not, why not? It is a great place to immerse yourself in all that is creative, productive and developmental about writing. You will get to talk writing all weekend and leave with ideas buzzing about your head and so inspired there will be no stopping you.

This week we are looking at characters by way of the shoes. We will be creating characters around the shoes they are wearing. Think of unusual twists to the way your characters wear their shoes. Are they the archetypical wearer? Is there something not quite right in the eye of the reader when they first discover the characters identity? How do you want your reader to feel about the person wearing the shoes? You must think about this when you start to work. Start from the shoe and work your way up to the person and then show us your fully rounded character.

To help you here are some prompts.

1. High stiletto
2. Wellington Boot
3. Diamante trainers
4. Doc Martins

Have fun with this. Don’t be boring inject some life into these shoes. Are they for walking in or admiring? Don’t ask me, you’re the writer so, get writing. 

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Topic Task - Week Forty

I can’t believe we have reached topic task week forty. I hope you have found the tasks both engaging and inspiring. I’ve enjoyed posting them and receiving your comments, most of which have been emailed to me. However I’ve not had any reports of publications from the work you are doing. Therefore, if you’ve been published recently and would like to share it with other writers please let me know.
My writing is coming on nicely. I’ve had some interest, but still have a lot of writing, editing and re-editing to do. I’m having great fun with the surprise plot twists that are appearing. And yes, they are working.
So for the fortieth week, we are going to write about one scene from three different perspectives. The first is from the person/persons involved. The second is the parents or children of the person/persons involved and thirdly from the point of view of the authorities.
To get you going you have the prompts below.
1. A rock festival.
2. A house party.
3. A ball at the Grosvenor House Hotel - London.
What happens, where you take it is completely down to you, but make sure the reader feels the passion.
So enjoy writing your fortieth piece. Once you’ve completed it, why not pull out the first few pieces you attempted and discover how far your writing has come.
Go on, get writing. 

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Topic Task - Week Thirty-Nine

It's Sunday and I'm only just catching up with myself. Sorry for the delay in posting this weeks topic task.

The Olympics are under way and sun has let us know it is still up there and can shine down upon us when it wants to. I think this makes it a perfect time to get outside and write. This week I thought it might be nice to go back to writing a piece prompted by five simple words. 

Prompt words: 
1. Pimms - Mobile - Raid - Comfy Chair - Iguana.
2. Weights - Corrugated roof - Vision -Tipper - Scissors.
3. Vacuum - Drill - Ghost - Jug - Alarm.

Use one of the selections of words above to create a piece of writing. Think about where this work might be published and target your market. You need to use all the words in the list but choose the tense that is best for you. I think you will be surprised where these prompts can lead your writing. 
So go on, get writing.

REVIEW: I'm Dougal Trump and It's Not My Fault!

The first time I met Dougal Trump he was a mere 500 words – an idea – a brilliant idea. Now he has grown into an amazingly well written humours book with a unique voice. Which is full to bursting with laughs, well not laughs, but fantastic words that make you laugh out loud. The great use of different font types and illustrations throughout the book are a perfect back drop for the story, which push the narrative forward. And as for the story it’s self, it goes a bit like this: Our dear Dougal Trump has a problem, he has a big problem. In fact the problem is so BIG he has decided to make a will. His family have all threatened to kill him and they do it often, but that isn’t what is worrying him. What is worrying him is the DEATH note attached to the shed and the monster lurking within. He has to take care of it, but how? It is a big hairy, long clawed creature that growls deeply and terrifies Dougal. He daren’t open the shed door. He can’t do it alone, but dare he ask friends for help? This wasn’t a good idea. Things start to go wrong. With the new neighbours next door and Stan, Dougal’s life just keeps getting worse. He panics when a hole appears in the back of the shed. Pets living in the area start to go missing! Strange noises are heard in the night. And all the time Dougal Trump is getting the blame. He is terrified someone will open the shed door and be eaten alive!  No one believes anything he says and the blame for everything keeps falling on him. Even his friends don’t want to know him now. He is telling the truth, but it is too late! He is going to have to live his life being grounded and it is never his fault. He is about to get the blame for the fire, when ...
I can’t tell you the ending or you wouldn’t get the chance to read this amazing book by Dougal Trump with a bit of help from Jackie Marchant. A great summer read for kids of any age.

So what are you waiting for? Go and get your copy. You won’t be disappointed. Available at all good book shops and on Amazon. 

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Topic Task - Week Thirty-Eight

We have come to the end of the week and yet again it has been busy.  I’m looking forward to some relaxation time and some good company. 

This week’s topic Task is about fear.
How do you convey the fear in your character to the reader?   
It comes back to the old adage ‘show, don’t tell’. By this I don’t mean you don’t tell us some information, but you limit the telling and extend the showing. We, the reader, need to know what your character is seeing, feeling and how they are behaving in response to the situation.  Does fear have a smell? I’ll let you decide that one.

Your prompts today are:

1.       Halfway down an alleyway as you turn the corner a shadow looms in front of you.
2.       It’s safe under the table, isn’t it?
3.       It’s your first time abseiling and your bottles gone, but it’s for charity and you’ve promised.
4.       You’ve found an abnormality and are sitting in the doctors’ waiting room.

I hope one of these prompts will inspire you to write and create a piece full of emotion, description and all the bells and whistles that go to make a great piece of writing.

So go on, get writing. 

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Topic Task - Week Thirty-Seven

What an interesting week! I've had some good comments from readers on my current manuscript, which is very encouraging. I've been working on my YA novel and have received a rejection. On the whole a good week. That is apart from the car issues which are on-going.
This weeks topic task might get some of you worrying or wanting to hide your heads in the sand. We are going to look into the depths of a woman's handbag.
For some of you that might be an easy task, others might find things they really rather not know about the things lurking in the dark recesses.
You can choose to simply describe the bag and its content or it could just be the catalyst to a different world or you could explain the woman who owns the bag and her strange behaviour.
1. Use it as a tool to improve your descriptive abilities.
2. Use it to describe the woman who owns the bag through the items found inside.
3. To use the bag as a portal to a secret place, the bag owner may or may not be aware of what is going on within.
So what ever one you select, remember to draw a picture with your words.
Go on, get writing.

Friday, 6 July 2012

Topic Task - Week Thirty -Six

Once again it has been a very busy week. I've had loads of fun and learnt many new things. Friday ended with celebrations at the launch of 'I'm Dougal Trump and It's not my Fault.' by the brilliant new children's writer, Jackie Marchant http://www.jackiemarchant.com/ There will be a special blog about this later, so keep your eyes open for the photos, the review and the chance to win a signed copy. To find out more about  Dougal Trump and what he gets up to check out his website www.DougalTrump.com You'll find lots of fun things going on. 

Now for this weeks topic task. I've decided to give you a simple prompt: The tin shack had been rusing at the bottom of the garden for over fifty years without the door ever been opened. 
It is up to you to decide what is on the inside. Could it hold a portal to a different dimention? Will it be full of stolen goods, empty or hiding a dark secret? You decide. You tell the story. As always use all the senses to make the reader feel the emotion and be there with you.

So go on, get writing.

Friday, 29 June 2012

Topic Task - Week Thirty-Five

After a lot of hassle and more issues than I should have had to deal with I have my car back. She was smashed and bashed and now she is fresh and sparkly. It is good to have her back. I did like the courtesy car, but my old girl fits me perfectly. Driving her is like being cradled by love. Daft it maybe, but she is special to me.
The rest of the week has been interesting. Not good, not bad, just ordinary. Not black and white, but a shade of grey.
I've been very lax in my writing this week, so need to kick my own backside and get working. I've so much to do and where to start is always the hardest part. Once I'm off and running there is very little that can stop me, but the starting is tricky.

So what have I got in mind for you this week. What would be a suitable task to stimulate the brain and get your creative juices flowing.

This week you are taking a journey. You can go anywhere you want, however, you have to describe the weather and how it is effecting your characters. Does it help or hinder? Will it make the journey better or horrendous. Remember rain isn't always bad. Sun can be a killer. What you need to do is decide whether your characters are on a journey of:
1. Discovery.
2. Work based.
3. Enjoyment.
4. Destruction.
Make it light hearted, dark and menacing, romantic or depressing. Whatever you choose to do, make the reader believe your characters are living through this experience and show us how this effects their relationship. Does it bring them closer?  Will it rip them apart? Does only one come back? Are they lost forever?
All you need to do is create the characters,or  use one's you've worked with before, pop them into your idea and see where they take you. It might surprise you what happens.
So go on, get writing.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Topic Task - Week Thirty-Four

Sorry for the delay. I've been picking my son up from Portsmouth. He is now home for the summer. It is great to have him home, however the house seems to have shrunk!

I've been asked to do a few book reviews and will be posting my thoughts here and also on If Shakespeare. The first will be posted by the beginning of July followed by another a month later. I'm hoping book reviews will become a permanent feature of my blog.

This weeks topic task deals with disappointment. I want you to imagine a situation where your character is expectant of something wonderful happening and it doesn't. How do they deal with the disappointment? Can they turn the disappointment around, or will they wallow in despair?
You need to show what effect this has on the characters. Remember to use their actions, dialogue and inner thoughts to show the reader what your characters are going through.
Try doing this within 1000 words. Make it as difficult as you like, but above all, make it believable.

So go on, get writing.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Topic Task - Week Thirty-Three

It has been an interesting week and for the most part it has been fun. I've written up extra parts of a plot and emailed a brief synopsis off and await comment.
Unfortunately I won't be able to attend the Winchester Writers Conference this year. This will be the first time in about eleven years. I will miss you all and my June injection of inspiration which always get my writing buzzing. On the up side I am able to get to the York Festival of Writing which is in September. Once again I will be running the One-to-Ones and making sure everyone adheres to the schedule. So if you are going, I'll see you there.

This weeks topic task is linked to the forth coming 'Race for Life' that is taking place over the country. There will be one near you. I'm taking part this coming Sunday and despite the forecast for rain, I'm really looking forward to dressing up, red tinsel wig and all and power walking around the park. Soggy wet or hot and steamy, it will be fun.

I want you to write a piece of creative work that shows the excitement, exhaustion and euphoria for completing a race, walk or jog for charity. Don't for get that some will be sweet and stunning at the begining and at the end. Others will turn to sweaty, steaming heaps. However your charity supporters end up let us feel what they feel, see what they see, understand the pain, joy or annoyance they experience. Create some quirky, posh, common as muck and remember these events draws fundraiser's from all walks of life, show this in your writing.

So what are you waiting for? Get writing.

And if you fancy sponsoring me to do the walk click on this link http://www.raceforlifesponsorme.org/susankfranklin

Thank you.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Topic Task - Week Thirty-Two

How can a three day week make you so tired? I guess it was because of all the extra things we all squeezed into the long weekend. I'm now in training for 'The Race for Life' and I'm really looking forward to all that walking in the rain! If we are lucky we might just get to see a tiny glimpse of an unusual, almost magical orange globe in the sky. Apparently, it does sometimes appear, however I'm not sure that isn't just one of those old wives tales.

I attended the launch of 'Death Bed' by Leigh Russell yesterday. Many people attended and Leigh read a section to get our taste buds tingling. I opened the pages last night and I'm already gripped. If you've yet to read any of her work, I strongly suggest you take a moment to buy a book and settle down for a good read. Her books: Road Closed, Cut Short, Dead End and the new Death Bed. These are available in the wonderful tactile books with real pages and also as E-books.

This week we are going back to my topic tin to find three prompts.

1. Waking up in the wrong place beside the wrong person.
2. Hop-scotch seemed such an innocent game until you showed me a new way of playing.
3. The alley was dark causing the mass on the ground to almost vanish into the shadows.

Choose one or all of these prompts to inspire your writing this week. You decide what format your writing will take, but most of all remember to use all the senses.

Have a great week. Go on, get writing.

Friday, 1 June 2012

Topic Task - Week Thirty One

It was yet another busy week at work. The writing was slow, but it was a great thinking week. I'm really please with my plotting and hope to get some good writing done over the extended weekend. However my attempt at a competition entry ended in failure. I’ve yet to give up on this story as I believe the idea is sound, it just needs a delicate touch, which I hope to find soon.  
There will be partying, socialising and the odd bevy this weekend. We are all hoping for sun, but as we all know the rain is never far away. I'm sure all of you, like me, will be spending most of the Jubilee weekend celebrating and having fun with family and friends. However, if you find some time during the festivities to write, write about what you've experienced during this special time of celebration.
Write it as a story if you like or just as an exercise in bringing all the senses together to create an atmospheric piece of work. Whatever you choose to do, let your enjoyment, disappointment or frustrations of the days come through. 
So have a wonderful time and write as much or as little as you like, but immerse yourself in it and have fun. 

Friday, 25 May 2012

Topic Task - Week Thirty

We have reached week thirty, the sun has shone down and people are walking around with smiles on their faces. I've almost finished  re-plotting and I'm looking forward to moving forward with the new structure. I've plans for the garden this weekend along many other fun things.It's going to be fun.  It's going to be busy.

Now, for your topic task for this week. With the weather being so nice, I thought we might like to take our writing outside. Find a nice place to sit and listen. What do you hear? What do you see? What do you smell? What do you taste? What do you feel? Note these things down. Once you've done this, use your notes to write a piece of creative writing. This could take the form of a short story, flash fiction, poem or an article. You may use the sound of a honey bee buzzing with the deep alluring fragrance from the lilac that drifts past on gentle breeze or mix the senses to create a nonsense piece. Or can you make the rumble from the motorway and the concrete creaking into a poem that changes the readers thoughts about the concrete jungle they live in.

Whatever you chose to do, enjoy the beauty of the outside and the brilliance of the sun.

So go on, get writing.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Topic Task - Week Twenty-Nine

Sorry for the delay in posting this week. I've had a busy week at work and the writing has been on the slow side, however this is due to some other fun things going on.
On the down side, I had my car MOT'd and serviced today, but before I got it back, someone ran into the back of her. Not good at all. A few difficulties to come I think.

This week I'm giving you a simple challenge. Below you will find six words. Those words need to be included in a single short story. Maximum wordage: 1500.

Words:  Pigeon - Haywire - Suitcase - Trophy - Pickaxe - Mirror.

Remember you have to use all of the words within your story.

So what are you waiting for? Get writing.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Topic Task - Week Twenty-Eight

A great week, both in the day job and with the writing.

Having split my last novel idea in two, I've taken one part and started plotting afresh. I believe I've now got a good structure to build on. The other part of the original novel now has it's own direction and still needs a fresh new re-plot, but that will be done later. 
I can't wait to get on and do the first few scenes of the new Ribbons of Red, but a little more character profiling needs to be done first. 

For this weeks topic task, I thought it might be fun to write a piece from a male point of view and then again from the female point of view. You have two characters, one male one female and they are in a scene together and you have to write their story. You will do this twice once from his view and then from hers. You need to be inside the head of your characters. See it though their eyes. You have to make sure the scene is the same, but from the view point of each individual character by using their thoughts about the situation and the reaction from the other person. Even though it is the same scene it can be seen a vastly differently by each character. They may both believe they have won a situation or both feel aggrieved. 
Set your characters in a scene that they are comfortable with or place them in a difficult uncomfortable situation. Whatever you do make it interesting. 

Go on then, get writing. 

Friday, 4 May 2012

Topic Task Week Twenty-Seven

This has been a week full of deep thought and new idea development. I was asked the other day where do your ideas come from? To be honest, I don't know, they simply pop into my head and annoy my until I take notice. I've got the message and not only from these ideas. I'm going to be very brutal with one of my novels this weekend and do some serious re-structuring, plotting and re-writing. This will mean that I need to be even more vicious with my characters - some are for the chop. This is one of the projects that will be started this weekend.
Another is to type up and editorial notes and make various adjustments to a children's novel. This will be fun and once complete it will be off to to find a home. 
I'm still waiting to receive a response to the short stories I recently submitted. I'm slightly concerned that they may not have been read, as I added a read response link to the email. I've not had that notification yet. Note to self, chase this up. 

Right, enough of me. Lets get to the Topic Task. 

This week I'm giving you a choice of three titles. You need to select one that inspires and write a short story for a magazine. You will, of course, need to research the market for your work. Think about story length, house style and subject matter. Create a piece of work that you will submit to your chosen magazine, this of course can be an on-line or paper issue. Check out their criteria and work within the guidelines given. Writing to length is a skill ensure you adhere to requirements. 

1. Souls Dance in the Forest.
2. Soulful Eyes.
3. Soul-searching moments. 

So, what are you waiting for?

Get writing.

Friday, 27 April 2012

Topic Task - Week Twenty-Six

Submitting and receiving feed back about your work is a lot of what writing is about. Trying to find a home for your manuscript and the struggle to get the work under the nose of the right person is another major role of the writer.
Last week, I submitted a few items and so far have had one very quick and very helpful critique. The critique came with a rejection, but an open door should I decide to look again at my plot line or embark on something new. It was also nice to hear that my writing is: vivid and fluent; no problems there. The upshot is I have a lot of hard work ahead, but this is a challenge I will win.
My weakness, and that of many writers is the dreaded synopsis. I loath them with a passion, if only I could write them with a passion. The critique I received has shown that I have left out some very important sections from my synopsis and this was why the plot line was not as strong as it should have been. I'm rather excited about the work I now have to do, and the direction in which it will be going. I want you all to remember that rejection is not always a bad thing. It makes you become more aware of your own work and often gives a direction to improve.

So what is the topic task for this week?

Choose one of the options below.

1. To create a synopsis for a piece of your work or to find an old synopsis and revamp it or start a fresh.

2. How about getting a writing friend to swap manuscripts and write each others synopsis. Once this has been done share the results. Does the synopsis describe your plot correctly and completely?

3. If you don't yet have a manuscript to write a synopsis for, find a novel you know well and work out what the plot line is and write your own synopsis for it. You may be surprised what you find.

Okay, this is a challenging task. So what are you waiting for?

Get writing.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Topic Task - Week Twenty-Five

What a wonderful week. I've spent my week off writing, having fun with my son and catching up with writing friends. It has been very productive. I've had the fantastic illustration for Intergalactic Orksnog given to me by the very talented Vincent Shaw-Morton. I'm pleased to say that a couple of days ago he secured an agent for his work. A fantastically talented artist/illustrator - remember to check out his website.
I've also completed and am today submitting three short stories and a few days ago I sent the first ten pages of my psychological thriller to an agent. So I have my fingers and toes crossed in hope that they are all looked upon favourably.

I've also been having a think about this weeks topic task.

You have a mantle-place in a room, you decide which room. On this mantle are twelve things - two candles, a stuffed owl, a half eaten cup cake, a faded photograph, a French clock, a sword, a cat, a tub of Vaseline, a plate of bacon, a wet dead fish and an old sock .You have to describe the room, and the items on the mantle. Each item is linked, how or why is for you to find out and to show to your reader. You are doing this in the first person.

I have no idea how you will link these items or how you will develop the scenario, but have a go and see where it leads.

Go on then, get writing.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Intergalactic Orksnog

Illustration by Vincent Shaw- Morton
As you are all aware, I've got lots of projects on at the moment. One of which is to set the Intergalactic Orksnog free to fly. He will be winging his way out very soon, but just to give you an idea of what it is all about, take a look at this amazing illustration for the front cover by the brilliant Vincent Shaw-Morton - and check out his website
I hope you love him as much as I do.

A challenging task has been placed on the shoulders of Ozlan the intergalactic orksnog. He must track down the Great Combustible Nargle and save his home planet of Santronia. This has to be done whilst being tracked by intergalactic slayers who are determined to stop him. Having travelled through space, he is burnt and bruised when young Hadley Bacon stumbles upon him. Should Hadley help him or run for his life?

Friday, 13 April 2012

Topic Task - Week Twenty-Four

I’m about to enjoy a week of writing. I’ve three projects I need to send out. I really must write more scenes for my psychological thriller and those I’ve completed, need to be put into chapters. The agent I’ve been put onto is also, at last, going to receive the first three chapters of the thriller. I’m hoping they will be received favourably.
So that is me, what about you. What have you recently sent out? What responses have you had? How are you going to move forward with your writing?

The topic Task for this week is quite simple. I want you to think about two memorable events in your life.  Events can be memorable for different reasons – choose two that are vastly different, one positive and one negative. Using your writing talents you are going to manipulate the situation and turn those events around.
This isn’t an easy task. You will need to call upon your personal feelings and emotions and pull them out of one situation and put them into the other. This is a wonderful way to make your fictional writing have a sense of reality. If you feel it, the reader will too. I call it method writing, a bit like method acting, you live and breathe your character as you write. A word of warning: DO NOT answer the phone when you are having an argument with one of your characters! I did this and shouted down the phone at the wrong person – thankfully they were very understanding.

So, go on, get writing, 

Friday, 6 April 2012

Topic Task - Week Twenty-Three

I woke to sun shining through my bedroom window today and couldn't resist getting up and out. I headed out for an hour and a half walk and discovered a new walking route. Listened to the birds, blue-tits, song thrush, pheasants to mention but a few, but the sound that had me stopping and looking was the knocking of the wood pecker. I can't tell you if it was a green wood pecker or the greater spotted, but it was having a great time pecking. I couldn't believe how loud or how rhythmic it was. Perfectly spaced bouts of hammering. I'm hoping to do the same walk again tomorrow, bright and early. This gave me the idea of this weeks topic task.

You can choose to do one or both of these suggestions. If you attempt both you will find your writing will be doubly enhanced. So what do I want you to do? Make sure you take a note book and pen/pencil with you. Find a quiet place where you won't be disturbed, or like me go for a walk

1. You are going to write a description of the sounds you hear. Don't just say a blue-tit tweeted. Embellish and enhance your sentences to make your reader believe they are standing in your shoes and they are there listening. Add to that a description of the smell in the air, the chill/warmth. You might like to do this first by just sitting and listening all the sounds you hear. You'll be surprised how many sounds you  miss. The rustle of a vole in the undergrowth, the down beat of a Red Kite's wing. There are many sounds that just pass us by. You can use these descriptions in your future work, you will be surprised how real your work becomes.

2. For the second option you are going to be tasting. Taste is often forgotten when we write. It is one of the main senses so we should use it more often. You can imagine the flavour, sensation and effect of a lemon on the tongue, but what about other things. This is your chance to allow that naughty piece of chocolate melt on your tongue and honestly say it is for research purposes only. Taste nice things, but also taste things you wouldn't normally put in your mouth. If you were to write a scene where a lover tastes a strange substance on the skin of the other, you would need to have experienced something similar to give your writing an edge.

So there you are, one task with two options. I hope you find this good fun and that you become more aware of the sounds and tastes that will help you write more convincingly.

What are you waiting for, get writing.

Friday, 30 March 2012

Topic Task - Week Twenty-Two

Where did that week go? Okay most of it was training, but boy, it just whizzed by.

Having spent quite a long time in the queue for petrol before work this morning I thought it might be fun to write about the current situation. There is no reason for petrol shortages at present, but with the newspapers and T.V. shouting about possible tanker driver strikes the populous have started to panic. Panic, is something we excel at - it is a shame it isn't an event in the Olympics.

For your writing challenges for this week, I'm giving you two options.

1.  Write a short story set a the petrol station which is driven by an argument at the pumps. Why they are arguing is up to you. It could be something as simple as one car pushed in the queue or the pumps run dry. What happens, who it happens to - you decide. Make if fresh, make it real and make it personal. And do remember the bells and smells to add atmosphere.

2. Write about the new Olympic Sport, 'Olympic Petrol Pump Challenge'. What is that? Don't ask me, you make it up and write a short story to show what happens. Make sure it has all the necessary elements - all the smells and bells.

I hope these prompts have given you some inspiration.

So go on, get writing.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Topic Task - Week Twenty-One

What a great week. The writing has been coming on in leaps and bounds. The sun has been shining which has put smiles on faces.

This is week twenty-one. Another twelve weeks have past since we started these topic-tasks. That means you need a task that gives you a little more to think about. You have been working on character building, plotting and dialogue. I've asked you to think about targeting your work and to find a home for it.

I want you to take the best characters you have created over the last twelve weeks and place them in a different genre. Why not try something new. Pop your characters in to a genre you've not familiar with. Experiment and see what happens. Keep the characters the same in every detail, but think about how they will cope in a completely different scenario. Knowing the character inside out is what you need to do as an author. How will they behave in any given situation? This could be on earth, in space or in the grave. Drop your character in and see what happens.

I could give you some prompts, but I won't. I need you to let your character drive the plot, the situation and you have to select the genre. Even if the character doesn't like it. You are the author, you are in charge.

So, go on, get writing.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Topic Task - Week Twenty

Busy weeks are great, but busy weeks with a headache attached are no fun at all. Thankfully it is the weekend and all I have planned is writing, writing and more writing. Along with a lot of chilling out and relaxation. 

Last week I gave you a task to attempt writing a picture book. I hope you had a go and found it enjoyable. If you succeeded have you tested it out on your target market? Yes, I do mean have you read it to children to gauge their reactions. If they were engaged, it is probable that the text you have created would make a great picture book. So, have you sent it off? You don’t know where to send it. Okay, pick up a copy of the Writers’ & Artists’ Year Book and do the research. A good place to start might be Little Tiger Press.

And on to this week’s topic task.

You have two options:

1.     A description of a vagrant. Remember to use all the senses. How do they walk, what do they have with them, are they perhaps not the sort of person you felt you would encounter living like this.
Once you’ve done this draw a story around the character.
2.     A deaf old lady lives next-door and has a dog that doesn’t stop barking. The problem is she is not a friendly little old lady. She is vicious with baggy tattoos and colourful language. Tell her story and solve the problem. Remember to use dialogue.

Call upon all the skills you have learnt and remember that life skills help with this kind of writing.

So what are you waiting for?

Get writing. 

Friday, 9 March 2012

Topic Task - Week Nineteen

My writing week has been good. I’ve sent a few things out, I’ve had one item turned down and one has possibilities. I’ve still got the three short stories to edit, and send out, but I got sucked into my YA novel and it sort of took over. As writers you will understand that, and if you are just starting out on your writing journey, you’ll soon come to understand that overwhelming passion.

I was asked a question today by a young man who wanted to know how to start writing. He said he has all these ideas in his head and doesn’t know what to do with them.  My answer went like this: Firstly get the ideas as they come written down. Then to decided what you want those ideas to be. A short story, novel, play etc. Then the most important, find a brilliant writers’ circle like the Verulam Writers’Circle based in St. Albans.  Another thing to do is go to writing conferences. There are many spread across the country and these have workshops, seminars and other writerly aspects for any level of writer to get there creative bone working. And my last suggestion was to find a good creative writing course, where you will be shown how to hone your craft. Writing is a craft that has to be learnt, honed and developed this doesn’t happen overnight, but if you have the passion it will become unstoppable.
If you have some good ideas how to start writing from a head full of ideas, do drop them over to me or post them on here as responses/comments.

Okay, so to this week’s topic- task.

I want you to bring all your skills to write a picture book story. Do some research. Look at picture books that are selling now – ask the book seller what picture book sell best. Read them, understand the layout and above all check the word count.  Now try writing one. It isn’t as easy as you think. You have to make the story engaging for young readers, or those being read too. Illustrations do help immensely with picture books, but the narrative has to be able to stand alone.

So that is your challenge for this week.

 Go on, get writing.   

Friday, 2 March 2012

Topic Task - Week Eighteen.

It's Friday, I've had a very busy week and I'm pleased to say that my own writing is coming on nicely. I'm about to send material out to a fantastic illustrator for his thoughts and submit some short stories to an E-publishers. I'm still creating scenes for my novel and I'm finding some interesting twists that I hadn't planned, which seem to be working well.

Below you will find two starting points which I'm hoping will inspire you to get all poetical, a little risqué or mix the two together and see where it takes you.

1. The petals unfurled revealing a tantalising moistness...
2. Her caress travelled down across his taught skin...

Of course you can use these starting points as they stand or use them as a creative launching pad and see where you end up. Above all have fun with it.

Idea: Try doing it as a stream of thought. Pick up the pen and allow the thoughts to tumble out and once you get to a natural finishing point, stop. Then see what you've created. Ask yourself how can I improve this?

Don't forget to let me know how you are getting on.

So go on, get writing.

Friday, 24 February 2012

Topic Task - Week Seventeen

Gosh, it is already Friday! What happened to the week?

After last weeks Topic Task I'm sure you are creating stronger more believable characters and that your stories are healthier for it. This week I'm just going to give you five little words/objects. All of them have to be included in one piece of creative writing. What you create is up to you, but you have to include these words/objects in your work.

So here they are: Creak - Shuffle - Armpit - Traffic-light - Beetroot. 

Now what can you create with that?

Go on give it a go, get writing.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Topic Task - Week Sixteen

We are at week sixteen. I hope you've been inspired by some, if not all of these writing prompts. This week we are looking at characterisation. To help you I've decided to give you a basic start to developing a character.


1. Male and 14 years old.
2. Female and 23 years old.
3. Male and 49 years old.
4. Female and 75 years old.

Now you have to make them live. Think about how they might live, walk, speak. Are they happy, sad or don't give a damn? What might they do if they found themselves in a spot of bother? Would they help if they found someone in trouble, or would they walk away or worse film it on their mobile for posting on the internet?

Okay, you've created your characters. What are you going to do with them? I suggest you select one or two and write a short story that shows all their characteristics and how they interact with each other. And why not try to mix and match your characters to create different stories.

At the end of your endeavours have a look back at your work and ask yourself: Are these characters believable and could I sell this work? If the answer to these questions is yes, then send them out and see if you can get them published. Remember to use the Writers' and Artists' Year Book to help you.

So, off you go and get writing.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Topic Task - Week Fifteen

I hope the snow hasn't frozen your creativity and you are busy developing your writing skills and producing work that excites you. Don’t forget to let me know if you find an outlet for your writing. It would be great to create ‘Success’ posts. If you want your achievements mentioned leave me a message and let me know.

Today’s Topic Task is opening lines. You need to use one of the lines below as the opening of your work and see where it takes you.

1.     1.  The cracking sound terrified me. At first I didn’t know where it came from and then I looked down.
2.     2.    The ice formed a crystal forest etched inside the window.
3.     3Sitting naked on the frozen slide didn’t have the effect I had imagined!

Now choose one and allow your creativity to flow. Of course if you would like to attempt all three then feel free. See where they take you.

So, go on – Get Writing. 

Friday, 3 February 2012

Topic Task - Week Fourteen

These weeks are flying past so fast, I blink once and a day has gone. I'm not complaining - I love it and I'm hoping that it will continue this way. Being busy is great and even better now that the writing is slowly falling back into line - I'm getting creative and loving it.

The topic task for week fourteen is based around one word - Disinterested. I'm sure you've already got some ideas buzzing around your heads, but if not these ideas might trigger something for you.

1. A disinterested parent.
2. A disinterested lover.
3. A disinterested teenager/child.

Obviously there are many other ways to look at this, it is up to you to decide how you use it and how you create your work. Try writing it as a short story, a poem or even think about a short play. Remember to use all your skills to draw a scene that lives in the readers mind.

So go on, get writing.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Topic Task - Week Thirteen

There is nothing wrong with week thirteen, it is just another number. And I know it is Friday, but it isn't Friday the 13th which means you are all okay. So lets get on with it... well I will in a moment. 
Last week I set you a the first twelve week challenge. I hope you are all having a go at this and discovering that you can indeed plot out an idea for a novel. I'm not expecting you to have completed that yet, but if you are struggling with it, don't worry, it isn't easy. However, don't give up. The more you practice plotting the better you become. Like all writing it is an art form that needs to be honed. It isn't easy, it if were everyone would be a best selling novelist. 

So what are the tasks for this week?

1. Three little words to get your mind working. Are they linked? Could you link them? Would they just be items used in the story or are they just the catalyst to get you going? You decide.
Dried triangle of pizza - A manky cat - Lace-less boot. 

2. Now for something slightly more grotty.
Puss filled boil - Snotty hanky - E irksome child.

Use your writing skills to make us feel something for the characters you develop. Think about why we would want to read about them, and what makes them special.

So good luck. Get writing. 

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Topic Task - Week Twelve

I've decided that at the end of each twelve weeks, I'll create a longer task for you to attempt. Hopefully as your writing is developing these larger tasks will become easier as time ticks past. So what have I got in mind for you?
This week I'm thinking about thrillers.
I would like you to create a plot for a thriller. Whether that is a thriller aimed at the children's, young adults or adult market is up to you.
How long do you want the novel to be? Think of chapters. How many would be right for your plot?So how do you work that out? I suggest that as you plot, it might help to break the structure down in sections - one section of the plot is one chapter of the book.
Draw out your characters, making sure there is a good story arc for all the characters - especially the main characters. Think about how each character will develop. What will they learn? Will they learn? Maybe you will make your plot dark and dangerous or it will have a lighter touch.

Don't let this frighten you. A challenge in writing is always a good thing. So what are you waiting for? Go and get writing.

And if you think the plot has legs, why not try writing a couple of chapters to see.

Good luck and enjoy.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Topic Task - Week Eleven

Last week I asked you to make the reader feel what your characters felt. I hope you achieved this. It is always important to weave thoughts, feeling/emotion into your writing and don't forget those all important smells. The senses are one of the most evocative parts of a piece of work. They are used to enhance the readers enjoyment and can lighten the mood of a story or darken it to terrify.

This weeks tasks are:

1. A box full of ...
This can be a box full of anything you would like. Of course it could be chocolates, worms, worries. What is inside your box and how you deal with the contents is up to you, but remember you need to use all the senses. In essence, make it real. Let the reader feel the power from inside that box crawling across your work.

2. It oozed over the step and ...
What oozed over the step? What step was it? Is is a step on a staircase or a step ladder? Think about where your step is and what it is that is oozing over the edge. Is it custard, slime or blood. You may be thinking something else. Whatever it is remember to include what it feels like to touch the oozing substance. Smell it, maybe even taste it.

So, what are you waiting for? Go and get writing.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Topic Task - Week Ten

The New Year is here and the days appear to be getting longer. This should bring smiles to our faces, but this time of year is one in which many things can change. Little things might niggle or bring great happiness. The changes might be wonderful for one person and horrendous for another. For this weeks Topic Task I would like to think of two things that have changed since the clock struck midnight on New Years Eve. Write from the heart. This may bring anger to your mind, if so, write a piece to show the power of that feeling. If you have felt lonely or scared let your reader feel that. However, if your overriding passion was pleasure make us feel the endorphins rising in ourselves as we read.
I'm not giving you a genre or any other prompts, this is what I call free writing from the heart. Good luck and let those feelings out.