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, 27 September 2013

What's in the shadows?

Blimey! It’s Friday and I'm posting my blog. What happened? Well to be honest, I've got a very busy weekend coming up and therefore need to get everything done on time, if not before.

It has been another busy week and thankfully the end of the month is nearly here. Pay-day is just around the corner – roll on Monday. I'm trying to be patient, not easy, so I can buy my new laptop. I have stories I need to write, and work I need to submit. I want to be writing, really writing, so much so that I get so absorbed that I have withdrawal symptoms when I'm away earning money to sustain the body whilst the mind is allowed to create and indulge itself in creativity. Soon, so soon.

As the nights are drawing in and the shadows are beginning to cast their fear upon us, I want you to get out there and watch what happens to the areas around you. Set up a seat, or stand if you prefer, select an area and write down what you see, remember to carefully note down the light and how it affects the area you are watching - shadows. Then move away for twenty minutes and once again make notes on the area and the light, make particular notes of the changes to the shadows. Keep doing this every twenty minutes. Has someone come out and put a light on? How does that impact on your area? Does it create new shadows or extend the ones that were there? Perhaps the new light source has taken away the shadows completely. Remember to take note of the time for each recording.

Once you’ve completed this task, use this information to create a piece of writing that conjures up the differences you have recorded and show the effect it has on your characters. You decide if this is a light hearted, dark and mysterious or even deadly. Whatever you choose, make sure your reader feels it too.

So go on, get writing. 

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Looking beneath the surface...

Well those last few days were rather unpleasant. I will just say that the bathroom and I have become rather a lot closer!! It has been during this time spending longer in rooms than I usually would I've managed to see things that I perhaps had overlooked for a while. You could call it poor housekeeping, well it is poor housekeeping, but it is a fact that we often spend our lives looking but not really seeing what is going on around us. For instance, in the bathroom I noticed that the gloss white paint has turned that yellowish colour of old paint, and looking closer I noticed there are sections that have begun to crack. The plasterboard on the walls have started to expel their tacks, or whatever the nails are that hold the board to the timber beneath. My conclusion is - I need to redo my bathroom.  I have also looked at the other rooms around the house and have realised that the whole house is tired. I feel I may need to get the Polly-filler and caulking out along with a few rather large tubs of white paint.

So your writing challenge is to select a room, it can be a room in your own home, office or somewhere you visit often and really look at it. Do this in stages. Firstly, just glance around and note down what you see. Second, look more closely, what is hidden beneath the surface? Note down the differences. Thirdly, walk away for an hour and then return and look more deeply. What did you miss the first time? Don’t just look on surfaces, or at the floor and walls. Remember to look up. I remember I attended a workshop on screen writing a few years back and they tutor got us all to sit on the floor and look around and observe try to see something that others might not see. I pointed out the small piece of Blu-tac that was pushed into the upper corner of the room which had a small strand of red tinsel still attached from a party since past.
Once you’ve made the notes you will need to go away and describe the room in full, faults and all. Then take that and place a family, couple or single occupant inside and show us how they live.

I'm hoping that will keep you all going for a while. So what are you waiting for?

Go on, get writing. 

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Festival of Writing ... What a weekend!

I've had the most amazing week! And I have to apologise for not blogging for two weeks! I can’t believe the time has gone passed so quickly.

But in my defence, I've been working hard preparing for the festival of writing in York, England. Many of you will be aware that I've been working hard running the one-to-one’s at the festival with my trusty team Ellen Hanns and Mark Clementson find him on twitter @clem1000. It was an amazing weekend and made all the hard work prior to the event worthwhile. With a lot of table juggling, we managed to accommodate thirty-six, agents, editors and book doctors and thirty-six delegates every ten minutes. I have to congratulate all the agents etc.  for their dedication, staying power and support during the odd moment of madness – there were a few, like the one minute warning that was only 47 seconds!

This year we took a couple of hours out to walk in to York from the University campus and partook of a roast dinner which was a very special fast food. We looked around the Shambles and York Minster and walked around some of the city wall. There should be these places all over the country – and the Yorkshire puddings were wonderful. Our walk back had us crossing a cemetery and climbing over a barbed wire fence to escape. It all made for an interesting start to the weekend.

Click on the link ‘Festival of Writing’ to know more about the things you could be part of next year. You might also like to join ‘Word Cloud’ and online writing group with loads of members.

On a personal level I've been energised with the writing vibe again and I'm getting my head down to finish and send work as requested. You may also be pleased to know that I will be buying a new laptop, so there will be no more of the computer crashing every few minutes, seconds or just not turning on at all. I will be sure to be able to write properly.
So, with the thought of the conference still buzzing in my head, I thought it might be a good idea for you to look at your own novel and write a pitch which would engage the interest of an agent. It isn't as easy as it might sound. Play with different approaches. What works for you? Try it out on your family, friends, and random people in the street. Can you engage their interest? If so, how can you hone the pitch to grip them into wanting to read more?

If you have yet to write a novel, you can use the same pitching practice with short stories – how could you pitch the story to a magazine? This will need to be brief and concise to encapsulate the whole plot in a very few words.

So go on, get writing. 

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Engaged in dialogue..

I've got the laptop working today, but I don't know how long for. I'm hoping long enough to be able to start on the new major edits I have for my two children's novels. I must be brutal and go with my gut instinct. Make it sharper and then submit. Scary but a much needed stage. 
I'm going to treat this as a puzzle. I've been jotting down places in each manuscript which need addressing and the chunks that need to be eradicated.  Then remould the remaining text, adding and cutting as I go until the whole book is punchy. Well, that is the plan.
I've had some great feed back from the amazing Beverly Birch, and with all her help, points and direction I hope to end up with two novels that stand up and shout so loudly that they get noticed. I have much work ahead, but it will be great fun - love playing with these characters. 

What a lovely weekend we have been having. Sun, gentle breeze and great company. I headed out last night to purchase ink for the printer, which was much needed and have, at last, printed out scenes and emails that really needed to be added to projects. 

As autumn is just around the corner and I've noticed a few leave falling from trees, along with apples and pears dropping from the trees in the garden, I thought it might be good to think of things that can be harvested and used at this time of year. I picked up apples and picked blackberries from my garden and made apple and blackberry pie - it went down well and I'm now being asked for more!

So for this weeks challenge I want you to think of things that are harvested at this time of year and create a piece of creative writing around it. Choose your characters wisely. Are they children, child and grandparents or young lovers? The combination is up to you, but they need to be involved with the harvested goods and throughout your work need to be engaged in dialogue. Remember to create tension and resolution, along with all the bells and smells that goes to make your writing real.

So go on, get writing.