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, 27 December 2014

Moving forward from 2014 into 2015

What a year! Some of it good, some not so good and some really confusing. On the writing front, nothing much has changed. I've submitted material, and had great feedback – up shot good writing but pushing the boundaries too far. I've going to take up the opportunity to submit to another agent, who is keen to see my work. So fingers crossed for the New Year with lots of hard work and determination moving forward to publication might just work.

The writing group I set up at the beginning of November is slowly growing and the quality of writing has surprised us all. There is still room for more members. If you are interested in more information about the group, please contact me at:  windmill.writers.hertfordshire@gmail.com   We are hoping to encourage new and developing writers and gain from experience from those of us in the group who have had experience of publication, conferences and other writerly knowledge. So why not get in contact and help other writers grow and enhance their craft. As writers most of us read and that is why even the novice writer can really contribute to the structure of the material being written. So come and join us in the New Year.

If you fancy a prompt to keep you busy for the quieter period between Christmas and the New Year celebrations why not look at the photo prompts below and see what you can come up with.

I will be starting the new writing prompts in the New Year starting on the Friday 2nd January. I hope you have had a wonderful Christmas and the New Year will bring you many opportunities, both in life and in your writing. 

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Prompt: I have struggled all my life and...

I am currently knee deep in Christmas cake making, the house smells delicious. I've had to have a few taster cakes to ensure quality and yes, they are yummy. Two batches down and one last lot to make. A batch consists of: One large cake, one small cake and eight cupcake cakes.
I have also made my mincemeat ready for homemade butter pastry. I can feel the pounds going on as I write this, but everything will taste so lovely.

The first official meeting of the Windmill Writers took place on Wednesday 12th November in Chipperfield, Hertfordshire. There were a number of us there at the pub where readings, discussion and general writing chat was had. We are looking to increase our numbers at the weekly Wednesday meetings. If you would like to or know anyone who might like to join our writing circle, then please point them in the direction of this blog or message me for more information.

The Windmill Writers also has a Facebook page: Windmill Writers if you would like to join our online presence the you'll find us on Facebook. 
This week’s writing prompt is to use the

“I have struggled all my life and all I have to show for it is…”

a: A bottle of Vodka and no fixed abode.
b: A child who I love beyond anything else, but only wish I was able to…
c: An empty mansion and a broken heart.

following as a starting point of a piece of creative writing.
You can write this as a journal, a contemplative thought process or a rant at someone. Let your imagination run riot. Make it light and humorous, dark and morose or thought provoking.

So, go on, get writing. 

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Using Dialogue.

A great evening with the Writers Workshop members and agents. This was more of a social than a networking evening with time to catch up, and opening line competition and opening chapter challenge. Once again I was inspired by some of the development many of the authors have achieved and by the gentle nudges from agents to get submitting more and chasing agents. This is my plan for the coming week. 
Add The image below is just a few of the attendees last night.caption
This week I thought you might like to use the image above to practice writing dialogue. As you will already know, the way people talk can enhance their character and tell the read more about the character than a stream of description can. However, to get dialogue right you have to practice. Look at the image above and select two characters, give them a topic to talk about and see where it leads you. 

Some ideas to get you going:
Oh, you have a dog!
So, give me a one line pitch.
I think I might be drunk. 

I'm sure you will get the idea once you start. So, go on, get writing. 

Saturday, 1 November 2014

The Windmill Writers

The new Windmill Writers circle will be up and running on Wednesday 12th November 2014. This has been a long time in development and I hope will allow writers to write, share and develop their own writing skills as well as encourage and guide others.

The circle is designed to give the opportunity to sit and write quietly, share work by read outs and discussions with creative/constructive criticism and workshop writing sessions. There will, in due course, numbers permitting, be opportunities to invite speakers and for members to run sessions.

Image by Nicki J Photography
If you are a writer looking for a chance to come out from behind your laptop and network with like minded people, and ready to share work and comment to help others, then this might be the group for you.
The Windmill is a lovely quintessential pub in the heart of a Hertfordshire village, England. If you would like to have the opportunity to join this group please comment with your contact details a brief description of your writing and your goals for the future. I will contact you closer to the time with further details.

This week we are working from my 'Topic Tin'. This requires you to use  the following to inspire creative pieces of writing. This is a timed task designed to last one hour. You have two minuets to consider the first option. What could you do with it. Three minutes to plot out a basic story arc. Ten minuets to discover your character/s and the final forty five minutes to write. Once your time is up. Stop. Then follow the same instructions with the next prompt. Do this for all three.
1. A grubby cucumber.
2. That last bottle of whisky.
2. The last train home.
All of the above are aimed at getting you running with an idea.

Once you've completed the writing, take time out to have a break. Then go back and review your writing. Do you feel that the work you have stared could be extended into a short story or has your simple plot got legs to develop further? If so, do it.

So, what are you waiting for? Get writing.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Positive Rejection

Autumn is here and I'm back at the laptop writing, yes, I'm reworking a children’s novel. This is the second in the series of the trilogy of ‘Time’ books. The first is out with an agent, and I'm awaiting comments. Realistic, but ever hopeful.

As promised, I will share with you my latest rejection. And as rejections go this one is not so bad, however, it could have been better. This rejection was for new plot lines and opening chapters of three different thrillers. So here it is: Thank your crime novels. In addition to writing vividly and fluently, you obviously have no shortage of ideas and not fear of pushing boundaries. So I wish we could be more enthusiastic about these three. And then went on to wish me luck, and offer to read more should I continue writing.

So what to do next? Whilst at the Festival of Writing in York, I got chatting with a few agents and book doctors and they have asked me to send them samples of my work. This is what I'm now intending to do. Nothing ventured nothing gained. I think I will approach a book doctor first, to get advice where I'm going wrong, or indeed if I'm just pushing the boundaries too much. I will be interested in the outcome of this and of course will let you know what happens.

There are is one prompt with four steps for this blog. Firstly, develop a male character who is strong, confident and self-assured. Secondly, place them in a situation where they are going to feel out of their depth and out of control. Thirdly, the story has to be set in or around the photo image below. Fourthly, write two versions of a short story, one where he fails the other where he succeeds in the task at hand.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Windmill Wonders

Many of you will know that I've been working on my submission for the last few weeks. There has been a lot to work through. I have now managed to fight my way out from the piles of scenes that have gone to make up my submission. There have been many first chapters and re working. It has been a bit of a jigsaw puzzle, but one I hope will show my work off at its best. This was a resubmission after some lovely feedback and offer to resubmit when I was ready. It has taken quite some time for me to get the plots to a place where I feel they show a greater overview of what I want to do with each novel. With those I have sent the opening chapters of each. Hopefully they will still like my writing style, and this time, the plots too. As always, I will let you know how things go.

I'm still waiting to hear back from the children’s submission – nothing yet, but I'm hoping to hear back soon.

Now onto the topic task for this week. The picture below was taken by John Corkett showing the beauty of a Suffolk windmill. Your task this week is to look closely at the image and write a short story that shows what happens in or around the windmill. Things to think about. Who lives in the windmill – is it a working windmill – has it been converted for another purpose? Who lives in the houses around?
by John Corkett

I hope the image inspires you to write some wonderful convoluted characters. Remember that conflict in a story helps to add a little spice to a scene.

So go on, get writing. 

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Fun times at the Festival of Writing – York.

The Team.
Just back from the Festival of Writing I think I have managed to catch my breath after the wonderful, manic and inspiring one-to-ones in York. Catching up with old writing friends and meeting new ones. Touching base with agents, editors, book doctors and writers. Hopefully everything appeared to be as seamless as possible, but underneath there may have been a lot of paddling going on.

We have heard of many successful meetings, offers to see complete manuscripts, fantastic critiques on submitted material, lots and lots of advice and for me: a good kick to get me doing what I should have been doing. So much so that I submitted something yesterday. I’ll let you know what happens. I have also been asked to submit material. This I will be preparing over the next few days.

The workshops have been inspiring throughout the weekend run by agents, book doctors, editors etc. on many aspects of the writing process. It is important to hone your skills as a writer, in doing this you maximise your chances of success.

Networking was in full swing all weekend. Those in the business of writing were mingling with new, progressive and those writers who could almost taste that publishing deal. Everyone was willing to advise, encourage and inspire writers at any point in their writing journey. You never stop learning as a writer, even when you are seen to have ‘made it’ you continue to learn, try out new possibilities and lead the way. Sharing this information whilst networking is one of the most important parts of the conference. Breakfast, lunch and dinner meetings all interspersed with bucket loads of coffee, tea or hot chocolate. Evenings are always a time to relax and chat over a tipple of your choice. Sometimes, if you aren't brave enough to ask questions yourself, you can sit back and absorb information being discussed around you.

Many writers were seen to scuttle off at the end of the day, after dinner to bring out their writing books, or laptops, note books or a Dictaphone and set to work. Twitter went wild - FoW14

If you have attended the conference and you have some good news stories than please post the here as comments.

My team Ellen Hanns, Mark Clementson and myself love hearing about all the work delegates are creating whether it be, fiction or non-fiction. Everyone has their own story and direction. It is at these conferences that these stories often really start to take off and develop into the finished product. So whatever you are writing, keep doing it because one day you will get there.

The topic task for this week is to use one of the lines below to inspire a short story.

  • Seven dead rats are strung up on a washing line.
  • The eyes didn't blink, they just stared forward blankly.
  • As the sun set the shadows crawled across the ground.

So go on, get writing. 

Friday, 22 August 2014

Moving forward or not, just keep going.

I have a feeling that my recent submission didn't arrive at its destination. I'm awaiting a response to my follow up email, which I believe will confirm this. Never mind if this is the case I’ll resubmit and wait again. In the meantime, I'm getting on with rewriting my current WIP 9+ novel. It is a large challenge as the first half of the novel needs to be completely changed. It is fun though. With this being a long bank holiday weekend, I am taking time out from the normal daily chores and spending that time writing. Close the door of the cottage, shut out the world and get my focus back. It all starts tonight.

Just starting the preparations for the Festival of Writing – York. Once again the dream team will be running the show at the One-to-One’s. We are looking forward to seeing you all and catching up on your writing progress. Please feel free to come and say hello over lunch, dinner or around the campus when we are on down time.

For this week’s challenge below you will find four simple prompts. Either start with the words or use them to inspire a piece of writing. Remember to develop the characters and use all the usual smells and bells to bring your work alive on the page. If you decide to write this as non-fiction push yourself to find an outlet for the work.
  • He rubbed it until it gleamed.
  • It is taking over!
  • The hill gave way and the car went with it.
  • I believed I could change him – I was wrong.

I hope you find these prompts inspiring and don’t forget to let me know how you get on. I'm always keen to hear your progress and about your publications.

So go on, get writing. 

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Let your imagination run riot.

I think I must have got lost in my garden as it has been an age since I have blogged. However, I have been working very hard on getting my front garden done. It is almost complete, but will take a little while longer. I have discovered that I really enjoy the physical side of gardening, shifting loads of soil, digging, de-weeding and potting up and planting. I have been recycling old rabbit hutches to make large planters and staining them forest green. I want to complete it all before the autumn sets in.

After submitting two of my children’s books I'm about to do a follow up email as I've not yet heard anything. I'm now wondering if it has been received! The six to eight week submission feedback time will be up by Friday next week so I’ll make an enquired then. When I hear I’ll let you know.
I have been rewriting the opening to another children’s novel which is the prequel to one of the novels I have submitted. I think this will make it stronger. I'm realising how much I have missed the fun I get from weaving these children’s plots. I just need to find an agent who loves them as much as I do, and that is the hard bit.

The writing challenge for the next two weeks is to develop a children’s character. You need to know exactly how your character is going behave in every situation. You have to decide what traits your character will have. How will they affect them as their story is told? You have to ensure they have a development arc going from points of balance and conflict, back and forth until they have completed their journey through the story. Once you have your main character, think about the other people or creatures etc. that will cause conflict. Who will there arch-rival be? Who will come to their aid or support them? You may decide to have a female character and then decide that the character would be better placed to be a boy. Test which each and see which works best, you might be surprised. When you are happy with the main character and those who are to support or test them, use one of the prompts below to create either a 5+, 7+, 9+ short story or opening of a novel.
  • As she/he looked down the hole the hole got bigger, something was at the bottom.
  • Over and over and over it went until it was so dizzy it didn't know which was up and which was down. 
  • He/she looked up the stairs, it seemed such a long way up, but that didn't matter he/she had to get to the top. 
  • The sky was purple with the blackened wings of death as it fell on the heads of the innocent.

Let you imagination run riot, so go on, get writing. 

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Abruptly woken!

I had a lovely six days off and feel very chilled, hope the feeling lasts. I have been reworking one of my children’s stories and feel the plotline is now right. It will take a lot of revision and time to ensure throughout the book all areas that need work are changed this should strength the whole book.

I'm still awaiting news from my recent children’s submissions and as promised will let you know the outcome, good, encouraging or bad. Six to eight weeks is a long time to wait, but that is the usual time that elapses prior to any feedback. However I did once get great feedback after seven days, but that was for a thriller, they loved my writing style/voice, but weren't keen on the plotline. I have since then written up three new plot lines and a fourth idea along with opening chapters for the first three. Once I hear from the children’s agent, I will consider submitting these.

The digging in my garden is almost done, and the black matting, weed protector, will be put down this weekend. No more digging – Yippy!!

This week’s writing prompts are all to do with waking abruptly in the morning. Below you’ll find four prompts. Select one and write a short story between 1550-3000 words. As an added challenge for this piece of writing you are to find an outlet for your work and submit.
  1. That wretched bird!
  2. The agricultural burglar alarm – again!
  3. Can’t you shut that dog up!
  4. Go back to sleep, Henry!
Hopefully the three prompts above will inspire you. So go on, get writing. 

Thursday, 17 July 2014

It all happens in the garden.

Weeks have shot passed and I've been working so hard in the garden that everything else has gone by the wayside. That I know isn't good, but the result is that the garden is looking very pretty now. On the downside, I have been nipping to the garden centre as a 50% discount week has tempted me to buying more plants. This isn't a bad thing, the bad comes when I spend even more time in the garden potting up, trimming back and tying in when I should be writing. Having said all that the fruit that I'm getting is very tasty and the pear tree has an abundance of pears, just hoping they will grow and ripen without being targeted by the wasps too much.
I now have a few days off so I will be out continuing my attack on the front garden – more digging, black matting and stone finish. Then to think of the planters and plants.
I'm also hoping to get time to write and edit another children’s book. I recently sent off two samples of my children’s work to an agent and hope to hear positive news soon. If not, some guidance.
Your writing challenge this week is to look at the image and incorporate the following in to the piece of writing.
“Why did you invite them!”
“I told you to get the smaller one, that marquee won’t fit!”
“Have you seen how much drink they have brought? It’s obscene.”
This can simply be a garden party, a wedding, charity event, a neighbourhood party, a family reunion or any event that is to be held in a garden.
The aim this week is to be humour into the writing but keeping it real. Select your characters well, drawer them out prior to using them, know how they will react in any given situation. Don’t forget to use the sounds in and around the garden. Wasps, bees, those horrid flies! Smells from surrounding areas. The local farm mucking out! The unsociable neighbour and their bonfire! How this event/party turns out is entirely up to you, but have fun with it and remember to ensure the reader see what you want them to see and feels any awkwardness and if possible laughs out loud for the right reasons.
So go on, have fun with it and get writing.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Thatched Cottage - Who is watching?

Happy Saturday to you all. It has been a good week at the day job – my decision making was upheld and it was good to use my brain for a while.  

I've been consciously trying to eat better, drink more water and exercise daily. For the last two weeks. It must be working as I ache gently – not a burning, just that nice tender ache that tells you that you have actually been toning up. Added to this exercise plan, I have been working in the garden and walking up and down the stairs at work. So hopefully I'm getting a little fitter. I was at work yesterday and was trying to explain to someone that I was doing planking. After failing to describe it effectively I dropped down on the office floor and did it, in high heels! I'm not very good at it yet, but I'm trying.

As promised last week, I have sent off two of my children’s novel samples with synopsis and covering letter. I hope they will be favourably received. I love both and hope they will too. I’ll let you know how it all turns out. In the meantime, I'm starting work on my next WIP which is a piece I've had dancing around in my head for a long while, now is the time to give her legs.

So to this week’s writing prompt. I have selected an image supplied by a friend of mine John Corkett of a thatched cottage at the junction of a road. 
Image by John Corkett
Look at the image. Imagine yourself living there, the furniture inside and the cottage garden that is surrounding it. Outside is a figure just out of view watching. What happens next? Who are they? What do they want? How long have they been standing there? Will they approach and knock on the door or enter through the window late into the night? Friend or Foe? Make this story light or dark but ensure you show us what is happening, remember to use dialogue and all the bells and smells to make this piece come alive.

Go on, get writing. 

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Update and conferences

Okay, okay, I know that I've not blogged for a while, but I have been writing and juggling many other things in life that couldn't be put on hold. A while back I promised to let you know how my attempt to change of writing style went. I sent it in, even though I wasn't sure about it and as it turns out, I was right. The agent, wanted to love it but really didn't. I then made her laugh when I said I hated it too! I was attempting to slow down the pace and make it more immediate but failed on all bases. I will be looking at this again, shortly.

I am now looking for a home for two of my children’s novels. Which I am hoping to send off tomorrow, 20th June 2014, to an agent for comment. Once again, I’ll be posting the results of my endeavours on here. Good or bad.

The craft of writing isn't easy, so it is important to keep on pushing forward, honing your skills, attempting something new and never, never give up. If you love the craft, keep on learning and creating and with every submission you will move a little closer. It isn't easy, but like trimming the waistline, you will learn how to trim your work so that is will shine and attract those who can help you move into print.

 This weekend the annual writing conference in Winchester is running which is a great place to immerse yourself into the writing process. There is something there for everyone, newbies to the veteran writer. It is important to keep abreast of new trends and be aware of where your writing might fit into the market. And most of all there is that family feeling – everyone encouraging everyone else on. Keep an eye out for this one next year 2015. You will find it advertised from March, but you will have to be quick as tickets run out quickly.

The Festival of Writing in York is also a major player in the writing conference world. Once again here you get to learn, develop and share with agents, editors, book doctors and authors. Each willing to share their experience with you. This year’s event is running from Friday 12th – 14th September 2014. The location is wonderful and the courses are inspiring. Book early as places are snapped up.

I better get on to the writing prompts for this week. Use the following to stimulate a piece of creative writing.
  1.   You can’t just leave it there!
  2.     It’s up the tree!
  3.     I just looked at it and it caught fire!
  4.    The earth just opened up and it was there!

Why not try each of the prompts. You select the genre and characters and write a piece that will entice, intrigue, stimulate or terrify.

So go on, get writing. 

Saturday, 31 May 2014

Prompt 'Titles'

A better week, but still hectic. I have caught up with some lovely people whom I've not seen in a long while. Nice to see everyone looking so good and life is treating them well. My father seems to have evened out again and I hope the palliative care team can keep him comfortable and stable for a while longer. He has started to be cheeky again and not always politically correct! It is nice to see him interacting a little more rather than drifting off to sleep during conversations.

I've been working on the garden which is beginning to look pretty good. There is still a lot to do and plants to plant up: Runner beans and Peas. But all being well things will come on pretty well. I've enjoyed time with friends and family and will be, since being metaphorically kicked, to get my two children’s novels out there. So beware agents, they may well be heading your way. I also have to chase up a recent email submission, which I hope isn't lost in the ether, but has arrived with the agent and that she has had a chance to read it.

So down to this week’s writing prompts are ‘Titles’
  • Making paper flowers
  • Sunday morning sickness
  • Flying kites

Hopefully the prompts above will stimulate you to think out of the box. How could you use the Title of the piece to develop the writing? Think about how and why you might make paper flowers, or fly a kite or the reason behind Sunday morning sickness. For example: Making paper flowers could be with a child to entertain them on a wet weekend, or a charity challenge to raise funds. Flying Kites could be a metaphor for escape or just children playing together. I’m sure the prompts will motivate you when you put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. With this anything goes. Poetry, short story, play or anything else you can think about.  

So go on get writing. 

Monday, 26 May 2014

Four Writing Prompts.

Right, I'm back! There have been many things going on with my father who has been in hospital but is now back in his care home. Work has also been very demanding which has all kept me from my writing. I will endeavour to improve my blogging and need to kick myself to get back into my own WIP.

I'm looking forward to my next lot of time off work as I'm having a writing extended weekend. All being well, I will have time to focus, up early write for the morning and garden in the afternoon and back to the writing in the evening. That is what I'm looking forward to. I wish I could do that every day, but the bills need to be paid, so I can’t get off the treadmill for a long while yet.

For this week’s writing prompts I've given you two images, and two written prompts.

In the flower pot.            Told you I wasn't heavy.

The following two prompts should be either used to stimulate a short story or poetry. However if either stimulates something else just follow your thoughts and write it.

1.       Don’t ask how, ask why?
2.       The perils of the shredder.

I hope one of these prompts inspires you for the coming week or so. Why not give them all a try, the more we practice the better our work becomes. And writing less often, as I know impedes our progress.

So go on, get writing. 

Monday, 5 May 2014

To walk in their shoes.

The sun is out and I've been out in the garden, putting right all that I didn't do last year. When I say all, I mean I've started sorting out the mayhem that was my garden. It is beginning to look good once more.  
To aid me with this I've also attacked the two brick built sheds. They have been great places for me to put everything that I ‘might’ need in the future. I've have now been through the tool shed, and the larger ‘Junk’ shed - I'm pleased with the result. 
My lovely garden is on her way back.

For your writing prompt this week I've have commandeered four pairs of shoes.
Each pair of shoes belongs to separate individuals. I want you to create a character that goes with each pair. Once you have written out your character traits, you will put those characters in the one of the following scenarios:
  • Walking in the country on a breezy, but sunny spring day when they encounter an uneasy herd of cows blocking their way.
  • A road traffic incident on a cold, rainy night on a road with no street lighting, no buildings except a ramshackle animal shelter.

You work out how difficult you want these scenarios to be for your characters. Make sure your dialogue is accurate for each character and that it is believable. Why not throw your characters in and see where they take you?

So, go on, get writing. 

Sunday, 20 April 2014

A Chance Encounter

Happy Easter. So far although I have a little Cadbury’s Chocolate Rabbit, sitting on the side I have yet felt inclined to bite its ears off. I'm saving that delight until later when I’ll have a cup of tea and bunny ears!
I had some new ideas about the design of my garden and have started to put them in to practice. I have managed to burn much of the dried wood from the ‘vicious’ pruning of the shrubs last September and the four fence panels that came down during the high winds more recently. I have a nice little burner and managed to get rid of most of the wood, but still have enough for another burn up. However, that will have to wait as the rain has come down today and everything is wet again. I'm going to be creating a new patio – it won’t be perfect, but I will have done it on my own and as long as I can put a patio set on it along with a couple of plants in pots I will be happy. Thankfully I'm a girl for the simple things in life. A good job really!

This week’s writing challenge is to write about a chance encounter. This is to be written in the first person and allow the thoughts and feeling of your character to show through and to engage your reader with them. There are two encounters you can select from or try both. Chance encounters can be exciting, enlightening, disturbing or downright boring. How you deal with the situations below is up to you, but whatever you do make it real.

1. You are standing looking at the train information at Euston Station when a famous person comes over to speak with you only you don’t realise who they are until halfway through your conversation. What do you do?

2. You are standing in the Victoria and Albert museum in London admiring the collection of Samurai Swords when you hear: “That’s what you plunged into my heart when you left?” What do you do?
Remember to use all the bells and smells with this, emotion must be at the forefront of you mind which will allow your reader to involve themselves with your story.

I hope you have fun with this, so go on, get writing. 

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Cat or Mouse tale?

Thankfully I've fully recovered from a very vicious stomach bug or food poisoning. Whichever it was, it was not very nice!

I have been working on some of my edits this week and by the end of the day I’ll have finished. As I was doing some tidying the other day, I came across the plotline of a YA that I’d but right to the back of the cupboard. After stopping and reading, I found it to be quite good. I think that might have to be my next project until I hear about the chapters I've recently sent out. One thing is for sure, I have started writing again proper which is wonderful. It has been a long time in coming.

One of the other passions, although I'm not that good at it, is gardening. I'm a sort of plant it and hope for the best type of gardener. Over the last couple of days I've been out mowing and blew up the mower, it is now in the pile ready for the tip. I'm hoping the grass doesn't grow too quickly until the end of the month when I can go off and purchase another mower. I've also been cutting back shrubs, planting up a few tubs and visiting the garden centre to see what plants I can get.

I was surprised to find my old ‘Mouse Trap Game’ from my father’s house when we were up there on Thursday. I have bought it home and put it down on the sitting room floor to await a game or two. However someone had discovered it too.

You might have already guessed, but if not, this is your writing prompt for this week. Use the image to create a piece of poetry or prose dependent upon your preference.

So go on, get writing. 

Saturday, 5 April 2014

An image with a story to tell.

A productive week – hope that is a good sign. I'm sure it isn't just me that realises that the weeks are racing by. Often it stars off at Monday morning with the familiar sound of groaning as we all stumble out of bed to begin the working week, only to suddenly find that it 3 pm on a Friday and we are only a few hours away from the weekend. This is great, however I've found that the precious weekend appears to be going even quicker - now that just isn't cricket!

During this manically busy week I have written in the evenings and I'm about to carry on typing up edits. I've sent a piece of work out and caught up with people I've not seen in a long while. It has been great.
For this week’s writing challenge we are using a photo to stimulate our creativity.  Look at the image and write its history.

This can be a factual piece or a piece of creative writing. What has this chair endured over its life time? Did it belong to a much loved/hated grandfather or grandmother? Was it the first chair in which your lover first sat on your lap? Was it the chair brought specifically for your much love pet? Has it been in the family for generations and has been privy to many a story? Use your knowledge to draw a life around this chair. Show us what it has seen, felt and endured.

So what are you waiting for, get writing. 

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Four people in a café

Due to many birthday activities, I have been very remiss and as you will have realised, I didn't get to blog last week. I was out partying. Oops! But it was fun. Lots of champagne and good food. Catching up with great friends and really taking time to chill out. A real me weekend.

I have recently passed out a few of samples of my current WIP. This has received mixed reviews. Some love the extra detail, others preferred it as it was before the reworking. I know which I prefer, but wonder if it would be worth trying again to get a better balance.

On the upside one of my 9+ novels is shaping up nicely after its jigsaw puzzle re-edit. I just need to get all the edits typed up, reread and sent out.

So this week’s writing challenge is to see how the dynamic changes in a room. For this you need to select four friends and bring them into a café one by one until they are all in the same room at the same table. One of your characters has to pass on a message about another friend, who is having an affair, but before they can pass on all the juicy details another person joins them. How do they get the message across? And when they do how does that change the atmosphere? How you get them there is up to you. Will they all know each other or will the first two know each other and notice another friend who they introduce into the group. What happens to the energy these characters create? Do they all get on? What happens when one goes to order/to the loo or nips out to the car? Will they all leave together or will one leave before the rest? What happens to the conversation? How do the new characters bounce off each other? Don’t forget to use all the bells and smells for this piece.

So go on, get writing.  

Monday, 17 March 2014

The Dark Side.

Sorry, sorry, sorry, I've been so busy editing, cutting and re-editing that the weekend has just disappeared and suddenly it is Monday evening! How does that happen? On the upside. I think the new opening of the thriller has improved, but I'm still unsure if it is right. I can only hope that when I send it out it will be favourably received.

I have also been working on a children's book which has been a WIP for a good few years. It has changed from a 500 word competition winner to a 20,000 completed 9+ novel. I have over the years taken it thrown it up in the air, many time,s and put all the pieces back in many different orders. I've added and removed scenes and written and rewritten my characters, until they all, at some point, drive the story along. I've loved the process and once again, will send it out and see what the response will be.

For this weeks writing challenge. We are looking on the dark side.

1. He had brought her out here for one reason only.
2. She could see beads of blood appearing where the binding was cutting into her wrists.
3. Nolan's VX-Car hovered above the ground as he looked down at the crumpled body oozing blood.
4. He bent low to avoid the club that flew towards his head, but his low wasn't low enough.

Pick one or have a go at them all and see where they take you.

So go on, get writing.

Saturday, 8 March 2014

The person within the character.

I'm feeling so much better this weekend, it is about time, and I've been making the most of it. Apart from the normal household chores which always have to be done, I've been out in the sun making the most of the natural warmth. I've put the garden tables out, all three, I've scrubbed them down and cleaned the chairs. I've brushed over the back yard with a good stiff broom. I've pulled down sections of broken fence panels and prepared an area for future potting up. I'm keen to get the gardens looking good again, it’s been a couple of years since I've really managed to get out there and look after it. This year I want the garden to look neat and pretty this summer. It used to look like this, it doesn't any more.
I'm also going to make changes to my much neglected front garden. Today I've marked out the sections I'm going to dig out and where I'm putting the weeping mulberry tree and the delicate white blossomed cherry tree.

Tomorrow will be a day for friends and writing.

It was a comment from a friend today that gave me the idea for this week’s writing challenge. We are going to look into the qualities of those around us, but not the visible ones, the qualities that they themselves don’t realise are there.

Character development is a very important section of any piece of writing, get it wrong and you work will not be character driven and it is the characters that the reader, loves, hates or admires, whichever way you portray your characters make sure the reader feels the way you want them to. For this challenge you are going to show us three characters from the outside and at the same time let us see the sections that they don’t know they have. Are they kind beneath the hard exterior, are they stronger than they realise, when others might think them weak or lacking.

As the second section of this task, using one or more of the characters write a piece that shows how they are made aware of the their inner self. Will they like it, be surprised by it or horrified?

So go on, get writing. 

Friday, 28 February 2014

Threads, Blood, Youth.

For a moment yesterday I thought I might be spending a long, cold weekend, but thankfully to a very diligent and capable young gas fitter, I'm all cosy and warm. Now don’t go reading anything in to that, he fitted a new circuit board and filled the expansion tank with water and everything warmed up nicely. I'm actually going to write to the company and let them know what a good job he did. I also got some really good advice regarding gas cookers. I was unaware that they give off quite a bit of carbon monoxide. When cooking you should always have a window open and not just an air vent.  That is also why you shouldn't use them to heat the house if you get a power cut, or like me, the boiler breaks down. I don’t have an extractor fan which I'm sure would help lessen the risk, but I for one won’t be using the cooker for anything else than cooking.

Writing task:
Below I have put three sentences. Read each and pick one that you are most drawn to. Once you have selected allow yourself time to think of the possible ways this could be used in creative writing. Try firstly a piece of poetry, followed by a monologue and finally aim to develop a conversation between two people with opposing viewpoints. Remember to use all the bells and smells to engage with your readers.

1.       Threads of shadows crawled forward edging closer with every tussle of wind.
2.       Blood of innocence swells through veins of despair.
3.       Youth, fortune and fame what’s wrong with having it all?

Remember for each of the above you are to write a piece of poetry, monologue and a conversation.
So go on, get writing. 

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Winter Garden

I am really hoping that the effects of total exhaustion will soon pass. I think it is the result of pushing myself too hard in all directions when I really should have taken time out to get better. As a consequence of this, I've only managed to do a small amount of writing but much less than I wanted to do. It just seems that all things is just one millimetre out of kilter which has made everything more difficult. I need a nudge back and all will be fine.  
The pure white of snow drops have poked their heads up and look beautiful at the base of my tree, but all it will take is a breath of cold winter air to kill them off. I have taken a photo of them along with a shed passed its best, a selection of stacked sticks and a camouflaged bike.
I want you to use all the images within one piece of writing. Look at the pictures decided which to start with and incorporate details from each to move your story forward. You could then try to start with another image and follow the same process through until you've used all the photos as your starting point.

I hope you are inspired, so go on, get writing.