Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Choice Words for May

Write what you know is a phrase that's often thrown at writers. I've even talked about it myself on this blog. Like most lessons, it can have different meanings and challenges to different people.

Author Emma Newman wrote about this topic in The Untrue Truth of "Write What You Know" as a guest writer on Chuck Wendig's terribleminds site. Her article is well worth a read with its discussion of transferable skills. Have a look.

Saturday, 14 May 2016

Photo Inspiration for May

This image was taken from my back garden tonight. What do you think? UFO? Hovering helicopter? Angel? Or just the moon.

What does this inspire you to write?

Thursday, 5 May 2016

What I'm Doing This Month - May

May has brought sunny weather to where I live, which is ideal for getting out and about but not so great for persuading me to knuckle down to some work.

After writing around 18,000 words during last month's Camp NaNoWriMo, I now have a clearer idea where my second novel is going. I  enjoyed the freedom of working on a first draft, just writing without worrying about any level of polish. It was definitely a useful exercise and made me look at my storyline with fresh eyes.

One of the things that interrupted my writing flow in April was a new arrival in our household. Meet Bailey. While I type, she's having a nap nearby. At this stage, she's needs a lot of attention so my study isn't seeing a much of me at the moment. I'm currently typing at my dining table (using the laptop battery so there are no dangling wires to tempt her). Fingers crossed she settles down and allows me to return to any kind of routine very soon.

I suppose I'm therefore adding fuel to the Bailey time-stealing fire but I've taken on another writing challenge this month - I pledge to write one page every day in May. This event is being run by an online writing club that I'm part of. So far, so good. I've managed my daily page each day this month. Let's hope that continues.

I'm still submitting to and waiting for feedback from literary agents, so in the meantime, I'm getting on with Steve's next adventure in the currently untitled second novel. This time round, there's a dragon and a genie for the usual cast of characters to play with.

What are you doing in May?

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Catch Up

April has been a month of running to catch up and I'm still not at the end of it yet.

I made a good start on Camp NaNoWriMo, keeping to the thousand words target until mid month when life intervened as it has a habit of doing. I'm up to almost 17,000 of the 30,000 target I'd set but it's given me a good start to novel two.

One of the major things that got in the way of my writing was the arrival of our new puppy, Bailey. She's still tiny so needs lots of attention and constant monitoring (she's taken a liking to the lounge curtains - we may need to shorten them out of reach). It's like having another baby or rather a very active toddler.

On the literary agent front, I've had another two rejections - both saying, as usual, it's not for us but keep sending it out - so I'm submitting my manuscript to more agents later today.

So apologies for my lack of posts this month and please excuse me while I go and play with Bailey. I'm not sure who'll tire first - her or me.

Saturday, 23 April 2016

How Shakespeare made a writer of me

Brought up as an only child in a house full of books that I was given free rein to investigate, the books that I always found myself drawn to were theatre scripts, and most specifically two collections of Shakespeare's plays.

The one with the green cover in the photo belonged to my mum. The other collection, a children's version of Shakespeare's plays with certain sections summarised rather than printed in full, was my father's. I spent many an hour as a child and teenager, thumbing through these books, visualising them on stage, playing the parts in my mind and yes, reciting the speeches in my bedroom - quietly.

At high school, I was keen to learn more about the plays but equally disappointed when my enthusiasm wasn't shared by many of my friends, and horrified when certain teachers presented the plays in a way that not only bored their class but turned many people off Shakespeare for life.

The works of Shakespeare are treated as part of the British, if not worldwide, literary canon but what inspired me about him more than anything else was that he was writing for the people. He wrote to get laughs, to excite, to shock and ultimately, to keep his audience coming to the theatre, bums on seats and feet in the yard (where there was only standing room). His plays taught me about characterisation through dialogue, stage directions, comedy, forming a link with the audience, the importance of interpretation and the clever use of research.

Today, 23rd April 2016, marks the 400th anniversary of his death. It will be celebrated throughout the UK (and probably around the world) in all kinds of ways. I daresay the shops will take advantage and stock a multitude of Shakespeare related paraphenalia. There'll be theatre productions, cinema showings and all kind of events. My family aren't as enthusiastic on the topic as I am so I think I may have to shoo them out of the lounge this weekend to watch a touch of Beatrice and Benedick banter, or Puck mischief on my own. Will you be celebrating?


Shakespeare's England - Shakespeare 2016
Telegraph article - Shakespeare's 400th Anniversary: When is it and how is it being celebrated?
Shakespeare 400
Shakespeare Celebrations in Stratford upon Avon
Fun quiz