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Showing posts from January, 2014

January Photo Inspiration

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This is, obviously, the first photo inspiration for 2014. What do you think? Do you like gems? Do you like purple? What do you associate with this colour? Crocuses? Velvet? Pick out a gem. Which will it be - the largest faceted one or the round cloudy one? What does this image inspire you to write?

Happy New (Chinese) Year

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Okay, this is as much as I can raise to such a celebration at the moment as it's a tad too early to crack open the bubbly but I wanted to join in with the fun. Although the Chinese New Year is officially tomorrow, 31st January, apparently the festival begins today so 'Happy new year'.

This is the year of the horse. My daughter comes under this Chinese Zodiac sign and it seems a good match for her.

"...energetic, bright and intelligent."

"...cheerful, popular, talented and enjoy entertaining. They are associated with success and cannot stand failure."

That last part is certainly true but we've found ways to cajole her out of a sulk (usually incorporating the term 'blinky trout-face' - you have to be there to appreciate the relevance). If you're interested in the Chinese Zodiac, the rest of my family incorporates a snake (that's me), a rat and a monkey.

Apparently a horse year will bring "health and prosperity" and is an exc…

Tuesday Choice Words

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One of the changes I have made (so far) in rewriting my novel for the 9-12 age group is to move the location of the attack on my protagonist. Originally, the attack took place in a deserted park which always felt slightly wrong. I think the problem was that I couldn't truly picture the park. In the latest draft, the attack has been moved to a derelict street where there is no apparent chance of help. I can see that street in my mind's eye. I can feel the roughness of the torn tarmac under my feet. I can hear the wind whistling through the smashed windows. It feels right.

The Other Side of the Story has an interesting article on the same topic of settings - How your setting can affect your characters - that is well worth a read. Have a look.


Ideas that stick around

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I was recently watching a YouTube clip where Stephen King answered questions about his approach to writing. When questioned about the use of notebooks, he had this to say,

"People say do you keep a notebook? And the answer is I think a writer's notebook is the best way in the world to immortalise bad ideas. My idea about a good idea is one that sticks around and sticks around and sticks around. To me, it's like if you were to put breadcrumbs in a strainer and shake it, which is what the passage of time is for me. It's like shaking a strainer, all this stuff that's not very big and not very important just kind of dissolves and falls out. But the good stuff stays, you know the big pieces stay."

He then goes on to talk about how he had the idea for 'Under The Dome' when he was teaching high school in 1973 and how the idea was 'too big' for him and he was too young for it. He wrote about twenty five pages of the idea and put it away. We now know …

Tuesday Choice Words

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It's a bitterly cold day here. After a muscle-numbing walk to the shops and back, I'm happy to cosy up at home with my keyboard and a cup of tea.

As both a writer and a reader of murder mysteries, I decided to sign up for the Crime Readers Association. Their website brings not only news of new crime fiction but also some wonderful advice from crime writers. The Question Authors Dread is a fascinating article on the CRA website from writer, Chris Simms.

The wonderful Stephen King talking about 'how he gets inspired'. It's a little long (53 minutes) but worth the watch.

The nearest I'll come to making a new year's resolution in 2014

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The intention of making new year's resolutions has always been to start anew but seeing as 2014 will be more of a continuation for me (working on my novel, writing more plays, losing more weight), I decided to make just one new effort.

I'm constantly reading (on my bedside cabinet at the moment are Titania Hardie's The Rose Labyrinth and the first Skulduggery Pleasant novel) but in 2014, I've decided that I'll step away from my usual genres and authors and support some of the writers that I follow, know and converse with. So my reading list for the first half of 2014 looks something like this:
Ninety-Five Percent Human by Suzanna Williams: a young adult alien adventure inspired by the 'Welsh Roswell', an alleged UFO crash in the Berwyn Mountains in 1974.A is for Angelica by Iain Broome: his debut novel, "Gordon Kingdom struggles with the fate of his seriously-ill wife while patiently observing and methodically recording the lives of those around him: h…

Friday Forgetful Fi (Tuesday Choice Words)

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Whoops! Dead Fit has run away with me (and my time) and I completely forgot to post this week's Tuesday Choice Words. So here you are, a useful link and a thoughtful image. I promise to do better next week.

You, as the Muse Sees You by Steven Pressfield is a wonderful reminder of the value of writing on a regular basis.


New Project No. 1

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This weekend, I started on one of my 2014 writing projects. 'Dead Fit' is the first of the two murder mystery plays I plan to write this year. I had January pencilled in for working on my novel but a request from a friend on Friday night led to a massive brainstorm session this weekend.
Requirements: a 20 to 30 minute murder mystery play,first act needed in a week,known cast of 10 (4 male, 6 female) aged from late 20s to 70s,9 motives for murder,and a setting that requires minimum staging and props.
Stories, of all kinds, always have a starting source. Perhaps, it's a character - that little old lady you saw at the  bus stop - that begs for a plot, or a newspaper story that places a 'what if' in your mind. With my murder mystery plays, there are always two starting points: Who is the murder victim?Why would anyone murder this person?
I have an answer to the first question. Priscilla is a flamboyant aerobics instructor in her sixties. I'm still working on the …

Tuesday Choice Words

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With the start of this year, comes a new start for my novel, Haven Falling. Having completed the third draft, I've decided to re-write it for the 9-12 year age range. Although it is really the fourth draft, it feels like a first draft in many ways so I was interested to read this article from Bookbaby - How to write your book's first draft like a professional.


Old year, new year

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2014 is upon us but I didn't want to start this shiny, new year without reflecting on the one that's just passed.
2013 was the year when I proved to myself that 'I can' if I believe in myself. I can:
finish that murder mystery play that's had me dumbfounded for over a year - Fresh Bloodguest write for a professional work from home blog - Guesting on Work From Home Wisdomattract new customers to Murdering The Textand finish the third draft of my novel.  On a personal note, 'I can' lose weight and keep it off. Between June and December, I lost 2 stones in weight. I have more to lose yet but I'm confident that I can be down to my target weight  by the summer. 
My word for 2014 is 'refresh'. I have so many good things in my life already but I feel that I need to look at many of them with new eyes. I have no new year resolutions as such, just an incredible amount of optimism and excitement for the next twelve months. I have two murder mystery plays t…