Monday, 29 August 2016

Something Useful for 2016 - Exercise No. 21

I'm sure all writers pull from their own lives and experiences for at least a small part of their writing content, sometimes unconsciously, sometimes knowingly and in precise detail. Using what we know can ground our writing and add believability (apologies if that isn't a real world but it sounded right).

This month's exercise is to look into your own experiences and memories to find something unusual, or bizarre, an event or detail that was out of the ordinary, and embroider that memory or detail into a piece of writing.

My own memory happened on a winter's night on a railway bridge. My car skidded on black ice and piled into a lamp-post, thankfully preventing us from tumbling off the bridge onto the train line below. My then boyfriend was belted in but the force of the collision smacked him into the windscreen. I remember him screaming and then silence. Almost immediately, he went into shock.

The passing drivers all pulled over and helped. One drove to the local pub and called an ambulance. Another, an off duty paramedic, helped me treat my boyfriend. She told me that I had to keep him warm. He was dressed in a thin jacket on a frosty night and trembling, partly from the cold but also from the shock.

All I had to hand was a box of pantomime costumes in the back of my car so we wrapped him in those. To this day, I have a brightly coloured, mental image of my boyfriend sat in the back of the ambulance shivering with a dame's costume clutched around his shoulders as the paramedics strapped a neck brace onto him.

Car crash and pantomime costumes - that's my memory. What's yours?


Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Photo Inspiration for August


This entrance is close to where I live. My family and I traipse through it a couple of times each month. That's as much information as I'm going to give you. What do you think it is? Prison? Castle? Barn? Garden gate? What does it inspire you to write?


Wednesday, 10 August 2016

What I'm Doing This Month - August

August has crept up on me. Who am I kidding? August has grabbed me by the heels and dashed me through the past ten days in a whirl of family trips and events. It's always this way during the school summer break, finding ways to keep my kids (now teen and pre teen) amused and fed, and throw in my normal routine too. I wrote about this back in 2009 when I called it the August Monster.

With the first draft of my second novel completed (last month's target), I decided to take a step back from it all before I went any further. My muse, however, had a different plan. Cue several nights of tossing and turning and making notes on my mobile phone whenever ideas dived into my head.

I had always planned to write the Steve Haven books as a trilogy but the more I threw around the events that had to happen in the story, the more I realised that a series of books would suit much better, allowing me to tell the whole story rather than rushing through the bare bones.

The August target is therefore to map out the plot for the entire series and get on with writing it as a whole first draft. Come September, I should be halfway through the third novel if all goes well.

Wish me luck and have a wonderful month.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Photo Inspiration for July


A foreboding entrance or a gothic welcome? What do you think? I found this gateway whilst on holiday with my family. What story could this lead to?

Friday, 8 July 2016

What I'm Doing This Month - July

As I expected, June outdistanced me in a race towards the end of the school term, dragging me behind it (and preventing me from posting anything on this blog - sorry about that).

July always brings mixed feelings for me. There is so much to arrange and finalise before the school holidays and yet once the summer break is here I can relax. Only eleven more days to go.

With a puppy to amuse along with my children, this year's summer break is bound to include many many visits to dog friendly sites. Fingers crossed the weather is good enough for time spent outdoors.

Writing

With my novel in the hands of several agents, I've made the decision not to send it out to anyone else until I've completed the entire trilogy. My target this month is to complete the plot, chapter plan and story arcs for the trilogy and finish the first draft of the second novel, with the summer break target of completing the first draft of the entire trilogy.

Mslexia Children's Novel Competition

I've also submitted my novel to the 2016 Mslexia Children's Novel competition. The prize is £5,000 with five finalists attending a special networking event with literary agents. The judges are novelist Anne Fine, literary agent Claire Wilson, and editor Charlotte Eyre. Fingers crossed I make it into the final five.

Performing

This month sees my first performance on stage in years (decades) in a musical revue night by the local amateur dramatics society. My daughter will be taking part too. Wish us luck.

That's my month. What are you up to?