Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Tuesday Choice Words

The more I work on my novel, the more I get to know and like my cast of characters. My main character, Steve (the protagonist) has grown on me especially. He is the person who discovers the world of  the novel along with the reader. One of the ways I've familiarised myself with him is to ask questions so that rather than the plot leading him along, his motivations and reactions create the story.

Bridget McNulty's article 5 Essential Questions to Ask When Writing Your Protagonist on the Fiction University website takes a similiar approach.

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Something Useful for 2014 - Exercise No. 7

This month's exercise is one I was set about two decades ago by the wonderful poet and my then writing instructor, Pat Borthwick. Thanks, Pat, for the inspiration.

Choose a colour. Make a list of things that you associate with it it. For example,

Red - lipstick, blood, silk.
Blue - sky, air, calm.
White - cloud, age, daisy.

As you can see, these can be material things, feelings or concepts. List as many things as you can think of.

Now, using your list, all or just some of what you have written, write a short passage. It can be a poem or prose, even dialogue.

Here's my green passage:

Calm. That's how I felt, breathing in the sweet scent of freshly cut grass, my bare feet damp with the newly released sap as I crossed the lawn. 

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Photo Inspiration for August

The new school term starts next week for me and my children, a return to normality, a new normality for my daughter who is entering high school. The weather has turned cold but is sunny enough to allow us to still get out. Recently, we found ourselves at the play park that you can see above.

Play parks are wonderful places. Obviously, they provide a world of entertainment  for children but they're more than that. They're a meeting place for all ages - parents with their children, teenagers with nowhere else to go, and grandparents sharing times with younger generations. 

I took this photo on a random whim and it wasn't until I got home that I realised how much I had captured. Look at the people on the benches. I remember there being a number of teenagers in the park but there were also parents whose children played beyond the reach of my photograph. It was the end of day, hence the placing of the tree's shadow. The play park sits on a busy city road but the stretch of green that hugs the river might as well be in the countryside for the peace it offers.

What do you think the adults are talking about? What are the unseen children talking about and doing? Why are the teenagers there? Who is driving the passing cars? What kind of shops sit across the road? What could happen here?

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Tuesday Choice Words

I love the characters in my novel, whether they're good or bad or somewhere in between. They're individuals with their own way of speaking and their own motivations. Like me, most of them will happily tootle along in the same routine, day to day, year to year. Working out what would make them change, react, break out can be a puzzle.

On Janice Hardy's Fiction University website, there is an article by writer K M Weiland on just this topic - How to Find Your Character's Breaking Point. Have a look.

Monday, 25 August 2014

100 happy days counted and posted

Back in May, I told you that I would be taking part in the 100 happy days challenge. You can find that post here but, to recap this is the challenge:

Take a photograph on each of your 100 days of something that makes you happy, then share your photograph.

I chose to post my photographs on my Tumblr blog, What I see, what I hear, what I am. You can find all 100 on there.

It was an interesting one hundred days, keeping up the discipline of not just photographing something happy, but also taking the time to notice that thing. Some days it was difficult because I was crazy busy or ill. Other days, I had a whole host of happy things to choose from.

It's been a good experience and I find myself still in the habit of looking for happy things. My photographs weren't as exciting as those posted by some of my friends - talking at events, modelling on a catwalk, new shoes - but they were very much me, visual, colourful, warm. Here are a few of my favourites.

Day 1 of my challenge. I stopped on the way to the shops to look up at the trees.
Day 6. My writing makes me happy. It’s hard work sometimes (especially when I’m editing and redrafting) but it satisfies my soul. I’m very lucky to be able to do this for a living.
Day 13. I was putting out the rubbish when I noticed this beautiful blue butterfly. It stayed in the garden for quite a while. I can’t get over how vibrant it’s colour is.
Day 30. This combination of sunlit trees, limestone arches and blue sky made me take a moment this morning. Lovely.
Day 36. I saw this rose on the walk to school. It reminded me of my mum. This was her favourite colour rose. My childhood garden was filled with roses like this.
Day 56. Whenever I see the moon during the day, it always seems a little magical.
Day 69. Eating pistachio nuts while I write.
Day 83. Took my children to a small, local wildlife park today and probably my favourite thing of the day was getting to pet this owl. His name is Bovril.