Friday, 29 May 2009

Proud as proud can be

That's me at the moment. I've been a little neglectful of my writing blog recently because I've been busy with my murder mystery business.

After weeks of re-learning Dreamweaver, redesigning, typing in content, trying out, more typing, playing with logos and the occasional weep, the new updated Murdering The Text website is not only complete but also online. Have a look.

The amateur theatre related website amdram.co.uk have also published an article of mine on their website, "Why not stage a murder mystery?".

Just when I thought I could get back to my writing, here are the school holidays. Still, I've got them playing on the Wii so maybe, if I'm very stealthy, they won't notice me creeping out of the room with my laptop...

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Chapter Two

The second chapter of my novel Split introduces the other main player, Steve Haven. Steve is one of those disgruntled people who always seems disappointed in life and themselves.

'Steve Haven pulled at his shirt collar for the twentieth time since leaving his flat. With his other hand, he hugged his umbrella to him like an amulet against the elements. His feet, clad in new shoes that rubbed at his heels, moved erratically over the pavement in an attempt to avoid the puddles.

I hate the rain, he thought, almost as much as I hate wearing a suit. He tugged at his collar again. I hope you appreciate the sacrifice I'm making for you, old man.

The Corporation had offered to pay for a hearse. "You're his only family, Steve," Miss Palmer had said. "It would be the proper thing to do." He had declined of course, explaining that he'd rather slip in and out unnoticed. "I'm not good with people." She had sighed, the way she always did when he disappointed her.

He stopped to cross the road as a bus sped by, spraying his trousers with freezing water.

"Thanks mate," he shouted after the driver. "Thanks a lot," he grumbled, staring at his drenched trousers.
'

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Are you feeling neglected?

I've just noticed that I haven't posted on here for one whole week. That's not like me. Truth be told, life has carried me away - some of it boring, some quite exciting.

  1. The Panto - the first three scenes are written and have been emailed off to the PTFA for their perusal. I had already written these but what with the addition of a third ugly sister, a re-write was necessary. The use of pantomime humour is beginning to affect me too. I must stop it. I'm embarrassing the children.
  2. Murdering The Text - I've been putting together an updated website with additional facilities and much more personality. Almost finished it. Should be online by Friday.
  3. Something new - I've written an article and for the past week have been attempting to obtain writer guidelines from magazines. So far the only response I've had is, "We don't have any. Just ring us with your idea". That may well be my task for next week.
Right, time to get back to it. Enjoy your week, in case I get distracted again.

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Taking a moment to find the magic

"There's a rainbow in the sky all the time, don't be blind."
Rainbow in the Sky, Ziggy Marley

Even on the dullest of days, weatherwise or emotionally, a rainbow can cheer us up. In Chapter Two of my novel, Split, one of the main characters is pulled from the misery of a rainy day in this way.

"The lights changed and he was jostled along with the flock of pedestrians crossing the road, grey normal people going about their grey normal lives, all in a state of denial. He turned a corner and the sun came out, so bright he had to close his eyes. A warm hand touched his own and he yelped.

The child couldn't have been more than seven years old. Her dark blonde hair was tied back off her face with a yellow ribbon and her long purple coat, an ill-fitting hand-me-down, almost touched her boots. She beamed at him with sky-blue eyes.

"Isn't it beautiful?"

"Sorry?" Steve was still kicking himself for crying out like a baby.

"Up there."

He blinked into the sky. Above the heavy, dark clouds, the sun could be seen and between the two, a vibrant rainbow crossed the sky. Despite his stiff collar and sodden trousers, Steve found himself smiling."

One of the issues I want to identify in my book, is the way that often we get so bogged down with every day life, we fail to notice the magic around us. It could be a rainbow caught in the arch of sprinklers, the sound of birdsong, children laughing, the enjoyment we find in talking to a friend we haven't seen for a while. In fact anything that pulls us from our blinkered mindset and causes us to simply enjoy the moment is a little dose of magic.

So take the time tomorrow or next week to look up from your work and, just for a moment, look for that rainbow, that magic. As Ziggy says, it's always there.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Sunday, 3 May 2009

Keep Reading

Yes, that was me, heavily pregnant and still with book in hand. Now it should go without saying that if you want to be a writer, you should also be a reader. But you shouldn't 'just' be a reader. You should be an avid reader.

Books

Obvious eh? To know your genre, what's current, what's successful, you must read books in your chosen genre. A visit to the library will tell you what is popular and what the library service deem to be a book in your genre that has 'arrived'. A look around the larger bookshops such as Waterstones and Borders will let you see what is new and in the charts, who the most popular authors are and how prolific they are.

Newspapers

Both paper and online news will reveal current affairs, what issues are 'hot' and if you delve into the arts sections, you can keep track of the book charts. I find the Times book chart to be especially useful.

Magazines

What magazines do you read each month? If you're anything like me, you have your favourites that you regularly buy. Magazines can provide inspiration and inform on current trends and hot topics.

Publisher Websites

This is a wonderful way to keep up with what's happening in the publishing world. I tend to keep my eye on Orbit Books, Transworld and MacMillan.

Sources of Learning

Brushing up on your writing skills should be a regular part of your writing routine. You don't have to go the whole hog and enrol on a course (although there are some excellent ones out there and not all of them costly). There are plenty of books on writing. I particularly like the books by Christina Katz. Writing Magazine is a regular monthly purchase of mine and each issue has an immense amount of valuable learning material.

So even if you can only fit in twenty minutes before you go to sleep, do keep reading. It enables, inspires and informs your own writing, keeping it accessible and appealing to your audience.