Wednesday, 23 February 2011

I've won an award!

And I didn't even have a winner's speech written. Thank you to the wonderful Kelly Hashway for thinking that Fi's Magical Writing Haven deserved the 'One Lovely Blog Award'.

I shall display it proudly.

Here are the rules for the award:
  • Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award and their blog link.
  • Pass the award on to 15 other blogs that you've newly discovered.
  • Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

I'm very lucky to have recently met a whole host of new bloggers through the recent blog hops I've taken part in. Choosing just 15 has been difficult but here it is, my list of award winners:

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Creative Every Day

Today I started a new challenge, well, new to me. Creative Every Day has been running since 2008. It was started by Leah Piken Kolidas "to help infuse my life and lives of others with daily creativity".

You can participate through your blog, your Flickr account, through Twitter or just by leaving a comment on the CED site.

"Creativity is meant in the broadest sense, so it doesn't have to be something art related. Your creative acts could be in cooking, taking pictures, knitting, doodling, writing, dancing, decorating, singing, playing with your kids, brainstorming ideas, gardening, or making art in the form of collage, paint, or clay...or whatever!"

Can I be creative every day? Hell, yes!

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Crazed Fan Weekend Blog Hop

I've been invited to join another blog hop. This one is co-run by the Blog Entourage and The Unexpected Mother. Interestingly their blog hop will take place every Friday and Saturday. I doubt I'll be able to join in every weekend but I shall do my best.

Welcome to any Crazed Fan blog hoppers. I hope you enjoy my blog. Have a look around and please feel free to leave a comment.

Happy Hopping!

Thursday, 17 February 2011

She Writes B&W Blogger Ball

I only recently came across the term 'blog hop'. Am I the only one who hadn't heard of this before? In essence, it's an online event where a group of bloggers drop in on each other's blogs and leave comments. It's a way to create new connections, boost the number of visitors to your site and generally have a bit of a party.

Today I signed up to take part in my first blog hop for members of the She Writes Books and Writing group. I always enjoy finding new interesting blogs and forging fresh alliances so I'd like to welcome all my fellow She Writes blog hoppers to my blog. I hope you enjoy reading my posts. I'll be dropping in on as many of you as I can. I've even created a blog button (scroll down the right hand column to find it) for any of you who are collecting them.

My blogging tip is to keep a plan of future blog posts so you can look ahead to what you're going to be writing and collect necessary links, articles, images etc that you might need. You don't have to stick to it rigidly but having a record of what you are going to write and what you have written can be a useful tool for planning ahead. I often write posts in advance when I know I'm not going to be available. I can note down important dates (Christmas, birthdays of family and historical figures) that are likely to be the basis for a post. It's also helpful to look back and see what I've written a year ago.

If you'd like to have a look at all the blogs taking part in our blog hop, you can find the list here.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

5 Things I Love About Writing

1. Creating new worlds

Since I was a child, I have imagined that beyond our experience of the day to day grind there is something else. I saw fairies in the movement of a flower, life in a shadow and a dragon in the clouds. To create a world where those dragons are commonplace, where robots serve us breakfast or magic is at hand is a delight.

2. Exploring 'what if'

There are moments in time where turning a different corner or checking one more time before you cross the road, can make all the difference. I've always been aware of these moments and as a writer, they can be gems, providing fresh, exciting storylines.

3. Meeting new characters

In the novel that I'm writing two of the characters - Hartley and Darkling - have been with me for a long time. Over the years they've become my friends. I've also introduced new characters and getting to know them - their loves, their hates, their histories - is always a fascinating journey because the more I get to know them, the more I get to know myself.

4. Writing dialogue

As a playwright, I've learnt to tighten my dialogue, using it to catch a personality in not only the words spoken but their intent and rhythm. I love the music of speech, the richness of genuine dialogue and the poetry of written speech.

5. Finally...

I'm unsure whether this is just personal to me but my final joy is when, after having put my writing away for a week or just a number of days, I return and read it through. It won't always be perfect - who am I kidding? It's never perfect - but it's mine and somewhere in there I will find some gems that make me smile.

Monday, 14 February 2011

The Lover

A tiny 2-inch pop-up Valentine, circa 1920
In case you hadn't noticed (which I think is rather unlikely), it is St Valentine's Day today. The shops are (and have been for about a fortnight) filled to overflowing with reminders of love and romance. It's not surprising, therefore, that the second episode of Faulks on Fiction which aired this weekend was about 'The Lover'.

At the beginning of the programme, Faulks says that, "Romantic fiction gives us happy endings but the reality is rarely like that." He goes on to say how 'psychological' novels have approached love as a more complex animal which is probably nearer the truth.

His lovers were:

I think the majority of people would pick out several of the above if asked to name literary lovers but I had a look on my bookcase for others and came across:
  • Bathsheba Everdene and Gabriel Oak in Thomas Hardy's Far from the Madding Crowd, although her other two 'love interests' - William Boldwood and Sergeant Frank Troy - could also be included in this listing,
  • Jane Eyre and Edward Rochester in Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre,
  • Celie and Shug in Alice Walker's The Colour Purple,
  • and Sir Percy Blakeney and Marguerite in the Scarlet Pimpernel books by Baroness Emmuska Orczy.

For anyone who is interested in being a novelist or just loves good novels, I would highly recommend this series.
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Saturday, 12 February 2011

Photo Inspiration

As I've gone through my late parents' things, I've come across many many photographs of unknown faces. The gift of these photographs to a writer is that with no details, we can build completely new characters around them. I thought I'd share a few of them with you.

Friday, 11 February 2011


I recently watched the first in a series of television programmes called Faulks on Fiction which discusses the world of the British novel.

The first episode was titled 'Hero' and discussed the development of the hero role through several classic novels. His heroes were:

Faulks believes that the hero can now only be found in films, children's fiction and crime novels. He finishes with these words, "For literary novels, it's over. The hero is dead. End of story". Do you agree?

Thinking of my own list of heroes from British novels, I find:
Who are your literary heroes?

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Happy Chinese New Year

Rabbit (zodiac)Image via Wikipedia
Another celebration. Yesterday it was Imbolc and today is the Chinese New Year. Apparently a rabbit year is a peaceful one.

I'll be cooking a Chinese noodle stir fry for the family tonight. How will you be celebrating the day?

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Wednesday, 2 February 2011


Crocus vernusImage via Wikipedia
Today is Imbolc, Pagan festival of early spring. The Christian church celebrates Candlemas at this time of year and I'm sure you won't have failed to notice that tomorrow is the Chinese New Year. This is when the first life begins to appear after the winter chill.

For me, January is always attached to the year before. I spend the month getting back into the normal routine, surviving financially (don't we all?), either huddled in the house or wrapped up in winter layers if I step outside.

February seems like a better time to start planning for and thinking of the months ahead. Already I can see buds on the bushes in the garden, new beginnings pushing through, and the mornings are lighter. I find myself looking forward to longer days and warm nights.

May Imbolc bring you joy and optimism for the future.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

A little help from my friends

Today will be spent mainly looking after my children who are off school ill. They're full of cold, curled up on the couch and exuding rivers of snot. Isn't that a lovely image for a Tuesday morning? So with my writing time reduced, I thought I'd share with you some writerly links to sites that offer excellent creative advice.

Enjoy your Tuesday.