Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Tuesday Choice Words

One of the challenges I have in writing my novel is keeping track of where my characters are, where they have to go and the increasing amount of information that is revealed. Janice Hardy's article Five Ways To Grow Your Novel on the Fiction University site discusses how to handle all of this and more. Have a look.

Something Useful for 2014 - Exercise No. 4

Today's exercise is about character building. When I begin to write a play, one of my foundation stones is always my cast of characters. It is only when I have them firmly imagined that I begin to build a plot around them.

1. Find two photographs of people whom you feel you can build a character from. These can be your own photographs, images from a newspaper or magazine, or photographs you find online. Here are my two:

2. Name your characters and give them some details such as age, job, and some characteristics. Again, here are mine.

Stan - in the top photo, he is the young man whose face is partly obscured by the woman in the pink top. He's 25 years old and works in a record shop. His friends persuaded him to go on an 18-30 holiday where they met the girls at the table with them. Stan lives at home with his mum who constantly nags him to improve himself. He's shy and generally hides himself away, even from customers to the shop.

Doreen - in the bottom photo, Doreen is the glamorous lady on the left. She's a retired actress, living alone except for her three poodles. She's a widow. Her husband was a policeman and his pension combined with hers keeps her afloat. She has a penchant for lovely clothes and sparkly jewellery. 

3. Find a way to bring your characters together.

Just back from his holiday with a tan and a spring in his step, Stan returns to the record shop. The manager (actually, the only other member of staff) leaves him to cope on his own while he goes to a record market. Stan settles back into his routine of playing records from his teen years and reading Sci Fi magazines. 

A man rushes into the shop with 3 poodles yapping at his heels. He says an old lady has collapsed on the path outside and asks if they can bring her into the shop until the ambulance arrives. Stan agrees. The old lady is Doreen. She's only had a fall and is fine really but the concerned man insists she waits until the ambulance arrives. Once the ambulance has checked Doreen over and declared that she is healthy, the helpful man hands her back her poodles and leaves.

The manager returns and lends Stan his car keys so he can drive Doreen home. 

Who will your characters be and how will they meet?

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Tuesday Choice Words

We all have our own writing routines, our methods of getting the words down on the page (or up on the screen). For me, it's a pad and a pen, alone and in relative silence (ok, so the washing machine may be burbling in the background and the dogs next door are probably howling). The Trickster Prince has his own way of writing and talks about his method in The biography of a book chapter: a short photo essay.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

My 100 Happy Days

Have you heard of 100 happy days? Yes? No? I hadn't until I started to see photos cropping up on various social networking sites with the hashtag #100happydays. Some friends posted images of their latest adventures. Others shared photographs of their loved ones, recipes or most recent purchases. The subject matter was of no concern - these were images of things that had made them happy on that particular day.

The 100 happy days website says this,

"We live in times when super-busy schedules have become something to boast about. While the speed of life increases, there is less and less time to enjoy the moment that you are in. The ability to appreciate the moment, the environment and yourself in it, is the base for the bridge towards long term happiness of any human being."

"71% of people tried to complete this challenge, but failed quoting lack of time as the main reason. These people simply did not have time to be happy. Do you?"

The aim is simple. Take a photograph on each of your 100 days of something that makes you happy, then share your photograph on Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter or Instagram. If you don't want anyone to see your photo on these sites, email it to 100happydays.com instead.

I never like to shy away from a chance to be happy so today I began the challenge. This is my photograph.

I stopped to look up at these trees on my way to the shops today. This made me happy.

I'll be posting my happy photos on my Tumblr blog - What I See, What I Hear, What I Am.

What about you? Are you up for the challenge to be happy?

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Tuesday Choice Words

Life is all about opinion. A lot of writing advice is just that, an opinion (my own advice included) or to put it more kindly, a writer will generally offer up tips and methods that have worked for them. There are some writers, however, whose advice I trust implicitly. One of those writers is Stephen King. I found an excellent article on the openculture site - Stephen King's Top 20 Rules for Writers. I especially love this quote about a story's opening line, "...Because it's not just the reader's way in, it's the writer's way in also, and you've got to find a doorway that fits us both".

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

The Write Life Magazine is one year old today!

The Write Life Magazine

One of the downfalls of being a work from home writer is that I can sometimes feel isolated. That's why writing communities and magazines can be so important. One of my favourite writing related magazines is celebrating its first birthday today - The Write Life Magazine. You can find out more about the magazine's birthday celebrations and how the first year went here.

Happy Birthday Write Life Magazine. I'm looking forward to your second year.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Tuesday Choice Words

As a playwright, I find dialogue relatively easy to come by. However, writing an action scene (and there are plenty of those in the novel I'm working on) is quite a challenge. Fiction University came to my rescue with two articles, Put Up Your Dukes - Writing A Fight Scene and Finding The Balance when writing about Violence. Have a look.

Stephen King Answers Questions

Photo Inspiration for May

Today, I have a puzzle for you.

This is a gift that my father bought for his mother (Mrs Roberton) back in the 1950s. Can you guess what it is?

This gadget, quite a small item, is your photo inspiration for May. If you know what it is, you could write about that. If you don't, you could write about what you think it might be. Or perhaps the idea of a son sending a gift to his mother is your inspiration.

Let me know what you think. How does this image inspire you?