Monday, 31 October 2016

A Hallowe'en Dilemma

Hallowe'en always finds me divided. One the one hand, the pagan in me sees this day as a time to reflect on loved ones who have passed, the thought of them brought closer as the veil between the dead and the living thins. That is what Hallowe'en (or Samhain) means to me on the deepest level. 


As a mother, I have always enjoyed the fun side of the day that my children are attracted to - dressing up, making spooky food, and carving pumpkins. Nowadays, my 'children' are older (teen and pre teen) so that side of things doesn't appeal to them so much but I know we'll be visited by lots of little witches and ghosts tonight on their trick or treating quest.


As a writer, there is a whole universe of inspiration around me in the shadows of this day and an immense heritage of literature that touches on the supernatural and horror genre. Most of my favourite writers fall into this group - Mary Shelley, Neil Gaiman, and Stephen King to name but a few. 


Hallowe'en means so many things to me. What does this day mean to you?

Monday, 24 October 2016

Choice Words for October

One of the problems I have always had with my protagonist, Steve is wondering whether readers will like a grumpy teenager. He isn't a magical like Blessing. He isn't gung-ho like Hartley. Steve is trying his best to find his way in a world that is constantly changing.

Writer, K M Weiland discusses this topic in her article, Worried Readers Won't Like Your Character? Have a look and tell me what you think.



Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Something Useful for 2016 - Exercise No. 22

I'm taking part in the International Writing Programme's free online course at the moment - Storied Women. This week saw our first assignment, writing from the perspective of a child using the different ways discussed on the course to portray characterisation (speech patterns, movements, details, habits, drawing on life, etc.). This in itself is a writing exercise worth sharing but what I thought I'd discuss as this month's writing exercise is changing perspective.



I normally write from the third person perspective. It's my 'comfort' perspective and I find it easy to fall into. For my Storied Women assignment however, I chose to write in first person. I didn't make a conscious decision to do that. It just felt like the right thing to do. Here's an excerpt of what I wrote.

When Death Comes A-Knocking

     Grandma said that before the ghosts, children played outside, kicking around balls and climbing trees. Momma always told her to hush about that but I didn’t mind. It was interesting to think about outside.
     Josh and I talked in the cellar. There’s a vent that connects their house to ours. I asked Papa if we could dig through once but he said it was too dangerous. What if our walls fell down and the ghosts got in? I didn’t ask again.
     I had a mattress from my old cot to sit on because the floor in the cellar was cold brick. It smelt down there of damp and soil, and sometimes the beets that we stored there when we had some. I didn’t mind the smell but the cold got into my bones so much that my teeth shook and my tummy muscles hurt from trembling. Momma brought me hot water with a little sugar to warm me up and rubbed my feet.
     Josh was a chatterbox. That’s what Grandma called him. He talked and talked until he ran out of breath. That’s when I got to say something. He was funny though. He made me laugh so much that I forgot the cold. 

Write a story using a perspective (first person, third person, etc) that you wouldn't normally use. Maybe you vary between perspectives already. In that case, use a tense that doesn't come naturally (past, present). Step out of your comfort zone and see what happens.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Photo Inspiration for October


A little red devil just hanging around on a street corner. This was taken in York over the summer. It's easy to put your head down and miss so many of these little details that adorn that city. 

Is he friendly? Waiting for someone? On holiday? What do you think? What does this image inspire you to write?

Thursday, 6 October 2016

What I'm doing this month - October


Is the image a big enough hint? Yes, my October is all about writing. The rest of my life has settled back into its autumn routine and I can concentrate on getting the words down on paper/laptop.

Novel

With my first novel polished and doing the rounds of literary agents, I'm flipping between working on the plan for the rest of the Haven series and editing the draft of my second novel in the series. I'm using my murder mystery writing head to pick up the clues from the first novel to develop in the following books. The plan is a bit of a hotch potch at the moment as I keep swapping around the order of events to find the perfect fit. I know the ending. Now, I just have to decide on the middle.

Learning

I didn't intend to concentrate on anything but my novels this autumn but when a friend flagged up a new online writing course, I just had to have a look. Then, I signed up for Storied Women, run by the International Writing Programme at the University of Iowa. It runs through October and November.


This 'ere Blog

I've been a tad remiss over the past few (several) months in posting here, resulting in a paltry number of posts each month. October sees a committed return to writing all my regular blog posts and hopefully several more each month too.

So that's my October. What are you doing?