Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Something Useful for 2016 - Exercise No. 23

The Christmas Market in Chester Town Hall Square

Last week, my family and I trundled into Chester on a chilly Thursday night to watch the city lights switch on. The streets were heaving with people, young and old, all come together to share the experience. When the time came, all eyes turned to watch Santa who stood on the walkway where the city clock sits above the main street. He waved cheerily as the steamers of fireworks raced into the sky from either side of him.

I say all eyes. I took a sneaky look at the crowds as they watched. I noticed the three teenage girls hunched together, the toddler doing his best to escape from his parents, and the old man blowing on his ungloved hands. All of them were strangers to me. I didn't know their names or where they lived, or how happy their lives were. I could only imagine.

This month, as the streets and the shops fill with crowds preparing for the festive break, take some time to people watch. Who catches your eye? Who could be the inspiration for a character? What exchange could provide a what-if for a story? Even better, do it from the warmth and safety of a coffee shop that looks out on the masses. What better excuse do you need for a mug of hot chocolate?

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Photo Inspiration for November


One benefit to having a dog is the walks we go on. Since Bailey has been in my life, I've rediscovered the joy of walking for pleasure. I get exercise, I get to meet people and it also presents me with all kind of opportunities to take photographs.

I took this shot yesterday on our morning walk. Above this leaf-laden ground are masses of apples and berries, the bounty of the season. I'm sure that most passing people, if they look up, will see the fruit growing on the trees and bushes but very few will notice the fallen fruit at their feet.

The image of fallen fruit can mean many things - a fall from grace, something downtrodden, or the bottom rungs of the ladder. What does this image inspire you to write?

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Today I met a poet

My morning has a set ritual:
  • Get up. 
  • Get children up. 
  • Do school run. 
  • Walk the dog. 
This happens on every week day since Bailey the pooch arrived at our house.

This morning was a glorious day to get out and about, sunny but just chilly enough to need a coat, perfect for a stroll amongst the autumn leaves.



On the way back, I met a neighbour walking his two dogs. I was trying to take a photo at the time and he commented that he liked to take photos too. We chatted (while I tried to stop Bailey from jumping up at him to be petted and terrorising his dogs) and it turned out that my neighbour is also a writer, a poet. You can find his website here.

What I got most from our chat was how wonderful it is to talk to another writer. We writers are a fractured society. We don't generally gather en masse like many professions. We tend to work alone, only meeting up with like minded souls on occasion. Today was one of those occasions for me. What a great start to my day.

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

What I'm doing this month - November


November 2016 is, for me, all about change. In fact, 2016 has been entirely about change, both in my personal life and how I see myself as a writer. We've had an addition to our family (Bailey the pooch), I've entered new social circles and interests, and I've committed to the process of submitting my novel to literary agents. 

Learning

This month will see me continue on my writing course with the International Writing Programme. Listening to the weekly videos from the writers involved in the course and taking part in the assigned writing exercises has been not only inspirational but has also opened my eyes to my own personal writing process. Additionally, returning to short story writing (for the assignments) has been a surprising joy, re-engaging my interest in a form of writing that I hadn't used in years. 

Writing

While my children's novel has been doing the rounds of literary agents and I've been planning the rest of the series, my muse has been elbowing me about a new project. 

Inspired by my first assignment for the IWP course, I decided that I would like to write something darker than usual, and for an adult audience. I've had a character hanging around in my mind for a while and now I have a storyline to include her in. I'm not taking part in NaNoWriMo this November but I will be using the month to write as much as I can of this new story. I want to see whether it actually is a novel or better suited to a short story, or even a play. 

What are you doing this month?