Attempting to make it as a writer

Posts tagged ‘blog’

Monday Blog Tour

DSC_0085It was a surprise and delight to be asked to join in this tour of blogs from some very successful writers.  I hope I can do them justice.  Many thanks to Veronica for her tag to join the Monday Blog tour, you can read her blog here.

What am I working on at the moment?

Editing is the most obvious comment I would answer here.  I have my novel “Memories” which is still work in progress but out with a beta reader and awaiting a final red pen edit before taking a deep breath and sending out to some agents.

As part of my writing group, we took on the challenge to produce a story for People’s Friend which is not my normal style of writing.  The challenge to me is writing outside my comfort zone and of course the possibility of being published in such a popular well-read magazine.  I have now finished a possible story but it still requires some serious red pen editing before I feel brave enough to send it off.

I also have my monthly mini blogs I provide for the local community magazine.   This is probably one of the hardest things to do – I have about 250 -300 words to create a whole story for a wide audience who need to be drawn in and hooked.  The time pressure as well as the inevitable writers block are my main stumbling blocks.

Finally I am doing an Open University module on “Start Writing Fiction”.  Although already behind with the assignments I am learning from this and some of the short paragraphs I have to produce I already have ideas for short stories or even longer.

You have to remember that all of this is outside my normal life of being a mother, wife, daughter and full time worker.

How does my work differ from others in the genre?

I still have questions of my own regarding which genre I mainly fall into.   Memories is definitely for women, mothers who will identify with the main character.  But there are elements to some of my short stories that cross the genres such as horror and crime.  I tend to write from the heart so I create characters made up of me.

This sometimes does not work as readers identify too much with a character and then get upset when the character does something unexpected.  Crime writing is particularly prone to this.   A normal everyday situation faced with an everyday dilemma and in a moment of distraction rather than premeditation the character takes the wrong path and becomes my antagonist.

Why do I write what I do?

This is hard to give an answer to as I probably do not know.  I have always loved writing and creating stories and even real life always has an alternative story going on in my head; that ‘what if?’    I have always felt that I had a novel inside of me but it has taken many years of convincing to have the confidence to actually do something about it.

I have  taken part in NANOWRIMO three times, and succeeded twice. Memories originated here and although that year I didn’t finish in time the story has developed into a passable novel.  National Novel Writing Month, takes place every November and is 30 days to write  a 50,000 word novel.  The end product is raw but the achievement is incredible.   The challenge is certainly one of the reasons I write.

I find it cathartic to let the words tumble out having been given a kickstart.  Sometimes the words are not worth the paper they are written on but sometimes there is a spark of something that might work with development.

Finally how does my writing process work?

I start by writing early in the mornings before the rest of the family awakes.   This is my time and I can get quite emotional if disturbed.   7am is when the world is permitted to wake and I draw to a close whatever I am working on.  If I have not finished,  the story and characters will churn around all day in my mind and next day I begin again.

The words often fall out in a bit of a hurried jumble and often differ hugely from the original story line I started with.   I do very little editing at this stage and only later if I feel there is a market or place to develop this do I go back and edit.   I need space away from the story before I edit.

I do send things out and rely heavily on others to critique but still take everything they say to heart and personalise it.  I find critiquing other people’s work just as difficult.  Each stage, after the initial writing takes huge steps to build my confidence to allow others into my world of fiction and make believe.

 

I am tagging the lovely Elaine from http://www.starsandroses.co.uk/   and  hope to tag tone other who will  continue this exciting tour of blogs so keep checking back.

 

You can see Veronica’s  post at  http://www.veronicabright.co.uk/2014/05/05/monday-blog-tour

 

 

Tiggy

Have a look at what I am up to with my food blog at Tea Time Treats 

 

 

 

Broken Sentiment

We had been invited to, probably the last BBQ this summer.   It was Saturday afternoon and the sun had been shinning all day.   Unusually I had no food to prepare and things were quiet in the house.   We were bringing the drinks including Pimms so I did need to chop and soak the fruit in the alcohol before we left.

I started early as the longer the fruit marinated the better the Pimms tastes. I own a beautiful glass punch bowl which comes with delicate little cups.  The sheer glass has vine leaves bulging with fruit etched delicately round it and the glass spoon sits comfortably poking through the opening in the lid.

This punch bowl has been part of my family for as long as I can remember.  My father a born host produced this bowl from the recesses of his cupboards for every memorable party he gave.    Perfectly chopped fruit, pimms, ice and bubbling lemonade taking centre stage on the drinks table at the summer party.    Warm, spicy cinnamon and red mulled wine pervading the room, hinting at the fruit mix and warmth waiting to  be enjoyed after the bonfire and fireworks display he had already pre-planned.

In fact I don’t remember an occasion he didn’t bring the bowl out and make good use of it, and yet the delicacy of the glass survived them all.   When my father passed away and my mother downsized she gave the bowl to me to follow his guardianship, with the understanding that I too, would put it to good use.   I hoped that I had emulated that custody.

I began chopping strawberries, oranges, lemons and apples.  I dug deep into the cupboard to bring out the bowl and even deeper to count that I still had all the cups to serve the drink in.   Carefully I brought it to the sink to wash it and took the lid off.  The water running, the lid shining I lifted the spoon out.

Crack!

Time stood still.

It was only a gentle tap as the spoon came out but in slow motion the side of the bowl shattered as each shard of splintered glass speared my disbelieving memory.   One side of the bowl remained intact but the one nearest me was in pieces as was I.   Sexy Sporty Dad responding instantly to my cry of pain, tried to find where it hurt.

Inside, where my heart is; where all the memories of my childhood had just converged on my core tearing it to pieces.   I had been given this to use, protect and pass on.  In a moment’s distraction I had destroyed something precious, at least to me; the memory of my father as he entertained his guests and never let anyone be without a drink or a companion at any of his parties.

Sexy Sporty Dad gathered the pieces and with sombre tone admitted that not even he could glue all the slivers back together for me.   He carefully wrapped the offending pieces in newspaper and will dispose of them as if they were a beloved pet that had passed on.  Quietly and secretly so my misery is not re-ignited.

My mind wrenched back to this evening’s activities.  What of the Pimms?  I still needed a receptacle to serve it from.  I knew the friends we were dinning with would have accepted a bottle of wine or other form of drink without damming me; but I had promised Pimms and so Pimms it must be.

Where do you find a punch bowl late on a Saturday afternoon these days?

A plethora of charity shops adorn our high street and there is one that sells all kinds of odd bits of household clearance items that rarely anyone wants.   I started there and trawled the aisles finding beautiful cut glass vases, jugs that would hold enough for two or three drinks even large brandy glasses that might be used instead.   I found a sugar bowl and milk jug that matched Granddad’s cups, I spotted a silver or possible stainless silver jam spoon that it had taken me weeks to find when I was looking for a present for my mother’s new house.   The one thing I could not find was anything resembling a punch bowl.

As I browsed a couple of outfits and smart tops on the way through to the exit I noticed the two ladies at the counter waiting I guess, for someone to say hello, buy something or just a bit of excitement.   I popped back in and asked “I don’t suppose you have anything like a punch bowl?”

The first lady looked at me sadly “no unless it is out on the shelves we don’t”

The other lady seemed a little more thoughtful.   “Could you wait a moment we did have one handed in a while back I am not sure what happened to it.”

Naturally I waited; picking up a top and admiring it; wishing I was 4 sizes smaller and could squeeze into it.  Why are all the best clothes always too small.  After 10 minutes of browsing I was becoming a little edgy, late on a Saturday afternoon and I didn’t know where I might find what I was looking for.

Finally she appeared staggering under the weight of a large punch bowl box.  Unsure even if the box held what it promised we gently removed the bowl with spoon.  It seemed to be resting on a layer  which we lifted exposing all twelve cups in perfect condition.  This was not delicate thin glass with beautiful etching on it, but thick chunky glass made to withstand even my clumsy washing.  I would take it.  After all the cost would not matter; how much does it cost to replace the priceless memories associated with my broken, shattered bowl.

“That will be £5 please”

“How much?  Are you sure?”  I added another top I had been toying with as I felt so guilty at the cheapness.

Ten minutes later all clean and shiny; the bowl adorned the shelf in the fridge with a small layer of pimms soaked fruit.  The lemonade would be added at the party.

As we drank late that evening in the glowing embers of the sunlight we raised a glassed to my father “Cheers Dad.”

Cheers!

Writing

I seem to have reached a goal; one I was not expecting.  Although my book “Memories” is supposedly going through a revamp and re-edit before being sent to publishers; I have found myself writing a short blog in the newly launched Gillingham Guide. I may only have a remit of 250 words a month to tell my tale, I have gone over on both occasions so far, this is to be a regular, time critical writing that I will have to produce as a filler providing space is available.

With all that is going on currently I am deciding whether I can find time to join NANOWRIMO this November.  How can I write 1600 words a day when currently finding time for 100 per day is  a challenge.  I have several themes going round in my head for the next book but maybe I should get Memories published then write the next one.

On another note my writing coach from our writing group has slated this blog for it’s over use of literary features and clichés. Having recovered slightly from the slating I thought long and hard about his comments.  I could of course drop all the fun features as he suggests and just text speak my thoughts in plain boring words but I think I would lose the essence of what I am saying and I am not sure I would stay focused for long.   I suspect my coach needs to understand blogging, twitter and social media before he can write-off my penned word completely.  After all I am publishing two blogs regularly and now another monthly blog, people are beginning to know my name.  Does he really want me to stop that just as things pick up for me?

I guess I need to get used to these beratings and rejections before I send Memories off.

Tiggy

Check out my cooking blog at Teatime Treats with Tiggy

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