Thursday, 10 September 2015

Time out

      A writer never has a vacation. For a writer life consists of either writing or thinking about writing.  (Eugene Ionesco)

Although I agree completely with the above quotation, I’m really going to work hard at taking a two-week break from my writing. See you when I get back!

 * * *

With thanks to a Writing Map where I discovered this quotation. An attractive and useful distraction for anyone interested in writing – or maps.

 (And there’s a clue to where I’m going in these maps)

Saturday, 29 August 2015

More animal distractions

It was going to be a day for serious work.
Oodles of doodles
I’d been faffing about for too long planning the next assignment of my children’s book illustration course. Today, I was determined to sit down and do a finished pen and ink drawing of cartoon elephants.

I estimated it would only take a couple of hours, and then I’d have the rest of the day to polish off another chapter of my novel. Easy-peasy!

I set out my drawing materials and realized something was missing. Tea. I needed tea.
On my way back from the kitchen, I happened to glance out of the window – and instantly forgot all my good intentions.

The field opposite our house had just been harvested and there in the middle of it, sitting up in full view, was this beautiful hare.

(If you’ve seen my other blog you’ll know that one of my ambitions is to get a good photo of a hare. I’m lucky enough to live in an area where hares are fairly common, but I usually only catch quick glimpses of them running away into the distance.)

I grabbed my camera and took some shots through the window. To my surprise and delight the hare didn’t move, so I went outside to see if I could get a bit closer. With those big eyes and huge ears, I was sure it had noticed me, but it didn’t seem too concerned. It was definitely looking and listening very intently at something though.

It began to move. A few steps this way, stop, turn, a short run that way, pause … A great photo opportunity for me, but what was it up to? I lowered the camera and saw the bigger picture. Its wanderings weren’t as aimless as they appeared. It was carefully zigzagging across the field, ready to run away at the first hint of danger, but gradually getting closer and closer to the allotments.           
A quick dash

Stop, look and listen.

Sneak in here

Now, what's for lunch?

When I came back indoors, my tea was stone cold. Never mind, it was coffee time by then. So I made some coffee and then uploaded my photos onto the computer. I couldn’t wait to see what they were like. (There's one that I'm very pleased about, but I’m not posting it here in case I can use it somewhere else!)

Right, what was I supposed to be doing? Ah, yes, back to the drawing board. Elephants. I had to think about elephants … but while my mind was deciding which would look best, curly elephants or shaggy elephants, my hand was sketching hares. 

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Distraction or inspiration?

I met this little chap last weekend …

… and came home with ideas for so many stories!

Sunday, 26 July 2015

I’m a dot com

Well, that’s not strictly true …

 I’m actually a dot uk.

That’s right, folks, I finally have a website. I began one with Weebly way back in 2012, but I didn’t make it public then because I didn’t think it would be of the slightest interest to anyone else.

There’s not a great deal on it now but, looking ahead to the day when I send out my completed (and utterly brilliant) novel, I thought it would seem more professional to add a link to my website rather than a link to my blog.

(There are links to my blogs from the website of course, but I’m hoping I’ll make such a good first impression that a busy editor or agent won’t bother to delve too deeply …)

Anyway, on the subject of good impressions, if you can spare a few minutes to take a look at the site and you notice a spelling mistake or a sentence that doesn't make sense – please let me know! I've checked it about a zillion times but I have a horrible feeling I might have missed something. I promise I won’t be offended and I’ll gladly return the favour if you want me to check your website or blog.

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Tricks - and a treat!

I was, of course, very pleased when my short story Tricks of the Trade was accepted for publication as an Alfie Dog Fiction ebook. But the thing that had me jigging with joy was this comment about the story from the person behind Alfie Dog, Rosemary Kind:

'I didn't work out the ending in advance which always tells me it's a good twist.'

For a writer, the trickiest thing about a twist in the tale story is that you know what the twist is going to be right from the start. It’s very difficult – if not impossible – to judge if a reader will guess the ending too soon, or will find the twist too contrived.

With Alfie Dog now offering over 1,700 short stories, I thought Rosemary must know every trick in the book when it comes to twisty tales, so I was very surprised that I’d managed to surprise her!

If you want to try surprising the Alfie Dog editors, and win £200 plus the opportunity to have a story collection published, you’ve got until 30th September to enter their 2015 short story competition. Click here for full details.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Word of the week (25)

The writer frowned at the advert for retro mobile phones. Wasn’t it only yesterday that a mobile was the latest thing? How could they be retro already? Perhaps the advertiser was trying to sell last year’s model; something fashionable young people wouldn’t be seen dead with unless it could be flaunted as being retro.

The writer’s frown deepened. If last year’s mobile was now retro, what did that make her? Vintage? Or just plain old? If she didn’t stop frowning she’d soon be a wrinkly.

Are you young enough to think retro is cool?

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Not looking!

We all know a watched pot never boils, but far more frustrating is the fact that important email never arrives in your inbox if you keep checking for it.

I’m going away next week (a trip ‘up north’ to visit family) so I’ve been busy this week tidying my writing room, getting rid of clutter, putting papers I want to keep into physical files, reorganizing and backing up computer files, and drastically pruning my to-do lists so I can get off to a fresh start when I come back.

I checked my writing records and realized I haven’t heard anything about five submissions I’ve made: three short stories entered into competitions, a children’s picture book story sent to a publisher, and the first three chapters of a children’s novel with another publisher.

I’m hoping that no response from the publishers might be a good sign – I’m happy for them to take as long as they like – but I'm puzzled as to why the competition results haven't been announced yet. The organizers have had plenty of time to come to a decision.

I will have access to the Internet while I’m away but I’ve decided, no, I’m going to be on holiday. I’m going to resist the temptation to check my emails every day. But I’m keeping my fingers crossed that when I get home I might find something interesting amongst all the spam clogging up my inbox!

P.S. Just received a very quick response to a submission I made to Alfie Dog Fiction. I’ll tell you about it when I get back.