Friday 30 December 2011

Fairy Tales they just keep coming… 2012; Year of the Fairy Tale Part 2

Fairy Tales they just keep coming… 2012; Year of the Fairy Tale Part 2

So a few weeks ago I did a blog (2012; The Year of the Fairy Tale) about the abundance of fairy tale adaptations and re-working due to come out in 2012, (which is incidentally the year 200th anniversary of the first publication of the Grimm’s Fairytales). Well it turns out there’s a whole load more so here’s a quick round up…

Pinocchio - A stop-motion animated feature film directed by, Pans Labyrinth’s, Guillermo De Terro, with affects by Henderson/Grimly and Music by Nick Cave. Of course De Terro, is no stranger to dark narrative, and it looks like Pinocchio will be do different, with new envisioning, having the Blue Fairy as a dead girls sprit, and Pinocchio having lucid dreams. A release date has not yet been set up the images look amazing.
De Terro, is obviously not content with tackling one fairy tale, as he is also working on a adaption of Beauty and the Beast’ and it has been rumoured that Emily Watson is set to star in the title role.

Another director with great fairy tale potential is Joe Wright director of the dark and fairy tale-esk, Hanna. Wright is set to direct the Sony Movie project Mermaid: A Twist on the Classic Tale based on the book published earlier this year by Carolyn Turgeon.

2013, will see Angelina Jolie, as Maleficent, the evil sorceress in the new Sleeping Beauty feature film call Maleficent. As yet not much is known about the project, but I reckon that Angelina will probably pull off evil sorceress rather well.

It’s not all; big screen the small screen is always in on the action too. This year saw the airing of NBC fairy tale based detective series Grimm, about a Portland detective who starts to get visions of ordinary people turning in to vicious monsters, as a ‘Grimm’ he has to keep the balance between reality and myth, helped by the reformed ‘Big Bad Wolf’.  

So there we have it more fairy tales heading our way in 2012 and 2013, and there is something more confidence inspiring, knowing the likes of De Terro and Wright are involved, as we may actually be in with a chance of some truly dark productions that are sympathetic to the nature of fairy tales. 

Just to round off here's some links to the trailers of some of the  fairy tale Movies coming out in 2012...

Roll on 2012, Year of the Fairy Tale....

....And Happy New Year to you all!

Wednesday 21 December 2011

Merry Christmas here's a Christmas Card

Merry Christmas

The Wilful Child
 A child who never ages and whose force of will, stopped death from taking her. She is the only resident of a village that has long been abandoned and burnt. She accompanies The Hunter on his travels as he hunts the dangerous Red Riding Hood.

Monday 19 December 2011

Writing can be a lonely life; The Importance of Writing Buddies.

Me a year ago, a lonely writer.

Writing can be a lonely life; The Importance of Writing Buddies.

A year ago I was a lone-writer, writing at home, isolated from the world. Talking about my book and writing, to any and every ear available. I spent weeks glued to the computer, writing, and editing, morning, noon and night. And on the rare occasions I wasn’t at the PC, I was researching or plotting with pen and notepad in hand. I started to look like a member of a certain family from a certain popular series of Young Adults novels, where the main characters are pasty white with black rings around their eyes, and are pretty emotionless. Yes, writing can be a lonely life.

But then this changed. I joined a local writing group, AbingdonWriters. I had a terrifying first session where I had to audition by reading out my work (to people other than family) for the first time ever. I was accepted into the group, and joined properly last December (2010)

Well a year has flown by, and a lot has happened. I’ve met a fantastic group of local writers; some published, some aspiring, some embarking on self-publishing. The best thing is that it’s a community, and we support each other, negating the need to talk at every person I come in to contact with about my book. We meet twice monthly to critique sections of each other’s work, and on the whole, the advice is very welcome, good, and improves the manuscript.

The Children’s writers also started a subgroup - Abingdon Writers Children’s Sub-Group, or AWCSG (we need a new acronym for this; suggestions welcome.) The six of us took the critiquing to a new level, firstly by all joining SCBWI (Society of Children Book Writer and Illustrators) and helping each other prepare our submission for their bi-annual UndiscoveredVoices Competition. But also by critiquing the whole manuscripts, giving us much needed feedback on story arc, character development, and the novel’s as a the whole.  Plus helping each other with developing our pitches, writing synopsis’s and query letters.  We have all come along way, and one of us, JoWyton, actually is going to be in Undiscovered Voices 2012 anthology!

Also with us all joining the fabulous SCBWI, I’m now in contact with some fantastic new writing buddies over the net. Plus, SCBWI opens up countless opportunities, like meeting agents face to face at the AgentsParty in September. 

All in all what I’m saying is writing is fantastic, I love it, but it’s become a whole lot more fun now that I have writing friends. So, don’t be a lonely writer. Join a critique group and who knows where it will take you!

Some of my lovley writing buddies from Abingdon Writers.

And finally, I would like to say a big thank you to everyone at Abingdon Writers for making me so welcome. And Special Thanks to GabbyAquilina for running it, and of course the children’s Sub-group; Chris Evett,Clare Fitzpatrick, Sue Shaw, Nicki Thornton, and Jo Wyton.

And also a Good Luck to all my writing buddies in 2012, but especially Jo Wyton with Undiscovered Voices 2012, and Mary Cavanagh with her newly published e-book  ‘Max MacCauley: All He Ever Wanted Was A Quiet Life and 'Angela' which is also coming out in 2012. Also good luck to Marissa De Luna with her book 'Goa Traffic'.

Monday 12 December 2011

My First Book; Writing is a Passion that Starts Young…

My First Book; Writing is a Passion that Starts Young…

My mum was clearing out the attic the other day and she came across the first two books I ever wrote. Well I say wrote, but there is not much in the way of words, I was seven when I made them, but with a reading and writing age of much lower, due to dyslexia. So these are more like exceptionally crude graphic novels, ‘Fruits Basket’ by Natsuki Takaya, they are not. However they are my first endeavour in the world of writing, and now, they are over 25 years old, and just go to show that writing, and love of narrative is a passion that starts early.

I always loved telling, writing and drawing stories, but I was discouraged from writing due to my dyslexia. I recall starting a novel at college, a tale of talking rodents which was very much in the spirit of ‘The Rats of Nimh’ and ‘The Deptford Mice’, but when my flat mate (who was studying English Literature) read them she told me not to continue due to my bad spelling and lack grammar.  

I spent my life being told not to write, and there for doing just that – Not writing. Not writing has never stopped me from seeing stories, and making stories up in my head, and the years have never quelled the longing to share them. So eventually I started to write. For me. I sat down at the PC, and wrote 500 words, which I printed off and left on the printer. A few weeks later my sister found it, read it, and to asked questions, she was hooked, and wanted to read more. So then I thought, well, I’ll write and I’ll work hard and I’ll see what happens. So, now I find myself (a few years later) with a manuscript (which is to be honorary mentioned in the Undiscovered Voices Anthology) that I’m about to start submitting to agents.

So where am I going with this you may be asking? Well, here it is: writing makes me happy. It feels right: - that it’s what I should always have been doing. I’m not saying it’s easy. It’s NOT. Especially if you’re, (like me) hindered by dyslexia. But it’s a passion, and one I’ve denied for a long time. 

So what I'm saying is...

...if you love writing, don’t listen if people tell you to stop.


Monday 5 December 2011

Undiscovered Voices 2012. Discovered Voices and Almost Discovered Voices…

Undiscovered Voices 2012. Discovered Voices and Almost Discovered Voices…

The Undiscovered Voices winners have been announced, the long list whittled down to 25.

Discovered Voices…

I want to wish huge congratulations to the following people, whose novel extracts, will appear in the anthology, they are now definitely discovered voices….

Rosie Best, Veronica Cossanteli, Sandra Greaves, Jane Hardstaff, Deborah Hewitt, David Hofmeyr and Zoe Crookes, Sharon Jones, Rachel Latham, MaureenLynas, Richard Masson, Rachel Wolfreys and an extra special congratulation’s to my amazing writing buddy Jo Wyton. Jo – if you can't sneak me in to the UV12 party then at least smuggle out some cake!

Almost Discovered Voices…

No, you’ve not miss read the list. I did not make it through. So here is a huge heart felt commiserations to the following long-lister’s who, like me, were destined to be almost discovered (I know how it feels believe me)…. 

SPRINGPUNK by Julienne Durber
HOW NOT TO GET NOTICED by Jennifer Hicks
BUBBLE AND CAT by Michael Marett-Crosby
THE SILVER FISH by Anne Mitchell
NORTH OF NOWHERE by Chantel Marie Napier
THROUGH MORTAL EYES by Sally-Jayne Poyton
BREAKWATER by Melissa Rogerson
AT FAULT by Joanna Sargent

And Finally…

I would like to thank the fabulous Undiscovered Voices team, for running such a superb competition, so thank you to….

Karen Ball, Elizabeth Galloway, Sara Grant and Sara O’Connor

And also a big thank you to the Judges who picked my manuscript out of all the submissions to be on the long list…

Jo Anne Cocadiz, Amber Caraveo, Julia Churchill, Dagmar Gleditzsch, Catherine Pellegrino, Jasmine Richards, Jenny Savill, Rachel Boden.

Here's a picture dedicated to all the other Long-listers who didn't quite make it into the anthology,  this is how I feel...

Tuesday 29 November 2011

Can a Dream Make a Good Narrative for a Novel?

We’ve all been there. You wake up in the morning after an incredible dream and think; that would make a good book. And with that thought, the memory of the dream disappears.But seriously. Can something you dream become a basis for book? If you believe Dean Martin’s character in the 1955 movie ‘Artist and Models’ then yes it can. In the movie, Dean is a comic book author who’s flat mate Jerry Lewis has nightmares that he narrates in his sleep. Dean notes down the narration, and turns them into the narrative for his comic books, and then poor old Jerry has to illustrate them, unknowingly living his nightmares twice. And of course in true tinsel town style the comics are a runaway success!

Of course, that’s Hollywood; glossy and perfect. In reality dreams are a scrambled mess, our subconscious trying to make sense of our lives and keeping us sane. However, sometimes I believe dreams can provide the inspiration for something that can be turned into a promising narrative.  The concept for the current book I’m working on, ‘The Alchemist and the Bone Factory’ came from a dream. It was one of those rare dreams which tells a story (no jumping into thin air and flying, no teeth dropping out, oh how Freud and Jung would be disappointed!) When I woke up, I bolted out of bed, ignored the children’s whines for breakfast, and ransacked the house until I found a working pen and noted it all down.

Mad you may be saying. Well maybe, but once the concept was in my brain, my conscious mind started to modify it, twist it, embellish it, and improve it. I began to see the start of a plot and beginnings of narrative. Then it was down to business; Plotting, researching, and writing, and who would guess, it is actually shaping up to be something quite good.

So, my verdict; Can a dream make a good narrative for a novel? I think yes, in the same way an idea can be nurtured into a sound concept for a book. However it will need work – a lot of it, but it can produce something very different to a concept that comes from you conscious mind. Think like the surrealist artist Dali, he was shunned by his surrealist peers for not painting authentic dream subconscious images, but improving them and constructing dream inspired ideas, to create aesthetically pleasing pieces. That’s exactly what a writer has to do when using a dream as a narrative, use it as inspiration and improve it, make it something really good. After all, how many other surrealist painters can you name?

If my argument has not swung you, then here is a list of four famous books that were inspired by dreams in alphabetical order…

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, by Robert Louis Stevenson - who dreamt the story, woke up and transcribed the scenes from the dreams, finishing the first draft in 3 days!

Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley – Who dreamt the concept at Lord Bryon’s estate in Switzerland and then, with encouragement from her husband, wrote the book.

Misery, by Stephen King - Dreamt the concept whilst in an aeroplane, then not wanting to forget the details sat at the airport and started to write the novel.

Twilight, by Stephanie Meyers - first conceived the concept for the twilight saga on the 2nd June 2003 after a dream. No matter what your opinion on the twilight series, it is nothing if not successful.

Friday 25 November 2011

Once upon a time Red Riding Hood was made of cake… So was the Wolf, and Three Little Pigs...

Once upon a time Red Riding Hood was made of cake… So was the Wolf, and Three Little Pigs...

It’s Friday and today it’s fairy tales but not as you know them. Today the blog is dedicated to fairy tale cakes. Liz Mergel, an Oxfordshire based cake creator, crafts beautiful cakes, and when I saw the fantastic Red Riding Hood Cake in, Throwing Bun CafĂ©, in Abingdon I begged her to let me share them with you. So feast your eyes, on some fairytale characters that are literally good enough to eat…

To see more fabulous cake creations by Liz visit her web site

Monday 21 November 2011

2012 the Year of the Fairy Tale? Part 1

2012 the Year of the Fairy Tale?

Next Year marks the 200th anniversary of the Brothers Grimm’s first publication of the ‘Childhood and Household tales’. But 2012, is more than just the anniversary of one of the most influential books, it looks like it’ll be a bumper year for fairy tales all over.

Hollywood, for instance, has taken fairy tales by the hand. March 2012 sees the release of Mirror Mirror, an adaption of Snow White starring Julia Roberts. June 2012 sees another reincarnation of Snow White, with the release of Snow White and the Huntsman (Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth and Charlize Theron)

Later on, we have director Bryan Singer’s ‘Jack the Giant Killer’, starring Nicolas Holt. Before the summer out, along pops Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters starring Gemma Atherton. Then, if you thought that Hollywood may have had their fill of Fairy Tales, how about the new Chinese thriller set to hit cinemas, titled ‘Perfect Fairy Tale’; with a tag line of ‘A fearless cop is appointed to investigate a series of puzzling murders which resemble Fairy Tales.’

It’s not just the movies - 2012 should be good for fairytale literature too.

In February we have the publication of Melissa Marr’s ‘Fairytales and Nightmares’ anthology, which if it anything as good as her Wicked Lovely series should be a great read.  

The first three months of 2012; January, February and March, the UK will see the publication of the US bestselling YA Trylle trilogy by Amanda Hocking. The first book ‘Switched’ is published in January and is a contemporary fairy tale about a troll, or ‘Trylle’, community who switch infants for their own children. This is fast, funky and above all true to fairy tale genre - dark and un-compromising.

We should also see the publication of the paperback version of Jackson Pearce’s Hansel and Gretel inspired YA novel ‘Sweetly’.

I’ve watched some of the trailers, and although the still shots are beautiful, especially in Snow White and the Huntsman, the trailer of Mirror Mirror doesn’t distil much hope that Hollywood understands fairy tales. It appears, at a glance, to replace depth with comedy.   The books, I’m working through, and I’ll post up any comments I have once I’ve read them.

So in summary then, yes 2012 will definitely be a year of Fairy tales, but whether it will be a year for good well written and produced fairy tales is another matter entirely. Can Hollywood and authors preserve the authentic properties of fairy tales? Or will their messages, mortal learning, and darker natures be lost in translation?

Roll on 2012!!!

My Image of 'The Girl in Red Shoes'

Saturday 12 November 2011

The Pain of Wisdom

So here is my first blog that kind’a personal and about me, without any link (tenuous or otherwise) to my writing.  I’m nervous, no scrap that, I’m bricking it!
Why? Well on Monday I’m going into hospital to have all four of my wisdom teeth extracted.
So what’s the big deal? You may say, well it goes like this. Last time I went in for an operation (a rather nasty procedure to saw my hip joint off and reattach it at another angle with copious amounts of metal screws) I managed to, wait for it…
…faint while under the general anaesthetic!
Yes I did say faint, while unconscious. This is no mean feat, and caused much excitement and disarray in the operating theatre when my blood pressure dropped dangerously low. Post-Op,  I was diagnosed with a heart  condition that make me predisposed to fainting, which was responsible for causing the commotion and therefore having to abort the op, but not before they had cut through my ligaments and muscles, (yes lots of pain, and absolutely no gain!)
So, I think I have reason to be anxious, even if it’s pointless and counterproductive, knowing that a plan is in place and it will be in a controlled environment where they are expecting it and are prepared.
However I’m still worrying and I couldn’t work out why. Then after quite a few restless nights I’ve figured it out. I’m not a young as what I once was (are any of us?) and that confidence and feeling of invincibility has been slowly whittled away. Also, I’m a mother and neuroticism is a prerequisite part of the role, so I’m wallowing on the worse case scenarios.
But with that solemn note, I’m going off to a book shop which always calms me down, to buy a stock of books to read while I’m feeling sorry for myself and looking like a punch-bag next week. 
So if anyone has any idea of how to get myself in a better frame of mind, or even has a distraction technique to stop me worrying, then please do share it with me!

Monday 7 November 2011

Dachshund vs Straightjacket…

Yesterday I was merrily walking about, talking to myself, or to be more specific, talking the dialog (both sides) for a new scene I’m adding in to my manuscript, when I was spotted by some dog walkers. This was fine apart from it was a particularly emotionally charged scene, so these poor people came across me, a strange person wondering the countryside, arguing loudly with myself.  When I spotted them, I stopped, smiled, and cheerily said ‘hello!’ They politely responded, as they warily tiptoed around me and picked up pace, looking over their shoulders to make sure I did not follow.
I thought this rather odd behaviour, as I frequently walk and talk both the narrative and dialog of my story, and have on many occasions passed other people. Never before has anyone seen me, and run off in fear, whilst calling the men in white jackets from their mobiles.
So, it got me wondering; why now?
The answer is a simple one. When I was doing the initial write for TME, I spent a lot of time walking, and talking to myself. But, the crucial difference was that I wasn’t by myself, I was with my dog Theo. 
Theo, my lovely ginger wire-haired Dachshund (sausage dog), accompanied me on these walks and heard the whole story as it unfolded. It seems now that he served as more than just an ambling companion, but as my writer’s ‘superheroes’ mask, protecting my secret writing persona, and sanity, against anyone who might think that I was otherwise a loony, talking to myself. 
Strangely, it seems to be culturally acceptable to talk to, or even argue with a dog, but not to yourself!
With all this, I suddenly missed my dear old walking partner who sadly passed away last year.
So today’s dilemma is; do I buy a new dachshund? Or, run the risk of being sectioned?
RIP Theo – and thank you for listening!

Wednesday 2 November 2011

To Converse or not to Converse?

Today's a sad day, the end of an era, the death of a great partnership…
…My last two pair of Converse baseball boots gave up, and finally had to ceremoniously thrown out.  I wept a tear for the loss of my favourite shoes and for the loss of youth.
My relationship with converse started when I blew my first pay check paged thirteen on a pair of green, red and blue All Stars, (and when you’re getting paid £1.00 an hour that a lot of work!) Since then I’ve dredged through desert sands in them, got them wet in the cannels of Venice, walked up mountains in them, and on far too many occasions trudged through snow in them.
I remember every pair, the red green and blue All Star Highs, (x2). The blue pair, the red pair, the black suede one-star lows. The dusky pink pair, the pink lows, the lilac pair, brought to go with a proms dress for a wedding. The metallic gold pair, brought to go with a posh frock I wore to a ball. And not forgetting my all-time favourite, the silver and green trainers which were very cool, circa 1999!
Oh yes, these shoes defined my youth, and were loyal through the good times, and the bad times. They became an extension of me, part of how I defined myself, being the only label I’d ever be proud to say I wore. But now, with all my faithful friends broken and gone, I feel alone, sad, and quite frankly old!
I need (doctors’ orders) to wear sensible shoes that have more support, if I’m to (doctors’ advice) keep walking pain free and to avoid some pretty nasty surgery. So here’s my dilemma, do I follow doctors’ orders and get sensible shoes, (much like the ones favoured by Frankenstein and Herman Munster) or do I desperately try to hang on to my youth and buy a new pair?

Monday 31 October 2011

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween, All Hallows Eve, Samhain, Martinmas, and if you’re a witch then Happy New Year!

Thursday 27 October 2011

Diamond Principle

Last night I had feedback on my Through Mortal Eyes manuscript , from Jo Wyton (Notes from the Slushpile) and Nicki Thornton (Mostly Books), who are both members of SCBWI Oxford and Abingdon Writers.  These lovely ladies read my complete manuscript, wading through the spelling and grammatical errors in the 86000 word document.
So yesterday was d-day - when they made the expedition to my house and gave me their feedback. I was so nervous that I busied myself all day with cleaning, and ironing (these I usually avoid at all costs). Fortunately my worrying was unfounded as their critiques were both constructive and positive, so much so that feeling inspired and reinvigorated, I started re-working on the manuscript as soon as they left at 10pm (albeit with wine in hand!)
Apart from all of the positive feedback, which I’m now working into my next draft of TME, the evening also gave me a new way of approaching writing. This approach I’m affectionately naming the ‘Diamond Principle’. 
The Diamond Principle is simple. It’s just like Prince Albert and the Koh-i-Noor , the biggest known diamond in the world in the Victorian age. In the pursuit of perfection, Albert had the diamond cut down from 186 1/16 carats (37.21 g) to 105.602 carats (21.61 g).
So the diamond principle is, this

Of course, Albert didn’t undertake this endeavour blindly, he consulted advise from many experts and the cutting was done by expert mineralogist James Tennant . Like Albert, the ‘Diamond Principle’ of writing would advise you to take advise from editors, and critique groups (like SCBWI), and keep cutting the word count, and polishing the manuscript until it as perfect and as shinny as the Koh-i-Noor.
So, today I’ve continued re-writing, but not before I spent time searching for and printing out a picture of the The Koh-i-Noor to stick on my notice board to remind me to keep cutting and polishing TME until it is as perfect and shiny as possible! 

Sunday 23 October 2011

Thesaurus What?

Thesaurus What?
Imagine me, aged 9; scruffy, argumentative and troublesome. Here is a quick recount of my first ever encounter with a thesaurus…
“Have you ever heard of a thesaurus!” said my, ‘know it all’, classmate.
 “Is that a carnivore or a herbivore?”  I retorted, trying to out manoeuvre her with my intellectual prowess.
Cue the ridicule.
Oh yes, that backfired, and so when I got home I asked my mother, and I was presented with a thesaurus, which (like a dictionary) I couldn’t use, as I couldn’t spell the words to look them up. But now that I’m an adult, and a writer, I use the beloved thesaurus every day and it’s part of my staple survival kit.
Much pain was caused by this little incident, but when my daughter (aged seven) asked me what a thesaurus was yesterday, I had to stop myself from saying, ‘don’t you know , it’s a dinosaur...”

Thursday 20 October 2011

Beginning Something New…

Beginning Something New…
So this week I’ve started writing something new.
One boy’s quest to find his father takes him the mysterious abandoned planet that is home to the Bone Factory and a convict so dangerous, that he’s been marooned on the furthermost reach of the galaxy.
So, I’ve been doing the exciting bits of writing; thinking about the story and the characters, and plotting the narrative.  I now have a general shape and arc for the narrative and the characters are slowly starting to form in my head. I love this part of the process as it is licence to day dream.
Now also comes another part that I love; research, so it’s off to the library I go to feed my brain…

Monday 17 October 2011

Great Day, Undiscovered Voices

Today is a great day!
I’m really excited as I’ve made the long list with, ‘Through Mortal Eyes’, as part of the SCBWI British Isles Undiscovered Voices 2012’ competition.
Yesterday – undiscovered
Today – nearly discovered
Tomorrow – who knows? But very, very excited!
Anyway, check out the link…
Undiscovered Voices

Congratulations to all the other writers and illustrators who have been longlisted and especially to my writing buddy Jo Wyton!

Saturday 15 October 2011

The Slushpile

I’m on the slushpile….
…and it feels great!
No, I don’t mean the slushpile at the foot of an agent’s desk, that’s turning into a landslide threatening to engulf any unsuspecting assistant who doesn’t watch their step. I mean the fantastic blog ‘Notes from the Slushpile.’
Notes from the Slushpile is a blog that every aspiring writer should follow. It’s run by an enthusiastic team of authors, published and unpublished, who share their own experiences and tips, plus other interesting information about the industry.
The team at the slushpile have most kindly let me do a guest blog about the trials of being a dyslexic writer. So please check it out... Notes from the Slushpile

Tuesday 11 October 2011

Letting your Manuscript leave the nest, and what happens then…

This is where I find myself with, 'Through Mortal Eyes' my YA fantasy novel. It's my first novel, and it's taken me three years. Ten months of which was spent researching and plotting, then another year doing the initial write, and then all the rest re-writing and polishing. Along the way my relationship with TME (my pet name for Through Mortal Eyes) has grown. I've nurtured her, seen her grow from an initial concept to a whole book, and then watched her mature with each re-write. And like any good parent, I've defended her in the face of those who question her, plus talked, and talked some more, about her to uninterested people who are too polite to stop me.
My manuscript is my baby, and I'm having a hard time letting her go. After all, there is still so much we could do together, surely another re-write wouldn't hurt. But no, this is just procrastination, because I don't want to ever let her go. And, after much deliberation, I eventually managed to press 'SEND'.

So now my baby's all grown up back packing across the world, well, to an editor anyway. I'm alone, abandoned in an empty house, with no manuscript to keep me company.

What do you do, when your manuscript has flown the nest?
Go for coffee?
Clean the house?
Take up yoga?
Start baking? (better not – I've already set fire to one kitchen!)
Start writing something new?
Work on my enquiry letter and synopsis ready to send out to agents?

Well this is tricky; I've spent so much time always with something to do on the manuscript that I'm lost. I've spent the last week pinning – sad I know, but if this is foreshadowing of my children going off to university well then I know I'm going to be awful. My heads been all fluffed up, and I can't seem to concentrate on anything. I need to work on my submission bits, but for now I need a holiday. So this morning I reached for the box.

My box is an old filing box, and in the box I keep my ideas. Whenever I have an idea that I think will be a good basis for a story I note it down, along with plot outlines and characters information, and file it. So I picked out an idea I had a while ago, and started plotting the narrative, and working on character profiles. It has been exhilarating; I had forgotten just how exciting the initial stages of writing can be. When you're still discovering the story and getting to know the characters, when there are as many surprises for you, the author, as there are for the protagonists in the story. So I've managed for the first time, since e-mailing TME to my editor, to forget her and get on with something. I suspect that that something is probably my next co-dependant relationship with a manuscript, but never mind!

Oh yes, finally, she's due back in 5 weeks – can't wait!

Wednesday 5 October 2011

Writers Survival Kit

What in My Writers Survival Kit?
·    Thick Skin
·    Stubbornness
·    Copious amounts of caffeine, Coffee, Tea, Coke, intravenous drip anyone?
·    A large stash of unhealthy snacks, chocolate, cake, crisps.
·    Note Pad, to accompany you everywhere, in case you have an idea, or hear something that can be useful.
·    Pen – get one you really like, sound odd, but if you like it it’ll be kind to you.
·    Online Dictionary, Thesaurus and Google – all for spelling. Google search bar being the best dictionary in the world!
Click to enlarge
·    Microsoft Excel –a great tool for plotting, character profiling, and loads of other technical writing bits.
·    Friends, not you usual ones, they’ll get board of your constant writing and book talk. You need to get friends that share your interest – join a critique group.  My friends are great. Hello friends form Abingdon Writers and SCBWI (you know who you are!)

Writing philosophy
That writing is a calling, a vocation, it must be a passion. Especially if your dyslexic!

Writing Truths

Me – Author it’s my baby!
It takes more than one person to write a book. So far TME has taken…
My Family – bless their patience

My Friends – Especially Louise, for a well-timed grammar lesson
My Editor – Who currently working to make sure my manuscript is in a standard form of English, instead of my own version
My Critique Group – Bless everyone, for their comments advice and honesty.
Storytellers – My book is fairytale based, which would not be possible without the thousands of storytellers who passed these stories down the generations and centuries.
Collectors – All the dedicated 19th century folk, who travelled the world collecting, and writing down fairytales, preserving them for all generations to come.
And I‘ve not even navigated my way through the slushpile or been published yet, so that should add a few more people. So all in all I’d say that it defiantly takes more than one person to write a book.