Daily Reads


I write every day, and I try to read every day. The two other things I try to do every day are 1) be a better person, inside and out ;) (What? I’m a woman, I want my outside to be slightly acceptable as well! Lol) and 2) learn.

Sooooo, these are my bibles ;)

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Judy Reeves is absolutely essential for my writing prompts, Victoria Moran is helping me become the woman I want to be, Iyanla Vanzant is encouraging me and Sutherland & Fender are teaching me :)

Occasionally I manage to fit a bit of fiction reading in, but I seem to be stuck on a Maeve Binchy at the moment lol.

I did my timetable yesterday *groan* and already, on day 2 I’ve not stuck to it LMAO ;o)

I didn’t even manage yesterday’s prompt as I was concentrating on characterisation for my OCA course. Did a couple, tidied all my writing stuff up, looked at some competitions and fart arsed about basically *slump* Today the prompt is this is what my grandmother told me so the plan for today is to catch up with those and continue with my characterisations.

I’m off out tonight to see The Importance of Being Earnest I’ve never seen it before so I’m looking forward to it :)

The Dolls House


I received a Blog update from a Blog I follow yesterday that asked “What is your favourite part about writing?” I didn’t really even have to think about my reply…..creating characters :)

It suddenly struck me that the reason I enjoy that side of writing so much goes back to my child hood, and my love of dolls houses lol. I would spend hours arranging the dolls, creating little scenes for them, and imagining their lives. I had 2 Lundby houses by the time I was 10, which started a lifelong passion :) Over the years, I’ve had quite a few houses, but finding space for them is always a problem. At the moment, I have one in the garage awaiting assembly lol

For me, creating characters, and their lives is akin to playing with dolls in a dolls house, and that’s why I love it! :)

Yesterday I managed to get up to date with my prompts. The shade tree prompted a story of a young couple sitting under a tree, discussing their forthcoming patter of tiny feet. Only it turns out that it will be the patter of six feet. Driving the coast road ended up as another ghost story (I’m sorry, I’ve kinda got ghost stories on my mind at the moment lol) where a man runs down a girl late at night on the road, or rather he thinks he does ;) Yesterday’s prompt started out quite well but I ran out of steam with the idea of a woman who was being whispered about, so it had no ending lol.

Today’s prompt is you’re watching someone sleep but I’ve got to make a start on my OCA coursework…..busy day ahead ;)

Kiss


Went yesterday, to see Rodin’s masterpiece, The Kiss at The Turner Contemporary in Margate. I’d seen it before at The Tate Modern about 10 years ago, but I wasn’t about to pass up the opportunity to combine it with fish and chips and a mushy pea fritter now was I? lol ;)

The Kiss has always had a special place in my heart….. As a small child, my grandparents had a large oak bureau in their dining room. The top section was full of old interesting books that I was never allowed to touch, and in the base there were 2 drawers, also out of bounds. Of course, being a child, the more I was told not to touch, the more I wanted to lol (I was always inquisitive, nothing’s changed lol).

One day when my grandmother was busy somewhere else, I opened a draw, and sitting right on top was a museum/art gallery leaflet about The Kiss. All in black and white and dating from about the 1950′s, I was fascinated. It is my earliest memory of the concept of ‘art’ as something beautiful, to be admired. I quickly put the pamphlet back, but never forgot about it…..it stayed with me for years, and even now, knocking 40 years later, I absolutely adore it :)

In 2003 my husband and I went to Rome for our anniversary, and in a small gift shop, close to the Vatican, they had a marble reproduction, about a foot high. Well, as you can imagine, I insisted my husband buy it for me and lug it all the way back home lol. It now sits proudly on the hearth of my fireplace, having been subjected to 2 house moves, 3 children, 2 cats and 2 dogs :)

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I’m still behind with my prompts, even though I was up at 4.30 this morning…. Tomorrows one is it’s what was whispered about and as hubby is going out tomorrow, I should be able to catch up ;)

Belief & Technique


Yesterday I was reading Jack Kerouac’s Belief & Technique for Modern Prose – List of Essentials, which was written in 1958. Some of the items went straight over my head I have to say, but a couple stood out……

1) Scribbled secret notebooks and wild typewritten pages for your own joy
Oh yes, I love the images that conjures up

4) Be in love with your life
I try to be, I love experiencing new things

13) Remove literary, grammatical and syntactical inhibition
Ha ha ha….my OCA tutor would say I definitely do that

24) No fear or shame in the dignity of your experience, language and knowledge
I’m a ‘sowf eas Lunden’ girl, what can I say ;) I’m not highly educated, I don’t use long words that I don’t know the meaning of, so ner!

25) Write for the world to read and see your exact pictures of it
I like that! Everyone interprets the things around them differently, I find everyone and everything fascinating

And finally……..
29) You’re a Genius all the time
Thanks Jack, yeah, I bloody well am! :)

If you want to read the full list, you can find it here *goes off to dig out her copy of On The Road*

I like Jack….he sounded like my kinda bloke ;)

Had a great morning with The Maidstone Writers yesterday, and actually managed to do the longest day prompt. It ended up being a ghost story *snigger* Didn’t manage yesterday’s one though *deep sigh* Today, the prompt is driving the coast road which is a coincidence, as I’m off to Margate today :)

Research


I went to Baggins today and managed to, ahem, buy a couple of books lol

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5 books, to be precise…..about local history and local ghosts. Creeping myself out a little bit reading all this ghost stuff lol

I managed to finish the summer garden prompt. The start of a short story about a young girls discovery in her absent fathers shed (don’t ask me what she finds, I haven’t got that far lol). The word unspoken ended up being an argument between a married couple, the word unspoken was the word gay. Yesterdays prompt, the longest day is proving difficult, I’ve gone completely blank, and, as I want to stick to my goal of writing every day, I did 2 character sketches instead ;)

Watched Mud Men this evening. A new TV show all about searching for artefacts in the mud of the Thames. Some great ideas for stories :)

Before that I watched Crimewatch as I haven’t watched it for years. Another couple of ideas for stories ;)

It amazes me that it doesn’t matter what you watch on TV, you can always get a story idea from a programme…..great fun :)

Today’s prompt is write about a shade tree and, as I’m going to a Writing Group meet this morning, I’m hoping to get there early, to get some writing done before everyone arrives :)

Ghost Connections


Last night I attended the ‘speaker evening’ at The Write Place which was a talk/discussion from Ghost Connections UK, a paranormal investigative team. Paddy, Kim, Dave, Ian & Graham were absolutely fascinating so I’d highly recommend their You Tube video’s. Personally, I am a believer and chewed hubby’s ear ‘oles off for over an hour when I got home.

The competition this month is to write a 1000 word ghost story, so I took notes ;) I have a few ideas, but tomorrow I’m going to go into town to Baggins to find a book I need, a bit of research. Ive never written a ghost story so it should be fun :)

I got my assignment back from my tutor, with some very interesting comments, and tips that I hope I can incorporate into my writing in future :) Overall, pleased with her comments, but I do get a bit despondent when I see all the red writing all over it lol.

I’m soooo behind with my prompts, but I’ve got the evening free tonight so you know what I’ll be doing ;) I need to finish the summer garden one, then do the spoken word one plus today’s which is the longest day, so perhaps I can use that prompt for my ghost story….I’m all for killing birds ;)

Experience?


Lesley Pearse was great last night. I didn’t buy a book as she only had her most recent one for sale, which is the follow up to a previous book…..but…..I will be buying at least one of her earlier books at a later date.

Wow, has that woman had a life or what!!!!! She told us her complete life story through the hour she talked, and I think I’ve come to a conclusion…. I will never be a great author because I haven’t had enough life experiences lol. Lesley is on her 3rd (or is it 4th?) marriage, her mother died when she was 3, she was sent to an orphanage, she had a wicked step mother, had to have her 2nd husband committed, was a single mum, took 7 years to publish her first book…..shall I go on?

Is that what you need to be a great author?

I will always remember Emma Darwin’s words at Swanwick. She said that most writers are told “write what you know” (I’m sure we’ve all heard that one!), but Emma says “write what you don’t know but make the reader believe you know it”. When it came to the time to discuss my first 3000 words of my Nano 2010 novel with Emma, the part she loved was actually based on personal experience, the only part that was personal experience in the whole 3000 section lol.

I rest my case ;)

Didn’t manage to finish today’s prompt about the summer garden. I did about 200 words and got stuck, not knowing which way I want it to go lol. Today’s prompt a word left unspoken sounds interesting ;)

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Lesley Pearse signing my friends book.

Titles


I spent most of yesterday writing and typing up a short story for my OCA exercise re, marrying 2 notebook ideas together. I’m not gunna publish it on my blog as I think it might be good enough to send somewhere for a short story comp. it’s really annoying that these competitions request that your story cannot have appeared anywhere else *pout* :(

Anyway, so I have a completed short story….now, a title lol.

I never start with a title, I always write the story and then when it’s finished I think about what to call it. Most of the stories I’ve written don’t ever have titles (do you think they mind? Lol), but I like to ‘name’ those that get typed up :)

I have pages and pages of title ideas in my notebooks. I tend to find them everywhere. Something that I overheard someone say, the chapter heading in a book (non fiction), the title of a piece of art, 2 or 3 words from a poem or quote…..I have hundreds lol. So when it comes to naming a piece, I go back through my lists and pick something appropriate. Unfortunately, sometimes I come unstuck lol…. My last Nano novel was/is called Deliberate Act which I thought suited it perfectly. But then hubby pointed out to me that there is a film called that……oh dear, will need to rethink that one then :(

Yesterday’s prompt, the one about nearing midnight inspired the story of a woman waiting for a phone call. Her son is on a life support machine, but, how should she feel about that when he’s a rapist and murderer? Lol….. I really will write something happy one day, I promise ;)

Today’s prompt is write about a summer garden

I’m really proud of myself that I’ve kept to my ‘goal’ of writing everyday :)

Tonight I’m going to see Lesley Pearse give a talk. I’ve never read anything of hers, but I’m always interested to hear what an author has to say :)

That Spark


As I’ve now submitted my assignment, I can move onto the next part of the course……which is about inspiration (haven’t I already been thinking about that recently?).

Red Smith (who? Lol) once said “Writing is really quite simple, all you have to do is sit down at your typewriter and open a vein.” Yuk!!!!! lol….surely no such drastic measure is required? ;)

Many writers (famously including Charles Dickens and Margaret Drabble) believe that during afternoon walks, their stories shape themselves in their minds. Hmmmm, they obviously didn’t live where I do lol.

I’ve also read that doing mundane tasks can help you sort out the ideas going on in your head into some kind of order. Hmmmmm, sorting the washing doesn’t do it for me either lol ;)

Reading, watching plays, watching films, listening to people tell anecdotes of their lives, overhearing a conversation in a cafe, walking through an art gallery and listening to the news, can all spark an idea (and have all worked for me!)……and that’s why you should always carry your notebook ;)

As I’ve said before (yawn yawn) my favourite form of inspiration is images, but I guess now, I have to add ‘writing prompts’ to that list.

So, my next exercise is to choose an item from my notebook, one that jumps out. Then find another idea that I can marry it with. Then……

–List the words and phrases that spring to mind as you think about the two items
–Summarise the two items, and create free writes of both
–Look for links between them that you can use

I have an idea, festering away already :)

Then, polish my notes into a draft (short story). So that’s what I’ll be doing today, along with today’s prompt which is nearing midnight.

Yesterday’s prompt, about the tent, ended up being about a couple who are camping, in the back garden ;)

Daily Routine


I was reading today about the benefits of having a writing routine. A friend of mine recently made herself a timetable so that she could see where her time each day was going.

I had considered myself quite lucky…..I don’t work (yes, ok, I cook, I tidy, I do laundry, but you know what I mean) so I have plenty of time available to write….. But…..Ian Rankin said Friday night, that when he was unemployed (and his wife was supporting him) he had all day every day to write. But, actually, didn’t write that much lol. He found that he wrote more when he was working and his free time was more limited. I know exactly what he means. You find every excuse under the sun, not to write, as there’s always something else you think you should be doing :(

So, perhaps the answer is having good routines in place?

Judy Reeves says:

1) Make writing part of your daily routine, a commitment to write every day for a set period of time (however brief that period is).
2) Make an appointment to write, just like you would for the dentist or Dr….and stick to it.
3) Set your daily writing time at a time that suits you (a time that’s practical for you, taking into consideration chores, school runs and dinner times etc).
4) Vary your set time to catch yourself in different moods.

I think, for me, the best way to do this would be to allocate a time every day and add it to my iPhone diary on a weekly basis. I could then set myself reminders so that each day I get a message to tell me to write lol. I could change the time weekly to vary it.

Today’s prompt is you’re in a tent and all I can think of is Tracey Emin lol ;)