People Watching


I’m starting to think about characters…..people, for my A-Z Challenge which starts tomorrow *gulp*

Everyday most of us come into contact with other people. We live with them, work with them and think about them when they’re not there. Some we like, others we cant bare the sight of!. Meeting new people can be fun, but for a writer, it can be a facinating :)

In real life, when you meet a new person you learn a lot about them in the first few seconds. That’s the crucial moment when you form opinions and judgements. You base those on the way they walk, how they sit, if they’re smiling or what they’re wearing. You try to figure out what they’re thinking by their facial expressions. Even small details like the smell of tobacco or a stain on their tie will influence your opinion.

Then there are their gestures. The way they look over their glasses, the way they throw back their hair or constantly play with a ring on their finger.

Characters need to be real, as real as you and I ;) They’ll have faults, bad habits, talents and tastes. They will have complex personalities, and all of it needs to come across in our stories, if we want our characters to delight our readers.

F Scott Fitzgerald said “Plot is character and character is plot.” I rest my case ;)

So people watching is a great idea when you need inspiration for characters. A cafe, park, restaurant, even a waiting room can have me scribbling away in my note book ;)

Do you people watch? Do you use what youve seen in your stories?

Try describing a friend or family member (they never need to see it). Its great fun and you can use certain aspects to create a fictious character ;)

The photo above is The Bookcrossers meeting the Hen Night Bunnies….. dont ask lol ;)

Yesterdays prompt about the backseat turned into a story about a young woman who arrives home to find that the birthday cake she had just bought is gone and in its place is a bag of money and a gun…..not sure where thats going yet lol. Todays prompt is the antidote to pain. That sounds very interesting ;)

Sunshine


I’ve been awarded the Sunshine Award by C. B. Wentworth so thank you so much honey :)

It’s lovely to be nominated for these awards, such an honour :)

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My only problem is that for some reason my pictures come out scrambled *stamps foot and pouts* and I don’t know why :(

Anyway, I’m not going to go down the traditional route with this, what I will do is write about sunshine :)

Wednesdays prompt was “write the horizon at dusk” and as i sat here, trying to come up with some sort of story it sparked a memory…..soooo, as it also involves sunshine, i’ll copy here what i wrote :)

As a child i spent all my summers at my grandparents caravan on the Kent coast. My cousins and I would spend our days running through grass, searching for crabs on the beach when the tide went out and enjoying the sunshine.

We’d make secret hide outs in the bushes, play hide and seek among the sand dunes and have glorious adventures accompanied by the British weather. (Ha ha ha…for those of you in the UK you’ll know exactly what i mean about British summers…..rain! lol)

But the part of the day that i loved the most was dusk. The sun dying on the horizon, the seagulls making their way home (where do seagulls go at night?) and the children being called in by their parents.

We would go in to steaming hot mugs of tea and biscuits, for dunking :)  Sometimes, we’d sit on the steps outside, clutching our mugs, watching the sun dissappear. The dampness the evening always seemed to bring would start clinging to our clothes. Then my grandmother would tell us to come in and the door would be shut. If you left the door open it was as though dusk would creep into the caravan and slip into your bed. No one wanted a damp sleeping bag.

Sometimes i’d sit at the front, at the large window and watch the final glimpses of daylight in the distance. I remember wondering what would happen if the sun didnt rise the next morning. But it always did, and then, we would be running through the grass again. The early morning dew seeping through our flipflops, the grass tickling out toes, as we made our way back to the beach.

Nothing ever changed in the night, but we wished so hard that it would. The night always seemed so magical, as if anything could happen while we were tucked up asleep.

Happy days :) I’m afraid i havent got a photo of the caravan, but i have got a photo of the beach.

Yesterdays prompt about eating it raw turned into a strange story. It started with a wife moaning at her husband for eating raw cake mix and turned into an argument about her brother who had just been released from prison LMAO ;) Todays prompt is in the back seat so im sure i can come up with something for that :)

A-Z Blog Challenge


Ok….I’ve signed up lol….yes, yes, I know, some of you will be thinking I’m mad, but, I have an idea, a plan :)

One of my favourite parts of writing is characterisation. I love coming up with characters, I guess it goes back to my childhood and playing with dolls.

Sooooo, I intend to come up with a character a day, their first names beginning with that letter. I’m not gunna plan any posts, but I will plan the names in advance. That will be my only preparation :)

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I find a lot of the time stories emerge just from creating a character, so who knows, I might even end up with 26 stories by the end of April :)

I didn’t get to do the prompt today, but only because I had to go over to Hertfordshire to do a delivery lol. Still, it was a beautiful day :)

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So I guess I’ll be doing yesterday’s prompt with today’s which is you ate it raw which sounds like fun ;)

In The Beginning…and Another Blog Award


I’ve been thinking about beginnings, as i sit at my dining room table typing up a few more stories from my notebook. Openings of stories have to grab the reader don’t they (or the judge/editor if its a short story). So what’s the best way to do that?

Start with something happening right at the start? In the first sentence? Or with dialogue? What’s the best hook?

“I need sex every day luv,’ said Denise, the vicar’s wife.” – Fat Girls & Fairy Cakes by Sue Watson, which definitely piqued my interest lol.

And then there’s “They said I was a drug addict. I found that hard to come to terms with – I was a middle-class, convent-educated girl whose drug use was strictly recreational. And surely drug addicts were thinner?” – Rachel’s Holiday by Marian Keyes.

“I stitch memories. That’s what I do. Not mine, other peoples.” Is the opening to Linda Gillard’s Untying The Knot…..very intriguing.

Or what about “Dear princessdianasnumber1fan. Your item will be dispatched shortly, please allow 3-7 business days for delivery!!!” From Carolines Smailes 99 Reasons Why. I bet that one has you wondering and slightly amused ;)

Personally, I think i must favour dialogue. I like to be plunged straight into the action and i’d say about 80% of my beginnings are dialogue (or within the first sentence).

Do you tend to start all your stories a similar way?

So now I feel I’m on track with beginnings, sort of comfortable in knowing what I’m doing (ha ha ha) what about endings? *gulp* Yeah, I’ll worry about those later ;)

The lovely Rebecca has nominated me for The Candle Lighter Award & One Lovely Blog Award. Thank you so much honey :)

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Yesterdays  prompt about getting undressed turned into a peeping Tom type story lol. Todays prompt is write the horizon at dusk which sounds a bit odd but hey, I’m game ;)

Proverbs


Proverbs make great stories and they’re especially good for setting the theme of a piece. once you have a theme, the setting, characters and even the plot can follow easily. There are hundreds to choose from and each has a story to tell.

Pick a proverb…..
Write down the message, this will be the theme of your story.
Think about the sort of person the proverb relates to. This will be your main character.
Allow the setting and plot to evolve.
Think about structure. Something needs to change by the end of the story. Your character will need a climax and a resolution. What lesson will they learn?

A few famous proverbs I can see turning into great stories……

Between the devil and the deep blue sea
Theme – choosing between 2 equally bad alternatives in a serious dilemma.

First come first served
Theme – the first inline will be attended to first.

Faint heart never won fair lady
Theme – to succeed you must have the courage to pursue what you want, or, for a romance, all girlies like a brave hero ;)

A rolling stone gathers no moss
Theme – a person who never settles in one place or who often changes his job will never succeed or someone who keeps changing their mind will never get anything done.

There’s no smoke without fire
Theme – rumours don’t spread unless there is an element of truth in them.

You can’t have your cake and eat it
Theme – you must choose between 2 things because it’s impossible to have both.

You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink
Theme – You can help, support, or encourage someone to do something, but you can’t make them do what they’re unwilling to do.

…..and my absolute favourite (don’t ask me why, but probably coz of the imagery it conjures up).

A drowning man will clutch at a straw
Theme – a desperate person will do anything to save himself.

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I bought these books a couple of days ago at Baggins my local fantastic second hand book shop. Sometimes, I just love where I live :)

One final note…..proverbs make great story titles ;)

Have you ever wrote a story based on a proverb?

Yesterday’s prompt about the piano wasn’t as easy as I first thought lol. I ended up with the start of a story about a woman at a hotel who stumbles across a man playing the piano in the bar early in the morning. I can see a romance developing lol. Tomorrows prompt is you’re taking off your clothes so I’m thinking I might try to come up with something a bit darker for that one!

As you can see, ive been having a fiddle…..I’m liking the new look, might stay with this for a while :)

The “Place” Experiment Part 3


I’ve finally completed the 3rd part of my ‘place’ experiment.

Part 1 was ok on the success front, but Part 2 was better.

Location: Rochester Castle Grounds
Time: 3.15pm
Date: Saturday 24th March

The thing about us Brits is that the moment the sun comes out, so do we lol. The Castle Garden is full of families with children this afternoon, laughter and fun. It makes me think about all the lonely people in this world. I am the only person there on my own. What do lonely people do in the summer? Do they stay in? Do they sit dozing in an armchair, a book open on their lap? I’ve never lived alone, peace and quiet is something relatively new to me. I’m happy on my own, but I also like to be round others. I recently wrote a story that ends with 2 lovers standing in this place. I can actually picture them, standing by the tree, it’s quite surreal. Unfortunately nothing here is inspiring me. It’s too noisy, too busy…..perhaps I’ll come back on a week day, see if Dickens ghost will walk across my path…..

The view infront of me

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The view behind me

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CONCLUSION
Hmmmmm, I think the exercise has proved that place is really immaterial, for me, it’s the atmosphere that makes a difference. I can free write anywhere, but, if I want to come away with something I can use I need to find quiet places that make me feel something :)

Yesterday’s prompt ended up being the start of a story about a guy who meets this girl when they are 14….he goes off to Uni and then bumps into her again when they’re in their mid 20′s. I have a plan for where it’s going, so yesterday I was feeling pretty damn good :) Today’s prompt is someone’s playing the piano and at the moment all I can think of is Casablanca lol.

Brainstorming


Just recently I’ve had a couple of brainstorming sessions with my friend J who is also an aspiring writer. The most recent, being a 2 hour car journey (to a workshop) which was great fun.

My brain never stops. I’m constantly looking for ideas and inspiration, all around me. I think J was a bit overwhelmed by the journey as every road sign became an idea for a persons surname, along with any vans company logo’s that we passed *snigger*

J had an idea for a story centred around a fashion magazine. We ended up coming up with the name of the owner of the mag, the 2 villains, the protagonist and the name of the magazine. It was a great way to pass the time, and very productive :) I think to be honest, she was a little bit scared at my enthusiasm and passion, but, those who know me in the real world will know that if I really enjoy something I get very enthusiastic *giggles*

The only problem I have is that when I’m on my own driving I can’t write anything down….hmmmm, so I’m thinking I really should try to figure out how my phones voice memo works. Not ideal whilst driving I know, but I’m not sure what else I can do :(

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so what do you do if you suddenly get an idea and there are no scraps of paper or a pen within a 50 metre radius?

I went to Elizabeth Haynes book signing session yesterday, which seemed to be going well when we got there :)

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I spent the rest of the day reading proverbs…..don’t ask lol :)

Yesterday’s prompt about an ending inspired a short scene about a husband and wife, the husband’s head being buried in a book lol. Today’s prompt is “first time I saw her…” which is screaming 1st person POV at me, obviously :)

Image Prompts


Being the visually inspired person that I am, I like to take photos, especially ones that can inspire me to write. The great thing about taking pictures to use in your writing is that, like the idea day, you can have a photo day.

I’ve been taking pictures for years (have over 6,000 on Flickr) and now, what with the iPhone365 project, I’m taking at least 1 photo a day. It wasn’t until I read Leslie Thomson’s A Kind Of Vanishing, where she talks about using photography (in the back of the book) in her stories, that I suddenly made the connection.

So here are a few photo’s that I think could inspire stories……

20120323-082556.jpg This is a pic of my grandparents back in the 1920′s.

20120323-082646.jpg Yes, that really is my foot lol.

20120323-082721.jpg My daughters two friends a few years ago.

20120323-082754.jpgGreenwich Maritime Museum.

20120323-082833.jpg The Orient Express (hubby’s 40th birthday treat).

Ooooo, the ideas are flowing lol. Now do you see why I never suffer from writers block? Lmao!!! And you’ll probably understand why I suffer from insomnia ;)

do you ever use photos/pictures to prompt stories? Successfully?

I managed Thursdays prompt about midnight, which turned into a story about a guy who leaves his wife and kids (mid life crisis) only to end up the envy of all his middle aged friends, but desperately miserable. Yesterdays prompt was swimming against the tide which I also turned into a mid life crisis story. This time, a 45 year old Dr who falls for a sickly 19 year old pregnant girl. Hmmmm, not sure where that’s going lol. Today’s prompt is write about an ending. Oh gawd, it’s all doom and gloom at the moment ;)

I’ve Cracked It!


*drum roll* I have my name in print!!!!!!! *takes a bow* :)

Ok, ok, I’m embellishing the truth a tiny little bit lol. It’s not that brilliant lol, but, I can now say that I am officially, published *snigger*

Remember my tips for coming up with character names? No? Ok, it’s here, The Naming Game I decided to send one of the tips off to the Writers Forum Magazine and they only went and published it lol. They’ve called it “New Faces” lol

Soooo, this month I have a letter in their “Writers Circle” section. The really funny thing is though, is that my writing tutor at The Write Place, Elaine, also has a letter in the same section of the same issue lol.

I’m not gunna let fame go to my head, it won’t change me :)

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It’s a great feeling, having your name in print for the first time ever and I know that some of you who read my blog have had stories and even books published, but, for me, this is huge lol. Perhaps one day I’ll become blasé, but at the moment, let me revel ;)

What’s the first thing you had published (ie your name in print). And if you haven’t had anything published, why not? *wags finger jokingly* :)

I’ve had a busy few days really. Went to my writing class Wednesday night and had to read out a story I’d written. It’s soooo nerve racking lol. But I did it, and got some good feedback. Then last night I went to the 2nd session of Peter Jones How to Do Everything and Be Happy workshop, which was great fun :)

I didn’t manage to get the saxophone prompt done, in fact, I was so busy I didn’t do any writing at all *shock horror gasp* and I don’t even know what tomorrows prompt is because I’m sitting in bed writing this lol. I’ll make up for it tomorrow of course ;)

Epiphany + A Blog Award


I had one of those moments. A moment when an absolutely blinding idea pops into your head, so big and exciting you grab for your note book.

I was watching daytime TV, something I don’t do very often, but I’d been out and left the TV on for Georgie (my Yorkie). Anyway, whilst sipping my cappuccino an item came on that just grabbed me, and within minutes I’d come up with the whole plot for my Nano novel for 2012 :)

I was that excited by the idea I wanted to start writing then and there….but no, I will wait for November :)

Do you ever have one of those moments? I have to say that this is probably the first time since I’ve been writing that an idea has struck me so hard ;) I might start to work on the synopsis before November, and I’ll post it here….then you can all tell me that really, its a crap idea lol ;)

I’ve been nominated for a Kreativ Blogger Award by the lovely Ava at journeyofjordannaeast *blush* Thank you honey :)

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Soooo, list 7 facts about yourself and pass this award on to 7 other bloggers who you think deserve it.

I’m gunna run out of things to tell you about me at this rate lol ;)

7 More Things About Me

1. My favourite coffee is Costa.

2. I always name my Sims character Angel Child.

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3. I suffer from psoriasis :(

4. I own a bike.

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5. So far this year (since 1st January) I have watched 65 films/movies.

6. *whispers* I love the Twilight films (haven’t read any of the books lol) and I’m Team Edward ;)

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7. These are my favourite pair of shoes :)

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So now I have to tag 7 fellow bloggers don’t I……hmmmm….let me see…..I nominate….

Sally Jenkins
Janet at Postcard Fiction
Laura at Quill Weilder
William at Stadler Style
Julia at The Writing Aficionado
Richard at Village Drummer Fiction
Mr Brain Splat at Brainsplats

If you get the chance, please do go and check them out….great Blogs :)

Yesterday’s prompt about the single bed conjured up soooo many ideas that I didn’t know where to start lol. I did though, finally…..Decide on a first person POV about a guy who’s left the marital home because his wife tells him she’s having an affair *cringe* :( Oh well, I guess I’ll just have to make something nice happen to him if I carry on with it :) Today’s prompt is the saxophone sound of midnight which seems a bit familiar……