Inspiration In Jersey


I think I’ve finally come down to earth, and gathered my thoughts about the trip to Jersey. I learnt so much about WWII and the German occupation of the island. It was all very sad at times, but also, quite inspirational :)

So, here are some brief notes, observations and things that I found inspiring.

The woman on the flight out who clutched a bunch of drooping hand picked wild flowers all the way to Jersey.
Dog walkers on the beach at 6am every morning.
The 3 crow bullies who attacked the wood pigeon.
The husband, who was totally disinterested in his wife’s awe at the historical site.
All the notes left on the alter at the Chapel of Notre Dame de la Clarte.
The coldness and atmosphere of The War Tunnels.
The art by Ronnie Heeps at Mont Orgueil Castle.
The quietness inside The Glass Church.
The smell of the fire in 16 New Street.
The textile art by Karen Le Roy Harris and writing by Vicky Hinault at The Jersey Museum.
The sad look on Freddie Jones face as he sat at the bar on his own.
The scariness of the Devils Hole.
The woman taking a photo of her 2 teenage daughters while a seagull tried to make off with her handbag (that was hilarious!).
The romance of The Princes Tower and the disappointment I felt when I discovered it had been demolished :(

I took lots of photos, many of which I’ll be able to use as prompts :) So you’ll be seeing a few of those over the coming weeks lol. And of course, my ideas about Louisa May Gould which I’ll tell you all about next week ;)

But above all, the most inspiring thing about the holiday was the view from my balcony. Waking up to the sound of the waves crashing against the sand and being able to sit and write, at 6am every morning staring out over the bay. That is something I will never forget :)

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Have you ever found that perfect spot? The place where inspiration seems to come so easily?

Is My Writing Improving? Part 2


to follow on from the previous post…..

Since the first of January I have been using The Writers Book Of Days by Judy Reeves to encourage me to write every day. It’s been hard at times, to the point where I’ve wanted to give up, but I haven’t, and I’m determined to see it through until the 31st of December.

As I’m kind of half way in the book (and because Judy provides a checklist), I thought I’d do the exercise How Can I Tell If My Writing Is Improving here on my blog

Soooo, after 6 months of daily prompts, let’s see shall we….. PART 2

You can find Part 1 HERE

11. Do I layer my writing with sensory images, including smells, sounds and textures. Crafting tasted emotions, heard colours and hence, creating mood?
Oh definitely, but I’m not a huge fan of synesthesia. I’d love to fill my work with it, but, I dunno, that just wouldn’t be me lol

12. Have I learnt not to overwrite, or be stingy with words?
Ha ha ha, I don’t think I could ever be accused of overwriting lol

13. Have I expanded my language, learned new words?
Hmmmm, not really. I write as I talk. So, usually, if it’s a word I wouldn’t use in real life, you wouldn’t find it in my writing, unless it’s in dialogue and the character speaks using long words that no one understands ;)

14. Have I found my voice?
Oh, a resounding YES but I’m not sure whether that’s been totally down to the daily prompts. I think it’s helped, but also blogging daily has helped too.

15. Do I save the strongest word for the last sentence without the sentence sounding false?
I’m aware of this tip, but I often forgot it *hits fore head with palm* so I must make more of an effort.

16. Have I stopped rushing through to get to the end and now take my time, lingering and savouring, letting the tension build?
Sometimes, I think, no, oh I dunno, sometimes I have to rush if I haven’t got much time. It really depends on how inspiring I find the prompt lol

17. Do I take more risks?
Ha ha ha, well, I have been writing more 1st person pieces. I was so scared of it a few months ago. I thought that surely, each time I wrote in 1st person it would sound the same. But hubby has said he can tell a difference now….go me! Lol

18. Have I stopped pulling punches?
Not really sure I understand this question lol. If it means what I think it means, I still avoid certain subjects in depth because I find them too emotional to write about.

19. Have I eliminated generalities, write in specifics?
I think so lol

20. Am I willing to experiment, to try out, go to unknown places in my writing?
No, not exactly, but I would like to. I would lie to experiment with other genres but I’m not too sure where to start :(

Sooooo, the second lot of questions didn’t have as many positive answers as the first lot, but I’m pleased over all :)

A HUGE thank you to Judy Reeves for certainly enriching my writing life. The book has been an incredible help, it really has. I can’t wait to start work on her other stuff :)

Exciting!!!!! :)

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Here’s a difficult question for you….. what’s been the most valuable thing you’ve learnt that has improved your writing? For me it has to be the use of all your senses. When I first started writing I didn’t even think about smell or sound *blushes* ;)

A Return To Journalling


I stumbled across a great web site a couple of days ago. Create Write Now which has a free e book download and loads of info on the joy of journal writing.

And then, I came across a post, Keeping A Journal over on The Change Blog, and then another at Writability and at this stage I’m thinking, is somebody trying to tell me something? Lol

So BAM I’m back journalling lol, and I lay the blame right at the feet of Diana M. Raab :) For my birthday treat, hubby took me to Foyles in London on a book buying spree, where I picked up this…..(I won’t tell you how many times I have attempted to pick up that pen on the front cover LMAO!)

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What can I say? Loved it loved it loved it! Read the back and tell me you’re not interested lol

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Ok, so it says “Notebook” but, the chapters inside refer to “Journal” and include sections like The Journal as Tool & The Journal as Muse so the writers who have contributed don’t seem to place a distinction between a “writers note book” and a “writers journal”.

For me, the difference is that my notebook, I would be fairly happy for anyone to read (so long as they don’t pinch my ideas lol), but my journal? *sharp intake of breath* I’ll cut your hands off if you read all that personal stuff without my permission ;)

Anyway, so I’ve started journalling again, and it’s been good, yeah, really good, I’m trying not to whine see ;) Trying to be a bit more constructive lol.

So, dear reader, do you journal? Do you think there’s a difference between a writers notebook and a writers journal?

My Biggest Fan


Vikki Thompson:

Two posts today people….to celebrate the fact that my Internet seems to be back! Lol.

This is my interview I did for Ava, hope you enjoy it :)

Originally posted on journeyofjordannaeast:

Hello all! Last week, Vikki over at The View Outside fulfilled her role in our Blog Swap, now it’s my turn. I’m completely honored to present this interview with “my biggest fan,” so-called because she is far and away the most prolific commenter on my blog, besides me. Enjoy!

1. What is the very first piece of good writing you remember doing?
Ha ha ha, I’m not sure I’ve actually done a “good” piece yet! ;-) I guess the first piece I was actually quite pleased with was a small exercise I did for writing class, called RagLady. You can read it here: http://theregenerate.wordpress.com/2010/11/23/rag-lady/
It was the first serious piece of fiction I’d written since leaving school. Lol.
2. What is your favorite genre to read? Is it also the genre in which you write?

I don’t really have a favourite genre to read, I’ll read anything, especially…

View original 641 more words

Blog Awards :)


A HUGE thank you to Whitney, who’s nominated me for 2 awards….. The One Lovely Blog Award recently, and the Versatile Blogger Award at A Serendipitous Happenstance :)

Thank you too, to Laura @ Quill Wielder and Lightning Pen for the Reader Appreciation Awards :)

A thank you to Sabrina at Creativity or Crazy for nominating me for Mrs Sparkly’s Award

And also, a thank you to Paula Paula Acton for The Moonlight Blogger Award.

I am so honoured, and overwhelmed to be thought of guys :) and my sincere apologies for not getting to some of these sooner :(

Sooooo, as I’m a rule breaker *snigger* I wont tell you anymore things about me, and just nominate 5 Bloggers for each award. If you want to play by the rules, if I’ve nominated you, check out the blogs above where the rules are all listed :) I feel bad not being able to reply to all the questions, so you have my permission to shout at me, I deserve it ;)

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The One Lovely Blog Award goes to…..
Sydney Aliyah
Lin at Emmy Leigh
Julie at Anglers Rest
Patsy at Patsy Collins
Ava at Journey of Jordanna

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The Versatile Blogger Award goes to…..
Finding My Creature
LouAnn at On The Homefront And Beyond
Sara Flower
Bridget Straub
Kirsten at Write A Book With Me

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The Reader Appreciation Award goes to…..
Sandra Madeira
Ayesha Schroeder
CC at Honesty
Robin Coyle
Teresa at Floating With The Breeze

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Mrs Sparkly’s Award goes to…..
Paula Acton
Jenny Keller Ford
Brigitte at Brigitte Banter
Whitney at A Serendipitous Happenstance
Michael at My Glass House

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The Moonlight Blogger Award goes to…..
Elliot at Brainsplats
C B Wentworth
Rebecca Dickinson
William Stadler
Virginia at Poetaofficium

There are just so many brilliant blogs that I follow, so if I didn’t give you an award this time, I promise you’ll be at the top of my list for the next one :)

The Tale Of The Converse


As promised, a little extract I wrote on Sunday, prompted by the feet picture :)

“Sophia Jackson! You get down these stairs right this minute!”

Sophia hated having an older sister.

“Sophia, I mean it, don’t make me come up there!”

“Ok, ok, I’m coming, keep your knickers on.” She made her way reluctantly to the top of the stairs and stared down at Annie’s red face. “What?”

Annie glared and Sophia found herself trying not to giggle.

“Where are my Converse? I know you’ve had them.”

“Converse? I haven’t touched them!”

It was always the same. Since Annie turned sixteen, two years ago, the four year age gap just seemed to be getting wider.

“Don’t lie to me, you’re always touching my stuff! I’m gunna get Dad to put a lock on my door.”

Sophia watched her sister flounce off down the hallway. Annie seemed to do a lot of flouncing, so Dad said. Sophia stood at the top of the stairs, listening to Annie wailing to Mum.

“Can you search her room, I know she’s got them, I’m meeting Tom in half an hour.”

Sophia appeared at the kitchen door. “Go search my room then, I haven’t got them!” She skipped off down the hallway and out into the garden, knowing full well that Annie would be on her way up to her room.

Dad was at the bottom of the garden putting the last of the autumn leaves onto a huge pile.

“You ok Soph?” He smiled.

Sophia knew she was his favourite.

“Do you want to light the bonfire?”

She nodded enthusiastically as Dad handed her the box of matches.

“Careful now, arms length.”

Sophia struck the match and bent down. Slowly the flames began to lick the old shrub branches and leaves. She stood back and grinned. For several minutes, they watched the flames take hold of the large mound.

“Oooo, what’s that smell?” Dad sniffed the air. “I don’t remember putting anything rubber on there.”

Sophia smiled sweetly and put her arm around his waist.

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He he he, I just don’t do nice ;)

This Weeks To Do List 25th to 1st


Notice the small change in wording above? Lol

Ok, so this week will mainly involve laundry *snigger* Actually, it wasn’t bad when I got home, my daughter had done a few batches, although, I haven’t seen anything belonging to the 2 boys, so no doubt, theirs will arrive today *slump*

Is it just me or are there a couple of days when you return from holiday when you struggle to get back into the swing?

So, back to business :)

The Things I Want To Achieve This Week

Do my homework (a character sketch of a Hero) for Sally Quilford’s Pocket Novel Course.

Tidy my work space. I now have 5 piles :( (I bought some books on holiday, and brought home lots of leaflets, maps, receipts etc, so they all need sorting).

Sort out the blog awards & memes I received and was tagged with over the last 2 weeks.

Upload all my photos to Flickr (I did manage to transfer them all to the Netbook yesterday).

Decide what to do with the WIP (But Not Forgotten).

The WIP was discussed with hubby during the holiday, even to the point where I was considering just throwing it away and starting again (something hubby disagreed with). It’s driving me potty!!!! Ooooo, I tell you, have I learnt a valuable lesson or what! Lol…. NEVER EVER again, will I NOT finish a manuscript lol. So I really need some motivation to sit down and work on that bloody ending….the problem is, I’ve been captivated……

One of the places we visited in Jersey was The War Tunnels (I’ll do a more in depth post later this week). As you enter, they give you an ID card and as you leave, you find out what happened to that person. I was given the card of Louisa May Gould.

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At the end of our visit I discovered that Louisa was arrested and sent to a concentration camp for hiding a Russian slave worker and having a radio. The first coincidence was the year she was born. My house was built in 1891 (those who know me in real life know i have a fascination with the Victorian period) and the second was that the concentration camp she was sent to was opened on my Birthday, May 15th. Only tiny coincidences I know, but, it kind of made me feel some kind of connection with her. I bought a couple of books which have chapters that tell her story more in depth, and now I’m fascinated. No, fascinated is probably the wrong word, I dunno, it’s like it’s grabbed me and it’s going round and round in my head. It’s all I’ve thought about all week. I even ended up turning a couple of my daily prompts into stories that were connected to the German Occupation of Jersey.

Sooooo, is this my opportunity to write the historical novel I keep saying I’d like to try? Is this why I’m now hating on my WIP? I know if I wrote her story (or my own take on it) there would need to be a hell of a lot of research *gulp*

But why can’t I get this woman and her story out of my head? :(

Feet!


Wellll…. I’M BACK :) At home that is. I had a lovely week away, and my sincere apologies for not keeping on top of all your posts, I tried my best, but did a lot of “liking” and not much commenting lol

Normal service will now be resumed….So here’s a strange prompt for you……

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Hmmmmm, I’m finding this one hard because I know exactly who’s feet they are and it’s clouding my brain lol.

Look forward to hearing your ideas :) I’ll post mine on Tuesday :)

10 Things I Learnt From A Scriptwriting Workshop


Ever tried scriptwriting? I’ve dabbled, but not seriously lol

Last week, writer, Linda James came to our Writing Group to do a talk/workshop on scriptwriting. But a lot of what she said would be valuable advice to all writers, regardless of their genre or medium :)

I made lots of notes, but here are the best 10 things I wrote down (IMO obviously) :)

1. Transform your story into pictures/images – i.e., when you think about a setting or a character, visualise them in your mind. Your reader needs to be able to see these things, from the words that you use.

2. Include body language – When describing what a character is doing, include body language, don’t tell your reader your character is depressed, show them.

3. Open your story in the most interesting visual way possible, introducing key characters right at the start. – You need to hook your reader from the very first page.

4. Make sure you have clues on the first page (Linda calls them seeds) – Throughout a novel the writer must drop clues for the reader. Make sure you start this on the very first page. The reader needs to have questions that they want answered.

5. Practice writing monologues, to get inside your characters head – The more you know your character, the better they will come across in your work.

6. Every scene must have a telling detail – Each scene needs to reveal something about the character or plot.

7. Use symbolism – If there is a crucifix on the wall it will tell your reader your characters religious beliefs. like wise if there is a Buddha statue on a coffee table.

8. Use local dialect sparingly – Your reader doesn’t need to know exactly how a person with a broad accent sounds, too much and they won’t understand it.

9. Use work by authors who were writing fiction at the time your story was set for research – If you’re writing historical fiction (even if it’s set in the 1950′s!) read fiction by authors who were publishing work in that era. You will get a feel for the time and be able to see what words and phrases were common.

10. Research the way film directors use “mood” to convey a scene – You wouldn’t have a severely depressed man skipping through a field of daisies would you? ;)

I’m a bit of a film addict, and sometimes I will sit with my note book as I watch a film, so a lot of what Linda said made perfect sense. Obviously, I just had to buy her books ;)

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That’s 2 more to add to the collection *snigger*

Our homework for next months meeting is to turn a short story into a script, which should be interesting, I’ll stick mine up on my blog when it’s done :)

So have you ever tried your hand at scriptwriting?

Life’s Too Short :)


Today’s guest/Blog Swap is Ava, who is also known as Jordanna ;) Ava’s blog often has me laughing out loud. Go take a peek at Journey of Jordanna East :)

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How did you know you wanted to be a writer?
To be honest, I started writing my first novel because I was bored. I was unemployed, couldn’t afford cable, and had no money to do anything. I was even more depressed because I could no longer afford my college tuition. I thought about what I could do with the knowledge I did have, and how I could combine that knowledge with something that interested me. Then it hit me: I could write a crime book! That’s what I called it, “a crime book.” I majored in Biology with minors in Psychology and Criminology, so I thought I would try my hand at writing a novel. I sat on my bed and started typing. I wrote about 5 chapters by the seat of my pants. But I enjoyed it. A lot. When I started working at a restaurant, I found myself writing notes and chapter summaries on scraps of receipt paper. But I still didn’t know I wanted to be a writer (I can be rather dense). A few people read my first chapters and said they saw potential, but eventually I put my work aside. This year I picked it back up. And when I was unhappy at my most recent job, I realized that I would be so content if I could just stay home and write. So I’m trying it (I left that job for unrelated, personal reasons) and it’s the happiest I’ve been in a long while. I realize that I might not make a lot of friends by admitting I was bored and thought I would write a novel, but I will say that I’m 100% committed to learning and improving every day and I’m completely humbled by those who have succeeded before me.

What genre do you write in?
As I stated above, at first I called it “a crime book.” That eventually became the slightly more sophisticated “crime novel.” For a while I struggled with what actual genre my novel fell into; it wasn’t a mystery/suspense since the main character IS the serial killer and who’s killing people isn’t a big surprise. Then one day I read an article about how to characterize your novel and I discovered my novel falls into the Psychological Thriller genre. I do have a few other ideas for future books though, and they fall in several different genres.

Do you have a writing schedule, your normal writing day?
I do not. I sit on the couch and force myself to write throughout the day. I’ve recently begun shooting for 1000 words per day, but oftentimes I get distracted by editing. That’s right, I love to edit and I have to fight the urge to go back and perfect stuff. I’m a crazy person.

What’s the best writing environment for you – where you write?
I write in the living room, on the couch, with the tv on in the background. I can’t do music! Music distracts me because if I know the words I absentmindedly start typing them. It also distracts me when my cats lie down on my notes, but I tolerate them because they’re so darn cute.

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Who inspires you?
My oft-mentioned Hubby-pants. I’ve never seen anyone believe in someone else the way he believes in me. In fact, I’ve never seen someone believe in themselves, let alone another person, the way he believes in me. It’s the best feeling, aside from his love and affection, of course.

If you were to be compared to another author, who’s work would yours most resemble?
I don’t really know yet and I don’t want to be presumptious and disappoint people. I hate when I read a review that says the author is the next Stephen King or the next JRR Tolkien and then…not so much.

Tell us about your current WIP/recently published book?
It’s a crime book! Haha, no, seriously, it’s a thriller involving three characters whose lives are colliding, but not in a happy, shiny, “It’s a Small World After All” kind of way. My main character, Lyla Kyle is a beautiful artist living in Philadelphia who happens to also be a disturbed serial killer. Trying to connect a series of unexplained deaths –Lyla’s murders– is a young cop itching for a big case to make his career. Both of them are seeing the same psychologist, but neither one knows the deadly impacts she’s had on each of their lives. I have about 28K words at the moment and hope to have the project completed before the end of the year, at which point I will enjoy a much anticipated spa day in the city. (Vikki – Can’t wait to read it Ava!)

Ava’s last point, about treating herself to a Spa Day when she’s finished the novel, reminded me of Stephen Kings Misery. Where The author, Paul Sheldon, has a cigarette when he finishes a novel. This got me thinking, what would I treat myself to? Hmmmmmm, it would have to be a Mont Blanc Pen and that way, I could build up a collection *snigger*

So what will you treat yourself to when you’ve finally finished that WIP?