The 5th prompt in the 30 Day Writing Challenge is…
Write about a dream or nightmare that you’ve had and turn it into a short story.
Sorry today’s post is a little late, but I’ve been having a Proud Mummy Moment and I’ve only just got back :)
The prompt for day 7 is:
Profile 2 books you’ve read and loved lately.
Hmmmmm, well, I haven’t read any fiction for ages and that’s partly to do with all the critique pieces I’ve read recently.
The last book I actually read, and loved was A Voice Of Her Own by Marlene A. Schiwy.
A fascinating look at women diary writers. I will definitely be seeking out some of the work referred to. It’s very inspiring, especially if you’re into journal writing and keeping a diary (something I aspire to).
And then the book I’m currently reading (which I was hoping to love) is Happier At Home by Gretchen Rubin.
I thoroughly enjoyed her first book, The Happiness Project, and although I’m on Chapter 3 of this one I’m finding myself skim reading sections *sighs* It’s so disappointing isn’t it when you thought you’d love a book, but you’re just not gelling :(
I’m in a bit of a fiction reading slump at the moment so help me out….What was the best fiction book you’ve read so far this year? I need some inspiration :)
During our trip to the Lake District we visited Rydal Mount which was the home of William Wordsworth from 1813 until his death in 1850. It was while living at Rydal that Wordsworth penned his most loved and well known poems. So I was rather excited to find that his summer house, where he would sit and compose his poetry (whilst staring out at the beautiful gardens) was still intact and available to view.
So after a tour of the house including his attic study (sorry, no pics, you’re not allowed to) I was desperate to get out into the garden and see where the great man did most of his writing. The summer house was well hidden up a steep bank (lots of tiny twisting paths) and when we finally stumbled across it I was shocked. I’m not too sure what I was expecting to be honest, but it wasn’t this:
Of course we sat in there and looked out at the view. You can just about see Lake Windermere in the distance, but in Wordsworths time the view probably would have been slightly better, due to less/smaller trees.
The Wordsworth’s daughter Dora loved her fathers Daffodil poem, so when she died Mr & Mrs Wordsworth (both in their late 70’s) personally planted a whole field adjacent to Rydal with hundreds and hundreds of Daffodil bulbs. It’s now known as Dora’s Field and must look incredible during Spring.
I WANDERED lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed–and gazed–but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
Published at Rydal Mount, 1815.
Did I feel inspired? No, not really. It’s definitely a gorgeous place, but I’m often shocked at the meagre surroundings of some of the great writers. The following day we went to Beatrix Potters house and saw her desk/bureau where she wrote and drew her characters. It was tiny and not what I expected at all. And then take Rudyard Kipling…I’ve been to his house several times and his office was pretty unimpressive too lol. Do well known/successful modern writers prefer their writing spaces to be simplistic do you think? I will need to Google this and see what James Pattersons office looks like, or Stephen Kings lol.
If money was no object would you have an impressive office (huge desk, opulent surroundings) or do you think there is a lot to be said for keeping it simple?
Well, I’m back from The Lake District :)
Everyone said it was a beautiful place, and it is. But, it’s very wet *snigger*
You can sum up the Lake District in 5 words…
But if you’re looking for a relaxing break with no mobile phone signal and intermittent Internet access (via the hotel) I can highly recommend it!
We did some sightseeing (of course) and the highlights were Beatrix Potters house and Rydal Mount, home to William Wordsworth. In the garden is a summer house where Wordsworth wrote most of his poems (a post coming up about that soon).
So now it’s back to the real word and this weeks to do list. I didn’t do much writing when I was away, and i didn’t do any reading. I was up at 5am most mornings, just wandering the hotel grounds pondering life lol. I didn’t actually come to any conclusions, but, the peace and quiet and time with my thoughts was relaxing.
So this week there is only one item on my to do list…..
1. Get “Tangled” off to the RNA New Writers Scheme for its critique.
I meant to do it last week but my printer has run out of ink, and then The Hubsters (at work) keeled over too so he had to order a new one. As soon as he’s got that set up I’ll be emailing him the MS for him to print.
I also need to send off my first assignment to The Writers Bureau and continue to work on my 2nd, but that’s not a priority… What is though is catching up with about 400 emails, blog comments, Twitter, FaceBook…..
What are your writing plans for the week?
I’m a bit behind with replying to comments and e mails because I’ve been up London today. Will catch up tomorrow I promise.
My first session back at Faber since before Christmas :) So it was latte, cake and I treated myself to a new book!
Today’s session was about show and tell, that age old adage that puts the fear of God in most writers ;) Well, ok, perhaps that’s just me lol
Literary critics admire ‘show’ but really, how important is it?
Telling is a form of showing and bleeds over into subtext and dialogue and if you think about the greatest story ever told, The Bible, well, that’s all tell isn’t it?
No one would argue that ‘showing’ your reader that your character is sad is far more interesting than actually telling them so, but you can pull off ‘telling’ if you are confident in what you’re saying and your words are written well. Many authors use tell as part of their style. Roth, Franzen, Eugenides and Munro are all good examples.
We did 2 exercises where we had to set a scene and then use dialogue to convey an emotion our character was feeling. Here’s what I wrote:
Sue entered the room, her head down, shoulders hunched. She sighed as she picked up the remote from her sleeping husbands leg. Looking at the clock she frowned, it was 11.45pm. Outside the street was alive with party goers, the sound of laughter could just be heard above the drone of the action film that was playing to no one.
She kicked Johns leg.
“Ow! Er, what’s going on?”
“You were asleep.”
“No I wasn’t, I was just resting me eyes.”
“Yeah, like you do every night John.”
“No I don’t!”
Sue tutted. “I’m not going to argue with you, It’s New Years Eve, 2013 in less than 10 minutes.”
“So where’s the bubbly?”
“I didn’t buy any!”
John sat forward in his chair and looked up at his wife.
“You ok love? You always buy us a bottle of bubbly for New Years Eve.”
“Yeah, well perhaps I’m just fed up with it always being me?”
Sue picked up her cigarettes and lighter and stepping over Johns legs made her way back towards the kitchen doorway.
“Where you going love?”
“For a fag!”
“But it’s nearly midnight?”
Sue ignored him and slammed the kitchen door. Lighting her cigarette she mumbled “Happy fucking New Year.”
So what did I show you about Sue? What emotion was she feeling? Lets see if I was successful with my show :)
I came away feeling a little less paranoid about the whole show vs tell thingy. As writers we have enough to worry about as it is! ;)
So tell me…Do you think “modern” writers get too hung up on show and tell? Do you think it’s less important than it used to be?
The idea is for me to share the books that i think are classic reads, and to tell you what makes a read a ‘classic’ for me. Old, new, controversial, heartwarming – what are the things that catapult a book from a great read to a must read?
The minute I saw this blog hop mentioned there was only 1 book, for me, worthy of the title :) It’s a book I read back in 2006, but the memory has remained. Unfortunately, it’s no longer available in printed form, (unless you buy a pre-owned copy on Amazon) but you can get it on Kindle.
My recommendation as a Classic Read is Emotional Geology by Linda Gillard
Let me share with you the blurb:
Rose Leonard is on the run from her life. Taking refuge in a remote island community, she cocoons herself in work, silence and solitude in a house by the sea. But she is haunted by her past, by memories and desires she’d hoped were long dead. Rose must decide whether she has in fact chosen a new life or just a different kind of death. Life and love are offered by new friends, her lonely daughter, and most of all Calum, a fragile younger man who has his own demons to exorcise. But does Rose, with her tenuous hold on life and sanity, have the courage to say yes to life and put her past behind her?
And now let me share with you my review:
OH WOW!!!!! I loved this book! I usually read a book a week, this one, i read in less than 24 hours!!!! When i say it was unputdownable…i am NOT joking! The setting is magical and i want to visit!!!!! No scrub that, i want to live there! I did find myself getting a little bit annoyed with Rose at one point, i mean there was Calum, dishy, kind, interested, available…and a poet….. What more could a woman want????? I’ve heard a lot of people who have read this book have been inspired to be creative…… Oh that is an understatement! I want to create something now lol
Can you tell I liked it? ;) If you like a bit of romance with an incredible setting, you’ll love this as much as I did.
For me, a classic read is something that you fall in love with, and I definitely fell, big time for this! Even 6 years later I can remember opening the book to that first page and virtually not moving from my chair till I’d finished it. My husband went to work with me reading it and he came home just in time to see me finish lol ;) There was just something magical about the characters and the beautiful description that touched my heart.
I have 2 spare copies of this book going begging (no, you can’t have my signed copy, that’s staying with me for life!) so if you’d like one (these are pre-read by the way so not brand new) please let me know and I’d be happy to send :)
So what constitutes a Classic Read in your opinion?
Boxing Day was traditionally the day that people gave their servants a Christmas Box, a small gift to recognise their loyalty and service.
As a child, I thought it literally meant that they had boxing matches on this day ;) Most of my childhood was spent knowing that Boxing Day meant a large spread of buffet style food and a visit from family. A chance to all get together for a party!
As an adult, I’ve still kept the tradition of having a spread, but, as we don’t have family to invite round (all say awwwww lol) it’s turned into a relaxing day, almost a pyjama day! Lol.
It made me laugh when I first read Peter Jones book, How To Do Everything and Be Happy (which I HIGHLY recommend by the way) because he has adopted the idea of having a Boxing Day once a month, which I do try to do.
So today I’m going to spend the whole day reading :) I’m not gunna even pick up a pen or go on my iPad…..if you see me online SHOUT AT ME!
See you on the other side!
courtesy of digitalart/freedigitalphotos
what are your plans for today, now that Christmas Day has been and gone?