Inspiring Objects

I’m a huge fan of writing prompts (as you probably know) and one of my favourites is using photos (which ive been using a lot recently). But, Ive stumbled across 2 websites that made me think, actually, objects are pretty damn good to inspire stories.

The first one is The Museum of Broken Relationships which I found on Sally Jenkins Blog a while back. Do click on the picture of the axe under exhibits. What a brilliant story! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Then I came across 26 Treasures which was a project run by museums in Wales, Scotland and Ireland. They invited writers to use 26 objects from the museums collections to inspire a piece of writing. Over 100 writers took part and a book was produced.

So here are some inspiring objects I’ve come across recently that I intend to use for prompts:










Do you ever use “objects” to inspire stories?

The Value of Stars

I read a great post recently on Peter Germany’s blog where he talked about the star system used to review books. I often do reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, but I haven’t really analysed what the stars really mean to me, and I guess everyone’s interpretation is different. So here’s what I’m thinking when I give a book a star:

20130514-121728.jpg Courtesy of digitalart @ FreeDigitalPhotos

5 stars ***** I loved it…unputdownable.

4 stars **** Really enjoyed it, but….(I’m probably just being picky but there was at least one thing that annoyed me, I found a bit unbelievable or didn’t like etc).

3 stars *** It was ok but I’m disappointed. I had a major problem with a particular aspect, but for some unknown reason decided to read to the end lol

2 stars ** Hmmmm, not for me. It really didn’t work or was just plain boring.

1 star * Well, that’s a part of my life I’ll never get back! Hated it!

So how many stars would I give a book that I hadn’t been able to finish? And why would I want to spend my time reading a book that I didn’t like? I don’t think I’ve ever given a 1 or 2 star review on Amazon or Goodreads, because if it was that bad I would have chucked the book across the room by page 100 lol

Go check out Anne R Allens excellent guide to leaving a review on Amazon and also a brillant post from Lisa Jewell reviewing her reviews.

So my question to you dear reader is….. do you ever give 1 or 2 star reviews? And if so, how do you decide what constitutes a 1 star and why would you continue reading a book if you thought it was that bad?

Monday Interview with Vikki Thompson

My guest post on The Write Romantics blog where I talk about the Romantic Novelists Association’s New Writers Scheme ๐Ÿ™‚


Vikki Thompson lives in Kent with her husband, 3 adult children (who refuse to leave home) and 2 cats. She blogs, (or should that be rambles?) at The View Outside ( and spends her time fantasising about being the next EL James but isnโ€™t too keen on having to write Erotica to achieve that (unless Robert Downey Jnr is available for research). She enjoys writing courses and workshops and can be found yearly at Swanwick (


We know that, like us, you are a member of the NWS but we wondered if you could tell us a bit about how you came to join, how long you have been a member, the genre you write in and what inspired you to start writing?

I heard about the New Writers Scheme early last year, so was determined to try to get a place for 2013. So this is my first yearโ€ฆ

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Must Do’s Monday 27th to 2nd June

I’ve had a hectic week, not helped by a few days of feeling rough. But I didn’t do too badly all told on the ‘To Do List’ which was…

1. Work on the synopsis for Tangled Ummm, ok, well this didn’t happen lol. I have a rough one that I did a couple of weeks ago, but it sounds like a blurb at the moment.
2. Edit first two chapters of Tangled Ok, I did the first chapter, but as I need to submit the whole novel to the RNA New Writers Scheme before the end of July I really need to step up a gear lol
3. Start planning some blog posts Done ๐Ÿ™‚
4. Start going to the gym Didn’t happen, but as The Hubster’s chess is winding down now we’ve agreed to start going next week.
5. Plan my week every Sunday Yep, did that last week and used my new Paperchase pad. Really useful having my whole week on one sheet divided into AM’s and PM’s. I’ll be doing next weeks one after I finish this post.
6. Do at least 1 writing exercise every day Ahhhh, now this has been great, I’ve really enjoyed it! And at the moment I’m using Natalie Goldberg’s Wild Mind ๐Ÿ™‚

So next weeks another busy one, but I’m looking forward to writing (thank gawd!). I’ve got a couple of opportunities for writing in coffee shops and then there’s Happy Club. The sun has been shining today and I’m feeling pretty goddam good ๐Ÿ™‚


I’m loving filling in my ‘Experiences’ book, but I think I need to carry it around with me because I keep remembering things when I’m out and forgetting them by the time I get home lol.



What are your plans for the week?

Turn Your Experiences Into A Novel

I came across a brilliant idea in The Daily Writer a few days ago.

There’s the old saying isn’t there, write what you know. Yeah, ok, that’s boring and I don’t know much anyway. Well, actually…I’ve discovered I do! What about the 45 years of experience I have? All those little events throughout my life that I can use in my stories and novels? All I need to do is embellish the truth a bit, use my imagination ๐Ÿ˜‰

So lets do a little experiment….what do I know about?

(I do love a mind map lol)

But what about one off experiences? What about the evening I spent at London Zoo with a picnic? Or the day I spent in Hay On Wye going round the book shops?

In The Daily Writer they suggest that I keep a file/folder/notebook of “experiences” that I can then draw on for use in my writing. What a great idea! Fred White recommends that you list them chronologically, ie:

“Childhood Experiences”
“Adolescent Experiences”
“Adult Experiences”

And then divide those into sub sections such as:

“Experiences in Nature”
“Holiday Experiences”
“Religious Experiences”

I’d like to add a couple of my own to that list, but when I sit down to mull this over I’m sure I’ll be able to think of loads lol

Food Experiences
Places of Interest Experiences

We all think our lives are so boring, but they’re not. If you were brought up on a farm you will have a wealth of info to draw on. Me, I was brought up in an inner city, and just thinking about it now I can list a handful of experiences that might, at some stage come in handy ๐Ÿ˜‰

Oh dear, so that’s another notebook to add to the collection of the 10+ that I’m already using *snigger* ๐Ÿ˜‰

So tell me, what’s a recent experience you’ve had that you could use to inspire a story?

A Very British Blog Post

I was tagged back in March by Jane Wenham Jones to take part in this Blog Hop….but what with the A-Z Challenge, it’s only now I’ve been able to post my answers! Lol…. Sorry Jane and thank you ๐Ÿ™‚

Courtesy of Salvatore Vuono at freedigitalphotos

Q. Where were you born and where do you live at the moment?
I was born in Catford, South East London, well, Lewisham hospital to be precise which is on the outskirts. But I spent my childhood and early years of my marriage in Catford, moving to Kidbrooke, then Eltham until in 1997 when we decided to move out of London and set up home in Kent. Now, I live in Rochester ๐Ÿ™‚

Q. Have you always lived and worked in Britain or are you based elsewhere at present? I’m a Brit through and through, but I’m not opposed to working from Italy if someone would buy me a villa with a pool?

Q. Which is your favourite part of Britain?
I LOVE London. What can I say *snigger* It’s funny because when you live there you don’t tend to do the touristy stuff, so I’ve seen more of London since I moved to Kent. I go back on a regular basis.

Q. Have you โ€˜highlightedโ€™ or โ€˜showcasedโ€™ any particular part of Britain in your books? For example, a town or city; a county, a monument or some well-known place or event?
The book I’m currently working on is set in Blackheath (South East London) and Rochester where I live. My heroine lives here now but was brought up in London. Write what you know I say. All my characters come from “Sowf Eas Lunden” ๐Ÿ˜‰

Q. There is an illusion โ€“ or myth if you wish โ€“ about British people that I would like you to discuss. Many see the โ€˜Britsโ€™ as โ€˜stiff upper lipโ€™. Is that correct?
Ha ha ha, damn right it is! My gran would say “it’s what won us the war!” Lol ๐Ÿ˜‰ No, seriously, the thing about the Brits is we’re determined, steadfast, proud and patriotic. Now, if that makes us stiff upper lipped, so be it ๐Ÿ™‚

โ€จโ€จQ. Do any of the characters in your books carry the โ€˜stiff upper lipโ€™? Or are they all โ€˜British Bulldogโ€™ and unique in their own way?
All my characters are South East Londoners, so I hope that comes across. One of my female characters is very stiff upper lipped I guess, because in the era it’s set women didn’t really complain. It was very much a case of “you make your bed you lie in it” (another of my grans favourite sayings). It’s only probably the last, what, 20 years, that women in general have had more choices. When I went to school in the 70’s & 80’s we got taught ‘Needlecraft’ and “Home Economics” where I was taught to iron a shirt (The Hubster will say “well, that didn’t sink in then!” Lol). My male characters are very British Bull Dog! Lol

Q. Tell us about one of your recent books
The one I’m working on at the moment is called “Still” ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s a novel about love, regret, competition between friends and the consequences of past decisions. Set in South East London and Kent it’s the story of a mother (Laura) and her daughter (Ruby) who have been estranged for five years, and the journey each of them must now take.

Q. What are you currently working on?
See above….I’m on rewrite number 4 as I’m struggling with the structure ๐Ÿ˜ฆ But I’m also editing my 2nd novel called “Tangled” which is about a woman who has an affair and the repercussions of that.

Q. How do you spend your leisure time?
What leisure time? Lol ๐Ÿ˜‰ Ok, at weekends me and The Hubster like to get out and about. Museums, art galleries, historic houses and castles, that kind of thing. I find it very inspiring.

Q. Do you write for a local audience or a global audience?
Local definitely. Although, I’m very aware that nowadays you should write for a global audience. So if I ever get published in the States there will need to be a lot of changes lol

Q. Can you provide links to your work?
See above link for my ‘online’ work, but there’s not much. I keep meaning to upload more stuff, but never get around to it lol.

Now I’m spose to tag fellow Brits, but I don’t know which of you to choose lol. So I’m just gunna say, if you fancy giving it a go, please do, and leave a link to your post in the comments ๐Ÿ™‚

Hope you enjoyed that? I did ๐Ÿ™‚

Monday Must Do’s 20th to 26th May

Good morning! (or afternoon/evening depending on where you are and when you’re reading this ๐Ÿ˜‰

I’m BACK! Did ya miss me? I’ve missed you guys ๐Ÿ™‚

Ok, that’s enough lol….I guess I better tell you what I’ve been up to. I’ve had a pretty good 2 weeks to be honest. It was my birthday and i went stationery shopping, i went to the Romantic Novelists Summer Party (click the link for the photos including one which featured my red shoes! lol) and went to see RJ Ellory read from his new novel which isnt out for a few months (must buy that one!). I haven’t touched the WIP (Still), haven’t done much writing at all, although I did do a few prompts which was fun. Most of you know, I’m a huge fan of prompts and writing exercises to get the old creative juices flowing. I stumbled across Bonnie Neubauer’s website last week (she’s the lady who wrote The Right Brain Workbook) and here’s what she has to say about prompts:

“Because exercises (also known as prompts) remove the expectations and judgments you have about your own writing. The goal of an exercise is get you to write for the sake of writing so you can discover or rediscover the joy of writing. Exercises are all about filling the pre-allotted time or the pre-allotted space on the page. Do that, and you have met your goal. Nothing else matters. Not content, not plot, not characters, not spelling. And, to exceed your goal all you have to do is write one extra sentence.”

“Do enough exercises (The number is different for everyone; for me, it happens to be 2 exercises a day for 3 to 6 days), and you will find yourself excited about doing your ‘real’ writing. When this happens (and don’t force it), it’s totally okay to abandon the world of exercises and write what you want to write. Just remember that if you ever find yourself stalled, immediately put your regular writing aside and do some exercises. The exercises will relieve you of the pressure to produce and will once again, get your right brain primed to spew onto the paper without letting your left brain (the nasty editor) get in the way and stop you.”

And that’s what happened see….I fell out of love with writing, so I’ve been trying to claw my way back….and I think it’s working. I’ve missed doing prompts and I should never have stopped. As from today I’m taking Bonnie’s advice, and going back to committing to daily writing ๐Ÿ™‚

So the coming week looks like this:

And how I’ve missed the structure of a ‘to do list’ because when I haven’t got one, nothing gets done.

You’ll see I’m working on another project. My second novel, entitled “Tangled” is what I’ve decided to submit to the RNA New Writers Scheme for critique, but it still needs some work. It’s complete, has a beginning, a middle and an end (go me!) but is only 52,000 words lol. The first novel (Still) is such a bloody mess that I really don’t know where to go next, so I’m putting it to one side (for the moment). There’s only so many times you can bash your head against that wall ๐Ÿ˜‰

So I’m feeling pretty good, pretty confident and actually raring to get suck in! I’m hoping that my new pad from Paperchase will help.

Great post about self doubt here on Mandy Websters blog. Struck a nerve with me as its just how I’ve been feeling lately. Now, I’m off to turn a prompt into a ghost story ๐Ÿ™‚

So what are your writing plans for the week?