Welcome, readers, to the second instalment in this short series showcasing the work of the Wentworth Writers. If you read part one (which can be accessed HERE), you will know what this is all about. If not, I urge you to read the first post as there is good work there. I also think it’s quite funny, although I am biased. In short, this series comprises three sets of three pieces of work produced in a workshop during a writing retreat run by The National Association of Writers’ Groups in Barnsley in May. We had such a blast we decided that we wanted to preserve the work and share it a little. Each piece is effectively a parody of a letter of application written in 1934 by a wannabe Hollywood screenwriter named Robert Pirosh. His letter can be read HERE.
[I’m now stressing that I haven’t put the word ‘parody’ to its correct use. Apparently a parody is ‘a humorous or satirical imitation of a serious piece of writing’. The Pirosh letter is not at all serious but never mind. (It’s honestly really stressful writing about writers. I’m now fretting about the square brackets...)]
Anyway, read on and enjoy. First up is Yvonne. Make sure you read all the way down to Henry; he doesn't deserve to be at the bottom of anything other than a long drink!
Our Letters (Part 2)
I like eating. I like large squashy things like gateaux, trifles and fruit jellies. I like savoury aperitifs such as olives, small nibbles of pastry rich pates of game and mushroom, sharp compotes, of exotic fare on the tongue. I like Sunday dinners; roast beef, Yorkshire puddings, lamb with mint and rosemary, and pork with crisp salty crackling. All of which is served with roast potatoes; crispy crunchy outside but soft inside, and beautiful meat juice gravies.
I like cheese, butter, and full cream. Whipped, churned, goats, cow or alpaca. But most of all I like preparing quality food at the right price so that I can eat it; savouring each bite of my tasty platefuls.
Madam I am here, having eaten in fine restaurants, tavernas, cafes in Italy, France and Wales; to offer myself to you as the school cook. May I come over and offer you some of my temptations?
Frances A. Flint
Dear Wildlife Trust,
I like trees. I especially like Willows as they hug the Earth around them and dip their leafy fingers in a passing stream. I like when I can snuggle in to their raised roots and curl up like a resident, gazing up through myriad branches and rest my eyes in cool green.
I also like upright trees, huggable trunks and spiral branches that invite me up in to the canopy, stepping high, past nests and tiny caves, a nod to my neighbours as I reach for the highest thinnest branch.
I like to walk in Forests, breathing with the Earth’s lungs.
I can see the wood for the trees.
May I take a walk in the woods for you?
Note from Editor: I really hope you’ve enjoyed this batch of letters and also finding out a little about the people behind the words. A hearty thank you to those who have participated so far. The next post will be the final one in this series so I suppose I had better dig out my letter. It will appear alongside the fabulous contribution by Jacky Pemberton and I am also hoping for Hester to pull her finger out (nudge, nudge).
In the meantime I am always hoping for new subscribers to my list for blog updates so please do fill out the box on the upper right hand side if you are interested. Each new subscriber keeps me going. I can be found on Facebook under many different guises but my writing page is @bmkeeling and my literary gift shop is @candelabracrafts.
Not your usual start to a blog post, right?
Well this is no ordinary blog post. This is the first in a series of three special posts in which I have the privilege of publishing the collective works of the merry band of writers, of which I was one, who attended a workshop by Leonora Rustamova at Wentworth in May. The Wentworth weekend is organised by The National Association of Writers' Groups and you can read my post on the entire weekend HERE.
The workshop took place on the Sunday morning of the retreat. There were around 15 of us in attendance and we engaged in two writing exercises. We each read out our pieces and there was some great work there. It’s amazing how words can just tumble onto a page one minute and then dry up the next. On this particular day, the words were tumbling, cascading and even pirouetting from our pens and onto the paper. As these little gems were being read out and we were laughing and clapping each other along, it struck me that so many such pieces are produced in workshops and then stuffed into a notebook or file, never to be seen again. When Leonora voiced what I was thinking, I knew what I had to do - I had to publish these literary saplings, together, as a consolidated piece of work by the Wentworth Writers. There are, though, too many words for one single post so I’m splitting it into three.
This is the first.
Leonora gave us a letter. A fat, buttery letter!
Actually it was a copy of a letter penned by Hollywood screenwriter, Robert Pirosh, in 1934. He ditched his job as a copywriter in New York and moved to Hollywood. But he needed to get his foot in the door in a city full of people all trying to get their extremities into the same aperture. So what did he do? He sent out his c.v. attached to one of the most effective cover letters ever written. I would dearly love to reproduce it here but I am uncertain of its copyright status, although it can be read on the Guardian’s website by clicking HERE.
If you have a spare few minutes and have any interest in writing, or indeed job application letters (!), I urge you to take a look. It will also make sense of the pieces which follow. The letter is unconventional and breaks many rules of etiquette but perfectly demonstrates the writer’s suitability for the screenwriting job in question.
Our task was to write an application letter in the same vein, although we sought only to emulate the style of writing; clearly we could not achieve the same thing as Pirosh given that none of us were seeking to use the medium of a letter to inherently demonstrate our suitability for a job involving words...
This is what we produced. Bear in mind that these pieces were written in 15 minutes and have not been reworked.
First up is Anne. Please take a deep breath, relax your shoulders and absorb her beautiful words.
I like art. I like to see through the eyes of others.
I like rough, elemental sketches, lush huge canvases of people and places, and every art form in between.
I like to be taken aback by a scene reduced to sparse lines and a view suggested by mere smears of colours juxtaposed to take me to a place I have seen, or one I would love to see.
I like the intricate building of a landscape or cityscape in such exquisite detail that makes it impossible to take in the the view in one viewing.
I like to be outraged by a picture that represents a person or a place in a way foreign to me, I like the conversation evoked.
I like to be taken aback by superb skills and to be blown over by the deceptively child-like simplicity of some work.
I like to return and return to a picture to learn more and yet more.
I love Hockney and Rembrandt and Van Gogh and Andy Goldsworthy and Dan Viola, and am unreasonably excited by a very small child’s first recognisable drawing.
I need to read so that I can live more lives than mine. I need to visit art works for the very same reason.
Please let me work in your wonderful gallery.
I called my collection of poetry and photographs ‘Casting for Words’ as that is what I seem to spend so much time doing. Finding the best word I can. Reading is an essential part of my life and a wonderful source of ideas and...words.
Photographs help capture the moment and can sometimes illustrate a poem.
My book should soon be available.
Holmfirth Writers’ Group and The National Association of Writers’ Groups are a wonderful support and I value both as great friendship groups.
At Wentworth Castle in May, I enjoyed the company of writers and inspiring workshops.
I doodle as I listen. It really does concentrate my mind.
Just whatever I have in my hand.
I once drew a jazz group on a Sunday paper. In biro. It drew me into the music.
Leonora shared some brilliant letters and asked us to write letters of application.
Above is my plea for a dream job.
I really want it now...
I like photographs.
I like grainy, vivid, high definition, monochrome photographs that are splashed across newspapers to show the dramas of the world.
I like glossy, ten-by-eight fashion photos. All soft filters and luxurious colours draping across magazines.
I like surreal abstractions of fantasy worlds - of fish driving cars and twenty-foot dragonflies - constructed lovingly in photographic enlargers and appearing in a dish full of developer, waiting to be fixed and hung out to dry.
Man Ray was the way to go, and we all followed. Today Photoshop will create his images in seconds, with the same impact but without the heart and soul.
I like pixel heavy super-images, filling walls of galleries, skin pores standing out in twenty-foot masterpieces. Photo realism as never before.
But I am a traditionalist. I like the tug of 35mm film as you wind it on to the next frame, huddling in darkened cupboards struggling to find the top of a developing tank, sitting in the soothing glow of a safety light 100% absorbed in the physicality of processing film.
Which probably means I don’t want your job and would rather lock myself away in the peace and quiet of a darkroom.
When I left school I got a job in a textile mill. I saved my wages so I could buy a Zenith SLR camera, an enlarger, developing tank and processing trays. Using blackout material to cover the windows (donated by the mill I worked at) I then spent many hours taking over the bathroom and developing black and white photographs. This became an obsessive hobby for many years, and I loved watching the images slowly appear in the developer - almost like magic.
Time moves on, teaching took up much of my time, and today I have a digital camera, downloading the images into a computer - but nothing matches the excitement of being shut away in a darkroom, sitting under a red safety lamp and being totally absorbed in the creative process.
I like travelling. I like travelling Europe. I like travelling the world. I like travelling to challenging countries.
I really like Arizona cacti. I like their round, plump, spiny, succulent parts, their delicate flowers that turn into edible fruits is some cases giving us cactus jelly and bonbons. I like the dear little elegant cactus wren who builds her home in a cactus void. I like the fact that the Saguaro blooms after midnight and closes mid-afternoon.
I like Africa and Africans especially the strong African women. I am fascinated by the dusty, curry smelling unkempt streets; loud African music bellowing out from doorways, street parties and buxom women clad and swathed in intoxicatingly vivid fabrics. I like the colour, shape, smells and textures of Africa. I like the fresh fruit and veg markets and constant chatter and battering.
I like United Arab Emirates for its indescribable heat, gold sculptured sand dunes and dune buggies, camel trains and Bedouin camps. I like the tailors, beauty parlours and the outrageous fun of visiting the grog shop. I like the smell of a shisha bar, pungent coffee houses and real hummus.
I like my travels to Europe for the rich fabric of culture. I like the beaches salty air, seaweed, beach combing and the sound ofebbing and waning of these beaches of paradise. I like watching the glorious sunsets and magnificent sunrises; clifftop walks and the flora and fauna. I like the city sights as well as remote country escapes.
I like all these destinations for their culture, diversity, life, people, food and of course a good glass of wine or a delicious cocktail.
I like travel writing and travel photography much better than social work.
Is there an amazing and exotic destination your delightful magazine would like me to visit and review?
My passport is current and ready to go.
Leonora Rustamova teaches Creative Writing at Swarthmore College, University of Huddersfield and is an editor at Blue Moose books. In fact, she edited a rather special book, The Gallows Pole, by Benjamin Myers, which has just won the prestigious Walter Scott prize for historical fiction, although she is so modest I have had to add this into her bio myself. Her workshop was so much fun - if you are looking for someone to run a writing workshop for any ability, then you can’t go far wrong with Leonora. The only problem is that you have to track her down first...
The Gang - this is us doing the exercise...
If you've read this far, thank you. I also want to thank those who have allowed me to publish their work. It takes courage to share your writing and we should applaud everyone who takes that step.
I've loved putting this post together and, happily for me, there's more to come. Watch this space (or, even better, sign up for email updates). This blog is small but these words deserve to be read so please help by sharing with your friends.
Well I'm back from my first, and probably only, writing retreat this year.
It couldn't have come at a better or worse time!
I really was ready for a break and was so looking forward to meeting up with people who wanted to talk about reading, writing and, as it turns out, dragonflies, space exploration and football but then Liverpool FC went and got into the Champions League final and I had to travel back on Saturday night to watch the match before returning for breakfast at the retreat on Sunday.
That's enough said about the football but, on the plus side, I was forced to finally drive on the motorway and I did it four times in three days.
Anyone who knows me will appreciate what a big achievement that was. Whoop!
The retreat was held at Northern College at Wentworth Castle and Gardens, Barnsley. and was organised by a member of the National Association of Writers' Groups (a big shout out to Chris). Whilst I am a member of this lovely charitable organisation (www.nawg.co.uk) I am not part of a writing group and so I'm an 'associate' member of NAWG and I turn up on my own. It is such a friendly group, though, it is not a problem. I have only met many of the people a couple of times but we all keep in touch online and I definitely consider them friends. I arrived at lunchtime on Friday and headed to my room to get settled and work on my novel for a couple of hours before meeting up for a pub dinner in the evening.
On Saturday, professional writer and all-round good-guy, Marvin Close, ran a short workshop designed to get our creative juices going. It's all very relaxed and some people headed to the library rather than the workshop, others attended to their own work whilst sitting in the workshop and the rest of us did Marvin's exercises (writing - not physical!) which were perfectly pitched to get us thinking, and in a good frame of mind to then work on our own material in the afternoon. Marvin was available after lunch for one-to-one sessions, providing advice and assistance with whatever writing-related issue we wanted to discuss with him. He is a great person to be around - always encouraging, enthusiastic and ready with good, experienced advice, I wish I could have him on speed-dial for whenever the doubts hit me.
During Saturday afternoon I managed a walk with my lovely writing gal-pal, Emma. We found a sheep which looked like a camel, vibrant, heady azaleas and rhododendrons and a gnarled old tree right out of A Game of Thrones (well, in my head, anyway). We didn't make it up to the castle but it was a beautiful walk nonetheless. I can't believe that the venue is now closed to the public. Truly sad and I hope it can be reopened soon. It is still in immaculate condition and my kids used to love running up to the castle and then mucking about in the playground. This weekend we had it all to ourselves.
After the walk I managed a couple of hours of writing before a quick dinner and a drive home.
The Sunday morning workshop was taken by Leonora Rustamova and it was a hoot. Like Marvin she guided us deftly through two writing exercises which got us all into our grooves. There was no pressure, plentiful humour and encouragement, and we all surprised ourselves with what we produced. The vibe in the room was wonderfully conducive to creativity and I was so glad that I attended. I had nearly missed the workshop to spend more time on my own projects but I definitely made the right decision. Everyone shared their work and we all listened and clapped and cheered each other on. By the end of Sunday's workshop we really were a little band of writers sharing a special bond, even if just for that moment.
All in all it was a productive, restorative and positive experience and at a great price (£157 including all workshops and meals on Saturday and Sunday).
Shame about the football.
We’ve all heard the phrase ‘truth is stranger than fiction’ and it is one that gives us writerly folk something to think upon.
When plotting a story, we are frequently advised not to rely too heavily on coincidence – the reader must not be cheated; he or she must be led, carefully yet often unwittingly, through a series of events which come together to form a plot. Said plot should, apparently, follow a generally accepted structure of crisis points, resolutions and thematic arcs. What we should not do is make our characters behave in an unbelievable way, stumble through coincidental events or allow something so outlandish to happen that the reader is alienated and throws down the book in disgust.
However... we have all heard stories (have we not?) of real-life events which would break these rules if incorporated into our fictitious plots. Clearly if the writing is of non-fiction then that is excellent news; it probably means that the subject matter we have chosen will make a rollicking read. Also, I am a firm believer that rules are made to be broken, in certain circumstances at least. I can think of many stories where ridiculously unbelievable things happen and, somehow, the writer manages to pull it off. Yet there are undoubtedly situations where using an event, or series of events, which occurred in real life in a fictitious piece just won’t work because the reader would be left saying that just wouldn’t happen. Whilst our response could justifiably be well, dear reader, it did! that just won’t cut it if it does not feel honest to the person you are trying to engage with.
I can recall a fair few training courses and writing workshops where, in group discussion, plot points have been shot down as being too unrealistic only for the writer to declare that it had in fact actually happened. It’s always interesting and it always makes me reflect, particularly as the past year has seen me writing and editing four non-fiction books about incredible, heroic, moving, dastardly and quite unbelievable events, a few of which would have been dismissed as absurd had they been incorporated into a work of fiction. By way of example, meet Henry Brown, a 19th century American slave who escaped to freedom – by post! After thirty three years of living his life in chains in Louisa County, Virginia, Henry claimed to have received a heavenly vision which told him to mail himself to a place where there were no slaves. Probably born of desperation, it is still completely bonkers and a truth which is, I think, stranger than much fiction (although I feel that I should point out that I am currently reading Mostly Harmless by Douglas Adams).
If you’d like to meet more of the fascinating folk who have inhabited my year they can be found in the four volumes of the ‘Keeping Up With the...’ series which I have published with Marvin Close. So far we have covered Jones, Williams, Brown and Smith and it has been a roller-coaster ride during which I have met many interesting and noteworthy individuals. I’m planning to set up Facebook pages in the coming months so that anyone can share pictures and stories of their own notable namesakes. I'd love to see old photos alongside family stories of heroes and black sheep. I will also be posting some extra stories on the Facebook pages which are not featured in the books together with some of Marvin's excellent cartoons!
The four volumes are packed with inspirational stories if you are looking for an idea for a piece of writing. Putting them together had my mind racing as I began to imagine how I would tell their stories or include them, disguised, within my own plot. Just make sure you don’t come up with something so crazy no one will believe you!!
Here’s hoping you had a great Christmas and that Santa brought you all of the books you asked for.
Happy New Year,
Each book is £4.50 in paperback and £2.49 on Kindle. Click on an image to take a further look.
I am very excited to welcome back Jennifer Joyce to my little blog. Jennifer is someone whom I admire greatly as she has turned her love of writing, and creating things generally, into a burgeoning career. Her passion for her characters and stories really shines through and (together with talent, obviously,) this has no doubt contributed to her self-publishing success and the subsequent signing of a contract with a traditional publisher. Now Jennifer boasts hundreds of Amazon reviews and a paperback title widely available in shops. Below she tells me a little about her amazing journey.
Thanks for coming back to my blog. How are you?
I’m great, thank you. It’s lovely to be back!
My last chat with you was in November 2015, I can’t believe how quickly the time has gone. Back then you had self-published a number of books but had just signed a contract with Carina (now rebranded as HQ Digital) for two books. I know that you have lovely paperbacks out in the world now and I was wondering how that came about?
After self-publishing A Beginner’s Guide To Salad and Everything Changes But You (and free short story A Beginner’s Guide To Christmas), I wrote a festive book (The Mince Pie Mix-Up) and was planning to self-publish again. But I thought I’d submit it to Carina on the off chance they’d want to publish it. I didn’t expect anything but a rejection, but they loved it and I was offered a two-book deal. I’ve since published four ebooks with them, with two more on the way next year, and my latest, The Little Bed & Breakfast by the Sea, was released as a paperback too.
I see that ‘The Little Bed and Breakfast by the Sea’ has over 100 Amazon reviews (click here). That is amazing. You must be pleased?
I’m amazed! It’s been so exciting seeing the number of reviews rising – especially as most people have enjoyed the book!
And is ‘The Little Teashop of Broken Hearts’ a sequel?
Although the books have similar titles, they aren’t connected at all – they take place in different locations and follow completely separate sets of characters.
Your latest book, ‘A Beginners Guide to Saying I Do’, is now available via Amazon (click here). Where does that fit in? I believe it is a follow-up to ‘A Beginners Guide to Salad’?
Yes, it’s the second book in the Beginner’s Guide series, following Ruth and her friends during the next stage of their lives. I wrote the first draft around the time I signed with HQ Digital, but it took a bit of a backseat as publisher deadlines kicked in. As with the first book in the series, I self-published A Beginner’s Guide To Saying I Do.
Now that you are signed up with a publisher, what level of involvement do you have with designing the cover? I know you used to like playing around with them when you were designing your own!
I’m not very involved at all, so the reveal is always exciting and I can’t wait to share them with everybody! I do like playing around with images and graphics, so I like having my toe in both camps as I get full control over my self-published designs.
What is your writing routine? Do you write every day?
I write Monday to Friday while my daughters are at school. If I’m nearing a deadline or I’m falling way behind schedule, I’ll write for a good chunk of Sundays too. In the school holidays, I’ll squeeze in bits of writing when I can and catch up in the evenings.
Do you have or are you seeking an agent?
I don’t have an agent at the moment, but it’s something I would definitely like to pursue again in the future!
So, after all this excitement, what’s next??
I’m currently in the planning stages of Book 9 while I wait for the edits of Book 8. Both books will be published by HQ Digital next year.
Thanks so much for coming, Jennifer. Maybe we can do this again in another couple of years? Who knows, there might be a movie to talk about by then!
That would be awesome – both chatting books again and movie talk!
Jennifer has a lovely website at jenniferjoycewrites.co.uk. Why not check it out?
We all have so much to do, don't we? And it can be hard deciding how to split your time. I'm certainly finding it difficult to decide. There are my two lovely boys who are growing up fast, my husband who is out at work a lot so time together is precious, the housework and shopping (and all the other 'little' things which need to be done to keep our lives ticking over but which seem to add up to days) and that's before I get to the stuff that is just mine, such as this little blog and my writing and crafting. Yet on a day like today, the garden is calling out to me. Oh, and exercise... that hugely important thing that gets shoved to the bottom of the list, mostly because I am always so damned tired there is nothing in my legs except jelly.
Hmm, tough decisions. As it stands I have spent three hours this morning on my laptop formatting non-fiction books but I think I will allow the garden to take me for half an hour soon.
Not that I am complaining. When I left work I didn't know how I was going to fill my days but, piece by piece, I've built up enough of a life that I could fill my sleeping hours and still not get everything done that I would like, and to the standard I would like. In a strange way, that pleases me. I need direction or I get confused.
I think it also makes me lucky and I have to remember that when I am stressing about when I am going to get everything done, particularly when someone is ill again. In the last few weeks, we've had colds, croup, hand foot and mouth and a sickness bug in the house. I have to say, it doesn't make getting that novel written any easier! But I'm learning to roll with it and do what I can when I can. The result is that I rarely take a break, and I'll have to keep an eye on that. If I get a spare moment, I'm logging on to do some quick editing or grabbing a camera to take pictures of my Etsy inventory. I do worry that I have taken on too much this Summer, as the books and the Etsy shops are all scheduled to go live in September, but it should calm down a little after that. Oh, but I nearly forgot, I'm also administering the open competitions for NAWG this year so if you've not yet sent in your entries, get writing!! Details can be found HERE.
Of course then there's all the marketing to do... There's no point spending all my free time holed-up inside on my own to put pretty and fun things out into the world but then not having the time or energy to tell anyone that they're there. So, watch this space, I'll be bending your ears soon...
In the meantime, there's also the small matter of the tiny office at the back of the garage which I have ear-marked for a workshop/writing room. I can write anywhere but my crafting bits and pieces are all over the house. They are getting underfoot and are at risk of damage. I really need somewhere safe and clean to store everything if I am going to start selling . (Note to any would-be burglars reading this - it is alarmed and will only have ribbons, paint and glue in it so don't go getting any ideas..!)
So do you think I can change this...
I think I might need some HELP!!
It’s been a while since my last blog post and it is largely due to the absence of any reading or writing in my daily life. Baby Sam still doesn’t like sleeping, day or night, and has picked up every bug going around. I am hoping that some warmer weather will help. Meanwhile Matthew is a pocket dynamo and doesn’t like it if I try and sit quietly for any length of time. Between them they have me on the go from 6 am to after 8 pm and often through the night as well. So you can see how this has happened.
But it’s ok. The boys are great, so much fun and totally adorable. Sam is gradually settling in to a couple of days at nursery which will free up some time (Matthew continues to enjoy his time there). And I am developing a new hobby... Crafting! Whilst I might not get reliable blocks of time during which I can write, I can sneak some shorter bursts here and there. Just before Christmas I attended a craft fair and marvelled at the lovely things people were making and selling. It moved quickly from there. Never one to hang around I joined Pinterest and discovered something amazing called ‘mixed media’. As the name suggests, this involves using many different techniques and materials to produce art. Many of the pieces I have seen have a luscious steampunky vibe to them. So, armed with some birthday money (and as it turns out, much of the grocery money as well) I have been on a spree – Hobbycraft, Amazon, Ebay, Wilko, charity shops – nowhere is safe. I’ve got inks, pastes, stamps, papers, stencils, wooden butterflies, mache books, lace, buttons and I just can’t stop.
Undoubtedly some of the time I could have spent writing and I’ve found that crafting has occupied my thoughts (coming up with designs together with solutions to technical issues like heatproofing coasters) when I would usually have been thinking about plotting. But I have fallen totally in love with it and am thinking about road-testing some of my pieces with a view to putting them up for sale later in the year. It won’t make me rich but I might make back some of the money I have spent on materials. In the meantime it has given me a greatly-needed creative release when I was struggling to find the time and the emotional energy required to write. Plus I think the pieces I have produced so far compliment my book which has a richly dark flavour. I can see a situation where I sell both books and crafts via my website. That’s the dream, anyway.
And today, well today I have had a writing day (note – for the purposes of this paragraph please pretend that it is still Saturday evening!). I am currently on my way back from a ‘Space to Write’ day run by the ever lovely Susan Elliot Wright and Russell Thomas (www.susanelliotwright.co.uk). It got me away from chores and has allowed me to assess where I am. Last week, on holiday with the troupe, I scribbled down a plan. Today I had time to think about it and began to move some of the elements forward. My aim (as Susan says, it helps to say it out loud and publicly if possible!) is to have self-published a second book of shorts by Christmas. It won’t be done in time for Christmas sales but I would like it done by the end of the year. As I am writing this I am thinking that January might not be a great time for a book launch so I might revisit the precise timing but I want it written and formatted by then. It will be a collection of fantasy short stories. Over the past 18 months I have written only two but after today I am a good way through a third. I probably need 8 or 9 in total, depending upon length. So a long way to go, but a plan at least. When I need a break from this project I have a couple of other books and scripts on the backburner greatly in need of attention and I’m working on a non-fiction project with a friend which will hopefully go live soon. It's never the ideas that are the problem... Time and execution - a different matter.
When the collection of shorts is out in the world I will force myself to move on. I love writing short stories but readers, it seems, are not in love with reading them.
Meanwhile 'Into Dust' remains 99p on Kindle - HERE.
That’s my update. I’d love to hear yours.
Well it wasn't quite an Unexpected Journey but it was a long one - Florida and back for ten days with a nearly-four year old and a nine month old baby (and my husband, of course)... Amid all the preparations and the frankly terrible sleeping pattern of the babe, my blog and my writing life have been much neglected. But today both boys are in nursery and I've pulled out my papers and begun to plan a new project. I'm still struggling with the novel and am beginning to come around to the idea that it might never take flight so I've decided to take the plunge and try my hand at writing for radio. Not something I am familiar with and it is going to take a lot of hard work, but I have an idea that really excites me and I can't wait to get properly stuck in. I've been reading a book 'Writing for Radio: A Practical Guide' and I'm going to listen to as much as I can lay my ears on. In the meantime I have scoped out the characters, plot and themes so it's just a case of knocking it together now. Right?!?
Before the holiday I dipped my toes into giving talks/workshops. I did two: one at the local library ('An Introduction to Creative Writing') and a talk at a retirement group in Swillington about writing, my ideas and my book. It was an interesting exercise and I am very grateful to Rothwell library and Elderberries in Swillington for letting me have a go and for making me feel welcome - especially you Elderberries!!
I've also been doing a reasonable amount of reading, although I have not been posting regular reviews. Since coming back from the NAWG conference at the beginning of September laden with books, I have a large 'to be read' pile and I will be spending a fair amount of time between now and Christmas reading and reviewing them. The NAWG conference at Warwick was as inspiring as ever - I returned with loads of ideas, so much motivation and with many new friends. I really do recommend the weekend as a wonderful place to attend workshops and meet other writers. It is so friendly and all the tutors are extremely approachable as a rule. For those unfamiliar with the organisation, it is the National Association of Writers Groups and they take individual members too (like me - it costs around £20 a year). The website is HERE and they run loads of competitions, some for non-members as well as members. Do check it out. The association also runs a retreat in May which I have never attended but am hoping to get to next year.
In the meantime here are some of the books I have read recently:
This blog post is just for fun! I asked six other writers to name a song which got them in the creative mood and to tell me why. These are their responses...
A big 'thank-you' to everyone who responded.
I love most types of fiction - crime, mystery, fantasy. Oh, and historical fiction of course and middle-grade books and, well, you get the picture.
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