Friday 11 December 2009

Pic of the Week . . .

Going back a few weeks ago, my friend asked me if I knew of any artists who have used men in their artwork, and this sparked a hunt for just such a piece. I found a few and published at least one for Pic of the Week, but during this I completely over-looked and forgot about my all-time favourite. Again, it's by Luis Royo, and it's a piece I have adored for some time now . . .

Thursday 10 December 2009

Exercise: You wake up and find yourself . . .

It's been a while since I last posted a writing exercise, so I thought I'd dig out an old one for you.

With this one, we each got given a random location, and the situation was `what if you woke up and found yourselves there`.

Exercise: You wake up and find yourself on a shop floor in the High Street

The voice brought me slowly to consciousness. I could hear it, the low, grumbled tone that vibrated through my head, but the words were a mystery. What was he saying? I couldn't tell.

Painfully I opened my eyes. The bright strobes from the ceiling above me were the first things I registered. The second was the blinding pain that shot through to the back of my skull. Squinting, I groaned and rolled over.

"No sale! No sale!" cried a second voice, the words gradually becoming coherent. "No sale!"

No sale? Where the bloody hell was I, and why wasn't I at home where I was supposed to be? Deciding to try again, I dubiously opened my eyes, expectant of the pain. It didn't catch me off guard this time. Two men stood over me, both Indian. One spoke in a language that baffled me. Obviously it made perfect sense to both him and the listener, but not to me.

"No! No sale!" the listener continued to cry.

Whilst the first man argued his point with what sounded like urgent need, I pushed myself into a seated position and looked around. Suddenly I knew where I was. I was lying in an aisle of a shop, one of many that lined the High Street.

What was I doing here?

Looking up, I saw both men staring at me, as if my movement had brought my presence to their attention.

"Sir," the listener shrieked in my direction. "Tell him no sale!"

"What?" I stammered, blinking.

"No sale!"

Again the first man waffled on as I continued to look around. Eventually my eyes brought my body to my attention. I was covered head to foot with little yellow sticky price tags. They were stuck all over me and each stated £3.50. I looked back up at the men confused.

"Sir! Tell him `no sale`! He want to buy you for thwee pound fifty! I say him no sale! No sale!"

Friday 4 December 2009

Pic of the Week . . .

Surfing through the net, searching for some inspirational art to feature on Pic of the Week, I stumbled across this website. I haven't had time to give it a good surf yet, but noticed there were some fantastic pieces published here. On the right hand side, after scrolling down a tad, you will see a list of featured artists. If you like your art almost as much as I do, then it might be worth your while to have a quick browse. I will definately be going back . . .

Last Beautiful Girl

Thursday 3 December 2009

Seasonal bugs . . .

I've just been attacked by a bug. It's supposedly called a `Seasonal Bug` but I didn't feel any of its joy - I'm not quite sure it even had any!

No one likes getting ill, and I don't wish this little bug on anyone. It was a good`un! It was mainly a head-cold that made your head feel like all it wanted to do was explode. It wasn't a good feeling.

Reading one of the blogs I follow, I also discovered that she has just suffered from the same, and stated that head colds and writing just don't mix. And it's true - it's so true. It cloads your mind, and the only thing being created in your head is mucus . . . yuk! Unfortunately she was working to a deadline, and just finished short because of it, bless her.

Luckily my novel is finished and I am waiting for the critique, so there hasn't been need for much creativity to take place. I have, though, just started to edit a previous novel. It's a pretty good fantasy story, but badly needs a hair cut as a lot of it is needless dribble. It'll keep me busy until my critique is ready though. . .

Friday 20 November 2009

Pic of the Week . . .

This week, Iyall mostly be publishing Luis Royo (I'm such a fan)

This piece - the name escapes me - is one of my all-time favourite pieces. I love it. To me it portrays a connection between good and evil, light and dark, living and breathing v's machinery . . . or to an extent.

Regardless of what it portrays, I still love it and decided it deserves a mention this week.

Thursday 19 November 2009

Novel Update . . .

It's finally finished! Well, from my perspective. The edited version of my novel is now about 70 words under the 131,000 count, and boy has it been a journey for me. I started it, got writers block in the middle and didn't want to continue, got passed that, didn't like the ending, recalculated . . .

All in all it's taken me about 2 years to write, give or take a few, but that isn't including the 5 - 6 month period between editing stages where I didn't touch it. I just left it to gather dust so that I could go back to it with a fresh eye. It's amazing how different your masterpiece reads after you've left it for so long. I actually quite enjoyed it.

So anyway, it has now seen it's 4th / 5th editing. I know there are still mistakes and plot holes, but I've now reached the stage where I can no longer see them. I've gone over it so many times that I can't see the forest for the trees, so they say. All that is left now is for my trusted colleagues to read through it and pin point my errors. They're good at critiquing, which is what it needs.

After that, and once any new errors have been corrected, it's off on the hunt for an agent . . . and then many more editing stages . . . lol

Friday 13 November 2009

Pic of the Week . . .

Since publishing `Pic of the Week` on this blog, it came to light that a good friend of mine shares the same taste in art. She is a fellow writer and has written some pretty dark, fantastic pieces herself. During a conversation we had this week, she pointed out that most artwork of this genre consist of women, and she is after a fantasy picture of a man.

Easier said than done.

But while I was scouting I came across a picture that I rather liked. I was looking up the artist `Linda Bergkvist` at the time, and would have presumed it was one of her pieces, but on closer inspection the signature at the bottom doesn't resemble that of the artist. I decided it had to be this week's pic, but unfortunately I cannot tell you anything about the artist. In this, I have failed . . .

Monday 9 November 2009

Novel Going's On . . .

Those of you who know me are in knowledge of this already, but for those few who don't I'm going to share with you now.

I finished my novel a little while ago and am now in editing process.

I've made all the big changes that I feel it needs and am now going through it again just to make sure that everything flows nicely before handing it over to my trusted friends for a good critique. I've given myself a deadline of January (sometime within), and by this time I want it as ready as it can be before I take up the challenge of finding an agent. I already have a list of hopefuls.

I have managed to cut my word count to 130,000 now, which I think is a reasonable amount for a novel - if not still a little too long. It's a fantasy tale titled `The Calming of Gorthian,` and I'm sure it will earn me a hundred rejection slips that I can use to decorate my walls (and it's a large wall, so I will be persistent).

I'll keep you informed . . .

Friday 6 November 2009

Pic of the Week . . .

Another great artist on my list is Jessica Galbreth. To me, her work still harbours raw beauty. Many artists nowadays are turning to digital - and don't get me wrong, there is some fantastic digitally mastered artwork out there. They have flawless tones and detailed backgrounds - perfect - but it takes away that pen and ink feel.

It may just be her particular style, but one thing that captured me about most of Jessica Galbreth's work is that it appears untouched and unaltered after the last paint stroke has been placed. Raw beauty . . .

Mask of Autumn

Tuesday 3 November 2009

Exercise: A Play with Words . . .

Our last session introduced most of us to a fantastic little book by Ursula K Le Guin, titled `Steering the Craft`. It's one of many good books on writing, and also provides little writing exercises for you to do. We put one to the test.

It was said that we can all tell a story. We can all work on our characters well, bringing them to life, and we can create scenes with no problems at all . . . but we never really think that much about descriptive style. When was the last time you just sat down, put pen to paper, and just let the words flow. They could be meaningless words, just bobbing on the tide, but when spoken aloud and listened to, can create such a beautiful sound that flows together perfectly . . .

Exercise: A play with words to listen to how they flow . . .

Contradiction: The violent crushing sounds breaths a feeling of tranquility whirling softly within. The warmth that churns creates a relaxation that never tires, that never grows old, that never expires. Eyes sit and gaze for hours, hypnotised by the natural forces that drives the world. Each wave crashes on the shore, vicious and unrepentant, yet soft and majestic. Beyond linger mysteries and depths unexplored. Creatures lurk and stir in abysses deeper than any mountain, promising terror and death to any stranger. The crushing confines hold an unwelcome darkness that blinds, a place that wants to be uninhabitable, that wants to be terrifying, and that wants to be feared. But still eyes gaze for hours, hypnotised by it's natural beauty and tranquility. The ocean - such contradiction.

Friday 30 October 2009

Pic of the Week . . .

Allow me to introduce you to Luis Royo. His work is based around the Sci-Fi / Fantasy theme, and he has some very impressive pieces in his portfolio, although some are verging on the . . . how can I say this . . . rather rude side. But if someone can take a naked woman, put her in a box and call it art, then these can easily pass too . . .

Enjoy . . .

Tuesday 27 October 2009

Exercise: Painted Inspiration . . .

During the summer, I went and stayed with my parents down in Devon, and for a day out we visited Powderham Castle. I like walking around old manor homes and castles, and seeing how they used to live. Like most manor houses, the walls were decorated with age-old portraits of previous tenants and generations long gone, however, one painting caught my attention.

Standing, looking tall, proud and gorgeous, was a woman, dressed in a flowing blue gown and tall hair, but behind her, among the background, was a dark figure of a man. No one knew who this figure belonged to. In later investigations, I was told that that the portrait was of Lady Frances Finch and the artist was Thomas Hudson. I am still investigating. But our exercise was inspired by this figure, and we had to come up with a short piece revolving around this mystery.

Exercise: Painted Inspiration . . .

She was a powerful figure in society, a 17th century duchess, loved and respected by all who knew her. Her beauty far excelled all those around her, and where ever she went heads would turn. Her beauty was matched only by her kindness towards her court. Her smile was constantly bright, wide and welcoming . . . but her eyes betrayed her.

Within, her beautiful soul was trapped. Her life had been handed to the duke at the age of fourteen for marriage and the promise of a son. Her wealth and her position kept her captive. Her husband allowed himself the freedom a duke deserved, but she was denied all she wanted, even the loved craved from the man she had given her hand to.

It never became knowledge to her court about the secret life she sought elsewhere. She excepted her husband's elusiveness and the duties her position demanded, but in return she found the love she desired from an artist who was often hired by the duke. With his long hours spent within their home, a friendship had soon blossomed, a friendship that soon turned to love.

Her husband never knew, never even suspected the possibility that his three children were not his. It was to be a secret that the duchess and her lover would take to the grave, and the only evidence left behind of what they shared was in an exquisite portrait - one of the duchess painted by her lover - and of the mysterious black figure standing in the background behind her.

It was to be the only time they could both be seen together in the public eye, and one that would keep their secret passion alive for the centuries to come . . .
*Portrait is another of Lady Frances Finch.

Friday 23 October 2009

Pic of the Week . . .

This week's Pic of the Week is by none other than my favourite artist of the moment - Nene Thomas. This piece is called Queen of Owls and deserves some praise.

I've always admired Nene Thomas, and now I admire her husband too. He is a fellow writer of the fantasy Genre, and publishes sneak previews of his work on their website. Together they are on the path of creating a colourful masterpiece, and the magnificent characters created by Steven's pen are also brought to life by Nene's paintbrush. No doubt you will see many more of Nene's work published on Pic of the Week . . .

I wish the pair luck . . .

Tuesday 20 October 2009

Exercise: Three Random Sentances . . .

My book come in handy for more than just reading last night. Poor Philippa Greggory hasn't got a clue what she's inspired. My book, The Other Boleyn Girl, was innocently sitting on the table when it was suddenly grabbed by my colleague, Tony. We each had to name a page, three in total, and the first sentence from each was taken to create a strange little paragraph. Then, by using this paragraph, we had to let our minds roll . . .

Exercise: Three random sentences to form an opening paragraph.

A few months later the business was done. "What now?" he asked George.
"Don't you want to touch me?" she taunted him.
"What?" he asked stupidly, still dazed with pleasure.

"Don't you want to touch me?"

He looked across at her, a frown creasing his forehead. "Why should I want to touch you for?"

George gave a sigh, her eyes ablaze with her fiery hell. "We've just worked for months to bring you down from your heavenly cloud. I thought you wanted to be introduced the glorious act of carnal sin?"

The angel seemed slightly taken back. "Well yes, of course I do, but I didn't expect it to happen right now."

"Why wait?" She sat on the wall, her long legs crossed over each other. Her bare skin glistened in the street lights, her body seeming unearthly within the night. "It is the most pleasurable of sins."

"But I've just-"

"You've just committed your second sin. Greed isn't as pleasurable as lust, I can assure you of that. You have five more acts to commit. Why save the best till last? I certainly can't wait that long."

"But I've always been taught that `patience is a virtue`."

Suddenly her large wings opened up behind her. They were twice her size, with their bony frame appearing black, and with darkened skin stretched like webbing. "Don't you dare preach your `holier than thou` curses to me!" Her eyes glowed red like beacons in the shadows. "Of all people you should know that I will not succumb to such talk!"

The angel cowered away, his own white, feathery wings folded up tightly behind him. He looked down, almost afraid to look at her angry beauty. "I`m sorry, George."

"I have worked - slaved - to bring you down here so that you can commit your sins. It was what you wanted, remember? The mundane life in heaven was just too much for your little angelic self." She slipped off her wall and stepped up to him. "I cannot wait for this much longer. I have waited too long for this moment - to become one with an angel from the heavens - and do you even realise what it means?"

He lifted his head, knowing the answer and about to speak, but she cut him off.

"It means that after thousands of years, an eternity of war between good and evil, a child will be spawned. It will possess both the blood of heaven and hell, and will produce a whole new religion, a whole new way of life! Heaven and hell will be united! No longer will the war reign between the Devil and God! No longer will there be sins to break or commandments to uphold. We will have a new king, a new race - our race!"

She stepped closer, so close the angel could feel her hellish heat against his bare skin. He wanted to turn away. He wasn't ready for this. Despite what he had done already to ensure the Pearly Gate was forever sealed behind him, he wasn't ready to betray his Lord in such a huge way. It didn't feel right, but as George enveloped him within her large, fleshy wings, he knew it was too late.

There was no going back now. The demon was to have her wicked way . . .

Friday 16 October 2009

Pic of the Week . . .

Seeing as I'm a great lover of Art as well as writing, I thought I'd publish a `Pic of the Week` too. My first picture would be from digital artist Tang Yeuhui. There are some fantastic pieces within their portfolio . . . As a fantasy writer, you can work wonders with a charcter like this . . .


Thursday 15 October 2009

Exercise: Three Random Words . . .

I am such a queen of cheese, and I didn't realise how much until this exercise cropped up. Usually during writing exercises I come up with anything that revolves around the weird and bizarre (as you haven't read any, you'll just have to take my word for that). This time it is just pure cheese - no ifs or buts. But I suppose it's not too bad for something that was created on the spur of the moment.

Exercise: Three random words picked. Write a piece revolving around them:

Words: Every Plum Tree

The sight of her was stunning to the king's eye, a vision of simplistic beauty. She sat amid the row of plum trees, innocently holding a freshly picked plum in her hands. He sat and watched with a mixture of horror and intrigue, hidden behind the leaves that sat between them. She had no idea that he was there, believing herself to be alone in the dense plum farm but she was wrong, and if it had been anyone else they would have been lead away to the block.

But she! She took the king's breath away, stole it from his very lungs without him realising, and he felt weakened by it. The late queen's plum farm had been solely hers. Her love of the fruit and her wishes to grow them and share them with the kingdom had captured everyones hearts, but the day she died filled their very souls with a grieving cloud. No longer could the king look upon his late wife's glorious farm without his heart being torn to shreds.

It was then, four months after her death, that the king ordered the destruction of the farm. Every plum tree was to be destroyed and not one was to be left standing . . . until he saw her, the fair maiden, the stranger in his court. Just who was she?

As she raised her hands and took a bite from the forbidden fruit, his heart lurched with want. She was completely unaware that she was captivating him, ensnaring him with her innocent charm. He just had to meet her.

Soon she became known throughout the kingdom and was loved by all, just as the queen was herself. Her own love for the forbidden fruit and her innocent wanders through the plum trees had lifted the shadows from every heart. She had given the people their joy back.

And the plum trees had been saved.

Monday 12 October 2009

Exercise: Pearl Harbour . . .

The exercise was to spend half an hour playing a computer game of your choice
and then write a short piece as if you were actually there,
seeing it all with your own eye . . .

Chosen game: Medal of Honour, Pearl Harbour . . .

The stench of smoke is overpowering. All around me are small fires blazing away, and broken wiring sparking with each lazy swing. Despite the noise from outside, the gangways within the ship are almost silent. No longer is there the normal chatter and clanging of everyday life on board. A deathly eeriness lingers around every corner, and as I start to move through the porthole I notice the dead bodies littering my way.

A yell enters my ears and I realise that someone is calling me, beckoning me to follow them. Coughing the smoke from my lungs, I continue towards them. The rooms I pass are ablaze, the heat engulfing me as I struggle by, and I pray that I make it out alive.

Everything I knew has been destroyed by the explosion, and I approach another of its casualties. This time the sailor is still alive. He calls to me, pleading for me to help, but the man upfront continues to beckon, wanting me desperately to follow. Heavy with guilt, I turn and abandon the injured sailor, knowing only death waits for him.

As I follow my comrade into the remains of what used to be the galley, flames leap out at us. I jump back, trying to protect myself from it's searing heat. I see a fire extinguisher against the wall, and I go to it and pick it up. To get out of the ship alive, I have to battle the flames. The room fills with steam as I aim the extinguisher towards the burning source, and even though I feel temporarily blinded by it's brightness, I realise with relief that they are receding.

As I create a gap for myself to run through, my comrade yells once again. Looking through the smoke, I see a flight of stairs leading up and out to the deck. Racing onwards, I climb the stairs as quickly as I can, eager to be free from the polluted, sizzling confines below and to once again fill my lungs with the clean air that Pearl Harbour has to offer, but I freeze as I reach the top.

I soon realise that the horrors behind me were nothing compared to the ones in front of me.

The skies are black with thick smoke, and the stench of burning is just as strong as below. Ships are engulfed all about me, and the yells and cries and gunfire mixed with the roar of attacking aircraft are deafening. But these sights are short lived. A stray bullet from an over passing plane pierces me body, and I can't help but fall backwards down the stairwell and to my death . . .

Friday 9 October 2009

Very First Blog of Many . . .

Hi there. I'd like to say `Welcome to my Blog`, but that just sounds far too cheesy for my liking. Seeing as though this is the first of my personal blogs, I'd like to start by saying something that catches your eyes, something that may just make you read on to the end - and then even come back for a second blog, so . . . welcome to my blog!

Allow me to introduce myself first. I'm a 28 year old aspiring writer who at the moment is in the editing process of their 13th novel (Is it 13 or 14? I can't remember. I'll come back to you on that). I've been writing since the age of 10 when I started my first real fantasy story, and finished it two years later at the age of 12. It was a total of 76 hand scrawled A4 pages long and fully illustrated. Since then there hasn't been a moment gone by that I haven't been writing something. It has been a passion that has seen me through my teen years all the way through to my adult life, and it is still going strong.

Two years ago I joined my local Writers Circle. I met and made many new friends who share this passion with me, and every week we meet up to discuss our work, write some (sometimes rather amusing) exercises, and generally help each other in our quest towards the same goal - getting published. Our aim is not to teach you how to write a bloody good piece, but rather to give you the support that you need and maybe point out errors that you wouldn't necessarily see. It's been a god-send to me, and I haven't looked back. I advice all aspiring writers to join one.

Anyway, the exercises we write can sometimes churn out some rather short but fantastic story ideas. Whether or not we choose to use these ever again is completely down to us, but I feel to just let them sit in your note pad doing nothing is a waste. This is why I have started this blog, so I can share some of these with you. Some of the pieces we drag out from the top of our heads can often be very bizarre. This is why have called them WTF's (What The F**k's), as you may read them and think exactly that. Very fitting in my mind.

But not only will I be publishing some rather strange but wonderful pieces here, I'll also use this blog to chat about writing in general, and if any readers out there feel they need support or have a question to ask . . . I'll be here. I'm not saying I know all there is about writing (if I did I'm sure I'd be published by now) but just like our Writer's Circle, I can offer support, ideas and advice.

Use me as you will . . .