Friday 24 December 2010
Anyway, not only is it Christmas Eve today, it's also Friday, and that means it's time for Pic of the Week. I've chosen a little festive piece by Anne Stokes. Her work can often be found on Christmas cards and she is popular with a lot of people this time of year.
So here it is.
Enjoy, and I hope everyone out there has a wonderful Christmas . . . !!!
Wednesday 1 December 2010
Friday 26 November 2010
Hope you enjoy as much as me . . .
Have a great weekend.
Tuesday 23 November 2010
Friday 19 November 2010
Wednesday 17 November 2010
So who's taking part this year? How easy or hard are you finding it? Do you think you'll reach your goal of 50,000 words in 30 days?
I've never taken part in NaNoWriMo, and this year is of no exception - but that's not because I don't agree with it, as many people out there don't. It's just that I'd rather put all my strength and creativity into the piece I'm working on at the moment. If I have to write 50,000 words in a month, I'd rather it be on my novel and not something new.
And so I'm doing just that.
I love the hype that NaNo brings. Everyone who's taking part are all 'pens and excitement`. And their encouragement and enthusiasm is enough to spur everyone else on. Despite the fact that a lot of the work written may be dribble and complete nonsense, it helps prove to some that writing a larger scale piece is do-able, and if you adopt discipline, writing a novel is no longer an unachievable goal.
For this encouragement alone, I like NaNo.
And so I'm taking part in my own little way. NaFinYowNoMo (National Finish Your Own Novel Month). I've challenge myself to write the remaining 10,000 words needed to complete my current work. My progress so far?
Yeah, you could say thing's aren't going too well for me this month (She says, holding her head low with shame). Still, there's the second half of November to work through yet. Things could still change . . .
Friday 12 November 2010
Wednesday 10 November 2010
What inspires you? What gets your creative juices flowing? What spurs you into writing that best selling novel?
Tuesday 2 November 2010
It includes a headless horseman, a church, numerous gravestones, a hand reaching out of a grave, and a bat. Here are some close ups . . .
And the pumpkin, in light, leaning up against my sister's washing machine (Just to give you an idea how big it truly is)
Thursday 28 October 2010
Anyway, as if by coincidence, I chose Edgar Allan Poe, done a little research, and this was the result.
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
"'Tis some visitor," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door —
Only this, and nothing more."
As well as his interests in Physics, Cosmology, and Cryptography, he was also a well-known literary critic, however this did not make him popular. A fellow critic, James Russell Lowell, described him as “the most discriminating, philosophical, and fearless critic upon imaginative works who has written in America.” His own work was often under such criticism also, often being described as “vulgar” and “too poetical”.
Despite his reputation, Poe’s writing career was successful, but the circumstances revolving around his personal life were not. In 1835 at the age of 27, he married his thirteen year old cousin, Virginia Clemm. Even though the couple were close, their relationship was often described as that of brother and sister, and the marriage was never consummated. A few years into their marriage, Poe was involved in a scandal involving Frances Sargent Osgood and Elizabeth F. Ellet.
In 1845 rumours of an affair between Poe and their friend Frances, a 34 year old poet, began to circulate. These were started by Elizabeth Ellet, who was said to have admired Poe and was jealous of his friendship with Frances. The rumours made it back to Virginia who had for some time been battling an illness. On January 30th, 1847, Virginia died of Tuberculosis, aged just 24, but upon her death bed it is said that she stated `Ellet had murdered her`.
Poe’s life took a downward struggle after his wife’s death. Even though some of his best works were said to be inspired by the tragic event, his behaviour became erratic and he developed a serious drink and drugs problem. On October 3, 1849, Poe was found on the streets of Baltimore delirious, in great stress, and in need of immediate assisstance. He was taken to Washington College Hospital and died on October 7, aged just 40 years old, and reputedly calling out the name Reynolds. The person to who he was refering to remained unclear.
Wednesday 20 October 2010
I'm no poet, and poetry doesn't hold much interest for me, BUT I do like Edgar Allan Poe. His poems are usually dark and sad (probably why I like them) and his most famous piece was `the Raven`, which inspired The Crow series, films, books and comics. I considered shoosing this, but then I decided against it. Instead, I chose`A Dream Within A Dream`.
Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow-
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.
I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand-
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep- while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?
My love was like that. Stubborn. She had the kind of mind that when it was set, it was set in concrete. There was no dislodging it or dissuading it. It was made and it was final.
No one could have prevented what happened.
As I walked along the shores I pondered the question. My bare feet sunk deep into the wet sand every time they trod. I used to like the feeling. We both had spent hours laughing at the feel of the sand as it pushed between our toes. Now it was just me, and the sand was nothing but irritating.
I had often found inspiration as I walked along these shores. Those inspirations soon found themselves turning to words as I created stories of fiction. Sometimes I even cut our walks short so that I could go home and write. My love never complained. She supported me. She understood when I needed to shut myself away, when I needed to be alone for hours on end, hours that often turned to days.
She had always accepted this, and I loved her all the more for it. But did I ever tell her? I was sure that I had, on many occasions, but now I wonder whether it had been enough. I didn’t pay her as much attention as she needed, and I didn’t realise this until it was too late. The moment I walked into that room I knew. I knew what she had done and what had happened.
My world crumbled the instant my eyes fell upon the sight of her. She had been lying there a while, with me completely unaware as I worked in the other room. I had no idea. She had given me no clues, had shown no indication that this was what she intended to do. But then even if she had, would I have picked up on them? I was so consumed in my world of fiction that everything else was just a blur in my mind. She could have been screaming for help at the top of her voice, but I heard not a whisper of her torment.
On the surf tormented shores, I crouched. I watched the surf as it rolled in over the sands, reaching just in front of me before being swept back. I inhaled the saltiness in the air and listened to the hiss of the sand as the surf washed over it.
I had counted just six tablets from a bottle originally containing twenty that day, and my heart leapt with dismay as I realised where the other fourteen had gone. She had swallowed them. One tablet was enough to ensure you experienced a restful, uninterrupted nights sleep. Fourteen ensured you never woke. My love had wanted a restful peace that she never wanted to wake from. She wanted to live forever in her dream.
She was dead.
Reaching down, my fingers submerged themselves beneath the sand, each grain giving way to my presence. Curling my hand, I cupped a handful and lifted it from the shores, but no matter how tight I held them, I couldn’t stop the grains from falling through. It reminded me of how I had let my love slip through my fingers with such ease. She could have been helped, she could still be alive, but the trickling sands continued to scream of my incompetence and my failure towards her.
As I watched the last of the grains fall back to the sands I couldn’t help but weep.
Monday 18 October 2010
Friday 1 October 2010
Thursday 30 September 2010
I don't know how other people work, and there are so many other writers that I know with working formats that I can't get on with. One person writes a novel like a series of short stories and then pieces them together; works perfectly for them. Someone else may not have a plan at all and find it difficult to stick to one. Their characters drift from scene to scene, and both them and the writer have absolutely no idea what's coming around the corner. It can be an exciting way of writing, discovering what fate has in store for your characters, and it can have some amazing results.
But they're not for me. I'm a planner - of sorts. I know the beginning of my story; I know the end of my story; I know important turning points throughout my story, and the parts I have to drift across are the parts inbetween these. I know where my characters are going. I know where they've come from and I know what's in store for them, be it a happy ending or a tragedy. I know it all. I plan. And while I'm working on one piece, I'm planning the next, although most of the planning is done in my head. I actually have very few notes written down.
Oh yes, I have many novels planned for the future, and I know what one is coming next.
My last novel (my 14th...ish) was the first novel where I implented the skills of proper world building. I must have spent well over a year editing it, slowly bringing my world to life, layer by layer. I did spend a long time editing it and putting it through critiques, but I didn't mind this. All my stories are based in this fantasy world called the Lieflunds, and by spending so much time building it, my job has been made easier for my current work.
But because I spent so long in the editing stage as opposed to the writing stage, I found it quite difficult getting back into the swing of writing something new. Because of this I feel that my current novel has suffered somewhat in it's progress. It was never intended to be as long as my last piece, but it still feels like it's taken forever to struggle up to the point where I am now. I'm aiming for the 80k word limit for this piece (not an unreachable limit, by far), but for a long time the ending has seemed so far off.
Imagine my surprise when my word count told me I had reached the 60k mark. What?! Where did the last 30 thousand words come from??
I'm not complaining though, far from it. My 80k aim is now in reaching distance, and with the end climax to look forward to, I'm sure the last 20k words will appear with no hassle at all.
Just goes to show that persistant struggling pays off . . .
Friday 24 September 2010
Thursday 23 September 2010
Friday 17 September 2010
Wednesday 8 September 2010
Wednesday 1 September 2010
As we drove past wild moors, littered with thousands of sheep and wild ponies, and rocks and Tors, it really got me thinking about the setting and location of my novel. There’s a section in my story where my two MC’s are travelling across the open plains. Now, I’m ashamed to admit this, but I hadn’t actually put much thought into what this place was actually like. What is there apart from miles and miles of . . . grassy fields? The odd tree dotting the horizon maybe? A rolling hill?
It doesn’t work, does it, and I didn’t realise this until my drive across the moors. It’s supposed to be wild, untamed lands, and I haven’t been pulling it off, so I decided to give it a practice last night, to see if I could bring my lands to life. The exercise was to choose a location in your novel and describe it. This is what I churned out:
Exercise: Bringing a Setting To life . . .
The hill was steep and long, but by the time he made it up to the top it was worth it. The hills were no longer green, but the warm, welcoming shades of purple and yellow, of the heather and the cowslips that blanketed them. Trees dotted the distant hills in gatherings of five or six, their shapes casting individual and interesting shapes against the blue sky.
Behind him, the way he had just come, the hills were levelled and the lands lush and green. The horizon appeared miles away from the altitude that he stood, and he could follow the exact path he had just trekked with his eyes.
The scene in front of him told a different story. The land was rocky, with boulders littering his path. Most boulders were large and obvious to see and steer around, but some hid in the long grass and heathers, promising to make his journey treacherous.
A gathering of rocks sat on a distant peak, piled high as if a man-made structure, but this a natural Tor, and one of many that he was to use as a landmark to direct his way. He was grateful for these Tors, knowing that without them his travels would be difficult. Without them the weeks of crossing the open, rough terrain that sat in front of him would prove fatal, and he would be helpless against being swallowed by the wild expanse . . .
*I got good feedback from this but the one thing I failed to mention was SMELL. This is the one sense that always gets left out, but is an important element to include when trying to bring your world to life. I slap my wrist and promise to use it in my actual writing – but I smile at the fact that I wasn’t the only one to miss it out . . .
Thursday 19 August 2010
Friday 6 August 2010
Tuesday 3 August 2010
Let me enlighten you on what I fill - or used to fill - my professional time with. I work for an internet retail company, and after they discovered my passion for writing, they handed me the company blog to nurture and nurse back to health after a slow start in life. (I can now call myself a web copywriter. I just love that title . . . lol).
But what they didn't bargain for was my creative juices. Occasionally they were flowing with a vengeance, and so on some days the company blog become slightly . . . fictional. But the challenge I loved was writing something fictional about a product we sold.
I've always had a love of the mythical legends of ancient Greece, and so when I decided to blog about our Hot Stone Massage Kits that we were selling at the time, I just couldn't resist it. And you know what? It must have worked because we soon sold out . . . lol. So now, presenting to you the creative selling post I once wrote. (The facts may not be quite true with the original legends, but when you only have a short section of time in which to write something, they were the best that I could remember.)
The Greek Legend of Hotstones . . .
Once, many years ago, there was a Seer, who foretold a tale of a brave young man who would travel the lands and slay the beast Medusa. Medusa was originally a beautiful woman who used her long tresses to woo and seduce men. Outraged that her temple had been violated, the goddess Athena set a curse upon her, turning her luscious locks into snakes, and making it so that if her eyes were to fall upon any man again, they would instantly be turned to stone. People feared this vile beast, and so preyed that the Seer's words would become truth.
One day, upon his travels, the Seer came across a curious young man, basking in the sun. This man was called Iydalnis Basalt, and instantly the Seer saw his hero within, despite the sneers from his neighbours and rumours of his stubbornness and laziness. He tried to persuade Iydalnis that he had a destiny to fulfill, but all Iydalnis wanted to do was lay in the sun. Eventually the Seer had to resort to burning his home down on a quest to get Iydalnis into action, and it worked.
Together, Iydalnis and the Seer traveled across the land in hunt for the legendary fem-fatal, Medusa. Many adventures were shared, until eventually they came across the ruined temple where Medusa was said to reside. Iydalnis insisted on a sleep before entering to fulfill his destiny and slay the beast, but the Seer refused him, and so dubiously and lethargically, Iydalnis entered.
For an hour he silently scouted the ruins in search, and just before he was about to leave he saw her, with a head full of withering snakes. As he approached her from behind with his gleaming sword poised for certain slaughter, she turned to glare at him. Horrified by the sheer ugliness of the creature, Iydalnis froze in mid attack . . . and was turned to stone.
Yep, you guessed it. The Seer had been wrong. He should have foreseen Perseus slaying the beast instead of the lazy Iydalnis.
But one thing he did discover was that Iydalnis Basalt was now made of the smoothest stone he had ever seen. Eventually he called it Basalt stone, and that once heated, to get it into action, the lazy characteristics with which Iydalnis possessed would come forth. When placed on the body in certain areas, these heated up characteristics would transfer through the skin, and were found to be very calming and therapeutic - and before long these hot stones became famous throughout the world for their fantastic and detoxing relaxation methods.
A much plausible theory to believe as opposed to volcanic rock cooling and scientific blah blah blahs . . .
(Did you notice the name, Iydalnis Basalt? Hot stones are made from Basalt rock, and Iydalnis came from being bone idol and lazy - ie relaxing. Get it? lol)
Friday 30 July 2010
Wednesday 21 July 2010
Those who could afford it went ahead with the procedure. Back then it was as fashionable as plastic surgery. It was something new; something to boast of; something to parade. But after signing the dotted line a price was placed on their heads. Immortality didn't mean forever. Life still ran out - but for a smaller fee a top up could be had every 20 - 30 years.
Friday 16 July 2010
She's a wonderful artist, with some extremely beautiful, dark, atmospheric pieces, many revolving around the Vampiric theme. Her work, I've found, has cropped up everywhere, and I've found myself in awe of a certain piece and then, later down the line, discovered that it is a Victoria Frances piece. I've then wondered why oh why did I not realise that before.
I blame it on the fact that I'm blonde . . .
Friday 9 July 2010
Enjoy and have a great weekend.
Wednesday 23 June 2010
"Our vampires are different . . ."
"Coiled within the shadows . . ."
I'm not sure where these came from. They may have been random phrases pulled out of the hat, so to speak, and so had to be Incorporated into a piece. Who knows. anyway, here was the outcome of that exercise . . .
Friday 18 June 2010
Thursday 17 June 2010
But there is a second option and do what I and many others do? Write the outline for your story. Aim for about three pages. If you go over, it's no big deal, as long as it's attention grabbing. Make it heart felt. Don't write 'And then he did this, and she done that...'. Put emotion into it; make the agent / publisher feel what the character has to go through to get to the final climax; grab the agent / publisher; coax them into wanting to take time out of their busy schedule to read and fall in love with your sample chapters. This can then lead to them wanting to read the entire manuscript.
Friday 21 May 2010
Does anybody know who the artist is? Any ideas? Oh, wait a minute!! It's me!!! lol
Have a good weekend everyone . . .