Friday 29 April 2011

Pic of the Week . . . Will and Kate's Royal Wedding . . .

I wasn't going to get all hyped up about the Royal Wedding - but who was I kidding. The TV was on in the house at 8am this morning. I said to myself that it would just be on in the background - but I ended up watching it from beginning to end. I just couldn't help myself.

I love the Royal Family. The Queen reminds of my nan in a way; the Duke of Edinburgh and his inappropriate actions crack me up, and the amount of pain those two princes have been through is enough to break anyone's heart. Therefore they deserve every last drop of happiness - and my wishes go out to both Will and Kate (oh, I stand corrected; the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge).

Some people may disagree with Kate marrying a Royal seeing as though she comes from a common background - but it's not the first time a commoner has married a Royal. Cast your mind back to history lessons, to the 1400's and the War of the Roses. Elizabeth Woodville caught the eye of Edward IV and became Queen Consort. Okay, their marriage didn't have a happy ending, but they married for love and against everyone's expectations, and if times had been different, I imagine their life together would have been long and happy. Just as I hope the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's will be.

So this week's Pic of the Week is dedicated to them with huge congratulations:

Oh, and Kate's dress was STUNNING!!!!!!!

Royal rant over . . .

Tuesday 26 April 2011

Novel Update - Building Those Bridges. . .

I haven't given one of these for sometime but, to be honest, there's not a lot to report.

My new novel, 'Lady of the Seas', that was started beginning of February, is taking a break. (Here's a reminder of the opening chapter I posted for those who want a read) It started off so well then went on strike. I have a feeling that this strike won't be lasting too long, though. And I also know the reason for this strike.

I've come steaming full pelt to a river with no bridge, ending in a sudden stop. I need to build this bridge before my story can continue. It's a wee flaw in my plotting and planning. I need to write this section to enable the rest of the story to flow - all of which I know and is plotted. It's just this one little blank bit, and it's annoying me.

So far, 'Lady of the Seas' has reached 22k. I don't think is too bad. Again, just like my last one, 'Kiss of the Gypsy', I've given myself a deadline to get it finished, which is the end of the year. I can see that happening, even before time - if I can build this bridge. Even if it's just a temporary structure to help my characters across, and then I can come back to it at a later date and strengthen it.

Many people, if they stumble across a problem like this, will ignore this section and go on to the next, to keep writing, and then come back to it later. If that works for them then great. But it doesn't for me. I feel I'll loose the flow of the story, and it will also be on the back of my mind that I need to go back and write that section. This will affect any future work that I churn out. I'm a planner. I need to know where I'm going and how to get from point A to point B. And understanding how these points are connected, how they entwine with each other and how they feed off each other, strengthens the route. Every bridge has to be in place, no matter how rough and unsteady.

This missing bridge is the cause for my writer's block.

What about you? Do flaws in your planning create havoc for your writing, or are you happy to go with the flow and see where your words and characters take you?

Friday 22 April 2011

Pic of the Week . . . What does the Egg mean to you?

Well, Good Friday has come round again. It's that time of year when children go hunting for Easter Eggs and then consume far too much chocolate. But just like Christmas, people are now beginning to forget what Easter actually symbolises - apart from little hens, mad march hares, sweets galore and time off work.

So I ask you, what does the Easter Egg mean to you?

I'm not really a religious person, so I won't be holding any gospel, but here's a little brief history for you to help explain why the easter egg is so special this time of year:

One legend states, when it comes to Christianity, that Mary Magdalene brought cooked eggs to Jesus's tomb, and that when she saw Jesus resurrected, they glowed bright red. Another version states that Mary Magdalene went to the Emperor of Rome to bring news that Christ has risen. The Emperor then pointed at an egg and said that "Christ has no more risen than that egg is red" to which the egg began to glow blood red.

However, the symbol of the egg dates further back, centuries before the Resurrection of Christ. It is the pagan symbol of the start of new life, a symbol of the rebirth of the earth, and celebrates the arriving Spring and all the new life it brings - hence this day also being known as 'Earth Day'.

So, no matter what your beliefs are on this subject, just remember to enjoy this Easter/Earth Day and have a wonderful time. I'm now off to enjoy my garden and eat too many easter eggs :D ...

Tuesday 19 April 2011

Lessons In Punctuation . . .

I've always known, but it was confirmed last night that the school I went to all those moons ago wasn't all that. When it comes to writing, everything I know today is what I have picked up through reading, practice, and through critiquing sessions in our writer's circle. I don't remember them teaching us a lot about punctuation - let alone creative writing.

One member of our writers' circle is someone I've been friends with since those wonderful days, and she agrees. She finds punctuation hard to deal with, although I have to admit she is getting better. Using the correct punctuation is just as important as every other detail of the story you are trying to tell, from the characters, their world, their dialogue - everything.

However, choosing your punctuation is an art form. Some people use a bit of everything, throwing in a bit of this, a bit of that, and maybe one of those too, where others may just prefer to use the basic full-stops and commas. And is this wrong or right? It doesn't really matter. As long as they are used in the right context, it can help to aid your story along.

But your personal use of punctuation is much like your style of writing. It differs from the next writer.

We ran an experiment last night. I was hoping that it would prove useful to those who struggle with their full-stops. We wrote a short piece in our own writing style, how we usually would, but left out all the punctuation. Then we passed it to the next person to add in where they thought the punctuation should be. Despite us getting a large percentage of it right, the added punctuation changed the original flow of the story completely. There was punctuation added in places where I wouldn't have used it. And despite them not being wrong, it was surprising how much a extra comma or one less full-stop can change the style so much.

Anyway, this was the piece I wrote with the original punctuation in.


The door closed. Should I have gone through it? I didn't know.

I stood and stared at the giant doors before me. They reached so high the top was engulfed in the gloomy mist above. Relief sculptures climbed the paneling, each body entwining with the next, and each with a story of their own to tell.

I looked around me, confused and nervous. Had I missed my chance? What was I supposed to do now? This was new to me, as it was new to everyone else who stood before these doors. Purgatory wasn't a place often frequented by the living.

I continued to take in my surroundings; the shadows; the mist; the pillars. The room appeared round but was somehow shapeless, and it was spacious but felt small and oppressive. And there was a ceiling. I knew that, but I couldn't see it.

What was I supposed to do now? When I first entered the room, the great doors had opened, revealing a light that was warm and tempting, but fear had held me back. As I stood and watched, debating whether to walk through, the doors had closed. Would they reopen?

Movement caught my eye. I looked up and saw as figure on the door moved. He turned his body, untangling himself from another figure and then turned to face me. And he wasn't the only one. The whole door was now alive with squirming bodies, all turning to face me. There was no noise, but their mouths were open, calling me and reaching out their hands.

Fear engulfed me. I wanted to step back, to run, but their hands, even though too far away to reach me, seemed to pull. I couldn't fight the force and I began to move forward. I realised then what was happening. The doors had shut on my one chance to enter Heaven. I was stuck in purgatory, and those who entered before me were the figures on the door. As I was pulled closer, I knew my fate now lay with them for the rest of eternity.

Saturday 9 April 2011

Pic of the Week . . . Grzegorz Rutkowski

I know it's a day late, but what can I say. Things haven't quite settled down yet on the move front.

This week's Pic of the Week is from Polish artist Grzegorz Rutkowski. It's his version of the Ice Queen, and I thought it a stunning piece, but strangely enough, not very apt for this week, seeing as the sun is shining, the birds are singing, the flowers are shooting and Summer is well on the way. And to top it all off it's HOLIDAY season. Yes, I'm away next week, so you get a break from my ranting for a while.

Consider yourselves luckily - and enjoy. See you in a weeks time.

Tuesday 5 April 2011

Tonight Was Different . . .

Wow! What a week I've had. If you happen to work for an Internet company and they come up with the bright idea of working from home, make sure you - AND they - think it through good and proper before taking that leap.

Still, hopefully now everything should settle and life can start to resemble something that was once considered normal.

For today I thought I'd blog a little something I wrote last night during our weekly writers' circle meeting. We were given three random words and basically we had to come up with something that involved them all. This is what I churned out.

Words: Quivering, Society, Lurched

She couldn't see me. I was invisible to her, just as I was to everyone else. For neigh on 50 years I had been trapped in my own purgatory, free to roam wherever I pleased, but doomed to do so alone. Despite often being surrounded by people, no one ever knew I was there.

I was a ghost - once a man who's life had been stolen from them at the age of 31. I had the chance to move on then, to follow the path that opened to me, but things had happened so fast and so unexpected that all I could do was turn and run. I was frightened and didn't know what was happening. Now I regret not taking that unknown step forward.

It took a while, but I soon become accustomed to my new existence, and I took to sitting and watching as society evolved and grew. It comforted and soothed me to see people come and go, blissfully unaware of my prying eyes. And I'm sure that my eyes were not the only ones watching - but I had never seen these.

Tonight, something was different.

Tonight she had an aura about her, an aura that heightened her senses and made her more open to my presence.

Tonight she knew I was there.

The first time I saw her, I was engulfed with emotions and feelings that I hadn't felt in over 50 years. They enthralled me and she enthralled me. I had never met anyone like her before, and suddenly I was longing to be alive again, to be able to touch her, to feel the softness of her blonde hair running through my fingers, to smell her sweet scent, and to experience the warmth of her breath on my skin. I wanted all the things any lover would want - but I was denied.

Instead I watched.

I watched her work; I watched her cook; I watched her relax, and I watched her sleep. I wanted her so badly it hurt.

Tonight was different. She huddled on her bed, quivering, feeling my presence in her room. I meant her no harm, but she didn't know this. She was only aware of something she didn't understand, and this frightened her. Wanting to calm her, I leaned on the bed and gently reached out my hand. I had never attempted to touch her before, but as I said, tonight was different. As my fingers touched her chin, my palm brushing her soft skin, I expected to feel her. I wanted to feel her, and felt shocked and surprised when I didn't. Why, I didn't know. I hadn't felt anything physically since I died.

But she felt me.

Her eyes widened and within an instant she had lurched towards the other side of the bed. She was terrified, and I had done this to her.

I was grieved by this revelation so much. I didn't want to frighten her. I loved her. But seeing my affect only made it clearer in my mind what I had to do.

I had to leave. I had to move on.

I loved her too much to succumb her to anymore fear.

Turning, I faded into the shadows, leaving to go back to my loneliness, and as hard as it was, I refused to look back.