Archive | July 2013

Remembering – WIPpet Wednesday

wippet

Hi everyone and welcome to my contribution to this week’s WIPpet Wednesday. Today I’m running late with it cos I’ve had a lot on, but I’m here now and looking forward to reading your excerpts as well as reading your comments on mine!

Today I’m sharing 29 words from my current WIP ‘Reunion’. So it’s 31-2=29 because it’s 2013. Get it??!! Not great maths I know but I’m bending the rules cos it’s a good couple of sentences. At this point in the story, my MC Anna is recalling her parents’ messy break up. Looking forward to your comments.

It all came back to her. She recalled the terrible arguments between her parents, the shouting, the slamming of doors, the kitchen utensils and other inanimate objects clashing unnecessarily.

So that’s it. If you would like to join in the WIPpet Wednesday fun, just post an excerpt of whatever your working on writing-wise on your blog. The only rule is that the length of the excerpt has to correlate to the date, so it could be 31 lines from chapter 7. You can get creative. Then add your name to this linky. Thanks always goes to K.L. Schwengel for hosting.

A Girl Named Cord by Briana Vedsted

CORD-Flat

The lovely and talented young author Briana Vedsted is publishing her new novel ‘A Girl Named Cord’ and I’m pleased to share with you the following information about it.

A Girl Named Cord by Briana Vedsted will be published on Amazon.com July 31st, 2013 as both a paperback and an eBook.

Goodreads link: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18269695-a-girl-named-cord

Book description: Cord had to work hard to earn her living as a cow puncher, and she was getting along just fine until a wealthy rancher moves into the county and threatens the lives of her and her friends. Cord rises up to meet every challenge, but the death of friends, both old and new, plague her at every turn. And just when everything seems like it is going to go back to being peacefully normal, a secret comes to light, putting Cord and her future family in danger. Will Cord let go of her sorrow filled past and revengeful wishes long enough to save her loved ones and pull her life back out of the bottomless pit it seems to be stuck in?
“But let me tell you this: peace in the heart is much more comforting than blood in the sand.”

Cover art by: Dirk Porsche at http://shiggyenterprises.wordpress.com/
Find out more about Briana on her blog, http://whenibecameanauthor.wordpress.com/
And check out Briana’s other books here:

and

This entry was posted on July 30, 2013. 4 Comments

Imagination – Thursday’s Children

Imagination

For my contribution to this week’s Thursday’s Children, I thought I’d pay homage to that key ingredient in any writer’s store of writing essentials: imagination.

It may seem obvious – don’t all writers have to use their imagination I hear you ask? Well of course they do. But I’ve read so many books over the years where the author has lost their imaginative spark somewhere along the way, and the book comes across as bland and boring.

It’s like when we first start off writing – for most of us I guess it’s when we’re kids – imagination comes to us easily. In a previous post I’ve mentioned how when me and my siblings were still quite young I’d tell them stories.  This helped to while away the hours spent travelling through France or down to Cornwall from our home in Hampshire.  As a youngster, in some ways your imagination is in its prime – you can’t stop imagining things.

Maybe as a child you imagined your life different to how it was.  I know I did.  It’s not necessarily because you were unhappy, just that it was fun, it was a form of escapism to imagine a whole other world with different people and priorities.  For me I really began writing properly when I was at primary school (4 to 11 year olds approx).  I would write stories and poetry – I haven’t really written much poetry since then, it’s just never happened.  Anyway before I started having to study for exams in my teens (which distracted me from creative writing for years to come), I was able to write what I wanted and I wrote lots of stories, most unfinished and in various genres.

Some of what I wrote was fantasy, some set in the contemporary, real world.  I was able to experiment and feed my imagination.  As I just mentioned, once I was aged around 14 I was made to focus on factual work and essays for exams.  And would you believe it, it’s only since I graduated nearly 10 years ago, and finished studying, that I’ve really been able to focus properly on my creative writing.  Which is what I prefer anyway.

I really believe that to improve as a writer you need to practice and learn to use your imagination.  I find myself imagining doing rather crazy things that I would never actually do in reality.  Things like suddenly swearing at the top of your voice in the cinema when the film playing is at a crucial point.  Or saying something really inappropriate to the wrong person.  I must remind you that I wouldn’t do anything like that in actuality!!  But what I’m trying to get at is that as writers we need to engage with our imagination, we need to use our brains.

Like any part of the human body, our brains need exercising if they’re to stay in shape.  So if we don’t use them often enough, they become a bit flat (metaphorically speaking) and it’s possible to lose our edge.  I think it’s always good when, for example, we’re working on our WIP and we’re a bit bogged down with it, to take a break from it and think imaginatively about other stories we could write,  things that will become our next WIP.  That way once we’ve had a bit of time away from our main story, we’ll return to it refreshed.

Another thing that for me when I’m writing is key, is to plan my story well from the start.  Maybe that’s not the way you work, but it’s certainly a good idea to make notes as you’re writing.  Use your imagination, consider different options for how the narrative could unfold.  And don’t be afraid to scrap ideas if you feel they’re not working.

Keep imagining, keep thinking and keep writing.  You’ll get to wherever your imagination takes you.

If you’ d like to take part in Thursday’s Children, simply blog about whatever inspires your writing.  Then add your name to this linky.  Thanks goes to Rhiann Wynn-Nolet and Kristina Perez for hosting.

Back home – WIPpet Wednesday

wippetwednesday

Welcome to this week’s WIPpet Wednesday. (Is that enough alliteration for you?!) For my contribution this week, I thought I’d share with you just over 24 lines from chapter 7 (because it makes more sense that way) of my current WIP Reunion.

This excerpt follows on from the previous two weeks because it’s simpler and I’m feeling lazy! At this point in the story Anna and Melissa have arrived back from their trip to London at Warston station (Warston being their home city). Enjoy!

Anna almost regretted not having more time to think. The two friends grabbed their mini suitcases from the shelf above their seats and alighted from the train. Anna’s suitcase seemed a lot heavier for some reason, but it was probably just fatigue. She paused for a moment on the platform taking a deep breath, as if something nerve wracking was going to happen that she couldn’t control.

Don’t be daft, she told herself, you’ll be at home soon and everything will be fine. But she couldn’t shake the feeling as she ran to catch up with Melissa who was charging towards the exit with her suitcase trailing noisily after her. They exited the train station. Anna breathed out slowly. The early evening sun was hazy but at least it was there. And taxis were always in plentiful supply at Warston station. She was happy to pay for one. Home was calling.

A short while later the large black London-style cab was pulling up outside Anna’s front door. She handed the driver his money and she and Melissa clambered inelegantly out of the cab and onto the pavement, heaving their luggage with them.

‘Boy am I glad to be home,’ Anna half said, half groaned as she reached the front door, fumbling around in her too-large handbag for her house keys.

‘Me too.’ Melissa let out a huge sigh as the two friends almost tumbled through the door in their eagerness to be at home. They left their suitcases marooned in the hallway and headed straight for the kitchen.

‘Coffee?’ Melissa asked.

‘Definitely,’ Anna replied, feeling lethargy enveloping her. She left Melissa to make the drinks and made for the living room, collapsing onto the sofa and closing her eyes. She didn’t want to think about the trip to London, at least for the moment. As she began to feel herself drift off, Peter’s face swam into her inner vision unbidden.

‘Here you go.’ Melissa’s voice broke into her thoughts. 

If you would like to take part in WIPpet Wednesday, simply post an excerpt of whatever you’re currently working on writing-wise that somehow relates to the date.  So I’ve gone for 24 lines (approximately) from chapter 7, it being the 24th July today.  But you can get creative – it could be: 2 + 4 = 6 + 7 = 13 lines.  (Now why didn’t I think of that for my extract?!).

Then once you’ve posted your excerpt, simply add your name to this linky.  Thanks to the delightful (she is you know!) K.L. Schwengel for hosting.

Seasons – Thursday’s Children

Seasons

I hope that all those of you who’re taking part in the Like A Virgin contest, in whatever capacity are enjoying it.  I wish all the contestants good luck. :)

We’ve having some very hot, sunny weather here in the UK at the moment. By the time you’ve read this, it may well have gone because unfortunately we never have this kind of weather for very long.

But it got me thinking about how the seasons affect and inspire our writing. Because whether we’re aware of it or not, the seasons do affect our writing one way or another. For instance, the story we’re telling will always be set in one season or another, even if that season changes.

An example of a story where seasons are important is Bridget Jones’s Diary. Being written in the form of a diary, the narrative reflects the changing seasons. Bridget first meets Mark Darcy at her mother’s Christmas party. Then later she goes on a spring mini-break holiday with the dastardly Daniel Cleaver. The author, Helen Fielding, uses the different seasons to move the plot along. Fielding uses Bridget’s mother’s Christmas party, for example, as a plot device so that her heroine is able to meet the hero for the first time. Christmas is a time when families get together, so it’s an opportunity for Bridget to meet Mark when he’s at the party with his parents.

So how can we use the seasons effectively in our writing? Well I was struggling with that a little for a while. In my WIP The Inheritance which I’m hoping to publish soon, the timeline got a little confused. I was using the seasons as the story went along, but one of my beta readers said that it was unclear how much time had passed and what happened when. Using seasonal descriptions can help in our writing provided that we ensure that it’s clear how much time has passed. So in my story I have some of the action taking place around Christmas time and I’ve tried now to make clear that some time has elapsed in the story. I’ve also used the season of Christmas to move the plot along. Things happen around that time that might not have otherwise occurred in the same way.

Whatever WIP you’re working on, it’s good to remember that the changing seasons play a part and that as writers we can use them to our advantage. Whether that be to move the plot forward, or drastically change the narrative, possibly by losing a few characters, it’s important to remember that seasons affect many aspects of our writing.

If you would like to take part in Thursday’s Children, simply write a blog post about whatever inspires your writing. Then add your name to this linky. Thanks to Rhiann Wynn-Nolet and Kristina Perez for hosting.

Reflecting part 2 – WIPpet Wednesday

Reflecting

Hello all you WIPpeteers and welcome to my contribution to this week’s WIPpet Wednesday. The image I’ve used is not quite right as my character Anna is a brunette. Which I could always change I suppose… But I thought it linked in nicely with this week’s excerpt I’m sharing with you which reveals a bit more than last week.

It’s following straight on from last week’s excerpt. To recap Anna is on the train home with her friend Melissa having been up to London together to meet Anna’s agent. As in last week’s piece I shared there’s no dialogue, just Anna reflecting on what’s gone on. In true WIPpet fashion my excerpt relates to today’s date: 17 lines from chapter 7 for the 17th July. Enjoy!

But most of the time her thoughts kept pulling her back to the meal with Peter two nights before. She’d enjoyed meeting him; there was no question of that. He seemed a nice enough bloke – but a love interest? She wasn’t so sure. Was he keen on her? If so Anna didn’t know how she felt about that. He’s my agent, she thought, and surely I need to keep our relationship professional? She was glad she’d brought Melissa along.

It’d been good having her frank perspective on things. Without her she would have floundered even more in the face of those conflicting emotions she’d experienced during the meal. As it was she still felt anxious about what had transpired at the meal with Peter. She found herself analysing her feelings towards him. I really should give it a rest, she thought. I’ve only just met him. It was all so confusing. Why could life never be straightforward? It didn’t seem long at all before the train was pulling in to Warston station.

If you would like to take part in WIPpet Wednesday it’s easy – simply post an excerpt of your most recent work of writing on your blog that relates in some way to the date.  So it could be 17 paragraphs from chapter 7 or 7 lines from chapter 17.  You can be flexible.  Then add your name to this linky.  Thanks to K.L. Schwengel for hosting.

Reflecting – WIPpet Wednesday

Thinking

Hello all you lovely WIPpeteers! Hope you’re having a good Wednesday so far. For my contribution to this week’s WIPpet Wednesday, I thought I’d share 10 lines from chapter 7 of my current WIP Reunion, it being the 10th July today.

I thought about getting clever with the numbers but decided against it in the end cos there’re too many spoilers. Before you ask, no it’s not following on from last week’s excerpt. To set the scene, remember from a couple of weeks ago, my main character Anna and her best friend Melissa had arrived at a restaurant with Peter, Anna’s agent? Well now Anna and Melissa are on the train heading home. We’re hearing Anna’s thoughts of how it all went. And yes I am a tease!

Anna and Melissa didn’t talk much on the train journey home, which Anna was grateful for. She needed time to think about all that had gone on over the past couple of days. Looking out of the window soothed her reeling mind, and she took pleasure from watching the fields merge into one green haze as the train rattled along. She barely did anything but look out of the window for most of the journey.

Sometimes she was distracted by watching the cows in the fields huddled together as if for warmth, or the houses which in the distance were so small they looked like dolls’ houses. Occasionally she could just about make out the gardens next to the houses, some with the washing on the line flapping gently in the wind, everything in miniature from her viewpoint. She wondered about the lives of the people who lived in these houses. How long had they lived there? What were their histories? It occurred to Anna that it was possible to create so many stories just by watching the world outside a train carriage as you passed through.

So there you have it.  That’s all you’re getting.  Until next week when I may be kind and give you oh I don’t know, a few more lines maybe?  Anyway if this has inspired you to get involved with WIPpet Wednesday, the rules are as follows:  OK, there’s only one rule really which is that you post an excerpt of whatever you’re working on writing-wise on your blog which somehow relates to the date.  So I had 10 lines from chapter 7 of my WIP, but you could be way more creative than me and have 10 paragraphs from chapter 13 (the 10th day, 2013).  Feel free to use maths to come up with an amount you want.

Then add your name to this linky.  Thanks goes as always to K.L. Schwengel for hosting.  We love her.  We really do. :)

Showing and telling

Show don't tell

Now this is one I really struggle with, as I’m sure many of you do too: how to tell your story by showing rather than telling. OK so that’s a bit of an odd way of putting it perhaps, but it’s something that’s vital to remember if we want to improve our writing.

I’m sure we’ve all read books where we’re thinking ‘this author’s just going on and on, why can’t they let me figure it out for myself?’ I know I have. The trouble I find as an author is getting it right, so that I give my readers enough information for them to know where they are in the story and what’s happening without bombarding them with too much information.

How do we start to show rather than tell in our stories then?  Well I’m finding that it can help if I’m not too obvious in the detail I give.  Keep it subtle; rather than saying ‘she was sobbing and sobbing’, why not say ‘her face was wet with the many tears running down her face’.   Maybe that’s not a great example, so here’s another: instead of ‘the sun was shining and the old man was very hot’, why not try ‘the sun was scorching on the old man’s back and he felt beads of sweat begin to run down his face’.  There are plenty of other examples I could use but you get the idea.  Showing rather than telling means that the reader has to work a bit harder to discover things about the plot.  And, in my opinion, is rewarded more for it.  It makes for an interesting story for the reader if he/she is kept guessing a little.

I will admit that I’m not entirely keeping to this rule.  Because I’ve told rather than shown in my writing in the past, I’m finding it quite hard not to do that in my current WIP.  It’s not easy. But I guess that’s the whole point about writing: it’s not always easy and to improve your writing style, you have to practice and persevere to see results.

I’m learning from other authors, self published and traditionally published. It’s fascinating to me to see where other authors get it right or wrong.  Reading widely is vital if we’re to gain a sense of exactly how it is that we can write in a subtle yet informative way. Because we can still tell a story through showing; it’s just going to be that much more nuanced and interesting to the reader.

This entry was posted on July 7, 2013. 7 Comments

Time – Thursday’s Children

Time

I have to say I do amaze myself with my ability to come up with something new for Thursday’s Children every week! You see as Thursday approaches I rack my brain thinking ‘what on earth do I write about that relates to what inspires me as a writer?’ But somehow – so far – I’ve always had a flash of inspiration. I realise that this run of ideas may well soon dry up, but I’ll enjoy it while it lasts. :)

Today I thought I’d consider time and what it means for us as writers. Well actually it means everything as I’m sure you’d all agree. But there are different aspects to what it means, different aspects to time itself and how it affects our writing.

I don’t know about you but when I consider time, how we’re constantly moving forwards through it, it kind of does my head in. Like when you consider the fact that every present moment we’re in is continually becoming the past. So what is past, present and future? Is there any past or future, or are we just kind of in an eternal present? That may sound daft to you. You’d probably say to me of course there’s a past and a future. And this is true in that we have memories of the past and plans for the future.

But what do we actually experience at any given moment? The answer is the ‘now’. We are constantly in the present. Time is moving ever forwards – although actually my husband tells me that scientifically time doesn’t necessarily only go forwards, it can go backwards, it’s just that we only experience it moving forwards. OK I digress (that science part is true by the way, don’t ask me how, I don’t understand it I just know what I’ve been told!) but my point is this: that for us humans on planet Earth time moves inexorably forwards.

This means that for each and every one of us time is precious. We all would like more of it – I know I would anyway. I often wish there were more hours in the day and I’m sure I’m not the only one. Sometimes I find it hard to use the time I do have productively, to make the most of the hours in the day when I’m not asleep to do a bit of everything, to cover all bases so to speak.

I often find myself wishing I’d done more of one thing and less of another. For me particularly (and you may be surprised by this) it’s to do more writing. More actual proper working-on-my-WIP writing, not just updating my blog, although that’s important too.

Time is also important in the novels we write. What novel isn’t concerned in some way with the passing of time, or at least has a storyline affected by it? Indeed many stories have their entire plot entwined with time. Think of the many stories out there concerned with time travel for example. Numerous films, such as the Back to the Future trilogy, are concerned with time travel and its effects. From early on the concept of time travel has fascinated authors such as H.G. Wells who wrote The Time Machine which was first published in 1895.

I know of many modern authors whose writing is concerned with time travel. Think of The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, an interesting take on the whole time travel theme. Then there are those novels which flit about from past to present and back such as The Legacy by Katherine Webb. There are many more.

However we see time, whether it’s as something we don’t have enough of, that we struggle to always use constructively or as a tool in our writing, it informs all of our lives. I know it’s a cliche, but we only have one life and I guess it’s up to us to use the time we have to the best of our ability.

If you would like to take part in Thursday’s Children, simply blog about what inspires your writing. Then add your name to this linky. Thanks goes to Rhiann Wynn-Nolet and Kristina Perez for hosting.

Speculation – WIPpet Wednesday

Spa

Hello to all you lovely WIPpeteers, old and new. Hope you’re enjoying today’s WIPpet Wednesday. My contribution is very short today. I was going to give you 3 lines from chapter 7 of my current WIP Reunion (seeing as it’s 3rd July today) but I decided it would be giving away too much of the plot.  Yes I know that sounds ridiculous, but trust me – it could well have done!

So instead here are 7 lines from chapter 3 (see what I did there? Clever, eh?).  This is going backwards a little because what I’m sharing now takes place before the previous two WIPpet Wednesday posts.  We’re back in the spa again with Anna and her friends -ah bliss – and Anna and Rachel are discussing Melody, who you’ve also met before in yet another previous WIPpet Wednesday post.  Phew!  Anyway, to remind you a bit in case you’ve forgotten, Melody, who is on her hen do, got very upset when she discovered that there’d been a mix up and Anna and her friends had been assigned the same rooms at the spa hotel as her and her friends.  I’ve ‘cropped’ the lines a little to fit but I hope you enjoy them:

Rachel sat down on the bed next to Anna and exhaled slowly. ‘I felt sorry for that girl,’ she said after a while. ‘What was her name? Oh yeah, Melody. She seemed frazzled, not like someone who was looking forward to her wedding day.’

‘She looked pregnant too,’ Anna said.

‘Did she?’

If you would like to take part in WIPpet Wednesday all you have to do is post an excerpt of your current work in progress on your blog, or something else you’re working on that’s creative and you’d like to share with us.  The only rule is that how much you post relates in some way to the date, so for example I’ve posted 7 lines from chapter 3 seeing as it’s the 3rd July today.  But you can be creative.  Why not take a look at the other wonderful WIPpeteers’ posts and see how creative they’ve got with the amount they’ve posted?  And more importantly you’ll get to read their wonderful work. :)  Once you’ve done your blog post add your name to this linky.  Many thanks go to the lovely K.L. Schwengel for hosting.