Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Carnival Mood

Hello folks, it's late so I shall not tarry. I just wanted to share my photos of the Nottinghill Carinval which was really fantastic. Thanks to a clever little boy called Wilf (aka Addy) for the link to the site which supports this feature. My captions are meant in good humour in case you were wondering!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Technology



You'll be glad to hear that I finally figured out how to upload photos on to my computer! Several centuries later than everyone else! So... here are a couple of photos of where I went today- a place in Surrey where the Thames runs past, and boats were aplenty today.

Tomorrow I'm hoping to get a few hours of the Nottinghill Carnival in. I expect it to be spectacular given the gorgeous costumes the performers wear.

Then on Tuesday I've got an induction for my new job. I have some editing to complete on a couple of educational resources I've done and I'm still working on The View From My Window, so the writing's still happening...slowly...and I sent off my entry to the lonely moon contest. Some of the entries are fantastic. Really excellent writing. Mine is entry #54 called The First Day. Have a read if you fancy it, and while you're there, why not support the other writers? The site's worth a visit, in any case.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Sex it up!

My recent work on my current novel The View From My Window has tested me. In my last novel One of a Kind I had a lot of emotional intensity which, as a female of the species, I could handle. Sorry to draw on stereotypes!! At present, I am writing from the perspective of a male and a fairly unusual one too, so it's been a challenge, to say the least.

I'm strangely enjoying this creative and re-creative process and rather worryingly I love getting in role with the character, reading sections aloud to myself and generally playing the part of someone different from myself.

When I went on the SCBWI retreat Debi Gliori suggested that each character that a writer creates is part of the writer his/ her self- that a sometimes deep and undiscovered facet of the writer comes through in his/ her characters. I find this interesting and I wondered whether this is always the case or whether we can adopt characters. The reason I ask this is because:
a- I am not male
b- I am not fairly unusual
(I don't think?!)
So... what are your thoughts on this one? What's your experience? Are your characters similar to or part of you?

Whilst I'm here, can I direct you to Candy Gourlay's interesting post on the internet and young adult fiction. She's also started up a blog about her YA novel Volcano Child. It sounds great.

My YA novel One of a Kind is still with the agent, so I wait to hear its reception, but for anyone who likes books by the likes of Beverley Naidoo or Elizabeth Laird or even Andrea Levy, if I dare to compare myself, you may like my issue and to some extent politically based teen novel.

Before, I go... have you entered the lonely moon contest? I'm working on an entry today and will submit once it's done! Very good luck to everyone :-)

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Some Guys have all the luck!

Morning all. I read a hysterical story today- a news story about mistaken identity.

It really is laugh out loud funny. It's about someone called Guy Goma and I've provided a link for you to read about him and the amazing consequences of his mistaken identity. Really- visit it- it'll make you laugh. His face when he realises the error is a picture- I've posted it below. The link will take you to a page where you can watch a video, so do explore it!


All I can say is with the new film deal on the cards,some Guys have all the luck?!! And to think I'd never even seen this story till today. Where are all these gems kept?

Oh, writing wise- got another 1000 words done on my novel and check out Anne Frasier's site: she's judging the lonely moon short fiction contest which some of you may wish to enter. Rules and prizes are all explained for you there. Good luck!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Camden Town

Hello all. I've had a lovely day- spent a good part of it looking round Camden Market which, some of you may be surprised to hear, I'd never visited. It was fantastic: plenty to see and buy if the mood took you.

We had a coffee (Frappuccino for me of course) at Starbucks over-looking Camden Canal and watched as boats passed by and then we grabbed a yummy take away falafel shawarma from Maroush - just about the best place you could ever get for Lebanese food!

London definitely has a lot going for it. Traffic isn't one of them. I enjoyed visiting but I was glad to get home.

My last set of units for the Hodder resource went off today and I've confirmed that the Year 7 resource will be published in February. I also sent off two other resources to another publisher and my fiction will now get my full attention! About time too.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

The return

Well, I'm back from Scotland, where I had a lovely time. The nephews were very entertaining and it was just nice to get away. My eyes have been opened to what boys aged seven, eight and three seem to like, I've been introduced to a world of movies I didn't even know existed and I've been tired out with walking and running.

I'd never heard of Bionicles before or Sonic or Spy Kids and now I have. I'd never seen a three year old dressed as spiderman and pretend to spray webbing on me; I'd never heard the word coo-ol used so often and I'd never heard such interesting explanations for freckles, but I'm glad to say now I have and I feel all the more enlightened for it.

Today, I received my first advance copy of my York Notes and others are due to arrive soon. It's great to see the actual book, itself and I can't wait to see copies in Waterstones.

Airport security was tighter on the way up to Scotland than down but even so I got through both ways without being body searched-must be my innocent looking face :-)

Now, back to the writing.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Flight

The weather is miserable today- making up for the past few weeks, no doubt. I'm about to go out for lunch, so this will have to be quick.

Tomorrow, I'm off to Scotland for a few days, visiting my brother and family- three excitable nephews! I'm travelling by plane which means I'm subject to these restrictions that are now in place! I had hoped to take some work on my laptop with me but I'm now re-assessing the situation as I'm limited in terms of what I can carry as hand luggage.

I'll post something on my return. Until then enjoy the weather?! and writing of course.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Publishing industry

Just a quick one today: Gill James - a fellow educational and fiction writer whom I met at the SCBWI retreat and who is a member of Wordpool posted a link to an interesting article in the Times about the publishing industry, which ties in quite well with the previous post on small presses. Here it is for you. Read it- it's worth it.

I'm busy writing today and dealing with a near miss- yesterday my boiler decided to stop lighting and, of its own accord, started to spew out neat gas, so, in the evening, a helpful man from TRANSCOM, who carried a a buzzing metal implement, stopped my gas as it was unsafe. I'm waiting for British Gas to turn up today and fix the boiler. Lucky for me it's the summer.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Less is more

Well, only one more unit left for the educational resource for Hodder. Then I can complete the other resource for Classroom Resources and move onto my fiction- at last!

Last week I made a decision which I'm hoping will improve my life. Sometimes the hardest bit is actually making the decision, rather than acting, don't you find?

I've returned to my previous efforts regarding fitness and yesterday and the day before I went to the gym. Today I'm hoping to go swimming.

On a completely unrelated matter, I have a question- if any of you have seen The Break Up or have any experience of people I want to ask you why people play silly games? I'm not a strategist. I'm just plain honest, but I've noticed that lots of people are so caught up in how they appear that they lose sight of the reality.

I actually find these sorts of people a turn off and I'm sure loads of people see right through them. People like to appear to be knowledgeable or give the impression that they're busy, when they're not. I'm not talking about genuinely busy people or genuinely knowledgeable people. I'm talking about people whose whole life centres around an impression of appearing to be this when they're not. However they are insistent on the pretence. Why? I find it strange. Is it an insecurity thing?

I've heard that empty barrels make the loudest noise.

In fact, Alexander Pope wrote:
Words are like leaves; and where they most abound,
Much fruit of sense beneath is rarely found.


There are some really great quotations here, related to the idea of simplicity in language, which sort of follow my thread.

If you're looking for precision, look at DBA Lehane's short short fiction site. It's really impressive and his is a good exercise to try. I may just have a go myself.

Okay I'll end- after all, less is more?!! :-)

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Small Press

I've been looking into getting my first ever novel published- not One of a Kind which in actual fact is my second and is with the agent at the moment. My first is a children's novel for 8-12 year olds and is a much lighter story than One of a Kind which is a teen novel.

To this end, I've been investigating the small presses as they're much more receptive to new fiction writers and I've found a few sites which I thought I'd share with all of you.

The first is a site called Branching Out . It lists small presses here and some in the US.

The second is a link to The Small Press Centre which is, as far as I can see, an entirely American directory of small presses, but it lists them under genre headings which is really useful for all you Americans out there.

The last is Jacqui Bennett's list of small presses.

I'm going to spend part of today sifting through these and finding appropriate presses to whom I will submit this first novel. I may even consider submitting a collection of poetry at some stage. So that's my plan for today.

I still have three units for the educational resource due in September to write too, but I may indulge myself and focus on fiction today.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Purging

Today has been a purging day. I've been to the tip a.k.a the dump a.k.a the refuse place (for all you international people) with a whole load of boxes. Decluttering, I am convinced, is good for the soul but it's no good for writing- I've done none today. Zero, zilch, nada!

I could stay up late into the night writing or I could rest my weary bones after all the lugging I've done. I have a feeling I'll opt for the latter.

I bumped into a couple of friends I'd not seen in months at the tip- I have therefore deduced that the tip is the place to be on a Friday afternoon.

It's six p.m, I'm tired and there's no food in the house so I shall survive on some fruit, put my feet up and try to ignore my neighbour's loud music -which is thankfully quite tasteful. Writing can wait till tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Growth

I'm slowly killing the orchid plant I was given as a leaving present from my last job. Not intentionally of course, but I just have this way with plants. They die on me. I told my line manager it would die and sadly my words are becoming truth.

The only plants I could ever get to survive were cacti but then they're used to harsh conditions aren't they? I had a little cactus on my window-sill as a child and it would go weeks without being watered and still it lived. Now, that's my kind of plant!

Saying that, I've been very good with the orchid plant - watered it once a week, but the flowers still turned brown and hung dry and limp like drooping lanterns, so in the end I removed them. The leaves look okay and I'm hoping the flowers will come back at some stage, but for now, the plant looks pretty bare.

I think some people are just better with plants than others. My mum was great with them and my one sister is too. I guess for them, it's a creative outlet. I'm just not a plant person. Writing, yes. Plants that rely on me to grow- no.

Let's just say, I'm glad my writing doesn't die on me the way plants do.

Time

Yesterday, after cooking some tacos, I heard from a friend I've not seen in a few years and it reminded me of former times which was both a happy and sad experience. We were in Uni together. She's going travelling for a bit and that brought to mind when I went to Australia and Thailand in the summer of 2002 and the events leading up to that, and, today, I found something out that was not unexpected but, all the same, a little bit sad for me.

Life's funny, isn't it? or as Forrest Gump put it 'Life's like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get.' I remember going on a date to see that film and really not liking it, but I think it was the company. If you'd asked me eight years ago what I thought my life would have been like now I wouldn't have said what it is.

I guess, life throws all kinds of surprises at us and I, perhaps, more than most, have made choices that others wouldn't have done. Okay, I don't want to sound glum because I'm not. I just sometimes wonder what life would have been like if I'd made different choices, but I guess we all wonder these things from time to time, don't we?

Susan's comments to this post earlier put me in mind of a poem which really says it all. It's by Robert Frost and it's called The Road Not Taken. I've copied it here for you to see just what I mean.

The Road Not Taken

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference


Today I have some units for an educational resource to write and I'm reading Hide and Seek, a book I bought a while ago. So far, it's proving to be a good buy.