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Sunday, 31 March 2013

If You Want To Write...



Page URL: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ASandro_Botticelli_-_Madonna_del_Magnificat.jpg
by Sandro Botticelli
...just do it. Anyone can put pencil to paper or finger to keyboard, but it helps to have a few personal qualities before you start.
  1. LOVE - of words, and of reading. Playing with language and seeing how others create characters, mood and atmosphere will help you develop your own style. It isn’t the number of words you write each day, or the length  of them but the feeling you put into your work. If your writing comes from the heart, the chances are you’ll speak directly to the hearts and minds of your readers.
  2. COMMITMENT - anyone can call themselves a writer, but only when you actually complete the story that’s been begging to be told will you feel you’ve earned the title.  Always start with a fixed end in mind, whether it’s entering a short story competition, or writing a book. Don’t let anything distract you from your goal. Write every day, and get a first draft down as fast as you can. Then go back over it again and again, improving your work every time.
  3. PATIENCE - once your work is as good as you can make it, put it away and start on something new.  After a month, go back to your first piece and re-read it aloud to yourself. If you’re aiming for publication, when the re-writes are finished, give your manuscript to a trusted friend who reads the type of work you’ve written. Accept their constructive criticism as part of the learning progress - it all helps to please your eventual audience. 
The Easter holidays are a traditional time to make a fresh start - what are you going to be working on this week?

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Happy Easter!

I hope you're having a lovely day, and that you can spend it exactly as you like (with plenty of treats on hand, of course).

My Easter Day wish is for good weather. There are two baptisms taking place during our big morning service, so the village church is going to be packed. I can predict it will be wonderful - it always is, as we've got a great team working behind the scenes as well as behind the altar - but today will be extra special. There'll be a sea of new faces, and we'll all have a terrific morning.

Have a happy and peaceful Easter.

Friday, 29 March 2013

Here Come The Girls - Or They Would, But...

By Frank Blackwell (Diocese of Oxford)
My last post covered the search for male images to put up on my Work In Progress inspiration boards.  I don't base my characters on any one person, but build up an idea in my mind of what they are like by combining physical details in all sorts of combinations. That's one of the exciting things about writing - you can design your own people. Imagine being a parent, but without the hard work and the 20-plus years of waiting before you see the finished article! 

As well as a physical database of my characters' eye colour, height, etc., I use pictures of people and places on an inspiration board in my office to keep me on course. It's easy enough to gather images for this private collection. If a picture of something or someone in an article or advert appeals to me, I just cut it out.  The problem comes when I want to put them up on my public Work In Progress Pinterest board. Not unreasonably, copyright rules mean images can't be reproduced online willy-nilly. I've managed to post some suitably heroic men, but women are proving a bit more elusive.  That's why I'm asking for your help in tracking down some suitable photos.

Here's the spec: life has crushed all the fun out of my dark haired, well built heroine - it's still there, but  she's taken refuge in chocolate.  Once she takes control of her life again, she's ready for anything. The girl I have in my mind looks a bit like a twenty-something Dawn French. I couldn't find any pictures of Ms French at that age, so I canvassed opinion on my guest blog earlier in the month at authorsoundrelations. There were some great responses, in particular Mary Kirkland's suggestion of Denise Bidot. Unfortunately, I can't find a legal (and decent, of course!) image of Denise to join Dawn and the guys on Pinterest

Can you help?

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Holding Out For A Hero...

On 16th March I did a guest blog at http://bit.ly/ZPPDNe about my search for images I could add to the inspiration board I'm using to develop my current work in progress, Eden's Temptation. I had plenty of ideas of my own, but I love getting feedback from readers. You came up with some great ideas, including Mary Kirkland's suggestion of Denise Bidot for my heroine. Mary's prize will be on its way to her soon, but I'm the real winner. I've already pinned up three likely lads on my Work In Progress Pinterest Board, and pictures of some suitably "heroic" women will follow as soon as I can find some pinnable images of them. Then I had a revelation as I sat down to write this blog. I remembered a YouTube video that someone put me onto a couple of years ago. How on earth could I have forgotten James Purefoy? If you've never seen this before, sit back, relax and enjoy a few minutes of heaven, courtesy of DreamyViper...

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Food, Men and the Weekend...

By Clare

What a lovely line up! First of all, the food. Here's the picture that didn't quite make it in time to be included in my blog as a new fan of the Abel and Cole Writers' Lifeline - otherwise known as their box scheme.  You can get more information about them here (love those Easter treats, by the way). 

Food has also been featuring in a big way in my son's science lessons recently. His class have been working on the difference between mixtures and compounds. Last week they made Cornflake Cakes. Apparently, they are a mixture on the basis that you could (in theory) separate out the cornflakes from the chocolate if you wanted to (ha - like that's ever going to happen!). This week, his class made Chocolate Brownies, in which cake mixture became the delicious compound we all know and love, by the application of heat.  His weekend homework is a delight, too - he has to write up the recipe of his favourite dish, for possible inclusion in a cookery book to be sold in aid of Marie Curie Cancer Care. He's quite a cook, so tonight we get to sample his Spaghetti Carbonara so he can take a photo to illustrate his written work. I can't wait - why wasn't science taught like that when I was at school? 

Enough of the pure enjoyment - now to put a little impure sizzle into your weekend. I'm blogging over at Authorsoundrelations right now, about matching the hero and heroine I have in my mind as I work on my current book with some images of real people. The idea is to find some photos to go on my inspirations board. Here's one of the front runners, Ian Somerhalder, to whet your appetite - I'd love you to drop by and join in the fun!
notmyson, by vagueonthehow