Monday, 30 April 2012

Finding the right font

I have spent the last month or so editing my novel 'Red Kite.'  I finished my third edit yesterday and although I will be going over it again, I felt like I needed a break, so started looking at the font for the book title that will go on the front cover. 

It's amazing when you start thinking about it as some fonts, as this photo shows, stand out as a possibility and some scream Nooooo!

Every time I have been to a bookshop  just lately, I have focused on the front cover of every book to see how other writers do it. There are so many different styles.  Some of the big authors have their name in a large font with the title smaller,  Some have equal size for both. JK Rowling had something completely different as it was 'Harry Potter' himself that was prominent on all the front covers of her books.

I am enjoying just testing out different fonts and styles at the moment but realise it's so important to get it right and  find one that will work with my front cover.   That means plenty more visits to WH Smiths to stare at the front cover of every book until I find a font that is right for me.

Monday, 23 April 2012

The Magnificant Seven Challenge

I have just accepted a challenge set by Simon Whaley who suggested that we post seven lines from the seventh line on the seventh page of whatever we are working on at the moment.

In my case, it's my novel.  I enjoy things like this, as firstly it does make you look at your own work in a different way. The snippet was in isolation so I was able to concentrate just on those seven lines. Secondly, as Simon says, it's also a great way of seeing different styles. So here goes my seventh page challenge:   

I know they have to go somewhere, but why my haven? Nature and wildlife are constantly disturbed. Every weekend the riders rip up and down, scaring the sheep and leaving deep tracks all over the place. The constant buzzing and revving of the bikes’ tiny engines drives me mad, and the smell from their exhausts fills the air.
 My mind drifted from the classroom and up to the quarry – this was my space where I can enjoy my hobby, with no one to bother me. I can watch buzzards soar as they catch the warm thermal air currents to gain height.

So there you go, seven lines from  the seventh page of  my novel Red Kite.  This was such a useful excercise as just by doing this today, before posting it I noticed something I needed to change.

Cheers Simon, this was a useful way of looking at our work.   

Monday, 16 April 2012

No escape.

I have spent nearly the whole day editing my novel 'Red Kite'

It's hard work reading over and over again the very same words that I have written over and over again. I think the editing process is one of the most difficult parts of producing a novel because sometimes you have to be brutal and get rid of a few thousand words and sometimes you may need another thousand words to make a scene work.

After three hours I got to the point when I needed a break from it. I needed a walk, so I took myself off to the Clee Hills. They are very close to where I live and it is also where my novel is set.

Within minutes of starting my walk, I looked up to see these two tiny figures walking across the quarry. You can hardly see them and may not even think that so unusual, but in fact that is an image from my novel and one that I hope to use on the back cover. The only difference is they are not flying a red kite as my characters would be in the book.

I carried on and enjoyed the fresh air. I felt the wind on my face and watched buzzards and crows fly over the summit while the sheep grazed contentedly on the slopes of the hill.

On my way back down I saw a man carrying something to the edge of the hill. It was one of those small model aeroplanes, the same size as a kite. It was also red!

He launched it into the air and it soared for a moment just like a life sized glider would do, then the wind got hold and it crashed onto the ground - just like the kite does in my story.

Today my novel literally came to life while I was trying to escape it. I loved every moment of it and was glad that I hadn't just left it sitting there on my computer. It had followed me somehow in my mind, locked into my thoughts and imagination and when I came back I couldn't wait to start writing again.

I am not suggesting that this is the right way for everyone, sometimes you really do need to escape from your work and take a break away from it but today this worked for me.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Oh no, I'm knitting when I should be writing!

I have always wanted to learn how to knit. My Grandma tried to teach me when I was a child but I was too much of a tomboy to be interested, preferring to be outside making mud pies and riding horses.

A recent offer from a work colleague to teach me got me inspired enough to go and buy some cheap wool and some knitting needles. Over the weekend I have spent quite a bit of time trying to learn this craft. I really do admire people who can knit, it's almost like alchemy where out of a simple ball of wool and two needles, amazing things can be produced.

Then I started to feel guilty that I was neglecting my writing. I have so many writing projects on that were left in favour of my knitting. Why was I wasting time trying to do something I know nothing about when I should be writing? I even spent money on knitting magazines but to my surprise it gave me a different angle of looking at it.

I quickly realised that this had opened up a whole new writing market too. I am learning something new and being creative in a different way. Who knows, one day I may be pitching article ideas to knitting magazines, something I would never have imagined if I had not had a go at trying something new. I think I may have a long way to go, as you can see by the photo above but it's still an achievement to try and as with any craft, practice is required to improve.

Why not give it a go, it can be something simple or if you are brave enough try something incredibly difficult, you never know, one day you could become an expert and then you have a whole new market to write about.

Monday, 9 April 2012

Make hay while the sun shines - or the rain is pouring down!

Many may of heard the old saying ' Make hay while the sun shines' Today although it's pouring with rain and the weather forecast has seemed very negative, I still seized the day and feel so motivated by it. So what? The weather isn't great, I didn't want to spend hours outside so I retreated to my attic den and haven't stopped doing writerly things for the last four hours.

I have signed up to a Writers event in the autumn which is always great fun. Although I may not sell many books, it's a great opportunity to get out there and meet readers and as this years event is in a library, it may be a good opportunity to sell my novel which I hope will be published by then.

I have also sent a letter and photo to 'TAB' magazine, sent a pitch to 'Yours' Magazine and written two mini articles, one for my parish magazine and another for the Battery Hen Welfare Trust.

I am now going to work on a short story and when that is completed I shall get my wellies on and go for a walk, may even have a splash in that puddle as it is getting larger by the minute.

So whatever the weather is doing, get on with things you can do. Seize the day rain or shine!

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Inspired Landscapes

I spent Good Friday up on the beautiful Malvern Hills. It was so magical to walk the stunning countryside that seems untouched by modern life in some areas.

When I go to places, I love to connect in every way with what is there and what has been there in the past. A few days before visiting, I started to read Piers the Ploughman by William Langland, a poet who lived in the 14th century.

The story is set around the very same Malvern Hills that I roamed and tells the tale of the poet who fell asleep on the side of one of the hills and saw in his dreams a crowd of people. He describes experiencing the tower of truth (God) set on the hill and the dungeon of Wrong (the Devil) in the valley below and all the classes of people, some good and some evil and corrupt. He also sees Piers the Ploughman who wants to guide the people to a better way of life.

Even though this book has been translated, his words give a real account of what life was like during the 14th century. That was what made it so fascinating, it brought the story to life. To walk the footsteps of a real writer from centuries ago was an incredible experience and as I walked, I started to imagine what life must have been like then. I wanted to know where Langland had seen these visions.

Could this be the spot that Langland saw his vision?

It's a wonderful thing to think that now even modern day writers are still achieving that. By setting a scene in a real place, it can still capture the imagination of a reader who may walk one day in the very setting that the Author has written about.

Langland never became famous as a writer but he gave a real account of life in another time. With any piece of work, characters are vital but so is the setting. A good story that sets the scene so the reader can imagine it or actually experience one day is a massive contribution to the literary world that may last for centuries as this one did.