Wednesday, 5 November 2014

A change in direction

Forgive me fellow bloggers it's too long since I last did an update.  

This year has flown and with the wonderful weather, I have spent nearly every lunch hour through the summer, sitting on the banks of the river Severn with my note pad. I have written lots of poems as part of my Bardic course with the British Druid Order and made endless notes for future projects.  These times have been so idyllic, only the odd dog would stop and acknowledge me as I sat in my perfect writing environment, the words seemed to flow as easily as the river itself.  It was only the church clock chiming that would remind me to get back to work.

I also started penning another children's novel for which the deadline was February 2015 if I wanted to get it looked at by a particular publisher but then just as the summer ends, so did all these projects because I had to take a change in direction.

 In early September I lost my beautiful old horse Chad, he was a massive part of my life for over 34 years.  I had started writing about him last year when I entered  NanoWrimo and managed to get 50,000 words down, but of course it didn't have an ending then and it was very rough and ready as is the norm with the madness of NanoWrimo.  

These sad circumstances gave me that change in direction and fresh motivation to write his story. This time I want to take it steady. There is no rush. I want to capture every last detail of how that special horse affected me and the other people in my life.

I have been doing a lot of research on these real life stories and I do find it a little scary that I will have to put quite a bit about myself in there too.  I find this difficult as I worry about how far to go. As with many people there are things in my life that I would rather not rake up again but our lives were inter-twined.  I can't write his story without telling a bit of mine too and really get across how much that horse changed my life.  He changed it when he came into it and he changed it when he went out of it.  He changed me from a painfully shy child lacking in confidence to someone who feels at ease when talking to people.

It will be a challenge, I have read so many creative non-fiction books to get an idea of how to go about it. 'Marley and Me' by John Grogan was amazing and the interview at the back of the book was so helpful. His advice is to tell the story fully and honestly, do not hold back on detail and believe in yourself.

With these words of advice I have to give it a go, I owe it to him.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Get Snapping

I recently attended an excellent work shop run by Simon Whaley (pictured above) about how you can make money by taking even the most basic photographs. Magazines such as TAB and That's Life pay good money for just a photograph with very few words, so it's a great market to get into as well as producing pictures to accompany a full length article.

I have had some success in this area and on some occasions have been paid more for the photograph than I have the article.  I have a decent camera, though not an expensive SLR, it does have a few features on it that can produce a decent looking photograph.  I took the photo above of Simon photographing a random otter on Aberdovey beach last November.  It was a pure chance encounter of what is usually a very elusive creature and thank goodness we both had our cameras with us.  This has made me realise that it is a good idea to always have a camera to hand even if it is a phone one as you never know when these opportunities are going to present themselves.

Simon's workshop really made me want to try even harder. I love photography but have not pushed myself to develop my skills. For years I have been using the automatic setting on my camera instead of playing around and changing the various settings to get different effects.  His book Photography for Writers is an excellent tool to get anyone started on making money from a simple snapshot.

So, now I have read it cover to cover,  I have set myself a challenge that I am going to try and send a photograph to somewhere every week and see what happens.  

Monday, 13 January 2014

Blog Chain

I would like to thank Simon Whaley , bestselling Author, Writer and Photographer for making me part of this blog chain and Tracey Fells who started this particular blog chain off.  I like the idea of us all having a link in the chain and show what we are doing at a particular time of the year. I always get inspiration from other Writers so this is a great way of sharing what we are up to.

The idea is that we all asked a set of the same questions.  So here goes!

1) What am I working on?

At the moment I am writing a series of children's stories.  I think the way to go sometimes is to show a publisher that you have more than one book in you, so that is what I am trying to do.  I am just about to send the first one off but I have ideas for several stories using the same character.

I am also working on a lot of non-fiction ideas in the magazine market as I enjoy writing articles too.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I feel  that in my fiction writing, I  like to write magical stories set in real time and the real world ( though that may change one day) I like to have ordinary characters living a normal life where sometimes magical things happen to them. When I say to people I like to write children's stories I often get the answer ' So are you the next J K Rowling?' Well, as much as I would love to have her success, I know it will not happen as I do not write like her and could not even begin to try. I want to go my own way with my own work and hope that one day, my stories will reach a wider audience.

3)Why do I write what I do?

I am inspired by nature and animals, so that is always the starting point for me.  When I am in a particular place, I may see something - an animal, a landscape or perhaps a building, then I work my characters around it to develop a story.  

4) How does my writing process work?

This varies from day to day. I would love to say I have a set routine but I haven't.  I do always have a notebook to hand and have often had to pull in to a lay by while I have been driving if I have an idea that I don't want to forget. I love to scribble, even it it's one word or a sentence that makes me want to build on it and create a story or an article later on.

Most of the time I start writing notes by hand then transfer them to the computer. Yet with blogging I prefer to get stuck in straight away.

So that is where I pass this blog chain over and I would like to nominate Carrole Anne Carr, a very successful author and writer of Children's stories.  This includes 'First Wolf'  a wonderful Children's novel which has been a great success