Saturday, 25 June 2011

Confession, family explosion, a graduation and a puppy dog

Morning folks, this is a very short posting but I promise to return later and up-date you on my day.... as I have a feeling it will be a wonderful one.

I have my graduation ceremony in a short while and so the whole house is busily preparing  - all suited and booted.

I have to confess that haven't completed any writing this week - I've not even sat down for 30 minutes - which is first time this has happened in about fifteen years. The reason being is that due to a huge bust up with their mother - I now have two step-kiddies living in the house. So, as a result my writing week has been spent organising two teenagers and creating workable routines so I can return my focus back to my novel. But I promise, never again will I have such an unproductive week regards my writing.

Yesterday, I had an interview for a University course - I'll blush as I say, it went very, very well - I was graded 'outstanding' at interview and 'outstanding' for my essay!!!!! Never before has anyone thought me 'outstanding' so I shall enjoy it while it lasts.

And finally, my graduation is at The Symphony Hall in Birmingham - so as you can imagine I am soooooo excited to be celebrating an academic success.

So, I'll love you and leave you for now but I will be back later tonight (possibly with a glass or two of champers) to up-date you. Enjoy!

Update: Well hello - I'm  back with an up-date.
I have had the most fabulous weekend ever. After saying bye to you guys on Saturday, we headed out to Birmingham. I've never been to the Symphony Hall before so was very impressed with the surroundings and the musical accompaniment. I fell in love with academic wearing robes - it all felt very Harry Potterish in a wonderful way so I am going to propose at school that all staff should dress in robes!

After a busy day of photographs, speeches and ceremony hype - the family went for a meal where darling husband surprised me by announcing that yes, I could have the poodle puppy that I've been wanting. So, you've guessed it, yesterday, we went to collect my beautiful little pup Teddy, a cream miniature poodle.

I've finally calmed down from all the excitment and I promise you, dear reader that I shall be at my desk, every night this week editing my novel.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

University courses, new ideas and a day dedicated to writing

Morning folks - I'm an early bird today, as I was up with the lark. Hopefully you are all happy and healthy and have had a good week. I've had a strange one. I received some good news from a local University that have offered me an interview for Friday 24th June - which had me dancing with glee. I'm chasing a place on a university course and so far it has proved a difficult road - somewhat frustrating and draining as it has been going on since December 2010. Fingers crossed, Friday will bring a successful outcome.

Wednesday, brought me a light bulb moment in the middle of a year 7 German lesson - suddenly an idea for a new novel came out of the blue. I amazed myself when I started to make notes as the plot lines just appeared, connected beautifully and a whole wealth of humour became apparent. By the end of the day I was quite excited by the prospect of this new idea. So, my current plan has slightly changed - I am now going to continue to edit 'Her' whilst researching this new project in preparation for September. It'll mean a little bit of juggling but hey, I'm used to that.

My daily writing has gone well this week but I seem to be stuck in a rut regards chapter fourteen - I keep finding little sections that don't feel right and so I re-write it. Hopefully, today can bring an end to that vicious cycle. Roll on chapter fifteen!

Which brings me to today and why I am up sooooo early. I plan to have a whole day dedicated to my novel 'Her' just like I did two weeks ago (when hubby was climbing mountains). I have written myself a to-do list and prioritised my tasks - the aim is to complete before bedtime. I've silenced the telephone, set the t.v. to record any interesting programmes and lined up the coffee mugs. It seems strange but I do have a little routine, that has developed over the years, which helps me to settle prior to writing. Must haves include: hot drink, post-it notes, a freshly sharpened pencil, ear plugs (invaluable) and usually a sleeping cat snoring in its basket. Close to hand is the scrap book dedicated to this novel and above my writing desk is the magic white board sheet (amazing stuff) listing character names, ages and relationships. Once I'm settled, that's it I disappear into a world of my very own - until someone breaks that spell asking for clean socks or cooked food.

The whole writing routine issue was brought up earlier in the week, having watched the Sky Arts 'Book Show' which included the daily routine of Cecilia Ahern - the film clip showed her busily working in a rented office away from her family home. The office was incredibly tidy, befitting any corporate company, dressed with several bookcases and low slung sofas - by keeping office hours she has managed to produce an array of novels. This got me thinking, would that be the best option? Having an office away from the house in which to work, then closing the door at the end of each working day, for a quick stroll home. It's an experiment that I'm willing to conduct should anyone care to sponsor me, so that I can give up the day job and find an office close to home. Any takers? Thought not.

O.K. time is ticking on, and I've got a hot date with  a lap-top - so I'll love you and leave you for another week. Remember you can follow me on twitter - odwyer_author.


Saturday, 11 June 2011

3 mountains, a Moleskine and 2 x writers' meetings

Good afternoon - late because of step kids weekend and a whole load of baby rabbit deliveries - so, my deepest apologies. The two nests of rabbits that I had bred are now ready for their new homes and so to help speed up the collection process I chose to deliver - which was great but has taken longer than I'd planned.

Anyway, I've had a strange week. Last weekend, Husband was away doing a mental 3 peaks challenge with his fire service friends (Ben Nevis, Scafell and Snowdon) all climbed in a weekend - I'm proud to say he made it, though it has taken a week for his aching to subside. I asked if he'd do it again, and without thinking he replied 'no chance' so it must have taken all he had as Hubby is no quitter. Whilst he was away climbing things, I stayed at home and had a writing weekend - enabling me to compile two chapters of 'Her'. I have to say, I did enjoy the silence of the house which allowed me to eat, drink and sleep my writing. Without sounding awful, I could do with a few more weekends to myself to finish this book, but hey, I wouldn't be without my boy.

I had two writers' meetings this week - Wednesday night at the Mad Hatters looked at one stage as if it would be cancelled due to lack of numbers but thankfully, three of us rallied around and made it a date. I read the end of a chapter that I'd been working on, Alex read a short story called  'Brief Encounter' and Janis read a delightful poem inspired by the Polesworth Poetry workshops. I was pleased that the other two found my little exert funny and yet understandably sad given the difficult relationships occurring.

My second writers' group at Coalville was with the Grace Dieu writers circle, a few new faces that I hadn't seen before - but all in all, a central core of people who have attended each time I have. I read chapter two of my novel - again I receive positive feedback with a few pointers regards a couple of sections which could do with clipping. The group is very mixed regards genres and styles - one piece in particular was hilarious, tears streamed down our faces as one guy read his short story aloud. I have to say, it is quite unnerving when someone is able to keep such a straight face while reading a funny piece - the audience didn't know whether it was supposed to be that funny until he had finished. Thankfully, it was - I can't imagine how we'd have got out of the situation if he hadn't meant it to be. Anyhow, a good night was had by all.

I can honestly say that I've gained so much from being part of writing circles - you are able to be with like minded people, who share your interests if not your genre - who experience the creation process and know how it feels - good or bad. I have belonged to three in total, the first one I went to wasn't my cup of tea - I didn't feel comfortable sharing my work or discussing others. I also noticed that certain members weren't fair with their time or critique. I went for about six months but never settled in. Luckily, I was brave enough to continue my search and found two other groups that suit me down to the ground and am grateful that I wasn't put off the whole writers' group idea. Though, my first experience has bode me well in that I remember how they made me feel and have since written a short story based on my experience - see nothing as ever wasted when you're a writer.

Moleskine - this week I have joined the club and purchased my very first Moleskine notebook. I have looked at these tiny pocket books so many times, and been put off for one reason or another - but this week I bought one! And, I do say,  I love it. I have a thing about the feel of paper, and it is beautiful to write upon - one of my geek things. I feel as if I've just admitted a secret indulgence but yes, I secretwriter have a thing about paper, pens.... anything stationery in fact. I'm more than happy wandering about in stationery shops browsing  -  my obsession is probably the equivalent of the normal woman's shoe shopping addiction. They collect high heels, I collect coloured ink! So, there you have it - I have succumb to the Moleskine brigade - and I honestily, don't know why it took me sooooo long. I have a funny feeling that there is no turning back from this point. I'll add the website link. Disclaimer: I will not be held responsible for your cash balance or your sanity having viewed the site and decided that you too deserve such a luxury.

Have a great week and enjoy.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

A mad rush, writing dead line and Olympics tickets

Good morning, I'm wide awake and raring to go on this sunny morning. I have the house to myself for the next 48 hours and I intend to spend it writing, writing and possibly, reading. Hubby is away doing a climbing/treking challenge of three peaks in twenty four hours so I have set a self imposed challenge to have a weekend dedicated to my novel.

Last week was a strange one, I was on school holiday but the beginning of the week was dedicated to step kiddies, then I had to complete a university application which took me an age to finish and post. Funny story: I finished the application, dashed off to the post office just before the mail deadline, to return home filled with glee that that task was complete only to realise in horror that I hadn't signed it. The most important part, which I'd left till last and then had forgotten to do. I must have looked like a mad woman dashing into the post office armed with a black pen and cellotape - anyway the kind man obliged by giving me back the envelope (they're not supposed to - Queen's service and all that) so that I could open, sign and reseal.

Wednesday, dawned the first of the month. I love the beginning of the month as it gives me chance to set little goals and targets for the coming four weeks - sad I know but please indulge me here. Anyhow, 1st June delivered the great news that me and Hubby had been allocated tickets for the Olympics 2012 - we'd requested the football final at Wembley and the final day of atheletics - we're not entirely sure which we've been granted as the amounted debited from our account doesn't match our ticket applications - we are assuming they have downgraded our seats - but who cares, I going to the London Olympics!!!

I've set myself a deadline of 31st August for this draft of my novel to be completed and ready for an agent to read. I'm starting to collect ideas for other books and know I can't possibly begin until this one is doing the rounds. So, given that I'll have six weeks holidays starting mid July, I see no reason why my novel shouldn't be complete by the time I head back to school.

On the subject of other novel ideas, I'll share how I start laying down the foundations of a book. I start by buying a lined scrap book - then I dedicate each page to a different element, for example, my main character will have their own page. I'll find a suitable name, description, even a picture from the local newspaper or internet that best fits my mind's image. Within this one book will be every detail relating to my novel  - every idea, plot twist, photographs of settings, beautiful words, dates and times of events, map drawings. I find this method is invaluable when I start writing as everything is to hand, nothing is forgotten or lost. In the next few weeks I plan to purchase the next scrap book in preparation for 1st September.

I still haven't received any rejection letters regards the two short stories that were sent out to publishers a month or so ago - so fingers crossed they are somebodies desk getting a thorough reading. I intend to write a new one aimed at People's Friend - though I have to say their house style is very different to how I write, so I'll need to tailor my writing to fit their desired requirements.

I have started to read 'Middlemarch' by Eliot - a book that has been recommended by numerous people over the years, and which I plaeced on my April Fool list. I began reading it yesterday and so far so good, it isn't an easy read but the era and characters are strongly defined which has enabled me to battle through the elaborate language. I'm currently on chapter six, where the main story is beginning to ignite - so maybe the reading will become a little easier - though somehow I doubt it. Over the years I've leant a lot about George Eliot's life (real name Mary Ann Evans) and the difficulties that she had pursuing a role outside of the female norm. The BBC showed an interesting documentary about her struggles to be freed from her religious upbringing in order to follow her own path to self development and education which eventually led her towards writing. Whilst reading 'Middlemarch' the same values are being addressed through the main characters - defining the quote 'write what you know' it's very obvious that Eliot did exactly that.

So, I shall love you and leave you and head towards a day of writing in an empty house which is a 'luxury' I don't often receive - enjoy!