Wednesday, 31 August 2011


It's finally arrived 31st August, without the bright sunshine that I specifically ordered.

Yesterday, was an O.K. day, I lost an hour or two as step son threw a massive diva strop, but hey, it provided me with extra material for 'Her'. I also made myself cry yesterday when editing a funeral scene - soppy head.

My plan today is simply to plough on for as long as it takes.

Tomorrow, I'll post the opening paragraph before putting it away for a couple of weeks.

So, let's begin - enjoy!

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

2 days...

Yesterday went well, though I got into a muddle regards a grammar issue - which led me on a wild goose chase to correct errors only to find I had misunderstood the explanation and was orginally correct - Dooh! Thankfully all was O.K. by bedtime.

Today, I have a hard copy laid before me with highlights and sticky tags pointing to incidents and snippets that I wish to include, so my job for today it to weave the extras into place. It seems like a huge job but once I get started, I'm hoping they'll connect and weave together like jigsaw pieces.

I have had some invaluble advice from a Twitter follower; that I should complete on 31st August (tomorrow - yikes) and then leave for a month, before reading the novel as if seeing it for the first time. This way, I'll have forgotten the nitty gritty detail and read with fresh eyes, correct where/if needed, before sending it out to an agent. Sounds like a fair plan to me. Which allows me more time to research and compile a list of agents. So, all being well I shall be sending the manuscript out at the end of September.

I still haven't come up with a female name for the final chapter - so far the ones that have sprung to mind don't fit her description  - so that remains ...OMG whilst writing that line I have just thought of a name - which would in fact honour someone that I grew up with and who has inspired me over the years. Wendy, I'll call her Wendy. Don't you just love the human mind - it always throws up the answer when you least expect it.

Anyway, now that I have a name, I need to return to the grind stone, enjoy!

Monday, 29 August 2011

Countdown begins - 3 days....

A mini up-date on my progess....

Since Saturday, I have managed to edit numerous chapters and am nearing the end of the novel. I have surprised myself with the number of hours that I can sit in a chair and simply edit, with only toilet visits and tea-making duty as my breaks. I discovered a problem with my plot timeline early yesterday morning so spent a while putting that back on track but other than that I have plugged away at it.

One small detail that is niggling me - I'm struggling to find a first name for a minor character who pops up at the very end of the novel - I've exhausted my usual tricks by searching the baby naming book and going through a list of everyone, and I mean everyone that I know, have met or ever dreamt about. Nothing. I know something will turn up by Wednesday but hey ho, it's a small detail that's tickling a nerve - I'll let you know what I choose, when I choose.

It's very strange knowing that a project that has taken me soooo long to complete is nearly finished. I've got mixed feelings about letting it go, but I'm excited at the prosepct of beginning a fresh story with brand new characters. It's similar to attending a big party where you know absolutely no one other than the host, exciting but daunting!

Champagne is chilling - ready and waiting.
Anyway, enough  - see ya tomorrow x

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Novel progress, Highgate cemetery and onwards and upwards

Morning folks, I am the happiest girl alive - it's official! I have had an amazing week editing the 'novel'. I've made my way to chapter 44 of a 40 chapter book (don't ask) - which I think says it all. Apart from Wednesday, when I went to London - which I'll mention in a mo, I have worked everyday from five hours up to a staggering ten hours on Tuesday, 22 Aug. Ten hours? I don't do that many when working at school! I have literally lived, breathed and slept this novel and it has paid off because (drum roll needed) this is the final week of my self imposed deadline 31st August. Yep, I have just Saturday (today), Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and big old Wednesday, till midnight if needs be, to complete. So, I need to write this blog as quickly as possible as there is a novel to complete.

Wednesday saw me and the family take a very lonnnnnnng day trip to London to accomplish a couple of items on my 40th April Fool list - namedly, to visit Highgate cemetery and to cross the Abbey Road zebra crossing (made famous by the Beatles). Anyhow to cut a long story very short, we managed to visit both. If you've never visited, Highgate is cut into two halves, West and East cemetery. We booked our tour of the West cemetery and had a delightful guide who entertained us throughout with her stories and snippets. I have to say, I wouldn't mind being buried there myself, it is so beautiful. It might be a morbid subject, but I have always had a strange facination with graves and burials, so I was in my element - though the kids thought it a bit weird that we were treking about in a graveyard. I could write for eons regarding the beautiful statues and Victorian symbolism, but I won't because I have a novel to edit. But please take a look at their website and I urge you to visit as these good people have kept the cemetery open through sheer hardwork, backache and charity donations. 
The Abbey Road crossing, postcode NW8 9AY - was a highly comical affair. We arrived to find a huge crowd of tourists dashing back and forth, defying death be leaping infront of on-coming traffic, purely for a photo opportunity. I have to say, I did feel sorry for the drivers, it was like a mad game of 'frogger' - though there would have been a lot of photographic evidence should anyone been hit. I had to smile at the thought that this unassuming zebra crossing was given Grade II listed status in December 2010. Any way, we waited for ten minutes, by which time at least fifiy people had diced with death (even though traffic is supposed to stop at crossings), before the traffic calmed and we could gain the picture that I'd hope for. Worth visiting, if not for the Beatles element but the entertainment of others playing photographic 'chicken'.

We finally arrived home at about ten o'clock, which had been a long day of sightseeing but well worth the effort, as we snatched some time to view Big Ben, Houses of Westminster and London Bridge in order to show the children a few more sights other than a fancy "graveyard" (their words not mine) and a zebra crossing! Actually that last line does sound a bit mad when broken down to the basics - sightseeing a graveyard and a zebra crossing - oh well, tick, tick, both crossed off my 40th April Fool list.

I didn't make it to my Grace Dieu Writers' Circle on Thursday, purely because I was busy editing and rewriting the novel. And, I have a feeling that I won't be at my Mad Hatters group this coming Wednesday, for exactly the same reason - I'll be working up to the wire on 31st August. Though, I do have a bottle of bubbly on ice ready for Wednesday's deadline day.

Last Thurday saw the arrival of the GCSE exam results for the pupils at school - I went, as I always do, but it's so hard not to cry. I want to cry with joy for the ones that did well and cry big tears of sorrow for the many that mess it up or just miss their grade. I find it is such a difficult couple of hours but hey ho, it is part of school life and it's the final time we get to see the pupils that we've supported.... until they grab me whilst walking down the street saying 'hey Miss, do you remember me?' then I have to conjure up their name in an instant, hoping that the old memory hasn't failed.

One event which popped out of the blue this week, was the a deep clean of my desk! Now, that rarely happens because I like lots of nick nacks around and about whilst writing, but the over flow of paper was doing my head in. So during one of my 'free hours' I had a throw out. It did me the world of good, having a clear desk and a clear head in which to work. Hubby was shocked too, but hey, that's another story.

1st September - I plan to start researching for the next book - I've already set out a timeline of tasks consisting of research, writing, editing and proofreading which should enable me to complete the next novel in a shorter and more organised time frame. I have learnt from my mistakes with 'Her' and am excited at the prospect of beginning the madness - sorry, I mean process again. My choice for a working title is currently 'To honour and obey'.

Whilst researching the new book, I shall be searching for an agent for 'Her' - I realise it may well be a long, hard slog to get anyone to look at it, but it was written to go out into the big wide world and search for a publishing house.

Poleswroth Poetry Trail - which I haven't mentioned for a while, has announced that the poetry installations should be erected during September, so I'll keep you informed about when and where 'Jutt' is to be positioned. For further details and a whole load more on poetry, check out Mal Dewhirst's blog at

O.K. that's it from me for this week - please give me a tiny, even a incy wincy, nano second of a thought on Wednesday, 31st August - any time between eight thirty and midnight, as I shall be completing the final sections before the bubbly gets popped and swiftly drunk. Remember you can follow me on Twitter at Odwyer_author. Enjoy!

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Chapter 30, Mad Hatters and RSC Macbeth

Good morning folks - I'm raring to go on this Saturday morning. I had a decent week last week, I managed to edit from chapter 23 to chapter 30 - all good. Though, I did have a mini panic regards the time line of the plot around about Wednesday afternoon. I suddenly realised that certain events couldn't realistically occur at such a speed - so had to re-arrange some earlier details in previous chapters. But, it has all worked out in the end. In fact on the back of that mini panic I came up with a new idea that could enhance the plot - so my time was well spent.

I have to say as each chapter is finalised this novel is becoming 'real', more tangible as a book and in some ways I could kick myself for not setting such an intense goal period before. I have learnt my lesson and will do things differently with my next novel. My next routine will be to create the scrap book of characters, settings and ideas, then complete my research. Then set myself a sixteen week deadline in which I have to write the first draft, followed by a set period in which to edit, proof read and polish. I won't, as I did with this novel, simply muse along writing everyday without a deadline. I realise that this book has taken me far to long, and taken up much of my time - but it has been a learning experience at the same time.

Wednesday night, I attended Mad Hatter's Writers' Group - where four writers and poets had an evening of chat and critque. Alex read an amended version of his story 'Brief Encounter' - a semi biographical story with a good dollap of fiction added for good measure. Janis read her poem 'White-tailed eagle' which was a work-in-progress - in which she'd cleverly captured the essense of an eagle hunting above a Scottish loch.
We had a brief discussion regards the pronunciation of 'loch' - as the English pronounce it in a harsh manner, whereas the Scottish roll the sound about the back of their throat creating a soft pronunciation - which makes a huge difference when included in poetry.  We also had a discussion regards the validity of Shakespeare - was he real? Was his name a pseudonym for a collection of other writers? Was the pseudonym a prank or a joke of the era? Who knows - certainly with very few records of his life the discussion will continue long after we're dead and buried - I believe he did exist,  and that he was simply not recognised during his lifetime for a catelogue of superb plays.

Staying with Shakespeare - I attended the RSC at Stratford-Upon-Avon on Friday evening to watch a production of 'Macbeth' - I have to say it was stunning. The interpretation was outstanding - as many stage devices and props added to the delivery of the actors creating a production that uses every inch of the stage space available.  Superb! Another event ticked off my 40th April Fool list.

I have a pretty quiet week next week, except for my editing. I am heading to London on Wednesday to visit Highgate cemetery. I have wanted to visit for many years but holiday time has always been so precise and so I placed it as an event on my 40th April Fool list to ensure that it happened. Anyway, I have a tour of the West cemetery booked for two o'clock, followed by a gentle saunter around the East cemetery until closing time. I'm looking forward to visiting the graves of George Eliot, Charles Dickens, Michael Faraday aswell as the breathtaking Victorian architecture honouring the dead. On the way back to the tube, I plan to visit the Abbey Road zebra crossing made famous by the Beatles - which is also on my 40th April Fool list.

So, that's my week in a nutshell - I intend to follow my daily routine for another week - fingers crossed, I could be nearing the end of my journey by this time next week. Enjoy!   

Friday, 12 August 2011

Rejections, continued progress and a record number of visits in one day!

Evening folks, another early post from me - but I had a little spare time so thought why not talk to you guys?

I've had a mixed week, if I'm honest. Firstly, I received two rejection letters for the short stories that I'd sent to a women's magazine. Both rejections were pretty standard, 'not quite right for our magazine' but I shall revisit each of them, compare them to the short stories that they do publish and see what happens with a little tweaking. Who knows, in a week or so I may send them both out to new markets.

The rejection letters are saved in a document file - each one represents stepping stone toward success. I used to get horribly down on receiving a rejection letter but I think you have to take it for what it is, rather than a personal rejection - which I think was my issue when I was younger. Now, being older and wiser, I accept that, that particular market didn't find my work suitable, it doesn't mean that my work isn't suitable. So, onwards and upwards.

This week's editing hasn't gone as well as the previous week, which if I remember correctly didn't go as well as the previous week to that - I see a pattern occuring here which needs to stop. Otherwise, I will not be hitting the 31st August deadline and I want that deadline nailed! It wasn't entirely my fault but the kids did effect my work this week - their lack of social organising skills meant that I've literally had to make plans for them and their friends and if I'm honest, their friends' parents - who seem unable to make a simple decision: 'yes' or 'no'. I allowed my writing time to be stolen from me, hour by hour, without shouting up for myself. Next week, I will be make amends and will be demanding my work time! Anyway, hubby arrives back tonight so the kiddie load will be lighter on my shoulders.

I have finished reading 'Doctor Faustus' by Marlowe - I'd recommend it as a comparison to Shakespeare's work - I can see why there are so many theories regards Marlowe/Shakespeare combo. Why not give it a whirl and make up your own mind?

Friday, 19th - I am going to see Macbeth at The Royal Shakespeare thearte in Startford-upon-Avon - I literally can't wait. I booked the theatre trip a few months ago as it appears on my '40th April Fool list' (listed on right hand panel of blog). I shall give you a brief review on next week's blog - but I'm expecting it to be the excellent!

And finally, a big hello to USA for creating the record number of visits to my blog today! I hope you are all well and enjoying the weekly up-dates. I do regularly check this blog's stats page and add to the list of countries as they occur. Remember you can also follow me on Twitter: Odwyer_author.

O.K. - that's about it from me this week - I promise, come hell or high water, that I will be having an excellent editing week! Enjoy x

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Chapter 25, Mad Hatters and Christopher Marlowe

Good morning folks, hope everyone is happy and healthy. I'm proud to announce that I have reached chapter 25 in editing my novel - a simple indication of a fabulous week. Though, I must confess sticking to the routine wasn't as easy as last week and there were numerous occasions when it felt like hard work. But, I persevered - the result being six chapters!

I've had a quiet week regards socials and outtings, I attended the Mad Hatter's Writers' Group on Wednesday evening - a small group of four attended but as always we managed to fill an entire evening with poetry and prose related reading and chat. One member spoke to me about her reading group and I was tempted to join but with the amount of 'stuff' on my plate at the minute I know it would be burning the candle at both ends. I have to admit that Reading groups do intrigue me, it's the mixture of individuals focusing on the same book whilst offering such varied responses to the text - which fires my imagination regards the debates and disagreements. Instead of attending a reading group, I may produce a short story instead to dispel my over active imagination.

The week ahead looks rosy and bright, over flowing with opportunity to edit, as hubby has been sent on a week's residentual course with The Open University. So, although I'm left with the two children, I have a plan (as always) on how the week is panning out regards their activities - enabling me to complete plenty of editing. Should they not allow me to complete my work they may be introduced to old fashioned school discpline; finger on lips, hands on heads or standing in a corner with your nose on the wall. Come what may, I will be progressing from chapter twenty five.

I also plan to write a short story of 1500 words for a competition related to Austen's 'Sense and Sensibility'. The competition is to celebrate the bicentenial anniversary, first published in 1811 - for further details about competitions see 'Writing magazine' or 'Writers News'

Thursday night, I have the Grace Dieu Writers' Circle at Coalville, so look forward to reading a short story 'Vibes and Jibes' which still hasn't been rejected by a women's magazine (fingers remain crossed).

Yesterday saw my introduction to Christopher Marlowe's 'Doctor Faustus' which I have to read as part of my continuing English Literature course. I've heard plenty about Marlow, his comparison and connection to Shakespeare, but until now have never read his work. I managed to complete Act one yesterday and hopefully, Act two will follow today - but as with all Elizabethan texts I'm gripped by the play's topic 'necromancy' which is black magic to conjure the spirits of the dead. Why oh why, has no one ever recommended that I read more sixteenth century plays - they are sooooo fascinating - and the language is a treat in itself.

O.K. enough from me, I shall love and leave you all - have a good week and enjoy!