Sunday, 29 April 2012

Absence makes the heart, The Ritz and a creative flood

Good morning folks – I have been away for two weeks due to problems arising for family and friends but I promise you, I am now back. I’m hoping that in the world of blogging absence also makes the heart grow fonder.

I last blogged two weeks ago on 14th April, when I was hoping to begin the opening paragraphs of my second project – which I duly did. So project one and two now have the same birthday so to speak, but I went a step further when an idea that has been loitering about suddenly came into being on 24th April – so hey, it looks like project three has also been born. I might have been away but I wasn’t wasting time – I promise. No, seriously, project three has loitered about my brain for quite a while but a flash of inspiration arrived whilst watching a t.v. programme along with an image - that was it. I literally switched off the t.v. and let my fingers write the opening paragraph – which on reading back made me cry. Not the start I had intended but hey, that’s what happened. I always said I’d be honest with my followers, where possible. And, yeah, once I dried my eyes, I realised that the project three may well be the story that I have steered clear of – which could explain why the idea has sat patiently waiting for a catalyst. I’m not going to say which t.v. programme it was, as it’ll give too much of the subject matter away but yes, project three now exists.

While I’m talking novels, I am still waiting to hear from agents regards ‘Her’ – I keep telling myself no news is good news. So, I’ll continue to sit patiently and wait.

Creative wise – I’ve had a flood of inspiration from everything that I’ve laid my eyes upon. My daily writing routine have gone to pot lately and so maybe this has forced my mind to work in a different way. As I said, I’ve experienced a spark for project three but also I’ve managed to scribble several poems about everyday observations that have occurred at the day job or daily life. For instance, on my daily drive home I delight in the kestrel that hovers and hunts alongside the busy traffic, but on a particular night there were two kestrels literally fifty meters apart – that I’ve never seen before. Which in turn brought to mind a past experience, I’d visited a grave only to have a kestrel plunge from the sky and pin a field mouse to the earth on the very next grave. These three birds are now entwined as one in ‘Hunted’.

I travelled to London yesterday to have afternoon tea at The Ritz – boy, what a wonderful treat. I shall certainly be going again. The scones were to die for, the sandwiches melted on your tongue and the pianist tinkled the keys throughout the tea providing the perfect atmosphere in the Palm room. The waiters were groomed to within an inch of their lives and their manners were impeccable – but hey, it was exactly as I’d expected and wished. And, yep, you guessed it another poem emerged from the experience.

The train journey back and forth to London provided more food for thought. Hubby busied himself with a backgammon app on his phone – me, I watched the passing scenery which inspired another poem.

The day job has hit a phase where I can share my personal knowledge with the pupils. I’ve been teaching Charles Dickens and John Steinbeck – both authors that I greatly admire. I’ve found that my enthusiasm for the topic, has rubbed off onto the pupils, which is a bonus in everyway, but it does sound strange to overhear a tiny child remark on the life of Dickens to a group of friends during playtime. Hummmm.

My plans for this week comprise of attending my writers’ group on Wednesday evening – the rest of the week will be dedicated to draft one of project two. Remember you can follow me on ‘Twitter’ by searching and following odwyer_author – please pass this blog onto others who may be interested. Enjoy!

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Project 2, Titanic and 14th April - an anniversary

Morning world – it is a bright and beautiful day here in the U.K which means it’ll probably be raining in an hour or two. Anyhow, my week. Well, what a week. I am very pleased with myself – a pat on the back kind of week. I have spent the last four days at my desk. But, I’ll start with the beginning of the week to prevent confusion.

Last weekend, I drafted a couple of poems inspired by my memories, one called Golden Peg from my childhood and the second, a more poignant one about a work colleague, Deb who bravely battled cancer but after much laughter and tears sadly died. Both pieces have been dancing about my head for a while and for some reason came together last Saturday. As I have said so many time, ‘I am not a poet’ but when typing up the two new poems I numbered them 87 and 88!!!!!! How, have I got to 88 poems? I am not a poet – go figure. But, I shall do what other authors have previously done and treasure them as part of my repertoire. Agatha Christie, C.S. Lewis, Roal Dahl, Brontes, Charles Dickens, JK Rolwing – even Ian Rankin (when annoyed at the BBC), all wrote poetry as well as their novels, so hey, looks like I’ve joined the ranks.

Sunday – I began to create the templates for my next novel ‘To honour and obey’ – well that’s the working title that I’ve given it anyhow. Strange really, because people think that the author chooses the title of a book – nah, nah, nah the publishers change what they don’t like. So, just like ‘Her’ I’ll christen it and then it’ll be a happy day for me when a publisher decides otherwise. Any way, I have decided to tackle this new project in a very different manner to how I approached ‘Her’. I recognize that I’m a visual learner who needs to have order and organization in which to work – so along with the usual scrapbook which worked well last time, I am going to attempt – to sketch each chapter ideas prior to writing. So with the use of a spiral note book I have assigned each page to a single chapter – hee hee just like the wedding present list of some years ago. So far, so good. I spent some time whilst in Dublin sketching out the three first chapters so have transferred this work. I’m sharing my working process purely so other can see a different method to one they’ve probably tried or heard of. I know when I first began searching for ideas on how to approach novel writing I couldn’t understand how authors prepared each detail and actually wrote a novel. That’s probably why it has taken me so long, but I’ve learnt much from my own mistakes. Once the spiral note pad was prepared, I created the computer template – again putting vital details in headers and footers, which I know would have helped the process with ‘Her’. One vital detail is the date – I did this with ‘Her’ – I look in horror at that date and promise you it won’t be taking me as long to complete. So, project number 2 is officially up and running. 

Bank holiday Monday saw me having a ‘sofa day’ catching up on t.v. recordings – and the result was a day spent in tears. I watched a very moving documentary drama based on Captain Scott’s quest to the South pole – using the mens’ diaries and letter home they retold the story. OMG I sobbed, I have tried to find a link to the original programme ‘Scott in their own words’ but can’t find anything that will allow a replay. The second set of programmes related to the Titanic centenary anniversary – Len Goodman undertook a three part series telling of the human cost of the disaster. He retold individual stories of the crew, ship builders and the heroism shown on that night. Again, I watched in tears, but so worth every minute watching such amazing t.v.

Thursday night I attended a Grace Dieu writers’ meeting – I shared my pictures of my poem ‘Jutt’ with the other members, as they live no where near Pooley Heritage Park to visit. The evening was enjoyable, as always, but some news about one member brought home the realities of life. Our time here is so brief, we all think we’ve got so much time to waste on this planet and we really haven’t. I sat in shock, my mind reeling at the news. One life, one chance – that’s a certainty.

I’ve been on Easter holiday from the day job, so I have spent each day at my desk, as mentioned earlier. I’ve been quite amazed at how much work I have achieved in four days, Tuesday to Friday. I have written five letters to magazines, planned two short stories, completed research for my new project, sought agents’ addresses for the next round of posting ‘Her’ and even sketched a possible idea for a third book – writers can’t afford not to plan ahead! Wow, a very productive week.

And so, today. Today is 100 years ago since Titanic hit the iceberg and sank in the early hours of tomorrow morning. I’ll mark the anniversary, firstly by attempting to draft a poem, and secondly, me and hubby are going to watch Cameron’s film Titanic at the cinema later.
Today, is also the sixth anniversary of me beginning to draft ‘Her’ I can’t believe that it has taken me six years to get to this point, but hey, I’ve also completed two degrees and secured a profession in that time too, so maybe I shouldn’t be too hard on myself. So, today, I might, just might, begin writing chapter one of project 2 ‘To honour and obey’ J

Remember you can follow me on ‘Twitter’ by searching and following odwyer_author – please pass this blog onto others who may be interested. Enjoy!

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Dublin, project 2 and guilty pleasures.

Morning folks – as you know, last week I viewed my poem ‘Jutt’ on the Polesworth Poetry Trail and I can honestly say I was delighted by the reaction from my friends. So much so, I actually brought one dear friend up-to-date with what I’ve been doing for the last seventeen years. Shocked and surprised doesn’t equate – but honestly it felt good to include others in my writing journey. Though, I’ll delay my announcement to the masses.

Last Sunday was my birthday – which was a lovely day spent at home with hubby. I had some beautiful presents and many moments of indulgence throughout the day. The fun began on Monday when I set off for a three day to Dublin, Ireland. I’d booked the trip months ago as a reward for how hard I’ve worked at the day job recently. Anyway, I took full advantage of the three days by visiting the wealth of literary culture contained within one city. I visited the Writers’ Museum, which honours the work of Joyce, Shaw, Wilde and Beckett. The museum is tiny but I’m sure it is the beginning of something great. For a further insight take a look at

I went on several tours of the city, where the details of James Joyce’s life were pointed out, from the house near Ha’Penny bridge, where his aunts lived, the hotel where he met chambermaid Nora Barnacle and his statue in
Earl Street
. The National Museum displayed many drawings and sketches of the surrounding area on which Joyce’s ‘Dubliners’ is based.

I sat in The Temple Bar, with a pint of Guinness, on two afternoons planning the plot line of my next novel. It felt so good to be writing from scratch, using the imagination to bring my chosen characters to life. I have arrived home with the first four chapters in note form ready and waiting for the magic to occur – fingers crossed, today.

Guilty pleasures come in many forms, and I have to say, whilst in Dublin I took full advantage to indulge in an Agatha Christie book. I do, I really love reading her crime novels, which takes me back to my teenage years - I’m sad to say it has been too long since I bought one.

I left Dublin batteries recharged and inspiration tanks fully topped up promising that I shall return soon, hopefully next April.

Since being home, I have typed up five poems that I’d drafted on my Ipad, written two poems dedicated to memories and have begun drafting a short story for a competition in Writing Magazine. The plan for today, apart from a long trek with the dog, is to begin drafting chapter one from my notes made in Dublin – yay, a new project gets underway.  

Regards ‘typing up’ my work I always number each piece depending upon the genre; novel, short story or poetry. I don’t use a complicated system but a simple spread sheet giving the title, the date created, submission details and outcome. It is a simple way of keeping track of where my work has been sent and the results. It also provides plenty of surprise, one being that I have written 86 poems – when I keep saying ‘I ‘m not a poet’, hummmm, I think I may have to drop that line from my repertoire.

I haven’t heard from agents in relation to ‘Her’ or the ‘Shoe’ poems – so, no news is good news. So, I’ll sit patiently in the waiting room of the publishing houses.

Before I go, I need to do a huge shout out to the visitors from around the world – so many of you return each week for my up-dates. I am quite humbled each time I view the stats.

O.K. enough from me, remember you can also follow me on Twitter by searching odwyer_author for regular or rather erratic updates on my work. Enjoy!