Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Happy New Year

Just a quick update: try as I might, but draft one won't be completed today - I shall plod on into the New Year.

Wishing you all a prosperous New Year - May all your writing wishes come true!

Sunday, 29 December 2013

New Year, Simon Whaley and Rehoming

Morning folks, I hope everyone is well. We got our wish for a cosy quiet Christmas at home. But, now my eyes are firmly on the New Year. Writing wise, I have dug out my annual read 'The Positively, Productive Writer' by Simon Whaley which I've reread for the part two years. Whaley gives lots of practical advice and examples of  records - which I've used since my very first read. It may sound daft, but the psychology of writing needs a regular revisit.

My current writing place is my desk in the corner of the dining room - which for years has suited me but recently my spread of papers, notes and accompanying item has out grown the spot. So, drastic action is called for come the New Year - I'll be rehoming my desk upstairs into a cleared out room - which will give me more space and best of all a door to close on the expanse of notes, so I won't need to clear away after each session.

Between now and New Year I have to dedicate as much of my time as possible to my current project - which has a self-imposed deadline for draft one of 31st Dec. Though, this looks unlikely given that a minor plot line is being reworked at the moment. I'll see what I can do.

With New Year comes my resolutions - this year I will get my RNA NWS submission sent by 1st April and then following feedback will submit it to publishers. Simple goals.

Remember you can follow me on Twitter by search odwyer_author or facebook odwyer_author - either route make sure you connect and chat. Enjoy!

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Merry Christmas, holidays and muse

Morning folks, I hope everyone is enjoying the run up to Christmas - I've nearly completed my 'To-do  ' list, thank goodness.

Since Friday I've been on holiday, so have transformed my focus onto my writing. It amazes me how much work I can complete when juggling isn't necessary. I've managed to add numerous champers to my work-in-progress but intend to complete in the next nine days. As my dead line is 31Dec - I have more than enough to be getting on with, between the tinsel and turkey!

I've had a fabulous week with my study; submitting a beautiful essay on Jane Eyre - I wanted to write 10,000 words not just the required 2,000. The process reignited my passion for Bronte - so the New a Year could well begin with Gaskell's biography.

My muse has been prodding my ribs each day this week - she seems to be overflowing with creative ideas and demands. I've the beginnings of two poems and a flash fiction story jotted on notepaper - which I'll hopefully finish by Christmas. I also wrote two murder mystery short stories for the school children - quite amazing how excited they became at being included in the plot.

Finally, wishing my dear writing friend Alex a speedy recovery after a recent surprise - shout if you need anything.

Remember you can follow me on Twitter by searching @odwyer_author or facebook odwyer_author - either network please make contact and follow my end of year progress. Wishing you all the merriest of Christmases - enjoy!

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Jane Eyre, Plans and Christmas

Morning folks, I have just one task today - to write an essay on Jane Eyre. I started a plan for it earlier in the week, but today is the day. I've got a cracking question and so many ideas and quotations to craft together. I've already put in a few hours and need to add some more this afternoon.

Last week was one crazy week. I managed to snatch a daily writing session but it was a struggle. Christmas planning is eating a huge chunk of my evenings but I'm nearly there with the To-do-list.

My novel is coming along which is pleasing to see, even if it is slower than I'd like. I'm on track to complete by draft one by the New Year. I've had to do some emergency research for an unexpected plot line - but hey, it all adds to the excitement.

Plans for the holiday, which start next week! You know me, I don't enter a holiday period without a daily plan. Anyway, a lazy holiday is definitely not on the cards - I plan to work each morning from 7 - midday. If needs be I can drift into an afternoon session. I have no intentions of heading out over Christmas - the perfect holiday spent at home is what I desire. So there's no fear that by the time I return to school draft one will be complete.

Remember you can track my progress by following me on Twitter odwyer_author - seek me out - enjoy!

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Nano recovery, RNA NWS and promotion

Afternoon folks, we what a week! As you know I completed Nano last Saturday - my back has only just stopped aching. Seriously.  Each day since Nano, I have added to the manuscript and this is my new challenge for December. December challenge will consist of daily writing sessions to complete draft one by 31st December. Yep, I'm well and truly going for it! I'm determined that this should be my RNA NWS submission for 2014.

My RNA NWS membership was renewed last week too. I really can't believe it is two years since that  New a Year night where I had to pounce upon a send button cone OBE minute past midnight to ensure I was chosen. Lordy, the very thought of losing my membership place brings me out in a cold sweat. So phew, signed in for another year.

Good news from the day job this week - actually correct that - utterly fabulous news from the day job this week, I gained a one year promotion. All the hard work has paid off and a golden opportunity was delivered my way. A wonderful early Christmas present, as far as I'm concerned.

The week ahead, well I can't attend my writers' meeting as it falls on a commitment with the day job (parents evening), so I'll have to send my apologies. Never mind, it can't be helped but it does mean I might not get to meet my writing friends before the Christmas break occurs. On the bright side, come January 2014 I'll have a new manuscript written :-)

So, the plan for today - I have a stack of Christmas tasks to do before I reach my desk but when I do, there'll be no moving me. I intend to write , write and write - all new material from my muse.

Remember you can follow me on twitter @odwyer_auther or facebook at odwyer_author - Enjoy!

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Nano day 30 - the end is in sight!

Hello folks, you join me on the final day of Nano 2013. Due to juggling work, home and life in general I started the day knowing I needed to write 7,594 words to successfully complete.

The plan of today is simply to plod on and on with the nano writing. I'll update Twitter as I go, and gradually I'll get nearer with each hour.

I can guarantee that I shall finish by midnight, I have too, because I haven't spent the last month juggling to bail out on the last day.

See you later, I'll tweet as I write so please support me on my final stretch - today isn't the finish I'd planned. Enjoy!

Follow up: NANO WINNER - I did it 50,448 words written in the month of November of which 7877 were written today in six hours and fifty minutes. Yay!

Note: my back is aching but my brain is spinning!

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Nano day 24 - 7001 words to bring total to 40,023

Evening folks, a brief update on what has been a crazy day. Today, the mission was to catch up on my nano word count - the result after numerous hours is a huge 7001 words in one day. It means I have achieved my goal of catching up to ensure that I finish in time for next Saturday. My total word count currently stands at 40,023. Phew, I can now go to bed and sleep.

Good night, a busy, yet hearty day x

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Nano 16 - 3500 words

Evening folks, I've just shut up shop for the night having written 3500 words bring my Nano total to 29,534 - woohoo!
Tomorrow's plan is to break through the 30,000 word barrier which always feels great - quite a milestone.

The bigger plan for this project is to continue after Nano month into December and work each day until New Year's Eve to complete the first draft. Now, that would be a huge achievement - can I possibly write a draft in 61 days? You bet I can!

Regards my previous project, FLOM well I collected my bangle from the jeweller's yesterday having had it's date engraved inside. My arm had felt bare all week, but thankfully I'm complete again.

Remember if you're competing in Nano please link up by searching for ODW11 or via Twitter @odwyer_author - either way enjoy your Saturday night. I'll see you back here tomorrow x

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Nano day 10

Afternoon folks, I hope you're having a fab day. So far I've done nothing but write. Seriously, I haven't. I had a difficult week last week juggling nano, study essay and the day job - so my nano count went a little low. I literally made sure that I wrote something every day even if I couldn't manage the daily average of 1667. So, with this in mind, I have dedicated my entire weekend to the Nano project and as it stands right now, have managed 7374 words in two days. Thankfully, this has brought me right up to date with where I should be for day ten.

I'm hoping to have another little session later to put a few more words in the bank, In preparation for the working week ahead. You never know what's in store!

But so far, do good regards this year's Nano - I failed to write everyday last year so wanted this year to stick to a daily routine. It's been easier in some ways but a right pain in the neck - some of my session literally haven't started till ten o'clock at night. I am definitely not an owl, so it's proved hard work.

Grand total at the moment is 18009 words - which I hope to increase a little later.

Remember you can always follow me via Twitter at @odwyer_author - see you later, enjoy!

Follow up: I managed to plod along until I had written 7,600 words today, bringing my word total to 21,307 words. I am delighted that I have managed to write 10,009 in one weekend - this will help me to stay on track for the rest of the month, as I'm now slightly ahead of the daily requirements.


Wednesday, 6 November 2013

nano day 6 - 1036 words

Evening folks, just a little update from me. After a very busy few days, in which I have added to my Nano total everyday, my total now stands at 9046! I'm quite amazed given that I've had to focus my time on a uni essay - but hey, that's now done and dusted. I am literally counting down the days till the weekend when I can dedicate a whole day to Nano. What bliss!

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Day three - Nano - 1735 words

Evening folks, we had another little day trip today so I've had to squeeze my Nano words in via mini sessions. But still, I have managed 1735 words today, bringing my total to 6703!

I return to work tomorrow, so please watch this space as that'll motivate me to ensure I don't skip a day of Nano.

If you're currently doing Nano, please hook up with me by searching odw11 - the more the merrier where support and motivation are concerned. Enjoy,

Day Two of Nano - 1732

A mini update regards Nano progress. I had a busy day at uni yesterday so hadn't much time to write but I managed to complete 1732 words. I'm chuffed with my progress so far and am falling in live with my characters. So, it's all good news on the Nano front.

Friday, 1 November 2013

Day one Nano 3236

Morning folks, well I did it. I had an early sleep on Thursday, catching a few zzzzzzz to enable me to be wide awake ready for a midnight session of Nano. The result: 2043 words before sleep called my name.

Catch you later, when I'll give a final count for day one.

Update: 3236 words today - a grand start :-)

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Submission and Nano

Hi folks, a quick update from me, prior to Nano starting at midnight tonight.

I have spent all this week working on the W.I.P. to ensure I could complete and submit today 31st October. Well, the good news is my hard work has paid off. I have literally just submitted my entry - which closes this novel, for the time being. And the even better news, this now frees my mind to focus on the craziest month of the year, November and Nano!

I have updated my Nano page, linked up with my buddy requests and am planning a little sleep in a few hours time ready for my midnight writing session. Please come and join me, I promise to hold your hand.

A celebratory task for me is to deliver my gold bangle to the jeweller's - who engraves the date of my completed novels inside.

Fleeting visit, but I must dash... Fingers crossed I shall hear from you tonight as I begin my Nano 2013 quest. Use Twitter by searching for @odwyer_author or Facebook odwyer_author - either way, see you later.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Holiday, W.I.P and The Ghose House at 99 pence

Morning folks, you find me bright and breezy having started my school holiday. Boy, do I have plans! It'll be. Push fitting everything in but I'll do my damnedest!

I started a new routine sat week - it was tough getting up in the darkness but once on my feet, I was away. It's proved to be a welcome boost I needed, if only the lighter mornings were here. Anyway, I have one final week before Nano starts to complete.

Last Thursday I took 'Mr Nobody' poem to the Grace Dieu meeting - receiving lots of praise but... no poetry competition as it was cancelled due to a members' discussion prior to commencement. Nevermind, I'd completed an entry and was glad to join in purely for fun. The evening turned into a truly funny evening - reinforcing why creative types need and thrive on interaction.

I currently have several reading books on the go, the one i'd recommend for pure enjoyment is my writing buddy, Helen Phifer's book, 'The Ghost House' which is currently on offer at 99 pence from amazon.  www.amazon.co.uk/The-Ghost-House-Helen-Phifer-ebook/dp

So, my plans for this week:
- complete FLOM W.I.P by Thursday 31 October
- begin Nano 2013 with a midnight session
- studying 'Jane Erye' for uni
- reading Zola's 'Germinal' for uni study
- finish reading 'The Ghost House' by Helen Phifer
- visiting Warwick Castle for a day trip

I promise that I'll be Tweeting throughout the week so please come and join me as I complete my second full novel.  @odwyer_author on Twitter and odwyer_author on facebook. Enjoy!

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Reading, Nano and new routines

Morning folks, I write this as the first torrent of raindrops, as promised by the weather men, descends.    
It's been a strange week in numerous ways, but I've managed to write in snatched moments here and there. I produced a poem about boxing during a poetry class at work, edited two more chapters of my current project and completed copious amounts of study during my lunchtimes.

Wednesday saw me attend my local writers' group Mad Hatters - which gave me food for thought regards childhood memories, historical settings and fell walking. I didn't take anything to read or have critiqued, it's difficult maintaining the momentum of writing a novel and receivingfeedback simultaneously   Much better to complete and polish the text, then hand over as a complete piece of work.

Thursday I indulged in an entire evening of reading, I literally did nothing else. Wrapped in a fleece, the pooch on my lap - I read from seven o'clock until eleven. It reminded me of being a teenager when time was endless and such occurrences were virtually a daily routine.

It is the Grace Dieu writers' meeting this coming Thursday, the evening insists of an annual poetry competition between members - I have already polished my entry in preparation. The prize is purely satisfaction and a bottle of vino - more than enough for me!

The countdown has begun regards Nano 2013 - you may have noticed that my widget has been renewed for 2013. I am on holiday the week of the Nano start so have planned to work through the night from midnight. Please join me, it would be wonderful to have more company in addition to the fabulous Nano buddies from last year.

I'm nearly at the end of 'Northanger' by Austen - I've gained a whole new, and unexpected, insight regards the plot and characters due to my study modules. Fingers crossed I can finish it by the end of this weekend.

And finally, as the season changes from summer to autumn I have started to adjust my activities to accommodate the darker hours. From this Monday, I shall be writing before I go to work as a means of upping my output. I'll let you know via Twitter how I fare.

Enjoy the weekend and remember you can connect via Twitter @odwyer_author or via Facebook odwyer_author - chat later!

Saturday, 5 October 2013

The Ghost House, poems and Austen

Morning folks - boy, how the weeks are flying. I've had a cracker of a week. I managed to rewrite a couple of chapters last weekend and draft a poem which set me up for the week - and thankfully the flow of inspiration continued. The productive results being two additional poems linked to childhood and an additional two chapter rewrites. Not bad for a juggler!

On Wednesday, I took great delight in my writing buddy Helen Phifer's debut novel 'The Ghost House' - it arrived to my IPad at 6am and I managed to peek at a couple of chapters before bedtime. A few more chapters today and I shall be writing my feedback on Amazon.

Wednesday, also saw me return to my writing group Mad Hatters having had to send my apologies to the previous meeting. It was a very quiet night, with just three of us, but hey, we put the writing world to rights.

Thursday, bingo bango came the arrival of two poems, like buses, hey? Or is it simply dog walking routines. I also freaked out a work colleague with the speed of a creative idea - sorry folks, I can't simply switch it off when at the day job.

Friday night was my night off and I took full advantage by attending a quiz night with hubby - thankfully I achieved 100% on the literature questions. Phew!

And so, to today. I've spent most of the morning reading Austen's 'Northanger Abbey' linked to my course - bliss! Such a treat reading about Bath and the 'Upper' assembly rooms! The rest of my day is be spent at my desk working on My W.I.P FLOM - I've set a deadline for 31 Oct ten let the NaNo begin!

Remember you can join me via Twitter @odwyer_author or Facebook odwyer_author - you may well be included in my #ff on Twitter. Enjoy!

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Helen Phifer, World Heart day and Dombey

Good morning, sorry for the lateness but yesterday was snatched from me in a blink. Anyhow, I’ve had a troublesome week with the juggling act; some good days, some simply awful – but hey.

Last weekend, I discovered a few interesting facts and figures for research but sadly not all that I’d hoped. So, in the coming week’s I’m planning a trip to Warwick records office for a further mooch.

I missed my writers’ meeting on Thursday, which annoyed me slightly but I made the most of it by spending the evening at my desk. I am vowing to be at this week’s meeting - come hell or high water.

Today is officially World Heart day – so prior to writing this blog update my muse composed a tiny ditty dedicated to my own cardiac pump. Not a bad start to the day, which I intend to spend at my desk writing. I have additional work on my current W.I.P. which I had hoped would be completed for this weekend, but sadly not. I’ll let you know via Twitter how my productive day pans out.

Good news – Dombey has been put to bed. Without disrespecting Dickens but ‘Dombey and son’ was hardly the best work he produced I much prefer ‘Bleak House’, ‘Great Expectations’ and ‘Oliver Twist’ – so please forgive me for doing a mini jig having reached the end. I start rereading Austen’s ‘Northanger Abbey’ from tomorrow onwards – boy, am I chuffed.

Wednesday is ‘publishing day’ for my writing buddy Helen Phifer’s debut novel ‘Ghost house’ – I have my copy preordered and can’t wait to begin reading  - I’m very excited for her, she truly deserves the success. www.amazon.co.uk/The-Ghost-House-ebook/dp
and her website, www.helenphifer.co.uk

A brief un-date, but I need to dash while the energy is following. I’ll catch you on Facebook (odwyer_author) or Twitter @odwyer_author – later in the day. Enjoy!

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Library, study and observations

 Morning folks, I’ve had a far better writing week this week and boy, has it made a difference to me. I’ve felt more enthused and alive than constantly moaning to self that I’m not achieving. Though, the day job did get in the way of attending my writers’ group on Wednesday night.

So what’s new? A productive week, that’s what! Last weekend I managed to submit my opening chapters to the Harry Bowling competition – which was my goal of the day. A couple of lines of poetry evolved during my dog walking session and a short story idea was born. Two ideas for prose pieces crept into my mind during a coffee break and I observed several ‘characters’ on my drives to work. All of this in addition to my current project which is plodding in the right direction – can a writer ask for a better week? No, not really. When the brain is flowing freely it is a joy to be overloaded with so many ideas. And today, I’m granted the time to work on them. Bliss.

Talking of observations – I’m addicted to people watching. I literally can’t help myself if I spot an interesting person at fifty yards, my eyes are locked on and every detail is mentally absorbed and later noted. Be it a unique walk, a stance or an expression – anything that conveys a meaning or suggests a personality. The puzzled expression as the mother waves a child off to school, the sprint of a young man between the busy traffic or dawdle of an elderly lady on a Monday morning. There are days I find myself surrounded by such sightings that require detailing in my note book. But, all make a bank of details when creating characters or plotlines.

My studies have started too. I’m still with ‘Dombey and son’, only another three hundred pages to go, but I’ve now started to listen to the audio which is enabling me to remember details from the early part of the novel. This is one of my goals for the weekend, to read a huge chunk making next week’s study a little more manageable. Though, the delight of my study was listening to a seminar on the gothic genre on cd – which has accompanied me everywhere.     

Last week, I mentioned part two of Jane Wenham- Jones’ writing series on Youtube – here’s the link if you’d like to view it too.www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ycfeR3Zze0
The series continues with the aspiring writer trying to correct her work with some wonderful advice from Katie Fforde.  

I shall love and leave you. I’m about to nip to the library to complete research on the local area. Due to recent cut backs my local library is only open until one o’clock on Saturdays so I have to make the most of it. On weekdays, they close before I finish work so there’s no chance of nipping in for a quiet 30 minutes after work.

Remember you can link up and chat over Twitter (@odwyer_author) or Facebook odwyer_author – enjoy!

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Submission 4, NaNoWriMo and Youtube

Morning folks, hoping that you’re all happy and healthy. I’ve been pretty silent all week due to the day job overflowing but now, I’m back.

I have the entire day to myself so my goal is to prepare a 5000 word manuscript for entry into the Harry Bowling Prize for New Writing.www.harrybowlingprize.co.uk The closing date is 30th September but for me, today’s the day. This will be my fourth submission in recent weeks – leaving just one more submission to fulfill my pledge of five to my RNA friends. Ladies, I shall get to work straight away to complete our mission.

For weeks now I’ve been churning over an idea for this year’s NaNo challenge and currently have so much planned in my head for this mammoth task.  Please take a look, signing up would be great – it sounds hard to believe but it is fun and very satisfying. Why not link up as one of my buddies - we can support each other? www.nanowrimo.org

I’ve already decided that my NaNo 2013 manuscript will be my RNA NWS submission for 2014. My plan is to write my first 50,000 in November, then completed the other 50,000 soon after. Fingers crossed, I will then continue to work on the project until ready to submit to RNA. This plan will enable me to submit earlier than the August deadline -which always looms so quickly. Watch this space to see how I fare.

My study course arrived this week, so far I’ve unpacked it and stared at the beautiful shiny covers, boy, how am I going to fit all this in, was my only thought? But I will, I always do! I’m studying Nineteenth Century Novels via the Open University – and am still wading through ‘Dombey and Son’ in preparation of the 5th October start date.  If anyone would like to take over for a bit, I’d really appreciate it J

Today, I shall be searching Youtube for part two of Jane Wenham-Jones writing series. Here’s the link for the first episode - take a look and enjoy. www.youtube.com/watch?v=1kJWTbsjbR4

Wishing you a fabulous day and remember you can follow me on Twitter (@odwyer_author) or Facebook (odwyer author). I promise I won’t be silent this week. Enjoy!  

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Routines, skeletons and Dombey

Morning folks, it was an early start for me, I’ve managed to polish a short story prior to writing this blog. So, how the devil are you? Good, I hope. I returned to school on Monday – boy, doesn’t the regular routine soon catch up with you. Anyway, I feel as though I haven’t written all week but honestly I have, though just in evenings – which doesn’t seem much after six long and glorious weeks. But hey, I can’t complain. I’ve managed to squeeze a few more scenes into draft four, tidy a couple of chapters and introduce a small fluffy character by the name of Buttons. Each night has heralded the completion of a task and each morning the goal of another.

At the Mad Hatter meeting on Wednesday my muse was triggered by a discussion about a local Abbey, which has an archaeology dig under way. A member was explaining about the eleven skeletons that were uncovered last week and the possibility of it being a thousand years since their death. That blew my mind to imagine their lives, daily routines and existence in days gone by - with very little thought of having their peace disturbed by the likes of us in 2013. Knowing how my creativity works, I’m sure I’ll have a piece of work inspired by them. I understand they are being reburied either today or tomorrow – something they’d have never expected.

Today, I’ve a day at my desk as Hubby has gone slightly mad and is participating in his first W.O.L.F run (woods, obstacles, lakes and forest) in fact as I write he is twenty minutes into a 10km run. Mental in my opinion, but hey, it’s all in the name of fun! I shall take full advantage and knuckle down for with draft four – he classes my kind of fun as mental, so each to their own.

I’ve loads of study to complete this weekend, after my writing work. The current reading challenge is ‘Dombey and Son’ as prep for my course starting in October – boy, its tough going. I love Dickens so expected to plough through but sadly not. I’m currently on page 300 with just 650 to go! Not that I’m counting. The prize on completion is to begin Austen’s ‘Northanger Abbey’ – not my favourite Jane book but all the same desirable after old Dombey.

I also have a door jamb to sand and paint – no doubt a new plot for a short story will churn during the task giving me something to note down for a competition entry.

Wishing you a fabulous weekend and remember you can follow me on Twitter (@odwyer_author) or Facebook (odwyer author). Enjoy!  

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Autumn, NaNo and Inventories

Morning folks, hoping you’re happy and healthy. Today’s the 1st day of September – which means a day of goal setting and planning regards the month ahead. Last week I began draft four of my current WIP so my main goal is to rewrite a couple of scenes, add in other scenes and proofread in full before the 30th. It will be a challenge as my school holiday finishes tomorrow so, it is back to the routine of day job and juggling.

I visited www.nanowrimo.org the National Novel Writing Month web site as a means of prep for this year’s challenge. The challenge is to write 50,000 words of a novel in 30 days. Last year, I managed to complete the task thanks to the encouragement from my writing buddy, Helen Phifer. This year, I’m going for it again. Though I’m more prepared than last year when I literally had a main character’s name, nothing else, just a name! This year I have started to mull over an idea and it has grown into a situation – fingers crossed over the next eight weeks it continues to develop ready for 1st November. Why don’t you join us?

Due to the day job August is always a time of reflection, renewal and preparation ready for the autumn season - this year has been no different. I’ve spent my holiday, apart from writing, decorating the house, tidying and clearing out junk possessions and generally planning for the coming months. A consequence has been the wealth of ideas for short stories that have occurred whilst busying myself. I certainly don’t write as many short stories as I could or should, so plan to use my new list of ideas as motivation. An important factor of self-reflection is an inventory of my written work – I do this every season as a means of keeping a check on my productivity and a chase up on unpublished work. I’d advice any writer to pencil an inventory into their diary. I tend to tally each new piece of work so I know the quantities of novel chapters, short stores and poems written during the period. The second stage is to chase any work that I know I’ve sent out but hasn’t been published or rejected – in another words, has fallen silent. Make sure you’ve waited a little while but anything that has gone silent after six months I now chase. I used to allow time to take its course but having learnt the hard way I now chase. I always but a value on a piece of work and so to have a piece disappear without a word has cost me in time, effort and opportunity. Please don’t be afraid to ask ‘are you still considering my work?’, ‘is the magazine issue being published?’ – you’ll be surprised at the developments that occur behind the scenes that organizers haven’t past onto the writers, who are patiently waiting news. Ask, get an answer and then make a decision - are you happy to wait longer or want to withdraw your work. It is your choice, so don’t let others decide for you. If you withdraw your work, please revamp it to fit another project and send it out to earn its crust.

I hope you have a fabulous week and remember you can follow me on Twitter (@odwyer_author) or Facebook (odwyer author) I always do Twitter ‘Follow Friday’ so next week it could be you. Enjoy!  

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Sharing, reading and rejoicing

Afternoon folks, I’ve had an epiphany moment this week regards my W.I.P. – honestly I have. It started with a conversation at the RNA Chapter meeting on 17th, when I had lunch with 11 other RNA writers. The discussion turned to editing - with the majority of us expressing how difficult we find the process; be it lacking in creativity, time management or a simple loathing for the much needed process. Morton Gray mentioned that she’d attended a wonderful talk given by Nell Dixon on the very subject, where Nell shared many tips. One glorious tip was a ‘list’ of pesky words that writers frequently use but usually proved to be superfluous, for example: just. Fast forward to Monday morning and hey presto, using the ‘find’ search, I discovered that Nell was so right – I too had the word ‘just’ popping up here, there and everywhere. A simple Goggle search found Nell’s blog containing her original list. The remainder of the day was spent checking my W.I.P for the rest the her list and included a couple of my own ‘well’ and ‘oh’. Nell’s blog has been a little gem of a find this week as she offers other advice on editing – so, it goes without saying, I must share. www.nelldixon.com/tips.aspx

Last blog update I mentioned Jane Wenham-Jones’ pilot series about ‘Wannabe a writer?’ I was so intrigued by her experiences that I purchased her book of the same title, and began to read. A word of warning should appear on the front cover: this book will consume your weekend. I have read it cover to cover in record time and… laughed my socks off - the woman is hilarious, as well as being frank and utterly honest! Well worth a look for every writer www.amazon.co.uk/Wannabe-Writer-hilarious-informative-ebook/dp/B008J0BTGW/ref=sr_1_1?s

And finally, having spent the week at my desk, with a renewed energy for editing, I’ve fallen in love with my W.I.P all over again. It has taken a number of weeks since I received a mixed review by an editor but it has happened, my feelings have reverted. And, the greatest thing is, I knew all along, that in time, it would!

You can follow me on Twitter (@odwyer_author) or Facebook (odwyer author) for daily progress reports as I push on with draft three. Enjoy!  

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Road Trips, Inspiration and Wanna Be A Writer?

Morning folks, I’ve had a busy ten days out and about on my holidays, so my blogs have gone awry. Between the writing routine, we, hubby and I, have managed to do several day trips to Dovedale and Llandudno, I’ve come home from each with my mind brimming with ideas and inspiration. Thankfully this happens to me all the time, which enables me to bank lots of ideas for future use. The art is to capture the details in a notebook within a day or so. Since beginning my writing journey I’ve gained inspiration from numerous sources: graveyards, family occasions, locations, history, landscapes, overheard conversations, observed situations, personal situations, portraits, poems, newspaper articles, sporting events, photographs, annual events, historical celebrations, t.v. programmes, careers and daily routines. Almost everything has the ability to inspire my imagination – which goes some way to explaining why I’ve never experienced writers’ block!
Last Saturday saw a chapter meeting for the Birmingham section of the RNA – twelve writers enjoyed a wonderful three hours discussing our work over lunch. I finally got to chat with Alison Maynard and Cal Andrews, who hadn’t attended for a little while – lovely to meet you ladies. It was great to hear about the progress of each others current projects and to catch up on their RNA NWS feedback – all seem happy.

Twitter has taught me so much in recent months, but this week it provided a link to a Youtube clip of a soon to be t.v. programme called ‘Wanna be a writer?’ fronted by Jane Wenham-Jones. Jane is following the experience of six aspiring writers on their journey to being published. The pilot episode can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1kJWTbsjbR4

And finally, I have submitted a couple of short stories and a poem to various competitions in recent weeks due to a group pledge made with Morton Gray and Janice Preston at the RNA conference. Fingers crossed ladies.

Remember you can follow me on Twitter (@odwyer_author) or Facebook (odwyer author) Enjoy!  

Saturday, 10 August 2013

RNA NWS, Road Trip and Opinions

Morning folks, I hope I find you happy and healthy for a Saturday morning. I’ve just fought my way though the supermarket to purchase ginger and lemon grass for tonight’s curry party, so thought I’d spend some quiet time with you guys.

My writer’s break came to an end this week, I returned to the W.I.P. on Wednesday, and I have to say ‘the break did me good’. I was up with the lark and eager to start draft three by writing in additional scenes where draft two had slowed a little. I’ve never taken a conscious break before but can now see the advantage of looking at the work with fresh eyes and a renewed energy. Anyway, the work pattern has continued and I’ve set a deadline of 31st August to polish and complete this project. My summer holiday finishes on 2nd September so plenty of opportunity.

One development for W.I.P. is a change of title – I’ve always had the working title of TFD but I’ve now changed it to a more suitable title for a romance novel FLOM – so sorry to confuse followers but the deeds has been done.

You’ll remember that last week I was waiting for the return of my RNA New Writers’ Scheme Submission for this year – well it has arrived, yesterday. The feedback is mixed, negative and positive: on the plus side the read loved my ‘sharply drawn’ characters and the plotlines – which I’m delighted about. Suggestions for change included the current structure and the written tense. I’ve chosen the present tense, as I want readers to be part of the plot and hopefully feel the emotion that develops with a particular character. The structure may be an area that I could rethink, the reader suggested a minor character becomes the main character – hmmmm. There’s no rush for me to make decisions as I am still working on the current WIP. Ultimately, I can continue with the plot and plan but I feel it would be foolish to disregard feedback without careful consideration, especially when it comes from a fellow RNA bod. I’ll let you know what I decide.

I haven’t any meeting this week, so will be using my time to nip away for a break in Wales with hubby. It’s going to be a bit of a road trip to Wales, neither one of us wish to make plans but instead just set out and see where it takes us. Strange for us, as we always plot and plan but both fancied a change. Fingers crossed the weather is kind.

And finally, opinions have been fascinating me recently. I find it amazing how diverse our tastes are and for the strong reasons given. As a writer I’m always listening out for what people like/dislike, judging current trends, searching for inspiration and pure nosiness. It appears that ‘The White Queen’ has become the new marmite, with viewers loving or loathing the t.v. adaptation. I have an unread copy of the novel, so haven’t entertained the idea of watching; I feel the page is better than the screen. But, and here’s my point, I can’t remember the last time I heard someone make ‘a middle of the road’ comment about anything be it a novel, cheese or a social issue – we seem to have entered a trend of extreme opinions, which we’d state our life on. I can’t pinpoint when this occurred but it seems long gone are the ‘so-so’ answers, the ‘don’t know’ answers and even the ‘it’s OK answers’. I’m starting to miss that simple hand waver gesture indicating mixed opinion. Maybe it’s due to the technology age we live in, where we ‘like or dislike’ anything and everything with the click of a button. I think we’ve been marketed to death and trained only to give extreme opinions for every aspect of our life. But hey, that’s just my opinion.

Remember you can follow me on Twitter (@odwyer_author) or Facebook (odwyer author) for daily progress reports or simply to discover where my road trip takes me. Enjoy!  

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Routines, Writing Magazine and Meet-ups

Morning folks, sorry for the late post, but there's been an error message for four days preventing me from blogging. Never mind all sorted :-)

I’m currently enjoying a short break from writing W.I.P due to achieving my editing goal last Wednesday. My plan is to return to the project this Wednesday, after a week of distancing.

I really don’t enjoy editing, I understand why, it’s because it isn’t imaginative, it’s the slog of nit picking at your own work but I have to say I’ve now found a routine that works for me. As a visual learner, I need to view progress so I applied that concept to my editing in the same manner that I do to my initial draft writing with a spreadsheet. Each morning I set myself a numerical target be it words, chapters or pages – and then stuck to it each day. I also worked in one hour blocks using my faithful kitchen timer. I’ll admit at first it was difficult and the targets were small, a couple of thousand words, but as the days past the targets set and then completed became larger and larger. I noticed a strange habit forming alongside my desire to reach my target, was the need to go beyond and if the day had gone well complete just one more session. My personal best was 11,487 words in one day! With each day’s success my motivation exploded, which in turn fed my desire to be editing. For me, this has been the only routine that has been successful so it goes without saying I feel I’m now sorted regards future edits.

On completion, I decided that I’d have a week free of my project so a little distancing can occur, but does that mean no writing? No way! I’ve simply turned my hand to other things. The break has given me time to focus on drafting short stories for competitions and I have fallen back in love with my Writers’ Magazine. Strange I know, but there are times it drops through the door and I flick through without taking much notice of all the wonderful advice inside and then others times, like this last week when I become lost amongst its pages and fall in love, all over again. It’s a publication that I have subscribed too and receiving for near on seventeen years – it is packed with so much valuable information. I have bought other mags alongside Writers’ Magazine but for me they don’t really compare. A change over recent years has been the inclusion of Writers News contained with WM – so it has become a bumper of an issue. Anyway, so far this week I’ve found several interesting competitions within its pages which have distracted my mind and given me an opportunity to hone my talents elsewhere.

This week I have two writers’ meetings on Wednesday and Thursday evening but also an important lunch date on Tuesday with Bella Osborne from the RNA NWS, who I meet at the July conference. We live relatively near to each other and have agreed to meet up for a lunch time catch-up. I personally get so much motivation from simply being with and amongst other writers that such catch-ups are vital to keeping me on track and productive. I’m hoping that this year’s RNA NWS submission has return by then, but the chances are slim, so I can chew over any issues that may have been highlighted. Fingers crossed, I get my wish.

Finally, a huge shout out to Latvia – I don’t think I’ve never had so many returning visits in just one week from one location. I really hope you’re enjoying the posts. Though it goes without saying, that all my visitors are most welcome and certainly make me quite humble as we near 7,000 views. Thank you x

Remember you can follow me on Twitter (@odwyer_author) or Facebook (odwyer author) for daily progress reports. Enjoy!  

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Edit complete

31st July - I did it, I plodded on till the end. My back and neck ache like crazy but it has been worth it to hit my self imposed deadline of today. I've stuck to a rigid routine and it has served me well.
What am I doing for the rest of today? Hmmmmmm, chilling. enjoy!

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Mini update - 11487 words today!

A mini share from me... I have managed to edit 11487 words today!!! Can't believe the current roll that I'm on, but hey, long may it continue during these holidays.
Tomorrow, deadline day, I have just 7431 words remaining to edit - so fingers crossed, I can crack on tomorrow morning and nail this beauty.
Enjoy your evening x

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Mini update - 9029 words edited in one day

Just wanted to share. I have managed to edit six chapters today which totals 9029 words. My back is aching, my neck is sore... but I really don't mind. I've put the hours in at the coal face, which was my aim for today.

Enjoy you evening x

Saturday, 27 July 2013

The joys of editing, bun fights and a Prince.

Evening folks, sorry for the very late post but when a gals in full flow editing - it’s best to keep going. Well I did and managed to edit 8906 words today, which is seven chapters of my novel TFD! That is a personal best for me. It means that in the past three days I have managed to edit 23,079 words – each word nearer to completing draft two.

It probably seems pointless but the numbers game has kept me motivated this weekend, seeing the numbers increase with each session and comparing them to previous days, really has kept me at the coal face. I use the numbers technique to motivate me when creating draft one, setting goals for each session but never have I used it for editing. From now on, I shall always use it. In fact, it has turned about how I feel about editing, it is the part of the process that I utterly dislike, so anything is a bonus.

My plan is to continue the routine for the next four days (Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday) so that draft two is complete on 31st July. Fingers crossed.

It’s the first week of my holidays and so I've taken full advantage of the stress free days by dedicating each to my creative work. I’ve literally jumped out of bed, pretty early at 6am and fired up the computer while my morning cuppa has brewed. Seriously, I have. And, it feels so great to be able to do that, without having to juggle my time with the day job.

Last week I attended two writers’ groups. Mad Hatters on Wednesday evening was a quiet affair of critiquing and discussion. But Thursday night’s Grace Dieu almost turned into a bun fight when a member suggested an alternative meaning to someone’s short story. Wow, did the words fly. Thankfully, everyone takes it in the best manner, thriving from the discussion rather than taking offence – but it reinforces the need for me to write a short story based on a writing group. Anyway, this week I have my nights to myself, so will work on my edits.

And finally, the best news in the UK this week, is the safe arrival of Prince George. As a romance writer don’t we all just love a new Prince, with all his possibilities and power? I think so. So, it goes without saying that I wrote a ditty about his arrival and possible future reign.

I need to love and leave you, mainly as my back is aching from the constant sitting but also because the mother of all thunderstorms has just started, possibly signally the end of our summer, and I need to go and watch.

Please hunt and track me down on Twitter (@odwyer_author) or Facebook (odwyer author) for daily progress reports – why don’t you join me to see if I hit my draft two deadline on Wednesday. Enjoy!  

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Mini update Sunday 21st July - RNA NWS submission

Hi folks, what a busy girl I've been since yesterday morning! I have managed to edit, polish and print my RNA NWS submission 'Weigh To Go!' plus draft and polish an accompanying synopsis! Which means I shall be at the post office, before it opens tomorrow, waiting on their doorstep to kiss goodbye to this year's submission. Boy, does that feel good!

Just wanted to share x

Saturday, 20 July 2013

RNA Conference 2013, Holidays and Decisions

Morning folks, I’ve had to upload two updates today, as last week there was an error on the ‘blogspot’ site so wouldn’t allow for my weekly update. But hey, these things are sent to try us.

First, I have to tell you about the fab time I had attending the Romantic Novelists’ Associations (RNA) annual conference, this year held at The University of Sheffield – a great choice regards facility and accommodation.

Well for those that don’t know, the conference brings together romantic writers from all areas of the genre for a weekend of workshops and talks… plus much chat and socializing. The weekend offers the chance to chat to such a friendly bunch of writers, exchange details and catch up on much needed news and reviews. I had a ball. I really did. The social highlight of the conference is the annual dinner on the Saturday night, where the speeches are interspersed with gorgeous meal and wine. It was a delight to have Morton Gray, from the RNA Birmingham Chapter, come second in the Elizabeth Goudge Trophy with her intriguing story about ice. A huge congratulation to Kate Johnson, who was declared the winner and was duly presented with a beautiful silver trophy.

I was delighted to have met up with my writing buddy Helen Phifer, who I met at last years’ conference in Penrith. Likewise, this year I played hunt the writer with Bella Osborne, via Twitter, who increased my writing buddy crew for the next year. In addition, I came home with a handful of additional emails addresses, Twitter followers and Facebook friends – each boosting the network support.

Last year, you may remember that the RNA goodie bag is one to be envied by any conference goer, this year was no exception. The eye catching, silver and pink combo, couldn’t be ignored as it bulged and heaved with fabulous novels, postcards, bookmarks, greetings cards and a horde of chocolate. What more could a writer wish for?

Sadly the fun was over by Sunday afternoon, when Pia Fenton, RNA Chair, closed the conference for this year, leaving us all looking forward to Shropshire in 2014.

After all the excitement of the weekend I arrived home to face the final week of the day job. The countdown focused on for 12:30pm Friday, 19th  - with each passing day, the plan for my six weeks holiday grew. And now, as I sit here it feels very exciting knowing the plans I have for the next 44 days. Boy, I won’t be wasting a single minute. Please follow me on Twitter @odwyer_author or facebook by searching Odwyer Author for daily updates and snippets of progress.

And finally, decisions, decisions. Whilst at the RNA conference I attended a ten minute editor interview with my current WIP TFD. The appointment was very useful in advising me of a few changes that are necessary to the plotline. The thing that threw me was that this current WIP was supposed to be my RNA NWS submission for this year. Can I make the changes in four weeks? After much deliberation, I think not… so what do I do? Do I send it as it is? Somewhat foolish having received feedback regards the plotline. Having mulled it over all week I’ve decided to submit the first eight chapters of another novel ‘Weigh To Go!’ – a book started last Summer but has taken a back seat once the TFD idea popped into my head.  I think it is more beneficial to my progress as a writer to have a second novel critiqued then ignore an editor’s view. So, last night I put editing TFD on pause for a week, while I focus on getting ‘Weigh To Go!’ ready for posting. It’s funny how once a decision has been made, it feels like the right thing to do.

So, on that note I shall love and leave you to return to my desk – I have a submission to polish! Enjoy!

Jacqueline Wilson, Kate Humble and P.D. James

Good morning, a brief update about The Lichfield Festival which I attended last weekend. We, hubby and I, had tickets for three events: Jacqueline Wilson, Kate Humble and P.D. James – each were inspiring in their own way.

Jacqueline Wilson’s audience was filled, and I mean filled, with tiny young girls aged about eight. You could literally pick out the five adult males seated in the auditorium in a glance. Anyway, Jacqueline thrilled and delighted with a detailed account of her writing experience, answering numerous questions from the audience and delighting the adults with snippets from her life. I hadn’t realised just how many books she’d written, approx 93, and certainly wasn’t aware that she’d originally written for adults! Wow, what a successful transition. She explained how she promised her daughter never to use her as a character – a vow I’ve also adopted over the years. I’m sure there would be those that would be thrilled to be pen painted but the horrors if they didn’t approve don’t bare thinking about. I often pick habits, characteristics and sayings from those I know but never as the foundation for a character. Lordy, I’m not sure readers would ‘believe’ some of the characters I know. It was interesting to hear her refer to so many books over so many years – as an author you love your work but even now I have to check that I haven’t reused characters names, occupations – I’ve only written two and planned another three.

Kate Humble’s talk was focused upon her personal project turning a disused Welsh farm back into a working entity. I have to say, she came across as one of the nicest people in television; so relaxed, chatty and very funny. She started at the beginning explain how she got into telly, she herself admits it was a nice fluke, with delightful descriptions of ‘telly women’ dressed in Prada. I literally could have listened to her talk all evening about her travels to Afghanistan to film ‘shepherdess’ – along with the honour of being made an honorary daughter by the community. After a very quick hour, Kate signed books in the lobby and hubby, who is never shy at the best of times but always very funny, couldn’t resist thanking her for attending his birthday bash! Bless her, her face was a picture but immediately she joined his little joke saying ‘how could I refuse’. Lovely, lovely lady well worth seeing, only wished the session had been longer.

P.D. James – was the icing on the cake for me. At the ripe old age of 93 she entertained the audience with her lively wit and sharp mind. It was quite surreal to see a little white haired lady talking so passionately about murder! She surprised me with how sharp her memories were regards her plotlines and initial inspirations – when she’s written so many books. P.D. James recalled and shared several inspirations from her own personal life that had provided settings and backdrops for her plots. Again, I could have listened to her talk all night, but sadly it ended after one short hour.

I came away from each session feeling inspired and motivated – a great way to boost the flagging soul when your own project is nearing the end - and, a snip at the ticket price!

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Early mornings, editing and Lichfield Literary Festival

Morning followers, we’re finally experiencing the summer sun here in the UK, though it might all be over in an hour or so. So, I’ll make this quick.

I have had a week of early mornings, getting up at 5:30am, which has enabled me to edit for half an hour before I start getting ready for the day job. Sounds like madness, but it has worked for me. And, by six in the morning I’m on a positive start to the day. Anyway, the routine will continue next week too.

I have polished and delivered chapter one of TFD plus a synopsis in preparation for an editor meeting at the RNA. I always find it amazing when you return to read the beginning of your work - I literally forget the details and come away surprised at my own work. 

I have just submitted a whole host of work to The Big Issue on behalf on my yr 9 class. They’ve studied the theme of homelessness and written appropriate pieces worthy of submission.

Today and tomorrow are free, bliss. My intention, despite the beautiful weather, is to be at my desk clocking up the hours. I’m finding editing a mixed blessing at the minute, so need to simply plod on. There must be some secret to editing that I am yet to learn, it really isn’t the most enjoyable part.

One job for this weekend is a summer inventory. A quarterly admin task where I make sure that all my work is logged and recorded, CV brought up to date, ideas filed, pictures downloaded  - basically I put the shop in order for the next three months. I usually find a surprise gem that I’d forgotten about – so it’s worth doing as a means of igniting creativity.

This weekend Lichfield is holding their literary festival, so a whole host of authors are converging to discuss their talents. I’ve been lucky enough to get tickets for three sessions: Jacqueline Wilson, Kate Humble and P.D. James. Hubby has the delight of accompanying me, though he isn’t complaining thanks to the inclusion of dear Ms Humble. So, next week I’ll be including details from each session.

O.K. enough from me, my editing is calling my name, so I must go! Please hook up over Twitter @odwyer_author or search Facebook for odwyer author – keep in touch and keep up to speed with my progress. I always do Follow Friday on Twitter, if you hook up it could be you. Enjoy!

Saturday, 29 June 2013

The Big Issue, Pinternet and Free days

Morning, I’ve been up for hours and so have had the most productive day ever. I’ve already polished, printed and posted a submission to The Big Issue magazine, for those outside the UK, that’s a magazine dedicated to the issue of homelessness. Anyway, I have donated my poem ‘Stryofoam’ to their magazine, a piece inspired by the tasks of the day job.

I’ve scoured the web for images of wrought iron gates and long drive way - all necessary for my current WIP. I’ve managed to find the perfect name for a female character, who has been bugging me night and day for the last few days – I’d originally called her Orla, but it wasn’t right - thankfully Tiffany is.

I confessed last week to having such a huge amount of books ‘to read’. Well, Carole Matthews poked me to begin reading her novel ‘Wrapped up in you’ – oh boy, I’ve had a lovely week wrapped up in Janie’s life. So, why not pick up a book from your ‘To read’ pile and indulge.

I attended one of my writers meetings last week, I naughtily cried off the other! I literally couldn’t pull myself away from my current WIP so sent my apologies before hand. Now, this is something I never do, I always attend when at home, always. But Thursday, I just couldn’t bare to bring myself to leave my desk – which was lovely, but it didn’t make me feel a tad guilty. But hey, I’m a writer, I have to go with the creative flow - especially when the tidal wave is that strong. Anyway, I’m glad I did I went to sleep a very happy gal. Sorry Grace Dieu, I’ll be there next time.

I’ve begun using Pinterest – as a means of sharing my inspirations and muses regard my work. I’ve created a couple of boards and given that ‘sharing is caring’ I’ve added a few ‘pins’ – to personify what makes me tick, so to speak! www.pinterest.com/Odwyerauthor/boards

I have the entire day free – so I shall remain at my desk – editing TFD. There is nothing else on the horizon for today…. so, catch me on Twitter, FaceBook or Pinternet by searching for odwyer author. Enjoy!

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Indulgence, a little green bookcase and deadlines (with update)

Morning, this may be a quick blog update, as I am raring to get back to my desk for a creative day. I’m currently half way through a demanding but interesting chapter edit. So, how the devil are you? Good, I’m hoping. I’ve had a pretty decent week, it started last weekend with a day dedicated to editing TFD, which steadily continued throughout the week, though last night I gave myself the night off. Me and hubby went out for the evening to celebrate his efforts ploughed into a work project. Anyway, I digress. I didn’t hit my self imposed deadline of 21st June, not by a long shot, but hey, simply having a deadline date motivates my ass into gear. Today, I’ll set another one (shakes head at self).

My 2000th Tweet occurred this week – I dedicated my tweet to the Campbell Burns Metabolic Trust – a special family celebrating the life of a beautiful son – please check out their website and support where you can. 

I’m sure I’ve mentioned my little green bookcase before - it holds my ‘To-read’ books. A tiny bookcase, that I remember buying as a single gal, and struggling to put together in my first home, which now stands at the top of the staircase and is groaning under the weight.  Anyway, I was thumbing through the books the other day hunting for my next read… and I have to confess some of the novels have sat patiently for near on eight years… honest, how naughty is that? I have previously slapped a self imposed book ban on myself, as a means of decreasing my ‘To-read’ pile but I think drastic measures are in order before hubby threatens to step in. So, I have selected six books that I promise to read by the end of the year:

Madame Bovary - Flaubert (current read)
My Sister’s keeper – Picoult
Enduring love – McEwan
A night to remember – Lord
Captain Scott – Fiennes
One Day - Nicholls    

 My little green book case is pictured in the side panel (apologies to any author who spots their book unread – sorry, I will get to it).

Update: the little green bookcase has been viewed by many authors and the delightful Carole Matthews has requested that I settle down for a cosy read with her Christmas book 'Wrapped up in you' - so as way of a sincere apology from me, her novel has jumped to the top of the pile. I've a cosy read so will someone make me a cuppa please? 

So, what’s in store for the week ahead? I have two writers’ meetings to attend: Mad Hatters on Wednesday and Grace Dieu of Thursday. I may have to produce work for each, so I can participate. I might have mentioned but I’m not reading out my current WIP as I don’t want others’ ideas or feedback to impose upon my current thinking. I’ll be happy to share once it has been submitted to the RNA and feedback received. So, in the interim I’ve either arrived empty handed or read other creative work at meetings. This week the Grace Dieu evening is dedicated to an evening of ‘indulgence and guilty pleasures’. I haven’t written my piece yet but I’m thinking of doing my indulgence of Agatha Christie books, probably doesn’t sound much to others but I love, lazing on the sofa, for the entire day to read one of her novels cover to cover. It happens too infrequently for my liking but I do revert back to a teenager when this was my ‘thing’. I know the rest of the group will have some wired and wonderful indulgence, nope mine is pretty simple. To be honest, I don’t ask for much in life, easily pleased with simple pleasures: silence, books and time. Hummm, sadly the former and latter seem to be rationed.

O.K. that’s it for this week, I need to return to my desk. Please hook up over Twitter @odwyer_author or search Facebook for odwyer author – keep in touch and keep up to speed with my progress. Enjoy!

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Advice, homelessness poem and 2000th Tweet

Morning folks, I’m up early as my mind is buzzing with phrases and characteristics. The plan is to land at my desk straight after posting this update and remain there for the remainder of the day. Bliss!
So what have I achieved this week? Loads! I attended two writers’ meeting – both were very enjoyable for different reasons. At Mad Hatters I read my short story ‘Lady Agnew’ – which received positive feedback, and a discussion regards the coy expression captured within her portrait. Thursday evening, I attended the Grace Dieu meeting, where two new members joined us, and the usual suspects never failed to bring their talents to the table along with the belly laughs.

This week, I had the pleasure of reading a new writer’s work. I was very impressed with Ellie Finnerty’s work and gained much pleasure from the process. The whole process got my thinking about my own initial steps into the writing world, some eighteen years ago. Boy, when I think back. I had no contacts, no experience, no writing group, no writing friends, no idea of how to write but I had a whole host of How-to-write books (my faithful friends that remain dusty on a shelf). Anyway, I remember being desperate to know what the secret was about writing, which no one seemed to be sharing in my well thumbed text books. It took me years to realise that every writer has their own way of writing and finding that personal method should be the focus. I progressed so much having realised that the things that worked for me, were my method. Simple, but not obvious when starting out.

I delighted the pupils at school by writing a short poem on ‘homelessness’ during a lesson while they struggled to write a short story. While they worked, I walked the floor, drafting and polishing and by the time the bell rang, I read it aloud. The unexpected praise from a bunch of fourteen year old came as a nice surprise. Hummmmm, teenagers enjoying poetry J

It has become necessary for me to separate my family/friends and my writing career on my Facebook network. So, last weekend I sat and created a new page ‘Odwyer Author’ which is dedicated to my creative side. I was then humbled beyond belief by the fabulous writers and poets that accepted my friendship requests. By all means search and ‘friend request’ me – you’ll know it’s me as the picture is of this blog page. Come on, join the party! 

Finally, a mega big shout out to ‘Germany’ who is topping the visitors chart for this week. I have now developed an unhealthy obsession regards visitor numbers, but hey, I can live with it as it motivates me knowing you return each week. So ‘thank you’ for playing your part so beautifully in supporting me. Bless ya!

Catch me on Twitter, this week I shall be hitting my 2000th Tweet – so who will I dedicate it too? Will it be you, join and find out – Enjoy!

Saturday, 8 June 2013

TPP, Poetry comp and Lady Agnew

Morning folks, another week has flown – quite frightening really how quickly 168 hours passes us by.

I’m back on a roll, flowing with creative ideas and thankfully, the fingers and note books are at least keeping up with the brain cells.

Monday morning, whilst putting my make-up on preparing for the day job, an idea for a new novel crashes into my world - bingo, bango. Within twenty minutes (yes, I need that much make-up) I had a fully formed situation: five characters and a whole load of conflict. Voila! (just had to double check I hadn’t written viola there). Anyway, I had to write down these fabulous thoughts, or lose them forever, which made me slightly late for my usual arrival time at the day job, but hey, I still had twenty minutes to spare before class began.

Anyway, I’ve christened this new idea TPP, I know I’m being nasty and using initials for a title but that’s my prerogative. I’ll explain why, O.K? I spent six years working on my debut novel ‘Her’ only to have other people refer to it constantly as ‘She’, ‘Woman’ and ‘Stepmum’ – now, call me sensitive but every time someone accidently got it wrong, made a mini mistake and misquoted - it stained my title. It also told me that people probably didn’t care that much about my work and so bluffed their way through a conversation with me, which annoyed me slightly. I’m pretty sure Leonardo Da Vinci didn’t announce his title of ‘Mona Lisa’ until it was complete – but if he had, he probably wouldn’t have liked others calling it ‘Mena Lisa’, ‘Moaning Lisa’ maybe ‘Mini Lisa’ (please don’t think that I compare myself to such a genius, I certainly don’t). But, you get my drift? Another thing about announcing a working title it suggests to others what it is about and people can’t help themselves trying to guess the plotline, the situations and even provide you with ideas for what they think your book should be about. It’s human nature for people to want to tell their opinion, sadly I have enough of my own and simply get confused and a little riled should anyone suggest a plotline that I thought I’d thought up. In ‘Her’ I did remove a scene that I’d written because someone forcefully ‘suggested’ it, after I’d written it. I thought ‘if this book is ever published, they might read it and think ‘I gave her that idea’ – so my only option was to delete, so I did. I it all sounds very secretive but to ensure the work is mine and only ever mine, I’ve had to adopt this routine. Sorry, but I know creative types will understand.  Another commercial reason is, working titles get changed so often by publishers, there’s hardly any point sharing it.

I hadn’t a writers’ groups to attend this week, the pattern frequency of dates has come together meaning I’ll have two next week, which happens occasionally. I have prepared my short story, the current exercise for Mad Hatters group so I can read it at both meetings. My short story was inspired by the Singer-Sargent’s ‘Lady Agnew of Lochnaw’ portrait, which hangs in National Gallery, Edinburgh – I’m really chuffed with the end result. If you’re not sure of the painting, take a look at the link below – I think she’s real beauty.

The Grace Dieu Writers’ Circle, in association with Campbell Burns Metabolic Trust, have launched a poetry competition in celebration of the life of baby Campbell Burns. Please visit their website, have a read about this remarkable little boy and his family – then craft a poem for the competition, full details on the webpage below.

My plans for today purely revolve about draft two of TFD – I won’t be enjoying the sunshine, I will be at my desk. If you don’t believe me, contact me via Twitter by searching @odwyer_author and ask!  

Finally, another *shout out* for my returning followers who never fail to surprise me with their visits each week. You really do keep me plodding along in this solitary task of novel writing. By all means get in touch, via Twitter, let me know what you do, whether it be writing related or not, I’m interested.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

18,472, surprises and shout outs

Morning followers, so nice to see you return, it really does keep me going seeing the blog visit rise each week. Thank you.

I’ve had a decent writing week, whilst on holiday from school. I didn’t manage to hit my goal, editing twenty chapters, but I did manage to edit 18,472 words – which is a fifth of the novel. Quite an achievement for me, so I’m not going to be disappointed regards missing my goal, maybe it was simply too optimistic.

Anyway, I’ve surprised myself by actually enjoying the editing process – that is a first for me. I love the initial writing, but the work for draft two usually sends me into a confidence meltdown. I usually find myself running about in circles, doubting my style, my tone and even my plotlines. Not this time – which feels like such an achievement. Instead, I’ve encountered moments of joy and laughter, when I’ve come across a detail that I can’t remember writing, which shows my development as a writer. I’ve added a new counter to my panel to track my progress on draft two.

I attended a writers’ meeting on Wednesday, it was a very quiet night but I was simply delighted to have made it without cancelling. Yay, my routines are back! It was great catching up with Alex and Janis, who each read a piece and received a critique. It is a tiny group but I still gain support and inspiration from hearing their work and seeing their progress.

I spent a day reading Roald Dahl’s autobiography ‘Boy’ which has sat on my ‘To-read bookcase’ for quite a while. Anyway, what a delight? He doesn’t bore you like some autobiographies, I always find there’s a huge section in the middle not worth reading - Dahl excluded this by focusing on his childhood. He paints his memories in vivid detail but within each the reader is able to connect the experience to his writing – he really did pull from his experiences to produce his beautiful stories. Anyway, a joy to read yet, small enough to consume in one day.

I’m currently reading ‘The Peacock Emporium’ by Jojo Moyes – a recommendation by a colleague, after I raved about Moyes’ ‘Me before you’. I’m am page 175, and have to say I’ve had a couple of surprises along the way. I love it when you’re partway through a book when you stop reading, urgently flick back to a previous chapter and scan for details only to realise – you’ve been had!

O.K. what are my goals for this week? Well, given that the madness returns from tomorrow – my plans for today revolve about a last ditch attempt to edit draft two. Next week, I haven’t any writers’ meetings so intend to spend each evening continuing the plod. I’ve set a self imposed deadline for draft two as 21st June – so just three weeks to complete. Please return; pretty please as it does motivate me knowing you guys are watching my progress.

Finally, a huge shout out to various countries, who regularly view this blog: Russia, Malta, USA, Kazakhstan, Qatar, Sweden and finally, my British buddies – ‘thank you’.

Remember you can follow me on Twitter by searching for @odwyer_author – I always do Follow Fridays, so watch out for your mention!