Friday, 29 March 2013

Matthew, word counts and writing sat nav

Evening folks, a few spare minutes and I decided to share them with you. As you know I’m on a holiday mission to write as much as possible, well there’s good news and some slightly bad news. First the good news, since last Saturday I have written 14,624 words, woohoo! The slightly bad news is that while writing, my internal writer’s sat nav decided that I’d come along the wrong route and so had to back up, reverse big time and delete a whole load of paragraphs so my actual word count has only risen by approximately 5700 from last week. Seems weird but true, I had to ‘remove’ about nine thousand of the original word total. I haven’t actually deleted them as such but I have removed them from this project as the plot was going in the wrong direction, but as we all know ‘a writer never wastes anything’ we just save it elsewhere and use it another time. So viewing it in a positive manner, I have 9,000 words towards another project – double woohoo!

For those that don’t write, it probably sounds crazy to axe such a chunk from your work but as I was writing the paragraphs were getting harder to write, as if I were wading through treacle! I began to ask why? This happened while writing ‘Her’ but I hadn’t the courage to axe the scene (until later) so this time I dealt with it head on. It felt good afterwards. Once I was back on the right track the fingers simply skipped over the keyboards and the paragraphs have grown without much effort. Confirming it was the right decision. So the new grand total for TFD stands at 61,125.

Last night brought some success at the Grace Dieu Writers' Circle, where we held an in-house open writing competition of just 750 words. All members’ entries were anonymous and each was read aloud to the group twice, after which followed our legendary scoring system - 3 points to the winner, 2 and 1 to runners up. Last night, just like every other in-house comp occasion, we had to have the points scoring verified and explained several times to avoid confusion at the winning ceremony. It always gets to a point where everyone understands what is necessary, and then just one more person will offer an additional explanation and bingo – no one then understands what has just been said! How? It is so easy. Anyway, I had the joy of being picked as one of the two readers that had to read aloud to the group. I can honestly say I stutter and stammer my way through; they are the only group of people that do this to me. But hey, I managed it. And… drum roll needed… my short story about ‘Matthew’ came 2nd out of the eight entries. I was delighted with the result, it made my day. It was a piece that I’d written a number of years ago having been inspired by a female pupil at school, whose younger brother had a condition that caused others to treat him differently. I have to say, all eight stories were pretty competent as pieces of prose work – and the biggest surprise of the lot was afterwards seeing who write each piece. I never get it right, other members have the knack of recognizing other writers’ traits, I haven’t. Each one I guessed I got wrong, so I gave up trying.

So, plans for the next week; to continue as I have this week (without the 9,000 words axe) and hopefully can reach the goal of 75,000 total word count. Now, that would be an achievement, as I’ll feel as if the novel is ¾ written at that point.
I also have a Mad Hatters meeting next week – so it’ll be nice to catch up with the gang, I missed the last session due to my horrible cold.

So before I go, I wanted to wish you all a wonderful and joyous Easter break. I shall be celebrating a birthday on Monday – yep, April Fools day, so no doubt I’ll have a glass or two, maybe three even of chilled vino in hand to celebrate.

Remember you can follow me on Twitter @odwyer_author - so join the party and accompany my journey. I always do Follow Fridays on Twitter, so if you sign up it maybe you next Friday. Enjoy!  

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Lady Agnew, Christie and holidays

Morning from the winter wonderland of Warwickshire, the snow has been falling all night and I already know, I won’t be venturing anywhere.

My spring holiday of two weeks has begun, woohoo! The plan for the two weeks is to write as much as is humanly possible on TFD. I have a self imposed goal of 20,000 words - you know how goals motivate me to work. This piece is my Romantic Novelists’ Associations New Writers’ Scheme so I need to complete a.s.a.p. – the deadline is August but I don’t want to take it to the wire, like I did last year.

An interesting programme I saw this week was ‘Perspectives: David Suchet’, who has played Christie’s Poirot for twenty five years, getting to know the Queen of crime through her family heirlooms. Suchet was given access to items and footage previously unseen by the public – he used the material to give an insight into the real woman rather than the persona. I could have cried when it finished, it was wonderful, I just wanted it to go on and on – though I admit, I’m bias towards her works.  

I had to cancel my attendance at the writing group due to a heavy cold – it wouldn’t have been fair to share it with the other members. So, I stayed at home and sketched the images for a picture book instead. I have had another little idea regards a picture book so will sketch that idea over the coming weeks. I have begun planning a short story, as part of a group exercise - my inspiration is John Singer Sargent’s ‘Lady Agnew of Lochnaw’. The portrait hangs in Edinburgh’s Scottish National gallery, which I viewed a couple of years ago, and yes, her ‘look’ quite literally takes your breath away. I’d previously seen an art programme where John Myatt reproduced the image with a celebrity’s face, but to see the original piece was awesome. It’ll be interesting to see which portraits the other group members choose.

I now need to love and leave you; I have a desk that needs tidying before the magic can begin. Please check out my TFD word count, there will be serious writing over the coming weeks.

Remember you can follow me on Twitter @odwyer_author - so join the party and accompany my journey. Enjoy! 

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Poems, canines and research

Morning folks – how are we? It’s currently raining outside so we have a pretty miserable morning here in Warwickshire. But hey ho, it won’t stop me having a writing day.

An interesting week, far more creative than the previous week. Last weekend I managed to draft three poems; Crufts, The Pope and Any old iron? - which I managed to polish over the following few days. Each one was the result of a dog walk that the pooch takes me on twice a day; morning and night.

A quick scout on the internet proved that other writers have felt the benefits of canine company and regular peaceful walks.

P.G. Wodehouse and Jed, a dachshund.
Stephen King and Marlow, a corgi.
Virginia Woolf and Pinka, the cocker spaniel
John Steinbeck and Charley, a standard poodle
Ernest Hemingway and Black, Linda, Negrita and Neron – all cross breds
O’Dwyer and Teddy, a miniature poodle (one day)

The majority of my week has been split between research for my current project TFD
and writing a university essay. My university essay was the nicest I’ve ever had to write; ‘Mr Tickle’ compared with ‘The Tale of Peter Rabbit’ – how lovely, is that? Anyway, two thousand words later and the task was complete. My research was slightly more frustrating as I’m trying to seek information that doesn’t seem to be freely available but hey, I’ll carry on trying. I suppose living with the internet at my fingers I expect to be able to find anything in minutes – I’m sure I’ll find it soon.

Today is going to be a writing day; I’ll head to my desk on completing this blog – and I may be sometime.

Remember you can follow me on Twitter @odwyer_author - so join the party and accompany my journey. Enjoy!  

Friday, 8 March 2013

Goals, life and Follow Friday

Evening folks – I have literally walked from my desk having completed 3000 words to ensure that I completed the self impose goal that I set myself last weekend. Well, I did it – just! So, the total word count stands at 50,006 – see what I mean?

I haven’t had the easiest of weeks – my time has been filled with car repairs – which I’m not going to bore you with, but this the reason why my fingers didn’t touch my keyboard until Thursday evening!!!! In two nights I have typed six thousand words as I was too ashamed to report that I was a big fat failure.

This week, I did manage to write a poem about the world being ‘Popeless’ – which formed during a dog walking session. And I have been musing regards a one day project that I am hoping will come together during the Easter holiday. Other than that life has snatched my time away, leaving me feeling very tired, unsatisfied and deflated.   

My goal for this week – too write everyday – simple (we’ll see).

I have started to read ‘Brick Lane ‘ by Monica Ali – this book has been on my To-read list for about six years and it has finally been plucked from the bookcase. I’m only at chapter three – but am loving the new world that I’m being introduced too. You might remember that I was reading ‘When God was a rabbit’ by Winman last weekend – well, hubby is now reading it and I’m watching his reaction.

Short and sweet but literally this has been one of the least creative weeks of my adult life – I am determined to make up for it in the coming week.

Task one: to go and create a whole host of ‘Follow Fridays’ on Twitter J

Remember you can follow me on Twitter @odwyer_author - so join the party and accompany my journey. Enjoy! 

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Promises, beautiful books and films

Morning folks – here in Warwickshire it is a beautiful morning filled with sunshine, so this post may be a little shorter then usual.

Firstly, those that have been following my word count will see it hasn’t changed must this week – I know, the annoyance is itching at me. Literally the day job has filled my waking hours. My promise this week is to write, write and write – I promise you that I will. So my target is to reach 50,000 by next Saturday. Deal? Deal!

I have started a new book ‘When God was a rabbit’ by Winman – oh what a beautiful book, though I’m warning, it’ll make you cry if you’re a softy like me. The count so far is five separate times if I’m honest but oh, so worth every tear.

I have been mulling a few things over recently, I never stop mulling if the truth be known. But I’ve become so aware of how willingly us writers are to take advice from others, in the hope of improving our writing. I have to say please be careful who you take advice from, anyone can say they’re ‘an expert’ with little or no accomplishment, so dig a little and reflect on what they have achieved and in which genre. I recently heard of a writer doing a complete rewrite based on ‘expert opinion’ and low and behold heartbreak when you find their chatter is far bigger, and louder, than their publication list. Remember the age old advice write for you, write the story you wish to tell and read then take it to the professional in the publishing industry – the ones with the solid reputations and track record. Another mention is web sites that offer feedback on your work – please remember that anyone can hide behind a screen and claim to be a publishing phenomenon giving you scores and rates regards your work. I find it hard to listen to writers saying they are upset and disappointed as website members have said they should give up writing, when I know they have a decent ability. I think of it this way, Van Gogh, Monet, Steinbeck, Rowling, Westwood – any artist in fact, doesn’t allow their finished product to be posted/displayed just anywhere for criticism by any Tom, Dick or Harry – they took it to the industry professionals. Believe me, Van Gogh would never have painted another thing if my father had had a chance to comment on his work – so think on, you’ll chase you’re tail pleasing the inexperienced if you listen to the so called ‘experts’.

A little tip that I’ve just started to use, is to visualize my current project as a film in my head as I write. It sounds crazy but honestly, it has worked so far, and I’ve noticed that my writing has become tighter for it.

Finally, before I dash out to wash the car in this beautiful sunshine, I’ve started to think more about the technicalities of spoken language regards my characters: sociolect, dialect and idiolect – and I’m beginning to drip feed a little into each piece of dialogue.

Remember you can follow me on Twitter @odwyer-author – the numbers keep rising each day the current count was 1100 – so join the party and accompany my journey. Enjoy!