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!

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!