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.

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

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:

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!