While I’m relieved that the jackdaws haven’t built a nest in the chimney pot this year and the blackbird hasn’t gone for one in the honeysuckle where Killer Kat’s been lurking, only a daft pigeon would have plumped for a nest beside the footpath!
We intended to walk to Hardy’s Cottage today but abandoned the attempt. David said he need to wear a hat and when my ears began to sing, I had to agree. Instead we followed Ratty’s walk through the fields and saw Red 99 and her lamb.
Now the rain has arrived an I’m pleased to be inside a reading a book. This time it’s Bad Blood by Lorna Sage.
After three and a half weeks in Australia, it’s taken some determination to get back into the swing of writing. Jet-lag, the election campaign and the volume of tasks and activities I’ve undertaken since January have all played a part. In order to sort myself out, I’ve written a progress report which I share with you below. Here’s hoping I can get my act together and reach those deadlines.
||Progress to date
|Novel: How to be Brave
||Full draft with reader from Romantic Novelists’ Association for feedback
||Final draft, proof read and ready to send out
|Screenplay: The Hostel
||First full draft completed
||Second draft ready for final training day on 17 May 2015
|PhD: Transfer paper
||Full draft submitted to academic supervisor for feedback
||Final draft for submission in September
|Material for 4 one-to-one sessions with publishers and agents at the Winchester Writers’ Conference
||Covering letters and sample material drafted
||Finalise and send submissions by 28 May
|Entries for Winchester Writers’ Conference competitions
||Drafted entries for the following categories: short story, flash fiction, first 3 pages of a novel, one page outline of screenplay.
||Finalise and submit before 15 May
|Toastmasters Public Speaking
||First speech prepared and delivered
||Second speech to prepare and deliver 20 May
|Gain fluency in Spanish
||Some knowledge of tenses
As a reminder that my holiday only ended a week ago, here are some photographs:
Sunset at Uluru
James Cole attends the Lit-Up workshops with me and is running the event below. I’m not able to attend as it’s my final MPhil weekend residency at the University of South Wales. I have masses of reading to do as three fellow students submitted full manuscripts for feedback. I better get on… If you’re free on Saturday, I’m sure you’ll enjoy the input.
Please find below a 75-word story that was recently published on Paragraph Planet. This is a great way for your work to reach a wider audience.The website’s been running since November 2008 and each day there’s a new 75-word story to enjoy. Famous authors, aspiring writers and occasional dabblers have all been involved by making a range of submissions. Here’s one of mine:
Take my advice and see if it helps: (1) stay strong; (2) listen to your reflective voice; (3) treat yourself kindly; (4) tell the circling thoughts to piss off; (5) go out with friends: you’ve chosen them wisely; (6) eat well, drink a little wine; (7) work hard: there’s intrinsic satisfaction to be had; (8) you’re allowed to feel sad at times; (9) you’re special, remember that; (10) give it time, you’ll meet someone new.
Why don’t you give it a go?
As a fund raiser for the Bridport Arts Centre , Frances Colville is organising a spring story slam. This is in addition to the annual story slam that features as part of the Open Book Festival in October each year. Held in the Arts Centre Cafe, the story slam will take place on Thursday 23rd April from 7.30 pm. All entrants are required to read a story of no more than 250 words (the same length as required for the Bridport Prize flash fiction competition). There will be three judges (chosen by the BAC) and prizes for the top three entrants. It is hoped that twenty people will read, but if there are more wanting to do so, names will be drawn from a hat. (This method will also be used to decide the order of those reading.) The charge is £5 entry on the door for both readers and listeners alike. You can register in advance by emailing email@example.com or just turn up on the night. Prose only, please.
Visual to support the framing of ideas for story writing
I’ve taken some advice and rewritten my writer’s bio in the form of a poem. Here it is – see what you think!
hardworking between episodes of musing, driven and reflective.
Daughter of a man whose dreams withered,
lover of long horizons.
Who feels alive when the sun drenches,
who needs quiet spaces,
who gives ribbons of guidance,
who fears she’ll be unmasked as a fraud,
who would like the bearable lightness of being.
Resident of an eternal spring.
During the latest Lit Up professional development training for facilitators, activities to develop autobiographical prose and poetry were presented. Participants responded to the very structured tasks in a deeply imaginative way and this impressed me so much, that I thought I’d share the activities here. To create a 10-line poem, respond to the prompts in the centre column by recording your ideas in the third column.
||Your given name
||List 4 of your traits
||Complete the line
||Daughter of/Son of…
||Who would like…
Another idea uses free writing where every sentence begins with the words I am… Have a go with these activities and let me know how you get on!