Writer’s HQ Course

It’s time for another course and this time I have chosen to do the 14 day free course from Writer’s HQ.  I told you that I was on a budget!  I am on Day 4 and I am loving this…It’s basically a course which makes you get off your bum and do some writing everyday to promote getting into a good writing habit.  I think I’ve had one day off over the weekend when friends were calling me to the pub but I figured that was ok.  I think you get 30 days to access the course.  

The videos all are engaging and presented by very normal people so far – hurrah.  They’re friendly and engaging and best of all they have been getting me to write!  Not huge amounts as I have a full time job and a very time consuming 2 year old.  But I have written for 4 days in the last 5 days – that’s better than I did before!

Tonight the task was to think about what you’re writing and sketch out ideas for 20 minutes.  I tend to use Evernote to write my thoughts and random trains of thought down, so I picked an idea that I came up with ages ago about a smuggling story and started free writing ideas down.  It’s going to be a children’s story based in a smuggling village somewhere in England. Year to be researched.  Children are not allowed to be included in the smuggling gang but they are perfect for it! They’re quick, they know best hiding places and can fit in very small places – think of the Secret Seven with a camp somewhere hidden. There are dangers though that they could get caught by the Watchmen or their parents!  Working title – The Night Horses.  Inspiration from “The Smuggler’s Song” by Rudyard Kipling. 

Writer's HQ course - a smuggling story

Writer’s HQ course – a smuggling story

If you wake at midnight, and hear a horse’s feet,
Don’t go drawing back the blind, or looking in the street.
Them that ask no questions isn’t told a lie.
Watch the wall, my darling, while the Gentlemen go by!
Five and twenty ponies,
Trotting through the dark –
Brandy for the Parson,
‘Baccy for the Clerk;
Laces for a lady, letters for a spy,
And watch the wall, my darling, while the Gentlemen go by!
Running round the woodlump if you chance to find
Little barrels, roped and tarred, all full of brandy-wine,
Don’t you shout to come and look, nor use ’em for your play.
Put the brishwood back again – and they’ll be gone next day!
If you see the stable-door setting open wide;
If you see a tired horse lying down inside;
If your mother mends a coat cut about and tore;
If the lining’s wet and warm – don’t you ask no more!
If you meet King George’s men, dressed in blue and red,
You be careful what you say, and mindful what is said.
If they call you “pretty maid,” and chuck you ‘neath the chin,
Don’t you tell where no one is, nor yet where no one’s been!
Knocks and footsteps round the house – whistles after dark –
You’ve no call for running out till the house-dogs bark.
Trusty’s here, and Pincher’s here, and see how dumb they lie –
They don’t fret to follow when the Gentlemen go by!
If you do as you’ve been told, ‘likely there’s a chance,
You’ll be given a dainty doll, all the way from France,
With a cap of Valenciennes, and a velvet hood –
A present from the Gentlemen, along o’ being good!
Five and twenty ponies,
Trotting through the dark –
Brandy for the Parson,
‘Baccy for the Clerk;
Them that asks no questions isn’t told a lie –
Watch the wall, my darling, while the Gentlemen go by.

Rudyard Kipling

 It’s a work in progress 🙂

Beginning a Novel – Barafundle Bay

“Let’s start at the very beginning…”

I thought I was starting at the beginning but it hasn’t worked out that way at all.  After my first burst of inspiration for beginning a novel came in Venice, my next came on a trip to Pembrokeshire and a walk at a glorious beach called Barafundle Bay.  Continue reading

Blog Your Block

Revisiting Old Inspiration

I thought that it might be interesting to re-read some of my old writing challenges that I did via The Daily Post, which was a great source of inspiration to kick start your writing.  So there are a handful of posts which I did put on my old blog which are worth re-visiting.    In everyone’s words – we should always read through our work and re-visit things….they might be inspiration for something new.  Who knows??  One of my very tiny short stories which I wrote while I was sitting on a jetty in Venice has become the inspiration to my first children’s book which I will be attempting to kick into shape on here.  Please see my post on “Sea Monsters and Angel Lights” for the story behind the story.
 
First up is “Blog Your Block”….This is what came to mind on a pretty bleak, rainy walk along the beach where I live.  Written for The Daily Post writing challenge called “Blog Your Block”:  http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_writing_challenge/blog-your-block
 
***

The grey pebbles turned and twisted under her sturdy shoes. It wasn’t a pretty beach, she thought. Although, there was a kind of pre-historic peace to the place.  It seemed as if it couldn’t be bothered with day trippers looking to build sandcastles. Only a few fishermen and foolhardy sea gulls clung to the shores of the channel trying to catch a bite for dinner.  The coastguard was watching like an ever present guardian angel.  A few local inhabitants always had their kitchen windows focused on the waterfront.

Strange plants grew which had developed around this harsh, salty, barren landscape. Nothing else grew but scrub plants. There were no trees so the wily, quick witted birds built their nests in the stones and the scrub to avoid the footsteps of people and foxes.

When the wind blew, people walked at a 45 degree angle and when the sun shone they lay flat out on the uncomfortable stones in bathing suits which were quite inappropriate for the area – more suited to a Caribbean island somewhere.

The rain was penetrating every layer of clothing and she kept her eyes fixed on the pebbles.  Occasionally a crushed shell came into view; a strand of mangled seaweed; discarded ropes; broken lobster pots – the plethora of driftwood which came ashore after a storm.   The tides changed with every minute bringing a new wave of stones and shingle but the landscape never changed.  Time to go home. 

***

I think this story was as short as the walk that inspired it!  Cut off in its’ prime.   Brevity has always been my problem ​even in writing essays at school.  Writing a whole novel is going to be a bit of a challenge!  What are your challenges and obstacles?  Some pictures of my block are here:

White horses on the beach

White horses on the beach

Old Inspiration - cloudy sky

Old Inspiration – cloudy sky

Old Inspiration - Stormy Beach

Old Inspiration – Stormy Beach

Continue reading

Inspiration

The Inspiration for my First Children’s Book

I spent a year living in Venice in my twenties and had an awesome time living right in the city centre.  I had an apartment looking out over a canal.  The ever lovely Campo Santa Margherita was just round the corner from our house and there were so many canals to sit on and watch the world go by. 
 
My best friend and her husband came to visit me with their small baby – Joseph.  After they left I sat by the water’s edge near a statue of a mermaid, on a sunny evening and wrote a very short story about a boy name Joe.  Writing something for him was the inspiration for my first book.  I didn’t know it at the time but this story has so many things that can be developed into a story – great ideas for characters, great location.  We’ll have to see how that goes…
 
The canal was flashing with a thousand sparkles underneath the water.  I called them “angel lights”.  In the spirit of having balance in a story it seemed fitting that a beautiful thing should also have a dark side.  Surrounded by all the mythology of a sea-faring city I added the “sea monsters”.  
 
I want this short story to become the inspiration to my first novel which is going to be about a little girl who witnesses a horrible crime, gets washed up on a beach and befriended by a little boy called Joe and a salty old sea captain.  In this case the “sea monsters”  are very much human though!  Stay tuned for excerpts coming up. 

Continue reading

Writing Challenge 2

As part of my investigation into Writing Apps, I have completed another Writing Challenge.  I love this inspiration.  Have you tried the app yet?  What do you think?  Remember that you’re not allowed to edit – you just have to write!  This one is about a “rubbish girl”  who lives in a stinky cave and loves it  – I think there’s a story in that somewhere?  Continue reading