Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Next Big Thing!

I was so excited when I found out that I had been tagged as ‘the next big thing’ by Zella Compton. This means that I have to answer the following questions (which I have) and then nominate five other people who I think are ‘the next big thing’ (see the bottom!).

So here goes . . . .

What is the working title of your book?

I'm really unhappy with my working title of 'Holes' especially as its the same name as a successful book and film. I keep hoping the real title will emerge as I write!

Where did the idea come from for the book?

When I was a child I use to love the Road Runner cartoons and the products Wile E. Coyote would by from the Acme company. Also, a bible story I studied about Daniel, when the angel came 24 days after he prayed because he was delayed fighting demons.

What genre does your book fall under?

This book is aimed at the young adult market.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I have a character called Edmund who has his own agenda, definitely a good role for Alan Rickman. I'm not sure who would play the teenage characters.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

It's not fun cleaning up a mess you have caused, in fact sometimes it can be hell.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I will probably try traditional routes before I self publish.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I'm currently on what I call a zero draft thanks to NaNoWriMo, so the whole thing is stretched out during the month of November.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I think it would fit alongside the Darren Shan novels.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

It's a story that has been bouncing around my head for decades so I have decided to sit down and write the thing so I can free up a bit of my imagination.

My five authors who are going to be the next big thing:

Rik Atherton
Rik Atherton sometimes turns up at my writers group, The Writers @ Lovedean, I'm not a massive crime fiction fan but the guy tells a good story.

Barry William Doughty
Barry William Doughty is all story, he writes some great page turners, and is a master of tales that end in a sting.

David Swann
Brian Evans Jones
It always amazes me how many poets don't read poetry! My favourite poets at the moment are David Swann, he has this zen thing going on but I couldn't find his blog or web page.

However, my latest poetry crush is the words of Brian Evan Jones, with his fabulous use of imagery. The words just leap of the page.

Callum Kerr
For Flash Fiction it's got to be Callum Kerr, I loved his book Flash 365, if you can hear this guy read.

Sue Hampton
Lastly a very nice lady author who understands how to get everything out of every sentence.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Exciting Times

A very exciting week! First surprise was an email from Zella Compton nominating me as The Next Big Thing, so look out for my post next Wednesday.

Can't wait that long? Check out Zella's site on:

I loved reading at Wordsouth last night and there is a chance of me performing some poetry on the radio! Exciting.

So half way through NaNoWriMo and I'm at 27,000 words and very pleased with myself. Not with the novel, I have discovered some major flaws with the plot. But I feel so upbeat and energised at writing everyday. I literally do not have another hours to combine work and writing. My mind is full of creative ideas. I'm trying my hand at poetry again, something I haven't done since 2002. Definitely full of beans.

The secret?

Not to read what you have written, it's great.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Throwing myself into work...again

I don't know if its because it was my late Dad's birthday yesterday, or the raging toothache or my increasing regret that I committed myself to doing NaNoWriMo but I'm feeling extremely unloved and in a very self pitying mood.

I walked the dog in the autumn sunshine but the frost managed to set my tooth alive with pain. So after having words with my other half and a couple of verses of 'no body loves me.' I have once again decided to throw myself into work to take my mind of things. So here are a couple of things I want to enter:

Local Poem Competition
United Press are inviting poems about your local area or people. Deadline is 31 December and there is more info at

The Writer’s Prize
The BBC are inviting submissions, by 3 December, of new writing for Radio 3 or Radio 4. More info

Friday, November 9, 2012

By the skin of my teeth

It is a few minutes to midnight. The house is quiet, I'm tired and I totally didn't feel like writing tonight. Once again I questioned why I wanted to NaNoWriMo.

At seven thirty I walked the dog in the park with a torch searching for inspiration. It was quite creepy and I realised that no one said you had to write your novel in the correct order so I jumped ahead a bit to write a scary chapter. Then I finished the chapter I started yesterday. I managed to finish 1,726 words minutes before twelve. When not doing NaNoWriMo I tend to write about 1200 a day and its surprising how those extra 550 words are so difficult. So thankfully I managed to finish before turning into a pumpkin. Unfortunately, I'm now tired but not sleepy.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Feeling like throwing the towel!

I was pleased to see the poem I wrote at the Brian Evans Jones workshop on the Poetry Map website

It's a fun site with lots of pins on a map, red for adults and blue for under sixteens. I hadn't heard anything after I submitted my work but I had an appointment at Winchester Council, and on reaching the car park that inspired the poem I decided to go on the site to check. It's always a lovely feeling to see your work out there and the feeling of joy increased to see another member had their work on to.

It's NaNoWriMo day eight and I want to chuck in the towel. I'm already seeing reasons why it will never be published and fundamental flaws with the plot. The idea for the story came many, many years ago when I supposed I didn't get an answer to my prayers and the story of Daniel. (Basically he prayed hard for twenty one days and then on day twenty four an angel came along and said, hey we heard you on day one but well we were busy fighting this demon sorry I'm late.) I suppose being self employed and spending huge amounts of time praying for work it resurfaced in my mind. Not that I'm writing a religious text, it's a horror story with monsters but I have a nagging feeling that maybe the premise I basing my novel is wrong.

I worked this morning, appointments with potential clients and procrastinated this afternoon by cutting the grass. Unfortunately or fortunately which ever way you look at it, I have a strong work ethic which makes it nearly impossible to quit. So back at it.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Why bother with NaNoWriMo?

Why are you doing NaNoWriMo I was asked today? At the time I gave a really stupid answer - why not? Then later I kicked myself as I thought of better reasons. What else is there to do in November except save up for Christmas and then when December comes its hard to find time to think never mind write.

What I really love about NaNoWriMo is that it gives you permission not to try and rewrite before you have finished. Its good to sprint sometimes and just focus on getting the words down on paper. I understand why editors and publishers hate NaNoWriMo, the amount of unedited trash they receive in December and January must be scary. But if you know that this first run at a novel is far from perfection it is great to be able to write without the internal editor. How often does something come along and says hey we are okay with a third class piece of work as long as its finished, a nice change from all those polished first three chapters not finished manuscripts.

Despite wanting to get down as many words as possible it is surprisingly free of padding, waffle or beautiful descriptive paragraphs. I am getting down the skeleton frame of my novel.

Words so far: 12,640 but today 140 words short today.

Day five NaNoWriMo

I'm looking at my writing so far as a zero draft. Day five I've done 11,113 words. I sort of cheated by plotting down ideas for my novel before I started, worryingly I have already used all my ideas and I haven't got to the 15,000 word mark.

I usually write about 800 words an hour. So I have been spending around two hours on NaNoWriMo each day. Already I'm itching to read what I've written so far but I know that will be a nail in the coffin. All I can do is press onwards and focus on that word count.

However, it cuts down on what I call my dreaming time, were I can gently let the story unfold in my mind.

Tonight is the first night that I'm going to bed with no idea what to write tomorrow.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

20 x 12 Portsmouth Book Fest 2012

I had a great time with the 20 x 12 project. It was so nice to meet other local authors, learn about the Reauthoring Project and have an opportunity to read our work out loud in the community. I have met so many writers in my life who have turned their noses up at opportunities like this but I have found that the more you say yes to new experiences the more opportunities come your way.

The project meant that not only did I get to meet and hear the work of some great authors such as Annie Kirby, James Law, Maggie Sawkins and Andrew Prior. I met some shining personalities such as Matt Wingett and Joanne Mallon. I was sorry when the project started to come to an end and expected maybe a drink in the pub and another entry on my writers bio. So imagine my pleasant surprise when I found out that there is the possibility of a collection of the writings that featured in 20x12 being published.

The book will be a not-for-profit venture, with all proceeds from sales going to a fund designed to promote Portsmouth writers - either in the form of future presentations, or a to promote additional books in the future. The book would go on sale around Portsmouth and would also be handed out to visiting luminaries involved in culture.

I do hope the project goes ahead. Since I produce an anthology every year for The Writers @ Lovedean I appreciate the hard work ahead for Mart Wingett and Dom Kippin especially as in their email they are hoping to have it out before Christmas.

Obviously I have already sent my submission, never let it be said that I sat back and missed an opportunity to see the name in print!