Daily Archives: December 7, 2014

Plot Block – 6 TIPS to Reboot Your Writing

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photo_9658_landscape_large Planning events in your plot and knowing your characters inside out is not always enough to keep writing block at bay. You know how it is, you have been working hard, the novel has behaved, the draft is going well and then… you get stuck, your characters need to help you out.

These suggestions may get your pen moving/ fingers tapping again. I would use them as a free writing exercise, rather than committing to it being a scene in your story – but if it fits and helps you drive your plot forward these are broad enough ideas to work or at least spark a similar idea which suits your novel better.

RULE 1: DO NOT BE AFRAID

Remember fear doesn’t exist and the worst that can happen is you throw another few hundred words in the bin.

RULE 2: JUMP

Choose one  – write.

Someone knocks on the door

A text message beep

There’s a power cut

A sensor / alarm goes off

 

RULE 3 YOU CAN MAKE ANYTHING HAPPEN

But be clear on what your character wants, what’s their drive? Aim?

RULE 4 PLOT GROWS FROM CHARACTER

Think about your main character, what do they want more than anything in the world?

RULE 5 EXAMINE GOALS AND HURDLES

Why can’t the character achieve this ambition? What stands in the way?

Can the other characters help? What are their goals?

These ideas should help you develop your story.

RULE 6: KEEP WRITING, IT WILL ALWAYS GET BETTER

pencil paper freestock

 

December Review – Week 1 – Work, Stanza, Southcart Books & Reading Aloud

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best teacher This week there was a high proportion of time committed to earning extra Christmas money by spending more days doing the day job than anything else, which I have found exhausting. No surprise considering my tasks included; teaching 120 different children in a morning, creating modroc volcanoes, papier mache Greek masks, adjudicating and marking test papers and having two days at a school where every lesson was in a different classroom with different kids (unusual in the Primary setting). By Thursday I was asleep at 7pm and Friday wasn’t much better. Good job I have already committed to cutting back on the performance poetry scene. Although I have noticed this sudden lack of creativity and socialisation has taken a toll on the way I feel emotionally. I gain inner strength from this full diary of writing events and activities and there is something to be said for the adrenalin boost too. 2015 is going to be a year of learning ‘balance’.

type I had time to write – but found some projects impossible to research without internet access (how dependent we have become), our connection failed on Monday and has only just been rectified – some signalling problem they said. (Our central heating and hot water has also broken!) I did manage to complete my Wild Fire Poem for David Calcutt (from the workshop in October)! I took it to Stanza on Friday and received some editing advice which makes it even stronger. Workshop poetry doesn’t always work outside of the bubble it was created in and I think some people were finding the connections I made difficult to understand which made me worry, so I went back to the drawing board with it. I performed it yesterday at Southcart Books to an audience that included fellow workshop participants and David to a positive reception.

After a week at work I was looking forward to our festive Stanza meeting, my first poetry related gathering for a week. As always it was a fun evening, I love the spirit of our members, listening to high quality poetry, receiving advice from writers I trust and having time to talk, because there never is enough time to connect personally at events. Our festive Stanza Meeting included Mulled Wine, a bounty of nibbles, included gorgeous homemade cakes and a Poetry Society mug. PS Mugshot

My only other nod to the former on-the-road-poet-life of 2013/14 was a trip out (and around many times) to Walsall – I must get my SATNAV fixed, trying to follow unsigned roads is a tad difficult for me on a Saturday (or any other day of the week for that matter)! I was dreading the Christmas traffic, but the roads and motorways were relatively clear, in fact I got home quicker than last time, however, getting there took an hour as I went wrong in the town centre five times, got snarled in the one way system and even had a police car follow me for a mile at one point. My poetry life would not be the same without an exciting road trip story to arrive with. My first collection should be called :LOST:

The Reading Aloud event ran from 11am – 4pm and I always knew I would never make it for the start. It was midday before I set off. I was hoping to make it in time to see the end of the morning, then I got lost.

It was worth every penny of extra petrol though. Southcart Books is a wonderful Independent Bookshop and if you are every in Walsall you should pop in for a browse, chat and buy a book or two. Scott and Amy are very enthusiastic about books and writers, there is a special warmth inside this haven.

sc scott and amy © Walsalladvertiser

Southcart-Books

20 Lower Hall Ln, Walsall, West Midlands WS1 1RL

Open 9.30 -4.30

Southcart Books are the only independent bookshop in Walsall helping get the word around for local writers and artists.

Situated in a grade 2 listed building, Southcart Books sells new, used and antique books. They hold community events such as book signings and book readings. 

Original source; http://creativewalsall.com/southcart-books/ © 2014 Creative Walsall

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David Calcutt organised the Reading Aloud Event in support of Small Business Saturday (Nationwide) 6th December 2014. He hosted a pleasurable day of talented wordsmiths, who all took to the chair for their readings. I’ve never performed a set sitting down before, it was a new experience. I wasn’t sure what to do with my feet and I can’t say I was entirely comfortable. However, as an audience member it was like being invited into your own private Jackanory and I enjoyed the change.

I felt absorbed by this experience and was glad I made it in time for lunch and mingling, I met a few poets I didn’t know, had time to catch up with those I do know and managed a quick browse the shelves too. I ended up treating myself to three Poetry books (my own personal Christmas presents), I look forward to reading them in the New Year.

It was lovely to hear lengthy sets (15mins) as often you only get a snippet of poetry at Open Mics. I am finding it difficult to express how great the afternoon was so I am going to say it with synonyms; fascinating, inspiring, impressive, wonderful and marvellous and then let David say the rest – he said it so much better;

It felt a real privilege today to be host to such a diverse, talented and friendly group of writers today at Southcart Books – Martin Hughes, Ann Clarson, Janet Jenkins, Angela Nock, Jane James, Eileen Ward-Birch, Chris Fewings, Sammy Joe, Antony R Owen, Nina Lewis and Bert Flitcroft.

Thank you very much to Scott Carter and Amy for hosting this and providing a comfortable and atmospheric reading space. Southcart Books is such a strong, independent bookshop. Just the place you should visit. Thank you again to all the readers.

Here are a couple of photographs capturing the Reading Aloud event, © 2014 Stuart Williams

SC chris Stuart williams

Chris Fewings

SC Tony

Antony R Owen

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To round off the week I am typing up poems scribbled in my notebook over the past few weeks and if I have time (Mr G and I are also ‘tackling’ the house) I will be submitting some work too.