Tag Archives: About writing

When I have time…

It’s Monday again, bringing that busy beginning of the week feeling with so much to achieve and only five (six?) (seven?) days to do it in.

Last evening I went through my to-do list. I don’t know about you but I probably need a whole month to get through my average week and, in order to make things look a bit more doable, I relegated a few of the not-so-urgent items  to dates a little further along in my diary. These range from things that definitely need to be done in the next week to those that must be done by the end of the month and a few that will be okay this side of Easter. They are mostly to do with writing/blogging.

But I was also reflecting on my ‘When I Have Time’ list and realised this one is quite a mixed bag. So, forthwith, (and in no particular order) here are some of the things I would like to fit in over the next few months:-

  • Wax  the car – properly.
  • Knit some fancy hot water bottle covers (fun gifts)
  • Sow my seeds, Amongst other things, I am planning to grow bananas and papyrus from seed this year
  • Get fit – I ran a half marathon in May 2016 and since then everything in the body department has gone to seed!
  • Maybe get a kitten?  (Cleo would like a playmate)
  • Make marmalade
  • Spend time with my children/grandchildren
  • Learn Portuguese
  • Make a bed quilt
  • Read everything
  • Move house
  • Take up Tai Chi

……….. But at the moment, I’m writing 🙂

Children’s Books and What They Mean to Me

img_1990Books. When I was a child, I couldn’t get enough of them. Picture books, children’s encyclopaedia’s especially the sections on Volcanoes, tropical islands and exotic animals! I loved Enid Blyton’s Secret Seven and Famous Five series, because those kids had such adventures. Also, just William by Richmal Crompton and Jennings and Derbyshire by Anthony Buckeridge for their downright naughtiness. Later I loved the Nancy Drew mysteries.

When my children were small I began to discover children’s books all over again, old favourites and bright, new books. Parents are so lucky, moving through a few short years of The Hungry Caterpillar and Dear Zoo to The Tiger Who Came to Tea, Mog and Winnie the Witch and on to longer stories. When we read together (long after the children could read for themselves) The Animals of Farthing Wood, Terry Pratchett’s Bromeliad Series, Diggers, Truckers and Wings, and of course Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr Fox and others I couldn’t wait for the next chapter any more than the children. I never got to read the Harry Potter books to my children as they came a little too late but I’m looking forward to that pleasure with my grandchildren.

At the time that I finished writing my first novel, The Palaver Tree, we also happened to be moving house and I came across an old box file of my writing from way back when I used a typewriter. In there was the outline for a children’s book that I had long ago imagined and named Kelly at Come-alive Cottage. I was excited by the story that I had forgotten and decided there and then that I would next produce a children’s book. After all, I told myself,  the process of writing a novel is a long and sometimes arduous task. I thought my little fifty page chapter book would be a breeze.

Wrong

It  was hard, just like any writing project, but it was fun and different and also gave me a new respect for children’s writers.

My blog is all about my love of and experience with books and, for a while I have wanted to separately feature some of the best children’s books, both old and new.  This is what Fridays will look like on the blog.

I started last Friday with a brand new and lovely book by Cat Michaels, The Magical Aquarium.

Which  children’s books have you loved and remembered? If you can recommend a favourite old or new or have written a children’s book please contact me with ideas for this feature. I will be choosy, I want to feature those that I would love to share with the next generation of readers (and parents!) I will be reading and reviewing each book, so please, none longer than about fifty pages. There  are still a lot of novels out there to read too!

Children are the next generation of readers. Who knows what publishing will look like by the time they grow up? Let’s give them all the encouragement we can with great books to start their reading journey.

My Come-alive Cottage Series

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Review – Write to Be Heard by Aaron D Gansky and Diane Sherlock

img_1940Write To Be Heard is a straightforward no-nonsense read for writers wanting to improve their skills and, I imagine, that is most writers. There is nothing fancy and I think that is probably the intention, to make the book accessible to all writers.

The book begins with the subject of its title, the narrative voice, and how to achieve something natural and fluid in the prose we write. It goes on to characters and how to get to know them, their backgrounds, quirks, foibles, motivations. Plot, structure and dialogue are also discussed.

There are exercises to follow and to apply to a piece of work or a WIP.

I don’t believe anyone interested in writing can ever read enough of these kind of books, even if the reader doesn’t necessarily agree with every point made; there can be something to learn in that too.

A solid read that disappointed me a little just in that I would have liked more on that narrative voice, the subject of the book (although the subtitle does include … ‘and more.’..). But for anyone looking for a good overview of the creative writing process plus a few nice nuggets of motivation this will hit the spot.