Wednesday, 26 September 2012

A definite dip ...

This post was supposed to have been my week 3 check in for the Four Stories in September that I began earlier in the month.

Unfortunately last week I didn't get anywhere near to writing a short story, I think my enthusiasm, confidence, inspiration and energy have all packed their bags and gone on holiday together.

I know that these things come in peaks and troughs and it's all cyclical, but I am most definitely in a trough at the moment.  It gets to that point where you begin to wonder why you even bother to do any writing at all, will anyone even like it?

I apologise to you all for such a depressing post, but I needed to do this to vent some of the ill-feeling out of my system.  Then I'll be better able to move on and get back to that lovely positive place.

Any positive feeling that you want to send this way will be greatly received!

Until next time x

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Four Short Stories for September - week 2 check-in ...

I can’t believe how late this post is this week; I’m supposed to do it on a Monday.  That’s what going back to work does for you I suppose.  For the last two weeks I’ve had lots of time for doing writing tasks, but all that time seems to have vanished now.

But, the good news is that I got another short story done last week, although finishing it did run over until Sunday, but that’s another one done.  Check!

This one has much more substance to it than my first story, which I’m taking as a good sign that I’m progressing a little with it.  I’m going to add this to my growing pile (of two!) stories ready for editing in a few weeks.

Now, I just need to find the time for this week’s story …

Monday, 17 September 2012

Ninja Captain's Genre Blogfest!

Today is a blogfest all about genre, all you have to do is say what your favourite genre is for:

A guilty pleasure genre from any of the the three above.

Oh, and don't forget to head over to Alex J Cavanaugh's to link up and check out everyone else's favourites too!

So, my favorite movie genre: 
Definitely science fiction/fantasy.  
I've always loved being whisked off to weird and wonderful places, inspires me to come up with my own.  Back to the Future is a firm favourite, and I was so happy when my daughter asked me to put it on.  Her dad was so pleased!

Music genre:  

Rock music.  My musical taste is quite eclectic, but rock reigns supreme on my iPod.  I've been in love with Jon Bon Jovi since I was about 12.


Horror is right at the top.  Stephen King is my overall favourite, but I'm quite happy with Shaun Hutson or James Herbert.  It'd make my life if I wrote something and Stephen King said he liked it.


My guilty pleasure?  I'm afraid to say that my guilty pleasure is definitely Shakin' Stevens while I'm doing the housework.  I'm only allowed to listen to it with headphones or in my car though!

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Fifty Shades of ... (fill in the gap)

WARNING:  SPOILER ALERT!  If you haven't read these books yet and don't want to ruin the experience then please do not read any further.  I will not be offended, I'd much rather you enjoy the them properly.
If you have read them, then do read on ...

I really don't know where to begin with this review of the Fifty Shades Trilogy. I'm not even sure what possessed me to read it in the first place. I guess there was so much hype about it that I was curious to see what all the fuss was about. Unfortunately I was to be deeply disappointed.

I've read lots of stories about how these books have transformed the lives of so many women, making them more adventurous in the bedroom, and that they've found the lead character, Mr Christian Grey, to be their ideal man.
From the very first chapter I found that he was more of a creepy old man than the picture of my ideal. His character in the book was supposed to be about 27, but he seemed to be portrayed as someone much older than this.
His main focus in the books was young Anastasia Steele, who seemed to be much younger than the 22 that she was supposed to be. With this age difference in mind, however unintentional, it made for some quite uncomfortable reading.

The main draw to these novels for many people is undoubtedly the sheer amount of descriptive sexual encounters that is prevalent throughout all three books. Take all of this away though and there isn't really much of a plot. In fact, remove all of the sex completely and what remains would probably fit into a single book.
Now, I don't want to come across here as any kind of prude. I have no issues with the level of detail, other than the fact that it leaves nothing to the imagination. There is something to be said for giving away the simplest of details and letting the readers fill in the rest. I would rather not have it shoved in my face at every opportunity, a little credit would be nice for being able to fill in the gaps.

It seemed somewhat absurd to me that Anastasia Steele is first introduced as a fairly shy and studious girl, with little experience with men, and within weeks she is transformed into some kind of voracious sex goddess by an overbearing, dominant man with supposed childhood issues. The issues being the root cause of his behaviour.
The way the story is written you'd be forgiven for thinking that a man had thought of it, especially how the two characters interact with one another. The woman is at fault most of the time and has to conform to his preferences, but whenever she has any real issues and tries to talk about them he just distracts her with sex every time. The most frustrating part being that she lets him succeed.

I found the believability of the whole thing took a complete nose-dive when it came to his seemingly endless wealth, although it's not ever clear quite how he amassed such a status. Buying the company that she'd just started to work for, and having numerous jets, helicopters, houses, cars. A lot of the time it seemed to be a massive advert for Audi, BlackBerry and Apple. (Hmmm, I wonder if they got any royalties for that …)

I just couldn't get my head around these characters, both having a complete change around and getting married and pregnant all in the space of less than a year.

You're probably wondering why I continued reading these books if I found them so annoying in so many ways, and this is a question I have been asking myself. At times the whole experience put me off reading completely, making it seem more of an effort than a pleasure.
I suppose I was curious to know if it would ever get any better, and to see exactly where she was going to go with the whole thing.
As it turns out, the ending was pretty naff. The resolution of it all being him spilling his early life story to her and filling in the gaps. Well, it wasn't very interesting as we kind of knew most of it anyway, and it left no resolution for me as a reader. It was more of a 'was that it?' kind of feeling.
And just when I thought the pain was all over, there was more. The final pages were a complete rehash of the very first pages, only from his point of view rather than hers. What a waste of time that was, they seemed more like page fillers for the sake of it rather than interesting content.

It was a huge sense of relief when I finally finished it, knowing now that I can go on to read something far more enjoyable, with more substance to it.
The only good thing to really come out of reading these novels was to pick up tips on how not to write my own stories. But you know, if that's a standard that's getting published, then there's hope for the rest of us … I hope …

Rating: 1/5

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Wednesday Blog Hop - The Sweetest of News

It has been two weeks now since I wrote anything for the Wednesday Blog Hop, and I came close to not managing this one either.  I've been quite frustrated with myself for this slip so have resolved to make it this time before a new prompt tomorrow.

As usual, there is picture prompt and five words to be included, along with the 500 word limit.  For more details on this great weekly blog hop check out either Chasing Revery or The World of My Imagination , our wonderful hosts for this little party.

The prompts this week are:

fin, vitamins, trousers, toothpick, creeper

So, without further ado I present:

The Sweetest of News

The breeze coming off the lake felt cool against my skin as I descended down the path. The sun reflected off the water and would have dazzled me if not for my sunglasses. I reached our spot and relaxed in the shade, waiting for him to arrive. Sitting on the wall next to the lake I could almost reach out and touch it. Beneath the ripples I watched as the fish darted around, this way and that, totally oblivious to the world looming above them. Now and again a fin would skim the ceiling of their haven, but soon disappeared again amongst the depths.
I glanced up as I heard Jake coming down the path. He ambled towards me in his favourite navy t-shirt and baggy trousers. He never wore shorts, even in the hottest of weather. He didn't want to submit anyone to the sight of his skinny legs, 'They're too much like toothpicks for my taste,' he would always say.
I stood as he came near and he drew me into a huge bear hug, kissing my hair tenderly. 'You look lovely,' he said as he pulled away again. 'I've been worried about you all day, your message this morning was pretty cryptic,' he said as we sat down together. His hands held mine as he stared into my eyes, trying to fathom why I asked him here now, to this spot.
'I know, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to worry you but it's not something we can talk about via email or phones.' I had to break his gaze as I began speaking. I couldn't bear to look at him, fearing the reaction I was certain would come.
'Hey, what's got you so worried? Everything's alright isn't it?' He tilted my chin towards him so I couldn't help but look straight at him. Now he was here I came straight to the point before my courage left altogether.
'I'm pregnant.'
The next few minutes seemed to stretch out into infinity, terror spreading across my heart like a creeper. It was all I could do to keep myself upright. I didn't know what else to say so I had to sit and wait for a reaction.
When it came it wasn't at all what I expected. A grin had started to spread across his face, continuing to his eyes until his whole face was lit up with joy. 'Really? That's fantastic!' He put his arms around me as I tried to make sense of it. 'Are you pleased?' he asked.
'Well, I think so.'
'You look terrified.'
'I thought you'd be horrified, given how much you detest your brother's children.'
'Yeah, but they don't have us for parents. Promise me something now though.'
'What's that?'
'You'll start taking your vitamins properly,' his stern look didn't last for long before he started grinning again.

Word count:  475

Four Short Stories for September - week 1 check-in

Morning folks, I hope the weekend has been kind to all.

I meant to write this post yesterday but I'm finding there are too many things getting in the way at the moment.  Most notably, my daughter still in her very first week of primary school and our house has just gone up for sale.  Stressful times indeed!

Anyway, besides all of that going on I did manage to make some progress for writing four short stories in September.  I found time to write a story last week of around 1500 words over four days.  If I'm honest the story isn't brilliant.  I didn't have any kind of focus on it when I started and as a result it's quite disjointed and doesn't know what it's doing.
I'm not going to worry too much about these details though, I don't expect to be writing masterpieces on the first draft.  I'll just file it away for a bit and then have a look at it later.  Much later.
This week I have become much more organised, with a plan layout for a story.  I'm writing it for a competition so I have more focus on the theme and it should come together more easily than last weeks effort.  The closing date is the end of the month so I can do the first draft this week, leave it a short while and edit ready for submission.

I'll keep you posted on how I get on with this, but so far I'm happy with my progress on this challenge.

Saturday, 8 September 2012

My own little landmark!

Good morning everyone!  I've just logged on to check my blogs this morning and I've discovered I have made it to 50 followers!

Thank you so much to all that have visited, and for those that are regular readers.  I don't quite know what I'm doing but I must be doing something right.

I'll try to keep it interesting folks!  Until next time xxx

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

The Insecure Writers Support Group - First Check-in

So this is my first proper post for The Insecure Writers Support Group.  I think it's a brilliant online community to help and be helped by fellow writers that can (hopefully) relate to how I'm feeling about my writing.  Thanks very much to Alex J. Cavanaugh for setting up such a place where we can all get together and share our woes and our successes.

I'm struggling a little at the moment admitting to myself that I'm an actual writer.  I take the time to sit and write stories, I've posted some of my pieces here on my blog and on the Shortbread Stories site, so in the literal sense of the word I am indeed a writer.  However, I still find I am hiding this fact from many of my closest friends and relatives.  My husband knows that I indulge now and again, and so I can hide away for an hour or so and don't have to feel guilty about doing something secretive.  Only two other people know, that I actually see every day anyway, and fortunately one of these is also a writer.  This is handy as we can sit and discuss our own projects and spur each other on.  But apart from all you lovely followers, no-one else has any idea that I've been doing this. 
It's like I'm carrying around a huge secret that I'll go to weird lengths to hide.  For example, until recently I had two Facebook accounts, one in my maiden name and one in my writing/soon-to-be married name.  My older account was for all my friends and I'd post the usual rubbish about everyday nonsense in status updates and messages.  My writing one was then used to begin networking with fellow writers and follow groups and communities about writing.  I also set up an automatic feed that posted all of my blog pages to this account so my 'friends' could see what I'm posting.
Now, my old account was hacked twice in about two weeks so I got fed up and deleted the account.  By chance, one of my friends found my other account and sent a friend request.  I have since started using this account for my old friends but felt the need to cancel the automatic feed of my blog posts.  Part of me doesn't quite understand why; I am a writer, there is nothing wrong with having a hobby.  Part of me though is a bit worried about what people may think about it.  What if they laugh at my writing?  What if they think I'm trying to be something that I'm not?  I'm not sure if I'm slightly embarrassed at revealing all, like it's some dirty little secret.

I think some day soon I'm going to overcome this hurdle and put the feed back up.  After all, it will increase my readership (maybe) as none of them follow me as yet.  I just need to feel brave enough to do it.

Does anyone else hide their little secret?  Is it liberating to get it out in the open?

Hopefully next month I'll have taken the plunge.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

A little something on Shortbread

I have been a member of Shortbread Stories for about a year, but have only submitted two stories so far.  It's a wonderful website where you can submit your work and there are plenty of people willing to offer feedback and constructive criticism.  There aren't many writers groups near me, and the few that do exist are full for now.
Shortbread is a lovely online alternative, and I am going to use it as a writers group to give and receive feedback.
Shortbread Short StoriesThey run competitions too, and I actually managed to get my act together and submit something before the deadline this time.  The winner is decided through a voting system and there's plenty of competition.  You can check out all of the entries at Shortbread Stories Competition and if you fancy a little look at the website in full click on the link on my blog at any time.

I'm off to read through the other entries and cast my vote.