Well, folks, it's HAPPY 61st BIRTHDAY to me on Saturday.
The day before my birthday, we'll be off to Barcelona for a long weekend. Our hotel's pretty much central from what I can gather. Never having been there before, I've googled it like crazy and there's such a lot to see.
Mostly, I think, we'll be off on the Gaudi trail.
Last weekend, I was part of a 24 hour writing contest with Writer's Weekly. What a fantastic experience. For any of you writers out there who might be interested in joining the next one in the Spring, here's the link:
So there I was, sitting in my den at my lap top - with my birthday flowers and my birthday banners surrounding me - writing for my life, all day last Saturday. A real birthday bonanza! The banners and the flowers were early presents from my partner, Dave. Sweet, hmm?
So all that remains for me to say is, wish me Bon Voyage, constant reader - and Ola Espana! Talk to you when I return.
Having won my competition (a-hem), I feel I have the right to talk to you about writing - from an expert's point of view!! Seriously though, folks, I'd just like to offload some of my writing ideas - and get some feedback - and some of your ideas - if you care to leave me a comment when you've read this little blog entry.
It is a strange thing, this writer's block (albeit that my story wasn't about writer's block so much as about the story's protagonist trying to block herself from writing) and it can happen any old time.
The thing that you need to remember at these times isn't that your ideas haven't stopped flowing, not at all. It's just that your ideas are tangled up inside your brain and won't untangle or come out the right way up!
What you need to do is sit with pen and paper - or sit at your computer - and wait! You might wait for hours. It might seem that you're going to explode, or your computer's going to explode, before you can extract an idea from all that jumble inside your head - but it'll happen, And when it does....well...EUREKA!
You might want to try collecting stories and flash fiction from magazines and e-zines to jolt you into an idea - and action. There's a great little website called 'Every Day Fiction' where you're emailed a short story (less than 1000 words) every day - and you can enter your flash fiction to them for consideration too.
You might want to carry a notebook with you wherever you go. There's always some little thing that will attract your attention while you're out and about.
You might want to give your story-telling a face lift and follow the directions my insightful e-course writing tutor - and my writing group colleagues - have always given me:
Make your main character a 'sympathetic' one - one that readers 'care' about
Make sure there's enough 'conflict' to keep your readers on the edge of their seats
Don't make your story too complicated
Have no more than two points of view in a story - one's even better!
Keep the drama going.
Make sure there's a good sense of person and place
Start your story at an exciting time in the protagonist's life - and end your story with a BANG
Those 7 points will make sure you don't fall by the wayside and commit any of the 7 deadly sins!
I've fallen by the wayside too many times to even think about.
I know that writing's a tough old world - much tougher than I ever expected it to be when I made a kick-start into writing last April - but it gives you your rewards when you write a good story - better still when you get a piece published.
And for me, just now - it's all about winning that competition! It's my first win. I might be wearing rose-tinted glasses: I might have a smile as wide as the Thames: but I need my moment of glory, so WOO-HOO to me - and the best of luck to all of us newbie writers.
Big Grin - Rose-Tinted Glasses
WRITING'S SIMPLY MAGIC! IT'S ABSOLUTELY WIZARD!
Talk to you soon, Dear Readers (I pinched that from Stephen King [who better!])
Everybody was hung over - we'd partied at a friend's house on New Year's Eve and come home - me, my husband and our two best pals, Dawn and Steve - to see in the New Year 2011, watch Jools Holland's Hootnany, reminisce about the '80's with TOTP2 and sing 'Auld Lang Syne'. We'd tippled champagne and I'd made my New Year resolutions - to be a non-smoker by 2012 (I'll keep you posted on that) and to be a better, more prolific, highly-published WRITER (I'll keep you posted on that, too!)
We set off from North Shields, over the river Tyne to South Shields, to walk in the park and play on the beach.
It was a cold, blustery day - enough to freeze your socks off! So we dressed up warm and cosy to keep the cold out and set the roses in our cheeks to 'bloom' setting.
On Littlehaven beach, there are dozens of statues, made from leather sacking and fired in a kiln. They're all shapes and sizes and they all have faces with all sorts of expressions on them. They're fun and inviting but they're sort of eerie too. If you ever get a chance to visit, you really should go. It's a sight (site!) worth seeing - and so entertaining.
They're situated right on the beach and the waves were almost crashing about our heads - noisily.
The seagulls and pigeons were out in force too, skidding onto the waves, dive-bombing the waters - and scavenging for crumbs and left-over pizzas or Mac-burgers.
We walked in the park - a lovely, landscaped park - and came upon the duck-pond before long. The lake was frozen - a veritable ice-rink (Torville and Dean could have done their 'Bolero' here, no problem) and the ducks, geese and swans skated on their rink in ungainly fashion. We just had to laugh at their antics. Seagulls, pigeons and magpies joined in with gusto - and we laughed at them too.
Clapping our hands together, rolling them up in a fist inside our gloves, wiggling our toes for good measure we fought a losing battle against the freezing temperatures. And then we spotted a little tea-shop/cafe on the edge of the pond.
"Let's get a cup of tea," I said, hopefully.
"Yep!" was the rejoinder and in we went.
It's a grand little cafe selling all sorts of goodies. We plumped for hot chocolate and a couple of slices of death-by-chocolate cake among the four of us.
We stayed there until we warmed up a little, then wended our way back to the car, Dawn collecting driftwood on the way home (to add to her creative collection - she's an artist, is Dawn)
At home once more, the preparations began for our New Year's Day gourmet dinner. Dawn made delicious laksa and a summer fruit pudding: Dave made chilli-and-ginger tuna steaks with noodles - and I laid the table. Steve stirred the soup a couple of times and played his guitar as his contribution.
It was a great meal, with great company - and we had a ball.