Escape

I’ve been struggling for a while to get back into my manuscript for the much needed re write. There is a lot going on at the moment that keeps invading. Scottish referendum (please don’t leave us), problems in Gaza, Iraq, Syria and the ebola outbreak.

So I felt it was time to creatively escape and this flashed into my mind. escape

And here is the text laid out in a more readable way:

Free words from trappings and uniform. Mind is drifting in an ever outwards dance with dainty steps. Desire to put ink to paper but not, no never at the moment to include those phrases thoughts to screen. But, but but- it needs to be done. Need to finish, finish and perfect the overall manuscript. They’re waiting for it and then I’ll be onto something new! But would I just be breaking free from discipline? Dreams in jeopardy against that too-fast ticking of the clock.  Time for a little escape and some clearer headspace to EXPAND thoughts into SPACES and ideas. New stories have to come from somewhere and the mind is too full of the must do, must finish,  must think this, must feel this and the guilt is an ANCHOR. NO ONE CAN FLY WHEN THEY ARE TIED TO THE GROUND. Yet here I go around and around and around. There is this pause though. This breath of air. We breathe. Shoulders lift with the shadows taken off. It has all been for something. And to remember remember always not just the 5th, but… for the words to run without FILTER. It is time for a little escape.

Fibi xx

Fortunately this ties in quite nicely with todays Daily Prompt. Hooray!

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One more time I tell you – Just one more time!

Machines, appliances, and gadgets sometimes feel like they have their own personalities — from quirky cars to dignified food processors. What’s the most “human” machine you own?

This is my response to today’s Daily Prompt However, I cannot remember if I’ve already done a post on this pressing matter.  Either way the, printer and I are going to have a falling out. We’re having a break-up really. This is all I have to say.

Dear Printer,

I love it when you’re printing out what is need and everything fine. You do your job, I do mine. Our relationship is in harmony. We’re a team.It’s working. Pages flow out in a continuous stream. But then you decide that you need a clean. That is fine. I’m really okay with it. Everyone needs to have a little tidy every now and again. I’m happy that you feel so confortable that you can take a break, and have a clean. But why printer, why after cleaning, do you print one page and then decide to clean again?  How can you print so merrily for so many days, and then suddenly need so many breaks and why do you need so much time off, when it is most important that you work efficiently? Now, I musn’t get to angry, or suspicious that you’re planning this on purpose.

I also struggle to understand why whenever I need a dozen copies for a meeting and you decide to start chewing up paper. Or do your new favourite trick, folding over paper corners and then printing some words on a random slant – on the wrong side of the sheet!

Now, I like to think I’m eco friendly and where possible, I try to make electronic copies and save things to the computer rather than print. But sometimes printer, sometimes I really need to print and I need you to respect that.

I’ve  been told that I’m not allowed to threaten you and I want to get past the problems we have. I want to learn how to accept you as you are. But I’m telling you, if you tell me you’re cleaning one more time today- just one more time!

Well then. I’m sorry. But no one will be able to find PARTS of you big enough to work out what you once were.

Your loving Fibi xxx

Or in the words of the great from Red Dwarf:

KOCHANSKI

One more time, and you get *this*. D’you hear?? Don’t think I don’t mean it! One more time, just – one more.

KOCHANSKI

Have you ever listened to those clapped-out old pipes? ‘Nureek’ing and ‘retut’ing, and just when you expect them to ‘nureek’ again, they ‘squrlookal’!

It’s enough to make a perfectly sane person crazy!!!

Pick me pick me! – Wait, no. Anyone else, choose anyone!

If I had to choose anyone to narrate my blog, or to read it out, who would I pick out? I think, probably myself! That may be very self-centred but in an old-fashioned way I have just realised that I believe the best person to express my thoughts is, well, me. Much cheaper and easier that way!

I’ve experimented (once) with an audio post before on a previous website/blog thing and it was reasonably successful despite the awful quality of the recording itself. Id’ used a gaming headset and just messed around with the audio file with no experience or idea of what I was doing. But I think it was nice for the audience to hear my rather rambling thoughts through an alternative medium. It is definitely something I would consider doing again, so watch this space.

Thinking about it, the way we speak the emphasis we put on words is such an important part of who we are. I am frequently accused of mumbling and am plagued (and often frustrated) by the ‘what? Huh? Sorry I didn’t hear you’s.’ Having to repeat myself is a knock to confidence so I find I repeat whatever it was, probably just as quietly, or perhaps in even more of am embarrassed mumble. Repeating again? Frustration starts kicking in and the voice starts to quaver. Then, on a third or fourth attempt to verbally express a mundane piece of information, if I start to laugh with embarrassment – it doesn’t then mean I am telling a lie.

Maybe there is a lesson for the day in this daily prompt. Sorry folks, didn’t expect my ramble to wander in this direction. But do feel sorry for your fellow more mumbly, or softly spoken human beings. Yes, you maybe need to ask them to repeat themselves because we’re quiet and you’ve not heard. But if you ask, then please do listen. Chances are, if I’m having to repeat myself, I already want the ground to swallow me up.

A young man I went to school with has actually made a book to help children who mumble or stutter. It’s really quite good and can be found on Amazon.

As for the mumblers? Well, I need to remember more regularly that I need to take a deep breathe, pause and then repeat, on the first attempt, in a loud clear voice. Or what I consider to be loud, what other people generally think is something of a normal level.

But maybe you’ll get to hear for yourselves.

If I had to choose anyone to voice-blog for me? Other than me?

Maybe one of my nieces. That would be entertaining.

Happy Lunch All!

Fibi xx

Scared of Reading?

As a writer I believe it is important that the words are clear and the meaning, vision of what I am saying is easy for the reader to picture. I’m not saying I would like to spoon feed plot because it is also important that ye old brain-cogs get a work out sometimes as well, and if you have to work and remember and think about the story, then you do get more from it.

But in terms of making the writing clear, for me I’m likely to turn away if the writing is too much like hard work and I think the same applies to a storyline that starts to seriously disappoint or concern me. I have to admit that I’ve become a terrible reader and so scared about the emotional impact of what I’m reading that I really have to take a mental run up to books. Luckily in all of this I have discovered Robin Hobb, and she is amazing.

What am I afraid of reading? Well, as an aspiring writer I’m terrified of finding my book already published. The story I’ve been slaving over, written by someone else (better) and in the bookshops. This has turned into something of a recurring nightmare.

Secondly, I worry too much about the characters. There has to be a happy ending for me to enjoy reading the book. I have to feel confident that the author will provide me with a sense of resolution. The first book I really put down half-way through the Juliet Marriliers Blade of Fortriu. I was so invested in the narrative that when it reached a mid-way point, and it would not be possible for resolution to be complete, I had to put it down. It took me over a year to re-gather my courage and return to the story and I couldn’t start at the beginning in case it was too much! (Such a reading wimp!)

But although this sense of ‘happy ever after’ is I demand from a story I’m not convinced if I would necessarily agree from a theoretical stand point. Shouldn’t ‘Happy ever after’ also be complicated, realistic, aspirational? Should I be a more emotionally mature and complex person and encourage that in my reader? I’m not promising anything.

Thirdly, a sure way to put me off a story is to falsely advertise.

I LOVED Trudi Canavans The Black Magicians Trilogy. I bought all three books because they were on offer and devoured them in two days back in 2005. I was therefore delighted when the first of the Age of Five was published and acquired it as a pre-order hardback. For the first chapter I was enchanted, enthralled and delighted that I would get to read the story of this amazing girl growing up to be a member of the white and the trials and challenges that would entail. Then the second chapter happened. Did anyone else feel utterly cheated? She was grown up. This was not the story of the girl growing into a woman. It may be petty by I felt so frustrated by the 360 of expected narrative that after struggling through the first third of the text, I put it down and haven’t picked it up again. I do plan to revisit it and hopefully connect with a series that I appreciate is loved by so many, but it’s at the bottom of my ‘to-read’ pile. I don’t forgive betrayal easily. Sorry book.

Finally, I tend not to read spooky stories, horror, crime or ‘true-life’ I know this narrows my field of literature and good writing but I realised a few years ago that my imagination doesn’t need help coming up with dream or nightmare material. I am usually very invested in what I’m reading and if I read for too long, I emerge a bit google-eyed and hazy on what is real and what is still the narrative replaying. When I read it is not so much imagining characters, it is experiencing their stories in 3d. It is amazing to go on so many adventures, but I certainly don’t want to provide my imagination with concrete horror to explore in my sleep! *shudder*

What would put you off a story? Should it have a happy ever after?

Memory lives

More than her years
So forevermore she will remain
More than one who has left us
Because she stays
In the words that we say
And the ones that we don’t
She’s the prayer on the motorway
For everyone to come home safe
She is the one that we ask
To make things okay
She is the hope in the night
That there will be a new day
We remember a smile
The most beautiful face
She is with us
And with us she’ll stay

This is dedicated to the memory of my cousin Melissa Mould who ten years ago passed away due to cystic fibrosis at the age of 19. Her younger brother is doing ten challenges in her memory to mark this and raise awareness for CF. More information about his adventures can be found here: http://alexsadventure.wordpress.com/

 

This is part of my contribution to the collection of poems and short stories I’m pulling together for Alex’s Adventures. The theme is You Mean the World to Me. I’m currently working on a family related vilanelle but it’s a tricky devil.

This was originally posted on http://poetreecreations.org/ and I would have reblogged however the picture put up with the poem doesn’t quite fit! Sorry guys!

 

Fibi xx

Short Story, Poetry and Novel Competitions Open for Fantasy Writers…

I can’t help but feel a bit chuffed with this post, as it is, all about me! Hooray! In all serious though, please find a beautifully compiled list of competitions and prizes, for fantasy and generally fiction writers to entre, from Featherhead. She has done such a brilliant job in setting up and sorting out the very jumbled list that I sent to her yesterday. A brilliant post!

As Featherhead explains, we met during the final year of a degree. I always aprpeciated having a fellow fantasy-brain reviewing and critiquing my work! She is sucha  brilliant and talented writer and I’m really excited to see where her writing journey takes her!

Thank you again, soo soooo much!

Fibi xx

 

 

Surely the rules don’t apply to me?

I have to admit to feeling a bit disheartened about my writing recently. The euphoria of having completed a manuscript rises and falls. Some days I’m elated and delirious with excitement, other days I feel as though the amount of work that it requires is just too much, that I’ll never be truly done. But that’s silly, because really, I just need to split one chapter into three smaller chapters and expand them properly. Then add in a few more chapters at the end (which are already written) and give the whole thing a sweep through to check for consistency. Not too much to do at all! And every sweep makes the story so much better; I can see that and appreciate it. Every run through always re-invigorates my excitement.

However, this is probably where I’m a bit silly.  I can’t shake the nagging doubt that, if I were actually a good enough writer, to be published – if I actually had ‘talent’ then surely it wouldn’t be so much work? Wouldn’t it all just be easier? Well… no.

On the majority of websites I’ve followed, or interviews of authors that I’ve read – no one claims that their work is easy. All of the advice says that you write that first draft and then you can throw it out the window and start again. It’s hard work. You need to be dedicated and put the graft in. So, what I’ve been learning is that: yes, talent has a part. So does inspiration and having a solid idea – a market that you’re aiming for. A plan, a structure – all of this is important in its own right.  But not only do you have to get the words down, you must be prepared to re-write and re-write, especially if you are a first time author.

It’s hard though, to realise that nothing less than perfection will be good enough. Perfection is hard to achieve, it’s not going to arrive effortlessly. A fully formed book isn’t going to fall into my lap unless I go out and buy one.

It has taken some time then, but finally the message is sinking in. I shouldn’t feel bad that I’m working hard. I should be proud of the efforts I am making. Taking care and consideration, spending time editing, is not a sign that I’m just no good and a talentless shmuck. There, that’s the lesson. It’s what I’ve been reading for years now but it’s only just sinking in. The rules apply to me too.

What do you think? Any advice or realisations?

 

Dialogue Advice – Reading Aloud? Nooooooooo

Following yesterday’s blog post, a fellow writer of Young Adult fiction replied that she always reads her dialogue aloud after writing it. That is, all around brilliant advice!

But what if you have a crippling phobia and inability to read aloud? Yes, yesterday’s blog post was about my fear of writing dialogue. Well, surprise! I’m also afraid of reading it out.

Why am I afraid? Well, I could give a few reasons and it all starts back at school. I was bullied throughout my school career, with very little support from teachers. It was however, a long time ago. But as a child being bullied, the last thing I ever wanted to do is draw attention to me, imagine!

“Yes – I spend most of my time in this school, trying to hide from the rest of the people in this classroom and what I really want to do, is stand up in front of them, have all of their attention devoted to me, and read aloud. This is my dream!” – No, it’s a nightmare.  It’s the mental equivalent to walking onto the stage and realising that you’re naked, or something.

Now combine this desire to hide from the spotlight and some minor dyslexia. Imagine staring at the white board, concentrating as hard as you can and still seeing absolute gibberish. Difficult. Very difficult. You begin to believe that you are stupid. The words are making sense to everyone else, but for me, at times I felt that I was trying to read hieroglyphics. Brain did not compute.

Reading however, is brilliant. I loved reading, I lived for reading and still live for words. But as a youngster it was my escape and I read much more quickly than I could ever write, or speak. The result? My eyes and my mind are far further ahead than my mouth. Cue tongue-tied-twisters. Combine with innate fear of a. reading aloud in the first place and b.  giving my classmates another reason to mock me and the results are a put of dread as the ‘turn’ to read goes around the room. The Turn is coming closer, creeping creeping, only three people away. I’d be so worried about having to read, that I’d start losing touch with the rest of the world and feel a bit spacey. I couldn’t breathe. The words would start to wriggle under my gaze, slipping over the page. Sweaty palms. The person reading is next to me. I’m next. What are they reading? At this stage there would be no understanding of the text or comprehension of what had just gone. Just a mad skim to the bit I was supposed to speak aloud before the inevitable doom arrived. My turn.

Moving onto University did wonders for my confidence. I was able to rebuild myself from the very shy and defensive person I had become. I was found and accepted by friends and it was wonderful. However, the fear of reading aloud had become a physical reaction as well as a mental one at this point. I studied creative writing, and so once a week during our seminar would need to read aloud my work. It was awful and still isn’t very pretty! Having to read once a week, every week made things a bit easier. But when it’s your own work? Well, at that point you’re definitely naked. I can’t help but feel that my work is a part of me. A creative output, it’s found form that I’m pleased enough to try and share with other people.

This year, I was privileged enough to have a piece acted out at RADA as part of my Masters. My classmates were elated to watch their pieces and each had a strong reaction to the work. The actors and actresses were also absolutely amazing. I couldn’t bring myself to watch however. Mine was a particularly personal and emotive piece. But all the dizziness came flooding back. There was nothing wrong with the writing and the feedback was astounding in its positivity. But this reading aloud thing – I think it’s really just not for me. Which might be a problem.

As my fellow writer replied to me on twitter, in order to publicise their work, writers are required to read aloud. Yikes! I hadn’t really considered this before. I’m of course, happy to work my socks off to publicise my writing and any future publications. But reading aloud?

Well, this is one fear I’m going to need to work on. All of the above are reasons, and possibly excuses as to why I have managed to avoid reading aloud for so long. Like my desire to avoid dialogue – I’ll need to get on with it won’t I?  I’m thinking acting classes… Actors have to read dialogue, and after seeing professionals at work, their ability to read/act, in the same moment of being handed the script, is truly inspiring to watch.  I’m not longer the shy person I was either. I am, by necessity confident and far more outgoing than I was.

All the advice also says, that you should never submit something without first reading it aloud. I need to at least be able to read my work to myself.  This is my new mission, write, edit – read out. Put the words out there in the open air. Even if only the kittens can hear me.

I don’t think I’ll ever want to be on stage, but maybe if I push myself beyond my worry and so far beyond my comfort zone, then hopefully, possibly – sinking back to simply being able to read my work aloud to other people, and enjoy it will be comfortable; or at the very least easier.

What do you think? Do you have any tips and advice?

How necessary is it, for new writers to read aloud?

Busy Busy Buzz Buzz Buzz!

So what have I been up to?

Well, work has been busy. As much as I’d love to make a living from writing, that’s not quite my reality and so I will persevere. It helps that I love my job and I’m not entirely sure that I’d ever give it up. Even if I did win the lottery, a structured life is much better for me! Give me too much free time and I like to sleep, a lot. Is it because I’m exhausted after being busy so much of the time, or because given the chance I’d be a much lazier person? I dread that the answer might be the latter.

However, despite work busyness I’ve managed to completely revamp the first chapter of my manuscript and restructure the whole start of the story. It’s now much more fluid, jumps straight into the action and is a much better quality of writing than it was. Hooray! I am feeling pretty pleased with myself. I even managed to go through and start doing some serious editing on chapter two.

I have a bit of a deadline you see; I’m going to send the whole thing to a friend by the middle of September. I’m really hoping said friend will like what he reads and possibly, maaaaybe forward my manuscript to his friends, an independent publisher of fantasy and other fantastic things! So, fingers crossed and squeak with excitement. It’s definitely a motivation to tighten up my manuscript within the next couple of weeks.  After that, my MA starts again so I’ll be focusing on writing fresh material and then cracking on with the second instalment of the series. All go go go on the writing front! So whilst I’ve not been blogging, I have been moving forward with my creative projects.

I’ve been harassing a poor gentleman of the British Fantasy Society. I submitted a short story to their competition a few months ago and was wondering if they were going to publish a short list. The answer is no, which is fair enough!

What else have I been up to? I started cross-stich, but then I lost the project so I haven’t managed to complete it. But it should be good once I find it…

I have also managed to lose the better maps I had of my own invented world, and after some inspiration from this post I decided to draw/paint out some sections of those as well. They’re not very well done to scale, but they do give me a better mental picture of what goes where in the grander scheme of the world.

Note to self, must be more organised with creative schemes and projects!

I lick your nose!

As previously advertised today is my birthday! Hooray! I feel as though I have been thoroughly spoilt by my friends, family and workmates and would like to take the opportunity to say thank you, thank you, thank you.

Birthdays are an usual creature. They’re a lovely opportunity to expresses how thankful you are, to have someone in your life. I see them as that, a chance to say ‘Happy Birthday – I love you and I’m really pleased that we are family, or that we’re friends – insert correct term here. Or I really appreciate that you are here, if love is too strong a term. So, Birthdays are lovely.

I’m not a present mad person (I much prefer to give presents!), although I grateful for all of the thoughtful gifts I have received! One present I had been desperate to see, was a beautiful Dragon made from glass. I’ll provide a link to the artist shortly so that she can take credit for her gorgeous creation.  It was bought a few months ago and I’d been cruelly denied access to it. I wasn’t allowed to cuddle it either! But today that all has changed, bwahah…

Dragon!

Lewis and Rosie, very kindly, clubbed together and bought me a book of poetry, written by cats. It’s called I could pee on this by Francesco Marciuliano and it’s hilarious. I would definitely recommend it. My favorite poems include such classics as, ’I lick your nose’ and ‘Tiny boxes’.

I hope everyone is having a wonderful day.

maybe...