Tuesday, 20 December 2011

A Fairy Story

After yesterday's post causing so much confusion, I thought I'd clarify a few things before I start.
I'm not sure about where you are, but in the UK, Christmas trees can be topped with either a star, or a fairy.
Yes, a fairy.  One of those little mythical things with wings that Peter Pan hung around with.

This is the story about why we have a fairy on the top of a Christmas tree.
(The above part of this entry is true, the rest…. Well, I'll let you make your mind up for yourselves.)

It all started during the build up to Christmas.  Santa was in an incredibly foul mood.  One of the reindeer had gone lame, and the runners on his sleigh had a couple of untreatable patches of rust.  To add to his misery, he could feel the beginning symptoms of 'Man Flu' creeping up on him.
To top things off, just when he was thinking that things couldn't get any worse, the head of the Elf Union passed him a note advising that he Elves would be going on strike as from Midnight.  This sent him into new unexplored depths of rage.
Just then, a fairy came in the room.  "Hey Santa, what should I do with this tree?"

Monday, 19 December 2011

A load of...

Last night I was following a lorry when it started to shed it's load. 
I couldn't believe it!  Surely he must know that the load wasn't secure.  I started flashing him, tooting my hooter, and pointing at the back of of the lorry.
Eventually, he pulled up, and I jumped out and ran up to the cab. 
"You're losing your load mate.  It's going all over the road!"
He looked me up and down, gave a 'tut' and shook his head.  "I'm gritting the road you fool!"

Friday, 16 December 2011


My local bookshop is doing a pre-Christmas sale.  There's a massive sign up in the window:
One third off all titles!
How could I resist?  I rushed in and bought…

The Lion, The Witch, and

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Sky's the limit

Last night, I was asked to give a talk at my daughter's Rangers group (the next level up from Girl Guides) about astronomy.
So far, we've tried to do this three times, but it's either snowed, or been raining, which as you might have guessed, isn't ideal.  Last night, however, looked promising.  There was patchy cloud, but the gaps in the clouds revealed some very clear skies.
I'm pleased to say that the talk went very well.  We covered things from the basics, like naming the planets, looking at the relative sizes of planets/stars, to black holes and comets.  The questions they asked were well thought out, and not asked for the sake of asking questions.  It was a fun evening.
The highlight was when we went outside, and through the gaps in the clouds, they saw a handful of shooting stars (luckily it was the peak of the Geminiid meteorite shower), and we also saw (with the aidof my telesocpe) Jupiter and three of it's moons.
Originally, when I decided to write this post, I had an incredibly clever idea to link this back to writing.  Unfortunately I've had lunch since then, and the idea has slipped away.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Probably more stupid than I look.

 Last week, I nearly threw the towel in on this whole writing lark.  It's not that I'm disillusioned, or  struggling for ideas.  I'm feeling quite the opposite.  The problem was that I didn't think that I had enough talent.
The thing that set the train of though into motion was that I'd picked up my MS and started to read through it.  It's been through some serious revisions, and I felt that it should be at the stage where I'm going to need to look at the flow, and characters, more than whether the narrative was active or passive.  BUT, I started to read the first chapter, and there was shedloads wrong with it.  How could I have missed all of this?  If this was the results of two carefully thought out edits, then it was going to take about a hundred attempts to make it barely readable.  What was the point of having half a dozen well formed stories floating around my head if I could never do them justice when I committed them to paper?
Of course, the packing it in thought was fleeting.  I don't really have a choice on whether I write.  It's either do it, or my head will explode.  And I'm sure I'd have to clear up the mess after :o|
That was last week.  Today is a new week, and it dawned on me that in my last two rounds of revisions, I've cut out the start of the story, and made it begin later into the adventure.  I've had to write the start of the first chapter from scratch, and reason it reads like it's not been edited, is because it hasn't!!  The first page is currently a mass of editing scribbles (again), but I have found that by the time I've reached the end of the chapter today, there's just the odd tweak.  It looks like I'm not quite as bad as I feared, but I quite sure that I'm a bit more stupid than I look. :o)

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Room with a view

I'm struggling a little bit today for inspiration.  So instead of the usual drivel, I have decided to tell you about the window behind me in my profile picture.
Yes, that really is me working hard!
The building is the old Royal Mint in London, and the view out of the window is a very impressive one of The Tower of London.  I would post a picture, but sadly, I no longer work in that building.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011


For someone who thinks he's quite savvy with the ways of commercial enterprises, I can't believe how naive I've been on the writing business.

The last nine months have been a bit of a wake up call.  I always thought that my writing was competent, that the plots to my stories were good, and that it was only case of knocking out a MS, and someone would snap me up.

I also had the misguided view that if I read a 'How to' book, then I would be doing it someone else's way, and compromising my own style.

If you are sitting there, pointing at the screen and laughing at me, then I really don't blame you.  I think I'd be doing the same.

I think that all I really want to say in this post is that I'm grateful to my blogging friends who comment, and the ReviMo gang for their wisdom.  I've finally realised that it's not a race, and that I need to make my work the best I can possibly make it before I start sending it to the people who have the power to make my dreams come true.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

To write, or not to write? That is the question.

For those of you who don't know, I'm part of an amateur dramatic group.  Our dramatic year tends to be split into two halves.  The main event of the year is the Pantomime, which we perform every January.  It all gets a bit surreal around this time, with men playing the parts of Dames, women playing the lead Male hero roles, as well as women playing the heroine.

The summer production is a much more sober affair.  The Youth section enter the local drama festival, and the adults do a small production.  In the past we've done 'Allo 'allo, The importance of being Ernest, and a few radio plays.

Tonight we are dropping scripts, so it's probably going to end up being lots of blank looks followed by giggles.

In case you are wondering what the writing connection to this entry is, it's that the Panto is always written in house.  There are some very talented people there who have produced some incredible scripts.  The odd thing is, that none of them have any aspirations to write a book!

Recently, there's been growing pressure from some of those involved, for me to throw my hat in the ring when they're looking for someone to write the next Panto.  So far I've resisted, as I don't want to be distracted from my WIP.  The problem is, that I keep thinking about the formula that Pantos fall under, and how it would be structured.  Maybe when the time comes, I should just go with the madness!

Monday, 5 December 2011

It's a mystery

The other week, we went to a murder mystery dinner.  Not the sort that you host yourself and invite your mates round to (although these are great fun), but one in a restored 17th Century country house and actors.
The evening progressed through the usual stages of champagne in the Library, where we met the characters and they sowed the seeds for the coming events of the evening. 
We then went into the dining hall and progressed with the meal. After the first course, there was the reading of the Will, with various (expected) upsets with people storming off, and the sound of shots being fired.  One of the characters then came running in exclaiming that there had been a murder!

Having been assured that the police were on the way, and that the cook would be upset if we didn't carry on, we progressed with the second course.
While we were waiting for the third course, the cast came back in and wandered from table to table where we could question them about the events, rumours we'd heard, where they were, etc.
After the questioning, we filled in a form saying who we thought the murderer was, and had to give three reasons why.
At the end of the evening, they announced the top three tables in reverse order. And…
Yes, you guessed it…
We were the only ones who got all three clues correct!  Our cleverness was rewarded with a bottle of champagne.

The odd thing about the evening was that, although the evening was incredibly enjoyable when taking it at face value, a part of me was analysing the event from a writing point of view.  Studying the characters, the back story that they gradually revealed, the setting of the plot by announcing of the reading of the Will, etc.
Maybe that’s how we spotted the clues.  Maybe I'm barking mad!  Who knows.
And yes, these pictures are of Danson House where the meal was held.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Last lines Part 2

This is the second half of the last lines I edited during NaNoRevMo.

The details just said 'Professional Services' and totalled £15,000.

Sid waved the radio about.  "I'm going up to the edge to let the bomb squad know that we've found it, and what its layout is."

There was a knock on the door and a guard entered.  "Sorry to disturb you, but we've just got word that the plane with the girl on, has disappeared."

In his world of blinding light and agony, the darkness robbed him of his consciousness.

In his haste to get the job done, he'd forgotten he'd need a security card to give him acess to the other parts of the building.

His head turned sharply as an invisible punch landed on his jaw.  He sank to the floor, his eyes rolling up in their sockets.

"They are looking to ship us back home, but I've said that we all need a break, so I'll be driving us there.  It'll give us time to track down Maz's movements, and fix the mess that they've landed us in."

“Pleasant trip?”  The sarcastic voice gave T.D. a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach.  Mr. Large was driving.

Steve appeared in the dooray, quickly followed by Sid and Holly.

They think that the plane was probably hit by lightning.

Who knew what menial tasks they would be set once they went back to London.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Last lines

One of the fun things about NaNoRevMo was putting the last line edited.
Here are a few of the lines I finished on during the month:

The Crimson Hide were making a lot of headlines recently with their animal liberation activities, and this one looked like it was going to be the biggest one yet.

T.D. watched the little tendrils of electricity snaking over her unconscious body, before earthing into the floor, seconds later.

The key rattled in the door as he locked it, and then he disappeared.

He frowned at the contents.Initially, it looked like a wet suit, but on closer inspection, the material was wrong.

He waited for the guard to patrol to the far end of the gate, and using the drain pipe, scaled the gate in seconds, dropping silently onto the far side.

With a quick swipe of the stolen card, the magnetic door lock gave a muted 'thunk' as it released.  He was through to the main entrance hall of the Embassy.

"Get off me!  I'm innocent, someone set me up!"  He looked at Steve, searching his face for a hint that he knew T.D. was innocent.  "You gotta believe me, it wasn't me."

The smile returned.  "You too, huh?"

They cowered down low, winceing as the pieces of lead zipped past, close to their heads.

He flipped open the folder and pushed it towards T.D.

A car was already waiting for them at the bottom of the plane's steps.

"Go! Go! Go!"  Large crashed through the door, and the press of bodies behind him,surged fowards, making the most of the surprise raid.