This happened to me the other day…

First of all I was just having a little ride on this small white Fell pony who I take out once a week. Now I was having a little bit of fun, just trotting around, jump a little pole here. Danno (the pony, not some random man) decides he’s a bit excited and does a little bucking which is fine y’know because he does that quite a lot. I shout at him, give him a hearty kick to tell him off and then he gets a bit worse, twisting and turning until finally he stands stock still, his mind still working out what to do to get me off and suddenly he’s got it……

He REARS.

So in short, Sunday was a rather interesting ride, once dismounted (no I did not fall off whoever assumed that I did, honestly I only lost a stirrup but decided once he’d touched the floor again that I’d rather not get chucked off) I promptly shook with adrenaline and then had the most absolutely wonderful high, because I had sat my very first rear, not fallen off and wanted to get back on and ride again.

It is experiences like that, that give us as writer’s the ability to convey something others have not felt, seen nor heard. We can express the thrills we have felt in life along with the sorrows, events that none have experienced in the way that we have – suddenly being slightly different or completely odd doesn’t seem such a bad thing. Thanks to time and a bit of Jane Austen‘s wisdom:

‘(I am) not at all in a humour to write; I must write on till I am.’

I have written twenty pages by hand since I last updated this, from those twenty pages I was pleased with one sentence –

‘She smiled sweetly at Highsmith in the sickening way that lovers do when they are in their first throes of the affliction.’

What is the best sentence you have written this week? Last week? Last month?

 

In full swing.

Now that the New Year feels more like it is in full swing I thought I would blog again as, despite the fact I used to find blogging exceedingly difficult, I quite enjoy it now. (That is not to say it has become any easier… And please feel free to skim read as this is in inordinately long blog).

It has been most enjoyable watching the weather do it’s interesting (and frustrating) English thing. Today as I look out my window however I have remembered quite suddenly why I love England so.

The sky is the most brilliantly deep blue, something it hasn’t been in weeks thanks to the overcastness of this country, the clouds are puffs and almost white with only tinges of grey, I can see birds swooping and wheeling and playing together on the air currents and I think that if I had not been outside in the cold this morning I might actually believe it was a summer’s day if I only had my window’s view to go by.

I decided to write this blog as I wished to post a line from Miss. Rotherham, the new story I’m working on. I have written a little more but I suppose many of you have found that when you write occasionally you lose the glow of it and have to write a few dry scenes to get to the next. These ‘dry scenes’ are best left to deal with themselves until the first revision I find but that does not make it any less frustrating when all you want to do is write well.

I have just thought that maybe it would be good to list a few tips that help me when I’m in a ‘dry spell’ of writing:

1. Go for a long walk (or the equivalent thing which you do that clears your head) I find there is nothing like walking through the beauty of the countryside to inspire one. Either try and figure out the problem with you story line or just put it out of your head while you enjoy yourself.

2. MIND MAP IT! Go out, get a white board and markers and just jot down every idea that comes into you head and connect it into a storyline – sometimes I don’t even end up writing the story the I’ve plotted but it just helps to generate a flow of ideas.

3. SIT DOWN AT YOU LAP TOP AND GET THE HELL ON WITH IT – Sometimes if you’re like me (in fact this is what I’m doing right now) You will procrastinate saying, ‘I really want to write.’ when you are doing other things but when it actually comes to sitting down and putting pen to paper you are lazy. This is me verbally kicking your butt – get on and write! Sometimes you have to throw a lot of rubbish down on paper until you can draw out the good stuff, perservere and when you’ve got something good discard the rubbish like a harvester discards the chaff.

These are all the tips I can think of right now and to be honest I need to take a few bits of my advice on board myself (Ridiculous I know…).

Here is a new section of Miss. Rotherham for you to read (If you’re not up to speed with the story see

As Christmas nears… « One Ridiculous Author.)

‘It did not really hurt when Julia’s side finally found the ground. The grass, being still damp, moved as her body impacted it, the topsoil slid away and the dirt beneath smeared across her skirts. Lucy would have her head once she saw the stained gown.

It was not until the second bump that she actually hurt anything. With the speed at which she had fallen from the horse, her body turned before it hit the ground again and she landed awkwardly on her right arm. There was a searing pain as the shoulder socket grated, she blinked and a light flashed across her vision obscuring it. She resorted to listening, she heard the muffled beats of scattering hooves and faintly in the distance there was yelling of men. She felt the cold damp of earth upon her cheeks, the pungent smell creeping up her nostrils.

Somewhere above her, “Miss. Rotherham! Miss. Rotherham.” The sounds of a loose horse. She could hear Peter Highsmith near her. He was bent over her his blurred form before her unfocused eyes. She felt his mouth close to her ear,

“That was a little more dramatic than I intended Julia dear, you looked like you actually hurt yourself.”

She chuckled a little while her eyes took on the strain of refocusing. She tried to sit up but failed as the thumping in her head took on a new intensity.

“Is she alright?” She could hear a deeper voice, it was familiar but she could not place it at this moment. Heavy foot falls accompanied the voice and soon she could feel the presence of whoever it was beside her.

Wolversely shoved Highsmith to the side and took a hold of Julia’s arm. His eyes were on her face, waiting for hers to open. “She may have broken something she landed heavily on this arm” He felt the limb satisfying himself that it was still intact before relaxing his hold.

“Where is Peter gone?” Julia could not focus her mind, her only feeling the confusion of where her friend had gone. The person she opened her eyes to see had a dark face, almost obscured by the wide brim of his hat, again there was the familiarity. Her eyes screwed up with concentration trying to untangle the mess of jostled thoughts that all tried to reach for her attention.

With a grim look on his face Wolversely relinquished his hold on Julia’s arm and moved back, begrudgingly allowing Highsmith to take over.

“Oh yes I believe that worked like a charm you sly damsel of distress, he is most put out.” Highsmith smiled down at her.

“Superb.” She said in a faint voice.’

It would be grand if someone could give me feed back on this passage is I’m no totally happy with it, thoughts?

Until next time…

The dawn of a new time…

I feel as zesty as a lemon as the New Year comes into existence.

After a Christmas with my family and friends, and a New Year in Boston America, I feel not much revived as I have been ill for the most part with a varying amount of ailments, but still I smile (though not in a boastful way). I am on the mend and as I come back and place my laptop on my…lap once again and feel my trusty machine’s keys under my sensitive fingertips I am excited.

I took a break from writing of the holidays because of my illness and because I thought it would be a good thing to have a break. It can be quite a good idea FYI for writers to take a break and not allow oneself to write even if one wants to. This way I find you get ideas and you get stoked about what you will write when once again you can, it allows the creative juices not just to flow, but to simmer for a while beneath the surface before you pick the best ideas out to write. (That is the writing tip in this blog by the way if you didn’t catch that…)

Anyway, I am planning this year, sort of in a resolutiony way, to:

1. Spend more time with God and reading the bible but most of all praying.

2. To write more, to write funny and to write heart breakingly wonderful things (well that’s the plan).

3. To not stress about things (Still training myself to understand that not everything needs doing all the time and I can actually sit down and not thing ‘must do this, must do that’)

Aside from these things I wish to achieve I would just love to wish y’all a HAPPY NEW YEAR!

And to say thanks for the read, it really is much appreciated.

p.s. My new character is called Miss. Rotherham and is about to enter into a plot that involves making her old love jealous – more to follow including high speed horse chases…mmmm….interesting.

p.p.s. And a little thought about characters and love from Jane Austen herself –

‘How little of permanent happiness could belong to a couple who were only brought together because their passions were stronger than their virtue.’

As Christmas nears…

As Christmas nears so does a time of being together, enjoying jokes, glowing fires and christmas tipples.

Unfortunately thanks to the snow (which I am still loving) me and my husband’s flights to America have been cancelled and rebooked so it seem we shall not be spending Christmas with the in-laws in Boston.

The one plus to this (along with the many negatives) is the fact that I have been at my parents home and been able to do some writing. Letty is officially finished as far as I can complete it anyway. I completed the second revision today and felt a slight weight off my shoulders and also a joy as I embark upon my next story.

As I described to my friend who is almost, I think, my temper when it comes to all thinks historical and accurate, my next story is going to be a ‘Rollicking Regency Romance.’ I feel this difference to Letty as almost a growth in my author shoes, stretching out into a slightly different genre. Letty was a very reflective and sometimes emotionally intense novel and I feel that although I wish to portray the same emotional intensity in this next story I also wish to create a lighter feeling and more of a comic edge to be enjoyed.

My main character is different to Letty in the fact she is far more outspoken and thanks to her previous relationship with the hero she is on more than familiar terms with him. Here is a small snippet to give you an idea:

‘ “My dear Miss. Rotherham, might I have this dance?” Lucius’ voice sounded monotone even to his own ears. He bowed low before the lady, trying to gain her hand to kiss but failing.

“No!” She pulled her hand away further; now it was totally out of reach, “Please stop being so ridiculous.” And promptly turned to top up her punch. Perhaps she should have stopped at her fourth glass but it was so fortifying for situations such as these.

“I am not being ridiculous!” He protested chuckling smoothly and allowing his lazy eyes to bestow upon her a condescending look. He was beneath his perfectly preserved surface a tad ruffled however, perhaps by gones were not quite by gones, “I simply wish to dance with you.” He tried to recover a little ground.

“No, now do not lie to me my Lord, you have clearly succumbed to propriety’s demand for you to partner me.”

“Very well, you see through my manners. We have not spoken for these three years, may I at least procure from you a little conversation?” He was flogging a dead horse.

“Must you?” Her voice was taking on an irritated tone.

“Well…” Now she was simply being rude. He saw how it was; her mood had changed so drastically from a moment ago thanks to a lack of parental supervision. Perhaps if he charmed her, “I simply wish to converse with a beautiful woman.”

“Sir,” She turned to face him, and suddenly she was no longer the schoolgirl he had seen when last they met, “Do me both the courtesy and the honor to cease the flattery you are smothering upon me. I am no beauty, even in my bloom I was not as well you will remember. Nor have I ever claimed your friendship. Enjoy the ball, there are plenty of pretty faces for you to admire and maybe even converse with.” She let the corner of her mouth pull upwards in a kind of satisfied smile, but her eyes did not see the joke. ‘

Hopefully you can see that she is automtically a strong heroine though this is not always a good thing during her story. In fact despite her confidence she was once a shy youth but has grown into this personality after having her heart broken by Lucius previously.

This reminds me of a tip I have for plotting a story. When you are going through the arduous task of taking a firey idea in your head and forming it into a complex plot line involving various characters, their relationships and the events which then form their lives, it can be very hard.

My Christmas tip for that (yes that’s right, despite the fact the tip is not christmassy it is near christmas and any excuse eh?) is to create a play list on whatever music software you have or even just make a mixed tape/CD of the music that inspires you and helps you to get excited about what you’re going to write.

For instance I was writing a set of short stories set on a ranch in Tennessee and I listened to Country music loads because that’s what got me in the right mood to write (And plus I learned a lot about the West from the music!).

 

So top tip for Christmas holiday writing – a playlist of you story.

 

And also just an after thought, seeing as it is regularly snowing at the moment there is no better time to write that winter or snowy scene that you’ve got coming up in your story. Even if you don’t write out the whole scene with the dialogue etc, when you have the weather and countryside right in front of you – describe it there and then – write it down, because you will not feel the same way you do about the bitter cold and the pure whiteness of the snow and the dormant landscape as you do when you are walking through it or looking at the snow falling through you kitchen window.


Second revisions

I was ever so close to starting to revise an old story of mine I’ve written. I read the whole thing, started making notes and even revised the first two chapters before I gave up and went back to Letty.

I feel guilt pangs over this, but then I think to myself, if I still have Letty buzzing so happily around in my head then perhaps this is one of those, ‘strike while the iron’s hot’ things.

I have started revising the first chapter. This time the mission is ‘correct spelling and punctuation and if there are any gaps add about 15,000 words’ (I say this all very easily, knowing how much work I am actually talking about…

The only thing that worries, is the word count uppage, but I think it will probably spread quite easily over the book…..she hopes.

It is so funny in a way because I avoided revising my stories for ages until a good friend gave me a verbal kick up the bum and told me to get over it or I will never get published. I then did my first full revision and man does your story change! And not in a bad way where you lose anything, the best way to describe it is that it is like your storyline and especially your characters go from being 2d to 3d.

You create real people not just characters in you imagination.

So I am excited to see what will happen in the second revision. I have already added so that is good and I have also found bits of writing that I have said in my head, ‘Oh I didn’t realise I wrote that….cool.’ (obviously I have the opposite when I go…OH MY WORD PRESS DELETE!)

‘The moonlight was firmly in control of the rugged landscape outside the small window when she

finally drifted off. The large winged armchair in her husband’s room had become her home in the past

week of his illness. The heavy woollen blanket, which was now draped across her unconscious frame,

had become the roof over her head.’

This is being changed a bit, but still, I enjoy it. Reading through I realised the other bits you really have to read it all to appreciate (she says assuming her work is any good).

Anyway, does anyone have any good routines for second revisions? Or better an methods?

Beauty

I am planning to rant about the degrading of the word beauty and all that entails it, but I will not do so today as I have little time – I shall save up my anger and frustration and put it into a page probably so I can rant about it for a long enough.

Anyway, something to look forward to and hopefully agree with me on in an anger that in reality is futile and will do little to help the situation….coming soon…..

385 words

‘      To be back in the freedom of the countryside was at least some comfort. It was not the ferocious beauty of the end of the country, but to even have entered the border of the West Country was lavender water to a burning brow.

If Letty tried to explain the overwhelming emotions that were rioting around her mind, it was like a scientist, explaining advanced physics to a child. The sea breeze billowed about her dress. It rouged those cheeks with an angry red independence. Her hands became a chapped pink, the skin dried by resentful winds.

It seemed too long since a solitary walk. Trees were struggling to bud while Winter seemed, today, to be making a last-charge, attempting to halt its nemesis, Spring’s, advance. It was easy, as the wild coastline came into sight, for her to forget everything. She would not dwell in a cave of self-pity. Clarissa was living proof that, that particular method of dealing with disaster did nothing. Tears were no currency for a debt-collector, and how could you sign away family silver to a tradesman when your hand quaked from sobbing?      ‘

 

‘Letty’  – – chapter 10

 

I hope you enjoy this small passage from my most recently written book (that is of course if someone actually reads this.)

 

I do not want to write too much, as a clever man told me today; you only want a blog to be 200-300 words as no one wants to read anymore unless it is undeniably riveting. So I shall not go on much longer only as much as to say, I am a writer (in my head at least if not published), very ridiculous in many senses – the most potent is my clumsy nature;

 

(My husband to be at the time once told me

‘Philippa, you are clumsy’

I reply,

‘NO I’M NOT!’ and try to storm off in a huff – encountering both a small coffee table with my shin and the marble counter of the kitchen side with my hip…)

I would love to be published and am pursuing that as well as writing or doing something related to that far too regularly.

Now I have come to the point where I am beginning to feel self-obssessed talking about myself too much, so I will end by saying

 

‘DAMN IT!’ ……385 words…..