Thursday, 28 July 2011

Editing Hell And Inspiration

It's been a week since I last blogged! Terrible.

In my defence, I've been busy trying to edit The Wedding Favour, and pulling my hair out over chapter 1.

When do you stop editing? I worry that I could take stuff out and my voice is lost. I wanted to try and speed up the first chapter, yet I still felt I needed to give the reader a picture in their head. If I didn't explain they were in some cosy pub, would they be just picturing white space? Then there was background for James and Sophie. I've stripped a lot away - luckily James gets to talk to Adam now and tell the history better than it being narrated, so that worked. But some had to be kept, otherwise the reader would be thinking who the hell is Kate? (James' girlfriend... so he doesn't become a stereotypical gay best friend).

I'm now going through the rest of the manuscript and seem to be adding not taking away words.

Unlike Perfect Isn't An Option, where I've got a distinct picture in my head of who is playing Steve, I haven't got the same clear image for Adam.

When explaining 'sandy blond' to a friend, and she googled, Josh Holloway came up. But not the Josh who plays Sawyer, he needs to be a smarter (as in dress sense - not stuck on an island style), smoother character, with a very similar bone structure! So I'm going with Josh for now.  But being a bit of Dirk Benedict fan (if you haven't guessed that already) Adam did stem a little from Dirk, too.

Gosh, it's really hard work having these men buzzing around your head ... better get back to the editing.

I think this is something like my 96th post this year! Going to have to plan a 100th celebration, aren't I?

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Failed Challenge But Still A Success

Two days ago the May - You Write Your Novel challenge ended, and thus, in some ways I failed it. I didn't finish my novel, I certainly didn't get to 80,000 words.

I knew it was going to be difficult with a two week holiday slapped in the middle. But I returned to news about the RNA Conference, and was encouraged to get an editor appointment, and had to concentrate on editing The Wedding Favour.

Since returning from the RNA Conference, I haven't found my writing mojo for Perfect Isn't An Option. I've now decided to continue with the editing of The Wedding Favour, taking on board the editor's advise, and hope it will be ready for submitting to publishers/agents by the end of the summer.

Thinking of the things I learnt at the RNA Conference, about pitch etc. I am still unsure where this 'book' lies amongst others in Waterstones. Who would it sit next to in a book shop pile? For those that have read it, maybe some suggestions? I did read Katie Fforde's A Perfect Proposal and wondered if it was a little along her lines. Anyway, I'm going to continue to read different authors from different publishers in the hope I might find something.

And the success of May - You Write Your Novel ? It taught me something very important in all of this. I can write 1000 words a day.

It will be my aim, when I am not editing, to do so from now. I will need a reason - especially when both boys are in school next term - to sit down and write, and not procrastinate, and so will give myself a daily target. Perfect Isn't An Option will get finished!

I do worry about my writing. Is it too simple? Are my plots not original enough? And leaving a post with a sample of my writing, it's the first post in ages not to have any comments on. So now I wonder is my writing that bad? I thought they'd be great debate on how much people loved or hated skiing for one! It's here if you missed it.

Now must crack on with that editing ...

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Book Review: A Perfect Proposal by Katie Fforde

A Perfect ProposalA Perfect Proposal by Katie Fforde

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After seeing Katie Fforde at the RNA conference, and hearing her story about how she 'found' writing - and being able to relate to it - I really wanted to read one of her books. I'd bought this one ages ago, and so picked it up upon my return.

Katie Fforde has a wonderful, light style of writing that will give you the laugh out loud moments or the lump in the throat, keeping you reading. When her hero and heroine finally meet I never wanted to put the book down - only as usual, the kids needed feeding and real life wanted to get in the way. 

There is a nice level of sub-plot interwoven to keep these two characters' paths crossing, and other characters which help show Sophie's character and what she is about. It's a little Cinderella story, meeting her prince charming, and the (fairy) Grandmother.

There isn't any 'sex on the page' really, yet the chemistry between Luke and Sophie is spellbinding. I really liked the dialogue between these two; witty, charming and sharp.

I think Katie's style is similar to mine (although she's ten times better!) and so I am going to have to read more Katie Fforde books ... for research purposes of course!

Oh, what a shame.

View all my reviews

Friday, 15 July 2011

Thank Blog It's Friday!

Look at me! I've been blogging rather regularly this week, but it's Friday, and I've been at work, so can't quite get my writing mojo. I find writing a blog tends to help - so here I am!

I decided I'd share a piece from my Writers Bureau assignment actually. You guys, unless you've helped proof read The Wedding Favour and other bits and bobs, don't really see what I write. Okay, you probably have an idea of my voice through this blog - I do tend to write like I talk. No, no, not waffle!

Okay, well, yes, probably waffle.

Usually my assignments are articles, features  - or even short stories now that I'm doing the fiction part - I'm aiming to get published, and even paid for, so I don't like putting them on my blog.

I liked this assignment. I was given freedom to write without the constraints of having to research a market and write it for them. I was chuffed with my tutor's feedback, so maybe it showed in my writing how much I enjoyed this assignment.

There were three parts to it and the third part I had to select two of the six circumstances provided and write a descriptive piece for each of them (about 300-500 words each). I went for describing how you'd feel coming home to find it had been burgled, (I can always share this another day) and a viewpoint from someone who hated skiing and is there under protest.

I will share the skiing piece as it's my favourite. It comes from the heart, though I have never been skiing, there is a little bit of me there. It's around 340 words. Hopefully it's funny too. Tell me what you think, and I've got thick skinned - I'll take constructive criticism.

Oh and I decided to title each piece, and did so very quickly.

Things I Hate About You 

by Teresa Morgan

I absolutely, completely, and utterly hate skiing! I mean, I just hate it. I hate snow, the cold. I could be kitted out – for all I know – in the best bloody snowsuit on the Alps, but I still feel like I’m the Abominable Snowman. The only way I like ice is in my rum and coke. Or Frappes. Ice cold coffee for scorching hot days.

I’m someone who was born to sunbathe by a pool, in a very hot climate, sipping cool, thirst quenching drinks, relaxing with my nose in a book. When I get too hot, I dive in the pool, cool myself off, then get back on the sun bed and let the sun dry me. Sexy, dark, handsome waiters come around and top my drinks up. That’s the holiday I want!

Skiing is not relaxing, or even exhilarating. Not for me. They’re all nutters! Laughing, screaming and crying out with joy as they reach the bottom. 

I’ll need a bloody hot bath to thaw me out. This can’t be good for my bones, joints or skin. The sun is out admittedly, but I can hardly get my bikini on. My nose and cheeks feel dry, and I’ve had to put sun cream on. My eyes are watering. My head aches from breathing cold air, like I’ve eaten ice cream too fast. Ice cream! I hardly crave that here. 

And I’ve twisted my bloody ankle, and it won’t’ be long before I’ve broken my bloody leg! Or neck. Wouldn’t surprise me, my bones feel so brittle.

I hate heights too. Those ski lifts, are they even safe? That tiny piece of metal is supposed to support my weight. Seriously, I have to look up into the sky, and at the mountains, not down, not into the snowy slopes below, and cling on for dear life. It may look picturesque but the slightest jolt and I’m almost wearing my breakfast. This is not fun, it’s suicide.

When I get home, I’m booking two weeks in the Caribbean, just to get over this ordeal.

© Teresa Morgan

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Must Have Kitchen Gadgets For Women...

Today, as I was baking, I made a list of all the kitchen gadgets a modern woman needs, especially in aiding the cooking and baking to be done quicker so she can get on with writing.

Firstly, a woman needs a slow cooker (mine is a Crock Pot - you can start it off on the hob, or even put it in the oven). This way dinner can be cooking whilst you're writing, or rushing around after the kids.

You also need a Kenwood - especially if you're a keen baker because you just chuck it all in and it mixes! I have fond memories of my mum's Kenwood, and I invested in mine a couple of years ago and have not regretted paying the extra money for it.

Plus some decent scales and a recipe book holder are handy!

But most importantly, every good woman needs in the kitchen ...

... a sexy chef who goes around only wearing an apron.

::: sigh :::

Haven't got one of those yet! Damn it!

Monday, 11 July 2011

RNA Conference Virgin No More!

I'm coming down from my RNA Conference high!

It was my first conference, and I had this on my name badge so that everyone knew to be extra nice to me. But really, it didn't need to be there. Everyone I met were truly fabulous people. You knew you could sit yourself down and start chatting to anyone of them - well, that's what I did anyway!

The whole weekend, from start to finish, was amazing. I've met so many wonderful writers, and not taken nearly enough photographs! I've come home inspired, and a little overwhelmed.

This was my room. Having never been to university, I did feel like a fresher (is that what they're called?). I did turn the fridge off the second night because that kept me awake. I'm a woman who needs silence to sleep in! 

In the goody-bags were four free books, a large bar of Green and Blacks (yes, I'm now following!) and lots of other useful stuff. The Green and Blacks did get devoured rather quickly.

This is Vanessa Savage, who I buddied up with on Friday afternoon upon arriving. We swapped numbers and lived in the blocks next to one another, and agreed to meet for breakfast and the evenings, so that we knew we'd never have to enter a room alone. We'd send text messages like, "Ready whenever you are." Luckily, a lot of the workshops we were together in, too.

Vanessa is in the New Writers Scheme with the RNA, and has an agent. I wish her the best of luck with her book!

I was extremely fortunate to meet lots of published writers. But of my two favourites are Sue Moorcroft and Liz Fielding  - I tried not to act too stalkery around them!

Here's a lovely picture of Sue and I, as we managed to sit together for the Gala dinner. I had a wonderful time talking to Sue - thanks so much for putting up with me!

It's a bit pink, but I don't think my mobile phone helped, plus there was pink lighting.

Earlier that day, I'd sat in Liz Fielding's talk about humour and emotion. It was fascinating to see hear how Liz worked.

I've learnt so much from this whole conference my head will explode, and hoping that this can be delivered in my writing. I need to thank Jane Holland at Embrace for giving me ten minutes of her time, and showing me how to improve my first chapter of The Wedding Favour! I'll get working on that tonight.

Real special mentions to Morton Gray and Ellie Swoop - such a shame you could only come for the day. Next year, you'll have to weekend it - even if it is in Penrith! Really lovely to meet you and put faces to names at last.

And to name a few more mentions; Talli Roland, Mandy Baggot, Rachel Brimble and Alison Knight ... and so many, many more.

Oh and I never did get Rachel Lyndhurst to sign something for me.

You're all gorgeous, talented women - thank you for making my weekend special.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Only Two More Sleeps

I'm getting so excited now! And nervous.

I'll be meeting lots of writers, published and aspiring ones - like myself. I will be able to talk to these people freely about the voices in my head and they'll understand! They won't ship me off with men in white coats.

And the reason for the nerves? I've only ever met these people on the internet... and suddenly they're going to be real. Will they like me? Will I like them ? (Of course!) Or will I show myself up? (Please don't let me get drunk!)

I worry that maybe I'm not quite good enough to be there ... but there are workshops, I will be learning from the best - at least I'll improve my skill.

So, I've got my new dress for Gala dinner, and found shoes to match, and a bag. I've got extra essentials like coffee (bought the Kenco two in one sachets so don't have to worry about milk), green tea with lemon teabags, chocolate and a packet of Oreos (I'll let you know my room number for the midnight feasts), notebooks, pens, toothpaste, toothbrush and pyjamas! I'm actually almost packed.

As my kids would say, only two more sleeps ...

Yes, I'm going to the RNA conference! See you there.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Back On Track

Ruby's just told him he needs to cut his hair!
I sent off my second Writers Bureau fiction assignment tonight. Another one crossed off the list. Now I should be able to concentrate on finishing my novel, Perfect Isn't An Option. Whether I get it done by the 19th July for May - You Write Your Novel challenge is another thing.

The third assignment makes me think about my novel, so I will look forward to doing that. In fact I may start working on it before I even get feedback from the second assignment. It might help with bringing this story forward, and thinking about the characters more (as that's part of the assignment). I've hit a bit of a lull, though I know now what I want to happen, it's getting it to that place - if that makes any sense?

Thursday night is my second Wordsmiths Of Weston meeting - my real live writing group! Should be fun. Apparently we're celebrating a new member getting published. (Dreams it could be me one day). Going to take a long an article that I've written, a humorous piece, and hope that they might have some suggestions for it. Not burn it, I hope!

Well, I almost blundered with a previous blog post but I think I got away with it. I was thinking it was Wednesday today... but no, it's still Tuesday. I'll post it tomorrow now.

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Book Review: All That Mullarkey by Sue Moorcroft

All That MullarkeyAll That Mullarkey by Sue Moorcroft

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I've been meaning to pick up this book for ages, especially after reading Starting Over (and loving it) and learning a bit part of Ratty stars in this book. And I when I eventually did start reading, I didn't want to put it down! It really has page turning quality.

I can't quite give this book five stars, because although I loved Justin, (Sue has a marvellous way of making us love her heroes) he still wasn't quite Ratty in Starting Over (who is my all time fave at the moment).

So it's more 4 and a half stars really... because Justin is rather sexy.

I don't want to write spoilers, all I can say, there is a lovely sub plot to this story which does keep us guessing. There's true conflict between Justin and Cleo, things never really go their way. It's full of misunderstandings and things happening right at the wrong moment. Conflict! Conflict! Conflict!

Sue has a wonderful way of bringing in the real world, making the characters three dimensional in that sense. I really do enjoy her style of writing.

Thanks for another fab read!

View all my reviews

23 out of 40 books down! 7% ahead of schedule!

Friday, 1 July 2011

Night Off

After three hours of work I'm surprised that I turn into a useless, tired mess. Tonight I've just read (and now I'm updating my blog) and drunk pear cider! But deservedly so, because I've been scrutinising over my first three chapters of The Wedding Favour, and a synopsis for the past couple of weeks.

Well no more! Last night I sent it off to Jane Holland, the editor of Embrace Publishing, ready for my appointment next week at the RNA Conference. I'm not even opening the 'sent' email for fear of spotting some ludicrous typo or a comma out of place!

Steve's photo shoot with some glossy magazine
So now, what am I going to do? I need to get back into writing Perfect Isn't An Option. I'm missing Steve. (Is he missing me?) But first, I've decided to finish my 2nd fiction Writer's Bureau assignment. I'm on a tight schedule for the May - You Write Your Novel challenge, and to be honest, I'm not sure I'll get my novel finished by the 19th July... and it's been a while since I checked in with my tutor.

This weekend is likely to be a write-off. I'm rubbish; my writing suffers when I've been at work. A combination of up at the crack of dawn, on feet for 6 and a half hours, and a constant (fake) happy disposition in front of the customers (hence I hide in the freezer and swear my head off during the 'bake-off'), plus I go to bed earlier, giving me less of an evening! Unless you do it, I don't think you realise how physically tiring working in retail is. (Makes me grateful of my office days!)

A quality a writer needs amongst thick skin and a good imagination, is motivation.You need to self-motivate. It's easy, when one project finishes, to find yourself in a slum, and sometimes, even picking up an existing project feels daunting. I'll start reading through Perfect Isn't An Option. That'll get my fingers twitchy and my brain back onto Steve. Adam (The Wedding Favour) will be on a back burner for a while.

I'm starting to be more open about my writing. I was even talking to a customer at work today about being a writer. I get such a positive response, yet it's funny, I'm so reserved about it, I almost feel like I'm coming 'out'.