Monday, 5 January 2015

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Goals for 2015



Do you set new year resolutions?

I normally do, but this year, I'm not.  I'm doing something different. I'm not going to make a list about things to achieve, instead I'm going to set a list of better habits and behaviours to work on.

In the past, my goals have never quite worked.
I stick with them, like most of us do for the first month or so but then come summer I'm not working toward them anymore and things have changed.
So, here are my better habits and behaviours that I'm working toward in 2015.

1. Be more positive
I don't quite know when it happened, but I've become quite a negative person.  Well no more!  This year I'm going to actively fight against those negative thoughts.
Someone described how to do this to me recently, the trick is to imagine thoughts like trains in a train station.  You see a negative thought train pull in, but it's not the one you want, so let it go. Acknowledge it's there then let it go.  Then a positive train thought comes along and you can get on it.  Ride with it.  Take that train.
So that's me in 2015, I'm all about the positive thought trains.

2. Aim big.
I think I already do this, but I don't do it as much as I could.  I want to really aim big, do stuff without fear, without being afraid of what people will think etc. etc.  I'm especially going to do this creatively.  I don't know if it's an age thing, but when I was a kid and much of my teens, I literally thought I could be anything and do anything.  Well, yep, I know I can't be a famous rock star or an actress, but I can do other stuff that I've been thinking I'm *whisper* too old to do now.  Nonsense.  I'm going to get into the habit of thinking I can do anything.

3. Better time management.
To many of my evenings are wasted faffing around on the internet, watching crappy reality television shows and generally just wasting time.  With the kids and my job I don't have much time to spare and sometimes, when I've put them to bed and I get a second wind, I fill that with crap.  Now, I'm not saying no to the crap all the time - who doesn't like TOWIE and a glass of wine?  But I am cutting down on it.  I'm not going to faff as much.  The trick to this is having a timer, I need to think about what I want to achieve that evening and spend fifteen minutes on each task.  I know that this makes me happier as well, as I love at the end of the day feeling like I've done something productive. So I've just ordered a timer and then, when I do have some time, I can split it between jobs I have to do without feeling overwhelmed and doing nothing.

That's me for 2015.  How about you?

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Writing about writing

So it would seem that my post yesterday was good.  Good for me.  Good that I kept thinking about my problems with what I was writing and how I could solve them.  It seems that the act of writing about what I'm writing is problem solving.

Yesterday after writing the post and putting the kiddos to bed, I looked over what I had written and thought about what was wrong with it.
How do you decide what scenes to give each character?
I looked at what I was happy with, the ones that I enjoyed reading and had clearly enjoyed writing.
All of them were filled with tension.
The character telling the story wasn't always the one who was in the thick of the action, but it was always the character who suffered the most stress from the said action.  The scenes here started as late as possible into the dilemma and ended quick.

There was one chapter in particular where I thought I'd done this.
I'd split the chapter between two of the characters, flitting between their points of view.  I thought this made the pace fast, but, I realised this was a trick!  The different voices were disguising the lack of pace and total non-action, no tension scene.
I got rid of it, rewrote it from just one of the characters and voila!  It's so much better.
And just by re-writing that chapter and focusing it on one character, the whole section I've written is falling into place.  Some scenes needs tightening up, and some of the dialogue needs work but I've solved it.  I'm much, much happier with it now.

So what I've learnt when writing from multiple points of view is this: think of the scene, think of how late you could start that scene, then think of who suffers most and that's the character to pick to write it.
Sounds easy, now if I can keep that up for the rest of the book I might be on to something.

Monday, 29 December 2014

Writing - point of view

I'm in the process of writing another book.

It's what I love to do when I have any spare time to myself. I'm on a Curtis Brown course at the moment and loving it, and so, I thought I'd blog about my progress with how my writing is going. Just so I know where I am at the moment and can mark any my achievements.
It's also nice to be able to write down what I'm struggling with in the writing process without having to watch and think about every word - because that's what blogs are for, aren't they?  I know some are all word perfect and a joy to read, but hey, this is my blog and it'll be without much filter or edits.  I do that enough when I'm trying to get words of fiction down on a page.

So this weeks major problem is point of view.

The book I'm working on is a thriller, told by three different people.  The main character is written in first person with the two other characters are in third person.  It's the first time I've tried to write anything like this and it's a challenge to say the least.
I'm struggling with how to split up the chapters - I start with the main character but am fumbling along on who should come next and who should tell what part of the plot.

My writing buddies tell me that there are no rules with this kind of thing.  You just have to go with what feels right, but the problem is that today I read through my first chunk of book and couldn't tell if it was right or not.  The pacing feels off somehow and I'm not sure why.  It could be because I'm too close to it - I know some writers take whole months off before reading what they've written but I can't work like that.  I have to split the book up.  Take it and edit it in chunks and the first chunk, well, I'm not best pleased with how it's going.

I honestly don't know whether to make all the characters in first person, but that's limiting.  And, I think, would be easier to write  - but I like the challenges I have at the moment.  So.  The problem must be in the way I'm delivering the plot through my characters, how I'm splitting the scenes up between them.
I know I hate it when I'm reading a book written in this way and I only like one of the characters.  I'm jumping ahead until that character comes back and I really don't want my book to be like that.
 
So, what to do?  I have a tutorial tomorrow where I'll run this past my tutor.  Perhaps there's an easy way to see where I've gone wrong, perhaps I just have to write more and then come back to it in a second draft. Perhaps it's not as bad as I think and I'm just having one of those days where I see problems everywhere.
Either way, I usually find the solution will present itself further down the line.  I'm just so impatient I want to sort it out now.

Anyone with any quick fixes on this kind of thing, feel free to leave a comment to put me out of my misery.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Pebble Art



I've been meaning to do this art project for some time.  Ever since we went to the beach in October for a holiday, I found these lovely pebbles on the beach.  I picked out a few and had an idea to create a piece of art from them, to remind us of our holiday there.



I got a memory frame, some hard backing card and set about seeing how I could make it work.  I ordered them in three different designs, knowing that I wanted four little figures set against the rocks.




After a family discussion, we all decided on the formation and this is the end result.  I'm so happy with it.


I'm planning on creating another - in fact I already have several requests!  So will have my proper camera then and will take some better pictures. All of these have been done on my phone and the flash is a real problem on it!

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Holiday Gift Guide

I've seen a lot of these holiday gift guides doing the rounds on the blogs so, here is mine.
This guide is based on things that I've totally loved this year and would recommend anyone getting.
If you're anything like me, then when people ask 'what do you want for Christmas' blank face ensues and shrug of the shoulders.
I am lucky in that I get wonderful presents, but if your loved ones are pestering you for ideas and need a definite item and you have no idea what to ask for then the list below is a good start.


1. I adore these name rings.  I think to have the names of people closest to you worn around your finger is both sentimental and stylish.

2. This Chamomile & Rosehip Calming Day Cream,  is something I have been meaning to try for ages.  It has great reviews and I'm always looking for a new moisturizer and this on my Christmas list this year so fingers crossed!

3. One of my best friends got me a book clutch for my birthday and it's one of my most beautiful possessions.  I adore it so much that I'm almost at the point of being afraid to use it just in case it gets damaged.

4. Earlier in the year I reviewed heat holders blankets and socks and I would totally recommend anyone to buy some. We have got so much use out of these both around the house and the blanket is always in my car should we need to stop and keep warm!

5. I could buy anything and everything from Anthopologie, and have spent many happy hours just browsing on their web site but this scarf is what I have my eye on at the moment.

6. When we were in New York I bought a Fedora Hat and it's been well used.  I'm not that confident a person at pulling of a hat, but some how this one I don't mind wearing.

Or if none of the above appeals, you could always ask for vouchers.  Not unimaginative high street vouchers but the homemade, unbuyable kind.  Like 'a whole day in a bookstore with money for lunch' or 'a massage and foot spa with a bottle of wine' anything that you would really love.  Mine would be babysitting vouchers.  An evening without the kiddos and time to spend with just me and my husband - they would be priceless!

Friday, 28 November 2014

Absent

Poor blog.
I forget I have this sometimes, well, what I actually mean is that I do remember that I own a blog, but I forget that in order to keep the blog going I have to post.

I make up all these great posts in my head (usually just before going to sleep) and then forget to post them.  You'd have loved them, if I'd ever got round to typing them out.

So anyway, I'm not going to make up a load of crappy excuses as to why I've been a bit lax over here. I have a job, two kids and I'm trying to write a book so y'know, I do my best.  But.  Things are looking up, I've just signed up to join a 'December Reflections' over with the wonderful Susanna Conway to tie up 2014 and 'close the year in style.'

Each day of December there is a photo prompt and I like the idea of that.  So hopefully, December will be jam packed full of posts.  But, don't hold your breath or anything. x

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