Friday, 29 May 2015

Bea Virulent

I have a problem creating characters with whom my female leads may fall in love. No man is perfect (sorry, guys) so I aim to introduce a few flaws to make him real. The trick is enough to add to the tension (will he change? should she forgive him?) against not enough (what’s holding her back? He’s gorgeous, nab him now!)

Here are just some of the reasons given for rejection. Some are rather harsh, virulent even.

we neither like nor trust Ben to the extent that we can’t stand him - he must see the error of his ways and change

Ted is an unsympathetic character - his begging for a second chance and saying he's had a change of heart doesn't ring true

the problem for us is that Dave sounds too pushy and tiresome

the stumbling block here is that Henry is so unpleasant - not an engaging character - his later climb down isn’t really convincing

Creating realistic characters isn’t easy. Do you have any hints as to how it should be done?

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Bea Unique

Writers are often advised to find their own ‘voice’, to write as only they can and not to imitate others.

As a regular contributor to the womag market that is not always easy. Constrained by editors’ guidelines, by the magazine’s ethos and house style, it is necessary to adjust one’s work to suit the target market.

Entering work for competitions enables more freedom although even that imposes restraints. It is essential to observe the rules and conditions and follow the theme (if one is given). Is it necessary to have regard to the judge’s known preferences? Maybe not. We belittle their literary skills if we stereotype them within a specific genre.

It is liberating to write without limiting factors. Sometimes I will write for no other purpose than freewriting, placing words on the page to see where they take me. And they do indeed take me on a journey to some strange and unexpected places. One such example is the 75 word challenge of Paragraph Planet.

On Monday 25 May 2015, for one day only, my latest piece will be on their site. If you are reading this blog on Bank Holiday Monday you can catch it here. (If you miss it on the day, it will be available on the archive after 1st June.)

And despite writing within guidelines and to competition specifications, over time we do each develop our own writing style, that which makes our work unique.

Monday, 18 May 2015

Bea Technophobic

I’m not so much afraid of computers as wary of them. They are mystical beings with powers I can barely comprehend. I suspect the piece of technology on which I am typing this blogpost has a brain the size of a planet. I belittle it by using it as nothing more than a typewriter. But a glorious one, which corrects my spelling and files away what I have written. And if I push the correct buttons my ramblings may be shared with the world.

I began blogging three months ago. It was a challenge but I got here. And I enjoy it.

The next step for me was to create a website. To do so from scratch required knowledge of a technical language which is as foreign to me as any spoken by the most remote tribe. So I have taken an easier solution and used WordPress. You can see my humble attempts here. 

Any hints or tips as to how you navigate the technical challenges of the modern workplace?

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Bea Sociable

Writing can be a lonely trade. We do have our characters to keep us company and amuse or amaze us with their exploits. Where did that come from? - I never planned for Suzie to storm out on her family. Who killed Archie? – that wasn’t in my mental draft. Sometimes they live so independently of the storyline I had so surely plotted that I almost believe they could be real.

But they’re not real. And in any event, so obsessed are they with their own lives they never take the time out to talk to me!

I’m not currently a member of a writing group or have a writing buddy. But I do value social media. I use Facebook for close interaction with a small circle of family, friends and newly found writer friends. Twitter opens up a much larger world. I like the brevity of the 140 character conversations, listening in to others, joining in a conversation that interests me, seeing what my fellow writers are up to.

But when I really want a chat about writing, I join a group of like-minded writers on Wednesday evenings between 8 – 9pm UK time. We meet online for a general natter, to share ideas, learn from each other and indulge in some light hearted banter. You can find us using the hashtag #writingchat.

Why not be sociable, pop along on a Wednesday evening and say hello?


Monday, 11 May 2015

Bea Ready

There’s nothing like a holiday to lighten the spirits and inspire the mind. I am back at my desk this morning after a week away camping in the Lake District, feeling refreshed and ready for action!

There is a reason why Cumbria has so many lakes. We experienced it as the winds blew with gusto, driving the rain against the tent walls and creating a moat around us through which the ducks enjoyed plodging. Even at its worst, there is something very comforting sitting under cover, nursing a cup of hot mulled wine, whilst displaying a true British stiff upper lip. I even managed to escape election fever, having registered a postal vote a few weeks earlier.

Where do I start? I’ve checked up on Facebook, Twitter and the blogs which I follow. Now for the hard part, trying to capture in words the stories that are racing through my head.

Do you find it difficult to knuckle down again after a few days away?