A trip to the past

I've changed direction slightly in recent months, or rather, added a new direction to my writing. While I'm still writing my dual time novel, set in 1916 and 2016 (conveniently avoiding the Covid-19 pandemic!), I'm also editing a historical novel I began back in 2013.  There are a lot of eye openers when you go back, either to re-read or re-write something you wrote several years earlier.  If your journey as a writer has gone as you'd hoped and planned it would and the intervening years have been one of growth and experience, then the first thing that jumps out at you when reading earlier efforts are the weak spots in the story, the lack of character depth and often the immaturity of the writing. I saw all three when I looked over my 2013 partial manuscript, which was depressing at first, but reworking it now, I am also heartened by the improvement in my writing and the maturing of my voice over the last seven years. Having focused on contemporary novels over the last …

End of Chapter Three!

This is my favourite point in the writing process.  You've got the setting down, established and gotten to know the characters, and the conflict that is keeping them apart - and bringing them together - is hopefully paved and ripe for exploration.  And the chapters ahead is when the characters really start on their journey, discovering each other and themselves along the way to the happy ever after.

At least that's the theory!  So many times in the past, I've hit the saggy middle around about chapter five.  I'm the sort of writer who can't skip past blocks in the road but have to work through them before moving on, and I've often remained stuck in the middle for  far too long.  I participated in a  series of Facebook seminars in April, run by editorial coach Joanne Grant, and one of these sessions dealt with the saggy middle and offered some really useful tips on how to deal with this if it happens. So I'm hoping, this time, I won't  have to ;)

This cur…

A new book

In these days of Coronavirus, the support and camaraderie of friends and colleagues is invaluable, and I've been blessed with more than my fair share. I'm relatively lucky work-wise, being a freelancer who operates from home most of the time anyway, but my sympathies go out to those in less certain circumstances.

Writing is, of course, a very solo occupation but in these unsettled days, when people are dying daily and everyone's life is turned upside down, it has become almost a life-line. I've taken a lot of heart and encouragement from the emails of writing friends and the network of writers on social media sites like the RNA Facebook page. At times like this, social media really does what is is supposed to do - connecting people in a positive and healthy way by sharing stories that keep us optimistic and hopeful that this will be over sooner rather than later and that life - and writing - will be back to normal.

One of the positive things for me personally to come o…

Light and Dark

It is ironic, that with the lovely spring weather arriving at last, so does Covid-19.  And it's not just ironic but idiotic and incomprehensible that yesterday Snowdonia saw its highest recorded visitor figures ever!  Other tourists spots in Britain, like Cornwall and Scotland, and seafronts everywhere, are also being inundated by visitors, who haven't quite got the message it seems. Being stoic is one thing; but selfish and stupid quite another. Coronavirus is here, it's spreading and it's a killer, so stay at home people and help keep those who are less resilient among us safe!

Granted, self-isolation isn't much fun but there's nothing wrong with enjoying the sunshine in your own garden or taking a walk in your own neighbourhood, maintaining a safe distance, which I've just done today.  The sun does make things seem less dark, and seeing nature blooming all around is a reminder that life continues in its cycle. This pandemic will pass eventually and life …

New Decade, New Direction?

It was a lovely clear, crisp and sunny afternoon today in the Dyfi Valley, so I ventured out for a walk, following a part of the Wales coastal path.  The sun was warm on my back and there were hardly any people around, just the sounds of the waders and geese across the river on the RSPB wetlands of Ynys Hir.

I do love this time of year - at least when the weather is like it is today - because January heralds the start of a new year and all the possibilities that holds.  And 2020 is particularly significant as it is a new decade and a good opportunity to look back over, not just one year, but ten years and see how far we've come, or not!

Sitting here now, looking at a spectacular sunset, I am thinking a lot about my writing and how that has fared over the last decade. The rejections, of which there have been plenty; the 'almost theres', of which there have been some; the beginnings of books which, initially so promising, never got beyond three chapters; and the industry one…

'It's a Wonderful Life'

If you're lucky enough to live in Wales, you might have seen the recent production of 'Its a Wonderful Life' bySwansea-based Lighthouse Theatre Company that has been touring the country since November.  This wasn't a performance of the famous film, however, but a staged radio play.  The set was a 1940s radio studio and the cast were dressed in the everyday clothes the players would have worn when it was originally broadcast in 1947.  Two actors played George (with a remarkably authentic Jimmy Stewart accent!) and Mary, and the remaining four taking the other parts, one of them  doing all the sound effects as well. We, as the 'live' audience, were part of the production too, with a light coming on to tell us when to applaud and treated to intermittent 'live' adverts in between. It was an illuminating, brilliant and fabulously festive theatre experience which received - deservedly - a standing ovation at the end.  

All good wishes for a Merry Christmas  an…

Autumn in Meirionydd

Making the most of the sunny autumn weather today, I went for a stroll along the Mawddach trail in Dolgellau.   Crossing over the bridge, I was lucky enough to spot a heron sitting in a tree, though I couldn't get a close up with my phone camera, sadly.  It sat there for quite a while - on the biggish branch over the river - maybe soaking up the sun in between spotting for fish!

I really do love this time of year, when the heat and hurry of the summer is over and the bustle of Christmas yet to come. Everything around seems to be taking a rest and enjoying a period of calm, not least Mother Nature.

It was a lovely crisp, clear afternoon and the colours of the trees was stunning. In a month or two, their branches will all be bare and the sky not always so blue, but for now the landscape truly is a sight to behold.