National Flash Fiction Day 2013

June 22nd, 2013

It is National Flash Fiction Day – I am not performing or anything unlike last year but I am going to see my friend Dan Holloway perform in Bristol :) Lots of ebooks and things are being given away so I thought I would join in with 24 hours of The Doomsday Collection being downloadable for free – just click on the book cover below. It is a series of flash fictions, short stories, novelettes and poetry. There is a mix of styles in there some of which are quiet dark just to warn you!

The Doomsday Collection

Prometheus

April 15th, 2013

I watched the film Prometheus last night for the first time and it made me want to re-write the script so that it gelled more with the archeology of the predator verses alien story and to make the science and social aspects work.

I loved the visuals of the film and was quiet happy to watch it to the end and am excited to here there will be more of them but please let the science be better!

In general I am finding that people do not know who to ask let alone what to ask with scifiction writing – I think science communication could greatly be improved by having some sort of way for writers to easily contact experts or generic scientists. I know a few mailing lists have been started along these lines but haven’t heard anything for awhile.

On top of this I read an article saying that writers didn’t need to know science to write science fiction as it could focus on the social stuff etc… well the thing is the world still has to hold together and yes you can just have the ‘science fiction’ as back ground but you should still understand at least the basic – and I mean the basics – the concepts at the very least. For writers it is the concepts that matter.

I wonder what would be said if historical novelists were told they didn’t need to know anything about the time period their novel is set in?

Anyway I have been using a policy of don’t moan about something you aren’t going to do anything about – now I am not going to write a better script for the alien world what I am going to do however is work steadily on my Punk novels and comic books and yes film scripts. I have already learnt so much from creating my own comic book script – some which has shown me why certain tropes/cliches etc… appear in the first place.

Taken from my blog writing blog Red Monster.

Neil Gaiman Wants Us All To Make Art :)

February 21st, 2013

Neil Gaiman the author of Sandman, Coraline, Stardust and many other things has been writing away and now he wants US to create the art to go with the stories :)

The stories are for A Calendar of Tales and is charity project with BlackBerry. Initially he put out twelve questions on twitter which many (including myself) answered. He then picked some and has written the stories. They avalible to read.

I’ve already entered a picture for Jan Tales on the BlackBerry site here, my husband picked out which on was mine straight away!

I tweeted that I had pressed the submit button before chickening out and got a WELL DONE back from Neil which made me smile. I had in fact been unable to pick up my drawing things this year so far and this project gave me the book up the bum I needed to get started again. I am planning to enter an image for February now :)

I am once again roping other people into this – from the Gloucestershire Scif, Horror and Fantasy Group, to another writing mum :)

The joy of such a project is that though my image is unlikely to be picked it doesn’t matter – I feel included and the adventure becomes shared – I own part of it. The collective hive mind of social media made it, though Neil has put in a hell of a lot obviously – he is the funnel for the creatings :)

Also I often create stuff and then forget or worry about it too much to actually get around to submitting. This year I have so far submitted a grand total of 3 things and done two talks.

But I am feeling more positive now and have a short story to re-write hopefully for the Bristol Short Stories.

Global Community Creativity :)

February 19th, 2013

I love writing challenges and things like #FridayFlash and #StoryStarters on Twitter where there is an open community helping each other and giving writing prompts. So imagine my excitement when Neil Gaiman appeared on Twitter wanting prompts and inspiration for a set of stories!

He tweeted a question for each month with the hash tags #JanTales, FebTales and so on. I tried to stay up (he’s in the US so time difference) to get all the months but only made it to July though the next morning I retraced and answered the remaining questions just for my own piece of mind.

I doubt any of my mine will be selected but that doesn’t matter because if they are not then I have some prompts for my own writing.

The idea is sponsored by [BlackBerry who have been collecting all the tweets on a hub. And there will be charity calendar produced with crowd sourced art works as well (and yes I am hoping to do some pics for that to enter!).

This is a lovely idea as it draws in people and becomes something more than a story collection – it is in truth already a community – I have picked up one follower who was having issues with his writing prompt generator and I have suggested improvements to it and so on…

Anyway here are the questions and my answers:

Why is January so dangerous?

January is a time of change, the door way between one year and the next, a dangerous edge time #jantales

What is the strangest this to happen to you in February?

The strangest thing that has happened to me in Feb is I passed out in an art gallery & came round staring at a picture #febtale

What historical figure does March remind you of?

Queen Elizabeth the first as it was the first time I heard the legend of the Bisley Boy #Martale

What is your happiest memory of April

my little brother being born after so much waiting – that is the happiest April memory #AprTale

What is the weirdest gift you’ve ever been given in May?

A shovel over breakfast of a baby stoat in 3 pieces by an eccentric ancient aunt who thought we’d find it interesting. #MayTale

Where would you spend a perfect June?

The perfect June is spent with my family running workshops at festivals #Juntale not very interesting

What is the most unusual thing you have ever seen in July?

segway shopping basket grannies fighting and asking for gin – it was of course the stilt walkers latest get up #JulTale

If August could speak, what would it say?

My gown is covered in berries help me clean them up in time for a new golden gown of leaves #AugTale

Tell me something you lost in September that meant a lot to you.

A friend washed away in a flash flood whilst he was collecting soil samples in a small town near my home #SeptTale

What mythical creature would you like to meet in October? (&why?)

The Bunyip because when I was 4 my Australian aunts told me about it and I’ve always liked the stories #OctTale

What would you burn in November, if you could?

Hatred #NovTale

Who would you like to see again in December?

Too many people who I can’t

Muse Monster Cards

February 14th, 2013

Years ago now I made a little game up to help inspire writers which I would take along to meetings. The first ones were hand made and coloured in, then I cut shapes from cards and glued them together for mark two and then I made a digital version and got a set printed with moo…

Since then I have made a large version which I take to festivals and kid’s workshops and so on.

Now as part of World Poetry Writing Month a couple of packs of the cards are being given away. All you need to do is make a comment in on the WoPo site here.

The cards are not yet for sale so this is probably your only chance to get a copy for a while yet and I know some of you have been waiting for them to be launched :)

No Strings Attached Poetry Booklet

February 11th, 2013

No Strings attached

I made some visual poetry booklets out of card, pen, and old writing magazines. This lead to a fun discovery of using someone I know’s story title as part of it :)

Vispo booklet

The idea of these little booklets is that they can be a piece of art by themselves or act as writing prompts and as such I am sending them to other writers I know :)

Writer’s Retreat II

February 10th, 2013

Ruskin's Mill

Today I went to my second one day writer’s retreat – this time at Ruskin Mill near Nailsworth. It was organised by the same people Writing Space Stroud and was once again lovely.

It was raining and I currently do not have a camera which is why there are not a hundred photos of chickens with feather flares and light sculptures on the water.

This time it was £30 instead of £20 but included a yummy lunch in the cafe.

I met more writers and had great conversations over tea and cake and lunch between mad sprees of writing. I got 9000 words of The Awakening written today which is amazing even if it does mean the novel is going to be much longer than I was expecting :/

I will finish off the last 1000 words before bed to round it up to 10K.

Trying to Write that Novel

February 9th, 2013

I started a trilogy back in October, initially for GothNoWriMo and then the second book in November. I really want to get it finished – not that it is anything I can send of to traditional publishers as I posted the raw writing as it was happening on various blogs. But I still want to get it finished and edited.

The other issue with it is that it is part of my Punk universe and I’m a bit vary of saying anything within that is finished until I’ve finished the whole lot.

The trilogy is not about the Punk but sort of about her brother and the guy who looked after them but not really. The main character is paleontologist turned cop.

The whole world of the punk is nagging at me, I have two different lots of graphic novels I want to write for it, I’ve written several short stories a miriade of flash fictions and a film script. There are currently 5-8 sort of but not really finished novels about the Punk and I have the over all story arch for the two series sorted.

I am disappearing off today to write some more for The Awakening the first of the Godex books – it is not a complete story as it stands. It is infact just all action and the story piece meal where I was just writing to get it all down on paper. I really want it finished though!

So I am spending this afternoon at Centre Arts in Cheltenham at the Arts Cafe where I will write and then tomorrow I am going to a one day writing retreat run by Writing Space in Stroud. The last one of these I went on I managed to get 10, 000 words written in one day so am hopeful.

I have spent my spare time since October began researching certain aspects of the story line and of the Punk’s World in general. This has ranged from cryptography, to human origins to Minoan civilization to sound waves and physiology.

Some things need to be altered and somethings I got right by fluke. Either way I am determined to get this novel finished. I actually think the world is well enough formed that I could risk releasing the trilogy as and when it is edited into shape. Don’t get too excited yet though – I have a lot to do – I am on re-write mode and there will be 2-5 of those followed by basic proof reading and then editing and that is before we get into the whole publishing side of things.

But I am to a certain extent trying to not to worry about this stuff and just concentrate on trying to write my novels. One of the things I’ve noticed in the last few years is that the more successful I have become the less time for writing I have had or rather novel writing.

I am trying to do a bit everyday of novel writing but it is hard especially when I have so much other writing that needs doing and dodgy hands and health. I struggled to put a mean 1K down on the laptop last night.

But having said that I am writing a hell of a lot at the moment – copy for websites, poems, Flash Fiction, short stories, not so short stories, craft instructions, cooking instructions, applications for festivals, submission letters, emails to organise stuff, editing already written stuff, essays on political, scientific and historical stuff and so on… not too mention my art and craft stuff and running workshops.

Novels are easy to put on one side but they are also the projects that take the longest time so that is detrimental. I’ve realised that for the last few years I have only written my novels during the Oct where I ramp up, Nov where I go mad for Novel Writing Month and then Dec where I trail off again.

I am determined to not do this anymore – I want to steadily work on the novels. Of course once they are written there is the editing aspect which is equally scary.

Submitting a Poetry Collection

February 7th, 2013

I have decided to try and put together a collection of poetry to submit to start submitting. It will contain my environmental poems, nature poems and where we fit in to the world poems. I am currently pondering the title Gia as in Gaea or Gaia. A mix of Earth Mother, Mother Nature and holistic balance of earth systems.

I have no idea if it will get published but I reason that if it does not then I have made a big step towards being able to then self publish it.

Poetry publication is not exactly easy as there are a lot of poets and very few publication spaces within traditional publishing and even if it is published I am looking at 100’s to 1000’s of sales rather than the big time of fiction publication.

Neil Gaiman KeepMoving

February 6th, 2013

On twitter Neil Gaiman with the help of BlackBerry has decided to do some crowd sourced art type thing. The idea being that he will write a set of short stories – one for each month. These stories are inspired by the responses he has gotten from twitter followers, to a series of questions he posted under the KeepMoving hash tag.

I love writing stimuli and exercises and prompts and so I stayed up late to take part in this challenge. I got as far as July and then it really was time for sleep here in the UK. The next morning I got up and completed the months. I would love for one of mine to be picked but if they are not then I will simple write my own set of stories form them.

Once he has written the stories he will be looking to do something similar with the artwork with the idea of turning the project into a calendar to sell for charity – of course I am going to try and enter something for that stage of it too :)

This is a wonderful creative way of using twitter too which I just love!