Poets Work

February 4th, 2013

Poets Work

Saturday I went into Cheltenham to meet friends and write and what have you. It was great to see my friend Andy again who I orginally met at a writing group in Cheltenham back before my house was flooded in 2007!

The postcards and stickers of my art work arrived form moo so I gave him some one of each which he seemed really happy about :) He also told me I should be selling them.

Somehow three hours disappeared in the blink of an eye.

Then I went on to Centre Arts who are running an Arts Cafe on Saturday afternoons.
I had a cup of coffee and proceeded to write several poems inspired by the artwork, I also got to talk to artists who go there to draw.

I finished the day off by sorted out my poetry mug – I love this cupcake tea cupe :)

It may not sound like work but with the aememia acting up (an me passing out!) it was very exhausting but it was definately worth it. I’d been in on Tuesday as well to watch a talk about The European History of Warewolves which was interesting by (Deborah Hyde)[http://www.jourdemayne.com/about-jourdemayne].

It was a narrowed down talk so covered a later bit of history than what I have been researching lately. However it did tie in with the time period of the first Punk storyline and I’d very much want to add in the warewolf, witch and vampire myths on top but within the context of actual history, science and the storyline itself. Well that was really the point of going!

From a writing point of view Tuesday was a very productive day – I spent it trying to get an overview of Europe from the fall of the Roman Empire to the Tudor period but completely side tracked myself in disease history (as you do!).

This was all whilst cuddling my baby who was in one of her slightly grumpy ‘I am teething’ moods and so wouldn’t be put down.

After the warewolf talk, I wrote a horror story based on real accounts of the Black Death – I should have been sleeping but had brain over load!

I freaked myself out slightly and ended up having to wake my husband up – this is a good sign though – I feel my best horror stuff is written in this way – though poor Al was not amused!

I have a story idea that came out of the talk too but it is very disturbing so can’t face writing it yet. It maybe shelved until GothNoWriMo or something.

The talk was good in another way though – I realised as I miss people who think and know stuff. I was sitting there and some makes a comment about us and chimpanzees and I know it’s wrong and before I can say anything someone else corrects the guy! It just sort of felt like uni again and I have always really missed that atmosphere.

Writing wise this month is being hectic with me running WoPoWriMo too and I really want to donate some more poems to charity cause – one for the disabled and their fight at the moment and some for Freedom – a book shop that was fire bombed in London on Friday.

So I am chugging along with the work thing – never as fast as I want but little bits will build-up.

WoPoWriMo 2013

February 1st, 2013

t is the first of February and that means only one thing! That’s right another one of my mad writing challenges!

This time it is poetry.

The objective is to write a poem a day for the whole of Feb. It is called WoPoWriMo and I am also looking after the website and stuff this year for it.

As with NaNoWriMo I have roped in my family – so far I have Alaric, Mum, Dad and Jean doing it.

I have had emails from several poets already who do not wish to sign up but are going to be using the exercises to help them get going with writing again which is fantastic!

I myself plan to take part in the challenge also! Which I will be writing about on Turquoise Monster, I will find out were Al is posting his. Many people are posting there’s to linkedIn and to the WoPoWriMo site itself under the poems tab.

There will be blog alteration later today to put up web-badges and what not! In the mean time I’d best get on with actually doing some writing!

Aspiring to be Creative…

January 31st, 2013

I have been working my way through the Writers and Artists Yearbook mainly lamenting that I am just not set up to be a conventional author – something we already knew. I’m too generalist, I am never going to settle for an area or one specific genre.

I think perhaps the closest I could get is saying that I am a blogger!

But one of the things that is starting to bug me with the book, if not with life in general, is this idea that we can’t aspire to be creative. The main examples are Sheakespare and Neil Gaiman in the book. Neil apparently gets away with it as he is a genius and the same goes for old Will but that ‘we’ are not.

Well I’m sorry but ‘we’ or at least me are that creative. I never knew I wasn’t supposed to be, I am by nature as I mention frequently A Jack of All Trades and I pride myself on picking up these new skills and trying new ways of doing things. I also get bored and projects stagnate if I don’t do this (this does not mean I have to start lots of new projects though – before I realised what was happening this was the tendency).

To me Jacks are not less good than Masters – never ever and their works can be outstanding. But they don’t sit in a rut, lay back and enjoy the easy way, they get on and find the next thing that is needed or interesting.

First off lets take Sheakspeare – he was a good imaginative writer and was represented to me at school as someone to emulate now for me what I saw was a guy who made his money by writing the equivalent of Eastenders most of the time with a bit of Dr Who thrown in. But he also worked on other things because of rich people liking him and a good fertile idea brain that could come up with new stuff.

He was a cross genre specialist; romance, horror, tragedy, comedy, fantasy, stories within stories, complex story arcs and sub plots galore and sometimes all in the same story. Of course I didn’t know what any of this was called as a teenager it was all just ‘books’. So this was my first model of what an author should be.

Then came the Of Mice and Men and To Kill a Mockingbird, An Inspector Calls and so on at GCSE’s but these were often one or two of the only works of the authors in question had written. And all seemed to me to have been written specifically to get so socio-political issue over.

Then A’level I was doing 4 A’levels – only one that touched on stories and they were of course all the old Greek and and Roman sagas and here I saw something of an attempt to record history and natural events before science gave us other ideas of why things might be happening. Or they were a way of people to feel emotional release such as the Tragedies and Comedy sets of the Greek theatre – these were there to cause strong emotional responses, to invoke a sense of lose and love and pride and fear and to then bring everyone back up with the ending fun of the comedy.

These narrow forms existed for specific reasons but I never thought that you would be stuck in just one – in Rome and Greece you often wrote plays and poems and sagas again you were a generalist, a cross genre writer.

Now during my A’levels I also did a short course in creative writing which I would attend at lunch times and here we would go through a different area each week pretty much and I would do the exercises produced by the teacher (who I have forgotten the name of :( It was at Havering Sixth Form College though). And I loved it!

I got on well with all the different writing tasks producing poems and beginnings of stories and slices of life and what have you. Of course my GCSE English teacher had already introduced me to Response Writing which I still use to kick ideas off. The only thing I really struggled with was making short stories – I always saw what the story could be – it always wanted to grown into a novel or maybe three!

But I wasn’t hooked up on genre – I wrote scifi, fantasy, horror, romance, comedy, thriller, crime, articles on life and science, and my old fall back poetry.

She sent what I produced off to various comps and submitted others to newspapers and they were all being accepted and winning something and I was amazed.

I was working on two main novel ideas at the time The Crystal Singer which has basically been adapted to The Punk and changed into scifi rather than the scifi-fantasy it had been – I may still write the original version but it would be for young adult.

The other was a vampire origin story involving dark matter and a judicial system that believed suffering was worse than death and so create the Forever Criminals (with the dark matter of course!). Each criminal had their own story and one of them should not have been there at all – a teenage girl who was a floppy sparkly veggi type who got caught up in it all by being empathic and thinking that in not trying to stop all suffering she was responsible for it. It was primarily a love story between her and her jailor a cloned cyborg.

The other criminals were more interesting and were products of their societies in many ways bar one termed as The Elephant Man who was a true sociopath.

I had more notes than story and bad biro sketches but I was working on it for about an hour before bed each night until boys and exams got in the way.

The creative writing teacher got the badly spelled printed on tractor paper first few chapters.

I prepared myself – by this point I had observe that most people in the group were writing ‘serious stuff’ and were taking some sort English A’level. It was at this point the concept that some ‘genres’ were more respected than others began to creep in. I had handed in a scifi story about Vampires – something which at the time didn’t really exist Ultra Violet appeared on t.v. at about the same time and Blade and other films were just appearing.

The Teacher turned to me and said, ‘this has the potential to be a best seller.’

The words didn’t really sink in and I continued to potter on it though a bit more earnestly – my aim was to get it published before my 18th birthday – hahahahahahahaha. It is sitting in a box upstairs I found it in some A’level notes. It reads like a teen novel to me to be quiet honest and it is not finished and of course I only have the badly spelt version on tractor paper that is turning all yellow.

But she thought is was good and I’ve had stories I wrote at 14 published in the last few years – I just sort of corrected the spelling and sent them off realising that though I wrote them as introductions to novels they pretty much stand alone as short stories.

What I remember though is that she thought the novel had potential from a professional point of view but it was the poetry she loved and she told me not to read Plaith. She felt it would destroy my poet voice which was just emerging, it was too near and may well have just become a clone.

So yeah basically I have always been a mix and match type writer and even artist to be honest. Writing and Art were put on the back burner whilst I was at Uni as there was simply too much to do. I still wrote though, I found a floppy the other day with the title ‘Stories for Alaric’. Early on I would write him a chapter of a story/short story and save it to floppy go to college and then email it to him.

I wrote down all the ideas in note books and margins and since having Jean I have been pottering at the writing stuff in a similar way though with added blogs. I unpacked more boxes yesterday to find a photo album for a talk with the cubs and found yet more note books filled with ideas and stories and poems. I am now facing the issue of the small bookcase I have for notebooks is not big enough for all the note books :/

I often worry about this and my almost career but Al thinks I will simply do a Stross and have loads of stuff to publish all at the same time.

Neil Gaiman himself says in the Yearbook that he can’t tell you how to become a cross genre author. I think you probably either are or aren’t and a lot of ares get lost and never make it. He established himself in one area first it is true so he had a fan base to shift around with him. I on the other hand get a few short stories and a few poems published a year and distract myself with deciding to write a song or draw a picture or make a papier mache space ship or make a discworld cake or workout a new irrigation system for the garden or reconstructing the first amphibians…

But you know this has somehow become my work – I’m already booked for two festivals for the craft stuff and last year was insane!

My blogs are mainly what I have been writing on and it has been peicemeal but then daily I am getting comments on old articles or posts on here saying they are useful and helpful (real ones not the spammers) or huge long rants disagreeing with my view point (though mainly that happens to Al’s technical posts). And I am finding people writing to me for advice on stuff I wrote 4-5 yrs ago to do with the web which surprises me.

I confess the blogs are often badly spelled and a bit patchy mainly due to that writing in between playing with babies – talking of which I just need to go and rescue the bin!

One clean baby later…

I digress my main issue was that several of the articles in the Yearbook say we can’t aspire to be like Neil Gaiman but I am doing just that. For a start he is one of the few with a CV that looks like my todo list.

I don’t want to be Neil Gaiman nor a copycat clone but I do find him inspiring as he has done stuff I want to do. Like me watching the TED talks of the scientists I admire I watch interviews of authors I like – some are boring – Neil is not. He is good at capturing his audience in person which helps.

I personally feel a bit more comftable with the idea of Cross Genre authors now as it is at least being admitted that they exist which pre the 2007 flood when I was looking before – it was not. Cross Genre at all was looked down upon as if people only read one type of thing ever.

I wonder sometimes if other people really do not have high levels of creativity or weather it is just that they believe they do not. Thinking and creativity are skills that need to be used or they begin to rust but even if they are unrecognisable under all that rust you can always clean them up!

This is one of the reasons that I am running WoPoWriMo again this year. Talking of which I need to go and prod some guest bloggers for their articles!

Writing and Stuff…

January 28th, 2013

I did a lot of things last year like readings and festivals and what not but I realised I’d lost the time to actually write and draw. And that all my blogs and sites were in various states of disrepair. Some never recovered from the flood in 2007, some didn’t recover from periods of no internet that subsequently happen, the last of which was me tipping coffee on myself and the laptop at the end of August.

There is also the issue that for 18 months after having a baby I just appear to function well below par and everything just takes me longer to do.

But I decided to try and get my writing stuff back on track – I submitted about 6 pieces of work last year, 3 got published, one won a prize and two got rejected and that was it.

SO I thought I spent last year trying to finish old projects off and barely dented the list but I discovered just how much material I really do have! It’s time to start submitting.

But during November whilst sitting at the first NaNoWriMo meet I realised I’ve forgotten stuff I did know and the industry has moved on! I haven’t really had the time or ability to focus on trying to get things published since before the flood – just a few bits a year basically. Main thing that has happened is I have some how ended up taking off as a crafter and poet for events with the help of twitter and two not well kept blogs, plus being the sort of person who ends up in conversations with people.

I tried not to just ‘disappear’ whilst pregnant which was excessively hard as we had no car until just before the birth and the last trimester I could not get up to the bus stop even using the crutches.

So I thought it’s time to get organised and made lists and lists and more lists and Al got me a wall planner which we’ve put up in the library and I ordered Writer’s Magazine and News again and got a free Writers and Artists Yearbook with it which was something I was aiming to get anyway – the last one was 2007 and the Childrens 2008 (again basically pre-flood).

My main plan came out something like this:

1) Get Alaric to extract that novel I wrote for the Terry Pratchett Prize a few years ago (the laptop died just as I was editing the 86 000 word story). Finish editing it, send it to friends to edit and send to publishers.

2) Type up The Drs Wife (everytime I start trying to do this something happens like the house gets flooded, or the computer dies (we are talking multiple computers here). Once typed up, edit, send to friends to edit and send to agents.

3) Sort out the 5-8 books (not sure how fat to make them!) that I have written for Punk’s universe – sort their blogs, edit, send to friends to edit, do art work and self publish – but possibly not before I have finished each set of books (there are two series now set in the Punk’s Universe The Punk and The Godex not to mention the graphic novel and film script both of which aren’t finished).

4) Submit 10 or more pieces of shorter works, flash fiction, shorts and poetry a month.

5) Spend up to £10 on competitions a month.

6) Finish illustrations and submit various children’s books via agents and direct (depending on how long an agent getting takes).

7) Sort out The Little Books of Poetry – these are children’s books but there is no point in trying traditional publishing for children’s rhyme – they don’t like it as it isn’t easy to translate nicely. Not a problem – The Little Book of Spoogy was downloaded over 100 times when I put it out there for free for three days and once I took it down people came and asked when it would be avalible again :) There are a lot of these books with the poems already written and I have been recording audio and stuff too.

8) Sort out blogs.

9) Apply for Science writing stuff.

10) Create several arts, crafts and cooking books (both self pub and traditional depending on if anyone will take the brief) plus tutorials for etsy.

And it is sort of working – I have submitted 6 things so far this month and yes I realise I am running out of month but it is a start. I have signed up for another days writing retreat to help me finish the last bit of The Godex Trilogy and we scheduled Alaric time to extract my novel.

And that is were it has gone a bit wrong :(

We assumed that it was the bit were the power jacked into the laptop that was broken as it was on the wonk anyway but when he tried to do his technical wizardy it failed :( So we have a quote for almost £200 from a data recovery company we know are good and are waiting to try something else a friend has suggested before we try and find that sort of cash :(

Now I hear you all crying – why didn’t you back it up?

Well the laptop was on it’s last legs so the port to plug a USB key in would no longer work. So what I was doing was a) printing out a hard copy just incase and b) emailing it too myself and c) Al was backing it up with his tech voodoo.

But…

This didn’t happen for the novel as it was written incredibly quickly as the deadline loomed and I really really would have loved The Terry Pratchett Prize – out of all the things you can win for writing I wanted that one and it was the first time it had been avalible – so I wrote like a mad thing.

It was written at a point when we had no internet so I could not email to myself – we had no car and no spare cash for bus fairs and then the food to use free restaurant WiFi. Our printer died as I tried to print out the first couple of chapters and we had no way to replace it and Al was away doing lots of extra work trying to get our finances back on track so… he didn’t get to do it’s latest back up.

And WHAM! Me the paranoid saver lost her novel and didn’t get to enter the comp and now may even have lost that novel and some photos for ever.

I now have a dongle, I am now in walking distance of a library etc… but I wasn’t then. But this has put a crimp on my great plans for this year.

On the other hand I have been updating my blogs and have all the hand written story and notes and the printed back up for The Drs Wife. It will just take me longer to actually get something out there that is all – also part of me is worried that if I start working on that novel again something will happen to stop all my writing in it’s tracks again. I’m still going to try though because I sort of don’t know how to give up.

Oh and as a cross-genre generalist I am screwed for making money but I have found were I am going wrong with the drawings – I’m not an artist! I’m an illustrator and cartoonist! Dad will be proud – cartooning is something he should have done! Much better than that arty stuff.

World Poetry Writing Month

January 27th, 2013

This year I find myself once more in charge of the WoPoWriMo website and it is also it’s fifth year of existing as an event!

Set up for a group who met at Poetry Cafe in Cheltenham and who turned out to all be Screnzies (Script Frenzies is a script writing challenge run by the National Novel Writing NaNoWriMo people). They felt they couldn’t do more than one writing challenge in a month and who therefore could not do National Poetry Writing Month, the website has grown into a place to inspire writers.

I am very pleased to be back in charge of it again as I haven’t been for the last two years really – just been popping in here and there. We have participants from several continents and at least two languages other than English plus the constructed languages sneaking in there. I’ve organised guest bloggers and there will be web-badges to come :)

As always I am dragging the whole family into this madness with me!

Serious Stuff

January 24th, 2013

I have been wanting to write about news events and serious things for a while but I am finding it hard, I used to write what ever I wanted and pop it on mine and my husbands personal blog but I become increasingly worried about offending people etc… It is really lame and very sad so I want to get back to writing what I feel needs to be written rather than worrying about what people want.

Part of the issue is that I have been told I sabotarge myself – by bringing up political stuff etc… but really I can’t just ignore stuff. Sometimes I have not had the energy to tackle a subject, not had the time to research it as much as it needs to be etc… Part of the issue is that I am also bored of having/listening to the same arguments again and again. It’s like philosophy – it got old at university and everyone just moves in circles and it drives me nuts!

Anyway I want to get back to writing my little ranty essays even though it means I will probably be going in an ever decreasing circle and be called Ozzel Um.

Having said that – there is now a Snobberlink Category on Wiggly Pets full of daft comics :)

January Month of Poetry

January 11th, 2013

January is always Month of Poetry as started by Kathryn Apel. The idea like most poem a day challenges is to write a poem each and everyday. I like to up the stakes a bit generally and am going for an hour spent on poetry each day instead.

Now it is 11 days into January and I have been very busy sorting poetic stuff out and writing a series of Gothic Poems for my Black Monster blog.

I like writing dark and twisted verse more suited to the Romantic era but am also very aware that there is little room for getting it published. But that does not matter I shall build them up into my own collection.

Poetic New Yearness

January 2nd, 2013

I am planning to stat submitting more poetry, I had a good success rate last year but I also submitted only a few pieces and I want to up that. I decided once before that I was bored with submitting so stopped and started this blog but I feel ready to start again. The issue I had was trying to keep tabs on who had what copy right and so on and also I simply was not producing the volume of poetry I am these days – this can be seen as a good and a bad thing!

So that is number one.

Number two is sorting this blog out – it’s been spam attacked, I have posts that have never gone live from events and things which I will back blog and so on…

Number three is to sort out my own poetry collections. These currently stand at:

Ballads of the Scientifica

Turquoise Monsters Poetry Collection

The Doomsday Collection

The Political Converse

Without and Within

And…

The Little Books of Poetry – of which the main focus will be:

1) The Little Book of Festive Poetry

2) The Little Book of Spoogy Poetry

3) The Little Book of Easter Poetry

Apart from this lot I am going to be attempting to do more performances and attending workshops and things by various local groups.

2013 the Year of Change

January 1st, 2013

As a gurtitation monster I have been inspiring humans to write and get creative for five years now and it has been lovely even if I have been arguing with Blue Monster alot! But it is time for a change. I shall no longer be posting up writing prompts and exercises or anything like that (though Blue will so do not fret!).

It came to my attention last year that a human called Sarah Snell-Pym – the very human who helps us with the blogs was starting to flounder a bit with all her writing and though she has a home page and many lovely blogs she really needed somewhere to put all her writing aspirations and hopes and to-do lists.

I have decided to help her with this.

And that is what Red Monster will become – I shall truly be a Muse Monster hiding in the back ground but I am still here and there are stories about my adventures which will appear over on our friends The Wiggly Pets blog, in due time.

It has been nice talking to you all :)

And this is not goodbye.

I hope you enjoy Sarah’s ramblings.

The Red Giant

April 21st, 2009

Sigh… Blue Monster is feeling ostracised. Of course, if he hadn’t been so mean in the first place, Green would not be so petrified of him; but never mind.

I think that the only person who can sort this out now is Green.

This week you should all take some aspect of cosmology and write a poem or short piece of prose about it – I have chosen Red Giants.

The Red Giant

Within the heart of golden stars there lurks another side

this dark and mysterious being is the killer of the skies

the Red Giant sleeps nascent within the golden embered dream

only to erupt and consume all when the time is right, it seems