Thursday, 10 April 2014

Distractions - Day Nine

On Day eight, I wrote about competing priorities getting in the way of writing. Yesterday, I allowed myself to fall into the trap of distraction. Now, I'm easily distracted. I like to call it multi-tasking (a bit like plate spinning) but it's not, my 'man that does' calls it the butterfly technique. There are the usual culprits; emails, Facebook, weather reports, reading the BBC page to make sure I'm up to date in a cultural sort of way, putting out the wet washing, collecting in the dry washing (luckily I don't iron), watering the plants, brushing the dogs and playing with the cats. 

On Day Nine, I found myself distracted by a need to play Solitaire (on the PC) until I got it out three times, listening to Adele on the radio whilst writing which totally changed the outcome (I usually write in silence) and answering the telephone (I usually ignore it while writing, but then get distracted by the message being left on the answerphone).
Anyway, whatever the distractions, they didn't stop me from penning 3000 words - yes, I did the extra 15 minute challenge I failed to do on Day 7, so all up to date and feelin' good.
The prompts I wrote to were:

  1. Monologue: Your character has suddenly reached a road he/she doesn't recognise
  2. Keywords: sudden, cruel, pleases, fool, conviction                
  3. Random: throwing shadows
  4. Picture: what does this inspire?   (It didn't so I wrote about the senses)       
  5. Tuesday Title: The Woman

Until Later,

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Spinning Plates - Day 8

We all have to cope with competing priorities on a daily basis and being a writer doesn't mean that you cannot be distracted by other items on the dreaded 'to do list'. I love lists, as my husband will tell you. I have lists about lists and coloured pens to illustrate when something has been done! Ticking items as completed gives me a great sense of pleasure. Sad I know. But I do get (some) things done. As you can probably tell, I'm a bit of spinning plate kind of person. And yesterday on Day 8, a plate fell. I only completed three out of the four writing challenges I planned. But... I finished decorating the bathroom which makes me feel happy. Here are the three challenges I wrote about yesterday with a total word count of around 1800.

  1. Keywords: mate, cold, sheath, curve, CD (I didn't manage to include 'sheath', not sure why?)
  2. Random: stealing a kiss
  3. Picture: (but I changed the fruit and wrote about cherries, not plums...) 

Today, I hope to catch up with my challenges and complete five... the pressure is on as I go away on Friday for a few days.
Until Later, 

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Routine and Writing - Day Seven

I know, I hear you ask, what happened to Day Six of CampNaNo? Well it came and went, but on a Sunday and I try to leave this day free from writing, catch up with family on Skype and do some serious reading. Doesn't always work that way but I think it's important to have a break.
So Monday I was back on track at my desk (which by the way could be anywhere: Dining Room table, my lap, outside in the sunshine, lying in bed or at a real desk). These are the prompts that were in my inbox for Day 7.

  1. Keywords:closure, sad, jail, grateful, found 
  2. Random: An easy complication
  3. One-word prompt: vigil
  4. Picture: 
I completed all four and wrote around 2,400 words which is about 600 words per 15 minute session. The key for me, I think, is a routine. Albeit a very loose routine - for instance yesterday I wrote after breakfast, before and after lunch and the last session before I signed off for the day - today might turn out very different. But I made time to write and to my surprise all pieces were a kind of rough story. And I'm enjoying myself so what could be better?
Until Later,

Sunday, 6 April 2014

It's all about Timing - Day Five

On Day Five of my Camp NaNo challenge I decided to change tack. Using the prompts from this writing site which provides Monday to Friday Story Writing Exercises. I wrote in four time chunks and timed myself for 15 minutes per session. The prompts were:

  1. A picture prompt: 
  2. Random: A stubborn child
  3. Keywords: successful, stock, tree, prevent, graft
  4. One Word prompt: Grow

The first prompt took place in a prison but with a twist, the second about a grieving mother, the third took the form of my 'expat' series as Penny and George (very familiar to my mates over at Writers Abroad) and the third about two old spinster sisters and a lie. 
It was an interesting writing experiment as I found that without looking at the clock I penned around 600 words each 15 minute session and all of them formed a kind of loose 'story'. The first time since the Camp NaNo challenge began. And my writing total for the day was a little more than 2400 words which is good going for some scribbling. So this week I'm going to put this to more testing. Watch this space...

Until Later

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Writing Out - Day Four

Day Four of my writing challenge had me feeling an overwhelming sense of frustration. Even though I'd scribbled and computed around 1700 words I didn't feel like I'd written a thing.  I was using another plot prompt that I'd posted on my writing group, Writers Abroad.

A stubborn 22 year old woman
An arrogant 32 year old man
A car crash
A church 
Shame (theme)

At Writers Abroad we post a number of weekly prompts which we call 'Monday Muses'. They are supposed to kickstart our week of writing and help us find inspiration if we're feeling stuck. It's a very popular forum but every now and then everyone finds it difficult to muse. And Day Four was my difficult day. Many WA members have gone on to develop their Monday Muses into fully fledged short stories, flash fiction and poetry and successfully been placed in competitions of all sorts of levels. So they are a great piece of kit for the writing tool box.
Just got to remember that sometimes it just doesn't work and it is okay to say 'I give up.' And that's what I did.

Until Later,

Friday, 4 April 2014

The Hunt - Day Three

On Day Three of my daily creative prompt writing quest, I used a plot generator. These provide two characters, a setting, theme and sometimes other stuff. So here they are: 

A spontaneous 38 year old woman 
An arrogant 38 year old man
A night club
Someone being cheated
The Hunt (theme)

It was the theme that intrigued me to pick this prompt. It conjured up all sorts of dilemma's and ways to portray 'the hunt' with significant undertones of some kind of thriller or crime related story. I didn't quite get a story together but I did explore theories such as stalking, blackmail and tricksters. I wanted the bad guy to be the woman at first but I ended up decided she should be like a female James Bond (well there isn't one is there? Not a true 007 type). So I started looking at spy names - names are quite important for my characters as it helps to shape them in my chaotic head. And would you really have a spy called Dolly? Although I did come across one called Diedre and there were many real and valiant female spies in the two World Wars with names you wouldn't associate with Secret Service type of stuff. Nikita, Matahari and Vesper came up tops in my search. But what did I end up with? Gemima Frost - I did that happen? And where did the male character go? 

I can tell you now, Day Four hasn't been any better, but that's for tomorrows post.

Until Later,

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Running In the Rain - Day 2

Day Two's prompt was a mixture. Sometimes this happens, I start off with one and another just naturally falls into my thoughts. My first was this picture, a woman running barefoot in the rain. It's a black and white picture and for me, it created an intriguing atmosphere. I imagined it to be warm as she's wearing a summer dress, but the setting doesn't look particularly tropical.
Then I wondered who she was running from (maybe those bad dreams from Day 1) or to? It was at this point that a piece of dialogue I had recorded as a potential prompt fell onto the page.

'The way you flirt is shameful.'

Now, it's often easy to stereotype characters when you first start writing. I try very hard not to do that, but it's not that easy. Anyway, as I'd seen Sandi Toksvig on the telly, talking about renewing her vows with her partner to celebrate the passing of law for same sex marriages my thoughts and scribblings began to follow this path. My original character still featured and she turned out to be running away from someone (and did so with the help of our happy couple.)

For me, it's not important whether the prompt is followed by the end of the writing session, it's more important to develop some threads and that could lead anywhere...

Until Later,