Friday, 23 August 2013


Yesterday I received my script back from the RNA's New Writer's Scheme.
It's always a tense moment when you fight through the tape on the jiffy bag, slide out your work and begin to read the reviewer's comments.
But as I began to read, I felt myself crumple with disapointment.  My book, it appears, needs to be completely re-written.  There's not enough plot and the characters' motivation and actions aren't right either.
OK, I know that its only one person's opinion, but you do have to respect the fact that the person who is reviewing your effort, is a lot more experienced than you are.  And on reflection he/she is probably right, in most respects anyway.
My reviewer did suggest some ways to improve my novel and said that my writing style was good, and if they didn't think I could do it, they wouldn't have made the suggestions, so at least there was something positive about the report.
She then advised for me to go away, have a glass of wine and in a while, start to think about a re-write.  As it was 11 o'clock in the morning, I thought it was a tad too early, even for me, to start on the wine, so I went to the post office and bought myself a Magnum instead. Ice cream is a good substitute.
Its so disapointing, after having spent most of this year working on my novel, to learn that I need to start again.  But that's the nature of writing I suppose, its not about the wriitng, its about the re-writing.  One thing I do know for sure, is that I need to kick start my job search again.   Not just for the money - although this is a major influencing factor -  but also because I need some kind of focus where I feel as though I'm achieiving something.  Then my writing can become my hobby again, and I can take my time and enjoy it more. 
And I will rewrite the novel.  Just not yet.  In between short stories, I'm going to have another go at last year's NWS script, because that doesn't need quite so much work done on it, and I have a bit  more distance from it, so hopefully will be able to see things more clearly.
My conclusion from all this is that when you fall from the horse you have to get straight back on it.  This writing lark takes guts doesn't it?
Have a good weekend everyone. 

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Now They Are Three

My gorgeous feline friends were three on Monday. It’s hard to imagine life before these beautiful creatures joined our family and yet on the other hand, it seems like only yesterday that they decided to become part of our lives.


I say they decided because that’s how it felt at the time.  The wonderful RSPCA foster carer brought them to our house to introduce us. They came out of their carrier, had a good nose around the living room and then seemed reluctant to leave. 

It was love at first sight as far as we were concerned and they obviously felt the same.  They are certainly the most placid and affectionate cats I have ever known and they are loved by everyone who meets them.


Happy  birthday boys, you make our family complete.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Interesting Ancestors

I'm playing catch up this month and not only am I trying to catch up on writing posts here but I'm also trying to fnd time to read blogs that I haven't had a chance to look at recently.

One blog that particularly interested me was Della Galton's post on her family history and that there is a possibility that she is related to Emmeline Pankhurst - wow, wouldn't that be amazing if she could find out if it's true?

I've blogged before about my own interest in genealogy and that my family tree has been recorded by George Ormerod, an eminent historian in the Victorian era. My own family became landowners after helping to record information for the Doomsday book. 

The family tree links to various other landowning families in Cheshire, including the Fitton family who were the owners of Gawsworth Hall, now a National Trust property in Macclesfield.  Gawsworth Hall is reportedly haunted by two ghosts, one a court jester, and the other who was a daughter of the family, Mary Fitton.

Mary became maid of honour to Queen Elizabeth 1 in 1595, but was "led astray" by William Herbert who later became the Earl of Pembroke and became pregnant.  Pembroke was sent to Fleet Prison after admitting paternity but refusing to marry Mary and Mary was banished from court.

Mary returned to Gawsworth in disgrace and was banished from living in the family hall. Instead she went to live in the Old Rectory.  She gave birth to a baby boy, but the baby died.  It is possible that the baby died from syphilis, inherited from his father.

There is also a suggestion that Mary was the Dark Lady of Shakespeare's sonnets, although I supsect that this is only a rumour.

Mary further scandalized her family by having another affair and child out of wedlock and her mother disowned her.   

Mary lived until she was around 69 years old.  She was buried in Gawsworth but her ghost is reputed to be seen in Gawsworth churchyard, on the road leading from the local pub, and in the rectory.  Even after death she refused to be ingored!  I wonder if her spirit cannot rest in peace, or does she just enjoy the noteriety?  She's certainly an interesting woman to be related to find in the family records.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Success with The "lovely" People's Friend!!!

I didn't want to say anything at first, in case I jinxed it, but I've had an acceptance for a short story!  It’s the first one I've had in a long, long time and only the second one to date, and it's with The "lovely" People's Friend.

In times gone by, whenever I sent a story to The People's Friend, it seemed to bounce back with a standard rejection so fast that I used to check for the elastic attached to the envelope.  I felt that I was so way off the mark in subbing for this magazine that it wasn't worth bothering.  But recently a few writing friends have had such positive feedback asking them to resubmit, following which they made a sale, that I began to wonder if I should try again.

After reading Wendy Clarke's blog, and her glowing reports on the mag, I began to do more than wonder.  As Del Boy used to say, "Who dares wins", so I flicked through some past copies of the magazine, decided on a plot that I thought would suit and wrote it. And then rewrote it.  And rewrote it again.

When I received a response almost by return you could have knocked me over because this time it wasn't heralded by the ominous thud on the mat, but was from a lovely lady called Alison Cook.  She sent me a long email explaining why it wasn't quite right for them, but giving me options to change my plot and characters, and that they would be happy to look at it again.

To be honest, I was just chuffed to receive such detailed feedback from an editor that I thought about what I could do for a few days, and then sat down an rewrote it. 

And then I didn't hear from them for ages.  I tried not to get my hopes up that it was being seriously considered, and kept expecting an email back saying "sorry not this time", so when I did receive the email I hardly dared open it.

But I'm glad I did because it was good news, and Alison seemed thrilled to be telling me that it was going to be published.  I think my family thought I'd finally lost the plot as I danced round the house in joy.    When I signed the contracts and posted them back I felt like a proper writer. 

The good thing is that The People's Friend pay on acceptance not on publication, so the money's in the bank and I can't wait to see my story in print whenever that may be.

So now, its nose to the grindstone to get working on some more.  No point having a success if you don't capitalise on it!

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Catching Up

I haven't been around in blogland for a while. July passed me by in a haze of family commitments. With the end of term, Mum's Taxi went into overdrive, going to tournaments and end of year treats for every part of my kids' lives. Social life? Sorry? What's that? I don't have time for one.

This end of year was particularly poignant as my eldest left primary school. It only seems like yesterday when we went for our first visit, sat on tiny chairs whilst we listened to the Headteacher telling us all about the school. But it's not all sad because I'm really happy with the school he's going to and he's so ready to move on to the next stage of his life.

The boys are spending three days a week for most of the holidays playing football, which they love, and which gets them away from the xbox. It also gives me some time to work.

Paid for work has been a bit thin on the ground recently but the other week I had a massive project to undertake. It meant spending 5-6 hours a day staring at a computer but it felt good to be back in a routine again. It also meant that writing went out of the window though, I was so exhausted when I'd finished that working with other words just wasn't an option.

I haven't done much actual writing recently, as I have been really struggling to complete my script for the RNA's New Writer's Scheme. Well it's done now, finally, and I sent it off on Friday with a huge sigh of relief. I can honestly say it's not my best piece of work, and probably needs a lot more doing to it, but for now its the best that it can be and it will be interesting to get some feedback to see where, if anywhere, I go from here with it. It certainly feels satisfying to have it completed as it's a project which was started many years ago (can you believe, it's conception was on a typewriter?!?).

So now I can re-group, get some short stories written and sent out and oh, perhaps find a job?

Hope you're all enjoying the summer, shame the weather has become a bit hit and miss since the lovely weather earlier.