Tag Archives: Magical

A Year Off to Write. Dyslexia, Jeff Vandemeer and Cornish YA.

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How brilliant is that? A year off to write my Cornish supernatural fantasy, in my own time, at home. I’m pretty lucky. Living in Cornwall is already amazing and being Cornish and having an ancestral history in a folklore saturated land inspires me.

I’m actually hoping the novel writing will be six months, as I’m already halfway through with sixteen chapters down and the last chapter finished, and pieces of chapters to fit into the puzzle. I am now starting to work through the juicy middle bits.

Story-Fish

The last four years I’ve been the ML for the Cornwall NaNoWriMo, (write a novel in a month). Teaching and encouraging writers to just sit and write two thousand words everyday for four weeks. But I’ve decided to forgo my role this year. I have desires to concentrate on finishing this book I’ve been telling everyone about. I’m getting that look now, the ‘when’s this so called book going to be finished?’ But that’s because I’ve been writing this idea for three years. I’ve just finished a Professional Writing MA and it’s taught me the tools to the craft. So I’m re-writing  with a better idea of how to construct all my creative ideas and put the pieces together coherently.

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I’m dyslexic. If I was to put myself on a spectrum? I’m on the ‘it can take me days to see words in the wrong order, spelling, grammar and especially my tense’ bit of spectrumI’ve become a huge re-writer due to having the extra work, and I make no understatement when I say I rake through pages of my writing. I re-adjust words in a sentence like I’m building a stonewall some days. It’s incredibly exciting and I think for every writer, the experience of when it just seems to work first time does actually happen to me too. Don’t be put off by not having that ‘academic background’ as commitment and the creative side can be the essential part of writing something interesting for the reader. Saying that, you have to work on that craft after you’ve got that creative story down. If there is one thing I’ve learnt in the last year as a postgrad student, it’s that a bad sentence stops the reader no matter how good the story. Enjoy and then work on it!

UnknownSo I shall also be hiring an editor. Yay to editors! Get one that suits your writing though. No good having a non-fiction editor for your Sci-Fi book. They might not be into it!

And finally this book, WonderBook by Jeff Vandermeer. Beautifully illustrated by Jeremy Zerfoss. Just thought I’d add it as it’s way to special not too. I use it for planning and avoiding the obvious. This book is so incredible and very inspiring. If you’re a Sci-fi or Fantasy writer, I’d buy this straight away.

The London Book Fair, Naomi Novik, and Chocolate.

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22824_10153000528418355_4182966247499621631_n 2Last week I visited The London Book Fair. My author days are getting ever nearer, and it was time to dip into the atmosphere and get a rough idea of the way the book fair works. As soon as we arrived, my friend Judy went straight in, pitching her vegan book to any stall that had pictures of vegetables. I watched her enthusiasm, which rubbed off on the person she spoke with. Confidence about your book, and you’ll be fine.

I spent the following day giving my card to relevant publishers such as Penguin, Hachette, Little Brown and Bloomsbury etc. Without a finished manuscript I couldn’t yet make an appointment to see an agent, but I still wanted the experience of talking with them. I introduced myself and asked if they would like me to review any of their upcoming titles, I would be pleased to post them on my blog. Working in a book shop I receive many books to review and they were glad to talk about it. Book reviewer’s are undoubtedly the publishers hand sellers.

Sarah-FrontI researched publishers responses to business cards, and the best advice was to always make sure you have the genre of your writing on the card, e.g. Romance writer etc. Otherwise they don’t remember you, most of the cards go in the bin. Some people even put their photograph on theirs and that helps them to remember your conversation.

I love the book industry and really enjoyed the book fair. I got to listen to Sally Green, (one of my favourite new authors) on the fantasy panel and many other incredible useful seminars and publisher stands. Next year when I go with my finished manuscript, it will be familiar and I will get to enjoy the opportunities of meeting the agents.

UnknownNaomi Novik: UPROOTED.

I wanted to add that my recent read and one of the best fantasy books I’ve read for some time. The harmful influence of a wood and its inhabitants. The narrator, a witch, and her mentor/master, theDragon; a local wizard.

There’s a dragon in it! And a witch; it’s got to be good! Read it!

Recommended: read it whilst eating Chocolate.

 

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Pogles Wood, Castles and Watch With Mother.

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9781909829022I’ve bought a new book.

The art of Smallfilms.

Smallfilms was the work of Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin. No doubt some of you will know these wonderful creations. The Clangers, Bagpuss, Ivor the Engine etc, and all of them became part of the Watch with Mother series.

The book is filled with wonderful photographs of the original puppets and the pictures are fascinating.

My favourite is Pogles Wood. The first series was originally called The Pogles, and only broadcast once due to the BBC’s thoughts that the witch and the storyline rather too scary for children. It was quite dark, filmed in black and white but I remember loving it.

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My castle lamp in the garden

I had a bedside lamp in the shape of a castle when I was small. (In the garden now.) At night I was convinced tiny people came out of it while I slept. The Pogles only confirmed it was true.

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The original witch from ‘The Pogles.’

Look at these puppets! It could be nostalgia on my part, but after watching the first three episodes last night, after many years, (cough) I still think the films are remarkable. The old black and white stop motion matures the strangeness and delightful story lines. The narrative of The Pogles is odd but brilliant for a child, so natural you wouldn’t stop to think about it when you were young. Like the Teletubbies!

The magic bean was the first episode, and introduced the magic plant that came to stay with Mr and Mrs Pogle, and even though the films were old, I had to keep watching more to find out what happens.

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Mrs Pogle

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Pipin and Tog

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Mr Pogle with the magic Plant that came to stay

I can’t help looking at the puppets in the Smallfilms book, and feel a deep sense of affection for them. It’s where my love of dark and atmospheric magical story-lines began. I recommend this book for anyone who grew up with these wonderful children’s programmes.

It’s always good to go somewhere you love!

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