Saturday, October 29, 2011

Wiltshire NaNoWriMo Kick Off Party!

Today, we had our Wiltshire NaNoWriMo Kick-Off Party! It was a lot of fun and it was great meeting some of the other writers who live in our area.



Joining us were my co-ML Sophie, Andrew, Tim, Victoria, Josh, Kayla and Gabriella. Victoria, Kayla and Gabriella are my daughters and Josh is my son-in-law, but they are all participating in NaNowriMo this year. (Gabby joined the NaNoWriMo Young Writer's Program.)

There were stickers handed out, writing plans discussed and really bitter coffee that was had. Well worth the time! So if you are a Wiltshire NaNoWriMo participant, make sure you get yourself to the next meet-up!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

National Day On Writing

Today is the National Day on Writing. How are you celebrating?

I am writing this blog post, have written a poem and am writing some more of one of my recipe books. I am also working on one of the children's stories I have in mind.

It never feels like I have enough time to fit writing into my daily schedule. I know I have to make time for writing. I know I have to make writing a priority. Yet, I still find it a challenge.

But whatever else happens during the week, today, I am writing.

I write because I have stories to tell and it's no fun keeping them to myself!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Fundraising for National Novel Writing Month

I am fundraising for the Office of Letters & Light. They run National Novel Writing Month, the Young Writer's Program, Script Frenzy and several other programs to inspire and ignite the imagination of writers everywhere.

Here's a little video that the Office Of Letters & Light created to explain what your donation will help with.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Interview With Children's Author Giles Paley-Phillips

I met Giles Paley-Phillips on Facebook. He is a 33 year old children's author and he was kind enough to let me interview him for this blog. He also sent me a copy of his book "The Fearsome Beastie," and my children loved it. You can watch their video review of it over on Children Review.


Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Giles Paley-Phillips. I'm a children's author and work part-time in a book shop. I was born in 1977, and I live and work in East Sussex with my wife, Michelle and two sons, Elijah and Sonny. I currently write picture book stories and play in a rock band called Burnthouse. I am also Patron for FSW Family Support Work Charity and I'm represented by Annette Green Agency. I can also be found on Twitter and through my blog.

What are some of your writing accomplishments?
I have two books out: The Fearsome Beastie is a picture book and There's a Lion in My Bathroom is a book of nonsense poetry.

Theres a Lion In My Pocket

What type of writing do you do? What genre do you write in the most?
I'm a picture book author, but I do also writing nonsense poetry!

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? What was it about writing that drew you to it?
I started writing for children when my first son was born, I wanted to write something specifically for him, and I couldn't quite work it out, then I stumbled upon a book of nonsense poetry by Shel Silverstein, and it was my eureka moment.

Where do you get your ideas for your writing?
I get ideas from lots of places really, things the children do, things they are interested in, could be something in the news, or just something that I've heard people talking about.

What books/authors have influenced your writing?
Shel Silverstein's work got me first hooked in, but I've always loved children's books, especially writers such as Roald Dahl and the work of Tim Burton; things that are macabre always draw me in.

What are your current writing projects?
I'm working on another dark picture book for Maverick Books and a humerous book about dinosaurs for Gullane.

Do you ever experience writer’s block? How do you get through it?
You just have to leave your work alone and do something else, and come back to it later.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I'm terrible at editing.

What do you love most about writing?
When an idea comes, it's so exciting when you start figuring it out.

Is there anything that you have learned about yourself through writing/pursuing your career as a writer?
I've learned that I'm tenacious; I think you have to be and thick skinned too!

If you could become one of your characters for a day, would you? (and who/why?):
I'm not sure I've written a character I'd like to be yet, my protagnists tend to be a bit horrid!

Do you have any advice for other writers?
If you are trying to get published, then just stick to your guns, it only takes one person to like your work to make it happen.

The Fearsome Beastie by Giles Paley Phillips

Giles was kind enough to send me a copy of his book The Fearsome Beastie, and my children loved it. I loved that the heroine of the story was a grandma, and I even enjoyed the fact that it had some slightly gruesome aspects to the story. My little princess Isabella was less impressed with the gruesome bits, but the rest of my children loved that aspect of the story and over-all, each of them were entertained by the story. My son Connor had me read it to him several times on the day it first arrived.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Are You Ready for NaNoWriMo 2011?

NaNoWriMo Participant Badge 2011

It is almost November and now, with just a little over 3 weeks left until November, it's time to start thinking about joining National Novel Writing Month for 2011! I have participated in NaNoWriMo for two years now and have achieved and surpassed the 50,000 wordcount goal in both years. I am definitely going to be participating again this year! Will you? Here's a little bit of advice for those of you who will be participating this year. (This is from an e-mail I sent out as one of two municipal liaisons for my region.)

Before we all start writing in all of our free time, I thought I'd ask you all what your plans are. Do you have a plan for how you are going to get 50,000 words written? Have you outlined your novel already? Are you just planning on winging the whole thing?

I'll let you know a little bit about my experience with doing this for the past two years. In the first year, I mostly winged it, but I had a very clear idea in my head for the story I was going to write. I didn't have an outline or all of the mini sub-plot details all worked out ahead of time, but I had an idea of who my main characters were, what they would be facing and where I wanted the story to end. I managed to write over 50,000 words that year (2009), and I really enjoyed writing it.

In my second year of doing NaNoWriMo (2010), I completely winged it. I knew what my story was called and who the main character would be, but I hadn't really fleshed her out in my mind. I knew that she had a certain ability emerging and that the story would be based around that, but I hadn't even figured out my supporting characters or what the conflict in the plot would be. I still managed to complete the 50,000 words, but I struggled through it more, and although I enjoyed the writing, I did not enjoy it as much as I had the previous year.

Looking back through my 2010 NaNoWriMo manuscript, there is very little that is usable from that writing, while the manuscript of my novel written for the 2009 NaNoWriMo is one that I will be completing, editing and sending out to publishers. The writing on it is better than the writing on the 2010 NaNoWriMo story and I believe that is because I had a bit more planning and thought behind the story before I began writing.

Of course, you will take on the NaNoWriMo challenge in whatever way works best for you, but if you're not sure what way that is, I suggest that you brainstorm a bit about what you want for your story before you begin. The more ideas you have and the more you flesh out what your goal in this writing is, the smoother things will go for you and the better your writing will be. You won't have to stick to any rigid plot ideas, but thinking about it in advance will give you a starting point and a direction. The rest can be played around with as you write.

And let me just add that I hope you all have a smooth and easy time writing your 50,000 words and make it to your goal for the 2011 NaNoWriMo!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Interview With Author Malcolm McDonough

Malcolm McDonough is a a friend of mine and we keep in touch over Facebook. He is a 45 year old dad and author living in Australia. He has a very creative personality and a terrific sense of humor!

Malcolm McDonough Author Interview Photo

About: I live in Melbourne with my partner and five children. I was born in Melbourne, but have also lived in London and Glasgow. I love travelling and have visited over 60 countries. You can learn a little about me from my new Google+ profile.

Writing accomplishments? I started writing professionally in an ad agency when I was 17. In the following 20+ years I wrote everything from four-word billboards to brochures, websites and TV commercials. My work won a few local awards and I was a finalist in some national and international awards too. Once, a campaign I wrote was chosen from a national competition to promote an Australian tour by His Holiness the Dalai Lama of Tibet. I’m not Buddhist, but it was still an honour to meet him at his Melbourne appearance.

What type of writing do you do? What genre do you write in? I now write full-time for my local government. My title in my day job is ‘Writer’ but it involves informative writing mostly, rather than creative writing. I have to write as clearly and concisely as possible, which I think is a good practice for most kinds of writing. My personal writing is mainly t-shirt slogans, with a focus on pregnancy and families. Just recently, my daughter and I co-wrote two tongue-in-cheek books. I would classify them as ‘ridiculous’ if that’s a genre. If it isn’t, I guess we just invented it.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? What was it about writing that drew you to it? When I was a kid I often wrote silly poems or songs for my friends. One friend said I should get a job writing jingles and I immediately thought, “Yes, that’s what I’ll do.” Since writing was something I enjoyed doing, it seemed like an ideal career.

Where do you get your ideas for your writing? You know how sometimes a conversation moves so fast that later you think “I wish I had said…”? Rather than waste those thoughts, I make a note of them to turn into a t-shirt slogan or a headline.

What books/authors have influenced your writing? I love the way Bill Bryson makes even the most technical subjects engaging. Now that my kids are reading a lot, I’m also rediscovering Enid Blyton, J.K. Rowling and Tolkien.

What are your current writing projects? Apart from my day job, I continually write slogans, product descriptions and tweets for my pregnancy announcement websites:
Pregnant By Design

I also write posts for two Facebook pages to promote the books I recently co-wrote with my daughter:
Totally Funny

Do you ever experience writer’s block? How do you get through it? Once my daughter and I had the idea for our books, the words came very easy. So writer’s block was never an issue. But then, they are very silly books ;-)

With serious projects I am happy to write then revise. So even if I’m feeling less than 100% motivated, I just start writing.

What do you love most about writing? There’s no enforced down-time when you’re a writer. I love being able to write, or at least create and clarify my ideas, any time, anywhere.

If you could become one of your characters for a day, would you? (and who/why?) I’m sure it would inspire a lot of pregnancy slogans if I was actually pregnant for a day! But to be honest, I’m not sure I’m cut out for it. Luckily I’ve been able to share five pregnancies with my inspirational partner.

Do you have any advice for other writers? Don’t be shy. It’s so easy to blog, tweet or self-publish these days. There’s no reason not to share your writing with the world. Plus, you’ll get to know so many wonderful and creative people in the process (Yes, I’m looking at you Rebecca).