Writing — The Craft

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Well, after a fairly long dry spell, I seem to have regained my mojo. I can’t really call it writer’s block because for some reason I couldn’t get motivated to even sit down and try to write, but recently I’ve returned to writing the third book in the Verado series – Blood Moon, and remembered why I loved writing so much.

As a writer, the characters we create become like family. You know them inside out and as they develop you come to love them more and more. In fact when the book/series ends it’s almost impossible to let them go completely.

One of the main things I love writing is conversation. Before I start I usually have a set image in my mind of the characters, where they are, what they are doing etc before commencing their conversation. I don’t, however, have much of an idea about where the conversation is going. I guess it’s just like life. I can know roughly what my characters are going to talk about and then they end up having an argument which changes the whole scene. Hopefully this makes for a better, more realistic story. After all, the worlds we create are designed to ignite the imagination and inspire the reader.

It’s been said that writing is like exercising a muscle. To be the best you can be, you need to write a little everyday and keep that muscle toned.

Happy writing 🙂

Moon on the med

I just wanted to share with you, a few of photographs I took on my recent visit to Pahpos, Cyprus. There is something about the ocean that really captures the imagination. Maybe it’s because I live so far from it, but when I do visit the sea, I feel completely drawn to it. By day it’s magical, but by night it is truly mysterious. The reflections create stunning natural works of art, and these particular shots couldn’t go un-taken.

Pahpos by night

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Paphos by night

 

A Grimm revival …

The sudden fascination with all things Grimm, hasn’t gone unnoticed by me. Last night, for a father’s day treat (well, he thinks it was) we went to the cinema to watch the new ‘Snow White and the Huntsman’, film starring Kristen Stewart. It’s the second time in the past couple of months that we’ve been to see an adaptation of the Brothers Grimm fairytale, the first being ‘Mirror Mirror’ starring Julia Roberts. Both films were ‘okay’, neither blew me away, but I think I slept sounder through Mirror Mirror, if that’s anything to go by.

We’ve also been watching the American TV series, Grimm, which follows Nick Burkhardt, a Grimm (monster hunter) on his quest to rid the world of the part human/part monsters called Wesen. He is the only one able to see their monstrous side. It’s quite entertaining, not at all taxing and I find his side kick, Eddie Monroe rather amusing.

And then there is the other American TV series, ‘Once upon a Time’, which centres around the town of Storybrooke in Maine. Each character appears to have an alter ego, based on a fairytale character and it is down to the main character, Emma Swan who just so happens to be the long-lost daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming, to unravel the mysteries behind the fairytale town.

So, I noticed there was a pattern forming and wondered if I was missing something (often happens). Having looked into it, this year seems to be the 200th Anniversary of the Brothers Grimm publishing their first volume of fairytales. The book contains all the famous favourites such as Cinderella, Snow White, Rumpelstiltskin, Rapunzel, The Elves and the Shoe Maker and oh so many more.

The icing on the pink frosted cupcake.

I always think it’s strange how conversation flows from subject to subject without you noticing. Last night I spent the evening at one of our local pubs with some very good friends.  The stunning 13th Century pub, I believe, is the oldest in the town. Without much history in our new town we relish every little piece we have. This pub, The Swan, unfortunately went up in flames just a couple of weeks before Christmas. With so much trade at stake, the landlords vowed to have it up and running by Christmas. No one would have believed they could actually do it … but they did.

These images were taken during and just after the fire.

Yesterday was the first time I’d been to the pub since the fire. It is currently tightly wrapped in plastic like a giant christmas present. Although only two-thirds of the interior are accessible, but you would never know there had ever been a fire.

The pub has always been popular and it was cosy to say the least. Squashed around a tiny table, we whiled away the evening putting the world to rights. We talked about everything from vegetarians and veganism to Jamie and the magic torch. I had it in my head that my friend reminded me of Crystal Tipps from the 70’s kids show but I realise now, she is the spitting image of Long Distance Clara, from Pidgeon Street. In return, she said I was like a pink frosted cupcake that would melt if I went out in the rain. I’ve no idea what she meant by that.

Full Pink Moon ~ 6th April ’12

Tonight we anticipate the first full moon of spring. This moon is often referred to as the Full Pink Moon, Full Fish Moon, or Full Grass Moon.

Over the past few evenings the moon has been dramatically growing in size, and last night it was so bright, it illuminated my house through tightly closed curtains. It was looking promising but alas, it is not to be. With the thick covering of grey/black cloud that has built up over the day, I think we’ll be lucky to get a glimpse of anything at all tonight. I’ve been wrong before though, so you never know. The full moon often has a way of persuading the clouds to separate, like the curtains on the stage of a theatre.

Happy Moon Gazing.

Remember remember …

The fifth of November – Gunpowder, Treason and Plot. I see no reason why gunpowder treason should ever be forgot.

We head off to York tonight for a weekend of fun in the rain. We chose the location as it is supposed to be the most haunted town in Britain, not even taking into account its history relating to Guy Fawkes.

With bonfire night tomorrow we will be sure to visit some of the places associated with the famous traitor who was born in the city.

In 1605, having fought in the eighty year war on the continent, the converted catholic returned home with a new agenda. Having been introduced to Thomas Wintour and Robert Catesby, he joined the plot to assassinate the protestant king, King James I and restore a catholic monarch to the throne.

Guy Fawkes was left in charge of the gunpowder which they had stashed beneath the House of Lords and on 5th November during a routine inspection of the building, Fawkes was caught red-handed. He was sentenced to be hung drawn and quartered but managed to jump from the gallows breaking his neck to avoid the rest of his horrific punishment.

From 1606 onwards 5th November has always been used to celebrate the failure of the gunpowder plot.

Enjoy the bonfires, fireworks and burning Guys.

Halloween in Edinburgh

With Halloween just around the corner, it’s time to plan my annual trip to one of the most atmospheric towns in the UK. This year three of us aspiring writers are planning to visit York. As one of the most haunted cities in England it seems the natural choice.

Last year we chose the ancient city of Edinburgh and we couldn’t have picked a better location.

From beginning to end the weekend was filled with surprises. The first being the hotel. Standing at reception we were handed the keys to the only room they had left — Room 13!

The day began early, with the flight bringing us in just in time for breakfast. We spent the day re- familiarizing ourselves with the stunning city, and the Scottish weather was unusually warm for the time of year.

My companion was interested in seeing Greyfriars after having read the book Greyfriars Bobby as a child. I happily went along as I’ve always had a passion for graveyards. I have to say, we both fell head over heals in love with Greyfriars Kirkyard.

Famous for the story of the dog that wouldn’t leave the grave of his master and also for the infamous grave robbing of Burke and Hare, there is something about that place, the atmosphere within those walls is undeniable. From the moment we stepped through the huge iron gates we felt a presence. We knew there was something very strange, not the usual calm, peacefulness of a graveyard but an eerie-ness that was almost repellant.

Desperate to learn more we booked ourselves into the 11pm tour. Wow, that was popular. Over sixty of us traipsed across the graveyard listening to stories of imprisonment and grave robbing that go back hundreds of years. The whole graveyard is built on a foundation of thousands of human bones discarded during the great plague years. During particularly wet weather bones have been known to rise up through the grass and have to be disposed of in ‘the larder’.

Around 1679, 1200 people were imprisoned in what’s known as the Covenanters Prison. Being no more than a walled section of the graveyard, the prisoners were made to lay face down on the ground for over six months of the harsh Scottish winter. If they tried to move they were shot. Unsurprisingly most perished.

George Mackenzie ran the prison and was himself buried in the graveyard in the 1690’s. It is said to be his ghost that haunts the graveyard and it has become very famous for its violent activity.  If you look through the grille on the front of his tomb you can see the entrance to the crypt still containing his coffin. A story tells of a tramp that took shelter in the crypt only to discover it is also full of the bones of plague victims.

During a tour of the underground caverns we clearly heard footsteps in the empty chamber behind us. Again there were lots of people on our tour which did kill the atmosphere a little but those footsteps were unmistakable. unfortunately we were unable to visit Mary Kings Close, oh well there’s always a next time.

Okay so I admit that I was one of the sad muppets that fainted on the tour but I attribute that to a very long day and drop in blood pressure, not the terrifying experiences of Edinburgh’s ghost tour.

It soon became clear that the Halloween visitors to Edinburgh take the whole thing very seriously. One moment you are on a tour with the cast of Night of the Living Dead, the next moment you are walking down the street with a six-foot smurf or a bunch of very butch ladies with beards. Clearly anything goes.

If you love Halloween and are looking for somewhere with unbeatable atmosphere, I would highly recommend Edinburgh.