Candice: I have to admit to not feeling inspired today while trying to come up with ideas to blog about. Keeping it fresh for our lovely readers each week means that by Friday I’m starting to rack my brains for ideas, looking for news stories and by Sunday really dredging through anything to come up with something interesting to write about. You guys don’t want total tosh, you want something about writing!
I have to admit I have quite a good excuse this week. On Friday I had a last minute call to see if I could do Casualty on Saturday, down in Cardiff. Without checking the weather forecast I said yes. I havent done any extras work this year so fancied a day out. Anyway, got up at 5.30am on Saturday to find my car 3 inches deep in snow. Off I went for my 110 mile drive, let us just say there were points where my heart was in my mouth as the traction control kicked in when I was slipping on snow. After all that rushing, they didn’t use me until 5pm!
Had an interesting lunch break though, as they are currently filming Doctor Who at the same studio, so we lunched with some weird and wonderful creatures. I shall look forward to seeing that episode!
Anyway, that plus now having a lovely cold means that my head is not in the right place for inspiration. However, its got to get there by Friday as Phil and I have booked a writing day, utilising the Easter weekend and the fact the other half is not around. And we plan to use it to tackle ‘The Book’. Obviously said novel has been languishing in the back of a cupboard, and our minds, for over a year while we try to find inspiration to work out how to make it from good to great. Once done we can start sending it out to Agents again, but we need to knuckle down to it. Both Phil and I have ideas floating around in our heads but we need to sit down with a blank sheet of paper and give it one more go. I’m excited by the prospect but also daunted as this is the ‘big’ thing, the thing that we think might get us somewhere, but is just frustrating as no one has picked it up yet. Patience is not one of my virtues.
So here’s to lots of Beecham cold and flu tablets and hopefully a clear head on Friday.
by Phil |
October 3, 2012 · 4:00 pm
Phil: I’m guest blogging again today at Top Hat Books. This time how the “long tail” might be good for wanabee authors.
Filed under Writing
Tagged as Phil, publishing
by Phil |
September 17, 2012 · 10:32 am
Phil: I’m not looking forward to tomorrow. The trouble with this writing lark is that sometimes you have to emerge from the garret and appear in front of your readers. That’s no problem for me – I can be a show-off when required and love nothing more than gabbing about my work to people.
What I really don’t like is having my photo taken but it seems that for a future publication, I need a byline photo. Apparently the readers like to see the author gawping out at them from the page. Sadly, I feel that there is no photograph that isn’t improved by having less me in it.
For a long while I managed to cheat the system. Follow me on Facebook, Twitter or any of my other blogs and you find a nice little cartoon. This has been around so much that I like to think of it as my logo. Why not, after all, we are all supposed to be “brands” nowadays so why shouldn’t we have a logo like any other business ?
Elsewhere my photo appeared with me wearing a paint spraying mask that nicely covered most of my mug. For the first article, about spraying paint, this was appropriate and amusing. Later uses were more to do with the editor realising too late what he had and not asking for anything better. Another mag uses a shot taken at an exhibition and the tightly cropped picture makes me look cherubic. I’ve complained to the editor but since he is happy to use a photo on the same page that makes him look like a pantomime villan, he’s not changing mine.
It gets worse, I once spent 2 hours at Warwick castle being photographed for the Guardian – the big G2 cover picture for that weeks IT supplement if you don’t mind. 2 hours of pretending to throw a frisbee. No one looks good doing this and I’m just glad the results saw me in soft focus waaaay in the background. Thankfully, any copies have long since become chip wrapping. Sadly, this can’t be said for the worst photo of me on the web, the result of an idiot photographer who I now wish I hadn’t helped set up the data projector at that conference.
Anyway, I have to stand the wrong side of a camera and it give me a dilemma. Last week I picked up two new pairs of spectacles. Following the advice that cake induced round-faced people should buy square frames, I have some that I don’t hate. But which ones for the new photo ?
With Nolan otherwise occupied, I need fashion advice dear reader. A or B ?
Vote now !
Note: Yes, I will brush my hair properly for the real shoot and maybe even put a nicer shirt on. No, I won’t be trying to pretend to be thinking and I certainly can’t substitute Nolan for this job.
Candice: Phil and I have been beavering away in the background for the last few weeks working on our next project. We’ve mentioned that we have been looking for new ideas and have been drafting something different from the usual.
Now Phil’s done all this research into Chick Lit, but no, to be different we haven’t written a Chick Lit story, but a horror story. As he pointed out it has generated a few comments in our weekly meets in the local near my work. Especially if the people listening also work there…. Hum that woman in Marketing was talking about murder at work… (well, to be honest, I feel like murdering some of them sometimes).
Anyway, the story is now finished and has been submitted to a writing competition. It’s with a magazine called Writer’s Forum who publish entries every month and you can pay extra to have a critique of your entry. Well, we are not expecting to win on our first entry (well, I am, but just trying to be modest) but we both think this is a cracker so are dying to see how we get on.
Writing a short is a different kettle of fish to a full book. We both got a bit lost into the reasons why our characters would do what they do when I pointed out, “We don’t have to explain, that’s what a short is all about.” My favourite parts were coming up with a punchy start and crafting the ending that just leaves things hanging. It was actually quite nice to not have to finish it off and round it up to explain all.
So, I thought you might like a taste of what we have been writing. I’m not going to give you it all until we’ve got the competition feedback, but tomorrow we’ll give you a taste of Nolan Parker, Horror Writers of repute.
Candice: Phil has given his thoughts on the Stratford Literary Festival so I though I’d give mine. As always, I am as much interested in what people are saying as what they are wearing.
As we sat down, my first thought was “someone’s got my coat on”. Sat in the next row was a lady in a cobalt blue coat not my exact coat but a similar colour – so I took mine off rapide, as we can’t have that.
I sometimes judge a book by its cover, this is one of the reasons clothes are important to me. As our three authors lined up, plus chair, my first thoughts were. Author one was channelling the cool university professor vibe, with turned up jeans, funky specs and jacket, our second was more of a mystery as she was clad in all black with her hair up (but in a slightly messy cool way), and our third was more wafty hippy, with maroon tights and boots. Well in two cases the book matched its cover, with author one (SJ Watson) being a NHS boss gone author and exclaiming he’d had a mid life crisis to get there, Rachel Joyce being the more intellectual writer type (having already written Radio 4 plays) and very slow and deliberate (but posh) in her delivery. And then there was Julia – who would be more suited to bright colours than black as she was sweet, depreciating and fun, and very much in awe of the fact she was on to her second published book.
And the Chair – well he had the funkiest snake print shoes on with a more sensible outfit, but I think it went well with his PR head but also intellectual book knowledge.
However, there were no good Mulberry handbags to be seen (other than my own).
The experience was interesting and informative, as Phil has said, backing up some of the things that we already know and adding some other juicy insights that might help. Though Gareth, the chair, pointed out afterwards that the three authors seemed to have had a charmed life compared to other authors he dealt with as far as being picked up and their deals with agents and publishers. Oh, to have that experience.
I think the biggest shame of the evening was that they didn’t not tell you anywhere how long the event would be, so we didn’t know we could have gone to the Sue Townsend event afterwards. Though it did give Phil and I time to cogitate in the very nice One Elm Pub over the way, and for him to down enough strong local brew to have a sore head the next day (I stayed on the water!).
Hum, where to now?
Filed under Writing
Tagged as Author, BBC Radio 4, Candice, Gareth, Julia Crouch, National Health Service, NHS, Phil, rachel joyce, SJ Watson, Sue Townsend
Candice:Last year, Phil and I went to an event called “How to get published.” Organised by the esteemed publication, the writers and artist yearbook. We came away with lots of ideas about our writing style, what might work when writing to an agent, and how it’s all really a game as there are no right or wrong answers. We also learned alot about our fellow writers, their thoughts, approaches and dress sense. (Nice Mulberry bag not essential but a bonus).
Nearly one year on and we have a few more rejection letters under our belt, some more feedback from our readers and some suggestions for a rewrite. In fact, I had another idea about an approach when I was out running the other day, but I am going to keep that between me and Phil for our next catch up. So, we thought we have a dip into this how to get published malarky again, just to keep us fresh.
Tonight we are off to an event that is part of Stratford Literary Festival so see if some of the Bard’s success will rub off on us. We’ll let you know how we get on.
Once more unto the breach, dear friends….