Now you already know the story of St George, so why not discover other dragon fun with ‘Tales of the Nun and Dragon’ available from Fox Spirit now!
I’ve been to a number of different events for writers in the last 18months or so. They’ve all been welcoming and the people friendly but I’ve often felt like the girl who hadn’t done her homework as people were fully prepared with questions for agents, known all the different sub-genres and pop-up genres that have recently appeared and can stream off lists of their favourite authors faster than I can get my cake order in at the bakers. So it was with a certain amount of trepidation that ventured to Exeter Friends House for the workshop hosted by Cathie Hartigan (@CathieHartigan) of Creative Writing Matters and led by Steve Haynes (@SteveH1492) of Salt Publishing (@SaltPublishing).
So it was a relief to meet my fellow workshop members: people new to the genre, and those with a deep love of specific genres. I’m a little more eclectic in my reading so while some would say they preferred fantasy, science fiction or horror, I’m a fan, and also a writer, of all three (think of me as the Annie Carnes of literature – I’m just a girl who can’t say no!).
We started with introductions before having a brief discussion about what we look for in books. It was quite hard to choose only a few things I look out for but I definitely need a strong female lead, some good action and decent pacing (As an aside, I’ve also discovered I’m not good with overly-complicated names which have sadly left my steampunk books on the shelf. I mean who gives a gun a name longer than a Welsh train station?).
Personally, I could have spent the rest of the afternoon chatting about genre fiction but we had to move on, although I have discovered some new authors I need to investigate further.
We had a go at writing our own short story. I was relieved that only my neighbour read my story, although I’ve written worse first drafts in thirty minutes. However, we worked at editing ours and our neighbours work. Editing is something I’ve always struggled with and while I don’t think I’m now a wiz, I have a slightly better idea of how to improve my stories. I would have liked to explore this further but time was pressing so we moved on.
For me, the most helpful part of the workshop was how to pitch work to an agent or publisher. Steve kindly shared what he considered the ‘perfect pitch’ which was incredibly helpful. Of course, each publisher and agent has specific requirements which need to be adhered to but it was interesting to see how one successful author pitched their work. A clear letter, breaking down information about the author and their manuscript clearly. It’s something I will definitely translate and use for my next pitch so hopefully it will ensure my work gets snapped up!
In some ways, 2.5 hours was sufficient to cover everything Steve set out for us and the event was well organised but I could easily have spent the rest of the afternoon working on different shorts, pitches and discussing genre fiction. I will definitely keep an eye out for future Creative Writing Matter events!
And now, here’s the short story I started using the triggers Steve gave us. It’s a first draft and written in only 20minutes so you’ll have to forgive all the mistakes and plot holes that are already forming!
She peeked out through the leaves. She was fairly certain that they hadn’t seen her but she knew, with the dark clouds covering the moon, that her glow would give her away. She wrapped her thin cloak around her and frowned as it failed to conceal her golden hue.
Checking again, she could see no sign of the spaceship that had followed her from the city. It had picked up her trail while she was desperately searching the derelict buildings for any sign of her sister. She knew it had been a foolish thing to do, to go against the wishes of the elders but she knew she had to try and rescue Matilda. Captured over five months ago, Maybelle knew her sister’s light, her very life, was fading and if she wasn’t rescued soon, Matilda would die.
She had located where they were keeping Matilda, the trail of fairy dust, unseen by the human eye, had led her to the facility, but that was as close as she was able to get to her sister. She had searched the outside of the building, looking for some small gap or hole into which she could squeeze but couldn’t find even a mouse hole. She had been contemplating breaking a window or prizing a roof tile off when the guard had spotted her.
Luckily Maybelle had fed before she she had visited the city so her energy levels were good and and she was able to easily outrun the guards, but their infernal spaceships were another matter. They were constructed to be quick moving but they couldn’t manoeuvre as easily as she could through the trees.
And that’s as far as I got. Obviously it needs a lot more work but I like some of the ideas coming out: who is Maybelle? Why are humans catching fairies? What are they using them for? Where is Maybelle trying to get back to? What sort of world is being created? Perhaps one day I’ll expand this but in the meantime, I’ve a pitch to perfect.
Ever wish you could write to your past self, sharing your experiences to make sure you don’t make the same mistakes again? But what about your future self? If you could write to yourself in six or twelve months? What would you say? Would you remind yourself not to give up on your dreams? Congratulate yourself on a job well done? Well now you can with this handy link by ‘Oh Life‘. And now for my letter:
You need more chocolate!
I have decided that 2013 is my year for all things writerly so here’s some of what I have planned (a big thank you to Emma Newton’s helpful blog for pointing me in the right direction for some of these!):
Camp NaNoWriMo - April will see me take part in the first Camp NaNoWriMo of the year. I’m planning to get all my short stories finished as well as start the third in ‘The Vampire’s Bodyguard’ series called ‘The Vampire’s Bodyguard: Danse Macabre’. After having to bow out last November, I’m keeping fingers crossed I pass that all important 50k finish line by 30th April!
Creative Writing Matters Workshop – I’m very excited to be attending a workshop run by Steve Haynes, of Salt Publishing on 13th April. I’m not too sure what to expect so pop back here after the weekend and I’ll post a review/thoughts.
Edge Lit – my first big convention of the year will be in Derby on 13th July. Along with the rest of the Fox Spirit Skulk there will be a number of book launches (including my own ‘Weird Wild’ I hope, as long as I get it finished!!). It should be a fun event and I’m looking forward to catching up with friends I’ve made at other conventions and hopefully meeting more of my online friends as well.
Nine Worlds – I’m so excited to be going to Nine Worlds. Kickstarter funded, it’s hoping to be the UK’s equivalent of Comic Con so I will fully be getting my geek on!
Bristol Con – I had been due to attend BristolCon last year having heard so many positive recommendations but annoyingly sickness prevented me from attending. So this year, I’ve bought my tickets in advance and I’ll be stocking up on vitamin C! 26th October.
I’m hoping to attend other events as well so pop back and I’ll keep you updated!
Which conventions are you attending this year? Any I missed? Which would you recommend? Let me know below.
I can’t be the only Star Wars fan who imagined building building sandcastles while sharing a glass of blue milk with Luke and Obi Wan Kenobi but these sandcastles, as showcased at the first sci-fi based sandcastle competition which opened in Dorset over the Bank Holiday weekend, take sculpture to a level out of this world!
It’s that time of year again! I’m so excited that Camp NaNoWriMo has launched in April this year, with a second camp in June. I didn’t manage to complete the November NaNoWriMo last year, the first time I’ve not completed one of their challenges since 2008 but given that real life was getting in the way, I’m not surprised. I really enjoy Camp NaNoWriMo, especially the chance to get to know fellow writers in our own cabin. In fact, some of the girls I met at camp last year are returning this year so I know I have a growing support network to keep pushing me on. This year I’m trying to kick off well, knowing that April has a tendency to get busy and considering I already have plans for two weekends out of four, I really need to keep up my daily word count (so no late nights in the office!).
This year I’m writing the third in The Vampire’s Bodyguard series, called ‘Danse Macabre’. I spent much of March editing the first and second books, called ‘Basic Training’ and ‘The Changeling’ respectively and I can say that I’m really enjoying writing (and editing!) this series. I think I need to make the main female character, Lamina Casey, a little more hoity-toity because I think she’s become a little too likeable, but then with the relaxed and caring Joe Smith to protect her, who wouldn’t drop the attitude?
I’ve not decided what to do about selling the series once I’ve finished editing ‘Basic Training’ and the other titles. I probably sound rather hoity-toity myself when I say that I firmly believe they have commercial value and could comfortably sit beside Charlaine Harris. I’m loving mixing celtic mythology with norse gods, paranormal romance with horror and each book has a significantly different feel to it, with the first book introducing the readers to the world of mythological creatures, governed and looked after by the Protectorate while the second focusses more on the fall of the sidhe. The third is more firmly in our own world (spoilers sweetie, my lips are sealed!) but I already have plans for a fourth book, tentatively titled ‘Angel Wings’.
I’ll be popping back from camp to tell you how I’m getting on so make sure you keep me fully informed of how you’re writing is coming along as well. Happy camping!
Synopsis: A millionairess invites her college friends to stay at her mansion on a deserted island for the weekend. However, it’s not long before the bodies start piling up.
Director: Fred Walton
Starring: Deborah Foreman, Griffin O’Neal and Clayton Rohner
Review: A group of rich friends celebrate the end of an era by visiting the mansion of mutual friend Muffy (Foreman). Some have known her for years, while others are new acquaintances. The house has a number of quirks which the friends all discover, from paintings whose eyes follow you around the room, to faulty light switches and collapsing chairs, all of which builds the tension. Intrigue follows supposition, with clues, murder and more than a little mayhem.
There’s a few character cliches but the friendly jokes and easy-going manner between characters draw you in, making you feel part of the group. They are a group who love to play practical jokes on each other which tempers some of the more horrific parts of the movie. However, like all friendships they can become strained under pressure and seeing the cracks form adds to the tension but it is the changes seen in Muffy which personifies the groups descent into madness.
Like a lot of 80’s horror, the musical score seems to have been kept to a minimum which I like. It also steers away from excessive gore or overt violence allowing the tension to build as each victim discovers the identity of the killer just as it’s too late.
From the beginning there are clues to the final twist. I’m not going to spoil anything but take it all in. It’s a slow build movie which allows you to enjoy the relationships and interplay between the characters as well as trying to work out who the potential killer might be.
While the fashion seems a little dated now, the script and story and ultimately the friendship of the cast, stand the test of time. Come and join the party, this April Fool’s Day.