Tag Archives: writing projects

How much did my Cat really need Saving?

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For regular viewers of my blog, you’ll remember my post singing the praises of the author help book ‘Save the Cat’. You can view the post here https://wendysteele.com/2018/11/19/are-you-ready-to-save-the-cat/

It’s a great little book of ‘beats’ to help you create a great score to hang your story words on, but how much did I really need this book? How much did I already know? How big a part should a book like this play when creating a novel?

Having already written the first draft of The Eloquent Witch, I applied the beats to it, and though some of the points weren’t in the exact order, I was there or there abouts, so the manuscript needed a good edit and tighten up…but I would have done this before publishing any way.

I’ve started the fifth book in the Lizzie Martin series, The Able Witch, twice now, using the Save the Cat beat sheet, and though the story is moving on, finally, and I can feel the magic happening in some of the scenes, I’ve not been feeling the joy. I put the book aside for a few weeks, and returned to it last week, as I had a break from teaching.

On the first day, I gave myself free rein to pick up the story and run…and I loved it! The next day I read through what I’d written, and started to get concerned I’d veered away from the sheet. I spent the day attempting to write my way back…it wasn’t a good writing day.

Day three, I spent a good few hours distracting myself with outdoor jobs (it was sunny!), digging and barrowing wood, even washing up, rather than picking up my WIP. When I did, the writing was forced.

Day four, I deleted what I’d written the day before and allowed myself to be caught up in domesticity.

Day five, Friday, I realised the problem…my characters and the story wanted to be written one way, while the beat sheet wanted me to write a different way. I was writing to fitting in what I needed to meet the requirements of the beat sheet, rather than how the characters wanted to run with the story. The struggle became a battle because I didn’t trust my own ability enough. I spent the weekend arguing with myself about it.

On Monday, I picked up my WIP, read the last chapter I’d written, made a few changes and wrote on with my hand written notes beside me. I’m not giving up on Save the Cat, but sticking to a pre-planned beat sheet of the whole book isn’t suiting me at all.

Sadly, my schedule this week isn’t going to leave much room for writing as I’m launching a new evening dance class in Aberystwyth on Thursday, as well as Tuesday and Wednesday lessons, and it’s Women’s International Day on Friday, but once I’ve established a new routine, I’ll let you know how the writing is going.

There’s no doubt Save the Cat has taught me a lot, but I’m beginning to see that my story writing/story telling, is as important as the structure.

 

 

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Cheryl Beer – author of ‘Soul Seeds’, ‘Soul Ink’ and ‘The Truth is in There’

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I met Cheryl at the storytelling event at The Botanic Gardens of Wales, and she kindly invited me to her first book fair in Llandysul, hosted by herself as Parlour Press Publishing on 29th September. Today, she shares her writing schedule and five things you may not know…

1 How do you write? Is everything plotted, planned to perfection? Do you ever change tack as you go along or always stick to a pre-made plan?

I write in free fall. I let my soul connect to my pen and leave the rest to trust. Sometimes, I don’t even know that I am writing, especially since waking up two years ago with sudden hearing loss, tinnitus and hyperacusis. I find that on awakening, I have fully formed poems, stories and songs in my head. It helped me to write them down and then I found that in actual fact, I had been recording these pearls of wisdom onto my phone in my sleep. There are literally hundreds of recordings. These have become the basis for my new books, Soul Seeds and Soul Ink and The Truth is in There.

Writing started for me even before I could write, if that makes sense. When I first started school, I was labelled a bit of a day dreamer, but actually, in my head I was writing stories and poems and little songs. Then one Monday morning in Primary School, the teacher asked us to write our Weekend News and instead, I wrote a story about a black rose growing in my garden. I was so proud of it. I remember drawing the black rose across the page with the stem and thorns intertwining with the words. Well, it got me into terrible trouble. So, my Mum took me to one side and quietly asked me to ‘just write what actually had happened at the weekend, instead of making things up’.

The following Monday, I wrote ‘We went to the social club and my Dad got drunk again.’ As you can imagine, this didn’t go down too well either. So, it seemed that neither my imagination nor the truth, were acceptable fodder for Weekend News.

In response, my beautiful Mum gave me a little notebook, within which I could write whatever I wanted and in school, I was to write whatever they wanted. I decorated the front cover of that little book and kept it in a box under my bed. Inside, it soon became filled with stories and poems. There have been very many little books under the bed since then, nurturing my passion for creative writing and subsequently publishing, because writing and books have always gone hand in hand for me.

Cheryl inside the Dylan Thomas Writing Shed at Laugharne when she was one of 9 Poets in Residence for the year of the DT100. Photograph Jeff Beer.

2 Do you have a writing ritual? Meditation, certain cup for your tea, writing trousers?

Writing is my life rather than a special occasion. It can happen anywhere at any time; scraps of paper in cafes, backs of receipts, whatever I have to hand. I have a little notebooks scattered everywhere, just in case.

3 Aside from writing, what makes you tick? Tell us 5 things about yourself we probably don’t know.

1 Helping other people to engage with creative writing. I grew up on a council estate and there were very clear messages about who became a writer, and it wasn’t us. So, I have spent a great deal of my life undoing that stereotype for marginalised communities. For instance, in 2015, I won the Gold Wales National Care Award for my work in Creative Writing and Publishing for Older People with Dementia. http://www.parlourpress.net

 

  1. I love making quirky little books and poetry pockets out of felt. I have a little lap tray and make them as a distraction for my tinnitus in the evenings. I have hundreds of them. It is always my intention to sell them and sometimes I do, but I find it hard to let them go. I like to make the little books to reflect the story or poem in them. They are an extension of the story, of my story.

 

  1. I am a volunteer storyteller at Skanda Vale Hospice. I love going there. I adapt storytelling so that it can be an inclusive, one to one experience at the bedside of those who are at the end of their life. Usually, it inspires them to tell me about their life story.

 

  1. I am fascinated by people’s life stories. And people seem to love telling them to me. Even as a child, I would stand at the bus stop waiting to go to school and know everyone’s life story by the time the bus came. I now run sound memories dementia friendly radio station which is an award winning digital story project, collecting life story. http://www.soundmemoriesradio.com

 

  1. Reading this back, I realise that my life is so immersed in writing, that the things that make me tick outside of my own writing, are associated with it. I even met the love of my life, Jeff, through writing. I auditioned for his band 32 years ago and we became collaborative songwriters before we were lovers. Incidentally, we snook off last week and secretly got married. We had poems in the ceremony. Guess who wrote them?

 

4 If you were stranded on a desert island with shelter, food and water, what 5 items would you

want with you?

I don’t really need items. I could find a stick and write in the sand. I do need Jeff, my lovely new husband and Maisy, my little King Charles Spaniel. Other than that, I can make do. It will be exciting finding out what the island has to offer.

5 On said island, what 5 books would you take and why?

I don’t think I would take any books. Once I have read a book, it stays with me for always. I don’t need to read it again. I might ask 5 friends to recommend books I haven’t found myself, so it will be a nice suprise or more likely, take 5 blank books and keep journals about my adventure on the island, press flowers in them, though it would be more exciting to make books out of banana leaves and ink from berries.

 

6 Off the island now, which famous person would you like to have dinner with?­

I have had dinner with quite a lot of famous people, when I was a touring singer/songwriter, the festivals would lay out tables for us backstage. I really was very blessed to work with the people that had been my heroes and to meet lots of wonderfully inspirational folk.

For instance, I was commissioned to write a song for Prince Charles when he opened Llanhilleth Institute and I stood right in front of him, performing it. That was pretty amazing really, that a daydreamer from the council estate could be stood in front of the Prince of Wales performing one of her songs. I don’t think I could ever have imagined that as a child. So, probably, I would like to have dinner with someone who is no longer here. To be honest, my first thought was, oh can I have dinner with my Grandad, please. He’s not famous, but he was the most beautiful human being.

 7 Your current writing projects?

Soul Seeds: Planting Heartfelt Stories

Soul Ink for the Morning

The Truth is in There

Cheryl performing on the main stage at Women in Tune. Photograph Roweena Russell.

 Fallen on Deaf Ears

A tribute album being recorded by other artists of my song archive organised by Mike Kennedy of Welsh Connection Magazine and Radio Tircoed, being released by Death Monkey Records.

 Say it in the Sand

I have composed a piece of improvised music for a collection of films made by Sean Corcoran, an amazing artist at The Art Hand on the Copper Coast, The films are part of an International Prevent Suicide Campaign, based in Ireland.

 Soul Ink Songs

I am currently working on a collection of new songs, finding new ways to perform and record as a hearing impaired person. Jeff is patiently and kindly sound engineering for me.

 Sendelica

The band Sendelica have released a limited edition 12 inch single of a remix track that I recorded with them prior to my hearing loss. It is the most amazing, far our piece of psychedelic.

 The Parlour Press Anthology

I am compiling an Anthology for the Inaugural Parlour Press Book Fayre with poets from across Wales and two international guest poets.

Sound Memories Radio

I am in R&D for  a Silent Nature project with people who have end stage dementia.

Parlour Press

I am working with a client to collate a book of the songs that define her husband’s life, to help him remember his sense of self since moving into a dementia friendly care home. He has been a folk musician and his music helps him to remember.

 

 8 Other published work and links….

Best to come to my websites …

http://www.cherylbeer.com

http://www.parlour press.net

http://www.soundmemoriesradio.com

It never ceases to amaze me that every month @ 4000 people follow my Fusion Inspire: Journey Through the Creative Mind Blog. It has had over 140,000 views.

http://www.fusioninspire.blogspot.com

Meet Cheryl, myself and a host of other authors in Llandysul 29th September.

Thank you so much for sharing, Cheryl, and I’m looking forward to 29th!

Follow me for more author interviews, writerly stuff, tried and tested plant based recipes, dance and magic.

 

 

 

The Waning Moon

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If I could choose, I’d snuggle up in my writing room from full moon to new moon.

At new moon, I’m fired up and open to ideas zipping around the universe. I take them, examine them and claim them if they’re useful. Sometimes I let them go; often I save them in case they may prove useful.

At new moon, I’m working towards. I act on new ideas. I can see where I want to be, what I want to achieve and a path to follow to get there.

At new moon, I’m fresh, vibrant and excited.

On the full moon, I give thanks – I’m here! I made it! There’s a sense of achievement, even if I’m not where I expected to be.

And then the moon begins to wane.

Louise asks Lizzie the question in The Orphan Witch:

“So the full moon isn’t necessarily the end of something? You mean while it’s waning is the time to dot the ‘I’s’ and cross the ‘T’s’ and confidently file away the past weeks?” Lizzie nods in reponse to Louise’s grasp of the concept.

I’ve completed one week of the waning moon, with another to follow before the new moon on 13th July, and I’m longing to hide on my riverbank, just me and the trickle of water over the rocks, the call of the red kite and the abundance of butterflies flitting among the brambles. Reducing the Vesuvius size pile of day-to-day, is exhausting. But there’s five days to go. I must complete what I’ve started. I must rally, summon the energy and push through to the end.

This is also my time of the month for letting go. Some tasks are challenging, some actions may not have succeeded or caused problems. Often my own doubts surface at this time of the month and cloud my vision. This weekend, on my riverbank beneath the waning moon, I’ll write down those niggles, those old stories that take away my confidence and I’ll burn them, sending them away so as not to carry them forward to the new moon.

…and then I’ll be ready for whatever the new moon has to offer….and I’ve new ideas battering my ears already; new music to dance to, new dance combinations, new lesson plans and, best of all, new stories.

For more magical musings and a FREE short story, sign up for Wendy Woo’s Round Robin here http://wendysteele.us15.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=bd3cc38cba01c2dea4a5f386f&id=6210056252

 

Blog swap – Author interview – Elaina Davidson

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avi xToday on my blog I’m interviewing author Elaina Davidson. You can find me on her blog here  http://www.elainajdavidson/blogspot.com/ Read on to find out more about her…

Elaina is a galactic and universal traveller and dreamer. When writing she puts into words her travels and dreams, because she believes there is inspiration in even the most outrageous tale.

Elaina was born in South Africa and grew up in the magical city and surrounds of Cape Town. After studying Purchasing Management and working in the formal sector as a buyer, she chose to raise and home-school her children. She started writing novels around 2002, moving from children’s stories, poetry and short stories to concentrate on larger works. She lived with her family for some time in Ireland and subsequently in New Zealand. Returned now to South Africa, she realises the vibrancy of Africa has much to do with the inspirational side of her work. Something happens daily, something to shock, something to uplift … and the colours and diversity of nature itself fires the imagination.

1 How do you write? Is everything plotted, planned to perfection? Do you ever change tack as you go along or always stick to a pre-made plan?

I start with an idea and once I have the first chapter down, the characters take over. Every single time! I have tried planning, but always the story takes its own direction. I like it that way, for I often find myself astonished by where I’m headed 

2 Do you have a writing ritual? Meditation, certain cup for your tea, writing trousers?

Not really, although I would probably die without my cup of coffee when I put my computer on in the morning. I guess that’s a bit of a ritual – making sure I have my cuppa with me when I sit down to start working. Other than that, it’s usually bed head at first before I realise it’s time to take care of myself and get to the chores.

3 Aside from writing, what makes you tick?

Silence filled with birdsong. I am absolutely in love with natural sounds and work best when that is all I hear. When I’m not writing I’m doing research, and the subjects are eclectic. Everything from ancient legends, civilisations and religions, to new scientific breakthroughs. This is personal interest, but much of what I discover has served to spark an idea for a book as well.

4 If you were stranded on a desert island with shelter, food and water, what 5 items would you want with you?

Um, that’s quite a question! Let me see. As I’ll be roughing it and thus won’t have a computer … an inexhaustible supply of paper and pencils would be first! To record everything that happens, to sketch and, of course, to write. A camera, my cat and a sunhat.

5 On said island, what 5 books would you take and why?

Lord of the Rings, to vanish into Middle Earth when kitty isn’t enough company, and any book by Steven Erikson, because he writes such complicated fantasy you end up thinking it through for days afterward. I wouldn’t mind Poppet’s The Nephilim Cartel, because there’s so much information in there it needs to be read and reread many times, and an omnibus of my Arcana series and one of my Reaume series, to remind myself I can actually write 

6 Off the island now, which famous person would you like to have dinner with?

Steven Erikson. I would so love to pick his brain to find out where his inspiration comes from.

7 Your current writing projects?

The second volume in the Lore of Reaume series (The Nemisin Star) has just been published, and now I’m editing the third book (The Sleeper Sword) for January release. I’m also currently writing a short story for an anthology my publishers, Thorstruck Press, will be releasing in December. I’m quite excited about that; a bunch of us are writing a story based on the theme ‘Castle Drakon’ and it seems we’re each of us going in different directions and that is always fun to read!

My Links

FB Author page: http://www.facbook.com/ElainaJDavidsonAuthor
Book pages: http://www.facebook.com/LoreOfArcana and http://www.facebook.com/LoreofReaume
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B005WUAIWS
Blog: http://www.elainajdavidson/blogspot.com/

The epic battle continues between the Enchanter and the Darak Or. Margus and Torrullin are two faces on the same coin; no matter how opposite they are they remain even, except Margus has no qualms in using Torrullin’s son for his agenda. Tymall is the dark twin, whereas as Tristamil is the light. Yet they cannot clash despite needing to, despite desperate to be free of their symbiosis.

Torrullin returns to Valaris – to a war already fought. After dragging the Darak Or across time and space to battle it out elsewhere, he discovers his world cannot avoid another round of terror. In a golden city there is temple raised from vision and on one night every year a star shines through the aperture overhead. This is a connection to the world of Nemisin, the first homeworld. In this place where stars meet Torrullin must choose life or death for his sons.

As the universe searches for the Light in all its brilliance, seeking peace, Torrullin begins to see himself as a prince among demons. Torrullin returns to Valaris to save his family, his people, his world and his soul … and chooses to change the rules. Death, after all, is not an end. Too many lives have been lost because the Enchanter has a nemesis. Too many hearts have been broken. Sometimes the only way to find peace, is to lose yourself

The Nemisin Star Final smlhttp://www.amazon.co.uk/Nemisin-Star-Lore-Reaume-Book-ebook/dp/B00OV81JD4/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1415010311&sr=1-1&keywords=the+nemisin+star

http://www.amazon.com/Nemisin-Star-Lore-Reaume-Book-ebook/dp/B00OV81JD4/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1415010387&sr=1-1&keywords=the+nemisin+star

Thank you Elaina for joining me today…you would love it on our Welsh riverbank, sitting in the dappled shade, listening to the birds and watching out for the kingfisher. Good luck with all your writing.

Author interview – Annette Mardis

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Happy Monday! Today I’m interviewing author Annette Mardis on my blog. photo As a girl, Annette dreamed of being an astronaut, but she stank at science and math and became motion sick riding the bus home from school. So she went with her second choice—newspaper journalist—and stuck with it for more than three decades. After years of ignoring well-meaning people who said, “You should write a book,” she finally did. And then she wrote a few more. When she’s not working, Annette usually has her nose in someone else’s novel or her gaze glued to sports on TV. She has three totally spoiled pets, enjoys being the designated sightseer on her husband’s Harley, and volunteers at Clearwater Marine Aquarium, home of diva dolphins Winter and Hope from the Dolphin Tale films. Read on to find out more about this author…

1 How do you write? Is everything plotted, planned to perfection? Do you ever change tack as you go along or always stick to a pre-made plan? I’m a seat-of-the-pants writer. Sometimes I’m not even sure where I’m going until I get there. I also lie in bed at night and work out the plot and even individual scenes. I’m also pretty good at self-editing, so I do revisions as I go along.
2 Do you have a writing ritual? Meditation, certain cup for your tea, writing trousers? No. I’m a former newspaper reporter and editor, and working in a newsroom is a lot like trying to concentrate in the middle of a train station. So I learned to just sit down and get to it, no matter what else is going on. Not feeling well? Too bad. Deadlines won’t wait. It’s either produce or do something else for a living. I think that discipline serves me well now. I do need to sit where I can put my feet up, so I usually take my laptop to the living room couch or the massage chair in my sunroom. My dogs often are barking and my bird is screeching, so conditions are never ideal. But I don’t need to lock myself in a quiet room to write.
3 Aside from writing, what makes you tick? I love my husband, my family, and my pets. I’m a big sports fan, especially NASCAR, baseball, and football. I enjoy being the “designated sightseer” on the back of my husband’s Harley. I also volunteer at Clearwater Marine Aquarium and love talking about marine life, especially dolphins, and conservation with guests.
4 If you were stranded on a desert island with shelter, food and water, what 5 items would you want with you? A phone, lantern, extra batteries, knife, and, oh yeah, a boat.

5 On said island, what 5 books would you take and why? A survival guide for obvious reasons; a Bible for inspiration and comfort; a dictionary to study to pass the time; a journal to record my thoughts; and a romance novel because I enjoy them.

6 Off the island now, which famous person would you like to have dinner with? Former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords (and her husband, Mark Kelly) because of their service to our country and because they’ve worked so hard to overcome the crazed actions of a would-be assassin. She’s a model of courage and persistence.
7 Your current writing projects? I’m working on Shore to Please, book 3 in my Gulf Shore contemporary romance series. I’ve also written a middle grades children’s book that I need to do more work on before I start another round of submissions to agents and publishers.

HRtheshorething

The Shore Thing, Book 1 in the Gulf Shore series — Danielle Dani”Davidson vows to just say no to workplace romances after her first post-college job is soured by a messy breakup with a manipulative coworker at a fish hatchery. That’s just one reason she doesn’t trust any man with her heart, let alone one who swims with sharks for a living. So why can’t she get cameraman Evan Sanders out of her mind?

Evan is twice shy, too, after an alluring but self-absorbed colleague at Gulf Shore Aquarium takes a bite out of his heart. Thought he’s dead set against dating anyone else he works with, he’s intrigued by Dani’s shyness and tempted by her intelligence and low-key sexiness.

Sharks, a stingray and an orphaned baby dolphin help bring them together, but will Dani’s inhibitions and Evan’s career aspirations ultimately tear them apart?

HRshorefeelsright

Shore Feels Right, Book 2 in the Gulf Shore series — Once a pariah among her coworkers, marine biologist Monica Sims has spent months reinventing herself as she seeks redemption. A history of failed relationships leaves her leery of romantic involvement until she meets Cosby Williams, the new co-owner of Nauti-Toys watercraft rentals.
As things heat up between them, Gulf Shore Aquarium responds to the stranding of a group of pilot whales. When a billionaire bachelor lends his private plane to the rescue effort, Monica catches his eye — and an obsession is born.
How will she cope with the unwanted attention? And will her past sins come back to doom her newfound happiness with Cosby?

Money's Worth Cover (2) (697x960) (697x960) (697x960)

Getting Her Money’s Worth — Life often has been unkind, and sometimes cruel, to Allie Charles, and she’s determined not to be shortchanged and to live in the moment whenever possible.

She and close pal Shelby Martin want many of the same things: romance, fun, good friends and satisfying work. After meeting on a softball field on a frigid fall evening, they enjoy many adventures together: watching the piranha feeding at the National Aquarium; overturning their canoe in the deepest, blackest part of a river; getting stuck thigh high in mud on a golf course water hazard; winning tacky prizes at skee ball machines in Ocean City, Md.

Only one woman will see her heart’s desires fulfilled, while the other faces the biggest challenge of her life. This touching, poignant and funny story will make you laugh, cry and go for the gusto in your own life.

Thank you Annette Mardis for sharing your books and those things that are important in your life apart from writing.

Contact Annette

Website: http://www.annettemardis.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorAnnetteMardis
Twitter: @AnnetteMardis48
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Annette-Mardis/e/B00E5UHPMM/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/dashboard
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/annettemardis/
Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/Shelbypie
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=221177296&trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile_pic
Google+ https://plus.google.com/+AnnetteMardis/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nx6WNGA94bQ