Great West door of Westminster Abbey
Christmas Eve and the presents are still to be wrapped! CreativeWritingMatters HQ might have floodwater lapping at the door any minute now but I'm putting all my worries aside with the aid of a cup of tea and promise of something stronger when I've done with the wrapping. Well done M&S for providing a grid on the back of the paper to guide my scissors in a straight line. That's a giant leap forward for humanity, isn't it?
I attended the Lessons and Carols at Westminster Abbey yesterday, hence the photos. A special well done to the chorister who sang so beautifully the solo of Once in Royal David's City which began the service.
Happy Christmas to everyone and a healthy, prosperous and dry 2013!
Click to enlarge
I'm wondering if the collective noun for writers could be a 'lunch'. I'm sure there have been other suggestions and maybe there is even an official term. I'd love to know what it was.
Here is the South West Chapter of the Romantic Novelists' Association about to tuck into a very good lunch at the City Gate in Exeter. Writing is for the most part an extremely solitary occupation but once writers leave their caves, much jolly socialising takes place. In fact, it's fair to say, they make up for lost time.
I (third nearest, left) went to see The Hobbit afterwards with Su Bristow (nearest left) and Margaret James (next to Su). A formative book of my childhood, when thinking about it, I am straight back in the classroom sitting cross-legged on the floor during story time. I wondered how on earth they would make three films out of a shorter and slighter book than Lord of the Rings, but I can see it will be fine. I was thrilled to be back in Middle-Earth. New Zealand, Howard Shore's score, the casting - all fab. The battles are too long but hey, they'll please the majority of the audience.
I've been woefully bad at writing Christmas cards, so if anyone reading this feels aggrieved that I haven't sent them one, I do apologise!
Danny Milne, me, Debra Westlake and Janet Sharp.
Here's me with the prize-winners of the Paignton Writers Circle competition at Churston Golf Club yesterday. Congratulations to them and all the other entrants. We enjoyed an excellent lunch and then read the winning poems and stories.
I was very impressed by the standard of writing in the group generally. My thanks to all of them for being so friendly and welcoming.
I'm experimenting with a new logo. I like the font, which is the same as the header above, but I wanted something narrower as well. Maybe Sophie and Margaret will say 'Yuck!' Your comments would be invaluable.
Tomorrow I'm off to Paignton to present the trophies to the winners of the Paignton Writers Circle competition. I've taken the judging very seriously and have enjoyed reading all the entries. Decisions have been made and now I'm really looking forward to revealing the winners.
The short story course filled up in record time. I will be organising another one very soon and will keep you all posted. Jane Holland's workshop is booking quickly. Trust me, this will be a very useful, informative and entertaining workshop. Go HERE.
Dartmouth in December
Yesterday couldn't have been more beautiful for my trip down to Dartmouth. I was delighted to have been asked to lead a workshop by the good writing folk of the town and we had, in my opinion, a very fruitful and enjoyable time. I talked too much as usual and went on too long, but they didn't seem to mind. Thanks to Lindsay for hosting and dropping me off in Totnes, which has hardly changed at all since I was a student at Dartington many decades ago.
My tea-shop of choice back then is still there and didn't disappoint. It features in my latest novel too. I imaged my happy couple sitting at the table by the window and chomping through large slices of Devon apple cake. Except Beth wasn't that happy. She knew that the love of her life had an unopened letter in his pocket that might change the course of their future together. Oh dear. Will we ever find out? I hope so, and still have all my fingers and toes crossed that my novel will be published one day.
If you write about a relationship, sooner or later, your lovers will probably want to have sex. They will! Honestly! They usually do it more than once as well. And if not that couple, then another. Of course, you might decide that you don't want to provide your reader with intimate details but what is enough? What is merely embarrassing or laughable? Jane Holland, until recently Executive Editor for Embrace Books, will be leading a workshop on writing about sex for CreativeWritingMatters on February 2nd. Go HERE
There's only one place left on my short story course beginning on January 11th. It's booked up really quickly! Go HERE if you would like that last place.
PS. It would be really brilliant if you clicked on the Twitter or Facebook 'like' button. Thank you!
What they did next...
Scroll down to find out about our previous winners.