Monday, 12 April 2010

Birds, castles, editing, reading and writing:

Ok I'm back from my Easter holiday with family which was spent at home. So where to begin:

Basically I spent the first weekend helping Mum do a lot of house work, tidying, cleaning, re-organising, sorting stuff for a car boot sale and whilst having a nasty little cough with a big blocked nose and a large tissue box never being far from reach. So come Easter Sunday I spent the day struggling to read the books I'd brought amongst lots of sneezing. Come Easter Monday though I felt a bit better, was too tired after a bad nights sleep with blocked nose to help Mum at car boot sale but I did have strength and stamina left to help her load the car 3 times full of stuff to drive to skip and chuck.

Yet there were a few nice highlights to my very busy week at home helping Mum run and look after the house hold. And that is it gave me chance to spend ages sat at the kitchen window watching birds feed on fat balls hanging on our crab apple tree in the garden. Waiting for the elusive woodpecker Mum swears she's seen feeding on it yet it never showed when I was watching - typical.

A little BlueTit and a greedy Starling


A Chaffinch and one clever or foolish Sparrow reaching up on branch tip to peck at fat ball.

I also witnessed another piece of country side bird life action in that of 2 male pheasant cocks having a squabble in the field directly opposite the house. I only noticed them when I spotted a black cat slinking through the grass closer but when they started fighting it got bored and wandered off. Here's the 34 seconds of exclusive footage I managed to capture of their fighting display.

video

I also had the lucky chance to go with Mum, an Auntie and her carer also called Rebecca to the pleasant town of Helmsley on a beautiful sunny Thursday afternoon. So I got to see the grand ruins of Helmsley Castle that I last visited when I was really young and Dad brought me here with my siblings to see a 16th century sword fight.


A post card tells me that the castle was begun in 1120 by Walter Espec 'Walter the Woodpecker'. A Norman baron renowned for piety and soldiering. He also founded the nearby Revaulx Abbey and Kirkham Priory.

Yet somehow amongst my busy week I did manage to at long last do some editing! Went all the way through Valkyrian Ventures 'Trouble After Midnight' and edit, re-write and cut out. Suprisingly mainly dialogue both between characters and Jenny and the reader as I came across a phrase in one of the many bloggers I follow (I believe it was the Publishing Guru - look him up in the long list down the bottom right side) that said "first person narratives are tricky as they can often talk at the reader than to the reader". This I felt was becoming the case the more I re-read the draft as there were many occasions where when Jenny wasn't in conversation she was politely 'wittering' away AT the reader giving really non-essential hints, clues and private giveaways on what was happening and being said. So I cut a lot of that nonesense stuff out which made it much more concise in dialogue and the character a lot more interesting as she wasn't acting on a rather close level with the reader and maintained some distance between them and her. Just VV Part 3 to edit and to continue work on VV Part 4.

                                                           
I've also just finished reading the amazingly funny and catchy story behind the hit 3D movie 'How to Train Your Dragon'. I can now understand why the poor lad before me in the que to meet Cressida Cowell at the Jorvik Festival 2010 was grilling her on why Toothless wasn't very small. Because to put it simply the plot in the book and some of the characters in the book are very different and some don't even appear in the movies interpretation. But on the whole it is a very good different story of how Hiccup and Toothless could become famous heroes withouth Toothless being small and without Hiccup knowing Dragonese.  But both book and film are equally good in their own right so both should be watched and read to fully emerse yourself in the world of vikings and dragons - tales that will be enjoyed by both young and old.

Also I have recently been brave and bold by spreading my writing wings and joining a a local creative writing group set up and led by Stephen May (author and playwright) in Halifax's Square Chapel. I attended my first meeting this past sunny Saturday and was thrilled to bits immediatly upon attendance when I spotted a pair of Kestrels fly out screeching 'keee-keee' to each other from the very impressive steeple of the church next door.
Another thing that suprised me was how small the group turned out to be - just me and 4 women and 3 men. All typically older than me but I didn't hold out much hope for anyone around my age attending as it isn't in the style of my generation to openly attend events for when you're younger than me you treat writing more like a hobby than anything serious. Yet it was very good though as Stephen was very nice and welcoming to all. He led us through some interesting exercises such as 5 minutes none stop writing time as a 'warm up', write your biographg in exactly 50 words (made you realise what events n details are necessary to mention and what aren't) and then writing events from our parents past (made us realise the difference in age we all were although one woman was from Former Yugoslavia so she had some dramatic stories to tell from both her parents side and her own) and writing about moments from our own lives in second person which proved interesting as it showed the distance between reader and character.
One very suprising thing was that one woman called Maggie Handlsey has actually already had a book published, in 2008 in fact by the title of 'Waiting for the Other Shoe' and the woman from Former Yugoslavia had read her book as part of her own run reading group so a lot of excited fan talk came from that side of the table.
It was all very interesting and good fun to do with other writers so I immediatly booked myself in the group next weekend and when I get paid the week after this I will pay myself onto the other 10 or 11 weeks or so of the rest of the course.

So the message for today is - feed the birds they all need a helping hand, look out for your own local pieces of history be it monument or building, go see 'How to Train Your Dragon' in 3D or read the book to your kids and grandchildred (ages 12 and under) and find out if there are any writing groups near you (particularly ones led by authors) so you can learn new skills and meet new writing friends.

1 comment:

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