Random Ramblings of a Writer Blog

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Wild Wednesday – Bank Vole

Yesterday was so overcast that we gave up looking for anything exciting to photograph and started making our way back to the car for a coffee when this little fella popped out of his home to say hello. I only spotted him because the ground was uneven and I was watching where to put my feet. This little bank vole is no more than two inches long and the cutest rodent you’ll ever find. His home is under tree roots and when he first met my gaze he watched me take a few shots before scurrying away. To my surprise,...

Taking Inpsiration from famous writers 0

Taking Inspiration from Famous Writers

Earlier this week I read a fascinating article about Ian Fleming’s wartime mistress Maud Russell, a fashionable society hostess, who was seventeen years his senior.  The bulk of the article is made up of excerpts from her personal diary, which was written during WW II; and one of the things that struck a chord with me is how often she mentions that Fleming is tired.  At the time Fleming worked for the Admiralty in the Intelligence Corp, was involved in a multitude of meetings with top-rank officials and undoubtedly feeling the pressures of war. Russell writes of Fleming, ‘He is...

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Wild Wednesday – Common Lizard

The boardwalk at Thursley Common and Elstead Moat is one of my favourite places to walk and take photos. In summer the boardwalk is teaming with basking lizards of all ages. I’ve seen young lizards smaller than my little finger and mature lizards ranging in colour from brown through to a wonderful iridescent green. Frighten them and they’ll lose the end of their tails (which grow back again) and any sudden vibration, or a shadow falling across their faces, will have them scuttling for cover. I was really surprised to come across this little fella on Monday, 13th March, as...

write what you know 0

Write what you know – make the rest up

There’s a long-standing premise that as writers we’re supposed to write about subjects we have a fair amount of interest in or knowledge of. This doesn’t mean that we have to write stories about ‘the day job,’ because, trust me, a blow by blow account of what I do for a living would make for a pretty dull read. What it does mean is that we use the knowledge acquired through our day job or hobbies to enrich our writing. Researching an unfamiliar subject is much easier now that we have the internet. The trouble is that when we actively...

Swan at Frensham Pond 0

Wild Wednesday – Swan on Frensham Little Pond

I quite often visit Frensham Little Pond to photograph the wildlife and mull over the plot of my current novel in progress, Murder in the Meadow. One day the two guys I was with helped out by enacting a car chase scene, each one being a car and running along the track then bumping into each other to work out how the cars would move and what might happen. Passers-by thought we were totally bonkers as we argued, discussed and got quite heated over the details. “It’s okay, she’s a writer!” they explained, which resulted in smiles and various pleasant...

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Short Story Success

As a writer it’s easy to get into the doldrums and believe that your work simply isn’t good enough to stand out amongst the crowd. If you have a book out there it’s uplifting to receive a five star review because it affirms that what you’ve written is readable and enjoyable. Your work gave someone pleasure, so much so that they took the time to reward you. When your readers are busy reading and not feeling like pressing the ‘rate this book’ button, then you need to explore other roads for encouragement. This is why I tried my hand at...

How a negative ritique can provide useful feedback 2

How a negative critique can provide useful feedback

After last week’s rant about negative and unhelpful feedback on creative writing, I thought I’d show you how to mine for diamonds in amongst the dross. In my critique group we read our work to each other, and this is the format that many creating writing groups choose because it’s interactive and offers an opportunity for constructive discussion. Group Dynamics: the Soul of Critique Every writer is respected no matter what their level of expertise Every project has worth. Every reader’s opinion is valid. Critique techniques will: Help the author distinguish what was conveyed versus what was meant Find strengths...

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Why I’ve been AWOL

I’ve been absent without leave and I expect you’ve been wondering why. In short, my website fell to bits! You see, the thing is, I’m a writer, and all of the writing experts constantly remind me that as a writer I need to hone my world-building skills. World-building sounds rather grand but what they’re referring to is my ability to create a sense of place within my stories. Where does the action happen? In a city with bright lights, in a mystical garden inhabited by white unicorns or a futuristic landscape with two moons shining throughout the night? I need...