Wednesday, 30 March 2011

ROW80 and a new outlook

Towards the end of round 1 I started doing a lot of thinking. I realised my blog is my public platform and while it's great having support from other writers I need to think about "general reader." General reader will be deterred from my ups and downs of a wip, general reader doesn't need to know my private life, everything I do on this blog affects how my writing and my newsletter are perceived. It is also a representation of the end product whether that's my novellas or my poetry collections. It's high time I become more professional.

It's too easy to post my poetry on the blog so as of now my poetry stays offline and I will be back to actually submitting to markets and building a writing career. I'll be reverting back to the old notebook and pen method to chart my ups and downs and problem solving with writing.

Now for my ROW80 round 2 goals. As I'm still studying, I'll be aiming to write between 100-500 words on Tuesday nights on my novella Shroud of Death and will check in on Wednesday's only.

Best of luck to everyone with their goals and look forward to catching up with you all.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Review - Houses Without Doors by Peter Straub

This short story collection by Peter Straub deals with themes of child corruption, secrets and those events rooted in the past that forever remain with us. It takes the door off peoples houses and shows the reader what really goes on inside 4 brick walls.

Both Blue Rose and The Juniper Tree are uncomfortable stories to read. Blue Rose looks at the dysfunctional family, in-family bullying and the exercise of power of an older brother over a younger brother, a particularly lengthy scene between these two brothers had me squirming. In The Juniper Tree an adult looks back on his child self who fell into the clutches of a pedophile during a trip to the movie theater.

A Short Guide To The City takes the reader on tour of a nameless city showing them the sites and dark spots. While an interesting idea this one was a little thin for my liking.

The Buffalo Hunter looks at a man who lies to his colleagues about his life. He begins losing himself in the world of books and develops an obsession with baby bottles. It's the weirdest story I've ever read and I loved it.

Something About A Death, Something About A Fire is a story about a clown and a mysterious black cab. I didn't get on with this one it was a bit vague.

Mrs God is an interesting story of an American man who goes to an english manor house to study the poetry and writing of a distant relative. On arriving at the house it is clear that no-one and nothing is what it appears to be. It's a good story but I felt like there was too many things being thrown into the pot.

The main stories are broken up with short interludes which I felt didn't serve any real purpose than to pad the book out

Overall its a decent collection with some great stuff in it and its worth reading just for The Buffalo Hunter.

Rating 3/5

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Last ROW80 check in and bonus poem

Seeing as I've spent most of the day thinking it's Thursday anyway and awhile ago I designated Thursday night as my do nothing night I'm doing the last check in tonight.

Thinking back over row80 as always when I first start something I got off to a pretty good start even though the word count was low and I was reacquainting myself with writing fiction again and was starting from 1st base despite the years I'd written short fiction for.

Things started to go wrong when I started changing my goals, each new attempt kept me going for a few days then I'd hit a bump that would flip me high in the air and drop me back but way off course.

I'm still bemused by March being so unproductive, there are two months in the year where I expect that I won't get anything done and they are generally February and November.

Learning wise, I've kept going in a roundabout manner. I've lost that fear of putting work aside and knowing that I'll never come back to. I can come back to it and the words will always be there. I'm losing that fear of never being able to finish something I've started and a ton of other stuff I can't think of right now.

Over the last couple of days I finished Assignment 2 and finished the replacement prologue for Shroud Of Death.

I'm going to say goodbye and special thanks to all the row80 writers for the community.


The photographer studied the graffiti
through his viewfinder, he paced back and forth
left and right until the alignment was just right.
He peered over the top of the camera getting one last look
at the word painted on the red brick wall.

He assumed from the crudeness that a child
had stood on tips toes outlining the word
with a brush dipped in black paint, then coloured
in the H O P and E white. The child had then painted
a thick purple border around its masterpiece.

Hope one word that says it all
in a rundown part of London
where children play in the streets
in filthy trainers and clothes too big
for their small frames hemmed in
by council estates and rubbish bags
piled on street corners.

One word Hope is all the photographer
needs as he takes the shot.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Copyright Infringement On A Sunday Morning

The first thing I discovered when I logged onto twitter this morning is that someone had taken it upon themselves to post my poem Forgotten Victim to their blog in its entirety without my permission.

I've left a comment asking for it to be removed. I no longer submit my work to non-paying markets and I am not actively submitting my work at the moment. Certain words in the poem are also linking to 3rd party advertisers and this use of my work would certainly not constitute fair use.

The offending website is here and I would urge everyone to check that their work is also not being posted without their permission and for a fellow writer to be so slap dash with another authors work is just unbelievable and unprofessional.

You can only use 10% of an authors work before permission is needed. I respect an authors work which is why I also pay contributors to Dark Metre and offer a contract.

I've taken all necessary screen shots in case I need to take this matter further which I am prepared to do.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

A Round Of Words - Check-in 20

Going to keep it short as I've pretty much done bugger all since Friday. I'm still trying to coax my what sometimes feels like a 60 year old woman's brain into its new routine and generally feeling run down this week. All in all March has been pretty poor where productivity's concerned. Maybe I lost my motivation somewhere between the changing seasons or the muse forgot to tell me she was off to somewhere exotic to gather more material.

I did finally back my system up so I'm going to call that productive.

Hope everyones well.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

A Round Of Words - Check-in 19

Again, after switching back to study mode I'm still trying to clamber back on to the wagon. I was hoping to finish the assignment yesterday but I've hit a bit of a block for the last two poems I need to write. It will be done and emailed off today. The delay has also put me behind on my rewrites for assignment 1.

Since the last check in, I've evaluated poems 3 and 4.
Friday night, I finally hit delete on the original prologue of Shroud and added about 120 words to the new prologue to get it back on course.

Areas I really need to focus on:
Rewrites from Assignment 1 (about 4 left)
Read and critique more poetry from Staying Alive
Pace myself better.

See how the rest of the participants are doing:

Friday, 11 March 2011

The Friday 56 - The Turn Of The Screw by Henry James

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56.
*Find any sentence that grabs you.
*Post it.
*Link it here.

It's that simple.

My selection this week is from The Turn Of The Screw by Henry James

It was a pity that, somehow, to settle this once for all, I had equally to re-enumerate the signs of subtlety that, in the afternoon, by the lake had made a miracle of my show of self-possession.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

A Round Of Words - Check-in 18

Thanks to everyone for commenting on my last check-in. I appreciate the writing community and support from you guys, much of writing is about working blind in a cave sometimes and I'm loathe to leave things hanging.

My new revised goals are to study 5 out of 7 days and work on Shroud one night, giving myself a night off. The current schedule can be read here. I'll be revising it all again on Sunday in preparation for section 3 of my course module. I'm hoping to use Thursday night to start getting some exercise back into my life as well.

I also spent some time today fleshing out the plot for novella 6 (which could be my most hardcore horror one yet) and getting to grips with my antagonists outfit for novella 2.

It's time to start crossing the finish line with everybody.

Monday, 7 March 2011

New Game plan

Ok switching back to full time study mode before I get any more bogged down and to incorporate those essential extra curriculum activities that will test and improve my learning.

This will take me up to Sunday when I'll plan for the following week. I am also extremely reluctant to leave Shroud sitting at the halfway mark, I hate the in progress folder on my hard drive. I'll be studying five days a week, working on Shroud one day a week and give myself one night off.

I'll replace my current To Do page over the weekend.

Day by Day activities:

Tuesday - Evaluate last two poems written for assignment
Read and critique one poem from staying alive
write and evaluate poem for assignment
Thursday - night off but will probably do some general reading
Friday - Work on new prologue for Shroud to fix boo-boo
Saturday - Last poem to write and evaluate for assignment. Submit assignment
Sunday - rewrite sound incorporating feed back and title
Evaluate rewritten version of sound
Read and evaluate one poem from staying alive
Begin section 3 coursework
Plan following weeks activities
Listen to poetry please

Sunday, 6 March 2011

A Round Of Words - Check-in 17

I'm loathe to drop out of ROW80 but working on a novella and studying in my spare time is not letting me really focus on what I need to be doing. I fell of the wagon this last week after trying to switch back over to studying. Got stumped on the assignment and missed my deadline.

There are huge amounts of reading, analysing and rewriting to do for my course and with Shroud in the way I can't devote my energies. So I'm switching back over to studying and only studying, I just hope Shroud will survive the desertion.

Guidelines are that I should be putting in at least 8 hours a week for my studying and this time allotment doubles for the higher level modules.

I'm going to clear the current module out the way which will take around 4 months and hopefully finish Shroud before starting the next module which covers poetic forms in more detail.

Hope everyones doing well

Website Updates

Monthly round up of website updates and other tidbits:

You can now follow me on Good Reads
Horror Poets updated
Writing Reflections updated
Heart Of Darkness review added
Issue 2 of Dark Metre now online
Teasers updated
Writing prompts updated

Recent blog posts you may have missed:
Review - We Have Always Lived In The Castle by Shirley Jackson
The Friday 56 - We Have Always Lived In The Castle by Shirley Jackson
A Round Of Words - Check in 16
My horror poem Sand Man

Have a great weekend all

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Review - We Have Always Lived In The Castle by Shirley Jackson

Synopsis: 2 sisters live alone in the family home with their sick uncle. The equilibrium of their lives is upset when their cousin comes to visit.

Review: We Have Always Lived in the Castle feels like a gothic fairytale. The 1st person narration tells the story from the eyes of an outsider feared by the local villagers. The narrator Mary Katherine is extremely likeable despite her kookiness and flights of fancy, the books opening lines drag us right into her mind.

Much of the sisters lives are steeped in upholding family traditions and customs and sticking rigidly to routine. The fear and suspicion of the villagers builds throughout the story to its hysterical climax changing the sisters lives forever.

This can be read as a simple story or you can unpick its many complexities. I was gripped by the book and sympathising with the two sisters despite the wrongs they were accused of.

Rating: 4/5

Friday, 4 March 2011

The Friday 56 - We Have Always Lived In The Castle by Shirley Jackson

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56.
*Find any sentence that grabs you.
*Post it.
*Link it here.

It's that simple.

I'm reading this one at the moment and loving it so far.I expect I'll have the review up in the next few days.

It's We Have Always Lived In The Castle by Shirley Jackson

I had been sent to bed without any supper, I had not been allowed in the courtroom, no one had taken my picture.