Category Archives: writing

Let’s Nanowrimo again, redux.


Yes, I’m doing it again, again. And this time I will succeed, I will write a novel in one month. So help me Nisaba! (It seems appropriate to invoke Nisaba as she is the Goddess of writing.) I am tackling “Something Rich and Strange”. It’s lain fallow for long enough, now is the time to get it down only paper. I’m still not entirely sure of the plot: will I include a modern character, who was the original inspiration for the story, or will I stick to the WWI plot? Who knows? It’s seat of the pants time! This could be fun or it could be terrible. Join me to find out which.


I went to a creative writing course recently, held in Denman College. Denman is in the village of Marcham in Oxfordshire and belongs to the Women’s Institute. Being the WI, of course there are lots of cooking, craft and flower arranging courses. But they also run a lot of “lifestyle” courses, and writing is part of that category. The course I went there for was “characters come first”, run by Chrissie Hall.

I’ve taken a course run by Chrissie before and she is wonderful! She’s an enthusiastic, helpful and supportive cheerleader for would-be writers. I took my fledgling idea for “Something Rich and Strange” and came away with a plot outline, a cast of characters and a definite idea of what I want to do. It is not the same story as the one I originally thought of, when I was going to “do” Nanowrimo a while back. (The one for which I made the banner below.) But it’s a far better story and I am raring to get on with it!

So far I have worked out the whole thing, to 12 and a half A4 pages. I’m now working on creating the characters and more closely plotting the chapters. The photo above is one from my collection, of a family taken in WWI. They are my inspiration, along with Chrissie’s invaluable support. This time I may just make it to the end. Wish me luck!

P.S. Oh yes, Cantre’r Gwaelod is included in the story.

Research getting out of hand!

I’m researching the Camp Fire Girls for a book I’ve decided to write. Yes, a novel. Shelving the Novel for a while and writing a novel instead. (Note the capital and small letters.) It’s to be called “Lone Guide Nesta” and is a school story set in the 1920’s. Nesta goes to a small boarding school, aged 16, after the death of her last parent. To her horror, the school is based along Kibbo Kift ideals as the two elderly headmistresses have a son/nephew in that organisation. She thinks it’s something of a “crank” school, especially as there are no Guides at the school, only the Camp Fire.

Nesta is a keen Guide and she decided to become a Lone Guide. Encounters with her classmates make her realise that the two are not in competition. However, she decides not to join the Camp Fire,though she is invited to attend meetings and the monthly camp fire.

So, I’ve been doing research and getting tangled up in side issues. It’s all too easy to go down one path and then be led along another. I ended up looking at the websites of girls’ groups that have recently sprung up in the US, as alternatives to the Girl Scouts. It’s all very fascinating, but has nothing to do with 1920’s Britain. I can see a National Library reader’s ticket in my future!

Homework and Zombies!

I had to write a short story based on a piece of freewriting, for the creativity class tomorrow. But I hate, loathe and detest freewriting. To begin with, I can’t handwrite quickly for more than a few minutes at a time. And certainly not long enough to write anything that could be used later. So I cheated, and didn’t do the freewrite!

I suppose what I did was freewrite in my head. I find that if my hands are busy with the washing up, then my mind is free to wander about all over the place. I often come up with characters, plots etc. while I’m scrubbing the pots. And this time, I came up with a zombie story. The freewrite prompt was “After the door shut” and it just all came tumbling out!

The story is called “The Ones You Leave Behind” and I decided to give myself the target limit of 1,500 words. Any more and it would not work, any less and ditto. 1,500 was just enough. I wrote some of it last night and then finished it just now. And I’m quite pleased with it. I wonder how they’ll take it in class tomorrow. I’ve already got a bit of a reputation for being the one who likes to take the morbid and creepy side.

Only two more weeks left of class after tomorrow. I’ll miss them.