Monday, 18 July 2016

Wrtiing a story with a twist at Woman's Weekly

On Friday 8 July I went to London Bridge to a Woman's Weekly workshop on how to write a story with a twist ending. I went because I had no idea how to write one or where to get ideas for one.

The two presenters were Fiction Editor, Gaynor Davies, and author, Della Galton.

Della said that twist endings mustn't be predictable or contrived eg character winning the lottery, or having an aunt giving them an inheritance.

She gave us a list of dos and don'ts for these stories. One do is that the story has to build up to the twist.

We had an exercise in the morning, to write an outline for a story. I thought of a story I had in mind to write for another magazine. So I wrote a twist outline for that. I also got an idea for another twist story which I wrote down and will probably write another time. Once time was up, we were asked to read them out loud. My heart went fast at this and for one moment I thought I was going to faint, but I was OK in the end and read out my outline, which was said was good.

Della then read a story in the WW Summer Special (which I later bought and read), which gave me the idea for the twist ending of my story.

You can write an outline for a story which has lots of possible endings. The character and conflict of the story has to be at the start.

We were given a list of types of 'Twists'.

We were given another exercise to write the ending of our story then read it out. I offered to read mine first, to get it out of the way. Was told it was good. During the day, Gaynor told me I am learning. Praise indeed.

I really enjoyed this workshop. It gave me another idea for a twist story for a story that I have already written. I did ask if I could resubmit a story with another ending, and Gaynor said yes, as long as it's not too regonisable. So that is what I plan to do.

I am working on a story for WW now, not a twist one, a normal one, but I plan to rewrite this and send it to another magazine as a twist, which I have worked out.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Me, Asperger's and travelling

The other day I posted on Facebook that I went to Bromley on my own. I got comments saying I was a good daughter because it was mainly to get ice cream for my mum. I am now posting to let people know how it was a big deal for me. I have been to Bromley before, but never on my own, it has always been with my mum. Mum said to me that when I go shopping with her I have always followed her like I have since I was a child. So true, I do do that. Mum hasn't been well this past month with possibly a UTI that knocked her energy and she was getting low on her dairy-free ice cream. The only place we can get it is in Waitrose at Bromley. First of all I said I didn't really want to go on my own, but got thinking that I have already been to Croydon, Charing X and Holborn on my own, so I could do Bromley if I knew where the bus ended up going. Once I set my mind to do a thing, it is part of that day's routine. Mum told me where the bus went and I made a mental note of this when I was on the bus. So, I went to Bromley, which involved getting 2 buses there, and 2 back. A lot of social energy used up. I got there, only to find they had one tub of ice cream, which I got.

So, I felt proud of myself, and Mum did too. I now feel that as I have done this once, I can do it again if I have to.

Mum is still unwell this week, so my brother is taking me shopping today.

Thursday, 30 June 2016

My series 'The Rainbow School'

Work is coming along very nicely with my series 'The Rainbow School' the first in my new brand brand Asperkids. I have finished the first draft of the third book, and started the second draft where I have been adding scenes that I forgot to put in the first time around. Meanwhile, I have met with an illustrator, Rachel Lawston, to discuss about covers for the series. She has come up with great ideas, which I shall post now.

1. I had sketched the cover to Billy with just Billy on the front, but Rachel suggested to have a couple of his friends with him as well but in the background. Shows that he can make friends.

2. She wasn't keen on the title of 'Boring Billy and the Strange Socks' because she wants me to make the whole thing strike positive to readers, esp for Asperkids readers. So, I have now changed it to 'Billy and the Sparkling Socks'.

3. She has also suggested to have the covers in bold colours, and the colours of a rainbow. I like this idea and will go with it. I have researched other books with magical realism in for 7+ and they are all in different colours.

4. After this research, I have decided I want stars all over the front like other books. I had sketched a black hole to represent the other world the characters go in, but don't want that now.

5. Having changed the title of Billy, I have changed the title of both Charlie and Susie - Charlie was going to be Clumsy Charlie and the Crooked Cap, but is now Charlie and the Captivating Cap, and Susie was going to be Slow Susie and the Jagged Jumper, and is now Susie and the Jumbling Jumper. Both reflecting positivity for the reader, and also intriguing them at the same time, I hope.

6. The other thing that Rachel suggested is to have a paragraph at the back of the book stating what the books are about and who they are for. She wrote something, which I put to my editor, who changed it a bit. You will have to see what it is when they come out later this year.

I am meeting Rachel again tomorrow to see what ideas she has come up with, as I have already sent her the ms. We shall see what happens next...

Monday, 20 June 2016

Me, Asperger's and noise

One of the things that does affect me and my Asperger's is noise. Though, what noise it is has changed since I was a child and how it has changed.

When I was a child I hated going through the local subway under the train station. I think I feared the trains would fall down on me. I would stand one end, wait for a train to go over, then dash to the other end. I had to get used to it as it was the main way to get to the station if I had to go to hospital, and later to work. I did get used to it.

Another thing I hated when I was a child, and still do, is a balloon bursting. The bang makes me jump, so if you have a balloon and are with me, please don't burst that balloon. I won't like it, and I won't like you.

It seemed to be sudden noises I didn't like when I was a child, but now as an adult with Asperger's, noise comes to me as a sensory overload. I can't take too much loud noise in a small space eg loud voices in a small room. It makes my head go fuzzy, I can't take any more, and have to go into a quiet room, usually my bedroom upstairs. I think this must have been why when I went to a writers' party, after a while I would go to sit down away from the rest of the authors chatting. If I can get away from the noise, either to another area, another room or outside, then I will. It helps my head to calm down, and therefore, me to calm down, too, because I get upset if I have to leave a room when there are other people there.

So, that is how noise has affected me in the past, and affects me now. If you have Asperger's, how does noise affect you? The same? Let me know.

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Me and reading

They say it can be good for a writer if you read, well, I certainly do that. I have read for as long as I remember. Certainly when I was at primary school. I remember reading in a room, sitting round a table, reading I think it was Janet and John books. We read out loud, which I continued doing at home, much to my parents' annoyance. lol. The books I read as a child were: Mr Men, Noddy, then as I got older, to Secret Seven, Famous Five, Nancy Drew and the school based books such as St Claire's. I also remembering reading horsey adventure books.

As an adult, I remember going to the library down the road (now a voluntary centre) and taking out books by Lena Kennedy and Catherine Cookson. There was a period years ago when I bought and read lots of sagas. I also bought books by authors I knew. I wanted to write romantic suspense so bought Romantic Intrigue books by Mills & Boon; that was for a couple of years. Most recently, I did buy My Weekly pocket novels because I thought I could write for them, but I can't, so stopped buying them.

Then I began writing for children, so I bought those types of books, too. Mostly magical realism and fantasy books.

So, what do I read now? I still read both adult and children's fiction, but my tastes have changed, esp for adult reading. I now buy only books that I know the author's works and like eg Nora Roberts, Christina Jones, both write romance with magical realism in. I don't tend to buy books by authors I know, unless it is something I am interested in for my writing. Children's reading, I have been buying a lot recently esp magical realism ones, which I write myself. I am a fan of Linda Chapman's books, and also now like Holly Webb and Lily Small (I think might be a group of authors). I have also bought a few YA books by Teri Terry, which I love cos I find it interesting about what others think the future could be like for children; something I have in mind to write about myself sometime later.

So, my reading habits have changed over the years. Has yours?

Monday, 6 June 2016

Boring Billy - the inspiration

I thought as a way of promoting my new children's series The Rainbow School it would be good to post about the inspiration behind the stories. In Boring Billy, Billy likes literacy and making up stories but he can't tell them so they sound exciting enough. The inspiration behind this one is me, when I was at primary school. I loved English, as it was called back then, and I liked making up stories. I remember in secondary school that I used to get high marks for my writing in English, and the highest mark you could get was an A+. If you got three then you got a star.

I remember in one English lesson at primary school we had to write a story. Can't remember if it had to be on a theme or not. I wrote a true story about how I was coming down the stairs at home, heard a noise and thought it was a ghost or something scary. So I went faster, ending slipping down the stairs on my back, hurting myself. Turned out the noise was a pigeon. LOL. Wasn't funny at the time, but can laugh about it now. Anyway, my teacher liked my story enough to want me to read it out to the class. I said no, being shy with Asperger's (not that I knew it was that at the time). My teacher read it out herself in the end.

So, my liking for writing stories is what inspired me to write Billy and his love of literacy and making up stories. Because of his strange school socks taking him to a magical world where he sees himself as a confident storyteller, Billy turns into a great and funny storyteller himself, making his class laugh as he acts out his stories.

What inspiration is there behind your books?

Monday, 30 May 2016

What I am working on this week

I thought I'd post what I am working on this week. I have just had back the final edits for my mermaid story 'The Emerald Quest'. There were a couple of minor changes to work on, which I have now done. I have finalised the front and back pages, adding a link to a reader mailing list I have now set up. So, all I have to do now is to put it all together into one document, and format it into an ebook, ready to publish later this week. Oh yes, and I have to save the covers from my email account to my Word folder for the book. So, it is nearly all systems go for that book.

Meantime, I have begun working on a short story for Woman's Weekly that I started a short while ago. I want to finish that and get feedback on that. The other story I have put aside for now to think about it more.

Also, I am writing Susie's story, which I am having fun with. Am learning lots as I research the lessons that Year 6 do now, as I want to write lessons that do happen and can help Susie get more confident in the story.

If you want to be one of the first to know when I have a new ebook out or one coming out in print, then why not sign up to my newsletter at http://eepurl.com/b3zDYv. You will get a free short story called 'Billy, Literacy and News Presenters', which is the prequel to the first book in my next series called The Rainbow School.