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Markets For Writers

If ever there was a writing competition you should enter, it’s this one. Esther Newton, is one hell of a writer, and a seriously amazing tutor at the Writers Bureau. She is launching a flash fiction competition, open to any and all genres. Haven’t got time to write a whole story? Fine, that’s no excuse, the word limit is 250 words anyway! Entry is super cheap, and you can add a critique to your submission if you want to – which I strongly recommend, her feedback is second to none. So what are you waiting for? Get writing, I have already written my first entry…

Writing Tips #12 Sacha Rants About the Third Person POV

third person POV

Sacha hates the third person. And she sits tapping at keys on the keyboard all she can think about are the times she has talked aloud or talked about herself in the third person.

“Everyone says you’re mad if you talk about yourself in the third person,” she exclaimed aloud.

Annoyed Sacha waved her hands angrily in the air. Irritation brewing at the thought of how long (weeks) she has tried to write this post. Her aim, was to write the whole thing in the third person, but as she jabs the keys and her blood slowly begins froths and bubble in frustration, doubt settles in… Sacha isn’t sure she can even write consistently in the third person.

Sacha wonders why some people like writing in the third person. She knows that like everything there are fashions in writing. There has been a fashion for writing in the third person for some time, but the last five years has seen a dramatic turn around with the like of young adult fantasy and dystopian trilogies taking centre stage in the popularity stakes.

And amen to that, Sacha thought.

What provoked Sacha to write this post, was her attempt at reading ‘Uglies’ by Scott Westerfield, a book that has been on her ‘to read’ pile for some time. A book that to all intents and purposes should be right up her alley. But as she read it, she became more and more frustrated at the style of writing. It was, of course, written in the third person.

Of course Sacha isn’t trying to be biased, some of her favourite books are written in the third person. However, this particular book pushed her buttons. So much so, she genuinely screen shot particular passages and had to angrily text them to a friend who had read the book.

“But this just sounds ridiculous,” she whined, “don’t you find the repetition of the name ‘Tally’ annoying and disingenuous?”

The phrases that made her send these messages were something like this:

‘Tally found herself wincing’

‘Tally found she hadn’t forgotten to bring the plate’

Sacha doesn’t want to be mistaken, she actually likes the concept in the book, and is going to attempt to finish it… at some point. But ‘Tally found she hadn’t forgotten to bring the plate’,

“REALLY??” Sacha shouted cringing.

This is the perfect example of why Sacha hates the third person. First of all, why didn’t an editor pick this up? Sacha thought indignantly. Particularly because she has her doubts about whether it’s grammatically correct. It doesn’t exactly flow, Sacha would hope that authors at least attempt to set an example for how young adults should write English.

Enough, Sacha thought, before she ran out of steam writing in the third person. Using someones name seems disingenuous, it’s impersonal. Sacha likes nothing better than feeling like she is in the head of a character. Like she becomes the character. Sacha doesn’t think you can get that as well in the third person. Playing God, and writing like your God, if you write in the third person, is just a bit arrogant if you ask Sacha. Ok, perhaps she’s exaggerating a bit, but you can see her point… just read her overly annoying, written in the third person post!

Writing Tips #9 Short Story vs. Novel Stories

short story versus novel

Here’s the thing, NaNoWriMo was great. It really was, I finally after about two years of claiming to have a dream of writing but not actually putting any words down on the paper other than planning related words (that kept changing) I actually stopped procrastinating and stuck fingers to keys and tapped some 50,000 words in 26 days.

Writing novel length stories is so, so very different to what I had been doing though. As part of my writing course I had been writing short stories. Stories of not more than a couple of thousand words. Whereas NaNo, was all about the long game. A strategically different game all together, different everything. The problem is, after submersing myself in the story, and forgetting any writing skills I might have learnt in order to just bash words out to complete the challenge, I completely forgot how to write a short story.

When it came to trying to sit down and write my next assignment of just 4000 words, I couldn’t do it. I’d forgotten everything. I was trying to tell too much of the story, I had forgotten how to be concise and how to weave a storyline into hardly any words.

My tutor gave me a great piece of advice, to go back and reread some of my short stories I had already written. Which I did, and it helped a bit. But I still felt stuck on how to write a story in so few words. Consequently anything I have written since, I’ve hated! I can’t get it right!

I guess writing is like any other muscle – it needs constant use, and practice, or it forgets how to do what it needs to. My writing certainly forgot at any rate!

So whats the tip?

If you’re intending on writing short stories but want to write a novel – don’t forget to practice the other type of writing in the mean time.

Writespiration #6

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I just love this. I saw it and couldn’t resist posting it. This is definitely one of those inspirational images that makes me want to write all kinds of crazy stories!

Why were you meant to die yesterday? How did you survive? Why did you survive? Are you being hunted? Is everyone in society euthanised? What’s the tattoo like? Where on your arm is it? What happens next? What’s your goal – Stay alive? Or take society down? Do you know what your going to die of too? The options with this one, are endless as ever! Let me know if this inspired you and if you wrote anything cause of it.

It reminds me slightly of Justin Timerblakes film ‘In Time’

Happy Writing

 

Why being a lesbian mum is exactly the same and completely different

There are some fundamental things about motherhood that just don’t change. You will change umpteen nappies, and as a result you will get baby poop and other bodily liquids over most of your limbs at one point or another. Generally speaking however you obtain a child (no, not theft, I’m talking adoption, fertility treatment or in a plethora of other ways) it’s come from the same place – a womb. There will be a time – if you have a newborn or very young baby – where you don’t sleep, you will feel like the walking dead and you won’t know who you are; one day you will find you self sat on the sofa in yesterday’s underwear, bloodshot eyes with bags the size of houses, unbrushed teeth that still look clean because you can’t remember the last time you ate, smeared with poop, a few bubbles of sick down one arm, and some crusty snot thrown in for good measure. That happens. To everyone who’s a parent believe me. There’s other things, like the fact that once your a parent there really is no going back – particularly for those that have carried and birthed a child, once you have that baby your life will never be the same again. It takes time to go back to feeling like yourself, but that self is very much a different self. Whoever you were before you had a child is gone, held captive by your long forgotten and never to return youth. Whoever you were is most definitely not returning. But that’s ok. This new you is a better you anyway!

Thats the stuff that’s the same. Seems like everything, right? Wrong. The differences are invariably cultural. Its always cultural. It’s those little things that make our lives that bit harder. The worst bit, is it starts before your child’s even born.

Take your antenatal classes – a class full of straight couples. Where does the non birth mother sit? For the sake of this and any ongoing blogs I post (and my word count!) the non birth mother will be referred to as ‘mama’ and birth mother (mum). Where should the mama sit? It’s not really with the mums – they are all discussing the trials and tribulations of pregnancy and their fears of labour. But it’s also not really with the dads who are more concerned with discussing where the closest dominoes pizza place is to the hospital.

Throughout pregnancy I felt sorry for my wife – she would tell people she’s having a child and within about three seconds a haze of confusion would melt over their face as their eyes would unsubtly drop to her stomach and back to her face a few times. It’s still not ‘normal’ enough for people to just accept that two women can have a baby.

Even after pregnancy and labour it continues – but the problem is – the differences are between your friends and you. I am sure that to a certain extent straight couples who have kids young experience similar things. The friends who begin to slip away because they ‘just don’t get it’. They are incapable of compromising or being understanding to the fact that organising a night out is the equivalent to party planning for the royals. It takes serious time and effort, you can’t just go out at the drop of a hat. And, lets be honest, most of the time you don’t want too either, not because you’re a bore, but because if you do go out – the consequences will reach further than just a saturday morning hangover. You’re going to be tired long into thursday – especially when your child decides to start teething again – at that very moment you went out and let your hair down – commence a week or two of exhaustion. That bit – is probably the same.

But for the LGBT circle, the current generation of young’uns (17-35) we seem to be taking life in the slow lane. The majority of people who are having children in this gayby boom are 35 plus in the LGBT world – obviously I’m not saying everyone, there are also pockets of exceptions – but in my world – most if not all the LGBT parents I have met are 35 plus – in fact thats kind of mimicked with the hetero-parents I’ve met too. The difference this makes is – most of my friends are still in the culture of being concerned with where the next night out is coming from and who’s round is next. most still live at home with mum and dad, and few have careers sorted or any kind of concept of where they want to be when they grow up. Indeed any kind of mention of commitment and you got yourself a full on epi pen needing allergic reaction. Why is our generation of young LGBT so frightened of commitment? few if any of my friends have had relationships longer than a couple of years. It makes me feel like a freakshow – not only am I LGBT and therefore in a minority group as it is – but I’m a minority within a minority – a young LGBT person with a child, who actually had the child in a lesbian relationship and whats more, gave birth.

Other major differences include the ‘questioning’ when you come across a straight couple with a newborn – usual questions include: Oh how adorable – how much did they weigh? How was the birth? Do they sleep?

Now – we tend to get one or two of those normal questions and then you get hit with the- ‘I’m going to look really awkward and shift from foot to foot because I know what I’m about to ask is rude, but I’m going to do it anyway!’ – face and then the barrage of “oh so, er, how did you do it then?” most of the time I feel like responding with an equally stupid answer “do what? get my hair styled this way?, do what look this good on no sleep?” etc etc. Other stupid questions include “do you know the donor?” “are you both called mum”

Seriously, next time a straight couple asks me how I ‘did it’ I’m going to ask them how they got pregnant too, see how they like them apples!

I’m ranting – but I have a point, we face regular interrogations from joe public, and even from our parents. My own dad commented that he wasn’t really sure how it would ‘be’ raising a male child with two mums. “Where’s the balance” I remember him saying. He ate his own words though when he visited because he then said “I don’t think I’ve met a happier child.”

There are probably a million other differences I could name, but my rant just ran out of steam! For any of you LGBT mummies out there – anyone else able to add irritations to the list?

Writing

800px-Stipula_fountain_pen

I am attempting to take more time for me now that I am beginning to get some semblance of routine back into my life. With work just round the corner an the end of my maternity approaching, I am trying to think more about myself and where I want to go. I don’t want baby black to grow up with a miserable mother – just because I carried on doing a ‘job’ that pays the bills. I want to be a role model for him, to show him if you want something bad enough you can do it, you just have to work hard. So, now I have a fixed laptop, it is time to crack on with my writing course. Incase anyone else fancies themselves a writing course you can find it here.

So my first assignment, and piece of writing I had to do was a piece of descriptive writing. I thought I would share it with you. It was an observational piece, and we had to choose somewhere of interest and describe it. Feel free to comment if you like:

In the distance an aeroplane rumbled, and I strained to find the contrail jutting out of its rear. Unable to see it, I meandered down the twisted wisteria walkway instead. This was the aisle I was meant to walk down on my wedding day. Sighing, I stroked one of the baby branches arching over the walkway and was surprised to find it furry and covered in moss; my fingers tingled at its touch. Its elder looked down watching it grow, bark as wrinkly as a grandmothers.

The gravel crunched under my feet, as I continued down the path. I halted as I glimpsed a hint of the pillar-box red oriental bridge in the distance. Veering off the walkway I headed towards the bridge to stand at the edge of the lake, I heard the quacking of a pair of ducks paddling in the pond, and the roar of a waterfall pounded the jagged rocks surrounding it. Staring at the pool beneath the waterfall, I wondered whether mermaids lived in the murky midnight blue depths.

I stepped around the end of the walkway into a huge open space covered in a blanket of green grass. It felt like I was entering a magical world. A towering pagoda stood peacefully amongst the trees and boulders around it. If you listened hard enough you could almost hear the clip clop of geisha shoes, and the flapping of kimono fabric in the wind. Poised at my feet, stood a single flower flecked with pink ready to battle the first frosts of spring like a samurai preparing for war. 

I inhaled deeply, and the sharp air cut my throat as it whipped my fringe into my glasses. I pulled my jacket tighter to protect myself from the chilly air and walked through the dewy grass towards the aged mansion at the top of the gardens. I placed my hands on the filigree garden gate, and shivered as the icy metal bit my fingers. A delicate spiders web quivered in the breeze lonely without its eight-legged owner. The stately gardens behind the gate were pruned to perfection, with chess shaped bushes and neat lines surrounding the majestic fountain centerpiece.  

Springs first sunshine kissed the mansions sandy colored bricks. Terracotta turrets bulged out of the roof, and evergreen coloured ivy crept boldly up the walls.  I walked away imagining wartime evacuees waving behind the mansions enormous square windows and running through the great rooms inside.

 

 

 

30 weeks

I cannot believe I have hit 30 weeks. I really do not know where the last 30 weeks have gone… Life seems to be dissolving in front of my eyes – through a haze of winter colds needing excess sleep and having a ridiculous social life; it appears I haven’t done a pregnancy blog in three weeks – ummm…. Three weeks feels like two minutes ago!

So the big THREE ZERO….

I remember thinking when I was about 6 weeks preggo that 30 weeks would be massive- I couldn’t really imagine ever getting to 30 weeks, it was too ‘serious’ an amount of weeks pregnant for me to ever picture

– it’s like the last stretch – the no going back – the “you should really pack your hospital bag – this shits going down soon-” type serious!!

But strangely here I am…. I am honestly a bit shell shocked that it happened so quickly. I still feel far too in denial to be this pregnant!!

I half heatedly tried to pack a hospital bag and have been watching ‘midwives and one born every minute’ again to try and get realistic about how gross/painful child birth is going to be!!

I have never appreciated childbirth – I am not one of those women who watches and cries when a baby is born – I squeeze my legs shut and try not to vomit!!

I sort of ended up doing a full circle – I watched so many episode that I almost cried at one and then after a few more episodes decided it really was gross and started wondering if I would throw up at the sight of my own afterbirth. I mean really – I faint every time I give blood – not because it hurts or I’m squeamish but because the tube that collects your warm blood rests on my arm and I can feel the warm liquid ooze out…. Ugh.

Honestly why are placentas so vile??? They look horrendous and WHY are they soooo massive?? I seriously hope I don’t see mine or I’m Guna blow!!

I guess having hit 30 weeks I am trying to be a bit more realistic – I booked antenatal classes which start early oct I’ve booked a breast feeding class and as I say started to pack a bag.

The exhaustion is hitting home big time…. I seem to walk around in one state of zombie or another. I’m guessing that won’t disappear for some time either!

Anyway I’m in the dentist -toothache again!!

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One Word

I have discovered a new website…

http://www.oneword.com

It simply gives you one word and you have 60 seconds to write about it… I cant seem to get it to give me a different word, but I am thinking I may use this when i get stuck or lack inspiration and take out the dictionary….

I had the word:

‘welt’… and I wrote:

The welt was etched into her skin like the script on a tombstone. She pawed at it as pain burned up her arm. She wondered whether it would ever heal, knowing deep down it was going to leave a scar.