Welcome to my blog

Welcome to The Literary Pig's blog - a safe haven for all those afflicted with
the unbearable urge to write.

Monday, 31 January 2011

A good end

A good end to the first month of the year.  She's written >10,000 words on the children's book and submitted over 3 new competition stories plus one magazine story.  Still suffering from bridesmaid's syndrome in getting 3 more stories shortlisted to final judging (in 3 different competitions) but then getting no further.  Better than a poke in the snout I thought, but she's a bit precious on this topic and not usually in the mood for snout poking.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

A ROOM without a view

Just finished reading Emma Donoghue's excellent and completely absorbing 'Room' (shortlisted for Man Booker Prize 2010).  This was a CPD (can't put down) read that carried you along - we finished it in 4 days.  Have to admit it took a few pages to get into the style, and into Jack's head, but then you just become hooked.  The ending was a shock, not in 'shock/surprise ending' but simply because we weren't ready for it to be over.  You simply want to know more about Jack and his Ma's re-entry into the world.  (Sequel pending perhaps...)

The premise of the story prompted several interesting discussions between the writer and the tame teenager.  How does a five-year old child cope with life and all its rules and boundaries when all he's known is his mother and the room they live in?  Discuss...

Go read this if you can.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

What we talk about

Another good week...
The writer is making good progress with the children's novel - >4,000 words written.  A competition story submitted and two other short stories have reached final shortlists in separate competitions.

We've just read Raymond Carver's collection 'What we talk about when we talk about love.'  Very typical of Carver's succinct direct prose - many memorable stories but not quite as well rounded as his later collection in 'Cathedral'.  Some of the images in his stories can haunt your subconscious - the birthday cake in 'A small good thing', the peacock and the empty bridle in other stories.  Carver's talent is to plant disturbing concepts that stay with you even though they were sewn within seemingly simple plots.
My only complaint is that his stories don't feature any pigs.  I guess if they did then the pigs would be black little runts with a drinking problem.

Keep reading!

Friday, 14 January 2011

Don't get hijacked by your characters

'Don't get hijacked by your characters' was the title of last night's West Sussex Writers' Club workshop hosted by Sarah Higbee.  Some excellent advice and top tips were imparted by Sarah covering how to choose your central characters and viewpoint.  Point of view (POV) is an important aspect to consider before starting your novel - get it wrong and it could mean a lot of re-work or rejection.  Several exercises helped the audience to get the brain cells and creative muscles warmed up.  Sarah recommended recording a brief biography for major protagonists in any long story - this helps the writer to fully understand and know their characters - and she provided a helpful crib sheet to use as a template.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

A good start to the year

What a good first week of 2011.  With her hubby and teenager back to work and school all has returned to some semblance of normality and I've had more time to catch up on my reading.  She's kept up the resolutions and hit her writing word counts each day (all a bit anal I think).  Seems quite pleased with her output: two new short stories in progress, and made a start on her children's novel (she's keeping quiet about this one for now, I hope it has some decent pig characters).  And she's survived nine days without chocolate - very very sad...

And today she's pretty chuffed as just heard two stories have made it to the long list in the Flash 500 competition.  Guess I should keep my trotters crossed for her.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Pick of the litter(ary) reading from 2010

I spend a lot of time in bed, OK all of my time, and I like to read.  Luckily so does my owner and I kindly let her share my books.  Here are my pick of favourite reads from 2010:

Five Sty Rating:  Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel (2009 winner of Man Booker prize)
Took a few weeks to devour this one but worth it.  Totally absorbing portrayal of Tudor times and the life of Thomas Cromwell.  I'm a big fan of this era of history and have read numerous historical accounts involving Henry VIII or Elizabeth I.  With this novel you are transported to Tudor England and Cromwell becomes a character you actually root for.

New Discovery of 2010: David Mitchell
Started, appropriately, with his first novel Ghostwritten and was hooked.  Read Cloud Atlas over Christmas break and couldn't put it down.  Includes one of the most realistic portrayals of the future - a scary warning about the extent to which man could take cloning and genetic manipulation.
Just bought his latest offering: The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoe.  Persuaded her to use a book token (winnings from one of her writing competitions) to get this.

Ideal Short Snacks: (anthologies of short stories)
Raymond Carver - Cathedral
Helen Simpson - Constitutional / Four Bare Legs in a Bed
Alice Munro - Selected Stories
Carol Shield - Dressing Up For The Carnival

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

It's a new day, it's a new Blog!

She finally got her finger out and started this blog.  'Set-up' Blog has been sitting on her whiteboard to-do list since last summer and it's thanks to the household teenager (he's actually quite tame) that my Blog has at last come into creation.  My owner (see the mugshot on the left) doesn't have the stamina to keep this up so I'm taking control.  I do most of her creative thinking anyway.  I'm an extremely well read pig (I sit on her pillow while she reads in bed - well she pretends to read) and I plan to share my best loved books here with you.  She claims to be a writer and so I shall have to give her some space here to talk about what she's up to.
Keep reading!