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

Monday 27 June 2011

A year in verse

Today sees the final entry in the indoor writer's poetry diary.  Started over a year ago tomorrow (her birthday) this was an experiment to awaken the poetry muscles.  So what has she learnt after 365 poems?(yes really one a day!) ... well have discovered several new forms of poetry (new to her) including Haiku and Tanka.  The writing of Haiku has become addictive.  In expert hands these can be beautifully simple, like a tiny piece of dark, bitter chocolate they can leave a long, but delicious aftertaste.
Try this website for an introduction to Haiku: Haiku Presence.

Also have experimented with triolets and limericks.  The poetry section of Writing Magazine can provide a basic grounding in different poetry outlets - worth reading and trying out something new.

Various creations have been entered into poetry competitions, but so far without success.  Love reading contemporary poetry, such as Carol Ann Duffy, but the writing has been much harder than expected.  Even recording daily events, capturing fleeting moods and ideas has been tough at times (when only cliches and childish analogies come out of the mist).  The real joy comes in re-reading the entries and remembering what emotions triggered the first line.  A positive side-effect has been the seeding of several short stories from poems (and vice versa).

And for the next birthday year?  Hmm ... will have to think up a new challenge to test her writing skills ...

Thursday 23 June 2011

The joy of discovery (new authors that is)

With the first draft of novel completed May was a month to catch-up on reading.  These are the new authors (new to us) we tried out and loved:
Susan Hill - read several of her ghost novellas, these can be devoured in single day. Scrumptious!
Peter James - he lives in West Sussex and the Roy Grace police detective series is set in the county.  A real treat to read about locations which are literally 5 mins down the road.  Addictive!
Helen Dunmore - read Ice Cream a joyous collection of short stories.  And The Siege (about the WW2 siege of Leningrad) - this is a beautiful and terrifying book, at times the lyrical prose is exquisite.  It never becomes sentimental and much of the writing lingers long after finishing.  (note - this is not one to read when you're feeling peckish...)  Mesmerising!

Also discovered the following children's authors:
Ali Sparkes - Frozen in Time is absolutely "super", a true homage to Enid B.  Couldn't put it down!
Darren Shan - the Darren Shan saga. So far have read the first two books in the series: Cirque du Freak and The Vampire's Assistant.  Both are cracking reads.  Wickedly readable!

Keep reading...

Friday 17 June 2011

Jumping for Jackson

Really enjoying the TV dramatisation of Kate Atkinson's books featuring private detective Jackson Brodie.  OK some tweaks have been made to plot and setting but mostly the series is staying close to the original books (Case Histories, One Good Turn and When Will There Be Good News) and characters.  Kate Atkinson is one our favourite authors as her quirky writing somehow always spreads a heavy dose of humanity, though often buried in tragedy.  Apparently the indoor writer's attraction to the TV series has nothing to do with Jason Issacs apart from his excellent depiction of the flawed but fabulous Brodie.  Brodie truly is a hero for modern times - the sort of man you really want beside you in a crisis and yet you still believe you could change him for the better...
The series is airing on BBC 1 Sundays and Mondays at 9pm - watch it if you can.

We do love the ongoing Brodie chronicles but would also love Kate Atkinson to continue writing non-Jackson books.  Her viewpoint of the world and the characters she creates are heart-wrenching at times but always compulsive reading.  Hope some new works are coming soon.
Have you read:
Behind the scenes at the museum
Human croquet
Emotionally weird
all excellent novels.

Wednesday 15 June 2011

Facing feedback

Receiving feedback on your written words is like having your children appraised - you can only truly bear to hear good things said, but you know you have to listen and act on the bad things (or constructive comments if you're being politically correct).  Currently the indoor writer has the first 5 chapters of her children's novel on YOUWRITEON, a site where you can receive ratings and comments.  She's absolutely terrified to read each new review, despite the fact that so far all have been positive!

A brilliant friend has also taken away the initial chapters to distribute to tame relatives under 12 years.  Her niece (11) has already read them and states (quote as given): 'the book is really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really good'.  NICE!
The niece's mum is planning to read the chapters to an after school bookclub of target age (9-12) so wondering what they will have to say...  Apparently her dad (not target age) is also loving the book.  

So the writer needs to get her finger out and finish editing the remaining chapters... 

Friday 10 June 2011

Just Add Writer's Toolkit

The indoor writer received some excellent news while on holiday in Rome last week.  Her short story 'Just Add' had won first prize in the Writer's Toolkit Flash Fiction Competition. If you click on the link you can read the winning story.  The challenge was to write a complete story on the theme of WATER in 150 words.  Sue Johnson runs these excellent competitions about twice a year.  The maximum word count is always 150 and the prizes are 1st £50, 2nd £25 and 3rd £10.  Next competition deadline is 30th September with the theme of SECRETS.

Also returned to not such good news.  Received rejections from The Weekly News and My Weekly.  Oddly both came in on Bank Holiday Monday - so now we know what magazine fiction editors do on their Bank Holidays ... catch up on reading and correspondence (poor loves).  One response was almost 9 months after the story had been sent, so its rejection was not really a surprise.

And also found out a story had been shortlisted in The Yellow Room competition (Spring), but sadly did not make top 3 or Commended list.  This is the second story to reach this stage for The Yellow Room... just need to work out what is needed in a story to get into the top spots (hmmmm).

Tuesday 7 June 2011

Holiday heaven

We have just returned from Italy (for Whitsun Half Term break) where we stayed for 3 days in Florence and then 3 further days in Rome.  Pig heaven!  The indoor writer soaked up the sights, sounds and smells for inspiration.  Whereas the tame teenager just soaked up pasta, pizza and copious amounts of gelato (ice-cream to you and me).  I caught up on my reading in the hotel rooms and guarded the books. (Handsome hubby doesn't "do" heat and stayed at home, how sad...)

The indoor writer has plenty of inspiration to now finish a short story, which she plans to enter into Bridport competition (closes 30th June).

Hope to publish some photos soon of our escape to Italia.