Welcome to my blog

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

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Phew NaNoWriMo is all over!

At 4.30pm yesterday (just in time to take the tame teenager to his music lesson) the indoor writer completed the first 50,000 of her new novel.  And with just 1 day to spare on the NaNoWriMo challenge.  So normal service should resume now ... right?  Hmm, we'll see because she still has to finish the novel: a dystopian YA saga.  Apparently she has 10,000 words to write - so what's she complaining about as that should take her just under a week!

Attempting to write 50,000 words or more in 30 days can seriously damage:

  • healthy eating habits
  • exercise regimes 
  • relationships/interaction with any human beings you may come into contact with
  • your ability to stand up straight (after writing for 4-5 hrs a day she is suffering some physical side-effects such as neck and right arm pain, not to mention derriere expansion)
Keep writing ...

Monday, 28 November 2011

Normal service

The indoor writer is not available to help me with the Monday post today.  Her excuse is she's on the last stretch of NaNoWriMo.  3 days to go (apparently) and she has just over 7,000 words to write to meet the challenge target.  She's getting a little snappy (understatement) so I'm staying well clear of her study today and heading back to bed with a good book.

Normal service should resume on 1st December as the challenge ends midnight 30 November.  I'm counting the hours on my trotters!

Keep writing ...

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

A momentary squeal about NaNoWriMo - Day 23

Day 23 of the writing challenge NaNoWriMo and the indoor writer has just over 16,000 words left to go.  Oink that quickly and it doesn't sound too bad, does it?  She needs to pen an average of 2300 words a day to achieve the target of 50,000 words by end of November.  Hmmm...

Oh well the family will have to fend for themselves for the next 7 days I guess.  As long as she's stocked up with chocolate cake (my staple diet) then I'm happy for her to be locked in the study all day.  Odd that she breaks up the day with watching ancient episodes of Waking The Dead (cheerful!), but whatever gets you to that word count.

Just wish she'd change the playlist.  If I have to listen to Karl Jenkin's The Armed Man one more time ... then I will truly squeal!

Monday, 21 November 2011

Can you write a moving story? FREE competition

Moving house is supposed to be one of the most stressful events in your life.  Everyone has a tale to tell of moving house and the trials, tribulations and horrors they suffered during the process. Alternatively you may have very happy memories of moving house - the expectation of setting up first home together, or finally moving to that dream palace you've saved for.  Whatever your story why not turn your experiences into a short story and enter this FREE competition.  The Peter Barry estate agent and letting agency is running a competition, details as follows:
  • Short stories of word count under 2,000 on the theme of 'Moving House'
  • First prize £750
  • Two runner-up prizes of £125
  • Winning entries (12 shortlist) will be published on Peter Barry website 
  • All entries must be original and unpublished
  • You must be over 18 years to enter
  • One entry per person - but entry is FREE
  • Deadline is 12 December 2011
Click here for more details of competition and full submission guidelines.

Send your entries via email to movingstories@peterbarry.co.uk (as MS Word or .rtf attachments).  As always check to make sure your NAME, CONTACT DETAILS do NOT appear on the story document, but DO include them in the email!

If you are in the process of moving house or have recently moved then £750 could come in very handy!

Good luck ...

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

The luckiest day of the year!

WOW so good things really do come in three's.  The indoor writer has gone for a lie down to recover from today's good fortune. From this day onwards the 16th November is now the luckiest day of the year.  It started early, whilst checking emails at 8.30am:

1. Email reply to a pitch for magazine feature (submitted end September).  Editor liked the idea and wants to go ahead.
2. Cheque came in the post (with sweet card too) for her 2nd Prize entry into the The Yellow Room competition.  Click here to read about the winning short stories.  Jo Derrick publishes the excellent Yellow Magazine several times a year, it always contains high quality short stories.  Jo has very high standards - just read The Yellow Room's submission guidelines - so coming 2nd was a real endorsement of her writing.
3. Telephone call came mid afternoon from a lovely lady on the committee of the West Country's Writers' Association.  Indoor writer has been awarded the bursary to attend the Association's Annual Congress next April in Bath (20-22 April 2012).  The bursary includes accommodation/food and entry fees to all days and talks - so it's really worth winning!

Actually there's a fourth piece of good luck - though more family related - as we all received a cheque from ERNIE (premium bonds), not the jackpot but enough to buy fish n' chips all round.

Phew ... after all that I need a lie down too ... perhaps after some chocolate cake ... and a small glass of something.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Day 14 NaNoWriMo challenge

Day 14 marks the end of week 2 for all writers participating in the NaNoWriMo Challenge - write 50,000 word novel in a month.  So how's the indoor writer proceeding with her WIP?  Target for end of today is 20,000 words and she's at 17,539.  Quite incredible since the most words previously penned in one month was 10,000.  Her wise tutor, the lovely Lynne Hackles, has warned that writing must be fun, work needs to evolve from love and care and not the simple pursuit of word targets.  We both wholeheartedly agree with these sentiments.  Yet, my tame writer seems to be thriving on this project - admittedly her daily word output ebbs and flows, while the main challenge is creating the chapter outlines quickly enough, as these first have to be 'written' in her head before the words get down on the laptop.  But the continuous writing strategy seems to gel with this novel's plotline, a real-time narrative, so that the story and characters are kept moving at a fast pace.

Despite locking herself indoors for most of the week she somehow managed to lose 2lbs (perhaps writing burns more calories than we think ...), run and swim several times, and kept the family fed and happy.  Once this book is done it could be time for a break in December - EEK just remembered what happens in December!  Santapig will be visiting ...

She may not hit 50,000 by end of November, but she's not panicking or fretting because the first draft of a new novel will be close to completion,  BONUS!  And whatever her final word target - it still will be a significant achievement for 30 days of writing.

Keep writing, even if you don't care about your word counts ...

Monday, 7 November 2011

UPDATED An evening with author Albert Jack - 10th November, Worthing

Sadly Albert Jack has been struck down with laryngitis (not good for a speaker) and is unable to talk at tonight's Club meeting.  Amazingly Juliet Archer has stepped into the breach and will be speaking at 7.30pm - same venue as below.

The following has been reproduced (with kind permission) from the West Sussex Writers' Club Facebook page:

If you live in the West Sussex area then why not come along and join the evening...
Date: 10th November 2011
Time: 19:30 - 21:30
Location: The Pavilions, Field Place, Durrington, Worthing, BN13 1NP

Albert Jack is a writer and historian and became something of a publishing phenomenon in 2004/2005 when his first book Red Herrings and White Elephants, which explored the origins of well-known phrases in the English language, became a huge international bestseller.

All of his books investigate and reveal the history behind popular world culture. Albert teaches the history you never realised you wanted to know, until now.

His ...follow up book Shaggy Dogs and Black Sheep was also a best seller and has sold over 150,000 copies since publication in October 2005. It became Penguin Book's Christmas bestseller. His hilarious third book, a study of Urban Legends called Phantom Hitchhikers is also a bestseller and was released in paperback in September 2007. In the same month Red Herrings and White Elephants was re-released for the first time in paperback and Albert has provided 30% more content for a revised and expanded version that is sure to hit the best-seller list once again. 

Fascinated by discovering the truth behind the world's great stories, Albert has become an expert in explaining the unexplained, which is great news for conversations and storytellers everywhere. He is now a veteran of hundreds of live television shows and thousands of radio appearances worldwide. His books have become bestsellers in Great Britain & Europe, America, Canada, South Africa, Australia and translated into many different languages. 

In 2007, Albert Jack's Loch Ness Monsters and Raining Frogs, a study of the world's great mysteries from the Bermuda Triangle to the disappearance of Glen Miller. Crop Circles, Loch Ness Monster, UFO's, Marylyn Monroe and the Mary Celeste have also come under investigation along with many more famous stories. Albert uncovers the sometimes surprising truth and his acerbic wit makes for an entertaining read. Loch Ness Monsters was be the third book Albert released in the autumn of 2007 and in March 2009 Random House published the same title in America. 

In 2008 Penguin UK released the bestselling Pop Goes the Weasel, Albert's book exploring the dark history and meaning of nursery rhymes that became an instant best-seller and offered the writer new contract to produce two brand new Albert Jack books for release in 2009 and 2010. The first of these, The Old Dog and Duck, Albert's fascinating historic study of the origins of pub and hotel names is due in the shops on September 3rd 2009, closely followed by Penguin USA issuing stateside versions of Pop Goes the Weasel on 6th October and Shaggy Dogs and Black Sheep in March 2010.

In September 2010 What Caesar did for my Salad, Albert's humorous study of our favourite foods reveals who Caesar really was, why sausages are bangers, what the Tartars had to with raw steak why the Thousand Islands developed their seafood sauce and who Margarita was and why she inspired the world's most famous pizza. 

Finally, What Caesar Did for my Salad is due for release in America in September 2011, The Old Dog and Duck is released as a paperback in the UK during October 2011, Phantom Hitchhikers Part One and Two are due for release in China in November 2011 and Random House are publishing Albert's brand new UK title, It's a Wonderful Word, on November 3rd 2011

The success of his books has a lot to do with Albert's invention of what he calls the 'ten minute read,' enabling readers to open his books at any point and be fully entertained for ten minutes at a time before 'going off to do something more productive with their time.' Currently hosting a series of Writer's Workshops in England Albert has plans for another ten hard backs that look set to continue his success for many years to come. Albert is also an accomplished lecturer and after dinner speaker.

 A short paragraph taken from Red Herrings and White Elephants...

To be Taken Aback suggests someone has been taken truly by surprise and stopped in their tracks.  ‘Aback’ is the nautical term for sudden wind change; in which the sails flatten against the mast.  In some cases, out on the high seas, tall square-rigged ships may not only be slowed down by a sudden change, but also driven backwards by strong gusts.  The phrase used in such circumstances is ‘taken aback’.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

A Saturday surprise

When the deadline for competition results has passed and you've not heard anything the conclusion is 'oh well, try again next time.' More so when it's a week after the prize-giving ceremony too.  But this morning the indoor writer received a letter from Christchurch Writers enclosing a list of winners for their recent competition and ... a cheque for £50!  So a week after the official prize-giving in Christchurch (Dorset not NZ!) has taken place she finds out she's a winner - see, never give up hope...

And here comes the bit that'll earn me a slice of choccie cake - she won the open themed Article (non-fiction) competition, her first success with a non-fiction piece.  What a nice surprise for a dreary, damp Saturday.

Now where's she hidden that cake ...