Monday, 21 November 2011

Lately, I've been ...

Over the last few months, I've been immersing myself in writing related activities. Writing workshops, author meetings, helping out at Blackpool's Wordpool Festival of Words, a little bit of networking when possible and ... two art classes a week. I'm a great believer in 'join a group - you never know which direction it will take you or what the outcome will be' method.

Other than constantly doodling [do I really spend that much time on the phone?] colouring outside the lines in primary school and my one attempt at drawing a rabbit during a senior school art class, I have never drawn an object or person, painted, coloured, used water-colour pencils, acrylics or been involved in artistic projects of the paint-brush sort.

So, here's one of my first offerings, a spin off from my first art class - 'Drawing and painting for the terrified' ... But the weird thing is, when I draw, it feels like the opposite of writing - I can clear my mind. I find it relaxing. So when I come to my writing, having given my brain a holiday, some 'brain off time', some chillin' out space, I'm ready to get going with the words.

Anyway, here's my offering ...   I'm off to finish the text edit for my real job.

Ahhh, Gillian

Writer Wanted ...

By Teri Terry:

Wanted: Writer. Must live in own world and listen to voices in head, be able to work in PJ’s, and enjoy Pringles or jammy doughnuts for lunch. Dealing with irregular income and a complete absence of job security required. Dreamers may apply.

Read more at:

Monday, 31 October 2011

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Blackpool Lit-fest: Wordpool Starts today ...

Wordpool: Blackpool's Lit-fest begins today 

Newly redeveloped Central Library 2pm with 

author Robert Graham 'Man Walks into a 



Friday, 14 October 2011

Summer Indulgence, Happy House and Holiday Centre ...

If you download 'Summer Indulgence' short story by Gillian Hesketh, from Amazon [approx 91p] all the proceeds received until 31st December 2011, will be donated to:

Happy House, Watamu Kenya.
Children's Hospice Holiday Centre, Thornton, UK.

Thankyou -

PS ~ you don't even have to read it !!

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Quote of the week ...

'No Garden is without weeds'

Thomas Fuller

Suppose you could consider this on a few different levels ?!?

Check out for inspirational quotations of the day.

Sit back and relax - I know I'm trying to.


Wednesday, 14 September 2011

The Sleepy Elephant ~ More bookshops to visit ...

 The Sleepy Elephant

I just want to visit this bookshop - because of it's name. The Sleepy Elephant ... brill ... and now I'm motivated to go off and write another children's story with a similar title ... The Sleepy Elephant !

Hey, let me know if you've been in this shop ... in Sedberg ... Meanwhile I'll be putting it on my 'To Visit' list.


Monday, 12 September 2011

Loverlee Saturday Mornings ...

What could be better than wandering abound Broadway Market and Bookshops, Hackney on a Saturday morning in Autumn ... ?

Broadway Market Bookstall - Carefully Selected New Titles

What a lovely morning. Warm weather. A rich aroma wafting from the coffee shops. Freshly made sun dried tomato breads, cheesy breads, potato breads, hog roasts, miniature specialist pies and cakes [yes I was feeling rather hungry] specialist balsamic vinegars and olive oils, flowers and an interesting choice of hand made gifts amid a colourful and friendly setting, a musical backdrop [young female musician singing and playing guitar] ... and ... wait for it ... three hypnotic poetry / art / book / shops ... The Broadway Bookshop, Artwords Bookshop and Donlon Books.

Well worth a visit.

Enjoy !


Sunday, 11 September 2011

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Summer Indulgence ...

Out Now on Kindle ... Short Story, Summer Indulgence
by Gillian Hesketh

Monday, 22 August 2011

Bookshop Tour ...

The Poetry Bookshop
 When the ironing is finished, when all my children have left home, when my novel is complete, when my study is tidy, when all the paper-work is up-to-date, when I have been on a diet, and saved for enough fuel, I'd like to go on tour. To be more precise, I'd like to go on a UK Bookshop Tour ... calling at all the Special and Specialist Bookshops including The Poetry Bookshop, Hay-on-Wye ...

Maybe I could cycle around them all ?... No, not around them, I'd never get anywhere of course, obviously, from one to the next ... raise money for charity along the way ... call in at writing workshops, author readings, borrow library books from one library and return them to another ...

Maybe, when ...

Ebook ... ing ...

So, I've been researching ebook reading. Or rather, ebook publishing. 'It's reasonably simple', a quote from one ebook publisher's story. Try Lulu, Blurb, Smashwords ... another endless list. Where to start? With a pin and a map? Clearly not possible unless I wanted to ruin my laptop screen and maybe electrocute myself - although three days later, I might have considered it.

I decided not to try to finish 'that' novel in record time and instead, considered trying out the ebook-publishing process on a short story. 'Summer Indlugence' it was to be, and it was, in more ways than one. I had a list of operations to perform/translate/format files, notes to self, more lists and lists of lists of lists; mobi, epubl, eula, kindlegen. 'Summer Indulgence' comandeered most of the past week and was about to indulge the last of the summer if I hadn't given in and allowed two lucky ladies in the US of A to format my offering and design a front cover.

This process was much simpler. I emailed the formatters with my attachment[s] and they returned the files ready to upload onto Smashwords. I paid around 20 dollars via paypal and was ready to go.

That was three days ago. All I have to do now is upload the files. And hey presto ... my short story for the world to read on more-or-less any make of ereader. So the question I am asking myself ... is why am I indulging in blogging when 'Summer Indulgence' is waiting to be released, given a new life in ebook-world?

Am I scared of what people will say? Probably. I am worred no-one will buy the story? Yep. Am I concerned thousands will buy the story and want more? Hmm... What do you think ??

Better get off and upload 'Summer Indulgence', or we'll never know the end of this saga.



Books and more Books ...

Books, Books, Books,

Artisan Ice-creams,

Cappuccinos, Lattes, Teas,

Warm scones,

Luxury Chocolates,

Cards & Gifts.

What more can you want?

SilverDell of Kirkham has thousands of books in stock and offer more for next day collection.

61 Poulton Street, Kirkham, Preston, Lancs. PR4 2AJ

Must put a visit in my diary ... Gillian.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Bringing Poetry Pamphlets ... to you ...

Women: Love & Frivolity ~ or ~  Urban Realities
 A delightful alternative to the card / gift problem ...

Women: Love & Frivolity and Urban Realites are beautifully hand-crafted 
collections of contemporary poetry to send to someone
when a card isn’t enough
and a present is too complicated.

Choose :~

Women: Love & Frivolity
Everyday happens to all of us. Gillian Hesketh’s collection; Women ~ Love & Frivolity, is a splash of truth-seeking contemporary poetry assigning spirit to everyday existence.

Urban Realities ...
Everyday happens to all of us. Gillian Hesketh’s collection of contemporary poetry investigates challenging situations and emotions inspired by the rhythm of life.

Each package includes Poetry pamphlet and Book-mark £2.99

For orders: email
[p&p please add 40p per order]

Stop Press ... ** !!
Poetry Pamphlets hand-made to your design ~ See Your Poems in Print ~ Enjoy, Share, 
Gift to Family and Friends or sell at Craft Fairs ~ Email for details, choices and prices. 
Orders completed within 2 weeks.


Journaling to Clear Your Mind ...

Journaling ~ Ideas and ways to clear you mind ~ Chill out ~ Press that creative button ...

You can't get to sleep at night?

You keep waking up every hour? ... Your mind's too active?

You're stressed about an / event / exam / interview / deadline ?

It's time to get Journaling .........

Clearing your mind so you can concentrate on the main goal whether it be exams / work / relationships / other [don't you just love that option?]

Choose a small blank book, cheap and blaring with faint blue lines if you wish, torn and tatty from the bottom of a drawer or filing cabinet will suffice, hard back - using up a present, colourful [you may have bought it for your kids and borrowed it back], beautifully hand-decorated ... [ receceived it as a present] ... any sort of book will be fine if it feels right to you. Also, a pen, roller-ball, fountain, biro or pencil would be useful ...

Write for five minutes before bed / sleep ... or choose a time to suit you

Write non-stop about any topic that comes into your mind

Let your mind wander ... Don't stop writing

Write with big letters, small letters, shout! be messy ... but don't stop until the time is up ...

If you can't think what to write, write just that! Repeat yourself if necessary

This is Not a diary but Yes, write everyday

You don't have to read what you have written :)

You dont have to share what you have written :)

Your writing may seem like ramblings ... It doesn't matter :)

Now that all the spare information milling round in your head is on paper ~ you may even feel more free :) :)

Later, you may want to go back and read some of your literary ramblings ~ they may make sense ~ they may not. Either way, let's hope you can sleep longer, concentrate harder, feel better and enjoy a sense of freedom from over-thinking.


Wednesday, 17 August 2011

I want to go ... there ...

P & G Wells ~ 11 College Street, Winchester
I want to visit this bookstore, don't you?
This is the only historic bookshop in Winchester, close by Jane Austen's house in College Street. It includes the largest stock of childrens books in the region. We have been suppliers to Winchester College for over 200 years, and the University of Winchester since its inauguration. We are also booksellers to the bi-annual Wessex Children's Book Festival.


Sunday, 14 August 2011

Book Shops ...

Another cute looking Bookshop:

The Edinburgh Bookshop
229 Bruntsfield Place
EH10 4DH

Maybe I could take a tour of all the bookshops in the

UK and not visit Tesco once !!

Maybe I could do a sponsored walk around the UK

and take in all the local book shops?

I was looking for something to do ... ?? ,,, ??


Saturday, 13 August 2011

I Just Love this Bookshop ...

I do love this bookshop ...

You don't get overheated.


You don't get pushed about.

[WH Smith]

You don't feel rushed.


You're not overloaded with lights and titles.

[Sorry Borders, are you still there?]

Your eyes don't throb in their sockets.


You can take your time browsing, make a stress-free choice; best-sellers, events, writing workshops, book groups.

The only problem might be travel. It is, of course, in London.

Shop online ...


Thursday, 11 August 2011

Women: Love & Frivolity ... hot on the press ...

Things are getting hotter ...

Women: Love & Frivolity is getting warmer ... the laptop is over-heating ... the ink is evaporating ... the cover, racing through the printing system ...

We're just waiting for the ribbon ... yes ribbon ...

Watch this space ... I will be ...


Urban Realities: Contemporary Poetry ...

Triple Glazing

No sound of bike bells ringing,
engines racing, buses droning
or wagons thundering,
over the A six three something

No sound of children laughing,
crying, arguing, not even birdsong
can be heard
through the triple glazing.


Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Social Stereotypes ... Just for fun ...

Not sure where this came from ... was just messing about, having a bit of a talk to myself; finish this, edit that - and five hundred words later ...

Social Stereotypes: The Mature Student

Pleased with her recent assignment and bibliography intact, Joanne relinquished it almost a week early, accepting the slip of flimsy pink paper which would confirm its whereabouts for the following six weeks. Postcolonial readings of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness managed to uncover more than a sufficient understanding of European nineteenth Century colonialism that Joanne had never, ever considered thinking about. A mature student, Joanne’s many commitments bargaining for her time, the hours and hours required for reading around subjects took the place of her friendships, an occasional night in the pub, even the ironing. Evaluating her efforts constantly, expecting to achieve only decent results, she promised she wouldn’t be dissatisfied with them.

Wanting to be as inconspicuous as visually possible, she adjusted her attire, choosing denims, flat pumps and chose from an assortment of plain tops from the high street. Her outerwear would have to be tamed too, nothing too ostentatious. Joanne blended with her colleagues, although she drew the line at riding a bike to the Uni campus. No, the people carrier would have to do. Besides, driving her three children to school before lectures was just part of her day.

Joanne was looking forward to her next module; Myth & Legend. An introduction to relentless debates on male oppression, dating back to … the beginning, she supposed. She began to over-indulge in the subject matter. She wondered, fingers poised at the keys, what exactly was myth? Images of an unwanted truths reverberated through time? Yes, that would be a start. Greek myth; poor Philomele, having been raped by her brother-in-law, the mighty King Tereus, physically silenced by having her tongue cut out. Joanne took some time to get her head around this one. Was she about to become a feminist? But the woman survived. Told the tale through dance. How innovative. Joanne hit the keys and as usual, didn’t stop till after midnight.

And what did she hope to achieve from all of this? Joanne had to admit, she was sick and tired of family, friends, acquaintances and people she’d just met in the pub on a Friday night, asking her the same question. She considered telling them she was going to be a teacher, just so everyone would leave her alone. But she didn’t. And the questions continued. What made you want to do a degree? At your age? What did you say you were studying? ‘English Literature’, she would say, watching their eyes roll to the back of their heads. ‘Linguistics’, she would add with rising intonation, hoping to gain a little interest. ‘Oh I see, French? German?’ This was the point where Joanne would wonder whether she was in the wrong pub with the wrong people. Then, maybe she was the one who was in the wrong place. ‘It’s the study of the nature, structure and variation of language’, she would reply, to a place where the lights were on but no-one was in.

Joanne seems to have found herself at last. She not only achieved a more than adequate honours degree in literature (not forgetting the linguistics) but an improved capacity to understand other human beings. She is looking forward to empowering other women. Opening one of her many charity luncheons, ‘Women need to become more certain of their identities and begin to take charge of their own destinies’, she began. ‘As the famous French philosopher, Helene Cixous states, Woman must write about women and bring women to writing from which they have been driven away … woman must put herself into the text – as into the world and into history.’

Right, now back to my real job!


Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Love new words ... Love words ... ?

Love Words?
I do just love words, their sounds, make-up, uses, etymology. There are too many words I honestly don't know the meaning of.

Sure, most of you will know the meaning of the following ... I'm not sure whether I'm ashamed to admit I didn't know the meanings ~ or just pleased that I had the opportunity to look them up [any excuse for more procrastinaton].  

These words were found in novels I've been reading over the last two months:

Veld - Yes I know it sounds like one, but didn't know it meant Field.

Toping - to drink alcohol habitually and to excess [!]

Knout - whip or lash sometimes with metal wires wound in [hmm sounds like knot/knots/knotted, doesn't it?]

Farinaceous - as a keen cook, I should have known it means food containing flour / starch

Apprise - to notify - not to be confused with Appraise - to estimate quality or Appease - to satisfy or relieve

Crepuscular - of, pertaining to or resembling twilight; dim, indistinct / appearing or active in twilight [as
certain bats or insects are].

Petit Trianon - small chateau in the grounds of the Palace of Versailles, Paris. Petit trianon is also used to express an act of deliberately slumming [presumably in the small chateau ?]
Kowtowing - to act in a servile manner - yes, I knew that but found this interesting:
Kowtow is the act of deep respect shown by kneeling and bowing so low as to have one's head touching the ground. An alternative Chinese term is ketou, however the meaning is somewhat altered: kòu originally meant "knock with reverence", whereas kē has the general meaning of "touch upon (a surface)".

So, send me your newly found word and we'll have a shared word-fest.


Monday, 8 August 2011

Book Shelves that don't take up floor space ...

Save floor space, try  [An Amazony thing]

Choose your books, add or edit information [more procrastination] - I've read it / I want to read it / review it / star it / and add the book to your shelf [Choose from a range of colours - the possibilities aren't endless, there are 4 to choose from - or just let Shelfari choose it for you]. Put the shelf on your blog or wherever you wish [not your carpet] and add info when you like. Click on the book for a resume. You can interact with other Shelfari users, read their reviews etc.

*Warning ... Can be seriously time consuming.


Thursday, 4 August 2011

Mslexia : For Women : Who Write ...

Packed with articles on How to Write, Why Write, Writers' Block, Rhyme, Rants and / or Raves, Features, Guest Authors, Short Stories, Competitons, Directory, Your Letters [even one of mine!], Interviews, Advice ... is that enough? No? Well there's more: New Writing, Books, Tweets, Guest Blogger, Inspiration, Masterclass Writing retreat advertisements, Publishing contacts, Monologues, Portraits, Poetry, Submission details ... Just like Eddie Izzard's re-cycling campaign, the choices are endless.
I've subscribed To Mslexia [4 publications per year] more on than off over the years and have to say the flow of ideas in each new magazine is always refreshing and motivational. A bargain at £24 [ish] per annum.


Eating Fire ...

Whilst searching for 'something specific' on the internet and finding 'something' else, clicking here and scrolling there, I came across 'Shelfari' - via via Amazon - you can see my starter collection of books on the right - yet another fun but time consuming activity to get involved with when practising procrastination, I found [crikey this is a long sentence] this on my bookshelf ... obviously it wasn't lost in the first place but I had completely forgotten about it: [not finished yet ~ very Marcel Proust] Margaret Atwood's 'Eating Fire', poetry which, according to Michele Roberts, 'sings off the page and stings.' Phew! Not for the faint hearted, Margaret Atwood, Canadian's most eminent novelist and poet, who is also the author of 'Blind Assassin' [booker prize winner 2000], offers 368 pages of elegantly pressented, powerful, imaginative, detached, symbolic, ironic, daring, thought provoking poems which she published between 1965 and 1075.  Beat that!

Well worth dibbing into.


Monday, 1 August 2011

Write Girl ...

WriteGirl is a nonprofit organization for high school girls centered on the craft of creative writing and empowerment through self-expression. Through one-on-one mentoring and monthly workshops, girls are given techniques, insights and hot tips for great writing in all genres from professional women writers.

Check it out :


Friday, 29 July 2011

Espresso? Dark Chocolate? Mint Tea?

Here's a bit of fun. Submit your writing to the Creative Cafe Project and assign your story a drink :

The Creative Cafe concept seems to me, a fabulous utopian idea ... I want one ! Or at least I'd love to have one nearby. I want to be the writer who's pretending to write a novel on her laptop, the one who people interrupt ... ask questions ... share writerly stuff ...

The Creative Café is the brainchild of university lecturer and children’s writer, Gill James. In 2006 she envisaged a network of cafés where creative practitioners know they are welcome and where normal coffee lovers know that they will be able to experience something a little different as they sip their brew. This is happening informally. The project aims to identify, create and expand Creative Cafés. Several pilot / benchmark cafés have been identified. The project is now seeking to organise expansion logically.

The Creative Cafe Project is looking for:
... thought-provoking and entertaining stories, though ones which might be a tad different from what you normally read in a woman’s magazine. They should be the sort of length that would make easy reading whilst you drink a cup of coffee, even if you linger a while, but without you needing to rent-a-table.

Each story will be assigned the name of a drink. [You may assign the drink] Something light and frothy might be a hot chocolate. A dark piece of flash fiction could be an espresso. Something good for the soul would be a mint tea.

[Suggest under 3000 words. Shorter stories and flash fiction welcome]

Check it out, Gillian 

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Can you hear anything ?

Triple Glazing

No sound of cycle bells ringing,
engines racing, buses droning
or wagons thundering,
over the A six three something,

No sound of children laughing,
crying, arguing, not even birdsong
can be heard
through the triple glazing.


Faux Pas and Random Figures ...

Faux Pas

Cool as a martini in Manolo Blahnik towers
she steps from the tube, mind the gap,
sharp stilettos clipping the steps
Louis Vuitton hanging,
she clings to the glue-coated
moving handrail, hails a cab,
slips tortoiseshells in her hair,
tap, tapping on monikered mobile,
a jewel encrusted fake,
she ogles at Oscar de la Renta.
and travels to nowhere.

I was just exploring the opinion that luxury is more of your own perception than what it says on the label when I came across these figures:

China – 300,000 millionaires
Russia – 88 thousand millionaires
[Moscow] 33 billionaires
India – 70,000 millionaires


Sunday, 24 July 2011

Just found these ... exercise without using too much energy ...

Morning everyone. I was just having a desktop tidy up [more procrastination - supposed to be editing 'Scrambled-egg-pet'] and found these starter phrases and sentences ... thought I would share them with you ... this type of writing exercise often gets my mind going when I'm stuck ...

Just finish any of the intro sentences that attract you:

From behind the dark cloud, the moon emerged, its cold pallid light, casting shadows …

James Spencer stared accusingly at her ...

My mother once said that …

Had she really wanted to know? ...

Charles was extremely fond of telling people …

It was 1951. Jenny Price was happy. ...

It was 2010. Andrew Smith wasn't happy. ...

In the beginning, God made man and then he made …

Today will be a day of letting go ...

On Sunday morning, on almost every Sunday morning, ...

Jenny Jones' friends were all of the opinion that she …

Jack Jones's friend were all of the opinion that he ...
He had come from the plane and was even now forgetting ...

Enjoy, Gillian.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Henrietta ... my new inspiraton ...

Henrietta: A Walk in the Park ... [oka my garden]

Thanks to Henrietta for getting my imagination going ... I know hens, chickens [same thing obv] chicks, ducks, goose stories have been around for hundreds of years ... and so I decided to add to that list with my new short story, coming soon, for children aged 6-9 years; Scrambled-egg-pet.

Off to do some editing [again] Gillian 

Thursday, 21 July 2011

If you thought Falconry Displays were boring ... watch this ...

Whilst researching [otherwise known as procrastinating, I came across this amazing piece of film ...

Enjoy, Gillian

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Relaxing Tiddlers ...

Check out the Relaxing Tiddlers at the foot of the blog [below favourite books] ... another half hour of procrastination used up.


Too Many Projects, Too Little Time ...

Too many projects, too little time. What with extreme ironing and continually re-stocking food supplies fast becoming projects themselves as my teenage boys turn into real men, I'm finding I still don't have enough time to get down to what I want to do ~ Write.

So, for now, I've put all businessy projects on hold. I have decided to commit ALL my spare time to writing! That concept, three weeks ago, I felt elated about and I got to the hobby / task straight away [one of the reasons I haven't been here for a while ~ apologies]. But there I went again ... not keeping the eye on the ball, the finger on the button, my mind on one project. Typical! Arggh! My problem once again - too many projects. My mind was all over the place, trying to choose one project to focus on: Adult novel/contemporary saga of power and control in relationships, Touchstone, waiting to be finished. Short stories waiting for an edit. Children's picuture book stories waiting for ... whatever. Children's novel, a cliff hanger waiting to be attended to. Interactive activity pages for children suffering trauma mostly developed but lie neatly on the bookshelf waiting for finishing touches, a printer and possibly a touch of confidence.

Clearly, the activity pages seem most important due to the very idea of them. The overall design is child-type hand-drawn pictures, shapes and patterns. Yep, I should be able to do that. Why not? Yep Start here - it's the obvious place to begin.

So what did I do first? As usual I entertained the P word. Procrastination. I sat quietly and did some thinking. [After all, isn't writing 80% thinking 20% writing?] If I focused on the starting place of my writing and moved forwards from there, I could work my way chronologically through all my writing projects, dotting all the 'I's and crossing all the 'T's. Yeah, yep, yah, that seemed like a good enough reason to do what I do best - procrastinate! I got out ALL of my poems and made a themed collection ~ two. I decided to publish a poetry pamphlet [which involved two evenings on internet searches]. I designed some covers ideas, short-listed the content, enlisted the help of my artist friend and approached a printer. Great. Now What? During that process, I found some narrative poetry written for children and waiting for illustration. Hmm ... What could I do with this? [no doubt you're forming an image of the problem I have] One of the poems got me thinking [again]. I dug out some Roald Dahl, Anthony Horovitch, Anne Fine children's stories and did a quick re-cap [Love the Magic Finger story - the one where the neighbours, who are constantly shooting at birds, get changed into birds and find themselves living in a nest whilst the birds take over their house]. That night, I couldn't sleep. Around two-thirty in the morning, I had the makings of  four children's stories and worried I wouldn't be able to remember them in the morning, [have you ever worried about forgetting your night-time ideas?] scribbled the thoughts down on a scrap of paper [actually the back page of Jonathan Franzen's brilliantly observed, The Corrections] and tried to go back to sleep. Not a chance. By four, I'd written hundreds of words for each story. 

So you sense my dilemma. Focus you say. Focus I say, every time I sit down to write. And here I am, procrastinating on my blog ... Maybe I should just re-name it: PROCRASTION?

Anyway, must be off now ... must finish my current short story for children, 'Scrambled-Egg-Pet' or maybe a spot of Ironing? The choices are endless. Hopefully I can do both without drifting off to another project like shortening my mother's new curtains, cleaning out the chicken house / loft / garage, [incidently, take a look at the feng shui garage on and prepare to be jealous. Other distractions I'm trying not to think about; digging a vegetable patch or worse, taking accumulated stuff to a car boot sale / charity shop / tip, go for a hire-bike ride along Blackpool's Wonderful New Promenade ... now that might be worthwhile ... get the creative juices flowing ...


[oops - maybe should make a new label, 'Procrastion' ?]

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

More Pamphlet Proto-types ...

I began with an idea, like most people do. A poetry pamphlet. I realise the 'poetry pamphlet' is not my idea, but my idea was for me to publish one or have one published. Is there a difference? Possibly around £200. So my idea, [not a actually an idea, more of a-this-is-how-they-usually-look] to print a poetry pamphlet, began as a standard issue Poetry Pamphlet:

Card cover with title, author and logo; 4 x A4 pieces of white slightly thicker copy paper [possibly the logo or similar printed on one or two pages], with Times Roman point 12 font in black.

Then I visited my friend who's an expert on hand-crafted celebration cards - or sticking and cutting as I often call it. Here are yet some more proto-types:

Possibly the reason why my blog posts are getting temporarily shorter.

Thanks for reading, Gillian

The Corrections

Just having a read of Jonathan Franzen's, 'The Corrections.'

Not reached page 100 and loving it. Every page, paragraph, line, phrase, word, Sooo well observed and written. The only problem now ... it's around 600 plus pages long and quite heavy.

Also on my reading list for the next two weeks:
Kazuo Ishiguro ~ 'The Remains of the Day'
Jeffery Archer ~ 'Only Time Will Tell'

[I've managed to upload/download or is it download/upload them to my iphone ~ and feeling rather smug about it ! ]


Sunday, 3 July 2011

Are you lonely?

'An artist is always alone - if he is an artist.
No, what the artist needs is loneliness.'

Henry Miller

via SocialOomph


Find it hard to choose a book to read?

I sometimes find it takes tooooo long to choose a book just to read - I know that probably sounds completely odd - but what I really mean is - a book purely for enjoyment rather than assessing writing styles, voice, character, tone, mood etc. etc. etc.

Being part of the World Book Night, I was sent a link to this list of 100 books ... 'kinda' made the job a bit easier for my next read ...

and 'kinda' didn't, as I realise how many more I should get through.


Friday, 24 June 2011

Argghhh ... Can't get anything done ...

Well, I've joined SCBWI at last. Have I told you this already? I have? Oh, okay, it's just that ... it's taking up a some of my time atm. There's so much to find out, writers and illustrators to share and connect with. For once, I don't feel alone in my Northern World of Writing. You don't mind if I get off now do you ... I've got to check out a few more members, networking meetings, workshops, and maybe, finish a few of my children's stories before anyone finds out they're all only half way through ... or rather, from the perspective of a more positive person; they're all half way through already!

Either way ... I'm on with it.
See you later,

Wednesday, 22 June 2011


Hi Everyone who is interested in writing for children. I've just joined SCBWI ~ What a great place !

You should try it:


Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Neck ache when writing? Yes but at least I've finished Chapter 5 ...

Phew, I've got a massive headache again today! Do you think it could be from reading, writing and typing overload? And no, it's not a hangover. Maybe wish it was, then at least I'd have an excuse.

Absolutely!  It's from typing for too long. Couldn't agree more. [My New Mantra: Must learn to focus on one project at a time]

But mostly, I find the trouble with writing/typing is the tightening of the shoulders and stiffening of the neck from leaning over a laptop / pc / notepad etc. Hence, blood circulation is not ideal. My physio explained that the weight of the head when leaning forward is maybe 3 times that when you are standing with correct posture. Reasonable information when you think about it. A simple exercise which she has coaxed me into - and really works for me, is this ...

Lie on the floor. Push your chin into your chest. Lift your head and count to 4. Relax. Do this 10 times every day or between writing bouts. [You can feel the neck muscles working]

After I'd been doing this for a while, I realised how much I took my neck for granted. Standing correctly also helps. Yes, I must remember to hydrate myself too. Less coffee. More water, I promise. And yes, I do go for a little walk around the garden now and again ... attend to the newly acquired ex-batery hens ... fill the dishwasher ... again ... but for now, it's going to have to be a couple of head-ache tablets ... because ...

The adrenalin is rushing as Chapter 5, Ramper Pot Mysteries ~ The Hideaway is getting a bit scary:  The devastation caused by the fire. Kids wrongly accused. The arrival of the abominable Riverside Ranger. [She even scared me!] And what about the metal detector? Did it work?

See you all later, when done a few neck exercises and answered a couple of problems for Charlie, Amy, Zak and Rob.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Forward Poetry ...

Check out Workshops on the Forward Poetry site for poetry structures explained ... to the 'n'th degree ...

Echo Verse, Triolet, Rondeau, Pantoum, you see, I do actually recognise many forms ... but Forward Poetry seem to know them all ... the choices are endless. I did fancy the 'Diamante' Poem, which, to be honest, I'd hadn't ever heard of:

'The diamante, or diamond poem, is a style of poetry made up of 6 lines, using only 13 words and forms the shape of a diamond. The poem starts with one subject and evolves into a different subject, the exact opposite of the starting subject. The diamante poem is classed as a modern poetry style, which was developed by American writer, Iris Tiedt, in the 1960s.' [Forward Poetry]

The fixed forms are explained well - and I'd definitely advise you have a go ... tempt your thoughts into one of the structures. Doing this forces you to be very strict with your content. When adding strong rhyme to repeated lines emphasises content. Fixed form is great for practicing writing poetry - a bit like skiing down the mountain behind an experienced skier - the path is already chosen for you so you can concentrate on content, mood, tone, sounds, voice, style. Fitting your words into a strict structure also aids recognition of rhythms which comes into play when writing free verse.


Natterjack is Calling All Writers ...

Michael Bruce has a vision ... that Natterjack is to grow into a site where different voices, which wouldn’t normally be heard together, can engage with each other and throw light on each other.

Poets and bloggers, businesspeople and academics, sports tipsters and ale critics, fanatics and sceptics, agelasts and satirists, established writers and new writers, adults and children – and more – will be heard in these pages.

What are you waiting for? Get writing and emailing ... Michael is looking for anything writerly.


The Writers' Workshop ...

Bestselling author of fiction and non-fiction, Harry Bingham, [great name btw], runs The Writers' Workshop. Check out his site for helpful advice or his blog: Write. Edit. Seek Literary agent [link below].

Harry supplies ideas and samples of how to approach agents; the complicated way, or the lazy way [his words, not mine], either way, here's a link to a very simple 'Sample Literary Agent Query Letter' ...

Harry makes it look easy - the only other thing you might need, which he does suggest, is a good book!

Also: Join The Word Cloud: where writers meet.  [Its free, just register and join in with a large writing community for feedback, forums and updates.
Well worth a look, great advice, articles, workshops [online workshops] and blog. Thanks Harry.


Saturday, 18 June 2011

Coming Along ...

I've somewhat fashionably moved on from last week's three slips of computer copy paper, crudely stapled together; two ugly rectangles pencilled on the front cover [also of computer copy paper standard] [and just to make absolutely clear, its not that I have any problem with rectangles, infact I think they're quite a useful and orderly shape.]

But to get on with the poetry pamphlet, I've spent some part of the week, [most part], choosing, sketching, story-boarding, waffling, pricing the pamphlet's cover, bookmark, packaging and marketing [not forgetting editing and structing the content of course].

Here is proto-type 2nd stage. And yes, I am aware that the bookmark as yet is actually computer copy paper ... in yellow. I know there are white pieces of paper [ccp again] stuck on the front cover with Pritt Stick [didn't even buy a price-breaking unknown brand] and the recycled silver Christmas card string is to be replaced with something on trend: satin, wired, raffia ... the choices are endless.

Now for more decision making ... Yellowy-lime butterflies printed on white card with yellowy-lime inside card = ££££££'s ... or Ivory card with black printed butterflies; Ivory interior = reasonable rates. Hmmm ??

You are very welcome to help me choose. Comment in the box or email me:
Don't hold yourself back. Your ideas are totally appreciated.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Great blog! Info for aspiring writers of children & YA Writing ...

I definitely-absolutely-truly recommend Tracy's blog for 'All Things Children's and YA Fictoin, News, Reviews, Interviews and so on ... link below ...

I personally found it colourful, interesting and most of all, seriously useful.

Tracy who can be found at  'Tall Tales & Short Stories', is a Children's & YA writer who has a wealth of experience in theatre and film set design. [wouldn't you just lurrve to do that as a real job? I know I would have - hey ho, you can't will them all ! - My excuse - being born too long ago, in the North of England  [that's not really an excuse now ist it?], at a time when it seemed like we didn't have a transport system to anywhere further than Manchester. The real reason - [another excuse] - I couldn't read ... properly ... All the letters used to blurr into one another. No-one had heard of the word 'Dyslexia' or related problems. I hadn't dared let my mother know I couldn't read. Looking back, I'm not really sure how I got along. Needless to say, I was a seriously shy youth - and this was my reason [yet another excuse], for not getting out of town and into a career].

However, after life jammed with retail business; wedding gowns, creative workshops, here I am ... a wannabewriter, spending too much time reading, procrastinating with my blog and not enough time writing Ramper Pot Mysteries ~ The Hideaway [working title].

So check out Tracy on:

Read guest blogger, Miriam Halahmy's opinions on critique groups v tutor-led groups, 'Why you should join a critique group'.

So, thanks ladies, your words got me motivated ... now on with editing chapter 5 !


Incidently, I welcome brand new writers to forward manuscript samples where I'm willing to help with any grammar or structure issues [free]. Just email

[Gillian Hesketh MA]

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Pamphlet Prep ...

So excited at the prospect of using my new treat ... almost as excited as last month's treat ... A DeWalt tool holder ... just for me [and of course, I'm eternally grateful for the men in my home, allowing me to be the designated household repair person !] Maybe I should get out more ... invest in handbags or spa treatments ... hmmm ... dreamy days ...

Anyway, back to the writing desk, I may be somewhat premature with my 'Ryaman's A4 Creative Craft Paper Trimmer' as I've not finished editing the chosen poems for the pamphlet yet. Do I believe in editing poems? Sometimes. I often consider poems are never, ever truly finished; they're always changing, fluid? Then, other times, I just have a feeling that a poem is complete and should never be messed with again. Too much editing can cause a poem to feel conrived. And we definitely wouldn't want that. If this happens, I often put it away to mature. Personally, I'd rather write a shorter poem in which the mood or essence feels good staight away. I'm also of the opinion that people, often short of time, don't have the patience to read really long pieces. Hence, my pamphlet, which is going to be a short collection of contemporary pieces bound in an attractive, tactile cover ... with bookmark gift.

So forgive me, but I must get off, covers to design, butterflies to sketch, stencils to cut ... Oh and maybe I'll have a go with the 'Ryman', check out its boasts of creasing, perforating, straight cutting, deckle edging, zig-zag cut and wavy cut. Have to admit, can't wait to try the 'deckle edge.' As for the future of the pamphlet, I'll need a trip the the stationers again ... for a long-armed stapler.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Introducing my next project ...

So, I've decided to make a Pamphlet ... of Poetry.

I've got a collection of poems to choose from [only a couple of hundred, so it shouldn't take long].

I've been to speak to the printer.

I'm thinking texture, dahling, colour, more texture, font, layout, maybe a couple of poems here and there...

To tell you the truth, I'm fed up of searching through poetry competitions ... I'm thakful for the opportunities I've had so far, maybe ten or so poems published, but the next level seems like [apologies in advance for the idiom] being spotted would be like finding a needle in a haystack or winning the lottery. Yes, I know the cream always comes to the top [Oops, there I go again] but there seems to be sooo much cream, that I feel like semi-skinned most of the time.

However, a challenge is always good for the brain cells. I've got lots of ideas, colours, styles, marketing concepts running around in my head every minute of the day [and most of the night] ... So I'm going to follow my instincts and get on with this as priority project ... that is in between editing the children's novel, Ramper Pot Mysteries ~ The Hideaway and building Verity's character ready for the big one ... 'that' novel.

I would just like to say a big thank you to The Stapler, for holding the proto-type thin papered pamphlet in place for the photo shoot and everyone that has helped me get to this stage already.

Here's to ... The Pamphlet ...


Upcoming Poetry Competitions:

For a comprehensive list of upcoming Poetry Competitions, click below:

Good Luck,


Monday, 13 June 2011

Sure, we all knew this ...


HTML is an acronym for hypertext markup language. It is a language that is used to produce documents for the World Wide Web.

Using tags and attributes, HTML instructs browsers on how to display the text, hyperlinks and images on a web page.

HTML pages are distributed on the web using hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP).

Read more: What Does HTML Stand for?

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Easy-read Ideas and Tips, Tips, Tips ...

Give this a whirl ...

Tim Love shares motivating tips and ideas for wannabe writers that aren't going to take up most of your day.


Thursday, 9 June 2011

Routemasters & Mushrooms

And here's one I made earlier ... Another of my poems has appeared in Routemasters & Mushrooms...

'Living Room' by Gillian Hesketh, published by Earlyworks Press ...

'Earlyworks Press is off to a good start ... an intriguiging title, some excellent and varied poems from such well-known names as Roger Elkin.'
Carole Baldock, Editor of Orbis.

'Not a single bland, run-of-the-mill poem in the mix.'
D J Tyrer, Atlantean Publishing.

£5.50 UK ISBN 0-9553429-0-2

Poetry Rivals ... Slam Finalist ...

Strange, I've just realised that I'm quick to criticise myself, especially with regard to procrastination and never think to display what I've been up during the procrastinations periods ~ which I'm beginning to believe aren't really procrastination periods because I'm always creating one project or another. Anyway, here is one of my offerings:

Poetry Rivals Slam Finalists ... Page 69:
Lonely as a Platform Bench, by Gillian Hesketh
Forward Press
ISBN: 978-1-84418-541-2

Saturday, 4 June 2011

On the Wagon ...

Origin of the saying "On the Wagon" - meaning a person has stopped drinking alcohol! Prisoners were transported to Tyburn Gallows on a wagon and were allowed one last drink in a pub on the way to their execution. If offered a second drink by a sympathiser the guard would reply, "No, they're going on the Wagon!"

Courtesy of

Friday, 3 June 2011

Work V Play ...

Each day, and the living of it, has to be a conscious creation in which discipline and order are relieved with some play and pure foolishness.

Eleanore Marie Sarton, American poet, novelist and memoirist.


That feels great ... I've just joined SCBWI; Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. I also joined the facebook page and was welcomed by quite a few authors / illustrators within minutes which made me feel really welcome. [Thank you]

Now, I know I said I was going to finish my novel, Touchstone, Consequences or whatever the working title is at the moment, but a more urgent job requires my ultimate attention for a few weeks. Having a publisher vaguely speaking to me about one of my children's stories, forced me to alter direction temporarily. Whilst I was about this, I came across SCBWI and got drawn into the colourful and interesting website, viewed illustrators images, checked out authors... I joined the society and decided to enter the children's novel writing competition with my offering for 8 - 11year olds ~ An Arthur Ransom meets Jacqueline Wilson collection for the Millennium child ~ riverside adventure meets pre-teen gang conflict, extended family issues with a bit of eco-awareness and smattering of local politics thrown in.

So, the chapter was ready to post [Chapter 1]. My synopsis was professionally saved in a file named 'Synopsis' [surprise]. My biog was also up and running. I entered my details into SCBWI online application form and paid for my membership.

THEN, I realised the last date for the competition was the very next day. NO email submissions; the rules clearly stated that. Hmmm ... all this preparation. For nothing? I wouldn't give in. I wasn't about to miss the deadline.

...So, it's 11.55pm. The night before the closing date of the competition. I am supposed to be travelling to London the following morning. I'm tired. Very tired. I'm falling asleep on my laptop. I realise my synopsis is slightly too long and boring; my biog doesn't suit the specific requirements and is also too long. I have no large envelopes ... and worse, my chapter has 446 words too many. I try to edit Chapter 1 and manage to get further than expected. In between nano-dozes, I transform the chapter into a neat 3995 words in a riduculously short amount of time. I start on the biog and wonder why. If the closing date is the next day, how am I going to get the chapter to Stanley House? Same Day Delivery? Maybe. Send my son down in a diesel fuelled vehicle? - a bit extreme. I decide to email SCBWI and ask if I could hand deliver my submission. It is now around 12.35am. I delete half of my biog. Still too long. My head jerks in that space between wakefulness and sleepfulness. The papers on my desk begin to swirl in some sort of Harry Potter snow storm. The dog barks me awake. Time for bed. I have given in.

Have I given in? Of course not. I decide to sleep as deeply as possible [see for restless sleep] ~ that is, after I have worked out a way to deliver my submission. I plan to rise early and attend to all the outstanding structure, editing, applicaiton form, purchasing of envelope and sticking of stamps. Sticking of stamps? Where did I get that idea from? Wouldn't I be waiting for confirmation to allow me to hand deliver this infamous package?

Car to Station. Train to Euston. Tube to ... I had no address. My laptop had crashed. I hadn't been able to print my application form. I hadn't been able to print my membership payment receipt confirmation. I now had to email my son to print all that I needed - which involved getting one of my sons out of bed before 9am. [Hmmm - that was going to cost]. And then I remembered ... falling asleep the previous evening ... that Chapter 2 might be a better option; more interesting, dramatic, exciting ... Chapter 2 was also made up of approximately 4479 words. So I set to work, reducing the chapter to 3994 words and my patience to zero. I checked the font type and size, collected all the necessary documents together, pasted sticky labels over an old envelope, previously addressed to me and fled for the train.

On Tuesday, hot, sticky and a tad panicky, I posted my envelope through a large letter box, somewhere in the vicinity of Kings Cross Station and hoped someone would notice it propped awkwardly against the glass wall and put it with all the other submissions [so it wouldn't be lonely of course].

If nothing else, the thing I learned from this operation was something about editing ... Be Ruthless At All Times. I felt the pace of the two chapters was quicker, smoother and cleaner, once all the unnecessary stuff had been removed.


Monday, 30 May 2011

General Stuff ... & Other People's Money ...

Everytime I find a space in my calendar, I intend to attend a lit fest. Everytime I try to do this, either; its winter and festivals are few and far between [if at all] or I need to climb aboard four trains and a bus to get to the festival. Okay, I could drive but I seem to have developed sleep apnea [yes, at first, I thought that was a joke word too], much like 'toping', 'knout', 'crepuscular' and 'farinaceous', words from 'One Day' by David Nicholls and Justin Cartwright's recent novel, 'Other People's Money', which I feel almost ashamed to admit, I had to look them up in a dictionary [Ooooh ~ how utterly dreadful]. However, Justin Cartwright's novel about banking dynasties, class, family secrets, a mild thriller with gentle satire played out in a rich man's playground is a really great read once you've passed the first few pages on talk of hedge funds, sub-primes and the like. 'Justin Cartwright manipulates our sympathies with masterly ease, unwinding the story with gentle satire, and, as ever, acute and beautifully phrased insights into the eccentricities and weaknesses of the human condition.' Clearly the words of a Waterstones review. Try it. Because you're worth it. By the way, it cost £12.99 at the airport - so order before you go on holiday.

Published 07/03/2011
Publisher Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
ISBN 9781408814130


Festivals, Festivals, Festivals ...

For a comprehensive list of literature festivals, try:

Dates, Venues, Authors, Details, Search options, Suggestions, Calendars, Newsletter, Features, Charts ... the choices are endless ...

A great site to check out upcoming lit fests near you.



Friday, 27 May 2011

Poetry Competitions ...

For a concise and clear list of Poetry Competitions, check out ~ In chronological order ... so you can send off your stuff in time and not spend hours preparing your words only to realise you've missed the deadline date. Ever done that? I know I have.

Good luck and enjoy,

Pre-Teen Slang ... ?

I'm looking for the latest phrases, actions, slang or taboo words etc. which boys and girls between the ages of 8 and 11 might use.

[My novel, working title: 'Ramper Pot ~ Adventures' [with series potential] [don't you just love that phrase? - I do] for 7-11 age-group is sounding far too reminicent of 'lashings of ginger beer.'] Then, might a return to the past be refreshing ? Lets hope so.

Any ideas very welcome:

Add to the comment box or if time, email

Thankyou, Thanks, Ta, Gillian

Writing Competition ...

Do You Like Words? Silly question if you've already found this blog. If you'd like to see them in print, read on ...

Organisers of Blackpool Festival of Words: Wordpool, are compiling their festival newspaper: `Words, Words & Other Stuff` and looking for Poems, Musical Lyrics, Slogans, Flash Fiction, Extracts from Plays, Short Stories to include in the publication.

Poems - 20 lines limit.
Musical Lyrics - 20 lines limit.
Flash Fiction - 50 words limit.
Extracts from a Play - 500 words limit.
Short Story - 500 words limit.

If you would like to take part, send your WORDS to: ~ and mention where you saw the ad [just so Kerry knows I did my job].

*Deadline for submissions - 20th June 2011.
[The Editorial Team and Guest Writer will make the final decision]

Good Luck Everyone,

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Writing Workshops and More ...

I've always wanted to go ... I never find the time to get to it ... No one wants to come with me ... I've even been asked to advertise it ... and Here 'It' is ...

The Winchester Writers' Conference.
Festival and Book Fair 1st-3rd July / Workshops 27th June-1st July:

Workshops, Mini Courses, Lectures, One-to-One Appointments, Writing Competitions.


Enjoy, Gillian

Saturday, 30 April 2011

One Day

Just reading One Day by David Nocholls, writer of Cold Feet amongst other acolades.
We're taken on Emmas and Dexter's journey after university as they struggle to form normal [ not going into what is or isn't normal here ] relationships with or without each other.

No groundbreaking theories [thank goodness] - easy to read with a great sense of wit.

Almost finished it so can't tell you about the ending - not that you'd want to know of course.


Feedback ...

If you would like some constructuve free feedback on any style of writing, please email me your 'stuff' to
Be gentle with me - up to approx 5 pages, thanks.
Gillian, MA

Writing Exercise Number 3 - The Sentence ...

I'm not trying to insult anyone's intelligence here. This simple excercise has prompted many poems for me.

Basically, finish the sentence ...

The train ...

When the rain stopped ...

From her expression, I knew that ...

In the road ahead, I could see that ...

In the corner of the room, a ...

Beyond the smog ...

He would never know how ...

When the music ended ...

I know, cliche after cliche [even without the accent on the e] ... and you're all wincing at it - the exercise not the cliche [or maybe the accent as well?] ...Hey ho. But honestly, have a go.

Make your own starters and see where they take you.
Email some to me and I'll post them for all to share:

Enjoy, Gillian

Ahh Memories ... Writing Exercise Number 2 ... The Photograph ...

Memories are one of the easiest ways for new writers to get writing. Unless of course you already have that number 1 best-selling idea, plenty of time, an agent and a publisher waiting in his/her office for your call.

Choose an old photo. Don't take too long in the process or your thoughts will begin to form, muddling up memories of events and images.

Choose a quiet place and look at the photo for a few minutes. [You can take your tea, wine, beer, chocolate or fruit with you]

When you're ready, write for 5 minutes or so on each of these:

In First Person:
When it was - Where you were - Who you were with - What you were doing – How you felt.

For instance:- 'The photo is from one summer when I was five. I was visiting my grandmother. I sat on my bike for hours, outside her front door. I was happy there in my own little world ...'

Then write in Third Person:
Who was he/she? Where was he/she? - Who was he/she with? - What was he/she doing? - Why was he/she doing ........? - How did he/she feel?

For instance:- 'The girl was sitting on her bike. She was called Jennifer. She was visiting her grandmother. She had gone outside to play but she was alone. She felt lonely...’

Writing from two different points of view usually shows the distance from the writer to the reader. Do you feel closer to the writer when reading the First Person example?

Later, you can use the excercise to develop a story line or just practice which point of view is easier to write ...

Usually the first person point of view does make you feel closer to the character but this exercise seems to have caused a conflict. Was the girl happy or not? The conflict could be used to create tension …

'I sat on my bike for what seemed hours. Outside my grandma's house. Number three six four. I’ll never forget that number. Three Six Four Church Road. I couldn't ride it. The frame was too big. So I just sat there. For hours. Knowing everyone walking by could see me. They could see my new dress mother had just finished sewing that morning. It wasn't that the hem had come down or anything like that. She hadn’t just repaired it. She’d made it from scratch. From tiny bits of peach coloured fabric spread on the floor and with no pattern to cut around either. She was always doing that. For me. I’d been so happy, sat there, revelling in it, spreading out the gathered skirt and hoping, just hoping no-one could hear the screaming from inside the house ...'

Enjoy, Gillian

Friday, 29 April 2011

Really Useful Stuff ... Writing Exercise Number 1 ... The Circle ...

Thought I would add some more usefull 'stuff' to the blog. So here's my first writing exercise to get you going ...

Draw A Large Circle on a Large piece of paper.
Think about your life.
Divide Circle up into Segments according to your present thoughts about your life.
Allot segments to time spans or specific events.
[ie. childhood / school / work / hobby / marriage / promotion /specific event / travel]
[It doesn't matter if the segments don't correspond proportionately to the events - or that the circle is not totally 'finished'].
Choose one time span or event.
List what happened.
Now let go of all inhibitions and write for 10 minutes on this event.

Make cup of tea / pour glass of wine / eat fruit, chocolate or crisps / go for a jog if you must [but I hate you for it] ... then return to your writing.

Are you amazed ? Surprised? Did you touch something that has been hidden in the back of your mind for some time? Did the exercise make you feel emotional?

Free writing often evokes memories and emotions. These memories can be adapted into your story / poem / piece of writing and the raised emotion drawn on to make your story real.


Congratulations ...

Need I say more?

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Are you new to writing ?

Ever thought of writing? You have? Great.

It's so easy to get started. All you need is a pen and paper.

For now, just get comfy and let your mind wander.

Write anything-at-all down on the paper.
Writer for as long as you like ... a bit like doodling with words.

Free up you mind. Hope you enjoy it.
See you later and see what you come up with.

Feedback for Writers ...

There are some great sites out there for writers to have their work read and receive feedback. Usually, the plan is mutual. In order to receive feedback, you must critique someone else's work first. Fair enough. The other option is to pay.

I am intending to set up a local group ~ for writers to offer feedback. No tests or exercises. Just read each other's stuff and offer positive criticism [and maybe a teeny-weeny bit of negative criticism - if necessary].

For a limited period, I am happy to offer some feedback for free ~ and you don't have to read anything of mine ! That's lucky I hear you breathe.

Just so you know, I did receive a BA Hons English Literature / Language / Creative Writing and Master of Arts in Creative Writing.

Email me your 'stuff' to
Poetry, Short Stories, Novel ... the choices are endless ~ but please, only around 5 pages.

See you later,

Writing Exercises ... for Free !

Whilst I've been rumaging around the ins and outs of my brain, wondering which way to take Artywords, post more of my 'stuff', set up competitions, list every literary festival North and south of Poulton-le-Fylde, discuss nano facts about interesting [or non-interesting] literary buffs, I came across this :

Mollie Baxter, musician, writer, performer, tutor, presenter, lovely person and donator of Free Writing Exercises ... Thankyou and take it away, Mollie ...

Enjoy, Gillian

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Don't you just ...

Don't you just hate it when you get a brilliant idea for something ... an obstacle for your character, a plan for your story-line other than linear, a reason for your character's reaction, a cliff-hanger ... at around 2am, then ... around 7am, after the birds have woken you an hour or so earlier, you've completely forgotton the brilliant idea !

I do!


Sunday, 17 April 2011

Saw this ... and thought of you ... Gillian

B&Q it ... Don't Do it ...

I can't believe it ... Instead of writing a short piece for Artywords, I got involved with a B&Q diy feedback ~ don't ask me why or how, I just got way too involved with it all ... and got timed out! How Rude!

As a rule, I never get bogged down with surveys of any sort but I keep getting so wound up with the self-serve check-out at B&Q, rammed with boxes and people with low-loaders driving into my ankles, that I had to have my say. The only thing is, that I had a rather long say which included the words 'Health and Safety' and eventually got timed out!

So, apologies, I didn't get around to what I was going to say ... now what was it?

Er... em ... er ...

May be an early night and start again tomorrow [Without a trip to B&Q or the survey]


Thursday, 7 April 2011

Story Telling ... Workshops ...

If you live anywhere near Lancaster, check out The Storey Auditorium ... Lunchtime Classics - George Eliot Spotlight - Open Mic Story Time Poetry Groups Get Writing - Writers' Workshops Hope to see you there Gillian

Thursday, 31 March 2011

Sorry, What did you say ?

After all that studying nature v nurture ... after all those case studies ... after all the discussions on parenting, care-givers, theories, theorists, psychologists ... after all the debates on power and control in social situations; who takes the floor and how ... Just watch this ... and think again ... Sets you thinking doesn't it ... Gillian

Monday, 28 March 2011

Writing Tips for Fun ...

Check out Rebecca's short clip for fun writing tips ...

As we're taking advantage of her hard work, it would be rude not to promote her new book. So here it is; Palaces & Calluses.

To be honest, I haven't read it yet ... I haven't even bought it yet ... [will be adding it to the list for the weekend] but if you have already, let me know what you think ...


Short Stories ... ?

How to Write a Short Story that Sells
We hear it all the time, short stories and short story collections don't sell well – other than to magazines, probably mainly women’s magazines. Of course, we are to believe that e-readers is about to be the short story's new residence. Perfect for commuting or waiting for your dental appointment. If you are new to the story-writing game or are insistant on writing them, check out these pointers I compiled from various opinions on the web:

If writing for a magazine, read through half a dozen copies at least, to learn about the magazine’s reader type and absorb the style / tone.

Adhere to the word count request.
Use one viewpoint ~ use the most used in previous stories published by the magazine you are directing your work towards.
One storyline – sub-plot not necessary.
Few characters [4 at most].
A short time-scale Consistent style, mood, tone, pace. Concise dialogue, useful to the storyline.
No moral messages.
Keep descriptions brief, specific and vivid.
Try not to make the ending too contrived.

The more information you have about your target audience and the publication style, the better.

I’m off now to edit a short story with too many characters, a too-long time-scale and a hint of a moral message … oops.


Update ...

Well, my novel, working title: Consequences, oka my novel, working title: Touchstone, has been given a break. Verity is misbehaving, she is not yet a fully formed character and so, I'm finding it difficult to continue with her. I've been thinking about her a lot ~ of course and there's something missing. She's too nice. I'm not sure what she's even wearing now. Why would the successful entrepreneur, Edward, pick her over someone else? More research into the nature of an addictive character probably necessary too? Just in the nick of time, a pleasantly wonderfully lovely, delightful, helpful lady from Canada would like to read an edited version of my children's novel, The Mysteries of Ramper Pot. And so, that has taken priority for a month or so. I'm hoping that in the meantime, Verity will fully form herself and then I'll be able to get hold of Consequences and steam through it.


Thursday, 24 March 2011

It's ... A Tie ...

I've been checking out ideas for performance and came across Mark and his Tie. Not sure I'd be able to achieve his level of entertainement. Thanks for making me smile Mark.


Things are Hotting Up ...

A Letter Arrives : ~

`Congratulations ! You have been chosen as one of the 50 finalists in the Over 18's category of Poetry Rivals 2010! We received over 8,000 entries ...

The letter continues ...

`We are pleased to invite you to the Poetry Rivals 2010 Slam Final ...
to p e r f o r m y o u r p o e m i n f r o n t o f t h e j u d g e s ... `

My vision blurs. My stomach whizzes around like a washing machine on spin. My nerve ends feel like someone is pushing millions of the tiniest pins into my skin. I put the letter on one side, hoping it will go away, slip itself sleekly into the bin when I'm not looking.

I spent most of the following morning wishing my husband would mistakenly scoop up the letter, directions and confirmation form with his papers, perhaps lose them. I passed on subliminal messages to the kids, hoping they would unknowlingly use the back of the map for scrap paper or paper planes.

A week later, the letter continued to glare at me from my writing desk [as opposed to my work desk where I try to earn some money to allow me to spend much of the week practising writing ~ ha !].

The next day, I received a phone call. Would I be performing at the Poetry Slam? How many excuses could I think of not to? Actually, none. Not even a pathetic see-through one. I would be completely available on Saturday 2nd April 2011.

But Peterborough is a long way [although I could get there with a long drive or 3 trains part-funded by expenses offered]. Yet the finalist does receive a publishing contract with Bonacia Ltd. And there are 50 finalists in the `Over 18's category.`

Yes, I understand this is just an opportunity for showcase stuff ~ and yes, achieving status as `one of the fifty`, I still have to purchase my own copy of Slam Finalists for ``only £7.99`` But everytime I enter a poem into this type of publication, it gets accepted and noticeable as the amount of bookshelf space is absorbed. So, are there really 8,000 submissions? Or just 50? And why, if there are 8,000 for the same competition, do I keep on criticising my work, thinking it's not worthy of acclaim?

Meanwhile ... I'm just about to fill in the reply form. Shall I go? Or should I get on with editing my children's novel for the nice lady from a publishing company in Canada who is interested in reading the edited mss?