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.