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