Most of our young writers have been working hard over the past few weeks, completing their competition entries for various challenges coming up. Some find the first draft the hardest part of the process whereas others struggle when it comes to editing and redrafting the same piece over and again until it is perfect. There is a line that is drawn to reach that perfection and I have had to pull the reigns on some of my students who don’t know when to stop.
Searching for that perfection in writing is, to some degree, pointless. I can hear many of you disagreeing with me but hear me out on why I think this way.
Perfection is subjective: every reader brings their own perceptions of what they want to see, feel and engage with in any written piece. I have felt the despondency of watching my tutors tear my writing apart because they hate the genre I have chosen or because they expect my characters to survive when someone is bound to die in my story! Every piece I submit is written and redrafted to the point of turning itself inside out, trying the avoid the pitfalls of poor writing. Yet, I still feel that sting when the reviews come in. At the same time, those that enjoy the genre I write in thoroughly engage with the piece and enjoy the trauma of losing a favourite character, feeling the loss is an essential part of the realism of the story. In the same way, when I am preparing my young writers for competition challenges, I make sure they are aware of what the editors want. That is important. Some may have strengths in the form of writing submitted whereas others keep second guessing themselves. My role as a mentor is to ensure that each writer enjoys the process of creating their piece. I am there to encourage them, to follow the guidelines and set tasks to edit the piece so that the requirements are effortlessly covered during drafting and redrafting. It is my purpose to ensure that no writer feels burn out, especially at such a young age, just from writing a competition piece. Yes, it is a competition. Yes, we do have to bring our best, but it is not worth all the prizes in the world to discourage a young writer from believing in their own voice and style just to enter a perfect piece.
This is part of the ethos of EDS Writers Club and after last week’s pressure of submitting our competition entries, I am going to make sure my writers have fun this week to remind them of the many reasons why writing is wonderful. One day, in the distant future, it is my dream to see the names of one of my writers up there with the likes of J.K. Rowling, Roald Dahl, Cressida Cowell, and so many more accomplished authors. Well, that is the dream, anyway. Their love of writing about the places in their imaginations and their ability to create those new fantastic worlds is what will get them there – that will be the perfection we are searching for.
I recently submitted my final paper for my degree in creative writing. It was a screenplay about a dystopian society set in 2025 where the pandemic of 2020 had separated society into two distinctive groups: the vaccinated and the anti-vaxers. What’s ironic in reading this article is the thread of truth captured in my script about how quickly society can restructure itself for the greater good and marginalise those who do not conform. In my dystopia, new ‘safe areas’ are cordoned off and restructured around towns, industrial areas and local neighbourhoods leaving the rest as the red zones where anti-vaxers must now reside. These ‘New Haven’ towns have a co-ordinated team of safety officers funded by the big pharma companies who, through their powerful position of providing these vaccines and offering back payments, pull the puppet strings strings of government officials. The purpose of these officers is to check Vax Passes given to the vaccinated and prevent anti-vaxers from invading New Haven.
The icing on my dystopian cake is the fact that government has allowed the big pharma group to data mine all the records of those vaccinated to find a carrier who might hold immunity to the new strains of the virus mutating and spreading, even though all these safety systems have been put in place.
They find the cure in a baby born of an anti-vaxed mother exposed to all the variants and a vaccinated father who has participated in vaccine trials. Of course, thanks to the blood records being freely accessible to the big pharma, the family have no choice but to go on the run to protect their child from becoming a lab rat.
Now obviously, I’m not saying all this would come true in reality, but take note: most of this script was written before these recent headlines were announced by government. Our NHS records will be sold if we don’t opt out before the end of June. Segregation of a marginalised group always starts with the rhetoric of ‘us and them’. Look at the hatred drummed up for immigrants to countries already so mixed (as proven in their own history and genes – a fact that they conveniently ignore).
It’s always interesting to see how fiction becomes reality in the height of man’s mania to survive.
When the light goes out – not the light in the bathroom or the upstairs closet – no, the light in your eyes; that dim orb of humanity, the apex of my focus, my lighthouse. When that fades, will I be gone too? Will the memory of my touch, those living kisses we shared under the moonlight – will they go too? Never to be remembered. Never to be mentioned. Never?
Am I invisible without your existence? The closeness of living our shared life bears that question. We sat and ate, breathing in and out, side by side, bearing the highs and lows like waves billowing against the sandbanks till our efforts waned and the tide drew out. The carnage of our choices remain dented in the sand, only to be washed away by the next generation and the next, the endless cycle of invisibility.
Your eyes are closing now and I can feel my memories being sucked away, vacuumed into eternity where you will be without me. All the anger, the sulks and frustration fade in the drowning sun that once swam across your brown irises. As I say goodbye I know that a part of me has gone too. I’m halved. What remains is the nothingness that survived your demise. I’m afraid.
Tomorrow, the world will awaken refreshed and anew. I will still be here, missing you.
Encouraging our children to learn through lockdown has been a challenging process. From online lessons to socially distanced picnic meet ups – we have tried it all! Listening to their needs, we’ve discovered that writing prompts are not enough. Temptation has turned most children to televisions, social media and gaming instead of learning, writing and creating. We have had to do more with our sessions to capture their attention and keep them enthused. Here is what we have done to provide our young writers with enough inspiration to keep writing…
After a wobbly start to Scat’s re-launch, thanks to C19, Scat has finally found firm footing for his return. Ready to face his readers with a new cover and a revised version of his book, this wily feline feels confident that more children will enjoy his fabulous tale.
Bullying affects everyone. It’s not easy to overcome the sense of helplessness you feel when you are bullied by someone. Nor is it easy to understand that some bullies have their own terrible tales to tell. Scat follows the path of vengeance against his bully but soon learns that there are consequences to every action.
Watch Scat’s story here and share it with your family and friends.
The Bracknell Forest Library Service are loading new videos of books read by their authors for your enjoyment during lockdown. I was lucky enough to be included in their line up with my book, Space Dust. If you recall, this little adventure was written for the Library Service during last year’s Summer Reading Challenge.
Writing a book is one thing; recording it without my comical faces or extreme hand gestures was near to impossible! Add to that the intermittent sounds of Millie, our dog, joining in the recording and you have a video of Space Dust.
If you’d listen to watch the story, click on the pic below:
If you’d like to buy your own copy, paperback or ebook, click on the pic below:
Whilst working towards completing another crime thriller this year, I was pleased to receive another five star review for The Iron Pendulum.
Needless to say, I appreciate all reviews, good or bad, but this one made my day:
This book was an impulse purchase. I was looking for something different and enjoy reading material by less well known and/or up and coming authors. I wasn’t disappointed. It’s a gripping page turner than offers a fantastic and unexpected twist at the end. I am always fascinated by the ideas that get woven in to novels. This story is full of characters you can try to get inside the mind of. Super. Highly recommended!
I had great fun introducing the Writers’ Club to the children at Wooden Hill Primary School today. They have a treasure trove of storytellers who were incredible at helping me pull a story together from broken bits of information – what I like to call ‘broken telephone storytelling’!
I look forward to meeting the new club members next week.
I tell myself every year that I will not make any resolutions so as to avoid the disappointment of not keeping them.
2020 is going to be different.
I have put into place measures that will hopefully achieve some of what I would like to see change in my life, for the future. With this is mind, I need to share them with you…
My dream is to run various writing workshops for children. So far, I have written to all the schools in my local area with the offer of enhancing their literacy programmes by establishing writers’ clubs, author enrichments or any other service they may require. To that end, I wait in hope for them to get back to me so that we can discuss exactly what sort of group or workshop would benefit their school.I know a few parents run home school groups. If you would like a group session on a specific aspect of literacy, contact me.
The second part of my dream is to continue mentoring novice writers. So far, I have three ladies receiving my support through their virgin journeys into writing their first books. In the new year, I would like to offer my services to more individuals looking to take the plunge into writing but aren’t sure exactly what they want to do. My rates are competitive and I make sure you always have a helpful hand waiting to catch you when you hit those stumbling blocks along the way. If you feel like taking the plunge with me, send me an email and we can chat about achieving your writing goals and making your dreams come true.
The third part of my dream to is find a publisher willing to take me on. I hate marketing; I have no inclination to try fathoming the wonderful world of KDP and insights into book selling market trends. Instead, I want someone willing to fight through the white noise and publish my books, organise the marketing required for the book to sell and just tell me where to go to help sell them. New stories have been created especially for this venture. Once edited and polished, they will be ready to meet prospective publishers. So, if you are a publisher looking for a children’s author who also loves to writes crime fiction and poetry, please contact me. Make my dream come true!