Sunday, June 25, 2006

'It's so nice to go travelling...'

Now I have two weeks before my sister comes and we go off on holiday again. Time off in a different place, for me is really more about reading than writing, but also about researching locations. I'm always on the look-out for possible settings, like this sinister Cornish wood where the trees blot out the light, and the deep two-mile lane which led to the nearest pub. It was lined with ferns, foxgloves and a red flower I used to know as ragged robin.

Here's a link to some of the places I've been to :

When I opened the post I was disappointed to see the heavy brown self-addressed envelope I'd sent with my three competition entries to Senior Moments. There was a letter to say I shouldn't be disappointed that none of my stories had been short-listed because there had been over 200 entries. It's not many, I know, for a writing competition, but that's the main reason I'd chosen it - entrants had to be over 50.

Another reason was the rules said anyone who sent an SAE would receive an evaluation, and that part is really useful. Although it's only a check-list of categories with five levels of satisfactoriness to tick against 'Title' 'Plot', 'Dialogue', etc. , it does allow some insight into where the weaknesses might be in particular stories, so is potentially extremely useful for redrafting . There were accompanying comments which I will also note - none of them, at any rate, was bad.

There was a copy of the Morley newsletter with my tribute to Ann Gold, my ex Chinese Literature teacher who died recently, so that was good to see, and a copy of 'The Author' with a notification of a future discussion ' How to get the best out of agents and publishers'.

As well as the redrafting one of the the stories for another competition, I will make an effort this week to interest a publisher in my China book and forge ahead with it and the novel.

It's so good to be home again. I got up early and spent a couple of hours on emails this morning. We walked over to Greenwich and I bought a writing book at Ottakars called 'Write Away' by Elizabeth George as well as finding a better title for one of my stories in a book of quotations. I wasn't tempted to buy because it cost £35 and the cheque for the £225 writing course starting in September had been presented.

I've given Roy a severe warning about not interrupting me for the next couple of weeks when I'm in my writing room. We've even worked out a system in case it gets too hot and I have to work in the living room - some kind of object placed on the table that signals 'Don't talk to me!'. There was an article in 'The Author' about writing places, and a picture of GB Shaw's revolving hut, which looks like a small garden shed such as you could buy in kit form at B&Q. Strange, because they wouldn't have had B&Qs then...