Writing Course adventure

Adventure? Yes, I think so. Trying something new at 75 must be an adventure. Anyway I have been asked to do two things, consider a structure for my radio play and work out the main character. As usual with fiction one is asked to write a backstory so that you know how the person would react in any given circumstances. Age and occupation are a start but more is needed even if it is not required for purposes of the play.

I immediately made a mistake. I was keeping back an essential characteristic of my main protagonist and then put her into a situation she would never be in. When you give a publisher a synopsis of your book you are supposed to reveal everything and I guess the same applies here but I am very reluctant to reveal a surprise ending this early. I may even change the story as I go along!

As far as structure goes – I have absolutely no idea how long this will be! Knowing my writing style it is much more likely to be 15 minutes than 45. I don’t know whether to write the 15 minute one and add scenes or try to start the longer one.

You know when you write a novel and the editor says it would be better without the first chapter? I fear that might be the case with this and I’ll lose my audience after the first few minutes.

All good fun.

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The Corruption of Truth

The written word has now become so unreliable that it would take a Hogarth to demonstrate Truth as a Prostitute – attended by Social Media, Television, Newspapers, Petitions and Tweets.

From not being concerned about accuracy in schools, to sloppy research and dependence on hearsay, the art of Journalism has become corrupted far beyond the lurid headline to the realms of fake news and disinformation.

We all know that editors of newspapers have their own political agenda – read the Daily Mail, the Guardian and the Evening Standard and somewhere in their pages you might glean the truth, but honest, factual reporting does not sell newspapers and even Presidents resort to threats and challenges instead of rational discussion.

How, then, are we to expect sensible negotiations to result in amicable agreement?               Has the ability to see the other person’s point of view been lost for ever?                               Must we erase everything from the past that we disagree with?

Is it not our task to learn from the mistakes of the past, adjust to circumstances, change, evolve, improve? Where is the honesty, the willingness to listen and communicate with tolerance and understanding?

If life carries on in the present direction there will be no truth, no belief and no humanity.

The New Course

I finally received the first module of my writing for radio course. It was probably my own fault as I am such a computer virgin. I use the computer as a glorified word-processor and letter writer and ‘never the twain shall meet.’ I still have great problems with attaching photos and find links impossible.

Never mind, I followed instructions and my patient tutor has told me I did get through with my answer. This is so exciting I feel I ought to read some plays instead of burying my head in novels all the time. Maybe I’ll go on line and find one or two.

I spent the afternoon sorting out problems with the pantomime. I had to write an introduction and avoided saying “I wrote this” by just naming the author as if it was someone else! I’ve used a very old story – but, then, aren’t all pantomimes based on fairy tales?

Writing Group

On Wednesday 13th September the writing group run by Wendy Hughes at Worthing Library returned from their summer break. Wendy asked us all what we had been writing and our plans for next year. I was happy to tell them I only had 14 copies of the poetry anthology left and will be starting a new course at the end of the month.

Wendy then gave us some insight in how to approach historical novel writing, where to do research and where to find information about times we know little about. She sited children’s books as an example.

We were given a short exercise in historical writing to do and then we moved onto manuscript reading. Each of us had the opportunity to read something they had been working on or the previous ‘homework.’

We were given lists of competitions and outlets and homework ( optional) for next month. This is the perfect stimulus for writing and all comments are encouraging and positive. I recommend writing groups.

Sample poem from anthology.

THE BIRD HOUSE

Ripe ivy climbs the garden wall, green flower fingers bunched, berry-like.

A wooden bird house by the gate waiting for pigeon, robin, magpie,

Each morning filled with corn and seed, a tasty breakfast for all to feed.

A squirrel leaps from garage roof, sits, grey tail aloft, to choose and chew.

The busy sparrows wait their turn in thorny bush – their hiding place.

When large birds leave they nip inside, pecking and picking, then flit away.

A mouse finally tries his luck but there’s nothing left in the bird house.

 

The Band

Good music lifts the spirit or soothes the soul

The steady heartbeat of the double bass

A bell-like banjo tinkling out a rhythm

While racing drums that stir the listener’s blood

Cause feet to stamp and hands to clap in time.

The mournful trombone adds its rousing sound

A vibrant trumpet next takes up the tune

But, over all, the soaring clarinet

Makes listening live to jazz a pure delight.

We may arrive in tired or harassed mood

But hearing this great band has done us good.

anthology

I now have 50 copies of our anthology, “Reflections, Then and Now” to start distributing. A few will come to the jazz with us tonight. Then I’ll have to get some envelopes for the ones ordered that need posting. I actually sold the first copy in the printers’ while I was collecting them. I showed it to another customer and he bought it on the spot!

“That’s the way to do it!” I never stop feeling excited when I publish a new book and maybe my enthusiasm is catching. The friend who did the cartoons hasn’t seen the finished product yet. She’ll be there tonight so I hope she likes it. I suppose I am a dreaded vanity publisher but the others haven’t contributed any money. They will have to pay for all but the first copy. I should make a small profit which will go to charity.

As long as I see it in print I’m happy, especially as all our other books are listed in the back. I have taken the advice to put contact details inside. I’ll put an example in my next post.