Writer’s Block ?

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For the last two weeks I have been spreading my creative juices a little thin (is it possible to spread juices?)

I’ve done no work on my novel and this blog has been sadly neglected.

In my other blog world, my fellow Springsteen fans and I, are getting a little overexcited at the prospect of an impending CD/DVD release.   This has taken up most of my energies and probably will continue to do so for a while.

I suppose, though, if  inspiration strikes I will need to sit down for an hour or two and work on the novel.  If truth be told I have come to a bit of a sticky patch.  I am not sure how to move my heroine along. I am struggling to pull her through her day to day life when nothing much happens.  

I am sure, if I took time to sit in front of chapter 5, I would come up with something workable so… it’s not writer’s block so much as writer’s hiatus.

In the mean time, at least I am still thinking about it.

Who is the man in the park?

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In for the long haul

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Well I had a week off from the day job last week and was hoping to spend lots of time working on my book.  Problem was I also intended to decorate our sitting room and that took precedence.  

The decorating was finished on Thursday and I must say I am pleased with the results.

One of the little nuggets of advice I remember from the early days of my novel was the suggestion that you should try to write every day even if  it’s only for 10 minutes or so.  When it comes to my novel this doesn’t seem to work for me.

I bought myself a beautiful new note-book with the intention of writing long hand.  I thought I could craft a couple of paragraphs in my lunch hour or whilst I was sat in the front of the TV.    Now although I don’t pretend to have anything like a razor-sharp brain, it still works at a faster pace than I am able to write.  So whilst all the passages in the book start off very neatly they quickly become illegible as my pen struggles to keep up with my thoughts. 

So it’s a computer keyboard for me and I find I really can’t be bothered to sit myself at my desk (well actually the kitchen table) unless I am in for the long haul.

So this is a long-winded way of saying that after a day up the ladder I didn’t feel like getting down to writing a couple of paragraphs and after a day at the office I feel much the same.

I will keep my note-book by my side in case inspiration strikes but otherwise I think I will leave the novel writing to the weekends when I can set myself up with a cup of tea, some background music and a good few hours to spare when I can immerse myself into the lives of the characters that are fast becoming my friends.

Week nights I will stick to spending an hour or so, perhaps writing a quick blog, or maybe catching up with all the other great writer’s blogs out there.

Happy writing everyone.

Who is the man in the park? 

The Park

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So I am walking through Leeds in my lunch hour and suddenly I have the setting for my novel –  Park Square.  I have always loved this little corner of Leeds.  It’s a public park surrounded on three sides by Georgian houses.  On the fourth side there is St Paul’s House ( a Victorian factory which is now offices) and an office block built in the 1930’s.

The park sits a stones throw away from the law courts so most of the houses were given over to solicitors chambers long ago.  I’ve always had a hankering to see it revert back to a residential neighbourhood.

With a bit of artistic licence I have taken the park and given it residential properties on all four sides – some houses, some apartments and some with commercial premises on the ground floor and flats above.  I then picked the whole lot up and moved it to my fictional town.

Once I had the setting in my mind I started putting characters into the properties and whilst I still didn’t have a credible plot line I knew I wanted to tell a story about these people.

I liked the idea of a public park because as well as the residents I could add any number of additional characters to the book simply by having them walk through or sit in the park.

So

Who is the man in the park?

A Book in You?

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Did anyone actually say that everyone has a book in them? 

If you Google the phrase you get an interesting assortment of sites.  I haven’t found the author of the quote (I suspect there isn’t one) but did find several sites asserting that it’s not true. 

I didn’t think it was true either.  Certainly I had no idea for my own book and couldn’t envisage ever having the imagination to plot one of my beloved crime novels.

As for blogging – I didn’t get it!  Before I really took any interest I imagined bloggers wrote about their daily lives – a sort of on-line diary.  I didn’t know why I would be interested in the minutiae of someone elses daily drudge or indeed why anyone would want to read about me.

Slowly I came to realise that most blogs are about poeple’s passions rather than about themselves – so my blog about Bruce Springsteen was born. http://idratherbeataspringsteengig.blogspot.com/

Readers of the blog are mostly friends and family but I have  three or four followers who have found me by chance.  Naturally it’s the subject matter that attracts readers but I have had many encouraging comments about my writing style.

During a visit to Ian and Irene’s in the spring, Irene (who is the sort of person who believes you have to give it a go) thought I should graduate to writing a book and so …

…the seed was sown.

On the drive back home I had my first surname  – Tuxford – which is actually the name of a town on our route.  Amelia Tuxford was born – a small woman with a big heart and breasts to match!

At this stage I had no plot, no setting, no nothing but Mike and I were thinking up characters  all the way home – I guess I was hooked.

As it turns out Amelia is not in my novel – not yet anyway.

But

Who is the man in the park?

Reading and Writing

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Another question today – does reading a lot make you a good writer?

One of Jennifer Weiner’s tips for writers is to read – anything and everything.

My father read avidly.  He was partially deaf.  This made conversation difficult and if he wanted to watch television we had to turn the volume up to brain numbing levels.  He didn’t need his ears to read and could immerse himself in a book with a riot going on around him.  My enduring image of him (he died back in 1977) is sat in his chair puffing on a pipe and reading a book .

When I was about seven years old we moved next door to our local town library.  I spent so much time in there, the librarian was thinking of adopting me!  In my school holidays I  borrowed books every day and laid on my bed for hours reading – I was a solitary but not lonely child.

Unfortunately I can’t remember many of the books I read – some Arthur Ransome novels, Doctor DolittleThe Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe and a lot of Enid Blyton all spring to mind.  I absolutely adored Ruby Ferguson’s Jill books – a series of nine books about a  young girl and her ponies.

In my teens I moved on to science fiction and historical novels.  I also developed a passion for Thomas Hardy after reading Far from the Madding Crowd for my O’ level.

As an adult I used to joke that I never read anything unless there was a murder, or preferably two, in the first 50 pages.  I can recognise a good crime novel by its cover.  Detectives, Lawyers, forensic scientists, medical examiners – I’ve followed them all through the most gruesome crimes imaginable. 

A few years ago someone lent me a copy of  Bridget Jones’s Diary.  This was my first taste of chick lit.  In my mid forties at the time and happily married I didn’t think the exploits of a thirty something singleton would engage me but it was entertaining enough. 

I have read more chick lit since but the transition, from chasing murderers, to immersing myself in the everyday comings and goings of Miss-middle-class-living-in-the-home-counties has not been easy.

Nowadays I flit around between genres.  At the moment I am reading  American Wife  by Curtis Sittenfeld.

So is all this reading going to make me a good novelist? 

AND

Who is the man in the park?

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