Bad Blogger Posts Eventually

Shocked to see that it’s ten days since I last posted.  When I look at my stats I see my viewings are a round 0.  Hardly surprising, really.   I’ve been busy – when have I ever written that before?  During last week, we have visited our daughter, son-in-law and grandson, come back and taught a class, then prepared the house and garden for a thirtieth birthday barbecue party for my son.  Dear Reader, I weeded the patio and three flower beds – the ones that could be seen from the barbecue – LOL.  On Saturday, I was doing (some of) the cooking for my expected visitors when I checked my phone, only to find that my Google calendar had me down to lead Intercessions at church, at a service I’d intended to skip the following day.  A different sort of writing, that; seriously, though, as I’ve found out recently, there are many opportunities for writing devotional material.

I’m still promoting the current Association of Christian Writers (ACW)/ Street Pastors comp, Today’s Good Samaritans.   Although the deadline’s fast approaching (this Sunday, 31 July), there’s still time for you to write one thousand words, fiction or non-fiction, on someone putting the Christian ethos into action.  Very cheap to enter – £3 for first submission – and, if you have time, £2 for a subsequent entry.  First prize £20.  You don’t have to be a Christian to enter.  After all, who’s checking?  For more information, visit http://www.christianwriters.org.uk/competitions

In my last post, I was all upbeat, with my ‘Five Outstanding’ subs, but pride comes before a fall.  Two of those subs have fallen on stony ground already, one outright rejected and the other getting nowhere in a comp.  The comp in question was Helen Yendall’s Blog About Writing  Random Word Writing Competition.  I wasn’t disappointed, because my story, which I wrote very quickly wasn’t the best, but what Helen wrote in her feedback stopped me in my tracks… because it was so obvious, I should’ve thought of it myself and I’d heard something along the same lines before, many times, at school.

Half the 32 entries used a skyscraper for their setting. After a while, all those skyscraper stories (and one poem) started to blend into one another. If you can be original and different, your story will make more of an impression on a judge. And 5 of the skyscraper stories were set in – or made reference to – New York.

Now what do you suppose I’d written about?  Not the building of the Empire State Building, surely?  How could I be such a prat?

The rejection of the other piece, about a middle-aged Christian woman who wins ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire’ and is challenged by having so much Tomatoes in my greenhousewealth, was more disappointing, because Christian short story markets are very limited… unless you know differently, Dear Reader.

However, I’ve managed today to edit another story and knocked it into some sort of shape in readiness for another comp.  Also on the agenda is compiling a video all my iPad clips of my husband playing in an organ recital, my last class (tomorrow) and writing another story for my real, face-to-face writing group.  The topic is indecision.  I have a few ideas, although none of them are consolidating.  However, I don’t think me not being able to decide what to write about would be good material.  I’ll leave you with a photo of my tomato plants in my greenhouse; they’re bigger now, with little green tomatoes on the stems.

Nothing Much Happened… Good Writing Time!

I’ve just read an amazing post from one of the blogs I follow, Campari and Sofa, in which one of the writers explains that nothing much has happened in her week, but then goes on to highlight some interesting things which had caught her attention.  Well, Dear Reader, nothing much has happened in my week either, although I have subbed four pieces of work over the last week, and, together with a competition entry sent on 29 June, I have Five Outstanding, as we used to say on Chapter Seventy Nine writing site, for the first time for a couple of years.  I seem to be writing all the time, or looking at markets, but don’t have much to show for it.  As well as preparing worksheets for my lessons (which does take time), I’ve written a post for the ACW (Association of Christian Writers) More Than Writers blog, the ACW members E-news (not yet available), and an article for my church magazine.  When Mslexia came out, I entered all calls for submissions and comps they published in their magazine on to my subbing database. Waste of time, you might think, and so did I at the time, but I’ve looked at the information over and over again, picking out markets and working out when and where I need to sub.  I’m now looking at other similar lists and incorporating them.

I’m also Facebooking and Tweeting furiously about the ACW/ Street Pastors Today’s Good Samaritans competition – see cat-as-good-samaritan https://uk.pinterest.com/pin/322288917065113618/picture right.  (You know I can never resist a pic of a cute cat!) With the deadline 31 July, there’s still time to enter.  One thousand words, please, fiction or non-fiction, on someone putting the Christian ethos into action.  Entry fees:  £3 for first entry, £2 for subsequent entries.  First prize:  £40.  Not to be sniffed at!  You don’t have to be a Christian to enter.  In fact, we in ACW would be delighted to hear from non-Christians – give us some feedback on how we’re getting on.  Also you don’t have to be a Brit;  believe it or not, God does work operate outside UK.  For more information, visit http://www.christianwriters.org.uk/competitions

Over the previous three weeks, we in the UK have been unable to take our eyes and ears away by the political blockbuster being enacted in front of us.  Even Euro 2016 and Wimbledon have been knocked thoroughly into touch and into the tramlines (respectively – thought you might enjoy the puns!).  Of course, we did rejoice at Andy Murray winning Wimbledon – briefly – and, before that, roll our eyes at England losing to Iceland at football (which should’ve really drawn the tabloid column inches) but there was always Something More Exciting going on in Westminster.  I must admit I’ve enjoyed it all; I’ve got as big a buzz from the BBC News app notifications on my phone as from emails and Facebook.  When the news broke about the terrorist incident in Nice and  the attempted coup in Turkey, I realised why.   All that stuff about Brexit and government reshuffles was democracy in action, people talking to each other, even if they were occasionally being insulting.   Now we’re back to ISIS, terrorism and totalitarism… and I’m even hesitating about putting that last bit in, for fear of reprisals (not sure what sort of reprisals).

Another non-event in my week is that, with all the computer work I’ve done recently, I’ve given myself RSI again.  Hey-ho.  I’ve been very lucky to avoid it for a long time, over a year, in fact.  This afternoon, I’m going to do the garden, which is in a Terrible State.  In The Dark Marshes by Sally Quilford, which

weed_under_net

tomatoes_greenI’m reading at the moment, the two maiden aunts use Capitals randomly, usually to emphasise a Point, so I shall do the Same.   I think I’m cultivating Weeds under Nets, but my tomatoes are doing OK – see Pictures Either Side.

Going on the Radio

My husband asked if I was going to appear on Radio 4.   No, I’m not on Radio Bore, but in a few days time I can be heard on Sudbury Newstalk, an audio magazine for visually impaired people.  I understand that there are 83 such people listening to this service in south Suffolk, including some living in residential homes.   My piece, a short story, entitled Burnt Down, based upon a childhood experience of being spooked by a burnt-out cafe in a park, was the only piece of fiction.  Other contributions included an article on travel tour guides, a reminiscence of watching Royalty, gardening tips and a quiz ; I think that the balance was probably right. 

I got to know about this opportunity through my real writing group and, being genuinely very busy, I put off checking when their deadline was until… Well, when I did look it up one afternoon, it was that evening… soooo…. I got to work, finishing my 800 word contribution at about 12.20am.  I DON’T WRITE FAST!  Sally Quilford, she can write very fast, a novel in a month.  Me, I feel very vulnerable when I have to write fast, quite sure I’m writing rubbish, but on this occasion it was OK.  A few days later, though, I did look at what I’d written and make major changes, including a totally different ending, and the later version I submitted to the (real) writing group yesterday.   However, this morning, when I retrieved the original version – slightly tricky because I’d saved over it – I realised that the very raw first version wasn’t so bad after all.  Ho-hum.  Do I edit too much?

Doing the actual recording was daunting, even though I’m used to standing up in front of a class and speaking spontaneously.   Not only had I never been in a radio studio before, not only had I never read one of my stories aloud before, but I know I gabble when I read lessons in church.  I can never get the microphone by the lectern in the right place and people (well, my husband) always says he can’t hear me.  Dear Reader, I was sitting in a proper radio studio, with a very nice young man sitting at a mixing desk with headphones on, counting the people on before me ‘3-2-1’, a proper presenter, and a desk with two microphones on it… and everyone else had done it before.  I was quite sure I would stumble, stutter, gabble, cough, sneeze, drop my pages… But – I know it’s one of the things people always say –  but once I started reading I was able just to immerse myself in the story.  And I managed to do some of the dialogue in a Leicester accent.  I was exhausted at the end, just wanted to go home, even though I was sort of buzzing too.

So, I’ve got an idea for another story about an elderly actress who turns to radio.  Now I can write it.

The picture below is a photo of a sign in a cafe in India, quirky and funny but not really relevant to this post.