My week, as it was ~ sausage rolls, sand, being sad

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I usually have a draft ready, little notes of interesting things that happened, jotted down, as they happen.

I am a writer, that’s what I do.

Except – I didn’t, or I haven’t…

I actually looked in my Diary! I feel shame at that as if I have lost my sense of self, it’s only been a week… so how come I cannot recall all those silly, funny, quirky anecdotes to share? Erm, I stare blankly at the TV but it doesn’t tell me –

the mean smug %$x*! ( ha I always wanted to write swearing like that, and how come it always includes $ but rarely £?)

So, Dear Diary, we begin on our reminiscing

A week of scribbled notes in pencil, pen and strange undecipherable blots

Dates, meetings, work times and shorthand that no longer makes sense

The odd smiling face and the frowny ones too 😦

A few stars and doodles

so that was my week, it seems

written & drawn out in my hand

but what does it mean?

I mean – really mean???

Is there a hidden subliminal message to my present self

sent by my younger hand to the future?

Was I attempting to convey emotions and remind me

of some secret truth?

Hey! That was good but a bit deep…and yes, as it happens, I remember it all now!

In the last week I did the following:

  • served cheese, sausage rolls, made hampers ( I will NOT mention the C word).
  • ran about on a cold West Coast beach, making rubbish sandcastles,
  • picking up pebbles/shells (now installed in my slowly developing seaside themed garden)
  • and drawing/writing in the sand *see below for my beach poem
  • walked up and down and round & round,
  • listened to live music.
  • did those yucky cleaning jobs that make my bones feel mushy,
  • thought about cleaning my car (didn’t get any further),
  • watched TV, the British Bake Off is a current favourite plus trying to catch-up on lots of documentaries
  •  read a couple of Stonking books – see The Slice this Sunday for reviews (one had me sobbing & swearing)
  • and climbed that Editing Mountain.

Gasp! I am…. almost…. there!

[and to prove it: there will be a preview of a short story from my next eBook tomorrow, it’s called Killing the Rhino]

As it happens, Morecambe was having a Vintage Festival. Cue: 40-50s style dress, swing bands everywhere, fairground rides, stalls, old cars, various goods on sale; beer, food, loud music.. lots of hustly-bustly and happy people.

It doesn’t take much to make people happy. Not really. Music. Seeing other people, exchanging a smile, having a dance… it refreshes you in a way you can feel.

How could I have forgotten all that? Maybe I need to write more in my diary …

Lizzie HW

*the beach poem:

I went to the sea, to see what I could see, and I saw, the sea.

Are you sure this is Morecambe? Maybe we should have taken that left turn.

Are you sure this is Morecambe? Maybe we should have taken that left turn.

Indie publishing – the display of you.

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If you read all the books, blogs and watch vlogs – you will know that all the advice says ‘get on line’. The way to get yourself known is to be seen.

It is not a new idea but the tech has changed greatly. We can post in seconds and allow our words/pictures to be seen all over the world.

Hey, I am doing it. I have this blog, Twitter and Facebook. I am dabbling with Google and Pinterest and dip in & out of LinkedIn too.

So – if you do the on-line too: how much should you share?

It’s not a staged question with an absolute answer.

But it is something to consider.

I recall being on local radio a few months ago and this topic came up. One guy was open to posting anything he wanted, no holds. Myself and another guy were cautious and we admitted we considered all posts carefully AND the audiences.

The three of us had considered it because all of us had positions that led to connecting with people we didn’t know. If you are simply using FB to post to your family – OK great. But as an Indie writer, chances are the Virtual You is reaching, stretching, clawing to shake hands (virtually) with other writers, industry connections and of course – the consumers.

I have 2 Facebook pages. My own and an official ‘author page’ though the original has morphed into a go-between as people Friend Request me and I am too polite to refuse! So I am constantly thinking: should this be public, family/friends, just for this group or that?…

You can set various ‘privacy rules’ on Facebook but we have all seen how easily uncomfortable posts can escape and become viral.

Of course, I am not an A-lister; the media are not interested in me. Then again – what if I do become well-known, in say 5 years? No doubt the media will be climbing, digging, upturning the virtual rocks for anything ‘dodgy’ to run as copy.

That one comment, half-intended, badly written is taken out of context and BAM! A storm of poop swirls around me.

That could be you!

The general rules are: keep off Politics, Religion & Social/Cultural topics.

I say – do as YOU please. Just be aware that anything you post could become your unwanted catchphrase in years to come.

And that ‘clever’ very silly picture of you will be misconstrued by someone. That’s how we humans are.

Now where is that odd picture of …

Lizzie HW

My week, as it was – local ventures

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A busy 2 weeks to report on!

Most of my time has been taken up with the ‘job’ which is a Farm Shop styled deli.

It has been a joy to connect with people and chat about the great produce, mostly sourced locally from Yorkshire and with many items prepared fresh on-site.

Having recently watched reports on the crisis of British farmers I am pleased to see the consumers taking an interest in where their food comes from and choosing to pay a little extra to ensure we maintain our heritage and support local business.

After all, I am a local business too!

Another observation is the passion that people have about their own ventures. There is a visible pride when suppliers tell us about their ranges of products.

I am all for global economy and I do buy kiwis but we should also aim to support our own economies – buy local where/when you can 🙂

I have also suffered this last weekend at the hands of the modern sat-nav!

A family trip to a Hall & Gardens gave us a merry-go-round trip with directions to: turn left onto DxxRoad, turn right onto DxxRoad, take the first exit onto DxxRoad and then do a U-turn … ahhh!! But we got there in the end and had a great day exploring amazing gardens and a stately house.

It was built in the mid 1800s and the annual garden upkeep then was £360. About £23000 today! I am lucky if I can spend £360 now…

We had a quiz for my niece. Turns out, I am absolutely the NERD because I got cross when I missed the last question – it said ‘count the windows in the staff hall – now the shop’ but the ‘shop’ was a new building… arghhh…they meant the Tea Room which we skipped. Anyway I kept the pencil 😉

My niece was pretty good but she lost interest after 30 minutes – she is only 3 years old. (loser)

So that catches us up. I AM finishing the overdue over-edited book: City of Animals this week and then… onto the next project.

Bye for now…

Lizzie HW

Indie Publishing – do we need agents anyway?

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First off – I love being able to tell people ‘I am a writer. Oh yes, I am published. And I do it all myself.’

I get a buzz from being entrepreneurial (I can’t spell it though – thanks spellcheck!) and I love being told I am independent – damn right I am!

I have, in the past, been called too independent or had observations like: aren’t you independent? Both as weird criticisms. Because, well I can only surmise, that some people cannot handle it. Those are people who relish order to such a extent that even FUN has to have rules and needs someone in-charge.

I get it. There are natural leaders in the world and natural followers. In many respects I am the latter. I have been a leader in work roles (management) but I like to go with the flow in most situations and let others make those tricky decisions:

  • shall we eat here? Hmm it looks okay… [yep, you choose cos if it’s rank, then I am absolved from all blame]
  • do you want to go to XX party? [neither of us do, let’s be honest but you can be the one to say No]

Then again, because I am contrary – if the mood takes me then I want to be making all the choices.

I think most of us are like this, switching from Leader to Follower and those either side are the extremes.

So what am I getting to? (I can see you yawning at the back)…

I recently watched (read) an unfolding chat over the Harper Lee novel: Go (Set/Tell) a Watchman with interest.

I had not realised the book was the first draft but I thought it was another part of the same story. Upon hearing that Atticus was a racist I presumed it was a prequel, perhaps set before his daughter was born and maybe her arrival altered his thinking. I liked that idea – showing that a set of beliefs (often created by environment and learned from parents/peers) could be changed. An example that humans do learn and adapt.

Then all the hate came out about how bad the book was with customers demanding refunds. I was more interested in reading it then! I haven’t though.

I can see the interest in a study of the writing process; how drafts evolve, change and are influenced by writers’ associates: agents, managers, friends etc.

But the whole situation also tapped into my own insecurity, the classic self-doubt that we all feel, writers, painters, parents… are we doing things right? Are we acceptable to our fellow humans?

And we are back at the start – being INDIE.

I am conflicted with this. I always expected to get an agent when I dreamed of being An Author (in starry lights with glitter – I was only 8) but I relish the complete freedom of my own expression.

I have read some works that I would categorise as ‘dodgy’ but isn’t that to be celebrated too? The ability for anyone to publish whatever they like (within rules over obscenity/plagiarism – obvs!) is liberating. It taps into our ancient story-telling-around -the-fire gene and everyone has a story.

And how is one person’s opinion more valued than another? Of course there is experience that can influence good writing but the basics of a story are raw imagination and too much meddling will dilute. One agent looking for a ‘great historical romance with gritty back-drops’ could spot something that almost fits their ideal then mould that work until it becomes their story.

Good or bad – does it matter??

So I say – now is the best time ever to publish – go do it!

Lizzie HW

My week, as it was (OK yes, it’s a double bill!)

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hey! Are you thinking – we must have had some kind of time twister? Because there definitely wasn’t a post last week – was there?

 Nope! There was no weird space-time hash ~ it was simply the dreaded w word: work.

 I mean a job.

It’s all fun being a writer but I don’t want to be one of those romantic types who live off stale bread and borrowed clothes.

my work friends seem great...

my work friends seem great…

We can look back with nostalgia typed across our eyes but living like that is certainly not romantic. You don’t have to suffer for your art. I have no desire to.

And being realistic I need money. I could sell my soul but I don’t fancy the terms anyway I am happy being able to write and publish my own stuff. That is brilliant! Earning tons of cash is the dream, the bonus but really, I am not chasing the money – so I now get that elsewhere.

So it was a necessity to get paid work. It gives me cash = Yeah! But there are other advantages to working whilst writing.

Look at most ‘artists’ that you may know as famous now, whether they are musicians, painters, sculptors, film-makers etc – many had to work to pay bills until they got their Break.

It’s never easy but neither is being stuck on your own all day, talking to the radio (I don’t have my own cat and the neighbour’s seems suspicious of me?).

So I gain people to talk to (real people who talk back) and observations [a writer’s nectar].

My ‘job’ hasn’t officially started (counter service) as the store is getting set-up. So it was straight in to hard labour! Cleaning, painting, shifting boxes, putting up shelves. And my delicate writer’s frame isn’t used to such activities, so I was thoroughly worn out. But that’s good as writing tends to be bad for your health – sitting, hunching and too much munching.

Apart from a week’s work I have been editing my book – still… yes, I know… but it will be GREAT once finished. I think that first collections are probably easier because there are stories that have been waiting to be set free. As things move on, later editions get more attention due to in-built triggers: don’t repeat! Should it be another ‘when I was a kid…’ tale? Is there a good mix of styles here? It’s honing the craft as every writer should always be doing.

 

Of course, there will always be distractions.

I got a noisy one – the gardener. He arrived unexpectedly but the grass/hedge needed a trim so he’s got to do his job too. So now I have regular income I can afford to pay him to tackle the bigger garden tasks and leave me to write (the social cycle continuum).

I think I will master drowning out the ROAR of the petrol mower… if not, we have ear-plugs… and headphones.

In a way – he timed it well. It was rather warm after a cooler few days so I was tempted to sit in the garden which would have led to research rather than proper writing.

In terms of research I haven’t needed to do any but I have been brushing up on my keyboard shortcuts: Ctrl + F (brings up FIND) is my new favourite.

The next ‘tackle it!’ is upgrading to Windows 10 – I have been putting it off. I’ve heard it’s great but I am a bit scared. Maybe I will download everything to hard-drive first (just in case…).

Lizzie HW

ps – I am working (the job) but will aim to post something creative in the next day or so…

Indie Publishing – what’s your story? / something happens and The End!

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Do you know?

Are you sure?

You may try the elevator pitch method to sum up your basic plot in no more than 20 seconds, or a sentence.

But what is the absolute – basic – all frills removed – plot?

According to many academics there are a handful of basic plots and pretty much every story will follow one of these formulas.

Are you outraged? Feeling like your creativity is being dismissed or subjugated to some scientific process that cannot possibly apply to imagination?!

Hmmm – I thought the same, initially.

Attempting to trip the basics of a story to give an ultimate formula, no way… I wasn’t in total agreement that this was possible. I am a writer! Someone is trying to reduce my concepts for dozens of stories down to a few words and claim that sums up everything ever told!

Pah!

     Then… with my logical mind in gear I did a bit of research and now I present a very simple premise:

  1. A guest
  2. A quest, and
  3. The Conclusion.

I started applying this to books, plays and films and soon realised that most stories do contain these elements. Of course pieces, especially poetry, may be purely descriptive of a scene, an emotion and not have these qualities but most stories are journeys with movement between characters and they do hit both main criteria and who can deny that a story always has an end…

The Guest = something or someone arrives

The Quest = what happens

The Conclusion = an end.

 

Guests don’t have to be wanted or welcomed, that creates conflict. Also it can be anything you can imagine! A person, an animal, an object, a force, an event. This simple ‘device’ interrupts the equilibrium and gets the story moving. Stories may have one guest that starts the action or multiples with roles from minor to major. Some will stay throughout the story and be vital components, others will drift in and out or appear once and disappear. Examples:

  • War/Invasion
  • a treasure map, a letter
  • a secret, mystery, murder!
  • A stranger who can be simply Strange or a friend, an enemy; perhaps someone back from years ago – back from the dead!
  • the guest may be animal: a dog (you can think of lots of stories with animal guests, often they form bonds with a sad child and we hope (sniff sniff) for a ‘happy ever after’…
  • imagine a great Storm, a fire, flood…
  • an inheritance is sure to upset the equilibrium
  • even getting hired/fired can be the ‘guest’
  • An accident – that will be unwelcomed and can lead to tragedy or… recovery, love, friendship, discoveries – and off we go!

The guest may be the protagonist who has been forced to a place/situation that makes them the odd-one-out, so they become the unwelcome usurper – classic story-telling uses that set-up.

Classic love stories following the well-known formula of: they meet, probably hate/love each other for a bit then… fall in love, start with the ‘meeting’. Consider a story you know: who is the guest? Perhaps both romantic leads are guests…

You may also use Multiple guests that move story on or interact with each other. One thing may trigger a change that leads to another ‘guest’ and so on.

The Quest = the actions

 

This is the overall journey. The path your story takes. It may be running in forward time, hours/days or even skipping about in time. But the characters will face obstacles to reach the conclusion. It’s not all about running about in forests meeting strangers and building a rag-tag army. It can be actions like these:

  • Fighting enemies
  • Surviving (lost at sea, overcoming storms, severe winters, lost in space)
  • Getting well
  • Dealing with dying
  • struggling against emotions
  • Running away
  • Discovering truth (the mystery of the ‘letter’)
  • Self-discovery
  • an actual Race, a simple story structure that can produce great effects: horse-races, life-death races etc.
  • Handling set-backs and dealing with ‘normal events’ which is the standard of a good drama – no aliens required!

Conclusion

So we reach The end.

And it doesn’t have to be happy.

It doesn’t even have to really ‘end’ and you may leave it open, with questions left unanswered (for a sequel) or to let readers imagine their own endings or to annoy them into endless debates with friends over what really happened.

Or it can be closed with all issues finalised: understanding, acceptance, saying goodbye, moving on, everyone knows who ‘did it’ and they are locked-away – phew!

Yet, a classic spin for Horror stories: the monster is defeated but…”oh oh what is that! It’s still alive!!!!”

Summary

Of course, you may not agree with my stripped down plot for all stories, ever. But try it. I have applied it to some very weird tales of supernatural fantasy and I have to say that I can see the various guests and sometimes the ‘guest’ will switch positions from being someone else’s ‘device’ back to their own – it’s not always simple!

And don’t fear stripping your own story down to the basic elements. If you have a complex tale or like me write weird tales, it can be frustrating trying to explain concepts to others.

Let’s be honest – most people are fascinated when you tell them “Yes I am a writer.” But when they ask: ‘what do you write?’ – you need to keep it simple. If they like what you do, they’ll ask for more details, maybe want to read/buy (yippee!) but don’t expect everyone to want to read what you write (even if they seem interested).

So it’s fine to give the stripped-down version:

so there is XXX and Y turns up then XXX + Y [actions] = some kind of ending.

Now, I am off to practise stripping down my stories…

Lizzie HW

The Slice / super heroes!

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cake attack!

cake attack!

This month’s review focuses on super heroes.

With a slice of my Dad’s homemade biscuit slice (something he invented but tastes yummy) and a great cup (from my brother & sister-in-law), I will start with the craze for colouring.

[apologies – not the right photos 😦 but my phone refuses to connect to the computer – will try update]

When I look after my niece we often do some colouring-in (though hers is more scribble-all-over!) but I fancied an adult book. There are many great ones to choose from but they all were too boring for me. I get the intricate spaces designed to calm the mind etc but I wanted cool pictures to look at…

And here is the best book Ever!

more fun than tiddly-winks!

more fun than tiddly-winks!

A collection of 50s inspired comic-book covers, complete with monsters of all kinds: zombies, ghosts, mummies and things-from-the-swamp… it also features the obligatory ‘hero’ with severe jawline and the heroines with wide eyes and bold lips.

Of course the colours are mine to choose so I can make the sky green, the monster pink and the hero wear lipstick!

ghosts, in the jungle? 'Someone help me!'

ghosts, in the jungle? ‘Someone help me!’

On to my new (old) TV favourite. Re-runs of the classic Wonder Woman. I forgot just how big her glasses are! The classic disguise of all decent heroes: boring job = check + plain looks = check + glasses = Oh yes! >>> the super hero in plain sight.

I can overlook the stereotypes and sexism because it is of it’s time and all proper superheroes have glossy hair and a shiny outfit – it’s the rules!

{also a nod to the guy on his stag do dressed as WW amidst the other guys in smart Yorkshire Attire (that’s smart trews, waistcoats, golf socks/loafers and the obligatory flat cap) – hope the day ended well!}

To my film and I have chosen something dark and without the standard ‘rules’ ~ Chronicle.

It’s one of those films that uses ‘dirty realism’ which uses believable, normal, unremarkable characters in similarly normal or grim circumstances.

The story tracks a troubled teen, his popular cousin and the High School’s top performer, wanna-be politician. They come together when a meteor lands and alone they investigate and become altered. Each develops unique powers which they try to enhance as an unlikely group.

It remains dark throughout but is a fantastic weird movie.

Have super fun…

Lizzie HW

My week, as it was + counting, cakes & Choc Lit

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Aha it’s magic chalk!   Trying to teach my (very creative) niece to play Hopscotch and we couldn’t find the chalk.

So I showed her the magic of using a stone on stone to draw/write. She was suitably impressed. We then played Alternative Hopscotch – – –

the ‘squares’ were labelled randomly with names and pictures and we had the alphabet and numbers.

A toy cat (poor Pushcat) got thrown and the game was to retrieve her by jumping around in any pattern you liked!

Here’s the Lesson ~ Don’t Play by The Rules! It is fun to invent and create your own way of doing things.  I wrote yesterday about the crazy element of writing and everyone should do it. Let your imagination free, ignore all the rules – do it your way!

In this last week I have been back on the Gardening. It’s an annual event. I like pottering, occasionally planting and infrequent digging. I describe myself as a Fair Weather Gardener. But the best bit is… Designing!

I am a planning geek, I love lists and plans and drawing out ‘maps’ and trawling through all kinds of research (mags, books, the web) and asking the ‘experts’ like my Mum. She has this really, really old gardening book. It’s got that worthy look about it with thick paper that smells serious and a faded grey hard-cover and the plants are ordered by their proper botanical names!

So I have great plans and have sorted my plot into ‘mini projects’ – there are 8 so far… better get on then.

Leads and inspiration

The above is a brilliant example. I can now see, feel, smell that ‘book’. I just wrote that description from my memory but I love it so I will use that somewhere. I collect ‘writing’ constantly. I loved  quiz shows and just the other day I learned that the worst storm in British history (as recorded) was in 1703 when over 8000 people died! It was horrific.

Just that tiny bit of info started me wondering what if? and that’s all a writer needs, a thread to lead to a story. So I have made a note, added some details and one day that will start a story (actually I already know which story it is likely to influence because there was already a storm with an important shipwreck to bring characters together, and the pieces just fit).

Not collecting or sleeping!

Oh I had real restless nights this week. Dogs barking, cars, helicopters, security-lights! Ahhh!  My street is normally so quiet that any slight disturbance wakes me up.

So I did some maths, in my head. It’s a trick I started as a child. Counting sheep never worked because I started imagining their personalities! Oh, hey there goes FRED and he likes beer, now Anita who loves to dance… no sleep ….

If you are really curious: I did up to 18 x 18, then worked out a stream of prime numbers and squares, cubes… ahhh… zzzzzz (it works).

RAIN!!! Too much this last week. In fact I defied it yesterday and sat outside in sun, wind and rain. It was really hot too and the spits of cooling rain were welcomed!

Choc Lit

Ever heard of it?  Well it’s a small publisher that, if you haven’t guessed, focuses on romance. The twist, the Choc, is that heroes have to be smooth and melty.

Anyway, it’s not my normal reader fodder but I am half way through The Highwayman’s Daughter by Henriette Gyland – and it’s fairly good. If you like romances, it’s set in England in the 1760s – you’ll probably love it.

What else? Well I am back into yoga. I always do a fair few poses and stretches but I have found a locally produced TV show that has a very bendy lady teaching great moves.

I showed my husband one (and he’s not a fan) – anyone can do it though… you need about 4 pillows/cushions or rolled up towels..

lay flat on your back on the floor + put support under your neck/head and knees so there is no tension or pressure on any joints, then push a small support at the small of your back.

put your arms straight at your sides with palms up.

Relax and take slow, deep breaths… great relaxing move, ideal after a stressful day!

Lemony!

Lemony!

Of course, if that doesn’t work – get the kettle on and have cake!

I am a massive fan of the Great British Bake Off show and it’s back!!! It makes me want whatever they are making (well usually, unless it has all gone horribly wrong …) and gets me in the baking mood too. So apple crumble for tea…

bye for now…

Lizzie HW

Indie Publishing – all about Trend Swaying

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I used the term Trend Swaying a while ago. I wasn’t trying to be clever but it seemed a good way to describe phenomena that underpins the stand-out successes, of all forms of business.

I include arts (writing, painting, theatre) as business because success is measured by mass appreciation. Yes, that often leads to lots of cash and awards but not exclusively. Free exhibitions can be amazing and ‘profits’ are devolved by other means but that’s for a different day!

So what am I on about?!

OK, I heard this quoted by one of the British Dragons (of the Den) but entrepreneurs use this ‘advice’ often – I have read & heard mention of these key things to always be looking for.

It’s the secret to how to burst the business bubble and make your product stand out.

There are 3 areas to look at, all around TRENDS and you can pick and mix as most businesses do…

  1. Comfortable

Like your favourite PJs or mug – this is about what you know inside out and love to pieces.

Think: childhood, favourite sweets/games, the book you loved! The film that still gives you a warm fuzzy feeling, even if it is out-dated and the special effects look lame.

So – you tap into what people already accept and love.

It’s Classics, Retro and Vintage.

Think about music and how many albums are still churned out featuring music of the 50s, 60s and so on. People are nostalgic so they buy new mixes even if they already have some.

To do it well: think of what you liked as a child, or young adult and recreate that. You must not copy but add your own twist to make it fresh.

I would also say that you need to look back at least 10 years. Anything too recent won’t have a good build-up of that ‘Oh gosh! Do you remember that?!’ feeling.

My recent favourites: The Clangers. A classic animation that ended in the 1970s, pink mice in stop-animation. People love it and now it’s on TV again, the grown-ups can re-live the silly space stories with their children.

The Moomins is another childhood classic about to become a movie.

But be cautious too. The much anticipated ‘Go Set a Watchman’ by Harper Lee has hit hard times with a bookshop allegedly offering refunds to disappointed customers. Sometimes, it is best to leave things just as they are..

So, let’s say you loved Western Adventures – have a go at writing one. But stick to the established elements in between your own additions, so lots of fast horse-riding, emphasise landscapes, whips/guns, hand-to-hand combat etc. But you could make it the 23rd Century or make the horses ghosts?

2. COMMON

This is about current trends.

Now, something can be uber-cool, so trendy it hurts! But be all over by tea-time – so be careful 😉 and only ‘go there’ if you already have something in mind. Perhaps that dusty novella you wrote 5 years ago about a vampire detective could finally have an audience?

It’s about jumping and catching the coat-tails of the latest wagon and hanging on.

YA is massive right now, especially fantasy, futuristic with strong females and little romance.

Super Hero fans are ensuring a perpetual stream of films, TV shows, books and brings the comic-books and graphic novels into mainstream. So if you have an idea that’s been on/off – get ON now.

A Classic Common is the ‘whodunnit’. Agatha Christie set this up decades ago but it has worldwide appeal and the formula is simple:

MURDER! + lots of suspects + a quirky Detective + real & false clues / another murder (usually of the lead suspect) = a final Reveal.

Within all enterprises from fashion to food, home furnishing, hair, garden design, cars to cocktails – someone is watching for the latest trends.

They do this because it’s an easy ticket to money. Why research when you can just watch what your competitors are doing and copy what works for them? Hey – everyone does it!

So when a writer seems to ‘appear’ from oblivion, it’s likely their manuscript has been in the Not Yet pile with an agent, just waiting for the right moment. EL James was writing in fan fiction before her erotica broke all the records. And the knock-on effect sparked new readers to buy books by other authors. And a trend began…

All these ‘trends’ began somewhere, so we meet the final key:

3. The CRAZY elements

JK Rowling took years and over 20 rejections to get her wizarding world into print. She took a risk, then persuaded others to join her. Her crazy idea has earned her millions and made her fit into both Comfort and Common as there are films, theatre shows and themed-rides now!

You can try options 1 and 2 but at some point, you will need to take the risk and just do your own thing. It is harder, especially as an Indie but this comes down to your passion as a writer.

If you WANT to write a novel that’s a diary in eight parts with three narrators across 150 years (plus robot cats) – you Go for it!

It may not be a blockbuster or best-seller but it will always be yours. Don’t shy away from publishing something you feel strongly about because nobody else is doing anything like it. That is the reason you should.

Good Luck in whatever venture you are currently thrashing about in!

Lizzie HW 

Peddlings / a poem

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Too hot!

Too hot tourists huddle

beneath canopies of cloth and sip on ice

muttering and leaking and wafting away the fat flies.

As they settle, huffing about sticky seats amidst the city’s daily noise and mess,

Here come… in swarms – the peddlings.

First the pecking pigeons.

hop-scotching about the legs of tables, chairs and people

looking at feet, pale and smooth and hardly worked

eager for crumbs to eat.

Now a Hollerer calls… ‘Hey Man!’

‘You wana buy a watch?

Good, good price, for you, my friend – special offer!’

As the stuffed, tired heads bend and shake…

‘Hey Man! I have twelve children and three wives

so hungry, hungry, all to feed.’

He sells a string of painted beads and shuffles back to

his shaded lands.

Slinky, sliders scuttle near with arms full of bright charges

“Roses for your lady. Show you care, yes. Yes? Fresh, bright, new –

love, love only for a dollar – a pound – a pinch – one euro”

Memories for sale! Take-home treats of sun-baked streets

and happy lazy days in shade with ice-cold beers…

Carved Tigers! A glittered princess for your bambino – a rug – scarf – hat – parasol – novelty lighter – fans – bangles – candles – sweets – bowls – all special prices…

Good souvenirs for friends at home – show you thought of them

whilst you were not there, in the cold and rain and working hours.

Beggars arrive.

Swaddled in rags.

Dirt clouds over their human selves

they are like shadows, wavering mirages in the heat.

Hands held out, a simple gesture that brings waves of utter distaste.

And hate. Those hungry eyes seem to know too much.

Pockets over-ripe, bulge with offers

ready for the picking, are soon held, tight.

Peddlers & pigeons pecking grounds

plucking at, plump pockets – doing the rounds.

Pinching prices, pumping for pounds

Peddlers & pigeons around and around.

Surrounded! by the swarms and hoards

buzzing and biting ~~~

Honest-working tourist staff will curse and run the pests amok

Scattered all ways, they flitter and slowly – creep back.

“So hot! Too hot Sir. You need a hat –

A selfie-stick, yes? For all the tacky-tacky tourists shots.

Lady, a parasol, a fan?

Come, you wealthy, wealthy – spare some cash.

Give me a dime. You have so much.

My friend…let’s do a fair trade…

Sell me your sorrows, give me your woes

Exchanged for a charm, holy blessed, lucky, lucky – look.

Swap your troubles, your stress and worries.

You have so much.

Share a little, my friend.

Share a little of your troubles, with me.”

Peddlers & pigeons pecking grounds

plucking at, plump pockets – doing the rounds.

Pinching prices, pumping for pounds

Peddlers & pigeons around and around.

>> The End <<

Of course I was working - look! That's what I did today.

Of course I was working – look! That’s what I did today.

I wrote this based on my observations whilst in Rome. Of course it could be anywhere.

The sellers do act like swarms of annoying insects and if you don’t want their wares it can be frustrating.

But it is so easy to forget, they are humans just trying to survive.

Lizzie HW