Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Blogger seems to be frazzled...

...rather like the weather! Feel disconnected without having access to all your lovely blog updates :(

Will be posting on credit crunch writer's retreats later tonight, so stay tuned!

Monday, 29 June 2009

Heat wave!

Wow it's hot today!

Exciting news - I will be collaborating with a fantastic new Chick Lit website to bring you all my chick lit reviews in the near future. I'll let you know all the details once my reviews have been posted on the site.

Chicklit Sanctuary is not going anywhere! Expect plenty of creative writing tips, tried and tested by moi, news and ponderings. Think of it as a writer's comfort blanket, or family sized bar of galaxy.
I'll leave you with a little tip: - sign up for twitter if you haven't already. Follow lovely authoresses such as Sheila Flanagan (who's just had a 6 hour lunch break), India Knight (she's always twittering, it's a miracle if she ever gets another book out), Jodi Picoult, Judy Astley, Kate Harrison, etc and get insights into what life as an author can be like!

Friday, 26 June 2009

Jennifer Weiner's tips

Jennifer Weiner (most famous for writing the book behind the film In Her Shoes, staring Cameron Diaz), knows a thing or two about chick lit writing. Read her tongue in cheek piece, So you want to be a novelist?

Tried and tested top editing tip!

I've had success with an idea I came up with for editing, so I thought I'd pass it on.

Audio record yourself reading aloud your first draft and listen to it repeatedly in the car, on the way to work, or dashing around town (works better if it's just you in the car).

Seriously, this works! Hearing the story spoken aloud helps you assess plot consistency, whether the characters are likeable or realistic and also allows you to judge how your story may sound to a reader. I stumbled across this idea, through listening to the Radio 4 plays and book of the week items. Commuting is dead time to me, but it's also valuable alone time and a great opportunity to rehash ideas in my head.

Now for some techie options you might like to try: -

  • If your computer has the function, voice record yourself and burn it onto a CD that can be listened to in the car. Or put it onto MP3
  • Beg, steal or borrow (or buy from argos, circa £20-30) a dictation machine and turn it up loud!
  • Use the voice record function on your mobile and press play before setting off on your journey, or transfer it to your PC via USB and burn it onto disk.

If, like me, you have a long daily commute to a full time job and can only write in your precious spare time, it's worth a go.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

News from planet chick lit

Is it possible to OD on creative writing tips? I'd say so, today. Flexing my procrastination muscle, I've been knee deep in creative writing tips, course materials and inspirational advice and it's actually putting me off writing.

Yes crazy, I know, but I believe there is a fine line of how much prep you should do and how much time is 'enough' to spend away from your novel. Take for instance now. My confidence is down with writing, all the tips seem like threats - a gold standard that I'm nowhere near...arrgh. There are times when seeking advice is a great idea, but if you're lagging behind there's no other way than to get writing, see what you've got and then maybe seek some guidance.

If I've not written at least 500 words by my next blog post, severely tell me off!

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Sterling Short Story Advice from an editor

I know there are plenty of short story writers out there - essential reading for you all can be found here http://theyellowroomeditor.blogspot.com/2009/06/what-am-i-looking-for-in-short-story.html

It's a masterclass in short story writing by one editor that's so good, I just had to pass it on!

Deadline looms!

AArgh nothing like a deadline to make the blood pressure soar. Hopefully this is more to do with the adrenaline rush I'm expecting when I finish the 50s piece and less to do with the competition deadline!

Funny how, what started as a piece of writing taken on just for enjoyment has now ended up giving me the jitters.

It's crunch time with the PhD, I've taken on more research staff and things are less than perfect at home. But enough with the excuses. I've been told repeatedly that getting a PhD is less to do with academic brilliance, and more to do with the ability to overcome fear and boredom and get the piece done. Similar to novel writing - numerous false starts, nails in the confidence coffin...

Karen's blog title nailed it in one - GET ON WITH IT!!!

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Follow me on Twitter!

I'm now on twitter! If you twitter, come follow me - I'm Ainsina!

My list of people I'm following on twitter includes:

  • Wordy blog's very own Tamsin
  • Bonkbuster goddess turned MP Louise Bagshawe
  • Barack Obama
  • The cast of The Hills, inc. Spencer Pratt
  • Paula Abdul
  • Paris Hilton

Oh the lives of the oh-so-glamorous!

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Scarlet Magazine

Thought I'd report on my latest passion, Scarlet Magazine dubbed "the magazine for women who get it" and "the UK's hottest womens mag". Definitely not for the tame spirited (something I've yet to struggle with), I'd describe it as p&rn fiction for women! In case you're not already a reader, or have secretly been desperate to take a look at a copy (you can buy online issues via the website if you don't want copies laying around the house!), let me explain.

Scarlet is packed with sex life tips ('Foreplay' and 'Features' sections), a centefold of sex fiction ('Cliterature'), as well as Style, Health& Beauty and Travel sections, that you'd find in any other women's mag but with more of an emphasis on raunch. The advice section raises a few eyebrows as well - are these people for real? Who knows!

Being one who tries most things, I'm working on a cliterature piece. They openly advertise for contributors in the mag. Just be sure to use a pen name. Any suggestions anyone?
I'm all about diversity. Only I could go from debutante curtseying to Cliterature in merely a week!

Friday, 12 June 2009

Lauren Conrad - LA Candy

The recent craze of celeb (ghost) novel writing seems far from over, especially with THe Hills star Lauren Conrad's latest offering being released on general sale from 16th June.

Lauren is beautiful. She has an enviable fashion career and shows real promise having released her own fashion range. She makes great Reality tv fodder. I really wish she'd write a blog, as I'm sure her exploits at red carpet events and fashionista job would keep millions hooked. Of course I know the reason she doesn't blog (and 500 words or so on her website every 3 months does not count); where would the money come from?

But are you just slightly curious to see how she's got on with the novel writing? Check out an excerpt here http://www.thehollywoodgossip.com/2009/05/lauren-conrad-la-candy-book-excerpt/ It will make your eyes pop! I'll stop now before I say anything libellous.
Never mind the writing, I'm visiting the hair salon this afternoon to get her perfect shade of caramel! And if she wouldn't mind donating the dress in the picture, that will do nicely once I've lost the required 2 stone.

Monday, 8 June 2009

New Writers Festival, Nottingham

It's lit fest mania at the moment - festivals are popping up all over the place and it can be difficult to know where to start, especially if you're a lit fest virgin. Most attendees are the wannabe published, so what better than a lit fest that's aimed at new writers?

Find out about the New Writers Festival here, it's free. You might even want to consider joining the group.

Claire Dowling - Going it Alone

You're 39 years old, TTC (trying to conceive in forum-speak) and your husband has just announced he's leaving. What do you do? Well, Millie logs onto the internet and books a sperm donor holiday in Alicante. Of course!
Throw a few stumbling blocks into the mix (finding a spanish donor to compliment her irish looks, a holiday romance) and you get a brilliantly juicy novel that's a treat to read.

Author Claire Dowling has published a whole range of chicklit commedies. She's had a colourful past, after training as an actress, she turned to scriptwriting and most recently, novel writing. She has a sense of humour that had me laughing out loud at some points.

If you see any of her novels on the shelf, be sure to give them a flick!

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Coming out

Well hopefully that got your attention! No, I refer to coming out in the debutante sense. The other half and I spent all of Saturday wandering around luscious Chatsworth House, Derbys. I was in my element as two of my favourite movie-book combos (Pride and Prejudice, The Dutchess) were filmed there. The gardens are just gorgeous and wonderful to pad around. Keira Knightley's wedding dress from the Dutchess is on display in the house. That girl is skinny enough, so imagine coming face to face with her corset - it's exactly what you don't want to see after tucking into a jumbo ice cream cone. I lie - the detailing and beading on the dress are just amazing.

Chatsworth have a niche collection of books written by authors with some connection to the place, some of which you won't find in mainstream booksellers. By now I was positively hyperventitlating, having exhausted the shelves of waterstone's and desperately looking for some new reads. The otherhalf just sighed and collapsed on the lawn. I'd threatened that there would be trouble if he disturbed me whilst flipping through all the books.

My prize from the day was The Last Curtsey By Fiona McGregor. I love looking at lost customs and lifestyles and it's set in my favourite era, the 1950s. Fiona Mc Gregor, one of the last debutantes to curtsey to the Queen, takes us through the rise and the fall of the debutante era. She has her eyes firmly open, and is aware of the jokes and fun pointed at the debs, but she also brings in just the right amount of nostalgia. Looking at the photos in the book makes me wish I'd been a deb - the archetypal pushy deb mum, doing her utmost to ensure a good marriage, would have been handy in my early twenties to save making some dubious man-choices!

The Chatsworth bookshop also introduced me to the Mitford Sisters. Now, these ladies seem a whole load of fun! Reading about the well behaved debs in The Last Curtsey had me craving some scandal and rebellion - and the Mitford sisters deliver.

I've kicked off with reading The Mitford Girls by Mary S. Lovell (Paperback - 18 Jul 2002) - a factual account. The girls have been described as appaling, outrageous..and completely entertaining, which just sounds fabulous. Perhaps these ladies are the true pioneers of chicklit? Nancy turned to fiction-writing, so I'll be enjoying Love in a Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford (Paperback - 25 Nov 1999) and Don't tell Alfred.

I'll let you all know how I get on. And I hope you all have wireless, you should all be enjoying the weather before it turns tomorrow!