Christmas lights are twinkling

The Christmas tree is up, lights are twinkling and  dressed in all its finery with each bauble having its own memory or story attached – a plot idea maybe?  I love this time of year though the festive atmosphere makes it is hard to focus on the current work in progress. It would be so easy to let it wander into the realms of a Christmas tale. Will setting the novel in the run up to Christmas add to the tension or make it twee?  Maybe as I curl up with a hot cup of Christmas tea, my dog and my laptop perched precariously on my knee, I should write a Christmas short story to get it out of my system?


Nanowrimo went as well as I expected. I did not reach the required 50,000 words – not even close with my measly 7,828 words but I have made in roads  in planning the plot, knowing my characters and place. I am trying to focus on this  rather the dismal lack of words.  I am plodding on with a course run by the energetic and enthusiastic Shaunta Grimes. It has helped so much to keep me focused and write every day. It may only be a snatched minutes during the day or longer if I awake early but words are being typed. If I am not writing I am plotting or allowing my imagination  run riot. I have spent so long keeping my imagination in a box, it is enjoying its freedom. I may never be the writer I aspire to be but I am happier for releasing this side of me, talking about writing with others and gaining support from fellow Ninja Writers. Every place I go or experience I have, whether it is being mesmerized by shops in York or waiting for a hospital appointment, the emotions, scenes, and senses are stored for another day when  I may need them. I am looking forward to what 2017 brings in relation to the ideas I may have, the places I may visit and  the characters I may meet.


Remember, remember the 5th November

Tonight  will be full of good food, bonfires and fireworks, if the downpour of rain stops in time. In my case, it will consist of good  food and loud music while comforting a quivering dog who thinks the world is ending. In the last month, since I have come back to writing I have accomplished things I never thought I would.

They may only be tiny to many of you but to me, they are massive.

  • I joined a Facebook group or two so I can discuss writing, gain support to stop me floundering and retreat back to my  cave mumbling “I can’t do this” while throwing my laptop into the depths of darkness
  • signed up for a writing course to learn more skills
  • signed up to NaNoWriMo as a rebel
  • joined a local writing group
  • I wrote a piece of short fiction to share at the group. I nervously read it aloud to them yesterday. I resisted temptation to hide under the table, wash up remaining mugs from our tea break or hide in the loo. The doom I imagined,as well as the intense criticism and laughter did not happen. Relief descended but they could just have been being nice to the red-faced, stuttering and trembling newbie.

So today I am going to pluck up my courage again and share it to you*


The Bonfire

With the flick of a match, the flames stuttered into life. “Come on,” she
pleaded. “Take! Hurry!” Perhaps she should have added something to help. She should have paid more attention to the annual fire building for their bonfire party over the years. But then, she seethed, she was always run ragged in the kitchen, adding the finishing touches to the copious amounts of food and lashings of hot chocolate made just how he liked it. She would be sweating, her feet aching while raucous laughter would drift into the house as he played the perfect host, regaling stories to entertain his friends. Fireworks would be set up and ready to go, waiting for the right moment.

She shook away those thoughts, breathing in the smoky air and revering in the increasing crackle of the fire. The night was otherwise silent. Flames began to creep up higher and higher, and she was caught, mesmerized by the flickering dance of the flames. Finally, the flames surged upwards, roaring as they caught the bottom of the guy’s trousers. Elizabeth smiled, feeling the warmth of the Horlicks spreading through her gloves.

No one was surprised when she contacted them declaring the party had been cancelled, though she could hear the disappointment in their voices and the unsaid thought that John could have waited until after bonfire night to run off with his mistress. Maybe she should not have cancelled. The bonfire was made, everything organised and well prepared. His friends could have been standing alongside her watching the flames swallow up the trousers and catch the jacket of the Guy. She wondered whether they would notice it was his favourite jacket, the one he always wore. The one he always wore when entertaining. The one he wore when he told her he was leaving. And the one he wore when anger boiled up inside her until she grabbed the antique statue to strike him. Elizabeth was shocked to see him crumble in front of her, blood seeping from the wound. He was always so formidable and alive, and yet there he lay, motionless and weak.

Lighting a sparkler, she idly wrote her name into the darkness. Her maiden name. Bonfire night was a perfect time for new beginnings.

Have a wonderful weekend and Guy Fawkes Night!

*please remember the red-faced stuttering newbie talking at a table surrounded by talented writes will be replaced by the red-faced, quivering newbie hiding behind a cushion when you read this. My dog and I make a great pair!


Jumping into the unknown

As a child and young adult, writing played a big part of my life. Stories were scribbled in umpteen notebooks, characters created on any available scraps of paper and otherworlds sketched on school work. If I could daydream, I was happy. As an adult, life became busy and writing was seen as something I would do one day. When I did have time to sit down to write, fear of failing and being seen as silly took over. The dream of writing a novel was put aside. Life has a habit of throwing situations at you which makes you reconsider what makes you happy and what you would really like to achieve however scary. Writing made me happy and I want to capture that feeling again.

NanoWriMo is the perfect opportunity for me to stop procrastinating and give my characters a voice so their tales are told. I doubt I will acheive 50,000 words  because health issues and life still likes to throw obstacles my way but if I write  5000 I will be a step closer to finishing my novel. I wish following a dream wasn’t so scary but as J K Rowling says “Anything is possible if you have got enough nerve”.