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All around the world this month, people are writing like mad. How many of you writers are talking part in NaNoWriMo this year? If you think you cannot write enough words to complete the exercise, think again. It is very good practice and you may well surprise yourself. On top of that, you may end up with a novella ready to edit before publishing. It’s not too late – it finishes at the end of November, so you’d need to get cracking if you want to try it. 50,000 words are the goal.
I did complete it for two years running, but shame to say, the two efforts are still sitting on my PC with little polishing or editing. It is my hope to look at them again and see what I can make of them. The first year I took part I had several hospital appointments, and used the waiting time to scribble away like crazy. It certainly helped my word count.
Now I’d like to say a big thank you to Tania Walsh – her blog is http://tmewalsh.wordpress.com/
Tania has kindly nominated me for an award – Award Winning Blog.
Recently Tania has released two of her books on Amazon Kindle. They are ‘For All our Sins’ and ‘The Principle of Evil’ and I anticipate a good read with both of them. I can’t comment too much at present as I have only just begun to read ‘For All our Sins’. Judging by her previously released ‘Broken Palace’, an exciting short story, I am in for a treat.
I made little progress with my writing in October. I submitted an article to Crystal Magazine. The only success I had was a letter published in the Daily Mail. Sometimes when I am involved in longer work, I also try to write letters to newspapers and magazines. On occasions they pay quite well. Sadly not on this occasion!
How do you reward yourself when you’ve had a success, or finished a big project? Enjoying a glass of wine sometimes(!) I keep a bottle of bubbly – usually Cava – in the fridge. Unfortunately the current bottle is having a long wait, but it will be opened soon. After all, I can’t risk it deteriorating can I?
Finally, an autumnal photo for you. The small acer tree is in our back garden, and sometimes the colour is just wonderful. Happy writing, enjoy autumn.
Although summer is well over now, early autumn has so far been balmy here. I’ve even seen a couple of butterflies in the last week. It has definitely been a butterfly summer in our small garden. Apart from the usual Peacock butterflies, Red Admirals, and other more common (but still beautiful) varieties, this summer I’ve been lucky enough to see a Comma, and a Clouded Yellow. I had planned to set up my tripod and photograph them, but sadly each time I intended to do so, some family matters, usually genuinely urgent, stepped in to prevent me doing so. Perhaps next year?
With the advent of autumn, our garden became festooned with garlands of spiders’ webs. I did manage to capture some on the camera, with varying results. This spider was doing his morning gymnastics when I photographed him, so the web shook tremulously.
We caught the last of the warm sunny days last week with a return visit to West Bay, enjoying the reflections of boats and ending up with the obligatory fish and chip lunch. Now the autumn rains seem to have arrived, although yesterday was still sunny.
On the writing front, in September I had a true story published in Crystal Magazine. I submitted a poem to a Writing Magazine competition, and an article to Crystal. I’ve had to remind my husband that I’m supposed to be the writer in the house, as he had two letters published in the Purbeck Gazette.
A photograph of mine was published in the Purbeck Gazette. This month so far has been difficult; I’m in the middle of writing an article which has needed a certain amount of research, but I’m getting there.
To quote Robert Burns, “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft a-gley.’ Well, it’s not just mice and men. It’s women too! All this week I’ve been hoping to write my blog, but I’ve had intermittent connection problems with the internet and just haven’t been able to do much except look at a few blogs and write a few emails when it was working. Never mind, I think the ISP must have now fixed whatever was the glitch.
Autumn came in quite early with mists from the start of the month, which in this area at least turned to warm sunny days by lunch-time. On one of those misty mornings we took the steam train from Norden to Swanage, a trip we’d been promising ourselves for some time. It was a lovely little journey through the Purbeck Hills, with the ruins of Corfe Castle emerging through the gloom on the way out.
It was good to see the castle from the train, a totally different angle to any other view.
As for my August writing, I submitted an article to Crystal magazine, which has been accepted. One of the 3 poems I submitted for a competition in May, with a closing date of 30th June, was short-listed, but didn’t make the prize. However, it has been accepted for an anthology to be published later this year. Surprisingly enough to me, it was the poem which I wasn’t sure whether to submit – a haiku. I’d submitted 3 different styles so I’m pleased that one of them at least has found a home.
What it does also mean is that I now have 2 other poems ready to submit elsewhere.
I’ll finish this post with a photo of the steam engine which pulled our carriages. It’s looked after and polished immaculately. Well done to all the workers who care for this line and the trains and carriages involved.
Writing for magazines is never going to be easy. These days a lot of articles are written in-house to keep costs down. There is so much competition for free-lance writers for any remaining space, but we should not give up the effort.
If you are a free-lance writer or beginner, why not consider other markets as well as the glossy magazines? There are many on-line magazines (e-zines), and for printed work, there are small-press magazines out there.
Crystal Magazine is for subscribers only and publishes stories, articles and poems, and sometimes photographs. You can find details on editor Christine Carr’s website http://www.christinecrystal.blogspot.com
Christine does have subscribers from overseas as well as the UK. It’s a friendly magazine and we all enjoy reading each other’s work.
Incidentally, in my last post I made a small error. Published in Crystal in the July edition I had a poem and a small non-fiction article, not as I said, a true story (that was the previous edition.) I have posted the true story on my Jottings page.
Why not take a look at Crystal and see if you can write something to be published?
The photograph was a bit of an experiment for me. We scattered some wildflower seeds in the garden this year, to try to encourage bees, and they looked pretty so I thought I’d try to create a whirlpool effect. This is the result.
Writing sometimes has to be done in snatched moments. Life’s like that. Still, even these can add up to something worthwhile.
At present, these snatched moments seem to be all I can find, but somehow I’m sticking to my intentions to submit a piece of writing each month, be it an article, story or poem.
In July I submitted two stories – one to a magazine. This one was rejected because it had been previously published. I had retained the copyright though, and no money had been involved. I’d read the guidelines, and nowhere did they mention that they would not accept work which had been published before. Still, I know that is the case now.
The other story I submitted to a short story competition – no word yet, but at least it’s a new story and if unsuccessful in the competition can be submitted elsewhere.
The items I did have published in July were a poem in Crystal Magazine, and a true story, also in Crystal. On the photography side, I had a photograph of Corfe Castle published in the Purbeck Gazette.
I’m working on several things for my writing at present, progress is of course slow, but not at a standstill!
There can be something romantic and exciting about a railway journey. Quite possibly commuters in the UK would find little of either in their journeys to work since their fares are about to rise once again.
In this part of Dorset though, we’re blessed with a lovely railway service through the Purbeck area. The Swanage Railway is run entirely by volunteers and provides a service with both steam and diesel trains.
The venue for our photography group is ideally placed to see the trains nearby, and one of our sessions involved taking photos. We had the timetable so were able to be there right on time, as were the trains.
We’re spoiled for choice in Dorset when it comes to places to visit. Sometimes we opt for the coast, truly beautiful. At other times it’s tempting to venture inland to the countryside, where there are many picturesque villages. We have woodlands in abundance and plenty of interesting ruins, the most famous of which are the ruins of Corfe Castle. Whenever we see it, from whichever angle, it looks different. I’ve not yet managed to capture it rising through the mists of a winter morning, but artists and photographers love it.
Corfe Castle was partly demolished by Parliamentarians in 1646; it was Saxon in origin. Now a National Trust property, it’s an impressive ruin.
Another ruin with great atmosphere is at Knowlton, a Norman church built on the site of neolithic henges.
We’re also lucky with the climate here, as it is better than many areas in the United Kingdom.
On a scorching day like today, the best place to be is by the sea.
On the writing front, I have continued with my target of submitting at least one article, story or poem every month. In June I submitted an article to a glossy magazine – no reply yet; I also wrote a short story, which I’m still in the process of editing. No writing published in June, but I did have a photograph published in the U3A Sources Journal. I’ve several projects still on the go, awaiting completion.
Instead of researching non-fiction and writing an article, in May I decided to give my brain a change. I’d heard of a poetry competition with the chance of submitting up to three poems and thought I’d have a go with that. I sent in one in free verse, one humorous rhyming verse and a Haiku. The competition closes on 30th June, so like most things with writing, it’s a waiting game.
Also during May I pitched an article to a mainstream magazine, no reply as yet. I also sent in a true story to Crystal magazine, and several letters to various magazines and newspapers.
Successes during May were another true story published in Crystal, a letter in the Purbeck Gazette, and a photograph of our local carnival from last year published in the Purbeck Gazette. Only small successes, but at least these items have found a home.
This month I’m trying my hand at short stories, and maybe get back to some research. Who knows? That’s one of the things with writing, sometimes we need a change to help us to see projects with a new look.
Experienced photographers would wonder how I came to make not just one, but two mistakes in one day. My excuse is that when you take up a new hobby/learning curve at my time of life, not all the lessons are retained easily. I’ve learned from these errors though.
Last week we went out to a local beauty spot. The sun was shining and my camera was ready – or so I thought. I’d been ‘playing’ with it at home, altering settings around and mistakenly thought I’d put them all back to default values. I hadn’t.
The first photos I took should have been stunning; the scenery was gorgeous, the colour of the sea sublime. I thought I’d take a couple on automatic to make sure I captured something lovely. It was only when I switched to aperture priority I realised that the first few were much too bright. I had the exposure compensation set at +2.7. I had thought that taking them on automatic would put all right but realise now that’s not so. That was my first mistake.
The second mistake was not to check the histogram, which would have told me that something was amiss, even if I didn’t know exactly what. I’ve been advised at the photography group to make the histogram my best friend, and in future I will. I did try to put things right with a basic editing programme on my computer, but couldn’t cure the problems completely. The above photo is one of the results.
As you can see from this one, taken from Durdle Door looking towards Weymouth Bay, it was such a perfect day, and I did manage to take some other photos which I’m pleased with on the way back, but the light had changed from the truly magical light at the start of the visit. A very salutary lesson!
The major industries in West Bay are fishing and tourism. It’s always possible to buy fresh fish here, both wet fish and fish and chips. Also crabs and lobsters are big business. As for tourism, this is a very popular spot, lovely walks, beautiful coast and countryside.
It’s not a good idea to feed the seagulls, but you do have to watch that they don’t steal the food from your fingers. They can also be vicious. I still think they’re lovely to look at. I would never feed them.
Writing didn’t do too well in April. We’ve had a lot going on in our lives this month, which kind of got in the way; nevertheless I submitted one poem and an article. Nothing published during the month though, so as the old school reports used to say – Must do better.