Monthly Archives: April 2013
I was delighted to be nominated by Michael J Whelan for the Reality Blog Award!
What a nice surprise and a much-needed boost for my writing ego – something, I’m sure most writers will agree, that is essential to keep us going.
And now to delve into the unknown and come up with answers to the following questions:
Q: If you could change one thing in your life what would it be?
That’s easy – I’d love to have my debut novel published and sitting on the bookshelves of all good bookstores – or better still in the arms of a welcoming reader.
Q: If you could repeat any age which would it be?
Every age brings different joys but I have to admit that I’m glad I was around for the music of the ’80’s – who could beat such great music; David Bowie, Gary Numan, Echo and the Bunnymen, The Teardrop Explodes, The Smiths, U2 – the list goes on and on . . .
Q: What really scares you?
Nothing scares me more than a really great horror book or movie. Reading or watching one can keep me awake for hours – but can also be inspiration for a poem or a short story about fear. The Others was one of my favourite horror movies and The Secret of Crickley Hall by James Herbert had me terrified while reading it, even in the middle of the afternoon – tap, tap, tap . . .
Q: If you could be someone else for a day, who would it be?
Now that’s a hard question – but maybe for a day I could live in the 1800’s as Emily Dickinson – I love her dark poetry and her fascination with death.
Thanks again to Michael who nominated me for the award. You can find some of his award-winning poems and stories at www.michaeljwhelan.wordpress.com
Finally, I would like to nominate my fellow writers/bloggers for this award and I hope they will take up the gauntlet. Their blogs are inspiring, so enjoy your visit:
A treat – for readers and writers alike: I’m sure you’ll enjoy the writing tips that Catherine Brophy, writer, story-teller and broadcaster has kindly shared with us. After a recent conversation with Catherine, about editing my first novel, these pointers couldn’t have come at a better time!
Catherine writes film, T.V. and radio scripts and she also writes short stories. Her previous novels are The Liberation of Margaret Mc Cabe and Dark Paradise. Her latest novel, Burning Bright, is a comedy about money, fame and the Celtic Tiger.
According to Catherine, she lives a blameless life in Ireland but escapes whenever she can. She’s been rescued by a circus troupe in Serbia, had breakfast with a Zambian chief, ate camel stew in the Sahara, and was kicked by a horse on the Mexican plain.
Now over to Catherine!
WHO WROTE THIS HIDEOUS RUBBISH?
And who stole my beautiful prose?
Ah yes, I know the feeling well. You’ve got a great idea. You’ve found the time to write. You’ve gone at it full tilt. Your head is ablaze with ideas. It’s going great. You write and write and write till you come to a natural halt. You rise from your desk with a feeling of virtue and genius and general fabulousness. This must be how Shakespeare felt when he’d put the final full stop to Hamlet.
All you have to do now is run the spell check, tidy up the punctuation, maybe change a word or a phrase here and there, and you’ll do that to-morrow. You go to bed that night and sleep the sleep of the just.
Morning arrives and you rush to your desk with a song on your lips certain you’ll get this finished to-day. You read what you wrote and OMG! That blaze of ideas… that eloquence… where is it? It’s all disappeared! All that’s left is lumpen paragraphs and hobbled sentences. You want to howl to the heavens and collapse in despair. But, before you tie a millstone round your neck and jump into the river – read on.
Lodged somewhere in the back of our brains is the notion that a REAL writer sits down and writes. That inspiration flows from the angels, through her mind and her quill and directly on to the page. If only! REAL writers write and re-write and re-write and re-write again. So save yourself trouble and heartache.
- Within all that cack-handed prose there are jewels. They need polishing and proper settings but they’re still jewels and when you calm down you will recognise them.
- All writing is about clarification. You want to communicate your ideas as vividly as possible to your reader. You can only do that when you have clarified them to yourself.
- Think of the first draft as detailed notes, the place for that clarification. Nobody expects notes to be perfect.
- Don’t bother editing, correcting or polishing just keep going –you can waste a lot of time editing only to discover later that you need to cut that bit out!
- Use all the clichés, slip shod grammar, poor punctuation, inaccurate phrases and colloquial expressions that comes to mind – they’re just shorthand. You know what you mean and you can find the accurate word, the dazzling phrase on the next draft, or the one after that.
- Don’t do too much research – you’ll waste hours on fascinating information which you don’t need. Only check facts that you know are essential.
- Make notes as you write, put them in colour or bold. “Research this” “This needs to be in earlier.” “Insert more info about x” etc.
- Keep writing on till the end.
Whew… the first draft is finished. It’s not undying prose but you’ve got what you need. More clarity. A better understanding of your characters, more information about your plot, some idea of themes and a firm foundation to build on. Step 1 of the process of writing is complete. Now for Step 2.
Burning Bright by Catherine Brophy
The Celtic Tiger is in his prime and the Kerrigans are splashing the cash. They have made it big time, so eat your heart out you small town snobs! But Daddy’s-girl Kirsty wants Celebrity and International Fame and devotes herself to pursuing this dream. Crashing Madonna’s Christmas party doesn’t help, neither does causing a stir on Big Brother but when a video clip of Kirsty goes viral on You Tube, fame arrives with a bang. But Tracey O’Hagan, a blast from a shady patch in the Kerrigan past, has appeared on the scene. She’s mad. She’s bad. And she’s definitely dangerous to know.
Set in the years of the Celtic Tiger, Burning Bright is told in the voices of Kerrigan family members and friends. It’s funny. It’s believable. And it will definitely make you laugh.
AVAILABLE NOW ON AMAZON
Memories raced back through Dolly’s mind, of her first husband, Jack.
She squeezed the handle hard, and as steam hissed out in front of her, she could see his face. His china blue eyes and quick smile. His fair hair, always perfectly coiffed, brushed back in a quiff with Brylcream. He had been a good‐looking man, in his day.
Running the iron back‐and‐forth, across the snow white fabric, she wondered what the owner of this shirt looked like. She inhaled the faint scent of Old Spice still ensconced in the size 18 collar. Obviously a tall man. Big build. Maybe along the lines of Gregory Peck? She hummed the music from Spellbound, seeing herself as Ingrid Bergman, as she deftly manoeuvred the iron in between the buttons.
Twenty minutes later, as she hung the last of the twelve shirts onto a hanger and covered them with plastic, she heard the bell above the front door jangle.
“Dolly, have you got the ironing for Margaret Harris finished yet?” shouted Paul from the counter.
“Just finished this minute, but it wasn’t due to be collected until Tuesday,” said Dolly. As she walked out to the counter with the crisp, white cotton; she glanced in the mirror. Her curly, auburn hair nestled around her neck, sticking out slightly on the right. Probably from all the steam, she thought, pushing it behind her ear. She pressed her lips together, enlivening the pale pink lipstick she had glided on earlier in the morning.
“Oh, sorry about that,” smiled the tall man at the counter. “My housekeeper, Margaret, normally does my ironing, but she slipped. Broke her arm. I just dropped them in this morning on my way for a round of golf and thought I’d check to see if there was any chance they were ready on my way back. Well, my luck is in,” he smiled at Dolly.
He had a nice smile, she thought. Well dressed too, in a black polo shirt and black trousers. His face was lightly sun‐tanned and his cheeks ruddy. His mop of grey hair stuck up in tufts, but it was his blue eyes, housed beneath long dark lashes, that drew her attention.
“Well, it wasn’t too busy today,” smiled Dolly, passing the shirts across the counter. Their fingers brushed and she felt a tingle of pleasure run up her arm.
“How much do I owe you?”
“That’ll be €12, please,” said Paul, ringing it up on the register.
“No doubt I’ll be in again, at least until Margaret recovers. She’ll be mighty impressed with the creases in these,” he laughed, holding up the shirts. He handed Paul a €20 note.
“Well, we aim to please Fr!” said Paul, counting back the €8 change.
Dolly sauntered back to her ironing board.
She was wrong, she thought, not Gregory Peck, maybe more like her third husband, John. Starting on a new bag of ironing, she began to hum the theme tune to True Grit.