Monthly Archives: June 2014

Friday Phrases: Part II

So I’ve written about the wonderment that is Friday Phrases before. You can find it on here under the title ‘There Ain’t no Party Like an FP Party’.

I won’t do too much re-explaining about what Friday Phrases is, as I did it there, and you can also find out by visiting the Friday Phrases website here.

 

FP1

 

Other than to say, if you are a writer, heck even if you’re not a writer, and your Fridays aren’t fabulous enough already, then get thyself down to Twitter on Fridays and follow the hashtag #FP.

There you will be sure to discover a whole host of 140 character micro-fiction poetry, prose and phrases which will, quite literally, have you gaping in awe.

But wait…not only do you get to read the fantastic words crafted by an ever increasing number of players… (oh yes, did I forget to mention? FP is a game! You know, those things you used to do when you were a kid but have forgotten about since acquiring a job, a mortgage and kids of your own?)… you get to take part yourself! YOU get to write and post and share your stuff among the most friendly online community you’re ever likely to meet. And honestly, it really is the most fun you can have as you wind down for the weekend.

Anyone can play, because at FP there are no winners or losers, just participants. All you have to do is write something original, a tiny short story or poem or whatever (check out the friendly guidelines on the website link at the top of this post) tag it with #FP and share the love by re-tweeting or commenting on your favourites. Easy

Now you may well be wondering why I’m writing another post about Friday Phrases if I’ve already done one. That’s a tad repetitive isn’t it Joanne?

Well no. It’s not. You see, since I started taking part in FP around November time, I have watched it evolve and grow exponentially. So I wanted to share how FP has developed, from a seed of an idea germinated by the lovely Amy Good (@amicgood) last September, (with a few eager writers on board) to a game which is now played by hundreds with it’s own website. What’s more, it has now evolved to be a somewhat symbiotic, organic movement where we have optional themes to help us get our creative juices flowing.

This post is the story of how this happened and it illustrates perfectly what I, and others, love about the FP community so much.

When Friday Phrases is in full flow, when everyone is busy gaping in awe and wonder at each other’s talent or starring and re-tweeting their favourite pieces, (even spilling them over onto Facebook these days) sometimes something even more wonderful happens. Conversations strike up. You know, socialising, the very point of social media. There have been many instances where a writer’s FP has ignited a spark of an idea in an artist and an impromptu piece of artwork has made an appearance a couple of hours later.

I’ll highlight a case in point. A  conversation took place one week about how it would be great if we could collate all the FP tweets in one place (as often with the pace of Twitter, you could easily miss something). Enter the whirlwind that is Willow Becker @willlowbecker. (I mean that in the nicest possible way because the woman just gets things done!) Before anyone could say Dead Man Walking, FP had it’s very own website, where the live FP feed is streamed. For a time it also featured guest bloggers and was a place for FP inspired short stories to show up and be showcased, though due to excessive workload, the site has been scaled back slightly for the moment.

Anyhow, where was I? Oh yes Symbiosis.

Another time, a whole thread of FPs might happen which starts from just one, and then another person links on and so on and so forth. I’ll share such an example later on in the post.

But then, for me the most exciting thing to happen on Friday Phrases has been the introduction of a weekly (optional) theme. (The optional part is very important because the last thing Friday Phrases wants, or indeed needs, is a stifling of creativity. Its aim is the complete opposite.)

The optional theme evolution is exciting for me on two levels.

1) I needed it. I wrote in my previous FP post about how I was worried I’d eventually run out of ideas (if I didn’t write it, I certainly thought it!) and so a weekly optional theme sometimes gives me the catalyst I need.

2) It was kind of accidentally my idea and I was chuffed to pieces that someone with a bit more get up and go, got up and got it rolling after a completely innocuous and fairly throw away comment I made during said conversation one Friday in March.

It started with a conversation about James Bond between myself (@fredamoya), Marj @whithernow and Roger @jabe842. There were tweets flying back and forth and challenges thrown in every direction. I believe we ended up with a bit of a Bond hastag FP thing happening bewteen ourselves and I said something along the lines of: “wouldn’t it be cool if we did have a theme each week?”

Enter Willow (previously mentioned)! A quick recce around the FP community on thoughts culminated in a big thumbs up to themes as long as they were optional. The next week, low and behold, we had a theme! Hazaar! Though, as I didn’t do a theme based one that week, I can’t remember what is was! Oh the irony!  Now if that conversation hadn’t happened I suspect FP may have gone towards introducing themes anyway, as I know when the FPs were collated each week, there seemed to be a theme emerge anyway. You see the nature of FP is that it is symbiotic. Writers, although have original thoughts of their own, do feed off the writings of others and FP is no different. I know for sure just one word in someone else’s FP, or an image conjured, can get me going off at a tangent into my own world. I’ve also lost count of the times I’ve posted an FP, even prior to themes, and some one has tweeted me saying “Damn, I’ve just had a really similar idea and now I can’t/won’t post it.”

You may well be wondering what some of these themes have been. So, for the final part of the post I will give you a run down, along with any FPs I came up with myself based on the themes. Mine are by no means the best, but I’m allowed to post mine as I’m not infringing anyone’s artistic rights! If you wish to explore other greatness then either visit the site, follow the FP hastag on Fridays or any of the aforementioned Tweeps, who quite frankly can out-FP me any day of the year. Also all the themes so far may not be here as I don’t follow the optional theme every week. Sometimes, just sometimes, I have ideas without prompts. like I used to, in my early days of FP.

So, without further ado, here are a selection of my humble offering to illustrate the point.

Fri 11th April: Theme: Daydreams

He was the man of my dreams; gallant, handsome, funny and smart. We daydreamed big together before he vanished, leaving only nightmares.

“You really MUST stop daydreaming Tom!” The teacher clicked his fingers. “But sir, I’m a daydream believer.” Seconds later, sir lay dead.

 

Fri 18th April: Theme: Buyer’s Remorse.

“The mists are clearing…I see a…coffin…, an engraving – ‘BURY MORE SEERS’. “Damn! I knew I should have spent more on that crystal ball.”

 

Fri 25th April:Theme: Delicious Morsels.

She knew the way to his heart was thru his stomach. Dozing in the aftermath of a heavy lunch, he didn’t feel the knife slice into his flesh.

I swallowed every word you spoke

Each delicious morsel

How was I to know they’d lodge

And make me choke,

When I found we weren’t immortal?

 

Friday 2nd May: Theme: Home Again.

Twelve years apart

Time’s relentless march

Returned to the start

Erased bitter betrayal

Obliterated pain

Home again.

 

This next one came about from a group of people. It actually started with a six word phrase from me on the Thursday night, which went like this:

Your eyes tell a thousand tales.

I woke up later to find an entire thread from these wonderful people (@SiofraWrites, @buchan_david , @jfxmlc and @MarkTconard) where they’d all tweeted six words and each line had a word rhyming with tales. With their permission, I linked them together and tweeted them in an FP series, part of which is here, and the bonus was it linked to the FP theme! It  really was great interactions at its best. I added in the fourth line but the rest belong to the others.

Bilbo Baggins hiked a thousand vales

And wandered through a thousand dales

His tracks crossed a thousand trails

He slayed a thousand dragon’s tails

In celebration, drank a thousand ales

Home again to a thousand hails.

 

Fri 9th May. Theme: Secret Pact

He held her in his arms, his dream come true; unaware of the secret pact she’d made with herself to love him if no one else would love her.

 

Fri 16th May: theme: Dirty hands.

He washed; he scrubbed. The same OCD ritual on repeat, day in , day out. being caught stealing came as a relief. No more dirty hands.

 

Fri 30th May: Theme: The Aftermath.

She drowned in the aftermath of his love, unable to breathe, unable to feel, clinging on to that which had long sunk beneath the waves.

You left carnage in your wake, the broken hearts of so many littered the paths where you’d trodden. Yet you walked on unharmed in the aftermath.

 

Fri 13th June: Theme: At First Blush

At first, cotton candy blush crept over her cheeks as he leaned his body into hers. Crushing lips transformed cotton candy to cherry.

Like the burning sun, the gaze from his blazing blue eyes made her hot, sticky, uncomfortable and melted her right through to her core.

 

Fri 20th June: Theme: Grave Digging.

“Welcome to the club. Diggin’ for diamonds is tough son; your heart’s gotta be in it.” I took the spade knowing I was headed to my grave.

Detective Stone fell grave. Digging into every crevice of the dead man’s life was wrong. Yet he knew he must destroy every link between them.

 

Now this week’s theme (27th June)  is “Through the Glass.” Once again I return to the point about symbiosis, community and the Twitter conversations which can lead to these things.

I have written a few FPs about my window cleaner, who, for want of a better phrase, is a little bit of a stalker. Last Friday he was up to his usual shenanigans which I won’t go into here, and I tweeted something about it to the FP community. After a few funny tweets back and forth with @whithernow and @RamblingBandit with encouragement from @calliearmstrong, it seems @RamblingBandit’s  suggestion to eviscerate him in fiction was taken up for this week’s theme. Although a much more subtle slant was given to the title, in order to appeal to all, from Amy, who is the genius behind FP, if I’ve not already said.

I think it’s a great theme with room for much scope, (not just weird window cleaners!) even if that’s where it originated.

So I throw down the gauntlet to you, dear reader. Why not pop over to Twitter on Friday and, if you’re not already taking part, have a stab at it? (Pun completely intended for those regular FPers!)

Or why not leave a comment in the box below? Perhaps an FP of your own for one of the past themes above? I bet you can do better than me. Go on…give it a go. I dare you!

 

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Filed under General Rambliings, Writing

One in 7 Billion

There are around seven billion people on this planet. I can’t even imagine what that number looks like, but I am slowly beginning to realise what that number of people means. What it means for the future generations, even for my own generation. What it means for the state of natural resources and for food and water supplies. And, as this is a blog about writing, what it means for me as an aspiring author.

When I was seven years old, I was chosen by my teachers to sing solo in church. This is something I would never contemplate doing now, but I did it then. I don’t know why they picked me, but I would imagine there were two factors. One: I could hold a note well enough not to make a complete plonker of myself, and two because I would do it. At seven I had the confidence to do it.

At eleven, I still had the confidence. I auditioned for the lead role in the Christmas play for the role of Babushka. Once more, solo singing was required. I didn’t get the part initially, but when a viral throat infection took hold of the lead, I got to play the part.. I was in a class of about thirty. Narrow the odds down to only girls being allowed to audition, (we’re back in the days of roles being doled out to meet the demands of the actual gender of the character rather than pandering to political correctness) and they’re pretty good odds for success.

The following year I started secondary school. Suddenly I was in a year group consisting of around two hundred kids as oppose to thirty. As the auditions for the roles in the end of year production of The Wizard Of Oz were open to all year groups, of course the odds of success diminished. Somewhat naively, I auditioned for the lead. Unfortunately, a girl in the year above landed the part of Dorothy and I was told, quite categorically, that I wasn’t up to it. My voice wasn’t strong enough and they didn’t know why I’d auditioned.

Scarred by the comments, and left feeling ever so slightly silly, I never auditioned for anything again, and other than joining a few choirs where I could blend in, I have never been on a stage since.

Now we could say what a despicable, cruel teacher to shatter my dreams like that. (Or praise them for not giving me false hope, depending on how you look at things.) Or we could tell my twelve year old self off for giving up so easily on something she loved to do. She should have pursued that dream more fervently, had singing lessons etc.. But at twelve, perhaps our fate is dictated too much by parents and the position we are born into in society. There was no money to waste on singing lessons on one daughter of five children and teachers had a tendency to only spot the high fliers. The middle mediocrity didn’t get a second glance. Not in secondary school at least. Maybe things have changed since my day, but that’s how it was. Of course we could say it was fated I would never get the part because, it transpired some years later, that Dorothy’s mother was rumoured to have been having an affair with the head teacher. Whichever sliding door scenario we choose from the above is irrelevant; I didn’t pursue singing or acting .  For me I was a little fish in a big pond and I was drowning.

In hindsight, I think the teacher did exactly the right thing. I’d had no competition at primary school, or very little at least. Life had been made easy. I don’t remember anyone being particularly  over the top with high praise. No one ever told me I could be a singer or an actress or Prime Minister one day. Those dreams were just that, dreams. Nevertheless, at primary school I was at least  encouraged and told I was good enough.  If the secondary teacher had not been quite so blunt then perhaps I’d have continued to put myself out there for auditions and have faced rejection after rejection. Would that have been better? I don’t know. Rejection gnaws away at your soul and your self esteem…

So, here I am now, twenty six years later attempting to write a novel and throw it out into the arena for the lions to possibly pull it apart and reject it. For someone to turn round and tell me: “You’re not cut out for this, go home and try something else. There are people out there better than you.” And there are times when I’m not sure I’m ready to face possible rejection, after rejection, after rejection. It would only take one person to be blunt and tell me I’m not cut out for this for me to give up. Constructive criticism to help improve I can take but, to be told you’ll not make it is something else. Because the thing is I already think that. I already think at times I’m not good enough.

And then of course there’s the odds. Now I’m not just one of thirty, or even one of two hundred. I am one in seven billion.

When I began writing this novel I told only one close friend. He gave me so much encouragement to do it, to finish it, that I did. I finished a whole draft. This friend told me how unique I was. I  believed him. After all, no one I know, or have ever known, has written a whole book. I felt special. I set about dreaming of how, maybe, just maybe, the story I had wrote would be loved by millions of children and I’d finally have achieved something great in my life.

Then I joined Twitter.

There were writers. Everywhere. They were ten a penny.  I was back at secondary school, only the pond had become an ocean.

Now, I only follow a few hundred people but I am often overwhelmed at how much they write, what they write, how they write and I can’t help but think to myself: How can I, little old Joanne Blaikie from the Midlands compete with them? I’m not on a par to compete with the masses of talent out there. I feel the same when I walk into a bookshop. I stare at the hundreds of titles and think of the hundreds of stories there are and I have just one. One tiny, not all that good if I’m completely honest, story. Don’t get me wrong, on a personal level I have achieved something. I have written a novel. But so have millions of other people. I browsed the children’s titles the other day in WHSmiths. Anthony Horowitz’s Alex Rider books have numerous titles in the series. He can churn out quality book after quality book after quality book. As can so many other authors. And so I rarely even consider myself a writer. I haven’t enough ideas in me to ever make a career out of this.

At times the sheer number of writers I see saturating the market overwhelms me. Even among the amateurs, there are so many far superior in talent to me. I’m not being modest here. I just know what good writing looks like and mine, although not dreadful, is, at best, mediocre. And I don’t have the time to sit and practise it until my fingers drop off, though I wish I did. I think to myself “how is my little tiny piece ever going to be revered enough by enough people? Maybe it shouldn’t matter. But it does. And I don’t mean for money or fame and fortune. As a writer I want to reach people with my stories and words. I write (mostly) because I want those words to be read. I also want to stand out from the crowd. Creativity and originality of thought is what drives me on.

However, then I see the abundance of talent out there, both in the published and non published world, and I look at the thousands upon thousands upon thousands of writers out there all striving for the same level of recognition, I cannot help but revert back to my twelve year old self at times and want to give up as I did after that audition. I don’t have the basic skills honed to a high enough level yet. I don’t have loads of story ideas hovering in the wings just waiting for me to wave a magic wand over them and form them into coherent sentences and, eventually, a novel. Others do. That’s the difference.

Those with confidence in their writing; those who hold faith in themselves that they will succeed and believe their cream will rise to the top come what may (whether they show it or not ) are more likely to succeed I guess, simply because they believe in themselves. I partly admire and partly despair of them. Admire and despair for the same reason: because they don’t allow the following kind of statistics and thoughts to bother them:

Presently, there are 7 billion people on this planet or thereabouts (UK population: 63 million)

When George Orwell’s novel, 1984,was published in 1949 the world’s population stood at around 2.5 billion. (UK 56 million)

In 1813, when Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen was published, the world population was around 1 billion. (UK approx 18 million)

And when Shakespeare was having his heyday, it was in the region of 400  million. (UK 4 million)

These statistics bother me all the time.

All of these writers, like me, were British. All of them are considered literary greats. Many modern writers aspire to attain the levels of greatness and recognition these few, and others like them, had. However, I wonder if perhaps those writers were considered great because there simply weren’t as many other people to compete against? There were not millions of other people aspiring to be writers for a career, because back in 1813 and 1680 it wasn’t a career option. It was something only the privileged could afford to do. The likes of me would just get on with whatever employment they were engaged in and bring up children.There were no fanciful ideas of being a novelist for the common folk such as I. Now though, society tells me to follow my dream. Making a living as an author isn’t out of the realms of possibility. It isn’t something only the rich and privileged can afford to do. Single mums hanging out in cafes can write best selling novels can’t they?

And so now everyone’s at it, whether we’re any good at it or not, because society has, perhaps rightly or wrongly, led us to believe we can do anything, if only we work hard at it and forget the maths.

Now, I’m not here to play the wicked witch of the west and dash everyone’s hopes and dreams, (my own included) but I fear a dose of a reality check needs to be thrown in occasionally. We live on a planet of seven billion humans, where we are forced to compete for everything more and more. Probability says you are less likely to be traditionally published now than if you wrote thirty years ago or sixty years ago. More people = more people writing = more competition.  (Maths even I can do.)

It is not this which concerns me though. The onset of self publishing means it is actually easier than ever to become a published author.

No, what concerns me is a saturated market. Too much choice. Too much repetition and not enough originality. Too many people all vying to be top of a pile which, despite what society and our biggest champions tell us, only a very small percentage will ever achieve. Too many titles for readers to choose from. The idea of marketing a book makes me feel sick. Why should mine be any better than the other millions out there? It’s why I doubt praise from other people so much. There is too much out there for anyone to know if mine is truly good enough.  I’m not negative, I’m just a realist. I always have been, and perhaps this is why I gave up so easily when the music teacher closed off the yellow brick road to me twenty six years ago.

 

But not to end on a sour note, the flip side of the coin is this: More people = more readers. And of course the great thing about any art form is it’s all objective. What is one person’s cup of tea is another’s poison. So, like the tin man, I take heart and, like the lion, I try and find courage. My novel will find a readership, however small, and I’ll keep heading towards the Emerald City, however arduous and long the journey.

Thanks as always for reading 🙂

 

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Filed under Writing

What a Difference a Year Makes.

So it seems I have been blogging for a year.

Which simply means I’ve been writing about writing (and a few other things,) for a year.

Which means I’ve probably done less on my novel than I should have this year.

However, I’m not going to have any regrets, because I know me, and one of my ‘things’ is that  I need to deconstruct and analyse stuff in order to understand it more fully. There are times simply by saying something out loud to someone, however stupid it might make me look, can help me have a light-bulb moment or find a solution. Blogging has done this for me. My blogs may not have been particularly informative to others, though I seem to have entertained a few of you! 🙂 Nevertheless, I have learned much from constructing my own posts. Perhaps not necessarily about blogging, but that’s for deeper analysis another day.

When I started out on this blog a year ago, I set out with the very specific aim to simply blog on my writing journey about the children’s novel I am writing. This I did, diligently for a while. Posting regularly scheduled pieces focused on various aspects of my writing.

If you’re a regular visitor (and for that, I thank you enormously) you will know, somewhere along the way, this went off the boil a bit. My first off on a tangent post was about depression, although it was from the slant about how it helped my writing process. After this,  I found blogging about some personal things cathartic and helpful to developing my writing in general. It was also the post which seemed to resonate with more people than any of my previous posts.

Since then I have blogged about my relationship with Twitter, my hatred for acronyms and selfies, loneliness, Friday Phrases, youth and growing older as well taking part in the A-Z blog challenge back in April where I posted a piece every day.  I have also published a few short stories and a couple of poems on here. I’ve even taken part in blog hops and was nominated for a few blogging awards. Wow and phew! It’s been quite a lot of writerly fun. I’ve discovered other’s great blogs too as part of the WordPress community and look forward when I log into the reader to find out what others out there are posting about. I have to say everyone else seems to have A LOT more focus than I do!

One thing which has changed since the beginning is the length of my posts. They’ve definitely got longer. My verbosity knows no bounds it seems. Now, this is something I’ve vowed I am going to work this year to rectify. I intend to set myself a word limit and try and stick to it. I think this is definitely a requirement for me to sharpen up my writing in general. (I can almost hear the sighs of relief.)

I’m also going to try very hard to blog more about writing, as I’m sure people come here looking for more on that, given the name of this blog! I feel I need to make these, as well as some other changes, as despite having a steady increase of followers to the blog, when I look at my stats, I’m not getting many more views per week on average. This might be partly due to the fact I don’t do enough to promote myself, or possibly that my content is all a little too personal, rather than giving a well rounded impersonal take on issues which interest people or advice on writing.

I don’t do advice on writing though, because I’m not an authority and never will be so I can only write about my own experiences.

However having read Drew Chial’s latest piece, (The Myth of the Self-Made Blogger) I’ve decided I need to do something to change the blog, as we all know: if you keep doing the same thing, you only get the same results. The number doesn’t bother me simply as a number, but as any writer knows, whatever you are writing, you want to speak to as many people as possible. You can’t help but want to reach as many people as you can. For me, I started this blog because I was writing a novel and I had read it was expected for authors to have a blog. I think I started off believing that visitors to my blog would be people interested in children’s fantasy novels. Hmmmmm. Turns out people visit blogs for all sorts of reasons and it has little to do with wanting to read your novel. The great thing for me is, people can visit here, and discover my writing style in a different setting. This is a by product of what I first set out to do, but a welcome one. I write and people read, and surely this is what writers of anything, other than a personal diary, want; readership?

So from now on my (quite loose) pledges for Writeaway are:

-More focus on (though not exclusively) writing related content. (Not preachy advice ones though!)

-Shorter posts with a word limit of 2000 words (self imposed!)

-Maybe try and shift to a less biased viewpoint, if I can, although no definite promises as my style is my style.

– I’m not sure I can promise a complete halt to my soap box posts, but then I’m not sure I want to. 🙂

-Promote my posts more, not just on Mondays which I tend to be guilty of. I stopped promoting on Facebook too after my posts diversified away from writing for fear of family and friends reading them. Irony has it they’d probably be more interested in some of that stuff, because, although friends and family try to be supportive in the beginning, they’re not interested in writing processes. But a rant about acronyms? Perhaps they’d enjoy that.

Finally I would like to say a big thank you to all of those who regularly read my stuff and especially to those who take the time to comment or share it. You are very much appreciated and make the effort of spilling these rambles out on the page worth the eye squinting in the dark effort. 🙂

So here’s to another year…and…

Thank you, as ever, for reading. 🙂

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Filed under First post, Writing

Meet My Main Character Blog Tour

Thanks to Michael S Fedison at The Eye-Dancers for tagging me in this blog tour, where the focus is on meeting the main character of our WIPs. I have been following Michael’s blog since I joined WordPress a year ago and read his YA novel, The Eye-Dancers, around the same time. Not only is the book a fun ride through a parallel world, Michael’s blog is always full of thought provoking posts and he’s one of the nicest guys in the blogging world. Now he’s writing his follow up to the Eye-Dancers and I’ll look forward to finding out where the characters are taken next. Check out his blog here. Michael writes some great short stories here too, so do go and check them out here.

Now if you are a regular follower of my blog you probably already know all there is to know about my main character as I blogged about him  in the April A-Z blog challenge, but this blog tour brings a bit of structure to proceedings so hopefully I can present him to you in a better way. So here goes: My main character: .

Toddington

1What is the name of your character? Is he/she fictional or a historic person?

His name is Toddington Rainstone and he is definitely fictional! He is an elfling – a three(ish) inch high being – who lives in Trelflande – a world under the ground. Toddington is very young for an elfling as they can live up to a thousand years. When we first meet him in the prologue he is fourteen. The next time we see him he is eighteen, but for the most part of the book he is twenty-one years of age.  By the time we reach Volume Two he is twenty-five and in Volume Three, which brings us into the modern era he will be around two hundred and seventy years old! Elfling ages work differently to our own though; they never  physically age after the age of eighteen. They grow in maturity but at two hundred and seventy, although still reletively young, an elfling is highly experienced in their field of work and it is at this time they usually begin a family, although tradition has it they marry young and spend years without children.

2When and where is the story set?

The story is set in the fictional underground world of Trelflande, although there are many parts of the novel where the characters come up into our world, known to the elflings as “The Over-World.” The action for the Volume One is set under England in the 18th Century, at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. The trilogy spans nearly three hundred years and as I say, Volume Three will bring the elflings to modern day Britain.

3. What should we know about him/her?

Toddington is orphaned at age fourteen. As a result, he becomes obsessed with work and it is all he lives for. It goes without saying that he works hard. He has a creative mind married with a practical streak, and his work is in design engineering fungi products. He is headstrong and impetuous; not always thinking through the consequences of his actions, but at the same time he is a highly intelligent elfling.  He is self centered and often oblivious to the wants of other elflings. At times his single mindedness can lead him, and other elflings, into trouble but equally there are times when this trait saves them. He doesn’t like unnecessary emotion and tries hard to cover his own.

What is the main conflict? What messes up his/her life?

The Toadstool compound, which is situated under an ancient Horse Chestnut tree where he lives and works, is uprooted in a sudden and cataclysmic incident. His workforce is killed, he is injured and he has to flee his workplace. In time he and his community are forced to leave the place where they have always lived as more of the trees where they make their homes are uprooted, and the elflings are forced to find another place to settle. After the initial shock, this additional loss in his life makes Toddington determined to fight and he uses his  creativity and designing skills to help do this.

5What is the personal goal of the character?

Toddington’s personal goal is to avenge whatever it is which has destroyed his business. It was all he had left of his father and he feels now that all the work he did has been in vain. Prior to his father’s death Toddington’s goal was to be the first elfling to explore the Over-World, but instead he buried himself in work. Once the catastrophe hits, and he has no work to live for, his main focus shifts once more to having an adventure in the Over-World and he believes the destruction from above, as well as The Prophecy, gives him the perfect excuse to pursue his dreams.

6Is there a working title for this novel, and can we read more about it?

The title for Volume One is called Prophecy of Innocence. Volume Two’s working title is Two Tribes and the third volume has a working title of Return to Innocence. You can read more about Prophecy on the other pages on this blog or on my sister blog which is going to be for children.

7When can we expect the book to be published?

How long is a piece of string?! I can’t realistically answer that. As a first novel, with no publisher on board as of yet, it could be six months or six years. My original target was last December. (But obviously that has been and gone.) Then I shifted that to this summer. However as I’m heavily involved in re-writes and editing still that hasn’t happened either! I’d like to think (fingers crossed) that by this time next year Prophecy Volume One will be out there in the world.

 

Now on a blog hop, this is the part where I should have asked others to take part, but I’ve had a hectic couple of weeks so haven’t quite got there yet. Apologies Michael.

So something slightly different: If you are one of my regular followers or friends and you’d like to blog about your WIP’s main character then please send me a message and I’ll tag you on here and re-post and re-tweet. Sorry to be unconventional folks but heh, you just read the above didn’t you? 😉

Thanks for reading as always.

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