Sunday, 25 December 2011

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas everybody! I hope that wherever you are, whoever you're with, and whatever you have planned...I hope you have a fun, relaxing and indulgent day~ x

If you want to read some Christmas themed folk tales to further engulf you in the spirit of today's festivities, you can do so here :)

Monday, 19 December 2011

fairy tale story scavenging

by Indigo-Ocean @ da
I can't wait to attend next month's Story Scavenger evenings at Waterstones...I have been lured in by the promise of writing based on fairy tale traditions, with the overall theme being resolutions and outrageous wishes. Little stars pinged up in my eyes when I read 'fairy tale'! I suppose I am predictable in this way, and will always have magpie tendencies towards anything promising myths and magic. 

More information about the workshops can be found here. I look forward to meeting more local writers, which will be a first for me after living and writing in Brighton for a year and a quarter. It will be exciting...but for now I have to focus on relaxing and getting over my illness and mentally preparing for Christmas! 6 days to go!

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Book heaven

Today I took a trip up to the special collections section of the university library; surrounded by the comforting smell of old, loved books, I was privileged enough to hold in my hands some real treasures. 

I won't lie, I was petrified I would sneeze on them.

But there was something familiar, almost reassuring about handling a book with crisp paper pages, stained with age, and a hard-back, robust cover protecting the story within...

A 1611(!) edition of Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queen.
A 1st edition(!) of Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels.
A 2nd edition Shakespeare folio(!), undoubtedly the king of the room!

And the illustrations! Perhaps as a result of it being the title page to The Faerie Queen it had more of an effect on me, but I felt utterly transported and in awe - the drawings were intricate, alluring, and dominated the page in a way that book illustrations rarely do nowadays.

Everyone, I beseech you, if you can, hold an old, valuable book in your hands and experience what I have experienced, because it is a beautiful, inspiring feeling, and I cannot do it justice here!

Saturday, 12 November 2011

A letter from the other side of the world

I received such a lovely surprise in the post last week - a card from Tahlia, of Diamonds and Toads! (Sorry it has taken so long to post my thank you!)

The card was thanking me for the donation I made towards start up costs for a new fairy and folktale magazine...a donation that wasn't a lot, that I thought wouldn't make a difference. But I suppose it still meant something - it meant enough to send a card and not an email - and that's what counts. 

It takes so little effort to do something for someone else, that could maybe make their day; a 'good morning', a smile, a hand getting a buggy on a bus...a small donation to a good cause, and definitely, definitely, a card through the letterbox from the other side of the world!


Thursday, 3 November 2011

Rejection is progress

Remember I was talking about a story I submitted to two magazines? I was discussing a moral dilemma about it here.

Well, I can now reveal that my story was...not accepted by the magazine that truly endeared me to them, but surprisingly my first reaction wasn't disappointment, as it has been up until now. In fact I found myself smiling when I received the email...

I've been on an emotional roller coaster ride with this story, I'll be honest, but somewhere along the way I realised that this time last year my writing would have been rejected straight away. Without a shadow of a doubt.

During the year I have progressed, getting to the 'honourable mention' stage of a competition, winning a small prize in a competition, winning second place in a competition, and now, being considered in the final round of publication for a magazine.  No, I haven't had a short story published without it being through a competition, and no, this wasn't my lucky break.

But looking back, I can see that if I keep working, keep learning, and keep putting myself out there, it won't be long until I've jumped over that hurdle as well.

Monday, 31 October 2011

Happy Halloween!

The pumpkins are out in full force tonight, and I love the originality in the faces people carve. I went traditional and spiky...because I'm not very good at carving them. I did manage to nearly set it on fire when a candle split inside it though, which gave me a fright at least.

Pumpkins also mean pumpkin pie, pumpkin soup, and toasted pumpkin seeds. Yummy! There's something that satisfies my soul and creative urges when I can cook with seasonal veg. I'm sure I've talked about it before, but creating something from start to finish satisfies creativity when you're stuck on a project where the end is nowhere in sight. I think that valuable idea came from The Artist's Way. It's made me gain a few pounds, I must admit!

As I write this there's a special Halloween themed Story Scavenger event taking place in Brighton, but if you don't make it there will once again be free creative writing workshops every Thursday at the cafe in Waterstones on North Street.

This time last year I entered the Writer's Weekly 24-hour short story contest, and won a small prize. Seasonal themes really do get creative juices flowing, it seems. I suppose because you're surrounded by the season and can relate to it in some way, you're in the mood, you can tap into your feelings more easily, and the 24-hour challenge seems slightly less daunting! 
I mention this because it was the first writing success I had, so I have something personal to celebrate today, along with the normal festivities!

Whether you're celebrating Halloween, Samhain or the Day of the Dead over the next two days, have a lovely holiday x

Saturday, 22 October 2011

A moral principle

I've written before about how I feel I have become better at handling rejection when a magazine/ezine takes time to contact me - even if it's just a form response - or if they specifically say how they'll announce the outcome. Recent events have made me want to rant about what I can't stand: silence. By silence, I mean when I don't even receive confirmation that my submission has been received.

I submitted a story to a magazine a long time ago...let's call it Magazine A. Now, I wrote the story with Magazine A in mind, because I liked the theme of the upcoming issue, it is published locally (i.e. in the UK) and it seems to have a growing, good reputation.

However, I received no confirmation letting me know whether my submission had been received, and there was no further information or updates regarding the publication of the issue. I even contacted them directly, and the response was frustratingly vague and uninformative. My hackles went up.

I then almost forgot about my story, until I stumbled upon another market about a month ago. Magazine B has entry requirements and content that it looked like my story would also suit. And, luckily, they accept simultaneous submissions. There are some downsides compared to Magazine A, as it isn't local and isn't a physical publication. But I decided to take a shot none the less!

I don't know the outcome for either publication yet, but if by some crazy feat of luck my work was to be accepted to both, I know which magazine I would let publish my writing: Magazine B has sent correspondence, has clear information on the website regarding dates, and has created an atmosphere where I, as a writer, would feel happy and comfortable letting them publish my story.

It may seem crazy to make this decision based on a moral principle rather than which publication would be more likely to help my dream career take off, but I think writers need to be treated with respect. These magazines would not exist if people didn't offer their writing, the result of hours of hard work and labours of love! Why should writers choose to give magazines the privilege of printing their creations if they're not going to be treated courteously and professionally? For the magazines, this is a pathway towards a bad reputation. For writers, it's a pathway towards regret and low self-esteem.

Rant over: mouth firmly shut and fingers still firmly crossed!

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Farewell Enchanted Conversation

by sousakuteki @ da

I was so upset to hear that Enchanted Conversation magazine is suspending publication after the Little Red Riding Hood issue. Kate and the team have done an amazing job in creating something unique and special for fairytale fans, and this will be a sore loss. 

Fortunately the stories from this years publications are archived on the site (Rapunzel, Rumpelstiltskin, Snow White, Cinderella, and soon Little Red Riding Hood)

The sister site, Diamonds and Toads, is still up and running, so you can still get a little fairytale fix over there~

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Autumn has arrived!

Today is officially the start of Autumn! It is my favourite season by a mile - I don't know whether it's due to the vibrant colours, the crisp bite of the early morning air, or all the squashes and pumpkins coming into season...or maybe Halloween. Any excuse to dress up and have a laugh!

Whatever it is, there's something about the season that makes me feel creative, comfortable, and even somewhat spiritual. Perhaps it has something to do with being a child and starting back at school, and every year being certain it would be a 'fresh start' and that I could 'reinvent myself'. There is a definite air of possibility, which I think most people would find strange because they would associate that with Spring...

But how can you not love this time of year?

These are some of my favourite pictures from Autumns past... bring on the pumpkins!

For any fellow writers in Brighton that may stumble across this page, Story Scavenger is running a special Halloween night of ghost-story writing. There are also free evening courses every Thursday at the Costa coffee shop in Waterstones, North Street. 

Happy Autumn everyone! x

Monday, 19 September 2011

And they lived happily ever after, again, and again, and again...

by kmye-chan @ deviantART

Next year, two new versions of Snow White will be released in cinemas, both twisting the original plot to accommodate a heroine who fights back against the powers that be. In Snow White and the Huntsman, Snow White teams up with the hunter ordered to kill her in the woods, and together they work to vanquish the evil queen. In the as-yet-untitled Snow White, she teams up with the dwarfs to reclaim the kingdom. What a busy girl. 

Anyone who has a quick look on Wikipedia will be able to see how many times this story has been reworked into film, and I'm sure many people are yawning at the thought of two more...but I'm looking forward to it! It at least shows how popular fairytales continue to be, with story lines that intrigue and endlessly enduring themes.

by belialchan @ dA
I also think it's fantastic they're moving away from the realm of 'children's stories' - Disney probably started the trend here, because these days it almost goes without saying that fairytales belong to kids. It's almost a right of passage for a little girl to dress up as her favourite princess.

Anyone who has read The Brother's Grimm stories knows they are dark and creepy, and children couldn't possibly have been the intended audience, unless it was to scare them into learning a lesson. So I think it's nice to see some new takes on the story, aimed at people over the age of 10.

Which one do I like the look of more? That's a toughie...but I have to say, I'm looking forward to seeing Julia Roberts play someone evil, because I've only ever seen her being nicer than nice, flashing that big ol' smile of hers. 

Anyone else excited? Or cynical? Or couldn't care less?!

In the spirit of things I have included some Snow White related art from a few talented artists on deviantART. Click on the links under the pictures to go to their site, and show your support :)
by sadi3-g @ dA
by tom-monster @ dA

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

KAL Media finally pay up...

Back in January, Simply Beautiful magazine accepted an article I wrote on aromatherapy for their 'upcoming' issue - this was the first piece of writing I'd sold, but unfortunately it wasn't a great experience. 

This morning, seven months down the line, I received a phone call from a helpful woman in KAL Media's accounts department, saying she had 'found' my invoice and would pay me immediately. Found? I had been sending and resending my invoice to the only contact I had - the editor - who assured me on the rare occasions my correspondence was acknowledged that she was passing on my details to accounts. This information shocked the lady I was speaking to.

I know I won't receive my contributor copy, but at least I now know which issue I was published in at least - they didn't even have the curtesy to tell me so that I could seek out my own copy when it was on the shelves.

Sadly, mine isn't an isolated case. Lots of the talented crafters at Folksy have sold articles, how-to's and patterns to KAL Media's craft magazines, and many are still fighting for their payment. I have been lucky, and my advice to them is to try and contact the accounts department directly as, apparently, there is a severe lack in communication!

I'm just relieved there is some closure now. This has been a huge weight on my shoulders, and for a while it really affected my confidence when I was trying to sell my work. I guess it was bad luck that it was my first time, but I'm glad I didn't meekly submit to the big scary publishers and kept on fighting! 

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Write BEFORE...

Cor! The gale force winds in Brighton today nearly made my body subvert the laws of gravity! I had to fight just to take little pigeon steps down one of the steepest hills in the area. Good thing I had a warm coat on...and come to think of it, if the wind had died down slightly on my descent and I had rediscovered the power of gravity, at least I would have had a nice cushioned landing!

Although the interesting things I discovered about wind today might deserve their own post, the reason I brought it up was more relevant to my destination - the library. Not the most surprising place for someone like me, sure, but I decided to put some advice to the test!

Since the weekend I've been catching up on all the newsletters I missed reading while I've been on holiday, and all the recent ones are full of advice about time management and prioritising writing. Maybe it's because summer is ending and holidays are over, because I know that I for one never have a clue what day or what time it is when I'm on holiday! 

So I trawled through the advice, much of it the same sort of stuff, until I came across Moira Allen's take on it in her Writing World newsletter. It was so simple, you wouldn't think of it yourself: basically, instead of saying you'll write after you've washed up or after you've checked your email or after x, y, z...simply say you'll write before doing something else!


So today I told myself I would write before I checked out new potential markets and before 3 pm. That gave me quite a bit of scope, but the second I had it in my head that that was my plan, I found I wanted to write with pen and paper, and that I didn't want to be in my flat and would like to be in the library...and surprised at all these sudden impulses I ran with them, and had the most productive, least stressful writing session I've had in months.

I've said here before that I have procrastination issues, so I'm hoping this can become my mantra and my secret weapon - it's going in my box of power tools for writing! (I might share it with you one day, when it's a little tidier...and fuller!) 

And the best thing was...I didn't mind going out in this miserable weather :)

Monday, 29 August 2011


Someone asked me why I keep submitting to an ezine that always rejects my work - doesn't it hurt? Don't I feel embittered towards them? Don't I lose confidence?

Well, maybe it hurts initially for a minute or so, but isn't that a natural human reaction? 

The stories I like to write are similar to the stories I like to read, and I really like the stories in this ezine! Even if they don't accept my work, I know I'm in for a treat when I read the stories they do decide to publish. And when I read them carefully, I should be able to get an idea of why my story wasn't up to scratch. I can then make sure any future work I wish to submit is more to their taste in terms of characterisation, voice or point of view. 

So, yes, it may get me down a little bit, but I like to think there's always a way to make the best out of a bad situation. And one day, with perseverance, hopefully I'll make the grade.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Books, Books, Books

image from here
My reading list for uni has arrived! I'm very very excited - I start my English lit course at Sussex in just over a month, so I have a lot of reading to do. But hey, Alice in Wonderland is on my list, so it won't be such a hard slog...

Although I have been joking all year about being sure John Milton's Paradise Lost would be on my reading list, and now, lo and behold, it is. It's not so funny anymore! Ever since I was at school studying for my GCSEs, my English teachers were talking about this behemoth of a book, and how it is one of the biggest and hardest books to read. Hmm...wish me luck?

This whole year I have told myself I mustn't read so much, because it means I'm not working. Finally, reading and working are the same thing. Bring on the books!

Sunday, 21 August 2011

The Fairytale Land

How many fairytales are set in the woods?

I knew Germany had a lot of woodland, but on the decent into Frankfurt airport it became very obvious, with lush, green patches of trees dotted everywhere. It was a stark contrast after leaving Birmingham; as the sprawl of the city fell behind us, the scenery transformed into scarily regular patchwork fields as far as the eye could see.

We went on walks in a couple of forests, one near my cousin’s home, and the other in the ‘Saarschleife,’ which is said to be one of the most beautiful and picturesque places in the Saarland province, in the south west of the country. Well…just look at that view, whoever made this claim wasn’t wrong!

What an inspiring view! It is easy to see why German forests are the setting for many Grimm Brothers' fairy tales...

The Saarschleife also boasted an ‘enchanted forest’ for children, full of popular fairy tale characters in, I suppose, an authentic setting. The main part of this forest was closed, but I did find a large monument to ‘Hans in Luck’, a wonderful tale by the Grimm brothers.

Although the characters were cartoons and it was meant to be an attraction for children, there was an underlying sinister feel that, for me, served as a reminder that these tales were often not originally happily-ever-after stories. And certainly not for children…

There is a power in the forests in Germany. They are nothing like the woodlands in England, which seem tame and quaint, full of bluebells in Spring, and where you could imagine Winnie The Pooh larking around. These forests are vast, the trees creak eerily, and you don’t have to look too far ahead, amongst the trunks, before it all goes dark.

Snow White, Little Red Riding Hood, Hansel and Gretel and all the other Grimm stories set in the woods…surely these were tales of terror, for there would be no retaining of innocence after a night in these forests.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

The power of laughter

I’m back from Germany! It was a truly amazing holiday visiting family, meeting new people, and seeing such a beautiful country. Everyone made us so welcome, even though we hardly spoke a (useful) word of German.

It wasn’t for lack of trying though! Unfortunately one attempt at pronouncing the name of the town we were staying near – Blieskastel – ended up a translation of ‘sex castle’. Apparently. It caused so many laughs that I can believe it!

There is so much beauty and wonder in languages. I have grown up loving them. I had a fantastic Spanish tutor who was so enthused and passionate about language, it was hard not to be infected with the bug. Having been a Spanish and French student at school, I had to try and learn some German before the holiday, but learnt so much more whilst we were actually there. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to go and live in a foreign country, and become fluent in the language?

It’s funny…we didn’t speak much German, and the German friends and family we were introduced to didn’t speak much English, but we all got along amazingly. Why? I now truly believe that laughter is the universal language! And based on that I think I’ve had the most in depth conversations of my life~

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Deutschland Bound

Apologies for not posting regularly - I have been in a mad flurry of panic trying to organise myself to go to Germany! I had high hopes of setting up automatic posts to appear while I'm away, but I've been too busy worrying about how many pairs of socks I might need to go about setting that up...

Seriously. These sorts of things keep me awake at night.

Have a lovely week or so, I'll be back with enough writing to make up for my shameful lack of attention this past week x

Saturday, 16 July 2011


I have just received my first rejection letter. I've had my stories rejected before via email, but there's something more formal and 'professional' feeling about receiving a physical letter!

The Editor thanks you very much for submitting the enclosed manuscript, but regrets that it is not quite suitable for her requirements.

Standard, run of the mill, and nothing personal. 

I thought my story had a pretty good chance, because it received an honourable mention in a competition I entered earlier this year. Lesson learned: just because it is right for one person or publication, doesn't mean it will do it for another!

Still, rejection hasn't upset me as much as I thought it would. Because at the end of the day, there is nothing in the letter that should upset me - no negative comments about the theme or characterisation or my writing simply doesn't meet their specific requirements.

The only way is forward - time to look somewhere else, maybe research the target market better and try again. And again, and again, and again. There will be a home for it somewhere, so instead of feeling bad about it not being accepted in one magazine, I can look forward and know that when it does find a home, it will absolutely be the right one.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Farewell Harry Potter

Today is being called the day that Harry Potter 'ends'. The premiere is going on as I type, and my inner geek is very tempted to watch it live on YouTube! 

There are people who genuinely don't understand the hype that surrounds the franchise, but for people my age it is very obvious - it is a definitive end to our childhoods. I read Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone when I was seven years old, before it became a worldwide phenomenon. I remember sitting on the sofa with my dad, reading aloud as part of my homework, and him telling me I was pronouncing Hermione's name all wrong (wisdom I passed on to a teacher who read it to our class a year later, and made the same mistake as me.)

I then continued to grow up with him. 

My mum had to allocate time slots for my brother and I to share a new book on the day it came out. We'd be up at seven, waiting eagerly for the delivery man from Amazon to ring the doorbell... At school, after endless speculation about who was going to die and what was going to happen, it became a race to finish before your friends. My violin lessons went by without playing a single note as my violin teacher and I debated whether or not Snape was a good guy.

I wrote a short, fun article earlier this year, 'Harry Potter: A Decade in Numbers' which I intended to send to a magazine. The magazine went under and I never did find another market for it, so I've decided to post it here in celebration!

Want to know the oldest person to play a student, the number of words in Order of the Phoenix, or the number of named characters in the Harry Potter universe? You'll have to click below to see it, because I'm feeling playful :) 

Thursday, 30 June 2011

The fear of 'copycat' books

Sometimes I can’t get to sleep because I have an idea loudly buzzing around in my mind. Sometimes I have to run to work because I’ve lost track of time, plotting stories during the morning.
And often, after having spent ages churning the thoughts around, I lose all confidence and never put pen to paper.

Why? Because I think that it’s all been done before.

This is one of the two biggest reasons I procrastinate (the other being that I find something ‘more important’ to do…like the cleaning. Ugh.)  I have an idea about teens on the run in a dystopian future, then stop abruptly and think ‘that’s just like Meg Rosoff’s ‘How I Live Now.’’ I have an idea about a girl solving mysteries with her friends, then remember The Famous Five.

And once I’m in that rut I lose all momentum and excitement, and those passionate flames of creativity are nothing more than ashes and a few glowing embers niggling at the back of my mind – the remainder of something that I won’t allow into existence.

But the other day when I visited W H Smiths, I stopped in the children/YA section and had a good look around. I was drawn to the shelves by a sea of black covers. I picked up several and read the blurbs, and they all sold themselves with the same formula, involving teenage girls and vampire boys. Ring any bells? (It will probably ring several judging by the quantity on offer!)

These ‘copycat’ books follow a formula that sells, because people are demanding more books like ones they already love. There are only a certain number of stories in the world, and they have all been told thousands of times over with certain elements slightly changed to make them unique.

For example: the hero goes on a quest, conquers evil, wins the girl.
The reluctant hero goes on a quest, conquers evil, wins the girl.
The hero goes on a quest, conquers evil, doesn’t win the girl…

That might be quite a simplistic way of looking at it, but that’s just how it is. Would we have had Meyer’s Twilight without Stoker’s Dracula? Would we have had Dracula without Le Fanu’s Carmilla?

It is said that imitation is the highest form of flattery, so if we are inspired, and so long as there is no plagiarism, is it wrong to write a story similar to one we already know or love? History tells us no!

And if we don’t get our ideas on paper and bring our brain-children into existence it just might be that someone more daring goes and does it first. There’s no copyright laws for ideas after all!

I think I’m going to take a deep breath and take the plunge, and fight the urges that tell me ‘there’s no point’, because I don’t want to regret anything, especially something I haven’t done. And hopefully, if I show willing, a cleaning fairy will make my home all shiny and clean and remove all my other procrastination-inducing distractions…

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

More King Arthur TV

Did anyone watch 'Camelot' on Saturday night? What did you think?

picture from here
I'm in love with old folk tales and fairy stories from all over the world; I think there's something really special about the way they have enchanted so many generations, and continue to do so. There's no denying that modern media has helped spread the magic to new audiences in an 'age of images' rather than words, but although they can do them justice...sometimes they just let you down. And sure, they're targeting different audiences, but with stories that have so much history and are so popular there's definitely high expectations that they ought to live up to.

And something really just bugged me about Camelot...

I'm not entirely sure whether I liked it. I suppose I was automatically comparing it with BBC's 'Merlin', which I dismissed pretty much straight away because in my view it was trying to fill the gap left by 'Robin Hood' (which I loved) and for me, at the time, it couldn't. So I thought 'hey, Camelot has to be better than that!'

The ads made me think it was going to be more gritty and realistic (kudos, they had people going at it in the hall with the King there) but then Jamie Whatshisface popped up as kind of went downhill from there for me. He seemed very preppy and pampered and it was a bit surreal next to Merlin and Morgan's intensity. And it felt weird trying to laugh about it because the show seemed to take itself too seriously.

Which got me thinking about Merlin again, and I wondered if I would dismiss it so easily now. I watched the first episode again and what eluded me a few years ago when it first came out suddenly clicked: its just a bit of lighthearted entertainment, no pretensions. It made me smile and laugh and feel enchanted (which is the point of these stories!) Yes, it had a 6:30pm time slot rather than 9:00pm like Camelot, so they are aimed at different age groups, but based on first episodes I found myself enjoying Merlin more...I just spent an hour and a half feeling a bit uncomfortable and confused on Saturday night, which...isn't really my idea of fun.

But these re-tellings and re-workings will never be able to please everybody, will they? 

Funnily enough the only modern Arthur TV programme that I really loved was the storyline that ran through the BBC series 'Bonekickers' which was about a group of archaeologists, one of which was obsessed with Excalibur. If you haven't seen it I highly recommend you seek it out!

And if anyone can recommend some good programmes/films based on folk/fairy tales - I'm a sucker for them, so let me know!

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Writing Newsletters

For me, this past year has been all about writing. Since September I have decided to try and make a real go of it – and it dawned on me yesterday that the year is very nearly over. I have no doubts that the next three months will fly by…all the rest have :(

When I first started writing, the advice I found all over the place online, in books and on my course, was to subscribe to writing newsletters. They were promised to provide great insider tips, lead me to new markets and feature interesting and relevant articles.

So, in my excitement I subscribed to pretty much every (free!) newsletter I could find, and then waited eagerly for one to pop up in my inbox. After only a day the first arrived, and it contained an inspiring, thrilling, totally mind-blowing article on…word processors.


That was when I decided to be a bit more discerning. I already knew about word processors and was (still am) perfectly content with the one I have. I was so keen to start something new and really do it right, that I thought I would try and get all the information, without considering whether it would be relevant to me so that I would actually benefit. That wasn't the best way to go about it!

So I seriously reduced the number I subscribe to, and so far I have found the most useful newsletters to be:

Funds For Writers: The editor, Hope Clark, always includes a thought provoking introduction, and the newsletter itself contains an article, success stories of its readers, and lists of competitions, grants, freelance markets, jobs and publishers/agents. There is also a ‘small markets’ edition, which contains markets that seem more likely to accept new and emerging writers.

Worldwide Freelance Writer: One of the things I really like about Gary McLaren’s newsletter is that it features current news stories related to the world of writing. That’s normally how I find out which awards are going on! (There are just so many…) The featured article links to other articles you might enjoy, and the market lists are often pretty cross-continental. The layout is also by far the cleanest.

Writing World: Dawn Copeman and Moira Allen’s newsletter is as full of great information as their website. Articles, Q&As, news stories, job opportunities, good websites, and competitions fill the newsletter to the brim! Moira Allen has another newsletter – Writers Weekly – but although the content is good the high level of advertising it contains is a little off-putting. 

But, hey, these might not appeal to anyone else! Do check out the websites though because they have some great info :)

I am still looking for a decent newsletter that is based in the UK and features more UK markets – if you know of any and would recommend them then please, please let me know!

Thursday, 26 May 2011

The Brighton Festival

by Daisy Jordan
For Brightonians, May is all about the Festival and Festival Fringe. This being the first May I’ve lived in Brighton it’s all been very new to me – it really has been a rollercoaster month of fun, disappointment and awe. I’m sure you’re thinking ‘it’s a festival, how hard can it be?’ but, as friends did point out, there is definitely a knack you have to get. I wasn’t going to let them burst my bubble for me, so I stubbornly learnt the lessons all on my own!

Lesson number one: don’t assume that because something is described as ‘free’ in the programme it means you will be able to see it! One outdoor event, ‘Lil’ Red Ridin’ Hoodie’ started forty-five minutes late, and by the time the performers eventually emerged I was so cold and annoyed I was already up and on my way home. Great start to the month.
At ‘Gramoulinophone’ I arrived to find out the event was free but ticketed and there were only a limited number of tickets available. Needless to say, I didn’t get one. It seems you have to be really on the ball, or just accept you’re always going to have to pay to guarantee your entertainment.

Lesson number two: go in with an open mind. ‘Bloody Cinderella’ sounded amazing in the programme, and right up my street. Sadly, the performance felt like a rehearsal and the stage was way too small for the cast. It was too haphazard to allow you to get lost in the story, which was a real shame. It being the first thing I paid to see during the festival, I felt pretty let down and dreading the rest.
On the other hand, ‘The Boutique’ didn’t sound as unconventional or avant-garde as some of the other things I was more interested in seeing, but it blew me away – it was funny, sensitive and thought-provoking, and I had a really fun night out!

Lesson number three: expect the unexpected. Daisy Jordan’s puppet play ‘Orson and Valentine’ was the highlight of the festival for me. I thought it would be a folktale told with shadow puppets, maybe with a narrator or voice cast…the reality was even better. Yes, there were a few shadow puppets, but the bulk of it involved performers moving brilliantly detailed puppets around on stage, acting out the story to a continuous soundtrack provided by a small string orchestra tucked away in a corner. It was intimate and very moving – after getting over the initial awkwardness of trying to watch the puppets instead of the performers I was completely absorbed. If anyone has a chance to check out her work I would highly recommend it!

‘Orson & Valentine’ has really left me feeling positive and inspired. It’s great to see that new and original takes on old stories are still being created.

And what’s more, it’s left me feeling excited for next year. Now that I’ve learnt the hard way there’ll be no chance of anything spoiling my fun! (weather permitting…)

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Once Upon A Time...

Hello lovely people who stumble upon this blog in its early stages! You’re probably as surprised at finding yourself here as I am – I always said I would never start another blog…

Hopefully the honey coloured view will provide some thought-provoking reading material and may even be of interest to people other than myself! This is where I will be writing about my writing, but also about plenty of issues and interests that pop up and I feel need to be talked about. 

I am currently constructing an ‘about me’ page with information about who I am, and a more detailed description about what ‘the honey coloured view’ is all about, and why its important to me.

If you’re reading this at the very beginning of all things, then thank you, and I hope we have a fun journey together :)

Peace, Love, Aimee x