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 :)