Free your imagination and express your original ideas
My long list of books I’ve loved… These are books from all genres and none, for all ages. It’s not a snob list of books I pretend I’ve read – I have actually read each of these, to the end, at least once. And I think everyone would enjoy most of them, too.
I’ve adapted a list I filched off Facebook, removed some, added some. There’ll be lots I’ve missed off or *shame* forgotten. I’ve stuck to one (max 2) books by any author, even though it pained me to resist temptation.
I invite you to do the same and pass on your list. But before you do, please let me which of these you’ve read (or your top 5 or 10 favourites off the list) and which titles you’d add or delete.
And which of these have you hated? Or tried to read and gave up in boredom or disgust? I junked Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, and the Shipping News, for instance. Got bored by the first, and enraged by the second.
This isn’t a contest and there are no right or wrong answers. It’s just fun to see what people read, what they like and what they don’t.
There are two which you might think I’ve chosen just because of their titles. You’ll know when you see them… But genuinely I love these books for much more than the title (although they are little extra bonuses).
Tell me about your books and whether they’ve changed your life in any way. And what are you reading right now?
It’s St Valentine’s Day tomorrow – 14th February – the day which has been colonised and commercialised by the hazy notion of romance. If you don’t spend, you don’t care, and if you’re not in a couple you’re nowhere and nothing. If you feel alone – even if you’re at the centre of a busy family – then the fuss around this one winter’s day can be overwhelming, making you feel worse than ever.
BUT…. turn it to your advantage! Make imagination your friend instead of your enemy, and write yourself out of those lonely feelings. Leap out of the round-and-round whirlpool of miserable feelings and leap into the limitless worlds of possibility in your imagination. Spend the day (which is, rather conveniently, a Sunday this year) writing furiously, inventing, exploring, what-iffing.
Use Valentine’s Day as a prompt, if you like. Write Mr Right… or Mr Wrong. Write your perfect romance, or the nightmare romance. Not everything that happens on 14th February is lovely – remember the St Valentine’s Day Massacre – Chicago 1929. How could murder happen on this most loving of days?
Use your feelings, feed them into your powerful imagination, and create something great with the force of love behind it. Wherever that takes you.
Old English names have seven basic sources. Immigrants to the country over the centuries have brought fresh names with them, of course, so today England is peopled with a global spectrum of names, but if you fancy something traditional, have a look at this article from Ancestry. You can also browse through my own lists of names derived from occupations, and names derived from plants and flowers.
Which names are your particular favourites?
Do any names spark ideas for a new character?
First post of 2013: I wish you happy writing, smooth revising, and joyful publication. May all your plot lines run true, and your characters surprise you.
Now for some stimulus to kick off your fictional year.
Are you ready? Got your ideas lined up, got names for your characters and your setting? How about sub-plots and your supporting cast? Are your main characters rounded and complex, or do they feel like rice paper?
Some people are admitting to an excitement bordering on panic, which doesn’t help the flow of creativity we will all need in the next four weeks.
Here, on various pages, you’ll find help in conjuring up great names, settings, real life stories to plunder, images to inspire you, character quirks for your key people… All you might need is a tiny nudge to unlock a whole world.
Raid as much as you like, and feel free to share with your writing buddies. Open to all, no catches, no sign-ups – November is mutual help for authors month.
[That’s not permission to filch, though – if you share it, do please share the credit, too!]
I’m going to be with you through the caffeine-fuelled, RSI-inducing month – my NaNoWriMo name is Abbs Pepper, so if you’d like another writing buddy, say hello.
Good luck! Happy scribbling! All power to your fingers…
Oxford on Wednesday 12th September
Liverpool on Friday 14th September
– Full details of the September dates
– What people have said about the course
– Why the course is better than working alone
“Not only did I learn how to use a series of practical techniques to build convincing characters, but I found myself committed to write my first novel. That’s testament to the extraordinary transformational energy circulating around the group during the session.” – Julie Whyman