My must-read books list

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?

Unlocking creativity

Imagination, ideas, creative, creativity, writing, art, stories, excitement, holiday, fireworks, where do you get your ideasIt’s always there. We all have it, in bucketloads. Getting at it is not always easy, as the previous posts showed.

I get too many ideas to handle, but when I try, or think about it, my imagination is shoved aside by the enemy to creativity – the rational left brain. The bit of our brain that thinks and analyses and keeps tight control.

How to free your imagination

Shutting up the left brain isn’t easy. It helps enormously to have someone else lock it out for you. Handing over control to them for a few minutes at a time, the left brain has nothing to do and your right brain can let loose and the damned-up torrent of creative imagination can flow straight from your unconscious mind – a deep ocean of rich inner life inside every human being.

Are you aware of what education is about?

Mind Control
Mind Control (Photo credit: jurvetson)

We are taught from the cradle to control our bodies and our minds, to think and learn, to conform and perform to expectations. School, university and employment reinforces the importance of left-brain control. No wonder most of us end up thinking we have no imagination, or are not the creative type!

You can choose now

You’re grown up and out in the world. You can choose how to use your mind. I want you to realise that you’re not going to run amok and cause chaos if you let your imagination loose… And I’m sure you understand how good it is for your mental and emotional well-being to give your left brain a rest and exercise your right brain now and then.

right brain, left brain, logic, creativity, imagination, free your imagination, where do you get your ideasTake a brain holiday

A change is as good as a rest… so change your mind (at least change sides) and get all you’d have from a holiday – fun, novelty, relaxation, stimulation, new sensual experiences. You come back refreshed and ready for new challenges. Fresh ideas, new directions, new possibilities, new opportunities.

Brain holiday dates

Long for a one-day creative break? Here are dates for February (Romania) and March (UK). Come and have a brain holiday!

Dates for February and March

Here are the confirmed dates for full-day workshops in February and March.

[Click on any date for booking details.]

February

Saturday 16th February  in Brasov, Romania.

March – UK

Friday 1st in Bath (alongside the Bath Literary Festival)

Tuesday 5th in Liverpool

Friday 8th in Manchester

Sunday 10th in Oxford (a week before the Oxford Literary Festival)

Tuesday 12th in Saffron Walden, Essex

Thursday 14th in Rye, East Sussex.

photo credit: Abbs Pepper
Where DO they get their ideas?

Autumn in Transylvania

From Thursday 26 September to Thursday 3rd October, I’m running a week-long intensive writers’ workshop in Magura, Transylvania. Read more…

The devil is very definitely in the detail

1315830136-kitchen-classics-chefs-knife-59kcz

Crime writers and gritty romance writers… have a look at this story from the BBC website today. It just shows how small an act can provoke vicious murder.

An angry man, a control freak, with a knife in his hand. A woman’s petty act of annoyance. Now she’s dead and he’s doing life.

Find the story here, and let your imagination fill in the back story, the investigation and whatever else leaps to your writer’s mind.

Happy New Writing Year!

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.

Writing prompt for New Year's Day on wheredoyougetyourideas.net
Who is Richard? Why does he get his name dug into the beach?

 

Where do you get your ideas? Writing prompt for New Year's Day
Whose face is this? Who sculpted it and why? What will happen to it in three hours?

Where do you get your ideas?
Why is the boy looking so dejected? What is his connection to the couple? What will happen when the sun goes down?

 

where do you get your ideas?
How would your protagonist react to this appearing all of a sudden? What effect would this reaction have on your storyline?

 

 

Got all your ideas for NaNoWriMo?

where do you get your ideas? all keyed up for NaNoWriMo
Mists and mellow fruitfulness – it’s the season for NaNoWriMo

It’s on the doorstep, howling to be let in. Forget about Hallowe’en tomorrow – it’s NaNoWriMoe’en…

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?

If you’re keyed up, your imagination might be locked up…

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…

 

November and January workshops

Kitten and 'fragile' sign
Shameless emotional blackmail. Abandoned kitten now snug as a bug in a rug. Nothing to do with this post…

Back home after a fantastic week in London, Oxford and Liverpool: refreshed, inspired, enthused and ready for the autumn. It’s fantastic to see how people respond to the workshop and astonish themselves with the instant discovery of their, rich and infinite imagination. It excites me just to watch it happen, so think how they feel…

I’m now setting workshop dates for November in London, Manchester, Aberdeen and other UK cities, and California in early January. But if you’re not in the UK or California, and would like a workshop where you are, let me know. Magic can be done. All is possible.

PS The kitten is called Polka for now, because she has one small ginger dot on her head. But it’s not the right name for her. Any ideas? She was abandoned outside my house with her sister Porridge, and is now happier than anything on the planet. LATEST: Pigeon or Pidgin as a name? It seems to suit her better than Polka. Your thoughts?

What turns your characters on?

Trending on Twitter 22.8.12 was the topic of what people find sexy. Some were incomprehensible, some a bit twisted, some definitely deviant, some safely traditional.

For your villain or antagonist, you can enhance their villainy or give them a sympathetic facet.

Any way you slice it, the fancies and fetishes of your characters give you a copper-bottomed chance to have fun with them.

If your hero were caught like this, what would it do to his credibility?

The tweeted confessions included:

– boys who drink guava juice

– bacon

– socks with crocs

– wrestlers

– farts

– cargo shorts

– eyebrows

– shaving a man

– sweaty feet

– boobs

Your characters’  favourite fetishes? Go on… confess… you know you want to.

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