Lynda La Plante – Cold Heart

FRIDAY 21st OCTOBER 2011

…Is the date I officially started reading this book, however it was after a few tipples in town and a night at a Psychic event so I had a slight case of droopy eyelids and I just wanted to sleep.On no reflection is this of the book, the opening is intriguing just fatigue and fizz got the better of me.

MONDAY 24th OCTOBER 2011

I opened this book on my first break and panicked that I had forgotten what I had been reading! Fortunately, as soon as I picked it up, the plot came flooding back and I maanged to slip right back into. I am loving how this is from a Private Detectives point of view and therefore can get involved and witness all sorts of corruption!

TUESDAY 1st NOVEMBER 2011

After a cosy evening on the settee (eating a few cheeky slices of pizza in between) I have now finished this book. I can’t really talk about it too much for fear I will give something away as it is quite complex and intertwining.

I had a hunch about how it may end, although a small part of it was right, it did not end how I expected at all, which is always a good sign in a book as if it’s too obvious you are left unsatisfied.

A cleverly written book and an interesting topic (art) to choose as a running theme in relation to art.

I love how it is set in LA and depicts the type of persons that you may well expect to come across in that set-up.

The last couple of chapters are written so well; jumping between about three different scenes that are all linked. It gives the book the feel of picking up the pace at the end as it makes for easier reading as it beautifully ties all the loose ends together.

Love Missuswolf xx

A. Vogel Bedtime Story Competition

SUNDAY 23rd OCTOBER 2011

A.Vogel have a competition to write a short bedtime story between 1500 and 3000 words.

I have been working on this the last couple of months. This was the one where I wrote a thousand words in a very creative half hour on a very ‘wild’ Friday night.

I have been tweaking it the last couple of weeks and I am very surprised at the direction those first thousand words have led me in; to a conclusion of a short story consisting of 2995 words that I am bit wary whether it meets the criteria of being ‘suitable’ for a bedtime story.

Unfortunately, I can’t share Good Deed Gone Bad with my Littlewolves until the competition has finished. The closing date is 28th October with winners to be announced early 2012. A nice little incentive for writing follows below:

 

 

The Prizes are:

1st = £500

2nd = £300

3rd = £100 (2 prizes)

It would be lovely to win however I certainly enjoyed writing the story and again, needed a deadline to write for.

This has been emailed off today….

Love Missuswolf xx

 

Geek Club – Term Two – Lesson Five

 

 

WEDNESDAY 19th OCTOBER 2011

 

Tonight’s lesson I didn’t seem to enjoy as much as the previous ones; I think it was because I was night shift and had to go to work afterwards, plus I had  a bit of a headache niggling boooo.

 

TOPIC

We managed to fit most of the class’s homework in, bar two of them. There was a varied interpretation across the class as to what the homework entailed; some writing a couple of pages of an actual story, some not involving three characters and some unsure of what object was the focus of their story as they included more than one. At first, I thought I hadn’t done enough, it turns out I had done what was required. The majority of the class used either the glass or the book.

I was the only one who chose the gun.

 

The feedback came in the form of the following ideas:

 

 

* DNA on the gun could be traced back to Taylor Morgan then traced back to the pawn shop then Mrs Bertram

* Consider the legalities of weapons and pursue this aspect in the story

* Find out that the deceased Mr Bertram has been involved in various Serious and Organised Crimes over the years and this leads to the recovery of the house his widow now lives in as part of Proceeds of Crime

* Mr Bertram could actually be killed by someone else who had the gun

* children playing with the gun could be relatives of Mr Bertram (however this could be too much of a coincidence – see below about coincidences)

* Why is Taylor running away from the police – explore and expand this

* What kind of gun? Could it be a small handbag gun so it is small enough and not too heavy so that the child Abigail is able to lift it and believes it more so as a toy? Handbag gun? In that case it could be more linked to Mrs Bertram than her husband.

 

WHAT I HAVE LEARNT TODAY

 

* Can’t have coincidences

* Happy endings have to be earned, not jammed onto the end of the story

 

BOOKS TO READ

 

* This week it was a film: Adrian Brody – The Pianist

 

HOMEWORK

 

 

 

No homework this week woohoo as it is half term next week so we are off

Love Missuswolf xx

Geek Club Homework – Lesson Four – Three’s Up

SUNDAY 16th OCTOBER 2011

This homework was much easier than last week’s Shakespeare modernisation, so much so that I had the below done within half an hour on a Friday night (wild!) This was so much fun; having to pick an object and take a reader through the stories of three character’s who have been involved with that object.

Straight away I was drawn to the gun (a psycho-analyst could have a field day on that one).

I have to provide a one page summary of a longer piece of writing that involves these characters.

I thought I would share with my Littlewolves the ideas I have so far….

* Mrs Bertram, a distraught widow, is cleaning out her deceased husband’s property when she comes across a gun. Unsure what to do with it, she takes it to her local corrupt (unknown to her) pawn shop and sells it there. Mr Dayle, the owner, has always been good to Mrs Bertram (little did she know he was involved in sinister criminal activity with her husband hence the gun) he therefore is only too pleased to take the gun back off her.

* Taylor Morgan buys the gun from Mr Dayle the pawn shop. He is chased by police officers shortly afterwards after an incident and throws the gun into a nearby bush whilst being chased. The police are unaware he ever had a gun and therefore don’t look for it

* Abigail Lynch is a seven year old out playing with her friends. Her older brother, Ross, who she idolizes, is also out with his mates but as he is older, he thinks he is too cool for his little sister and makes fun of her. Whilst playing with her friend, she finds the gun in a bush. She doesn’t think it is real and starts waving it around. She shouts at Ross, trying to look big and clever and impress him. She waves it around and points it at her brother, seriously leaving him injured, leaving his life in the balance.

I debated killing the brother off, but then felt that it took away a bit of the reader interest so to speak, hooking them in with ‘will he/won’t he live’. The story could start with this accident and then re-tell of how it came to this – the reader finding out the fate of the accident at the end of the book.

It could narrate in the following ways:

  • By the little girl when she is older looking back
  • Through a Police Officer’s eyes doing the investigation, discovering along the way that they made an error with the incident with Taylor Morgan when Officers weren’t aware he had a gun. This could spark a serious investigation where Officers are suspended.
  • Through the ghost of Mr Bertram looking down on the journey of the gun

Love Missuswolf xx

Stephen Booth – Scared To Live

THURSDAY 13th OCTOBER 2011

After a fairly successful evening at a pub quiz (meaning our team didn’t come last) I returned home to the dread of going back to work on Early shift. I can never sleep anyway so I thought I would open up a new book: Stephen Booth’s ‘Scared to Live’. I have never read one of his before so I am excited about this. I managed to get a few chapters in before the land of nod. Already the author has us guessing as to what is going to happen to one of the character’s in the first chapter (and more to the point how is it going to happen) as well as how did the house fire start that killed three fifth’s of a family unit? With a few other little seeds planted along the way for other stories. The author chops between the stories, which keeps the intrigue up as I am always thinking ‘ahhh now back to them, ooh I wonder what’s going to happen!’

MONDAY 17th OCTOBER 2011

I am nearly two hundred pages in and the story still has me wanting to know more; the investigation of Rose Shephard’s death intertwining with the Mullens House Fire is proving for intriguing reading; the author cleverly not giving too much away to keep me wanting more.

The investigation of Rose Shephard takes the detectives down to Matlock Baths and this book has certainly inspired me to visit there. I did go to the Heights of Abraham when I was younger, however I don’t think I appreciated it as much as I could have done and would love to return to Matlock for the weekend.

TUESDAY 18th OCTOBER 2011

I had to add this update in as I couldn’t wait to share my thoughts on it.

A few more pages in and I reach the last few pages of Chapter 18, in which is a snippet about three and half pages long in italics of the thoughts of one of the characters …but which one is it?? My guess (I think it is an obvious one so I think I may well be wrong) is the brother, John Lowther.

The author has a very captivating way of mixing different scenes from different characters perspectives throughout  a chapter, keeping the reader interested.

THURSDAY 20th OCTOBER 2011

I am managing to soak up the plot quickly, by reading a good hundred pages on night shift, then another hundred or so when I woke up after night shift today. It’s all coming together and getting quite topical the further through the book I get. It is an interesting slant and all the links are starting to tie together.

I won’t give too much away for future readers. I had an idea towards the end about something, which I couldn’t wait any longer to see if I was right; so at bedtime I read the last hundred odd pages.

I was right about one thing (I will not divulge so as not to spoil it) however I was pleasantly surprised at the ending as whole.

Onto my next book…

 Love Missuswolf xx

 

Geek Club – Term Two – Lesson Four

WEDNESDAY 12th OCTOBER 2011

(Yep – the picture – I was bored and dressed up a little bit as Lottie!)

At the beginning of the lesson, I was handed some written feedback from the teacher relating to Lottie Bonner. It was really good and the teacher liked how I had chosen the black comedy route. However (and I had braced myself for this tut tut naughty tap on bum moment) I used a well known cliché – ‘The icing on the Cake’. I could kick myself as I did actually pick up on that before I handed in and even googled clichés’ and metaphors but then ran out of time and just left it as it is. As a writer, it is our jobs to come up with better ‘clichés’ if you like. 

TOPIC

Each classmate took it in turn to read out their version of ‘Modern Shakespeare’. We managed to fit everyone in this week and there were some thoroughly enjoyable stories amongst them.

I wasn’t very confident with mine as I had spent all day Sunday with writers block and then all of Tuesday afternoon with words tumbling out, then fumbling them around into some context. It did receive some fairly positive feedback, but I got more of a direction of where to go with the story, which I really appreciated.

Ideas:

* Keep the father alive and have him pushing Cal into the Police Force, then you have the pull aspect of his friends – creating more tension

* Take a route that causes the character the most problems. Consider that Cal goes to a job as a Police Officer involving Rhys and doesn’t arrest him. Follow both characters as they move up the ladders in their Police and Criminal careers then have it come to a head too late. Cal’s colleagues could question his authoritative position and why he hadn’t done anything about Rhys in the first place.

This is what it’s all about, stories that are born from little ideas created as part of our homework.

WHAT I HAVE LEARNT TODAY

* At times, you can take the beginning off a story and find that it is not needed, you can start the story further along and cut out unnecessary words.

* Rhyming couplets (reminder) – two lines rhyme at the end

* Tell the story in the style of the unreliable narrator – telling us the story but lying to us/withholding details. For example, discussing the disappearance of a character however the narrator has been involved in the disappearance, such as murdering them the night before – ooooooh!

BOOKS TO READ

* Although I read some of King Lear for GCSE English and bit of Othello at the start of A Levels (which I dropped out of – a bit gutted I did now) – we have been advised that if we want to read any Shakespeare that an easy one to start with is Macbeth.

HOMEWORK

For our homework this week, we were issued with a sheet of paper that has the following on:

* A glass in a bar

* A plate in a restaurant

* A repossessed home

* A gun

* A stolen Passport

* A second hand book, over 100 years old

* The bike stolen from Cassius Clay/Muhammed Ali

From the above, I must:

* Pick one object

* Take us through three characters who have been involved in that object i.e three different persons in a bar who have drank out the same glass over the course of the night

* Provide a plot outline

*A one page summary of a longer piece

* Bulletpoints to discuss

* Write as ambitiously as you want

I am tres excited over this one Littlewolves!!

Love Missuswolf xx

Submission to 4’33 Audio Magazine

WEDNEDSAY 12th OCTOBER 2011

Four Thirty Three is the new Audio Magazine where authors can read their own stories, broadcasting and podcasting short stories up to five minutes log. It has to be 1,000 words maximum. They’re looking for edgy, engaging stories about modern life – stories which work well when read aloud.

Today, I have submitted ‘Ladies Who Lunch’ my first ever piece of homework from Geek Club Term One and I thought it was quite fitting as it was the first piece of writing I had read out loud at the class .

Love Missuswolf xx

Geek Club Homework – Lesson Three – Modern Day Shakespeare

TUESDAY 11th OCTOBER 2011

After spending a few hours on Sunday with my laptop firmly fixed to me, deliberating how to put into words a modern-day version of one of Shakespeare’s plays, battling a severe case of Writer’s Block and eventually having to admit defeat and pack up, I have returned to the challenge this afternoon and, thankfully, found words flowed much more freely today. I decided upon:

* Prince Hal is living a wild life with a group of criminal friends, although his destiny – he’ll soon be King – is never far from his thoughts (Henry IV, Parts 1 & 2)

My modern-day version is based on eighteen year old Cal from a council estate, who is living the wild life although his destiny is in the police force and is never far from his thoughts:

Cal takes a long drag on the bedraggled communal spliff that has been handed to him by Rhys. The laid back hip hop beat pumping from the IPod speakers in the background also melting into his brain, the recipe allowing his thoughts to drift freely and unedited at the forefront of his mind.

It’s five am and Cal is leaning against Rhys’s living room wall, bobbing his head up and down to the music; as if he is nodding in agreement with what his brain his projecting.  All around him are strewn limbs belonging to owners who have long since passed out from the cocktail of booze and drugs.

Rhys is striking up a deal with a fellow party goer, pushing his illicit drug ways on him, hooking and reeling in yet another punter; another addict. Cal shakes his head to himself, another unsuspecting victim to the vicious drug circuit. His mind drifting to thoughts of Rhys, and how he subsides his nice little business with an income from the occasional newsagents and off licenses robbery.

Cal’s’ eighteen year residence in the Turnhill Estate has him stereotyped as born, bred and destined for a life of crime and drugs. However true this may have proven so far for Cal, he was managing to turn it around. He would still be living a life of crime and drugs; only now he would be preventing and detecting it.

Tonight was his covert last send off. He had been successful; the letter had come through from the Turnhill County Police Force announcing his start date in a couple of weeks’ time. Cal had ensured he was careful, managing to jump through hoops in order to be clean for all the drugs tests.

Tonight was his last one. He inhaled it slowly, savoring the lightheadedness and relaxing sensation pulsing through his veins.

He had managed to keep himself out of trouble all these years, his typical teen wild partying ways his only crime. He had made a promise; ever since his father had died from the gang related violence that he would get out of the estate. He wanted to make a difference, make something of his life. He thought about his poor mother, who had been left to struggle with him and his even wilder younger brother Timmy. He knew that he was going to lose friends along the way, an inevitable sacrifice of the job. He had once promised Rhys the good life that he would turn a blind eye as long as he attempted to tame it down, try and help himself to wean of his criminal ways.

Now, leaning his head against the cool fabric of the walls, his mind swimming with euphoric thoughts, paranoia niggling somewhere, he wasn’t so sure. Watching Rhys force innocent, vulnerable young people destroy their lives, he was starting to regret confiding in him. Of course he wanted to help him out and protect him, but deep down, he knew this may not be possible.

HOW THIS COUD BE PROGRESSED

From another snippet given to me last week:

Falstaff, an aging wastrel, expects to live the good life when Prince Hal becomes King; but when Hal does become King, he rejects Falstaff. (Henry IV, Part 2)

I am thinking that Rhys will want protection given to him by Cal, a blind eye turned to his criminal ways. Although Cal will have a tug of war in his head, he will know his job is to arrest Rhys when he becomes involved in one of his cases, rejecting him.

I will take this idea to Geek Club tomorrow night and see if my modern-day interpretation is any good….

Love Missuswolf xx

Rosamund Lupton – Afterwards

THURSDAY 06th OCTOBER 2011

I have decided to take a twist on the murder Crime/Thriller novels and give my nerves a bit of a rest. I am reading this (albeit a Crime story – this is about arson) on a recommendation of a lovely lady at Geek Club who has kindly let me borrow this. I am onto Chapter 4 already. I love the style of writing and how the book opens with the character telling the story as if to her husband, not the reader. I appreciate the vocabulary used and the authors interesting technique of putting descriptive sentences together. Examples so far:

‘Even your appearances on TV in a jungle on the other side of the world are watched by me and the children on our family squashy sofa; the foreign mediated through the familiar.’ (I especially love that latter part of the sentance)

‘The sound of burning, hissing and spitting; a giant serpent of fire coiling through the building.’

I found these particular sentances extremely evocative. Plus, despite not being a mother myself, I have a huge amount of compassion and understanding for her fear about her children which I get from the authors words.

A week after the freak heatwave of an Indian Summer in the North East, tonight it is a very chilly October night and I intend to get snuggled into a couple more chapters.

SUNDAY 09th OCTOBER 2011

Sitting cosied up in my bedroom reading a few sneaky chapters before I have a sleep to prepare for night shift, I thought I would provide my Littlewolves with an update on my progress.

I am now up to Chapter 14 and again, I am going to rave on how much I am loving the style of this author’s writing. The concept that she is still telling the story to her husband and not reader works exceptionally well.

I particularly like in Chapter 8 how the story unfolds on what happened at the Prize giving; I love how it flits back and forth between Grace’s flashbacks and the Police Interview, it is a clever concept and works so well.

In Chapter 9, I found it intriguing that Grace describes anxiety as:

‘often tucked in a pocket, a problem slipped up a sleeve, fears hidden under a jumper. You had to wait patiently for the pocket to be emptied as you drove home; a rumpled problem pulled out during homework; the fear finally revealed from under the jumper on the sofa at teatime.You had to wait till bath-time to hear if there was anything really big; I suppose there was nowhere for it to hide anymore.’

Such a simple context, but conjures up such imagery and meaning.

Now, back to the book….

TUESDAY 11th OCTOBER 2011

I finished the last few pages of this book whilst all tucked up in bed last night. This has been a pleasure to read, the poetic style of how the sentences are strung into paragraphs truly is magical.

From the start of the book, the author uses an imagery of being stuck at the bottom of the ocean. This theme continues throughout and ends on that final note beautifully with extracts such as:

I think of Adam far above me, up there on the surface in his inflatable lifeboat made out of other people’s breath.

I think of Jenny reaching the shore of adulthood.

Another extract I love is:

I felt the future curled up inside of me,; my body a Russian doll of time.

I really have learnt from this book the importance of descriptions, metaphors and how wonderful a poetic flow of a sentence and conjure up some imagery and provoke such emotion and thought.

Onto the next book…..

Love Missuswolf xx

Geek Club – Term Two – Lesson 3

WEDNESDAY 05th OCTOBER 2011

After completing my Lottie Bonner story on Sunday and spending the past few days tweaking it, I excitedly emailed it to myself and then printed it off at work, ensuring I had placed it carefully in my work bag, ready to transfer to my temporary Geek Club bag (which is currently a lovely plastic carrier bag with Paperchase plastered on it).

Once I got home and had completed my housey jobs (which were to buy tea, make tea, eat tea, then lie on the couch and let tea digest – whilst watching a couple of episodes of ER), I transferred all documents from my work bag. These included snippets from magazines that I had ripped out in the hope that they will be useful/inspire me, as well as my manuscript. I then flew out the door in a whirlwind, excited to read my story.

I took my place at the Geek Club table and pulled out my folder, which I have yet to buy Polly Pockets for to keep my papers in. Thinking my story was lodged in there, I sprayed the papers and snippets out across the table only for the horror to dawn on me that I appeared to had somehow left it at home. Doh! (On my return home, my beloved manuscript was lying brazenly on the rug on the living room floor)

TOPIC

In today’s  lesson, we went around each person and listened to them read the story out that they had chosen to write about their eccentric characters. After each one, the class were able to give feedback; giving opinions on the story route they had chosen, the style of writing, the context of the writing and what direction it could take.

I didn’t feel so bad, there were a couple of classmates who had not been able to bring their stories due to various reasons. Plus the class is quite big now so not everyone got a chance to read theirs out anyway. Never mind, I have emailed mine to the teacher for feedback.

WHAT I HAVE LEARNT TODAY

* That it is essential to have a backstory within a story so that it helps the reader develop an idea about what the character is like and where the story is going

BOOKS TO READ

* None of note this week

*HOMEWORK

For our homework this week, we were issued with a sheet of paper that outlined Shakespeare Plots and Subplots:

* Prince Hal is living a wild life with a group of criminal friends, although his destiny – he’ll soon be King – is never far from his thoughts (Henry IV, Parts 1 & 2)

* Macbeth has his ambition to become King – by foul means – stoked by his wife (Macbeth)

* Once he gives up his throne, and the power that goes with it, Lear comes to realise the evil ingratitude of two of his three daughters. (King Lear)

* Ophelia is driven mad by the changing moods and erratic behaviour of Hamlet, her love (Hamlet)

* Othello has his love for Desdemona poisoned by the malicious innuendos of Iago. (Othello)

* Falstaff, an aging wastrel, expects to live the good life when Prince Hal becomes King; but when Hal does become King, he rejects Falstaff. (Henry IV, Part 2)

From the above, I must:

* Pick one

* Put it into the modern world

* Jump straight in with a scene (not necessarily in play format, can be prose)

* 500 words

I think I may find this one tough.

Wish me luck Littlewolves

Love Missuswolf xx

%d bloggers like this: