I have been going solo for a week now and, all in all, have done quite well. Of course, being a bit of a chump, I left my story board behind in Yorkshire, so had to wing it for a day or two, Lovely Brian had to number all my little cards, (according to his own clever system), and post them to me.
Whilst I waited for them to arrive, I got on with Penny and George and their motorbike trip. They had an escapade on the ferry and when they got to Paris had a bit of a contretemps at the Eiffel Tower. Nothing is ever straightforward for those two.
Then the story board cards arrived and I had to switch to Stan going to Rome and meeting his over-sexed Italian college lecturer. The weather here has been the usual January mix of driving rain, wind and hail, with very little sun. so, it has been very pleasant to be in France and Rome in springtime, in my head, all week.
I hope to get one more scene done over the weekend, in between catching up on the domestic scene at home - who wears all these clothes and eats these meals? And where does all this washing up come from? It's all a bit of a mystery.
I can't let Genghis down, after all the effort she has expended on me. So yoiks and tally-ho, a-hunting we will go, in search of a good romantic comedy tale. Hopefully, it will continue well.
See you next week and hope it's a good one for you and all our friends at the Cafe Paradise.
Author's Boot Camp - Final Day
Writing, researching and writing again has been the pattern of today. It's all very well sending my characters off on a European motorbike trip, but it needs to be accurate. I had done some research yesterday and expanded into the detail of the trip today. It has been great fun and instead of being in overcast North Yorkshire this morning, I have been delving into sunny France and Italy. This afternoon is bright and sunny in Yorkshire, which has helped me imaginatively, as I journey down through France. I've had a great time, especially as George and Penny never enjoy the same aspects of the journey at the same time.
So this is the end of my 'Boot Camp'. It has been very hard work and Genghis has not spared the rod to spare the child, but it has been oh, so worth it. I have gained insights and put into practice all the advice she has given me and my writing is tighter because of it..
Tomorrow, she is 'returning me to the wild,' as she so kindly puts it. Back home to the usual business and domestic responsibilities and that's fine. I look forward to it and more importantly, to continuing the good writing habits I have established here. I'd better. After all, Genghis will be watching .....
I will be continuing with some of the road trip next week. I hope to write a Friday blog as a progress update. In the meantime, Prince Charming is galloping in this direction, even as I type. I need to get the glad rags on. It's party time.
Thank you Genghis (aka Karen Holmes), for all your hospitality, friendship and mentoring and a big thank you to your husband, Brian, for all his wonderful meals and sound advice for my character's road trip. You are lovely people and I look forward to returning the hospitality in Galloway soon.
Author's Boot Camp - Day 8
Advance Brittania - my serious scenes are written and the plot is advanced. Genghis picked a few holes in the first one, justifiably so, and I need to make it read less like a tourist's guide to York and more about the journey of the character. Thankfully, she was very happy with the second scene and so I was allowed out for lunch and retail therapy.
I am back to comedy scenes tomorrow. Lovely George, who took up cross-dressing in Book 1, has taken up with a Harley Davidson motorbike in Book 2 and is intent upon dragging wife, Penny, on a road trip to Italy. They are packing up and setting off tomorrow. I can't wait - even I don't know what's going to happen, but it's gonna be fun. Having said that, I need to get some planning done for it as Genghis will want to know my intentions and yes, they are honourable.
Friends and family are round for supper tonight. I'm off to get my best bib and tucker out. See you tomorrow and I hope I can end Friday with a flourish. It won't be for want of trying, on Genghis' part, that's for sure. She's the best!!!
Author's Boot Camp - Day 7
Mission accomplished - two more scenes nailed today. Fair do's - not hugely long ones, but good ones nonetheless. They are funny and advance the plot and most importantly, Genghis is very happy with them. What more can I ask for, as, believe me, pleasing Genghis is no easy feat..
We have even been out for lunch with a friend and had a good chin-wag and quick gander around the shops. Nothing like a bit of retail therapy for relaxing the creative brain cells.
Tomorrow, as Mr Pepys says, I need to be 'up betimes' and crack on, as we are orf out again, lunching with publisher friend, at another very nice retail outlet. I might just have to have a looksee before we wend our way home.
Two serious scenes tomorrow, which will really advance the plot and hopefully, whet the reader's appetite for new developments.
Boot Camp works. I have re-established a writing and forward planning routine which I will continue - come hell or high water- when I return home and I'm happy in the knowledge that the main plot and sub-plots of winding well together
The sun is now over the yardarm and it time for vino and nibbles. See you tomorrow at the Cafe Paradise.
Author's Boot Camp - Day 6
I had two comedy scenes to write today and was looking forward to them. To my surprise, I found the first one hard going. I adore Walter, my lovable, cantankerous character, but for the first hour it was like drawing teeth, trying to get the scene into shape. And then we stepped out into a bright, sunny January day and took a brisk walk around the village and into the hills beyond. The cold, fresh air shook up my creative brain cells and home again, the scene wrote itself. Re-fuelled with a light lunch, I whizzed through the second scene.
Genghis listened with her critic's hat on and laughed, but a few amendments had to be made to the first scene. The second scene made her laugh too and escaped amendment. I am a happy writer tonight.
Tomorrow, I am back to a couple of scenes in the Cafe itself with cantankerous Walter and ditzy Genevieve, both driving waitress Kate and proprietor Jackie completely crazy. Just another day in Cafe Paradise. Can it get worse? You bet. Will Karen Holmes survive the journey with me? Tune in tomorrow to find out !!!
Author's Boot Camp - Day 5
Yay. No Monday morning blues for me. It was a beautiful sunny day, so it was off for a country walk with Karen and Buddy the dog and then down to work.
It was a jolly hard-working day today. Not just in terms of output, although I did manage my three thousand words, but also in terms of writing two serious key scenes.
The funny scenes, whilst not easy to write are jolly enjoyable. I can sit and make myself laugh, whilst imagining bizarre, dire or just plain comic events. The serious scenes, which are necessary to any comedy, require careful and close writing.
So I have spent the day on my two serious scenes, where a girl. adopted at birth, is discovering her roots and is on the trail of her half-sister. Karen Holmes definitely has her Genghis hat on when mentoring and editing these scenes and unmercifully banishes inconsistencies of plot and character - luckily for me, I must say.
So, at the end of the day I have two well-constructed and I believe, informative and thoughtful scenes which further the main plot and I hope, will draw the reader in.
Tonight I'll be thinking and planning scenes for tomorrow. Still rocking on!!!!!
Author's Boot Camp - Day 4
Sunday is usually classed as a day of rest, 6 days shalt thou labour and all that. But not at 'boot camp'. Here we labour every day The idea is that you never get out of practice and it is never too hard to pick the work up again. And, yes, I have to say, it jolly well works.
I was on Twitter early this morning, remarking that three thousand words was expected of me today, or I would be toast. Thankfully, I have had my nose to the grindstone, shoulder to the wheel and seat firmly attached to the chair. (Try doing all of those, not a good look I assure you.) Instead of being crumbs beneath the feet of Genghis, I am still whole and entire, the requisite words slapped on to the screen, all in the right order, in the right scenes.
Today Cafe Paradise Book 2 has been about motorbike trips in Europe, a man going to study the ancient Romans at a college in Rome, a ditzy, ditzy sister causing havoc in the office and a plan hatched to take her out of that situation and be rewarded for it at the same time.
Another happy day. Lovely Karen Holmes (aka Genghis) listens to every carefully constructed syllable and has given it all the thumbs up, so far. We have taken afternoon tea with lovely Publisher and tonight, after a good dinner and a smidgen of wine, we will plan for tomorrow.
I'm having the best time. I have been hauled out of the doldrums of New Year and post 'flu blues and set firmly back on the creative path. The ideas are flowing, advice and constructive critique a whisper away and I now know, Book 2 is well within my sights before spring.
So, all you writers out there. If you ever get the opportunity to ditch regular life for a week or so and immerse yourself in your craft, grab it with both hands. You'll never regret it..
Author's Boot Camp - Day 3
The combination of a benevolent Genghis and the fine North Yorkshire air are working to good effect. I have managed another three thousand words of Cafe Paradise 2 today and things are definitely rocking on. Not just any old words either.
I love the variety creative writing brings to my life. Yesterday I was immersed in Harley Davidson motorbikes, polite Benedictine monks and a beautiful, but ditzy redhead. What a combination! Today I have been in the world of redundancy, greasy-spoon cooks and smelly old goats. Who wouldn't want to read a romantic comedy novel set around that lot????
Dearest Genghis is monitoring the work closely and is very happy with it all so far. Here's hoping the creativity and wine flow in equal measure.
Author's Boot Camp - Day 2
Three and a half thousand words, shopping and drinking fine wine.
This is the best boot camp ever. Yesterday I felt somewhat forlorn as I watched my Prince gallop away back to Scotland and Genghis shut me away to get some work done.
What a difference a day makes! Genghis no more. What a wonderful woman Karen Holmes is. I am motivated, my nose is pressed firmly to the grindstone and my creativity is soaring, like a newly released pigeon! Last night I discussed the scenes I planned to write today, which made it easy to get started this morning.
Coffee was delivered to my bedside for 7.30a.m. prompt, and I was at my computer voluntarily (!!) before 8a.m. Over the course of a well-fed day, I wrote two new scenes which we are going to review this evening and then plan tomorrow's work.
With a bit of luck and a following wind, tomorrow will get off to a flying start. Stick and carrot - a visit to an old mill which has been converted to a very large shop and cafe is promised, if I get my work done. What is not to like about that !!!
Were I Rapunzel I would cut all my hair off now !!!
Author's Boot Camp
HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! When I was a child I immersed myself in the fairytales of the Brothers Grimm. Alternately they fired my imagination and terrified me, good and evil and sometimes, worryingly, the good not always prevailing at the end of the story.
Here I am at 'boot camp' in North Yorkshire and I feel that I am living through one of those Grimm fairytales. I have been despatched to my room to do some writing. It is a beautiful room and I have a lovely desk and chair (even a comfy armchair which beckons most temptingly), but I feel like Rapuntzel locked in the castle, never to be seen again. Unfortunately I do not have miles of long hair to let down to be rescued by a passing Prince and in any case my Prince Charming has left me here and galloped off home to Scotland; left me at the writer's boot camp for a week.
Now, I love my editor dearly, especially when she is 200 miles away. I was getting on quite nicely with 'Cafe Paradise - Book II', but then Christmas shopping started, followed by a whacking dose of flu, then Christmas and New Year. I emerged blinking into the sunlit uplands of 2014, groggy and bereft of a new idea in my head. Dear Reader, in my weak and feeble state I was taken advantage of and agreed to come to 'author's boot camp' to kick start the new year writing programme.
So, this is the start of 'boot camp'. I am writing a blog to begin to unscramble my brain and get a bit of creativity going again. Hope it works. I've a feeling Ghengis, (our beloved editor by another name), won't let me out of this room unless and until I produce coherent text of some kind.
So here it is. It's a start. Otherwise, I wonder how long it would take for my hair to grow long enough to let down? And will my Prince return soon? Watch this space...