Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Folktales for the O.U.

Having fun with this, might even finish this folktale 🙀

Block 3: Chapter 8: Metafiction and Intertextuality
Use a text that has influenced your writing, (I’ve chosen Angela Carter, her gothic Fairy Stories), and produce an intertextual piece of 500–750 words using any of the techniques highlighted in this chapter.  (Anagram, allusion, adaptation, parody, translation, pastiche, imitation…)
The Little Old Man and the House on Heron’s Legs
In a deep, dark wood, where little light squeezed through the blackish canopy, there was a cottage with a thatch so threadbare that even the mice and rats had given up in despair and gone in search of a new home. 
The only inhabitants of this decaying cottage were an old man and his two, grown-up children, Handel and Grubelene. Unfortunately, the children were both very lazy. They did little to help their old father, who had spent a life time digging in the dry, sandy soil, taking care not to chop any earthworms in half, and struggling to grow food for his family. But there was never enough cabbage to feed them, and his wife, seeing how the cabbages were scare, had starved herself and died a slow and painful death. 
Yet, despite the hardship, the old man was of a hopeful nature, and many an evening, as he dug in the poor soil, he would sing a cheerful ditty to his friends the blackbirds and robins, who accompanied him with their happy chirruping. And he always gave them the tastiest scraps of his cabbage meal, rather than keep the last of the food for himself.   
Then one day, when there was only one cabbage left in the larder, and so few left in the sandy soil that even the worms went hungry, Handel said to his younger sister, Grubelene, ‘Our father is old. He can no longer to look after us. There is not enough food left. Let us take father to the middle of the wood and leave him there to die. Then you and I shall not go hungry.’
Now Grubelene was somewhat fond of the old man, and at first did not agree, but feeling her stomach rumbling, eventually told her brother that it was the only solution. So the children gave the old man a couple of cabbage leaves for the journey, told him they were going to pick blackberries, although it was well into December, and set off with him to the middle of the wood. 
On the way, the birds flew around the old man’s head, twittering into his ear and telling him that his children meant to take him far from the cottage and leave him there to die. But the old man shook his head at them, for he knew his children loved him. Then the earthworms slithered out of the ground and roared at him to stop, telling him that if he returned home to his sandy soil they would try to eat less of his cabbages. But the old man was deaf and their whispery voices just tickled his ears and made him laugh. 
When they had walked a very long way, the old man said, ‘I must rest, I am so tired. Handel and Grubelene, you must go on, pick the blackberries and bring some for me to eat.’ 
‘Of course,’ said Handel, ‘you stay here and rest. Eat some of your cabbage leaves and we will bring you delicious blackberries. And when we return home, I shall help you to dig in the dry, sandy soil.’
The old man was so grateful to hear this offer of help after so many years - Handel having reached his thirtieth birthday this very week - that a tear ran down the old man’s wrinkled face. He patted his son’s hand, and settled patiently on a rock with a broad smile on his face. 
The old man waited and waited. He munched his cabbage leaves, and still his children did not return. ‘Oh, dear,’ said the old man to himself, ‘I am so worried. My children must have lost their way in the deep, dark forest, what am I to do? How can I help them?’  
Then he heard a music, a sweet, trilling sound. A robin alighted on the old man’s shoulder and said, ‘Do not despair. You have been kind to us, and so I shall help you.’ 
He flew off, and it wasn’t long before the bird returned with a soft, dappled deer, who lowered his head and snuffed gently at the old man’s face. The beautiful creature seemed to be telling the old man to come with him, and so the old man stumbled to his feet, followed the deer, and eventually they came to a clearing in the forest. 
Here, the old man was very startled, for in the middle of the clearing was the strangest sight...

Thursday, 8 February 2018

I.W.S.G. February

Rather late this month for I.W.S.G., (www.alexjcavanaugh.blogspot.com), for I've  been  backwards and forwards with husband to hospital, but now have time to post again, and I was interested in this month's question, What do you love about the genre you write in most often? My genre is children's fiction, and it is a favourite because I have spent many years teaching primary school youngsters. But having decided to complete an MA in Creative Writing, I find I must complete a book for adults and I am writing fantasy for the degree. It is a new experience and really enjoyable. I'll let you know this new experience progresses!

Friday, 2 February 2018

Module for the O.U. - work for the MA In Creative Writing.

If you are thinking of going down this route to publication, I thought you might be interested. Part of a recent Module. It is posted to the website and students discuss each other's work. 
I think it often depends upon the subject matter, and how far we have advanced from those first attempts at story writing, as to whether we are minimalist or maximalist. And it is a matter of voice, isn't it?  But my way of writing, with the overused adjectives, my love of hyperbole, my constant use of similes and metaphors, was mocked during the high school phase and I toned everything down.  However, when I first read Angela Carter's work it was a wonderful moment of recognition. Here was someone writing in a way that I admired, in a style that I wanted to achieve. I love the fact that she had the courage to write as she wanted to write, in the way that expressed her vision of the world.  And what a vision. 
This work, set in medieval Shrewsbury, in the early 14th century, has something of the word order, the language, to hopefully give a realistic feel of the period.  I have chosen this story section, with its choice of words, varying sentence length, clauses, rhythms, and use of adjectives, as fairly typical of my writing.
The Pilgrimage of Alice de Brugges
Thomas, waken by the fury of the winter storm, gasps with relief to find he is safe in the wide, upper chamber of his town house at Maerdol Head. No longer terrified by the vision of fiery flames licking at his loins, safe from tormenting demons, he makes the sign of the cross on the matted hairs of his sweat-soaked chest and swears to his patron saint he will never again lust after Prioress Juliana’s silken body.
To add to his growing annoyance, the wind, pouring through gaps in the new shutters, lifts the bed hangings and prickles his skin. His valiant action against the demon hordes has wrestled the down quilt and furs to the floor, and he leans over wife Alice, sleep grunting beside him, her plump, naked body now tight curled against the cold, and with swollen fingers, manages, with much shortness of breath, to retrieve the covers. Now snuggling into his wife’s warm patch, willing sleep to come, he hears a dull thumping above the screaming wind. Fearful that the rain from the hills is flooding the quay, he tries to quieten his agitated mind with the thought that the Maerdol house is well above the river.
The banging continues. Where is Matthew? Why doesn’t he get up from his bench to see to it? One of the new shutters must have blown loose. God’s blood, where is the shuttle-witted fool? Somewhere in the darkness of the house below the banging grows louder. Thomas tumbles through the bed hangings, Alice’s spaniel hits the floor with a yelp and slithers across the chamber, sneezing in the crumbling herbs and dried rushes. With trembling hands, Thomas feels for the coffer lid at the foot of the bed, finds his chamber robe, and flings is round his shivering body. His boot buckles flapping, he feels for the heavy oak door, fights with it as it tries to trap him, and stumbles along the passageway to the gallery above the hall.
That can be no loose shutter, the noise of hammering is coming from the street. ‘The devil take you, go see who knocks,’ he shouts into the darkness below. With one hand on the wooden rail, he feels his way down stone steps into the hall, and in the faint glow from the still hot embers under the hooded hearth, sees the boy sprawled on a bench, a hound licking food fragments from his drunken, ale-stained face. 
His boots around his ankles, Thomas kicks out at the animal, sending it bounding across the hall, its thin rat tail between its legs, shakes Matthew’s senseless body, and shouts above the wind lifting the rushes and howling around the rafters, ‘God’s nails, wake will you. Someone is trying to knock down the street door.’ 

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

A Happy New Year to you all!

It's the IWSG time again! Are you looking forward to the writing opportunities of this new year? What do you hope for with your writing in 2018? Are you worried that success is as elusive as ever, or are you resting, as the actors say? I'm one of those latter people, but I'm beavering away, despite my lack of material sent hopefully to agent, publisher or magazine. Instead, the challenge I've set mys of is to complete my MA creative writing course by the end of the year. What challenge have you accepted for  2018?

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

IWSG - December, the cold and unforgiving month...

Another month gone, another time to share with alexjcavanaugh, and the other members of the group. December is often a cold and unforgiving time, especially if you are elderly, live in the UK, and have a very small pension. Although I care for a disabled husband, we are blessed with a warm, comfortable home, but I think of those in our country who struggle to 'make ends meet' as we say, especially at Christmas time, So if you are thinking of contributing to 'Crisis', or other local charities, I am sure that you will. 
We have moved into a warden assisted flat, mainly to be nearer the hospital, and we are pleased that one couple has organised a Christmas meal for the residents, many of whom live alone. As for myself, I keep busy with the second year of the masters degree, and I'm thankful that all the hard work will be finished by next October. Then  I shall be able to return to writing my children's books. 
A Very Happy Christmas 🎄 To You All. 

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

IWSG - Writing Nano.



It's that interesting time of the month again, and the question posed on this occasion is probably of interest to many of us. Has something that we have written, for Nano, gone on to be published? I think it was over ten years ago that I wrote Snakeskin and Failed Feathers, a novel that I did complete, after a very haphazard fashion, for this challenge. 
Now I am working for a masters degree in Literature, this is my final year, a large part of the work involves writing a book for the degree, and the book I have chosen to submit is Snakeskin and Failed Feathers. Whether it will be published or not remains to be seen. As a writer of children's fictiion, I have self-published several books of historical fiction, but as Waterstones and W.H.Smith sell my self-published work, I know my present effort will reach the Bookshop shelves. However, although I am listed as a publisher, it would great to be accepted by a 'real' publisher, and, in future, to be able to concentrate upon the writing. Fingers crossed. 

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

IWSG - October - Interview with Author of Many Genres - Deniz Bevan

It is that time again, the brain-child of alexjcavanaugh.blogspot.com 
a time that gives writers the chance to express and share their writing concerns with others. And this month, I am delighted to welcome a fellow author, Deniz Bevan, who has kindly agreed to tell us something about herself and the reasons she became a writer. .

Author Deniz Bevan


Thank you, Carole. I
currently live in Switzerland, and  at the time of writing this, I am editing my latest romance, a contemporary. Previous romances were all historical, so this is a new departure Previously, I have written historical and fantasy novels for middle grade and young adults: The Face of A Lion and the sequel, Out of the Water. The Face of the Lion, in the Rising Sea Series, is set in AD 42 and is about a thirteen year whose parents drag him to Turkey. Once there, he rescues a talking cat, witnesses a bloody ritual that causes two people to disappear, and is whisked back in time! 


So a complete change for me when writing my latest book for adults. 

Snippets from my latest book, part of the series The Naughty Bits, are available on my blog at http://www.thegirdleofmelian. blogspot.com 


Deniz, could you tell us who you are writing for?


Primarily for myself! I have ideas - or dream of a story  circumstance -- and then comes the drive to write down the details. I am  a pantster, mostly, which is to say that I have a vague idea of how a tale might end, and I have the original spark, which usually becomes the opening scenes. After that, I need to write the story to find out what happens! If I think too far in advance, it becomes akin to reading a spoiler about an anticipated book or film; I know what happens and don't feel the same drive to write. 
On the other hand, I try to end each writing session (whether it's been 10 minutes or 2 hours) with a question or a revelation, so that there's something exciting to come back to the next time.
 
Another question. Why do you write?


Because the ideas are there! Once I've gotten into a story, I don't feel right leaving the characters behind until I've resolved their issues and given them a happy ending.  If I feel I can't go on with a story (this hasn't happened recently but used to), I plot out an outline, so that at least I know how it ends, even if I never write it. 
I had a three-year period some time ago where the ideas dried up and inspiration failed, and it felt like losing a part of myself. I was very bereft without that wellspring of stories, and without characters and an inner world to devote attention to. 

Could you tell us where your ideas come from?

I am surprised by how many of my ideas come from dreams!  Others are from a mystery or image, such as the idea that if you walked from Kusadasi to Ephesus, and were walking back in time as you went, the sea would be following you, as it was further inland 2,000 years ago. The dreams generally involve a scene of high tension, such as a spy being uncovered or a great wave engulfing a boat, and then I need to work out who the characters are, what they were doing there, and how they will come out on the other side of the event. 
My last short story was a what if -- I was on a bus and there were only a handful of people on with me, and I wondered what would happen if there was some sort of disaster and we all had to live and survive together. But the characters took over, and it became a story about something else entirely. 
And I'm think reading a lot, especially poetry, helps, as does taking the time to let your mind wander, without staring at a screen or working all the time. Long hikes and drives are very good for that sort of thing!

Thanks so much
Deniz, wishing you every success with you new writing adventure, I'm sure it will be a success!
 

Friday, 29 September 2017

Oh, dear, it's about to begin again!

The final year of the Open University course begins on the 7th October! Hard work but extremely enjoyable. Hoping I'll make it, despite my caring duties. Would be great to achieve the masters in creative writing. Just a two year course, but I have learned so much, and even I can see the improvement in my fiction. Such a pity that university fees are high in England. It prevents people from taking these courses. When I was a young woman, all universities were government funded. 

Saturday, 9 September 2017

This is IWSG writ large... must decide!


The final year of the M.A. will entail completing five hours work every day for as many times  as I can manage until next October. And I'm still trying to finish River Dark before the end of this October.

But one big decision is which book idea to work on for the final year of the degree?

I have three ideas:
a story which is semi-autobiographical and about life during the war of independence in 60's Africa
a comedy about Adam trying to find Eve through the centuries, village life, and his battles with Lucifer
and a story of a wool monger's wife who runs her late husband's business and is a spy in medieval Shrewsbury at the time of civil war.

Little time left and I must decide!

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

IWSG - September - a fascinating insight into the life of author Glynis Smy.


Today, I have the pleasure of interviewing one of my favourite authors, Glynis Smy.
Glynis is a very popular author with a great demand for her books, and it is always good to hear what another author has to say about the process of creating a novel and the work entailed in achieving recognition. 

Thanks, Carole, for inviting me along. My name is Glynis Smy, and  I live in Dovercourt, Harwich, Essex, in England. It is a coastal town and I love nothing more than pondering the next chapter of my novel when beside the sea. I am married, have three adult children and two granddaughters. I care for my elderly mother and write novels. 

What events in childhood, or in later life, Glynis, led you to decide to become a writer? How did you begin? Can you remember? And who read these early writings. Were they private, or did you share them with other children or adults? What form did they take?

I've always written poetry and short stories, but while living in Cyprus, an online friend in a writing forum challenged me to turn a short story into a novel, and Ripper, My Love was born. I kept my poetry to myself, but ten years ago, when I was fifty, I decided to publish a poetry book and gift it to the few folk invited to my birthday celebrations. It was my coming out celebrations and a sharing of my inner feelings. 

When you were a child, did you have a favourite author who gave you a love of reading and the idea of becoming a writer? Are there authors that influence your writing today? As many well-known authors advise, do you read others’ work, and write, every day if possible? 

Enid Blyton was my favourite! She could tell a story and I envied her talent. I wanted to be her. Today, I admire many authors, but I aspired to write like Catherine Cookson. I read other writers as a beta reader, and I read for pleasure every day. Each day, no matter how little time I have, I like to write no less than 100 words. This makes me stay focused, no matter how few words I bash out. Every word has to count towards my current projects though - they cannot just be anything, or that is a waste of my valuable writing time.


Do you write for a certain genre? For a niche market? Is your work fiction, non-fiction, or do you write both? Or perhaps you write for the eBook market, in addition to your printed work, or only produce eBooks?

My genre has always been fiction in the form of Historical Romance Suspense / Historical Romance / Romance, mainly set in the Victorian era. In 2016, I also added crime to my list, writing about a detective Morag 'Rags' Blake. It is a current project of what I hope to be a series. I write for digital and print-on-demand paperback readers. 

 Is it easy for readers to discover your work, and how do you increase sales? Do you sell online? Are you in independent bookshops and in bookshops such as W.H.Smith? I’m sure the beginning writer would be interested to know a little about how you went about achieving this.

At the moment I use mainly Amazon for my sales. It works for me both in paperback (Createspace) and eBooks. I've never approached independent bookshops, but do sell at book signing events. However, I am hoping to approach stores when I've completed my detective novels. 

Beginning writers would be fascinated to know how you find your writing ideas, your inspiration.  

Reading historical romance inspired my earlier books. A conversation about who might have loved the murderer of prostitutes, Jack the Ripper, sparked an idea for the two books about Kitty Harper. Maggie's Child was inspired by a 

Romanian programme about women giving up their children due to their desperate circumstances, and I wondered what it must be like to give up a child, despite wanting one so very much. The Penny Portrait was about a young girl in my home town, a coming of age story of a creative pathway in her life. Folk wonder if there is a little of me in the character, as she also leaves and then returns with a new career under her belt. Heels and Hearts is a medical romance with a difference. I set it in the UK and Cyprus. I lived in a Cypriot village for eight plus years and used my memories of the village as a setting for the story. 

Are market trends important to you, or do you write to please yourself? 


I write to please myself and hope that at least one person enjoys my efforts.  Earning money from my work is great, but I do not put pressure upon myself to make that the ultimate goal.

Have you attended writing courses, taken online courses, writers’ retreats, or do you think you might do so in the future?

I have taken a few courses and attended events, however, I feel now that writing time is so valuable I need to focus on my projects. 

Social media is my marketing platform and is valuable to any serious author nowadays. I set aside time to communicate with the outside world. I undertake book signings when asked, and yes, my books are in local libraries. I've presented one workshop but do not attend book festivals as an active participant, simply as a leisure event enjoying the hard work of other authors. 


Do you find social media helpful? Or just time consuming?

I try and connect via my Facebook page and use Facebook Ads to work out the age range and sex of my readers. 

Do you have a publisher, or are you self-published? How did you go about seeing your book in print? 

I'm a self-published author and use Createspace for paperback copies. I still have a hankering for an agent or publisher but time will tell if that dream comes true at any point. That said, self-publishing is more popular nowadays, so the road I've chosen is not a bad one.

Do you belong, or have at some time, belonged to a writers’ group, and did you find this useful?

I attended one for one day. It wasn't for me. I've decided I'm a hermit writer - only coming out for social gatherings. 

Do you use libraries for research, online resources, or both?

I use both. I also use the knowledge of others in the wide world. It is amazing what feedback you get when you ask someone in a job that you need to learn more about for a character.

At what stage did you begin to think yourself, or call yourself, a writer? 

When I was short-listed for the UK Festival of Romance - New Talent Award in 2014. It hit home that I'd achieved something as a self-published author when I stood beside well-known traditionally published authors.

 Do you read ‘how-to’ books, and are there any you would recommend for the writer who is just starting on a career? 

Ooh, Jessica Bell's In a Nutshell, Self-publish Your Book, Collins Complete Writing Guide, and From Pitch to Publication by Carole Blake, all sit beside me.

Could you tell me could you tell me what you are working on at present, and what direction your writing will take in future? 

I've just written The End on a novel called Whitefoam. It is a thriller with a detective lead character and is set in my home town. I aim to write three more in the series. I am also writing a sequel to Maggie's Child called Maggie's Men. Maggie's Child is the novel that reached #1 in the Victorian section of the paid listing for Historical Romance on Amazon, and recently made the top 100 again and sat with the likes of Barbara Erskine, Josephine 
Cox, Danielle Steele, and Dilly Court.


A great achievement, Glynis! And finally, could you provide a list of online sites where you can be reached and where readers can find out about your work in progress and future publications?





I also send out a newsletter. Do visit my blog and subscribe. 

Thank you so much, Glynis. I'm certain that your comments will be of great interest to other authors beginning the craft or who are some way along the road.  

·

Thursday, 31 August 2017

For IWSG - An Interview with freelance writer Julie Louise Phillips


Welcome Julie, and thank you for agreeing to be interviewed today. I know you have worked hard, like so many authors, to establish yourself as a writer -  having success with your short stories and spending long hours researching in local libraries, obtaining first hand information of historical interest, - and it would be helpful to others just beginning their writing journeys to hear something about how you achieved your success. First of all, I'd like to ask you if you have attended writing courses, writer's retreats, and if you found this helpful?


Julie Louise Phillips
Yes, I did a year’s Creative Writing course with the Open University in 2007/8 and a Writers Bureau course in article writing too. I also went on a writers’ holiday in Fishguard this time last year.  I’ve also been to the National Association of Writing Groups’ writing conference a couple of times and three retreats with my writing group. They were well worth going on because you meet other writers and learn a lot about writing skills.


Do you find social media helpful? Or just time consuming?

It's fits and starts with me regarding social media. Sometimes I use it a lot, and then not so much. It was beginning to impact on my writing time, and I have to write when I can because I work in a local school. So when it is term-time, I only access social media at weekends and I impose a time limit. It's far too easy to be distracted by social media. 


Are you a member of a business group, do you undertake book signings or visit Book Fairs. Are your books in local libraries? Are you to be found at workshops and do you give talks at book festivals or as visiting author in schools? 

No, I'm not a member of a business group, but I do hold book signings and I am available to give writing related workshops. I find most libraries will only have your books on their shelves is you donate a book first, and as I think libraries are to be treasured, I am happy to give them one of my books. I did facilitate an author visit for a friend that was amazing, and I would like to undertake an author visit myself in the future. 

Are you aware of your target audience, and if so, how do you connect with them?

Via my publishers really. I had some feedback from families through them, people whose ancestors featured in my WW1 books and that was nice.

Do you have a publisher, or are you self-published? How did you go about seeing your books in print?

I have a publisher for my non-fiction, although I haven't ruled out self-publishing. I sent a synopsis to the publisher and they accepted it. 


Do you belong, or have you at some time, belonged to a writer's group, and did you find this useful?


Yes, Wrekin Writers based in Telford. They are absolutely responsible for me getting my writing act together and being published. I would recommend that people do join a writing group, but make sure it is right for you. Not all writing groups are a good place for everyone, so shop around. 


    Do you use libraries for your research, online resources or both? 

For my WW1 books I used three libraries and also did some research on-line and in museum archives. I also used an on-line newspaper archive and the archives at Birmingham Library as well as buying related books on Amazon to read and going out and interviewing people. 

At what stage did you begin to think yourself , or call yourself, a writer?

I still don’t!  I still can’t believe I’ve had anything published. To me it’s a passion. I love reading and writing but it isn’t ‘work’ to me, it’s a pleasure.


Do you read ‘how-to’ books and are there any you would recommend for the writer who is just starting on a career?


Yes. I think they are good for new writers as they give you some ideas on how to go about writing. Simon Whaley’s books on writing are great as are Jane Wenham-Jones’s Wanna Be a Writer books. Della Galton has a good book out on writing short stories too.



Could you tell us what you are working on at present, and in what direction you think your writing will take in the future?


I am working on my 5th book for the publisher Pen and Sword. It is a book about suffragettes and women of note in  Birmingham, but I shall still write short stories for women's magazines. I'd like to finish a novel and get that published. 


And finally, could you provide advice for the beginning writers out there? 

I'm not one for making resolutions, as I think they're only good for setting us up to fail. There's so much pressure to do things better or to be a better person that it's no wonder we don't succeed and abandon our intentions a few weeks later.

Writing is also like that. We get all excited about a new idea and are completely absorbed in it for a while, only to fall out of love with it and never finish it.
The key I've found is, before I even write a word, I look back at those projects and ask myself why I abandoned them. The answer is usually that I became bored with it or simply didn't know how to advance with it, so I just gave up. I then make myself look at the abandoned project and try and, if I think I can, I try and finish it. This process then allows me to move on to the next project without the Spectre of past, unfinished writing projects, hanging around my neck.

So, if your writing resolutions have faltered, take a step back, look if there are any previous projects that you didn't finish and are holding you back. Finishing these might be all you need to move forward.
 
Thank you so much, Julie. I'm sure this will encourage many writers not to give up. And I'm sure other readers will join me in wishing you every success in the future. We look forward to reading more and more books from you. 

[ Julie's books can be found on Amazon, and her blog address is 
         http://jlpwritersquest.blogspot.co.uk/ ]

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Jelly

Another Jelly meeting at the Alb, Shrewsbury. Do you remember Jelly, an idea imported from America? Termed 'Jelly', equivalent to our word 'jam', it was for people who worked alone, running their own small businesses and was the forerunner of today's business hubs, such as the MarchesGrowth Hub in Shrewsbury.  Good to see that there are still people who keep Jelly meetings going and that Jelly is still advertised on Eventbrite.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Pet Peeves - Reading, Writing and Editing

Hello again.

Pet Peeves was the theme for Alex's latest blog hop in August, and although I didn't use it at the time, it interested me very much.

Reading? I have begun to follow writer  Stephen King's advice given in his brilliant book, 'On Writing', one of the best books on the subject I've ever come across. In it, he says that he reads every day, even including Christmas Day. I don't think I'd go as far as that, but he is right when he says that it is only by reading other writer's that our own ability improves. I think of myself of a lapsed reader, having spent my teens and twenties glued to a book, I am busy trying to catch up.

Writing? Again Stephen King is correct when he says that unless we write daily, when we return to our work it is stale and we've lost the momentum. Yes, we know this, but how many writers ignore this fact of our writing lives to our cost?

And finally, Editing? If you can't afford a living, breathing editor of some ability, then the next best thing is the app. Pro Writing Aid. I'm sure many writers would recommend other programmes, but this works for me, wouldn't be without it, and it fits neatly into any Word file you have created. Now to put my own advice, or mostly Stephen King's excellent advice into practice!