I may have to admit that I’m missing NaPoWriMo… just a little. The demand to write a poem a day was sometimes quite stressful but then again, they got written and May has brought with it a distinct lack of poetic creativity! (Well, so far).
Anyway, I wasn’t able to go to Ms Gruer’s writing meet-up this week, due to work commitments, but I understand she posed some abstract questions to the writers who did make it, such as ‘what can you catch on your tongue?’ and ‘what would you do with a tail if you had one?’ I might have a think about those myself!
What I have been doing (other than posing with my Blackstaff Press books for a wee story in the paper!), is cracking on with ‘The Draft’ and seeking feedback… First up, I met with my friend (picture-book Jenny) at the weekend to exchange some encouraging words on our respective projects. Whilst I am poring through my novel making amendments, Jenny is currently crafting her picture book and I really enjoyed hearing what she had written so far.
We both identified local writers we could approach about our writing and I will be having coffee with one of these – young adult novelist Debbie McCune – next Tuesday in Portstewart. Having just seen her book ‘Death & Co’ published (and so far very well received), Debbie has very kindly agreed to read a few of my chapters when she gets through her current flurry of PR activities. So… I will update on that as and when it happens.
Meanwhile, Jenny has now read my first chapter and delivered a very nice review, so that has boosted me quite a bit and added to the hope that it is actually, maybe ok after all… I was worried about getting the portrayal of my main character just right and her comments have helped allay the fear that I hadn’t described her as she was in my head!
As far as my editing goes – I’m now mid-way through the third read-through and this time around, it is much easier to spot phrases or paragraphs which need tightening up or simplified, having already corrected bits and pieces on previous occasions. It’s surprisingly sometimes what you can miss! After these corrections though, I’m confidant I will have a manuscript poised for the next step…
I may have missed El’s class this week but tomorrow evening I will be taking the scenic route to Carnlough – to the Londonderry Arms Hotel to be precise, for a creative writing workshop with poet, critic, curator and now novelist, Cherry Smyth, who is taking part in 11th John Hewitt Spring Festival. I’m looking forward to both the class and also to meeting more writers and seeing bits of the north coast I have to admit I haven’t seen before, so… more details on this next week!
I actually had the pleasure of chatting with Cherry this morning, as I’m writing an article for the paper about her writing experiences and the forthcoming publication of her debut novel ‘Hold Still’. So… I will leave you with some of her words…
“Life-changing events… are very very affecting. Poetry is a cure for that. You can look back and see the state you were in and see yourself coming out of it from the poem.
“I love having those sort of verbal trophies. It’s like an image of the struggle and the poem is the prize.”