Wednesday, December 1, 2010

David Sellars' Blog: Snow, Parties and Publishing

David Sellars' Blog: Snow, Parties and Publishing: "Well we had snow, lots of actually. Well lots of for Jersey in November and some more today, and as usual the island came to a standstill, ..."

Snow, Parties and Publishing

Well, we had snow, lots of actually. Well lots of for Jersey in November and some more today, and as usual the island came to a standstill, flights postponed, buses cancelled etc, ahh the joys! Still I wasn’t really up to anything important at the weekend - all I had to do was get to the Hotel De France and back for a charity ball, and whilst there, drink lots, pop party poppers, wear silly hats, gyrate on the dance floor and win nothing in the raffle. Great fun! This now sees the end of my tux as it will eventually be dry cleaned and placed neatly away until the two ball events as per this year – the CIM and Round Table.

However that’s not to say that is the end of this years festivities, God no, it’s only just December remember. Christmas used to be traditionally kicked off by the Boys Annual lunch which first took place on a Thursday over ten years ago and was a fun and random idea thought up by two guys (one of which was me, proudly I add) who had just sat their final exam of the year that morning. Now though, we just do it for a laugh and thankfully on a Friday, this Friday in fact. Throughout the years there’s been all sorts of presentations and paraphernalia made and given to one another as our show of love. In the past there’s been paintings, jumpers, poems and anecdotes – and this year we’re making each other a bauble. Sounds weird, yes you’re right, but it’s what we has become accustomed to, and although the Christmas festivities now start prior to this benchmarking event, we still hang onto the coattails of tradition.

So after this I have a couple more work ‘dos’ and then I’ll be sitting down with Bro and his family for a rip roaring Christmas lunch - with entertainment provided by my toddler Godson. Needless to say the dribbling and the tentative walking will once again be a large part of the day, and possibly for one year old George too.

On the coursework front we’re well into the Advanced Practice Module and I’m looking at short stories at the moment. For the first time ever, I actually sat down and wrote a story from start to finish and it’s now in the edit stage after putting this away for a couple of weeks, but I will have this on my website shortly.

Also we’ve had to submit an Industry Analysis brief. This is a research topic which we are due to submit a full analysis on by February. After much deliberation I’ve decided to research the production of serialised novels through apps on the mobile platform. Should be an interesting topic as in print this is something that Charles Dickens, Stephen King and John Saul have successfully achieved. There are already writers who have done this via Apps, and it would be interesting to see how well this works.

Well that’s about it for now, other than to wish all of you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. I’ll be in Ireland for the latter and so I’m expecting the festive season to be especially long and joyous this year!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Wolf Gets A Look In

I've just this minute handed in my latest assessed submission for the latest part of my course: PRW106 - Writing the novel. This submission included the first two chapters of my first novel which have been edited, re-edited and re-re-edited so that the text is as sharp as can be. Not having the time to leave the document in a drawer for two weeks before going back to it for the first edit makes it a tedious affair. It's very hard not to fiddle on first write, and very very hard to edit something you have just written to avoid it becoming a total re-write. These are things I am learning all the time.

We've also had to submit our blogs, twitter accounts and website for review. The website is especially tricky as there's always something in there you feel like tampering with. It will of course, be a constant work in progress.

Next up for the course is the advanced stage of my novel writing. Here we will be left to our own devises more so and continue to develop the novel. Alongside this there is an Industry Analysis which involves researching all things beneficial to the professional writing experience. Work placements and interviews are encouraged. Hmm, time to get the thinking cap on.

Part of our course had already involved researching publishing houses and possible agents who might be interested in the work we are producing. I have sent out a couple of minor pieces of work to websites and publications seeking submissions re a certain genre and slap me sideways I have something accepted within a couple of days. The 'Wolf's Guide To Surviving The Little Red Riding Hood Fairytale' will be part of an anthology called Happily Ever After and is due to be published in June 2011. A great big smiley face needed here - :-).

There's also a couple of competitions floating around that I'm interested in submitting to, but it's a case of square pegs in round holes at the min, as most of what I've written doesn't fit what the competition organisers are looking for. I do have one story though which I might tinker with, we'll see if I have the time.

On a personal note, I'm off to London this weekend for shopping, football and a play. It will also be nice to have a break and get some inspiration whilst being in the big smoke. Halloween of course is just around the corner, so I'll be visiting the pumpkin house in Trinity and carving the following weekend for two days of horror movies and Halloween snacks. I may even light the fire for the first time and toast marshmallows and have a good old jamboree. Gin Gan Gooli anyone? I thought not...

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Big Breaks, Little Breaks and Going Potty

After a well deserved study break, we hit the books again this week with characterisation the hot topic. Basically we have to interrogate each other over one of our character’s that appears in the novel. This was a pretty fun task, and brings the character to life which should, make them easier to relate to for the reader as they will appear more real. Makes perfect sense in theory. Only time will tell whether this actually works in practice and whether the lead character and all of their mannerisms, attributes and weaknesses come alive on the page. I now know amongst many other things how he walks and talks; what his face and hands looks like; how he would describe himself; what is his proudest moment, and what he fears the most. Hopefully this will also make them easier to write, and I shall be doing the same task for the other main characters in the book.

This break has been a good time to take a breather, unfortunately the weather has been pretty dire though, it’s August FFS, I don’t ever recall August being like this as a kid. Still, for a couple of weeks I’ve been packing and moving house (so I’m kinda thankful I didn’t miss out on the non existent rays) and I also had a weekend in Alderney, which was a fun place to explore. The gannets rock off the north west of the Island were seriously impressive. Just a shame that the food was disappointing. An Island with excellent produce and some of the best fishing ground available to it, is let down by chefs who really haven’t a clue. Reluctantly we went for Thai on the last night. Don’t get me wrong, I love Thai food, but we wanted local dishes with fresh fish and vegetables, but after two nights with substandard fare we opted for something which was more likely to please. Tucking into seriously good Tom Yum Soup, Pad Thai, and Duck in Tamarind Sauce we knew we made the right decision. Also noteworthy though was a local pork roll for breakfast in the little van by the breakwater, and a local beef roll at the Alderney Fayre - both were excellent and I feel that had these guys been in the kitchens at the first two restaurants we visited, we might have had a different culinary experience.

Call me a foodie, but that was something which was definitely missing when I popped along to Jersey Live on Sunday. Basically after enjoying afternoon beers in the sun and 26 degrees temps I forgot to eat, and whilst thoroughly enjoying myself and talking nonsense to anyone in earshot and also having a conversation with someone who works opposite me, not realising it was them (damn those baseball caps) I decided enough was enough and staggered home mid-set of Paul Weller. The moment of clarity (work the next day and the walk might freshen me up) didn’t really work. After trudging through the lanes and realising I was making less headway then sticking to the main roads, I managed to flag down a taxi who took me home; the wrong home, I’d forgotten I moved house and so had to politely request a different and correct destination.

On Monday at work it felt that I was well on my way to a new destination, a final one.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Here comes Summer

I remember being younger, much younger and finishing up the school year with a 5-6 week summer break. Summer holidays back then were great, the weather seemed better than it is now and, as kids, there was just so much fun to be had. The hols would normally entail:

  1. Wake Up
  2. Remember it's the school summer hols
  3. Smile whilst chasing the flush (if you're a boy you'll know what that means)
  4. Run downstairs
  5. Grab toast
  6. Run to a mate's house (with toast still in hand)
  7. Wake him up
  8. Eat more toast and watch one of: Charlie Brown, Why Don't You?, Scooby-doo, Littlest Hobo, The Raccoons (I could go on and on)
  9. Figure out what to do as you only had six weeks although you're convinced last year you had more.
  10. Play football, cricket, body surf, fish, video games (the commodore 128 back in those days of which only the c64 had games - why is that??)
  11. Pop home, make sandwiches (usually tomato ketchup, yes just tomato ketchup)
  12. Watch Neighbours (Kylie has never looked worse)- eat sandwiches
  13. Then continue any of the previous activities until you're called in for dinner far too early which gets wolfed down so you can go out again until the sun goes down.
  14. The next day - repeat as above.

This would only ever get interrupted by a serious irritation which was Sunday lunch with the family or the start of a test match which would involve playing cricket in the lounge whilst watching England lose to Courtney Walsh and Co.

Does life get any better than this??

Reluctantly, this now brings me to my studies, and now 20 odd years later we've also finished for the summer holidays. I say finished but that's not really the case, there's still lots of things to do - research, investigating plot irregularities (hmm), figuring out what works and what doesn't, tightening up the chapter outlines we did last week and a whole lot of reading on top of that.

Still, there's no deadlines for the next 5 weeks and that takes the regiment out of it for now which I'm grateful for, especially when I have a week in Ireland, a weekend in Alderney, the g/f's birthday, the sale of my flat and the move to a house all to look forward to in the coming weeks. Let's just hope the weather stays nice and I can add some beach, fishing, spearfishing and kayaking time to that list.

It's rubbish being an adult with adult responsibilities, but maybe just maybe, this Saturday morning I'll go wake someone with toast in hand, polystyrene surf board under arm, a 99p plastic football and some uselessly small cricket stumps and a dented cricket bat.

If only I could find that Commodore 128...

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Genre and Outline

This week is all about genre, how to set the scene from the start so that the reader has an idea of what’s coming at them.

Genre is a bit of a strange one for me, I always thought I would write horror fiction and indeed my first novel is treading these waters, but more recently I’ve become interested in thrillers, crime, fairytales, romance and comedy. So expect literature from me in the future in a variety of genres, with no doubt some overlapping.

I promised you that I would post up the outline for my first novel this week, well it appears below, and as it’s genre week then I guess it needs a label. As much as I hate labels, if I had to with my first novel, then I would say it’s dark romance.


Silence (working title)

Sophie’s wrist slashing would always be with him. Today his girlfriend would be buried, but Nick, through panic-stricken grief, would not attend. He offers no resistance to being relocated to a new home and a new life, far away from that scene, that memory.

There he meets his new neighbour Carrie. She, and a reclusive Nick form a reluctant friendship as they confide in each other.

As he battles with his unfamiliar surroundings, the locked doors, the haunting voices and footsteps, the isolation and the paranoia of falling in love all over again, Nick fears for his sanity.

His one saviour is Carrie.

But she has a story to tell.

Sophie’s story.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

New Writer Hits The Jackpot

Well ok, if like me, you’re not the world’s greatest fisherman in any way, shape or form, you’d also call catching a first bass spearfishing the highlight of recent weeks, months, years maybe. No longer can I be the butt of the (so when did you catch a bass ribbings), it’s finally done, and the success is sweet - the flesh too as 10 minutes later it was on the beach bbq and soon after, devoured. All that was missing was a glass of Chablis and some Jersey Royals.

Anyway so onto the writing. This week has been slow on that front but productive. Instead of writing we’ve been researching. My brainstorming session brought up all sorts of weird, wonderful but mainly morbid things I need to investigate and partake in this week. I should explain for those of you not in the know, which will be about half of the readership of this blog, yes all three of you, that I’m studying an MA in Professional Writing at University College Falmouth, although I’m not there, I’m here, it’s distance learning. Those of us on the course who have opted for the novel route are now beavering away on research for our novels and have all submitted outlines so check out next week’s blog for mine.

It’s been a busy few weeks, working on research, outlines, creating websites, twitter and blog accounts. Enjoy having a nosy around my new website, please become a member and feel free to send me a congratulatory email about that bass.