Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Those dreaded deadlines - WriYe

The Looming Doom - Deadlines
We've all had deadlines to face - whether it be yearly like WriYe, monthly like NaNo, or weekly like LWS. How do you face your deadlines? Any advice to help meet them? Any advice on what to do when you miss them?

I find that deadlines come in two varieties - ones that are very soon and ones that are a while away. Once I know when something is due I can handle it appropriately.

• I make a list of what I need to do - the overall target and any smaller parts of that task. For example, if I have a story to write then completing the story is my overall goal and to do that I have to complete so many chapters or words. If it's for submission somewhere then it will also need proofreading for spelling and typos, then editing, then proofreading again.
• Make the targets realistic. I am not going to be able to produce a 10k story in a week if I have meetings every night and I'm working a full time job. However, I could probably produce a 250 word piece of flash which would only require me to find 30 minutes of writing time each day instead of three-plus hours. If you consistantly set targets that you don't hit then it's easy to get demoralised.
• Finally, once all the lists and targets are set out, prioritise what needs doing first and be prepared to move things around if necessary. If you're writing to meet a deadline for a competition you really want to enter, it's going to be more important than the poem you've had kicking around for the past month that's just for fun. And the school project that has to be in at the end of the week has to take precidence over the competition entry, because sometimes life gets in the way of writing.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

My favourite children's books

As you know, I love children's books, both as a writer and as a reader. In my opinion, the best children's stories are those that stick with you into adulthood and have the ability to transport you back to your childhood when you reread them. This is a selection of some of my favourite children's stories with the reasons why.
The Malory Towers series by Enid Blyton
Enid Blyton comes in for a lot of stick as a writer, but I've always enjoyed her stories. They are simple, fun, and have some likeable characters even if the stories lack depth and are, in some critics' opinions, terribly written. My favourite series by Enid Blyton is the Malory Towers series. I went to a girls' school with a brown uniform myself, so I think it was always a bit of an escape for me into somewhere that was sort of the same as my own life but much more exciting.

The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge
This is one of my all-time favourite books. I got this when I was about eight, and I loved reading all the descriptions of Moonacre and the people living there. It was a Carnegie Medal winner in 1946 and apparently was J.K. Rowling's favourite book as a child, but more importantly than that it's a wonderful story that mixes fantasy, history, romance and a little but of religion in a fantastic book that I would recommend to anyone.

Ronia the Robber's Daughter by Astrid Lindgren

Ronia was one of the books my mum read to be as a bedtime story. I particularly remember it because it was the first book that she was reading to me that I snuck out and read ahead once it got to the exciting bits. I haven't read it since I was seven or eight, but three parts particularly stick in my mind - the part where Ronia and the boy are leaping across the gap at the top of the tower, the part where Ronia gets her foot stuck in a hold and the creatures that live there come out and demand 'Woffor diddun do it?', and the part where Ronia is exploring the corridors underneath the tower.
Just thinking about it is making me feel nostalgic - I may have to go and have a look on Amazon to see if I can find it again.