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Although my writing focus is on poetry at the moment, I continue to practice some of the writing tools I have found useful.

One of these is reading the news with an eye to an interesting or unexpected story.  As someone deeply engaged in politics I also read political blogs and websites to understand different responses to those stories.

This is proving to be a real eye opener – although I don’t agree with many responses I have a much better comprehension about why some people want to see the world structured in particular ways.

From the human, bloggers for peace, point of view, understanding is imperative to social cohesion.

From a writing point of view, it’s a great way to test out characters.

You can take any character you have written and imagine them reading a post.  What do they think? How do they react? Is the topic something they would have a strong reaction to or discuss with friends? What is their political point of view? Are they engaged with current affairs, do they watch the news or read a paper?

You might never write about anything of this nature but it doesn’t matter: the better you know your character, the more believable and consistent they will be.

So if you find yourself reading something which doesn’t reflect your view, take a chance on it, and read through the eyes of your character. It might provide the spark of engagement you need to find.

Happy writing,

EJ

🙂

 

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I finally finished my book! which was Bodily Harm, by Margaret Atwood.

I am not sure how to discuss this one. It’s taken longer than expected to read, and the tone changed dramatically in the last 35 pages which took it into an entirely different direction to the one I had expected.

The majority of the story is about Rennie, a journalist whose life has been fundamentally changed by breast cancer.  Trying to escape from her post-surgery life, she seeks an assignment far away from the complications of her newly aware existence.  She leaves behind her old partner, an affair with her oncologist, and an invisible but frightening voyeur/predator/house-breaker who left a rope on her bed after breaking into her flat.

She arrives on the island of St Antoine ready to write a travel piece but before long she is unwittingly and unwillingly caught up in the politics of the island and its neighbour Ste Agathe.

This book is partially a reverie on body confidence and the sense of loving and trusting our bodies, even when faced with challenges.  As Rennie becomes more involved with the mysterious American Paul, she begins to accept her newly scarred body.

However, it is also a tale of corruption, violence and danger, and although there is an underlying menace throughout, this really takes hold of Rennie’s story in the last 50 or so pages, with the outcome being the main focus of the last 35.

I really enjoy ‘human condition’ stories, where the plot is about a character facing a difficulty.  Therefore all these sections worked for me.

However, the other side of the story wasn’t really to my taste. The sense of foreboding was ok but the extremity of the outcome and the last 35 pages was much less enjoyable – although oddly, much quicker to read!

I think in part my reaction to it is about style. Atwood writes in a way that perfectly suits personal reflection. She has a knack for revealing how an individual views their world and how they respond to stimuli. When that gives way to looking at what is happening to a character (rather than how the character is perceiving a situation) it is less powerful.

Add to that the fact that the end feels very rushed in comparison with the rest of the story, and I think these explain why this book is not my favourite Atwood.

I read this for fun but it has made me reflect on a writing truth: as writers, we need to know what type of storytelling works best with our voice. You can stray from the path, of course, but you need to know your way back.

Playing to our strengths is the best way to get our writing noticed.

Happy reading,

EJ

🙂

 

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There’s not a lot more to say since Thursday’s post, really.  The advert for the open mic night (I have gone for the more common spelling now!) has been submitted to the venue and the local newsletter. I will be posting it on facebook and locally in the village too but probably a little closer to the time so people don’t forget about it!  Writing is as it was, with a side order of dark nights and horse races to add to the poetic pot.

I am still not reading enough, and have to focus on that tomorrow evening if I am going to give you the promised post on Tuesday.

There’s not always a lot to say during the writing process but maybe next time I can give you a rundown of the poems I intend to share on the evening.  I will almost certainly share my village walking one, as people will recognise the scene, but beyond that I really am open to persuasion on anything.

Between now and then I have a family wedding so I am sure I will get a few upbeat ideas there too.  If I can get a mix of nature, political, fun, supernatural and – possibly – funny, I’ll have covered all my current interests and all poetic bases.

That’s the plan, for now.  Let’s see where the month takes me!

Happy writing,

EJ

🙂

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I am a fan of the supernatural, when it comes to tv and films.  Not the gory side, but what might be called ‘magical realism’ in books. A vampire slayer here, a zombie detective there: things which marry everyday experiences with the trials and tribulations of a secret otherworldliness.

It’s not something I particularly look for in my reading, or in my writing – but as I prepare a few pieces for open mike night I have the urge to write something poetic about it.  Maybe a vampiric verse, or ode to the undead.  Or perhaps a more prosaic approach, talking tv.

I don’t know what, if anything, will work but it’s a challenge I quite fancy taking on.  New approaches don’t always work but they are always worth trying.

It might even create an opportunity for me to be comedic in my writing, although that could be a step too far…!

Whatever oddness ensues, it’ll be an interesting experiment.  I’ll start by watching a few a few shows for research, to get a feel for the balance between reality and the supernatural.

It’s a hard life!

Happy writing

EJ

🙂

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I haven’t finished the book yet.  I am taking a really long time over it and I don’t really know why.  It’s a good read, and when I start reading I can lose myself in it, but I don’t automatically reach for it.

I think after this one I will have a little reading break!

I promise, though, that I will give you a review next week!

Happy reading,

EJ

🙂

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I was going to go full on ‘perchance to dream’ but as the line is a metaphor for death it didn’t quite capture my feelings!

I have been so busy this weekend, and although some of the time was writing-related I just don’t have the energy to think about it all.

What I really need to do is get more energetic – but failing that I will just say work is developing with the lyrics and I am working on more poetry. I must get my ad for the open mike out soon and I want a few new pieces to try out for that.

That’s all I can give you tonight but I will be back Tuesday!

Happy writing,

EJ

🙂

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I utterly failed to write a post on Tuesday, sorry.  I am enjoying my book but have been writing and seeking out writing inspiration more than reading in the last couple of weeks so the book is a little neglected.  It has been left behind, which is the first part of this week’s title!

So what is the right, I hear you ask (humour me here!)?

It’s writing.  Writing is going right.

This week, as a bit of an experiment, I wrote song lyrics.  I was pleased how well they turned out, because I wasn’t expecting much!

I helped one of my writing buddies when they were stuck and couldn’t get their idea to form the verses they wanted.

I got the ad for the open mike night sorted out.

I had a really great writing session today.

I can feel the positivity in me.  That is definitely something going right.

It’s made a difference to have a new writing zone, even if I sometimes run the risk of being sidetracked…

So yes, I am a little slow at reading at the moment, but it’s good to have positive writing outcomes. It’s not a bad compromise, really!

Happy writing,

EJ

🙂

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