Friday, 4 November 2016


Remember, remember the 5th of November...  a sparkling post in celebration of Guy Fawkes night! 

 Gill - I love bonfire night, possibly because it falls between my sister and my birthdays, so was always a time of great celebration in our household. I have not, however, thought of it in the light of ‘creativity’ until now. So here goes!
Sometimes you just need to let your imagination sore like a rocket at a firework display. Don’t go for control, just for effect. You won’t know where you are going to land, but let your writing flash and sparkle. Let the words come without thought. And, because you’re writing it down, unlike a spent rocket, you can edit and use them afterwards. I’m not saying there aren’t times when you need to pause and to plan, but every now and then I recommend you forget all that and shoot for the stars. You might be surprised where this takes you!

Neil - With the clocks going back and the nights drawing in there is nothing better than drawing the
curtains and settling down in a snug, cosy living room. However it is now the season for the elusive Northern Lights. These beautiful dancing lights are amazing to see and a wonder to capture on film. I have in the past captured the lights but I have never been happy with the shot and always want to achieve a better picture.
Being close to the coast allows for lovely dark skies with minimal light pollution so they can be seen clearly.
In order to capture the lights you must wrap up warm, wait and hope that they make an appearance, usually between midnight and 3am.
As you can see by the photos night photography is still a work in progress but these darker nights allows time for research and enhance my knowledge of editing software, I can easily lose myself in a blog or YouTube tutorial.

Linda - While I have a very active imagination it is not limitless. Sometimes it needs a nudge. I find postcards (or pictures cut from
glossy mags) are good for this, to which end I buy one or two in all sorts of interesting places when I see something that catches my eye. I was writing something recently which I knew was a little flat. The plot was okay, the characters were okay, but it lacked that bit of sparkle. So I rifled through my postcard collection and found one of a fig. So, my character eating a ripe, luscious, purple fig for breakfast upped the ‘visual’ impact in that story for my readers. Likewise, in another story, I had a character who was at a crossroads in her life. She didn’t need another man, but she needed something to put fire in her belly again, as it were. So, she went rash and bought a beautiful painting of a fiery, blood red tulip – not a botanical painting but something more personal and representational. The writing group I attend weekly – Brixham Writers – always sets a homework theme, which we can do, or not, as we wish. A recent theme was ‘Waiting for Richard’. But where to set it? A postcard of a Lowry painting - Market Scene, Northern Town – jumped out at me as I rifled through my pile of postcards. There are lots of people in this painting but they don’t seem to be connecting with one another somehow. My immediate thought was that it can be very lonely, even in a crowd – especially if the person one is waiting for doesn’t show. But what if someone you weren’t expecting turns up? Well, that created a spark or five!
So now, if you’ll excuse me, my creative juices need another nudge. I’m off to get my postcard collection...

Jennie - Iʼve interpreted this months joint blog ʻLighting Creative Fireworksʼ to talk about the old question non-writers are always asking: Where do you get your ideas from?
Answering this question is never easy. There are ideas all around - some good and useable, some that never get off the ground. It can be an over heard conversation. Something on the news that gets me thinking. A sentence in a book Iʼm reading. Recently a character in a film didnʼt give me an idea as much as he made me think about my writing.
The film was ʻOnce Moreʼ and starred Morgan Freeman. Briefly, he plays a wheel-chair bound alcoholic ex-writer who moves into a holiday complex for the summer. The family next door, single mum and three children, have mixed feelings about him but one of the children dreams of being a writer and badgers him for advice about imagination. In the end he reluctantly starts talking to her. The scene from the film which has stayed in my mind is the two of them looking down an empty country lane and he tells the girl to ʻwrite what you donʼt seeʼ. In other words, use your imagination.
So, with that in mind - what donʼt you see when you look at this picture of fireworks?

Have a happy - and safe - Guy Fawkes Night.

Rae - As well as celebrating Guy Fawkes night, this week also saw the start of the annual #Nanowrimo contest. For those not familiar with the term, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month, when writers around the world come together in a large online writing blitz, with the aim of getting the rough first draft of a novel completed. The official target is to write fifty thousand words, but each writer may have their own writing goals.
I tried this a couple of years ago and managed approximately twenty five thousand words, but this time I’m more organised. I have a synopsis and chapter plan at the ready and am as determined as a two-year old with a fistful of candy. So, with the help and encouragement of Nanowrimo buddies, I’m hoping for a spectacular display of creative fireworks throughout November. (Psst – Jennifer is doing Nanowrimo too!) Look forward to catching up again on the other side…

Jennifer - I don’t do fireworks. No; really, I don’t. Never have done. Creatively, that is. I love the idea that writers sit down and write dramatic scenes. I imagine them shutting themselves away for an hour or a day or whatever — towel wrapped round the head, endless supply of tea, all the chocolate they could possibly want — and emerging with a stonking firework display of a family row or a shipwreck or any of the other scenes that stop you in your tracks.

I can’t do that. My first drafts are always dull as the proverbial ditchwater, so much so that I’m afraid to show them to my critique buddies because I know exactly what they’ll say. No emotion, they’ll say. No connection. No spark. 

No fireworks, in other words.

I take four or five goes, adding a little bit of colour every time, a little bit more scandal, a bit more fire. I’m never sure, in the end, that the drama is high enough. I’m the timid little girl with her hands over her ears when the rockets go up, watching the flowers but hating the noise. Dramatic scenes are my weakness. I’m learning from the rest of you!



  1. What a fascinating article! I would love to see the Northern lights, Neil! I love the idea of creatiity being likened to fireworks, too. As for NaNo, I'm a slow writer - I'm still revising and self editing last year's NaNo novel so I'm not doing it this year! I have to say nothing sparks my own creativity like a frosty, starry night, with a myriad twinkling stars - each one a sun orbited by who knows how many unseen worlds (I write SF romance)

    1. Hello Hywela Lyn and thanks for dropping by. I'm a slow writer too, mainly because I'm a perfectionist and I keep editing as I go, so Nanowrimo is a challenge - but one I'm enjoying so far! I live in the north of Scotland and could count on my fingers the number of times I've seen the Northern Lights but always a very special experience. Hope that one day you have the opportunity to enjoy them too. : )

  2. It's a dream of mine to see the northern lights. I have a friend in Glasgow seen them and one in rural Leicestershire who makes a similar claim. no chance of seeing them here because of light pollution although Leicester is slowly replacing its orange street lights with white ones. every year I'm tempted to join in the NaNoWriMo, but I always seem to have a novel on the go. I'm on 93,000 and can't afford to look back !!

  3. Hello Lizzie, 93,000 words sounds as though you're almost there? - Hurrah!!! I was bought up along the Moray coastline and enjoyed a much better chance of seeing the northern lights there, than we do here in Aberdeenshire. Have you considered visiting Iceland?! Mind you, it's always another excuse to visit Scotland again. : ) Wishing you and Adrienne lots of fun and success at your book signing this week. x