Juggling again!

A busy few weeks and I’m a little bit ashamed to say that (a) I didn’t manage to write another post before today, and (b) I failed to maintain my presence on social media. Ho hum! Try harder next time, I tell myself.

In my last blog I mentioned the challenge that members of our Writers Group had been given by novelist, Sue Johnson – to write a 500 word story starting with the words “The door at the top of the staircase was open.” I wrote the first draft, let it brew and then a week later revisited it and made a few changes. Sue talked to us all about the important of making use of the senses in our writing so I made this my aim. In the next day or so I will load the story up on my website. I’d welcome feedback on whether or not the story stirs your senses! Several of us read out our submissions at a recent Bardstown Writers Group. It was fascinating to hear how many different takes there were. More on this in my next blog.

The Gypsy Killer, my latest novel is racing through the Silverwood production process. A couple of weeks ago I was asked to complete a questionnaire for the cover designer, and also to submit pictures of a few book covers that appealed to me. This in one of the covers I chose. Maybe the shadowy figure in the picture is the Gypsy Killer – who knows?

My play “Happy Talk” is well into its rehearsal schedule – just five weeks to go before we tread the boards – literally! I volunteered to play the leading play in the play. I have done some Am. Dram. in the past but not for a long time. At least, since I wrote the play, it’s not too difficult to learn the lines! It’s interesting acting in your own one act play. It makes you aware of, and you appreciate the need for detail, especially key words. Let me give you an example.

Joe Bloggs: I am just popping down to the shops, dear.

Mary Blogs: When will you be back?

or

Joe Blogs: I am going shopping.

Mary Blogs: When will you be back?

Which is the better dialogue for the actor? Well, in my experience it is the latter version. ‘Dear’ is a term that can end any line of dialogue. ‘Shopping’ is far more precise.

And I’ve just almost finished writing another one act play. It’s called Toad in the House. Based on the characters in Kenneth Grahame’s enchanting Wind in the Willows, it has a political spin! More on that project later.

Right at this minute I have to get myself prepared for another interesting morning presented by Silverwood Books – How to Promote and Publicise your Book presented by Isabelle Knight. This is one I really need to pay attention to.

And Debra Penrice (Silverwood Books) has suggested I give some thought to exploring the creative differences between writing a novel, a play and a short story. Wet towel job. Watch this space!

Books, stories, plays – what a week!

After an excellent online meeting with Debra from Silverwood Books, I am once more fired up to get a blog started and keep it up. I’ll just update it weekly.

Yesterday I read about the success of Richard Osmond’s, The Thursday Murder Club, in The Times. Its the No. 1 seller in hardbacks and has been in the top ten for the past thirty-six weeks. So I ask myself, “Why aren’t my books [based on the adventures of the residents of a similar retirement home] selling by the thousand?” Well, I know the answer if I am honest. Actually there are several! My name is not Richard Osmond and hardly anybody has ever heard of Angela Dandy. Second, I spend most of my time writing and never make time for social media. It frightens me to death if I’m honest but like everything else, practice makes perfect.

So today I have posted on Facebook giving my two novels in the Silveries series a boost. I freely admit to hanging on the coat tails of Richard Osmond’s book. If readers have enjoyed reading that, then I’m jolly sure that they’ll enjoy reading my novels.

Hooray – one job done, but mental note that I need to post something to excite my readers every day!

And a few days ago my Writers Group invited Sue Johnson, a well known novelist, poet and short story writer to join our Zoom meeting and talk to us about writing short stories for magazines. I’ve written quite a lot of short stories some of which are on my website. Suffice to say that Sue inspired us all and ended the session with a challenge – to write a 500 word short story beginning ‘The door at the top of the staircase was open…’ First draft complete, I shall take it out again next week and reread it to see what improvements I can make.

Its full steam ahead with my latest novel, The Gypsy Killer, thanks once again to Silverwood Publishing. Two weeks ago I sent off the final, edited version. The first version ran to 110,000 words [too many]. The final version ended up at 92,000 words. Amazing how easy it is to waffle on in a book. What would we do without copy editors? The book has now gone into the production process and I am awaiting print layouts.

And then there is the play that I wrote two years ago now as a member of the Stratford Playwrights Group. ‘Happy Talk’ attracted the attention of the Stratford-upon-Avon based Second Thoughts Drama Group and was selected to be presented at the Lighthorne Festival in 2020. Of course, that didn’t happen. Carried forward to the 2021 Lighthorne Festival, that too was cancelled. Suddenly an opportunity has opened up at the Bear Pitt Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon who have decided that they are going to have a few evenings of one act plays. Another quick rewrite (version 12) and we have a play now being rehearsed. You never know what is around the corner.

Each year the Stratford Playwrights has its own one act play competition for members and non members. This year I am working on a play based on the characters of Kenneth Grahame. I have one full 35 minute version drafted but I’m not yet entirely happy with the characterisation and there are are a few slight inconsistencies in the storyline. Another job for later this week.

Okay – so that the beginning of my blog. I’ll be back next week.