Author Archives: The Scribbler

About The Scribbler

I'm a 40 something teacher from the Midlands who enjoys creative writing. Join me on my journey as I struggle to balance a full time job and family whilst determined to find time to write. I hope you enjoy it.

Home…

Our house is not bricks and mortar, it is a living, breathing organism feeding constantly off our emotions.

It offers sanctity and solitude when we are stressed; comfort and warmth when we are at our lowest and neediest.

Its heart pulsates with every word that is spoken, every laugh that escapes and every tear that is shed.

Our house is alive even in the silent moments of night when it protects us as we sleep.

Its windows are beacons which guide us safely back no matter how far we travel.

In the stillness of time I can feel its heart beat in rhythm with mine.

Our house is not bricks and mortar, it is a living, breathing organism, it is our Home ❤

Should you or shouldn’t you?

Today I thought I’d tell you a little bit about the writing course that I’m doing.  When I set out to research writing courses I read a lot of conflicting reports, some people said they were a waste of money and that the way to learn to write was to just write, to a certain point I agree with that. 

I didn’t want a general writing course, I want to specifically write for children, so that narrowed down my search quite a lot. Price also played a big factor, writing courses do not come cheap…

I opted to study with the Writers Bureau for the following reasons:

  • The cost was affordable as I was able to pay monthly rather than in one go making budgeting a lot easier,
  • There is no time limit on the course, I can take as long as I like, again working full time and having a family to look after I don’t always get to write as often as I would like, so another plus point,
  • The coursework is available online immediately and then is sent to you in a ring binder. You receive your first 2 assignments with the ring binder (and online) and then 2 are sent each time you receive feedback on your assignments, you do have to send the assignments in numerical order though,

I’ve now completed 3 assignments and here are my thoughts so far:

  •  I have been assigned a really nice tutor (Karen King) who always provides my feedback within 10 days of me submitting an assignment,
  • Her feedback has been very constructive, I actually look forward to receiving the emails,
  • This course has made me study different aspects of children’s writing that I would never have considered, I am currently focusing on picture books,
  • The course really makes you do your research, there’s a lot of reading involved,
  • The most difficult thing I have had to do so far is write the dreaded synopsis, but it turned out ok and my tutor liked my idea,
  • Each assignment has about 4 sections to it (usually with word counts, which makes you focus on every single word),
  • I haven’t yet written a story for the course, so far all of the assignments have been research based, which I’ve enjoyed because they have made me focus on details I may never have considered, e.g. One of the tasks from my last assignment was to write the same opening paragraph for 3 stories, a horror, a mystery and a comedy. It had to be based around the idea of a child being woken in the middle of the night. It sounds easy but it was harder then I thought and when you are restricted by a word count as well…

So there you have it, should you or shouldn’t you? 

My advice is, do your research, there are plenty of courses out there to suite your requirements and more importantly your budget, but remember cheap isn’t always best.  My course provides me with invaluable feedback from a published author and it is written specifically for the type of writing that I want to do. It’s worth mentioning here though, that they do a whole range of writing courses, you’ll definitely find one that suits you.  But more then anything the course also motivates me, I am a terrible procrastinator…

If you’d like to take a look at the courses they do then the website address is http://www.writersbureau.com

What’s been going on?…

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged so I thought I’d catch up with you all…

March has not been a kind month to us and unfortunately I felt as though I had lost my writing mojo. 

The ironic thing is that last March wasn’t good either (for exactly the same reason) and after struggling for the best part of the year it was starting this blog and picking up my writing course again that gave me something to focus on.

I had to take a couple of weeks off sick leave at the beginning of the month and, hard though it was, I completed my 3rd assignment (I’m in the process of studying with The Writers Bureau). It took so much effort to get the work done, but it kept my mind focused and I got there eventually. I’ve now had the assignment back and once again the feedback was great and very encouraging, to the point where my tutor really thinks that I should be getting on with my manuscript.  That’s a good thing right? 😃

So as I sit here thinking about my next assignment I’m beginning to see a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel that I’ve been stuck in for the past few weeks. It’s time to get writing in My Little Book of Big Ideas and start entering some more short story competitions.

Here’s to assignment number 4, short story ideas and the beginning of my manuscript. 

I’m positive my mojo will come out of hiding eventually…

World Book Day…

I know it’s a bit early but I love World Book Day, at my school the children and staff all dress up as Book characters, with a few Super Heros and Disney Princesses thrown into the mix too. We have 12 classes and a prize is awarded to 1 child per class for the best/most creative costume.

Last year one of the boys came dressed as a character from the Cornelia Funke ‘Inkheart’ trilogy. His costume was simple, black trousers and jumper but his mum had carefully written words across one side of his face. I loved it and he won an award for the most original costume.

In the past we’ve had a homemade Tin Man, a Demon Dentist and a Cat in the Hat to name but a few. It’s a day where we celebrate all things bookish.

This year my class will be creating picture books and comics, we have a local author in to work with Year 6 and the other classes have lots of activities arranged to.

So Happy World Book Day for Thursday 📚

Back in Time…

When the phonecall had come Amy had been shopping, she’d collapsed to the floor, the eggs slipping from her hand; crashing to the ground in a melee of egg shell, whites and yolks.

It wasn’t that the call had been completely unexpected, after all her mother’s death had been a long time coming; it was more the wave of relief that drifted over her that had caused the most surprise.

A woman shopper had been the first to help, followed quickly by one of the store attendants who called for some paper towel and a ‘Caution – Wet Floor’ sign. Later this scene would make Amy laugh as she told her husband what had happened. 

She knew that she would have no choice now but to return to Filbert Street. 

The kindly shopper had escorted her to the store cafe where a cup of steaming sweet tea was placed in front of her. Amy smiled and cupped her hands around the mug to stop them from shaking, she was determined not to cry.

Amy had done well for herself, she was unrecognisable from the 16 year old girl who had left home one crisp Autumn day in 1999, broken and alone. 

She was living in a hostel in Leeds when Big Ben chimed in the new millennium and it was another 7 years before she’d gone back to visit her mum, by that time she’d graduated from university and was teaching. Amy had met David the year before and two years later they married, Amy did not invite her mum to the wedding.

She could still smell the rancid air that filled the house, a cocktail of cigarette smoke, over flowing ashtrays, mouldy take-out trays and empty vodka bottles. She shuddered as she recalled shoplifting for food because her mother had spent all their money on fags and alcohol. She was surprised at how adept she had become at it, but she’d had to eat. How the other girls had laughed at her because her clothes were old and ill-fitting. When her periods started she’d had to rip up a couple of sheets to use, she’d got the idea from a book about the Victorians!

She had slipped through the system like water through a sieve and no one had cared, not her teachers nor the neighbours. 

But now she was free…

Deep Underground…

The Earl’s Court was now in session. The Judge sat sternly in his chair, the veins in his forehead pulsating. The assizes had been broken and someone had to pay.

The Seven Sisters sat without conviction whilst the Black Friars mumbled incoherent incantations up in the gallery. In the dock stood Lady Highbury, her head held high; the Prince Regent looked on helplessly. 

Lady Thames smiled to herself as the Angel stepped towards the witness box, after all it didn’t matter who was guilty as long as someone took the blame…