Archive for the ‘writers’ Category

 

My writing has been virtually non-existent lately which is sad. I love the out-pouring of emotion and general release that only writing can offer. The pen no longer a material, solid object but part of your body, a functioning limb.

I miss the peace and tranquility that is only found when I disappear from this world into one of fantasy, even if the fantasy world contains horror, pain, torture or loneliness. I know that this is temporary, and like Alice, I will soon climb back out of the rabbit hole safe and sound (of mind).

Now, being in the real world is not such a simple story.

Being a Mum, an entrepreneur of a new business in these difficult and unstable times, and dealing with the day-to-day issues that life throws at you, like health issues, can be challenging. But, and this is a big BUT, I love it all. I love that I am now the proud owner of my own business. I love that I can get up each day and be excited about my job. I love meeting new and interesting people on a regular basis. I love that i’m helping other people and businesses to achieve. I LOVE LIFE.

I don’t think that I have ever been this happy and it appears to be drawing more happiness in towards me every day.

I have neglected this blog, but it has been for a very good reason. One of the main reasons is the one thing that will one day give me the lifestyle to be able to write all day everyday, my company.

I have now allocated two hours per week to spend on blogging, this blog is too important to me to give up.

For those writers that subscribe to my ramblings, I am helping to organise seminars for the amazing Mr David Baboulene http://www.baboulene.com   PhD Scholar, Story Consultant and published author.

See my previous blog;  https://persistentwriter.wordpress.com/2011/05/10/the-science-of-story/

The first seminar will be held at Birmingham City University, Edgbaston on 1st October 2011.

Ticket Cost £49.00 / £39.00 Concession.

If you want further information or would like to book your ticket for this amazing event, please do not hesitate to contact me: kirie.hansen@sky.com or click on the Baboulene link above.

We look forward to seeing you there…

 

 

 

Over the last couple of months I have been putting together the queen of all business plans in a bid to become one of Britain’s newest entrepreneurs. I have also been playing email tennis with a very kind-hearted successful businessman with a nose for an interesting opportunity and the patience of a saint (lots of theological references here for some odd reason!), I don’t know what I would have done without said Business Angel (he really is an angel).

I knew that the idea for my business was sound and original, that my services would be welcomed and appreciated, and that i’m not scared of hard work, but i’ve spent nearly eighteen years making money for others and this was all new to me. I have a sound corporate background working in a variety of positions and sectors, I knew that I could do this … or could I? I have spent so long being protected under the shield of a large organisation, suddenly I would need to protect myself.

Confidence, or a lack of it, began to attack me for the first time in my life. What if I couldn’t get anybody to deal with me? What if my great ideas and creativity weren’t so great after all? Blah Blah Blah. I no longer had a Director to pat me on the back and tell me how great I was, I was REALLY alone. I told my wonderful business angel and he kindly rounded up all of my stray confidence and put it calmly back where it should be, “YOU CAN do this!!!”

I didn’t have a great deal of cash to invest in this venture but I had an abundance of enthusiasm and a resourceful disposition. Oh and a ton of determination. I had my experience and contacts and wonderful friends. I CAN do this!!!

Because I am over thirty and don’t live in a developing area, I couldn’t get any funding or financial help. So much for the Conservative government desperately needing entrepreneurs! Ha! I had to do this on my own. Scary. Where do I start?

Business Link was my first point of call, helpful to a point … though the website is an excellent resource www.businesslink.gov.uk/bdotg/action/home .

Business Link then referred me to Business Enterprise Support (BES), they assigned me a Business Support Rep, Pascal, very helpful chap. I attended a one day training event then I was on my own. I still had questions and so The Chamber of Commerce was next. I made an appointment with the senior business advisor for my area and took in all of my documentation and business plan. This was an excellent meeting and filled me with confidence that I was making the right decision. I was actually doing this… YIPPEEEE!

I have now designed all of the literature for my business, designed and produced a basic website, and purchased all of my stationary. I have found the perfect office to work from and I have networked my wee butt off. I have gained my first clients; the launch of a new bar, Passion Cocktail and Tapas Bar Fazeley, and I have arranged a number of seminars for a Story Consultant / published author, David Baboulene across the UK.

http://passionfazeley.co.uk/

http://www.baboulene.com/

I can’t tell you how good it feels to be your own boss. I feel like I have powerful wings that are carrying me skyward without limits. I can do anything I put mind to. After my soul destroying 2010, I never thought that I would get to where I am today. It’s taken a lot of hard work and determination (and a few sleepless nights) but i’ve done it. I’m under no illusions that this is going to be easy and i’m learning every day, but it’s worth it.

My writing continues, though in smaller chunks of time, and I have every intention of continuing with this blog so please stick with me. I’ll keep you all posted of how my journey progresses.

http://www.kiriehansen.co.uk/

 

 

 

I am about to open a can of worms. I know this, but I feel so passionate about the subject that I need to comment on it.

 

I’m the proud owner of an iPad (which is annoyingly now updated! But that’s a whole different blog!).

 

My iPad is mainly used for writing and reading (amongst other things). Those of you that have visited this blog before will know that I am an avid reader and lover of books; these can be paper or electronic. My loyalties and heart will always be with paper. The feeling you get whilst turning a page; the scent that fills the air around you with nostalgia and memories whilst you hold your tome of choice in your hands. But, we have to accept that times are changing and the format from which we read is rapidly changing too. I own a vast number of EBooks in a variety of genres and each year I purchase fifty or more paper books; the majority of which are new releases.

Some girls buy shoes…. I buy books.

I am writing this blog as a reader primarily, and a writer secondary.

What driving force leads you to select one book / genre over another?

For me, it’s not a pretty cover – I know the marketing processes having worked in sales and PR – or whether it’s on a table at the front of a shop. It’s not because it’s an Amazon / iTunes best-seller (though, I do check those lists). When selecting my books I either read a sample chapter or extended blurb / first couple of pages, or it’s because of a recommendation; word of mouth. Most of my friends are avid readers too. I have also been known to contact friends on creative writing courses and ask for their reading lists (yes, i’m that sad).

A thirst for knowledge (non-fiction), beautiful wording and a great story drive me to buy my books.

Two weeks ago I purchased a selection of eBooks. Some of my choices were recommended by Twitter friends (followers), or were by the authors themselves. I’m happy to say that the majority were fabulous and I thoroughly enjoyed them…BUT…there were some hefty duds amongst my purchases and I only wished that they came with return and refund guarantee!

It’s disappointing and grinding to read an opening chapter FULL of typing errors, spelling mistakes and basic grammar issues. I know that some clever person is going to go through this blog and find errors (I hope not!) but i’m not making people pay to visit! If the story seemed reasonable, I tried to continue (red pen extracted from my mind) but this only uncovered more issues; gaping holes in the plot, uncharacteristic behaviours, unbelievable dialogue, amongst many other problems. I know that this is not the norm, but it’s becoming more prevalent.

Why is this happening? How are these terrible books getting published?

This is only my opinion, feel free to offer your own, but I believe that it is because many more people are self-publishing. Anyone can purchase software and produce an eBook. Writers who do this are generally bypassing the copy-editing stage. Proofreading your own book doesn’t count. By the time you come to the end of your WIP you will have read the same text over and over; you won’t spot even the most basic mistakes.

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, I implore you, as a keen reader / potential customer (also trainee copy-editor), before you publish anything; pay for it to be professionally edited. There are so many companies out there offering this facility (I will be one very soon!) and it is well worth the money if you want people to buy your books.

This experience has put me off purchasing any more eBooks by self-published authors.

I’m hoping some wonderful author will come forth and change my mind! I don’t like discrimination!

I sincerely hope that no one takes offence to this blog, only accepting it for what it is; advice and help for a fellow writer.

Now let’s get out there and show them how it is done!


In my last blog I mentioned that I would be attending a couple of writers’ conferences this year in a bid to better my skills and network with other mad people who choose to write. Writing can be a lonely occupation, so any opportunity to get out there and socialise is grabbed with both hands.

York Festival of Writing was recommended by a friend and fellow author so I have decided to give it a go, be brave and get my work and face out there (scary, the face that is!).

In this blog I wanted to give other aspiring authors details about the conference and the wonderful authors/agents/publishers holding workshops and one-to-one sessions. After attending the conference, I will give honest feedback, so watch this space.

The Festival at a Glance

25-27 March, University of York, UK

A brief selection of the many agents in attendance:

Carole Blake; Agent to bestselling authors including Sheila Flanagan, Joseph O’Connor, Barbara Erskine – and author of Pitch to Publication.

Antony Topping & Judith Murray; Antony and Judith are senior agents at Greene and Heaton, and represent such big names as Sarah Waters,Marcus du Sautoy, CJ Sansom, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall & many more.

Simon Trewin (pictured): Co-head of Books at United Agents. Represents Richard Curtis, Nicci French, etc.

 

 

The Specialists / publishers

In their words;

“We’ve also invited specialist agents & publishers who know the market you are writing for. Among many others …”

John Jarrold: The best known specialist in science-fiction / fantasy / horror in the UK. If you write in this area, you HAVE to meet him

Julia Churchill (pictured): Julia is an agent devoted 100% to the children’s & Young Adult market. No one knows this market better.

(I met Julia at Winchester Writers’ Conference and found her to be warm and encouraging.)

 

Jane Holland & Lyn Vernham: Specialist publishers of women’s fiction & romance. And you don’t need an agent to get published by them either!

Philippa Pride: Philippa is Stephen King’s UK editor at Hodder, and is the person responsible for his entire range. She’s also a consultant who loves working with new writers.

 

 

Alan Mahar: Alan runs Tindal Street Press, one of Britain’s smallest but most prestigious publishers. About 25% of its entire output having won or been shortlisted for national literary awards.

Patrick Janson-Smith: As joint MD at Doubleday / Transworld, Patrick discovered authors such as Bill Bryson, Sophie Kinsella, Andy McNab, Joanna Trollope, and many more. Patrick now runs his own imprint at HarperCollins.

Nicola Morgan: Vastly successful author of YA & children’s fiction. No one knows this territory better. Nicola also hosts the successful, amazing and informative blog; Help! I need a publisher!

(I have my one-to-one appointment with Nicola, so i’m excited to receive her advice.)

http://helpineedapublisher.blogspot.com/

 

Amazing authors that are leading some of the mini courses / sessions available;

Finding Your Voice, with Debi Alper & Dr Emma Darwin – Two experienced and extraordinary authors

Getting Published, with Harry Bingham & Helen Corner – Harry Bingham in organiser of the festival (along with his small army of helpers!). Helen Corner is co-author of, Teach Yourself: How to Write a Blockbuster.

 

Kate Williams (pictured): The vastly popular historian and author of publishing sensation The Pleasures of Men.

Learn from the professionals


Learn how to plot
With Jeremy Sheldon. Novelist, screenwriter & tutor at Birkbeck College, London.

Showing not telling
With novelist Jean Fullerton. If you’re confused about what this rule means, you don’t have to be.

Breaking the Rules
With Debi Alper. You know the rules – but what if you want to break them? Debi tells you how (and how not to) proceed.

 

There are many more exciting authors / professionals listed on the website so please go and take a look.

http://www.festivalofwriting.com/

I look forward to seeing you there……….

What does this year (2011) mean to you?

What are your hopes and aspirations?

Have you set yourself new challenges, or are you still catching up with the old ones?

What do you hope to achieve in 2011?

 

I’m often asked these questions, so I thought that I would get organised and put it all into a blog. This was my intention for the first week in January but after a serious bout of swine flu (amongst other injuries) there has been a delay and i’m doing it now.

Last year – though wonderful in many ways – was a strange year.  Some might even say disastrous; illness and challenges galore. Remaining positive throughout was tough, but I managed to do just that. If last year taught me anything, it was that I am a fighter; I never give up.

In my quest to become a full time writer, I’ve become similar to one of those psychopathic characters in a movie that just won’t die. You know the ones, you keep whacking them but they just won’t stay down. Two distinct differences between me and those characters though: i’m not a psycho and i’m real, honest! I just want to write and people to read and love my work.

So, anyway, what does 2011 mean to me?

It means a new beginning; a fresh page.

Last year I was a mere seedling planted in fertile soil. Forcing my roots down deep and starting to push fresh shoots up, breaking through the surface to feel the warmth of the sun. I’m growing more every day and I have other writers to thank for that, both experienced and aspiring.

This year means a large amount of hard work if I hope to achieve my goal, but it’s work that I love, that i’m willing to do to get where I want to be.

Kirie’s hopes and aspirations

With my first novel virtually complete and a few writers’ conferences lined up, I hope to find a fabulous agent who recognises my potential and takes me under their soft, downy wing.  As always, I aspire to write more, write better and write for longer every day.

I don’t do resolutions as I hate to feel like a failure, so this year I have set myself goals. I am making these public in a bid to encourage me to stick to them, so here goes:

1)   Finish my current MS, Dreme Guardian

2)   Start my second novel in the trilogy and finish it

3)   Enter as many competitions as physically possible

4)   Work more, procrastinate less

5)   Make more fabulous friends & meet more mind giants on Twitter / Word Cloud and at the conferences

6)   Support my fellow aspiring artists in all ways possible

7)   Practice my zombie acting skills ready for when i’m an extra for Indywood Films

8)   Read more amazing and enlightening text

9)   Work hard on my new fantasy project, Vampolice, with a fabulous illustrator who will soon be featured as a guest on this blog (he doesn’t know yet!)

10)Become successful and a great role model for others

As far as new challenges go, I think that I have pretty much covered everything in my goals but I have purchased some “How to” books to help me on my way:

How to Write Great Screenplays and get them into production by Linda M James and Getting Published by Harry Bingham.

I will review them in the Book Review section on this blog and i’ll let you know how they have helped me.

Conferences I will be attending this year are:

http://www.festivalofwriting.com/

25-27 March 2011, York University, England.

 

http://www.writersconference.co.uk/

1st – 3rd July 2011

 

Both conferences have great reputations and are different in many ways, i’m very excited to be attending.

On a last note, I was born in 1975 which was also The Year of the Rabbit. This is my year people!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I first came across Gerry on The Word Cloud writers community. Intelligent and humerous, his imput, critique and general advice have always been spot on. It is with great pleasure that I introduce Gerry to the rest of the world (tadaaaah) and along with many others, I look forward to the release of his Wellesley Tudor Pole biography.

 

A Writer’s Inspiration

What was your favourite / most inspiring writing guide?

We’d been listening to a talking book version of a well-known fantasy novel and Chrissy (my wife) threw her hands up saying, ‘I could do better than that.’

Suspecting she had oodles of hidden talent, I said, ‘Go on then.’ She resisted, but I promised to act as all-round slave, discuss her ideas, offer some of my own, try not to pout when she rejected them, type up anything she wrote, get meticulous with commas, and so on. After a while she found her momentum and was away. Result: young adult fantasy thriller, The Salamander Stone, 120,000 words, scrupulously plotted, written, revised and polished. (We didn’t know the word count would kill it stone dead.)

Next job: send out the letters. Job after that: collect the rejections. Job after that: take stock. Mm, better try some reading services. So she/we worked with Cornerstones and revised the book a lot more. Then she/we worked with Pollingers Agency (yes, they took her on) for the best part of a year until the agent took maternity leave – resulting in much hiatus, sending of enquiries, waiting of months and eventual verdict of  ‘Sorry, no’. Then she/we worked with the Hilary Johnson Authors’ Advisory Service, after which another agent thought there are ‘many published writers who aren’t a patch’ on Chrissy – though the answer was still ‘No’.

But that’s how I learnt the rules. I wouldn’t have bothered for my sake but learnt them for someone else’s sake.
How did it help you?

The first book I wrote, age seven, was ‘Luck for the Goodies’, a short epic about cowboys and justice. A few million words followed in subsequent decades, although rarely in approved form.

Since helping Chrissy, however, I have vowed to be good and do as the industry specifies. I/we have consequently found a few ways to pronounce POV and SNT. (Try a snarl: ‘PV!’ Or a growl: ‘SNOT!’). And we have tossed other ideas back and forth – Narrative Arc for instance, or Active-v-Passive. Most such concepts are instinctive, but it helps to bring them out of the unconscious into the conscious.
What is the best piece of advice you have been given as a writer?

The best advice comes from Chrissy nowadays. Having trained herself up, she became an excellent critic, pushing opinions she previously would have mistrusted.

Also, of course, different people have different strengths. I tend to be stronger on ideas and plot-mapping, whereas she’s stronger on drama and characters. So if she decides a section needs more drama or that someone is acting out of character, I ought to listen because she’s better at those things than me.

What is the best piece of advice you can give to other aspiring authors?

General life-advice: give whatever you can – you’ll get plenty more in return.

Specific advice to authors: who are you? What matters to you? What gets you so buzzing you can’t sleep for thinking about it? What expands your mind, your soul, your whole being? What is unique about you? (Yes, there really is something.)

Then, if you can call to mind an action or an event that set you thinking/pondering/feeling, you might be onto something. Passionate concern + trigger = inspiration.

What do you enjoy reading? Which books have helped you develop your craft?

Wordsworth and Coleridge were in the business of discovering Truths of the Imagination – getting to the essence of things: top men both.

The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho): only a sketch but it has a clear, inevitable, archetypal shape.

My ultimate Desert Island Book, however, must be My Dear Alexias, a selection of letters from Wellesley Tudor Pole to Rosamond Lehmann. (Wellesley Tudor Who? – ah, perhaps I should explain. Come with me, gentle reader.)

Tell us briefly about your publishing journey

Eleven years ago I took a break from self-expression (it can get a bit claustrophobic) and tried expressing someone else, beginning a biography of Wellesley Tudor Pole, the most remarkable Englishman of the last century. Research, collation, editing and writing involved about four years; then a London agent took on the result and some time later retired (not cause and effect, I trust) – after which, the book dozed.

What next? I stepped even further from self-expression and worked for Chrissy’s book instead (result approximately similar.)

And then lo! – the Universe decided fair’s fair and gave me a leg up. In September 2010 a prominent New Age figure in America spotted my wellesleytudorpole.com website, and emailed me to arrange publication.

Starseed Publications (part of Lorian press) will bring out The Two Worlds of Wellesley Tudor Pole very soon. So get ready to place your order. (Come on, you want to know about the most remarkable Englishman of the last century, don’t you? Course you do!)

UPDATE: Gerry’s book is about to be released!! I am told that it will be available for order this week! We’ll keep you informed.


Anything else?

Well, seeing as you ask, look out (eventually) for The Most Beautiful Girl In The World (novel); also for A Short Selective Journey Through Hell (follow-up novel); and maybe even A Few Brief Sorties Into Heaven (if ever I find time). Yup, Gerry finally got back to self-expression. (Or, shall we say, expressing the Universe.) None of these novels are out as yet, but the future’s a wonderful place, and that’s where you’ll find them.

 

Meanwhile

Have a chat with Gerry, if inclined, on The Word Cloud. Not a member? Well, there’s a simple enough remedy for that, isn’t there?

There is a direct link from this blog, over there, on the left.

Honorary Patrons
Dame Beryl Bainbridge
Baroness James of Holland Park
Jacqueline Wilson OBE
Maureen Lipman
Colin Dexter OBE

2010 was the year I decided to become a serious writer and Winchester was my foot up.

Don’t get me wrong, i’ve been writing poetry and stories from around the age of five, but 2010 was the year to take my writing seriously; to be brave and let other people read my work.

Two years prior I had been involved in a car accident that left me with fairly minor injuries…….at the time! The injuries became more serious as time went on. Last October I spent almost four long weeks in two hospitals, and many more months sick and weak; not nice! But it was the kick up the butt I needed to release my inner creative genius, ahem. Boring back story over and done with; exciting future beckoned.

Where do I start? I mean, it’s obvious you take the first step on a ladder, but which ladder?

So, first things first – the internet. Research into other writers I like, read and respect; Stephen King, Stephanie Meyer, James Herbert, Tolkien, Kate Morton, Dickens etc, etc to name but a few (I have eclectic taste in everything!!).

Stephen King had published a book on writing called, well, Stephen King, On Writing; what a perfect place to begin. His “memoir of the craft” was inspirational (a fellow accident survivor) and brilliant, just what I needed to read.

Wise words!!

Amazon was my next port of call; books on grammar, writing and publishing.

Finances and my situation at the time did not allow me to attend a course / college, so books and websites were my only option. Within minutes of searching (books on writing) I found the most brilliant and comprehensive book; Your Writing Coach by Jurgen Wolff. This book covered pretty much everything, so became my bible.

Jurgen Wolff recommended that I attend the Winchester Writers’ Conference, so, I checked out their website. Wow, this year they had the one and only Sir Terry Pratchett giving the Plenary Speech. SIR TERRY PRATCHETT!!! I love him….. ticket sold. Saving every penny I had, I bought my place and entered a couple of the competitions detailed on their website.

Attending this conference was the best decision I had ever made. Winchester guided me to a doorway into a world I never knew existed; a world of words and wordsmiths, aspiring authors just like me. For the first time in my life I felt like I was somewhere I belonged, with people just like me.

“Hello, my name is Kirie and i’m a bibliophile.”

Hundreds of delegates from all corners of the globe attended the 2010 conference, I am honored to call some of these budding writers my friends. We keep in touch, moan and support each other in our otherwise solitary fantasy lives.

 

“The Winchester Writers’ Conference offers a wide range of courses, workshops and one to one appointments for the aspiring or established writer.”

The 2011 conference is a must! I recommend that all budding writers reading this do their best to get there!

http://www.writersconference.co.uk

Barbara Large MBE FRSA HFUW
barbara.large@winchester.ac.uk
Founder-Director Winchester Writers’ Conference