Monday, 30 March 2015

The Power of a Story

A recent visit to Beddgelert in Snowdonia got me thinking. What is it about a story that is so captivating? But I realised that the answer was tied up and tangled with another. Why do I write? It’s that desire to take someone on an all important emotional rollercoaster. And for emotion, the story of Beddgelert packs a punch. With the unerring loyalty of Gelert and the consolation that to make mistakes is to be human, the story is as heart-breaking as it is wonderful.

The wording on the slate ‘headstone’ tells the story.

Gelert’s Grave

In the thirteenth century Llywelyn Prince of North Wales had a palace at Beddgelert. One day he went hunting without Gelert the faithful hound who was unaccountably absent. On Llywelyn’s return, the truant, stained and smeared with blood, joyfully sprang to meet his master. The Prince, alarmed, hastened to find his son and saw the infant’s cot empty, the bedclothes and floor covered with blood. The frantic father plunged his sword into the hound’s side thinking it had killed his heir. The dog’s dying yell was answered by a child’s cry. Llywelyn searched and discovered his boy unharmed but nearby lay the body of a mighty wolf which Gelert had slain. The Prince, filled with remorse, is said never to have smiled again. He buried Gelert here. The spot is called Beddgelert.

Gelert's Grave, Beddgelert.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Away from reality - for a while!

Isn't that what writers do all the time, living in their own little world? Well, sometimes real life can get in the way. So I spent last weekend on a writers’ retreat in Leeds run by Malaga Workshops. Writing is of necessity a solitary occupation and the chance to meet with like-minded people who nodded in understanding was a tonic in itself.

The course tutor was the brilliant and generous Kate Walker. With 63 novels published to date, if she couldn't answer our questions, no-one could.

I met up with a group of six other writers at Weetwood Hall in Leeds where we had chance to really concentrate on our writing. Having submitted work to Kate beforehand, we each had a valuable one to one critique with her as well as group sessions where we raised questions and offered suggestions and solutions.

Dinner with the lovely and talented
Melissa Morgan.

But most of all we had the chance to write without the usual interruptions. And with Kate on call and available to discuss any other issues that arose during our writing the weekend was productive.

Thursday, 5 March 2015

World Book Day

With today being World Book Day, I couldn't resist the invitation to pop along to my daughter’s school to read some extracts to the children. 

I read an excerpt from Louis Sacher’s clever and insightful ‘Holes’. A wonderful story about friendship and a book I’d bought long before my daughter was even a twinkle in her father’s eye.

Then I went on to the Kindergarten to read what used to be my daughter’s favourite story.
The ability to lose ourselves in a book starts early and their enthusiasm was infectious.

And my favourite book?

And I was blown away by Victoria Parker’s d├ębut novel Princess in the Iron Mask.

A day dedicated to books? What more do we need?