Tag Archives: Writing

Opening Lines

I used to want to be an author. I used to read avidly, literally hundreds of books a year. And I wrote, and wrote. But this was way back in my teens and early 20’s, now I’m 36 it’s been 15 years since I wrote regularly and over 10 years since I wrote anything at all. But inspired by the Children’s Writer blog and behind-the-scenes writing comments from (too many to mention) picture book authors and illustrators on Twitter, I thought I might revisit a story that’s been in my head all that time and write it for my girls…

My aspirations to be an author have faded over time, and I don’t have the patience to really write at this stage in my life but I thought I could manage a short story just for my girls. I hoped to be able to pull the threads of my ideas together, put the words in some sort of order and sort out the ending so it worked. Ideas are easy, writing is the hard part!

With that in mind, I started to think of the opening sentence(s). Perhaps just writing the story down first would be the best idea, but it’s been in my head for so long I thought I’d start at the beginning. Fiction Fridays have taught me that the first sentence can really sell a book to the reader. The story is a non-traditional fairy tale, so I looked for inspiration:

“Once upon a time there lived a King and a Queen who weren’t very good at it.” The Tough Princess (Waddell & Benson)

“Once there was a Dragon who was convinced he was TOTALLY TERRIFYING.” The Totally Terrifying Three (Oram & Melling)

“Once upon a Tuesday the king was in a hurry as usual.” The Kiss That Missed (Melling)

“Once upon a time, there was a deep, dark forest, where monstrous trees groaned, terrible beasties moaned and wiggly woos waited to tickle your toes.” Sir Charlie Stinky Socks and the Really Big Adventure (Stephenson)

“The trouble with Dragons is… Dragons make Dragons and they make some more till there are wall-to-wall Dragons making Dragons galore.” The Trouble With Dragons (Gliori)

“Long, and long ago, when Oberon was king of the fairies, there reigned over the fair country of Phantasmorania a monarch who had six beautiful daughters.” The Ordinary Princess (Kaye)

The Ordinary Princess isn’t a picture book. It is however a perfect fairy tale. I think it’s the book I want to write. Except it was already written over 30 years ago! It definitely deserves its own post.

After looking at the inspiration, I thought about the opening lines for “my” story. Hmmm, maybe I’ll think about writing again in another ten years… 🙂

New Year 2012

This blog was supposed to be my memories of the good things done with my girls, but for the past few months I could just refer you to CBeebies/CBBC listings for what we’ve actually done together, and I don’t want to write about the difficult things – they’re nothing new in the world of parenting and I have nothing to add to the subject 😆

So this blog will be about things that me and my girls do together, but it’s also my headspace to rant and to share and to grow.

I don’t do New Year’s Resolutions. Any time I’ve ever made a New Year’s Resolution, I’ve failed it miserably. I gave up with them in the late 90’s:
1996: Resolve: to turn my work around and pass degree; to not live with parents. Result: Failed degree; moved back to parent’s home from student house.
1997: Resolve: to move out from parental home. Result: Still living with parent.
1998: Resolve: to move out from parental home. Result: Still living with parent.
1999: No Resolutions. Moved out of parental home by April.

However I need to make some BIG changes to my life, so here are my non-resolutions for 2012:

Health: I have always been overweight. Festively plump? I don’t think so. Apparently there is a category over morbidly obese, and I’ve just entered it 😦 I want to start swimming again, but maybe I should wait until all the New Year’s Resolution people have stopped clogging up the swimming pool and I can swim in peace and quiet. Fortunately the local ‘leisure centre’ has a creche. Not to mention mental health, but that’s a whole other story (as the monkey says in Tinga Tinga Tales :lol:)

Me, aged about one

Driving: My NINTH driving test is on 1st February. One of my sucesses for 2011 was failing the 8th test merely due to not keeping to speed limits. On three ocassions. I have been ‘learning to drive’ since 2002, but after the seventh failure I stopped lessons between October 2004 & July 2010. I will, will, will, WILL pass this year. Preferably before my provisional licence runs out in August…

Writing: I used to write when I was younger. It’s a very long time since I did. From about age 14 to age 22 I wrote so much, and being a hoarder I still have notebooks of snippets and ideas and plans of family trees (I read a lot of fantasy, creating the world was more fun than writing the books :lol:) in a box somewhere. The last thing I wrote was Buffy fanfic 10 or 11 years ago. Oh dear… Blogging is a good start to practising the words again. I also need to read much more, I used to read avidly, now I barely get through 5 books in a year 😦

It's amazing what you can still find online...

Parenting: This belongs at the top of the list, but I’m avoiding it. I’m not the parent I want to be. I don’t think anyone is. I don’t want to be super-parent, doing fun and creative things all day and providing a perfect house, being a wonderful wife and so forth – that’s never going to happen! But I want to be true to my ideals as much as possible: child-led, respectful, uncontrolling, living in an ordered environment.

Clutter: I have always been a hoarder. I married a hoarder. We have stuff. Things, possessions, belongings, objects, STUFF. Everywhere. I am queen of putting things in boxes. Put it in a box, sort it out later. Get 5 boxes down to 3, then get more clutter to sort out making 7 boxes and repeat… Paperwork, artwork (children’s), toys, books… I am too overwhelmed by the mess to know where to start. Did I mention living in an ordered environment?

A teeny selection of the clutter, looking quite tidy comparatively 😆

That’s probably more than enough non-resolution areas for a year. See you on the other side?!

First Words

Mighty Girl (4yrs 9months) is definitely in a sensitive period for reading and writing. She is loving the phonics work at school and outside school is attempting to decode words wherever she sees them – menus, street names, books… She loves to play pretend cafe and takes food orders and writes them down – I’ve been trying to think of food that can be written phonically like “bun” but she tries everything. It is an exciting and interesting process to observe so I’m saving some of her early writing here for posterity, so she can look back at it later (and Destructo Girl’s when she gets to that sensitive period).

Cafe orders LHS: sausage and jacket potato; RHS: bun and ice cream

Apple; Teapot

Mummy (when she runs out of space, she writes the letters at the start or above); come to my [party]; from

Ice cream

Thank-you has been copied from a thank-you note, hence the different shaped letters to her usual style. “TK” was her first attempt, then she asked for something to copy from.

This was written entirely independently when at the craft station at school 🙂