Star Wars Reads Day

May the Force be with you!

Wakefield Libraries

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Star Wars Reads Day: Fully Armed and Operational on October 10!

Once again, bookshops, libraries, and retailers are taking part in the fourth annual installment of the global event and it’s even bigger this year as excitement  about the new film builds.  This year children can drop in to Castleford Forum Library 9am-3.30pm, Normanton Library 10-12 am, Pontefract Library 1-3pm and Wakefield Library 9-5 to find a selection of events, activities or things to do as well as a selection of Star Wars themed early readers.

If the Dark Side you would defeat, Read more you must!

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Camp NaNoWriMo July 2015: Day 1

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Word Count: 923 words

Characters are being introduced, an indication of the humour is coming through but my main issue is that I am trying to give it something of a sci-fi feel but as I only watch Doctor Who, the new Star Trek films, The Big Bang Theory and the odd episode of Stargate SG1 here and there, my knowledge is limited and it’s difficult. Need be, I will probably just go for telling over showing with this one.

It’s the story I want to get down on paper more than anything and any sci-fi-ness will be a bonus.

Tech Tip for Writers #65: How to use Google Street View

Until I can go to the places I write about, Google Maps, Earth and Street View are the next best thing.

WordDreams...

Tech Tips for Writers is an (almost) weekly post on overcoming Tech Dread. I’ll cover issues that friends, both real-time and virtual, have shared. Feel free to post a comment about a question you have. I’ll cover it in a future Tip.

Q: I can’t find enough detail about a particular area of the world my character visits. Any suggestions?

A: Try Google Street View. It’s a wonderful way to explore settings for your writing Here’s how to use it:

  • First, you must have Google Earth. It’s a free download and I’ve never had problems with the install. Take a minute to do that. I’ll wait.
  • Done? That was fast. Here’s what you do next:

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Read Regional 2015

Discover new writers from the North of England with this year’s Read Regional list.

Wakefield Libraries

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It’s Read Regional time once again. Every year this scheme introduces library users to new titles by authors based in the north of England. This year there are 10 exciting titles to explore.
There are five novels:
Letters to my Husband by Stephanie Butland
The Last King of Lydia by Tim Leach
The Quick by Lauren Owen
Herring Girl by Debbie Taylor
Into the Trees by Robert Williams

Three books of poetry:
Ellen Phethean: Portrait of the Quince as an Older Woman
Helen Tookey: Missel-Child
John Wedgwood Clarke: Ghost Pot

a novel for young people, Hate by Alan Gibbons and finally a graphic novel, Sally Heathcote, Suffragette by Mary and Bryan Talbot. If you have never tried reading a novel in graphic form why not give this a try. Their graphic novel Dotter of her Father’s Eyes won the Costa Biography Award in 2013.

You can find out more about…

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Camp NaNoWriMo

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Yes, you’ve guessed it, I am doing Camp in April.

My mind decided I was doing it  back in November when I got the idea for the main character really. I’ve been thinking and developing the idea since, especially the plot, as I had pretty much none when I first got the idea. My first inkling on the idea was just the character really. Think Valka from How To Train Your Dragon 2 in the modern-day and you have an idea of what I’m thinking. You can read my current synopsis of my story by visiting my Camp NaNoWriMo Novel Info page.

At least, I have my main character, things I want to happen and, thanks to my search for a novel title, a very basic plot idea and know how it ends. This is how I normally write anyway. As long as I know what needs to happen, the main points, I can usually work from there. This time around however I definitely think I need to be more of a plotter rather than the pantser because the story potentially takes place over 3 years and is a bit more of a mystery thing. It’s for that mystery part I need to work on some of the mythology at least to allow me to plot out the key points for the story.

It also doesn’t help that the planning I have so far is still not fixed. I am even messing with a romance sub plot line to help me, should things go awry and I get stuck. I do have just over a week to go before the event starts so I have the time to at least hammer a bit more plot into place to make sure I can get something written in April.

Are you doing Camp NaNoWriMo in April? Know what you are doing or are you waiting until the last-minute to decide? Are you in a cabin or going solo? Feel free to comment below!

Libraries like Café’s? Uh, what?

Yes, I am getting on my soap box about libraries again but I feel the need to talk about it.

Wakefield One, Wakefield. Source: Wakefield First

I have been meaning to write about this since seeing a report in the Daily Mail (a UK daily newspaper) that talked about an independent report calling for libraries to become more like Costa Coffee shops. You can read the original report here. What has spurred me to finally write about it today (not least of all because I haven’t posted this week) is a quote MyLittleBookBlog posted yesterday:

“Libraries will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no libraries”Anne Herbert

I have no doubt the authors of the report mean well and agree with Mr Sieghart when he says how important libraries are to those who are the poorest in our society. I also agree that Wi-Fi has to become a necessity for libraries to continue to survive and thrive (digital book lending on e readers anyone?), the need for comfy sofas and toilets as well as offering other services to make the library a community hub but the part that made go “uh, what?” is the suggestion that hot drinks should be offered in libraries. I think he has missed something very important in that regard. If libraries offer hot drinks along with everything else, doesn’t the library then become a café with books to browse and read?

There is a reason why there is a rule in most libraries that I have visited that no food or drink is allowed near the computers in the library at least: it’s called health and safety and making sure that other people don’t gag over horrible food smells! By all means offer food and drink but NOT in the library itself!

I am proud to say that most libraries in the Wakefield area offer comfortable areas to sit and read, toilets and programmes for the community as well as a place for the older members in the area to meet and talk to other people. Frequently, the library staff are the only people they talk to all week. In my mind, the libraries offer a great value for money service. A library building that offers everything that the report says need to be all libraries is the Wakefield One building in Wakefield however hot drinks and food are only available in Create Cafe downstairs and food and drink is not allowed near the computers.

So it is possible to cram all of what this report is saying libraries need to do but libraries like coffee shops? Uh, no. I doubt libraries are actually heading for disaster if they don’t incorporate all of this but let’s maybe have more like the libraries in the Wakefield area and Wakefield One but keep libraries and coffee shops as separate entities. Possibly the best compromise available.

P.S.: Find out more Wakefield Libraries and the latest news by visiting the Wakefield Libraries blog and check out Wakefield (and it’s library) during the Food, Drink and Rhubarb Festival taking place Friday 20 to Sunday 22 February 2015.

New Years Goals

January is a good time to think of goals to achieve this year. Source: GoodSearch Images

As I said last year, I don’t make any resolutions as I never keep to them. I make goals instead because goals are things to strive for and I tend to be very goal orientated. My last post mentioned that I was frustrated I failed on my second goal and I still am. At the same time, I accept that my personal circumstances prevent me from doing as much as I would like.

So what are my goals for this year?:

1) Try to write something every day or every week. Not sure on the frequency or how much if I am being completely honest but I definitely feel the need to make this a goal to make myself write.

2) Post once a week, every week on this blog. I know, the same goal as last year but it might help to keep this as a goal.

3) For my own wellbeing:

(i) try to pamper myself if possible once a month with a little special treat of something, even if it’s just watching a film or reading a book.

(ii) keep in contact with as many friends as possible, whether by Skype, phone or in person. Sometimes, a good chat/rant and a laugh is all someone needs to keep them well.

4) Participate in as many writing/National Novel Writing Month events as possible. I know I haven’t finished many events as of late but quite frankly, writing makes me feel better, especially considering my personal issues.

Right now, I think it is best for me to keep to just these few. I may end up adding more later but I definitely think these are the most important. Have you got any goals for yourself this year? Got any advice? Share them below if you like.