Welcome to my blog!

I am a lefty. I write vertically, cannot use can-openers and was recently foiled by a right handed ladle (I will have my vengeance...) but more than this, I generally seem to approach life from a different angle. I appreciate that this may have nothing to do with being a lefty and may just be my own dysfunctionallity, but after earning the nickname 'Lefty-Flip' after a frustrating game of Guitar Hero, it seemed an appropriate title for this blog.

Monday, 12 December 2011

In case you were wondering...

This month, I have mostly been posting here

Normal Lefty service will resume when I stop biting off more than I can chew!

Monday, 21 November 2011

A Plea to the Mice of Wiltshire

After my truly epic writing spree last weekend (6000 words and an entire chapter in a day and a half - is that a trumpet I hear blowing?) I have followed up this weekend with... barely a page.

I assure you this is because I am taking the time to mull over some deep ideas, it had nothing at all to do with the amount of wine I drank Friday night (or Saturday night...)

None at all.


In my defense I was also a little distracted by an uninvited visitor. For a while now our tiniest cat, Brian (yep, Brian) has been bringing us... presents. Dead mice to be specific. And many of them. It's a lovely treat to come down to in the morning. Even better is when he's decide to eat it...

I shall stop there.
Don't be fooled - this dude is a cold blooded killer.

The last few times he's bought in such a present we've tried using our stern face, scowling at him and generally attempting to explain to a CAT that we do not appreciate the early morning mouse guts...
Well apparently some of this got through his fury little head. Because the next mouse he bought in was alive!
Cheers Brian.

I wonder if he's been trying to bring us live mice all this time, only being a cat he plays a little rough and just loved them too hard... Shall have to re-name him Lenny. Since then we've had two more live mice, one of which Fran tried to pretend she had caught herself. She made a show of running round with it in her mouth but the second I booted them both out the back door Mousy made a break for freedom and Fran decided she was too sophisticated for such shenanigans.

Sure you are Frannie, sure you are...

Anyway, I am pleased to report that all three live mice managed to leave the premises in the same state! How long for I can't guarantee as we have had several more dead ones since.

If the mice of Wiltshire have any common sense they will all go and hibernate - for the love of God, HIBERNATE! There's only so much death a girl can take before breakfast.

Friday, 11 November 2011


Holy moly, Chapter 9 is finished! Two weeks overdue so now cracking on with Chapter 10... and then I believe I have a choir rehearsal to go to...

Eeek! December cometh...

Oh and as it's Friday...

Friday, 4 November 2011

Fran Friday

Attention everyone. Due to crappy weather, and an ever crappier mood, I plan to spend the weekend under a duvet.

With this little Bean for company.

Thank you, that is all.

Friday, 28 October 2011

On Editing. King Style.

As you may be aware, I'm a bit of a Stephen King fan. I may have mentioned it before somewhere.
Once again I find myself bowing to his words of wisdom (ok in this case they weren't actually his words, but words of advice to him) nevertheless, he thought them important enough to pass on, so I am doing the same. The words came in the form of a rejection letter and contained the following formula:

2nd Draft = 1st draft - 10%

I first read this in the rather brilliant 'On Writing' several years ago, and my first reaction was 'works for you, but not for me.' If anything I expected my second draft to be longer than the first because of those areas I knew I had skated over in brief detail the first time round. surely they would need re-writing and expanding? Well sure, some of those patches did need expanding, but in truth the majority of them needed to be hacked away altogether!

I'm currently doing a combined edit/re-write of my second draft and am finally embracing the golden rule and aiming to cut 10%. Because yes, there are areas that now need fleshing out and expanding on, those places where I didn't explain things in quite enough detail. Only, I then appear to have repeated that same sketchy detail two chapters later, and oh look - again a few chapters after that... I have even found what is essentially the same paragraph written twice in the same chapter, a mere page and a half apart!

First draft for me, as I've said before, is mud pie stage. Pour it all on, slap it together and hope it sticks. Better to repeat yourself than forget an idea. Anything goes in a first draft, repetition, ludicrous sub-plots, half baked characters, (and on one page what appears to be a reminder to myself to buy cat food at the weekend.)
But there comes a time to shape the mud pie (er, or maybe wash off the mud? Not sure where I'm going with this!) hence the need to edit as I re-write. There is something immensely liberating about deleting great big chunks of your work - no honestly it really is! I've heard lots of stories of how difficult editing can get, and I'm sure the nearer to finished a piece of work is, the more painful it gets to 'Kill your Darlings' but at this stage, when I know what I'm cutting is utter codswallop, it feels rather nice! Like there is a good piece of writing buried in the mud somewhere, and if I keep digging I may just find it.

Thursday, 27 October 2011


If this blog was a child it would have been taken into care by now! I'm sorry wee blog, I do love you really.

Have had a new toy to play with recently though. Oh yes, because I do such a gosh darn good job at keeping this blog up to date, I decided to take control of another!
http://makinmuzic.blogspot.com/  is where you can read all about Makin' MuZic, the rather lovely choir I sing with in Swindon.
I was going to give it it's own page on my blog, then decided they deserve a whole blog of their own!

So go check us out! We're good, honest! :-)

Monday, 3 October 2011

The Red Shirt Diaries

Do you remember in Star Trek when they used to pop off the Enterprise every now and then to go and investigate some dangerous new planet?

Off would go Kirk, and Spock and Bones… and a Security chap in a red shirt.

Five minutes in (and that’s being generous) said red-shirted chappie would cop it.

Some days I wish I was writing for Star Trek.

I sort of liked the honesty of that approach, like an unwritten agreement between writer and viewer; Look, we know he’s gonna snuff, it you know he’s gonna snuff it, we could waste your time giving you some back-story, making you really feel for this guy, and the wife and kids he left behind… or you know, we could just slap him in a red shirt and get on with the show, cause we only have thirty minutes here, and twenty of that will be Kirk’s log…

It was nice.

Everyone knew where they stood.

Except for the Red-Shirt.

Those guys never saw it coming.

I admit it; I am currently lacking the patience to retrospectively fill out a character I invented purely for the purpose of killing off in three chapters time. He’s nothing but a walking talking plot device.
Literary cannon fodder.

Can’t I just slap him in a red shirt and be done with?

Ah, I could. But then you’d all know what was coming.

PS And yes, I wrote this Sunday evening whilst watching Star Trek and generally procrastinating.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Wake Me Up When September Ends

Holidays, broken hearts and funerals.

I have written off September!

Will be back next month (which is alarmingly close!) with more interesting (and frequent) things to say.


Friday, 16 September 2011

Hello? Anyone home?

A whole week with nothing to say??? Surely not!!!

Well actually I have had a lot to say for myself this week, sadly none of if printable. Suffice to say life has been somewhat chaotic of late and blogging has fallen by the wayside.

Next week will also be quite on the Lefty front because I'M GOING ON HOLIDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Good times.

So, short and sweet as always on a Friday...

What can I say. The girl loves pants. Particularly novelty boxers apparently!

Bye for now,


Friday, 9 September 2011

Fran Friday continues

Friday is my writing day, so I'll make this short and sweet.

Speaking of which... here she is!

Aww.... I love my cat.

Have a great weekend folks!

Thursday, 8 September 2011

But it really was my idea first...

I read a lovely post yesterday over on Nicola Morgan's blog where Jonathan Pinnock shared his frustrations at being piqued to the post with a similar idea for a book - It tugged at my heartstrings because there is nothing quite as frustrating as having a brilliant idea,and finding out that someone else already had it. and what's more, they've already published it.
At times like these I revert to a three year old, throw my toys out the pram and wail 'but I thought of that first!!!!'

Sure I did.

And I'm betting another fifty people are thinking the same and are throwing the same tantrum I am!

Or maybe they are better behaved than me in public.

At other times it's just a case of wishing you'd thought of of first - those times you stumble upon a book so brilliant you feel suddenly inspired to go out and write something just like it... oh wait... you can't... It's been done.

So here's a handful of books that have got my eyes glowing green with envy and a huff of a tantrum brewing...

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas - John Boyne
Room - Emma Donoghue
Florence & Giles - John Harding
It - Stephen King
Coraline - Neil Gaiman
A Series Of Unfortunate Events - Lemony Snicket

All fantastic books.

But I do wish I could steal them for my own.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

The First (paper) Cut is the Deepest

Anyone who knows me well, knows two things; I own more shoes than it is possible to wear in a month, and I am obsessed with Harry Potter.
I’m too old to claim that Harry Potter is what got me reading; I loved books way before that (it is however what made me want to be a writer but that’s another blog for another day) But Harry was not my first love. Oh no, not at all...

The first book I can clearly remember reading on my own, was Roald Dahl’s 'The Enormous Crocodile'. It was Quentin Blake’s distinctive illustrations as much as the story that has stayed with me all these years – to this day I can clearly see the crocodile’s cunning disguises, I think the picnic bench was my favourite!
I was utterly terrified of that crocodile, and yet I would always sneak a peek at that book whenever I could, just to get a glimpse at those teeth!

I also loved the ending, where the elephant flings him into the sun to be sizzled up like a sausage! Maybe it was this early exposure to violence that gave me my future bloodlust...

As a child I read a lot. Mostly comics from what I remember – they were the perfect thing to hide under my pillow and read by torchlight. My mum bought me Bunty, and I stole my brother’s Dandy. I also loved the Shirley Hughes ‘My Naughty Little Sister’ stories I remember my mum reading to me.

Enid Blyton also featured, I remember reading The Secret Seven and the Famous Five – for some reason my mum always bought Secret Seven books for my brother and Famous Five books for me – I much preferred the Secret Seven! I never liked Anne much and had my first literary crush on Jack! I distinctly remember one camping holiday when I was around 8 or 9 pinching all my brother’s books and sneaking off to read them under the caravan.
Later, at secondary school, I read whatever my friends were reading, I remember Judy Blume and the Sweet Valley High books fondly, but when I reached the age of 12 or so, I discovered something much better.

Point Horror.

Oh how I loved them! I still have a box full of them in my cupboard now, The Cemetery, The Body, Freeze Tag – My favourite, I remember, was ‘Fatal Secrets’ I mean the title says it all!
They were the first books I really got wrapped up in, and I even had a stab at writing one myself (very, very badly I hasten to add!)
Despite the fact that these books all seemed to follow the same standard formula, I never grew tired of them.

Until one day I discovered something even better.

I guess I would have been about 14, possible 15 and was rooting around my favourite second hand bookshop, probably looking for more Point Horror books, when I picked up an old battered copy of a Pet Semetary by Stephen King.
It was three times as big as the books I was used to reading – the only books that size I had tackled were the ‘classics’ I resented reading at school (I love them now by the way - funny how Jane Austen is that much more enjoyable when you don’t have to face an exam on the subject!)

I bought Pet Semetary and began reading it the same afternoon, and within a few chapters, I had fallen head over heels in love.  
This was unlike anything I had ever read – it gave me the promised horror I was after, but oh did it give me so much more! These were real people with real lives and I was right there in the thick of it. The simple moment Louis drew back the bed covers to reveal his muddy feet – proof that his trip to the cemetery had not been a dream after all, chilled me more than all the Point Horrors put together, and to this day my heart aches over the chapter where Louis dreams of a life in which Gage hadn’t died, but had grown up, graduated got married… I cried into my pillow reading that, it utterly broke my heart in a way I never knew fiction could. (Only one other book has made me sob so hard – We’re back into Rowling territory again so I’ll save that for another day)

But from that day on, the Point Horrors were unceremoniously shoved aside; I had fallen in love with Stephen King.

For the next two or three years I read whatever Stephen King I could lay my hands on – that little second hand bookshop served me well. I shed a few more tears for John Coffey (‘like the drink, only spelled differently’) had several sleepless nights as Trisha McFarland wandered through the woods and stayed up till three in the morning on a school night to find out if Robinson would get his revenge on Dolan and his Cadillac.

When I was about 18, I picked up a couple of these Harry Potter books that people were starting to make a fuss about. Apparently they looked like kids books but were actually very good...

And so began an entirely different love affair. For the next eleven years I was lost to Harry. I read them over and over, looking for clues I had missed the first time, and each book prompted endless discussions with my sister as we puzzled over the mysteries of it all (and wished desperately that it were real and that maybe out letters to Hogwarts had got lost in the post…)
I queued up for the midnight book releases in Winchester, Rainham and Swindon as I went to university, graduated and moved out on my own. It’s been the longest relationship of my life, and I admit to feeling a little bereft when it was all over.
But life goes on, by this point I was reading anything and everything that caught my eye and my bookshelves were bulging. My stack of books to read was growing taller than I was and still I was collecting more (the collection continues and has now spread to the loft) 

And then, a few years ago, I picked up a copy of ‘The Stand’ which had somehow slipped through the net during my earlier years, and oh how I fell all over again! It took less than three pages this time to remind me why I had loved him so much in the first place. It was like meeting up with an old friend you’ve not seen in years – within minutes you are reminiscing about the good old days and wondering why you ever lost touch. I love that feeling of picking up a book and knowing instantly that you are in good hands.   
Because above anything else, what I learnt from reading Stephen King, was how to recognise and appreciate good writing. Whether you like his stories of not, you can’t deny that he is a master at what he does. I go back to his books again and again, not only to read, but these days to study them, and see how it’s done. His book On Writing hasn’t left my bedside table since I seriously started writing.

I have been kinder to Stephen since our reunion, typically every third or fourth book I read now is one of his, whether it is something new or an old favourite. He sits on my shelf right now, alongside a bespectacled young wizard.

If ever I mention to my book worm pal, that I’m reading an old favourite she always asks the same question ‘Potter or King?’

She knows me so well.

Spooky, no?

Friday, 2 September 2011

Fran Friday!

All quiet on the lefty front as I have had the rotten flu. Promise that I will post something more interesting this weekend, and also get some bloomin' writing done!

In the meantime, it's Fran Friday! So here she is...

Omp, omp, omp. Girl loves a pizza box!

Monday, 29 August 2011

An Old Foe

Ah, Writer's Block, Writer's Block... We meet again old chum.

He strikes at the most inappropriate time, when I have a day off work, the house to myself and the cats are sleeping quietly... There He is shaking his head saying 'not today, no...put the pen away...'
But what's the best defence when this dreaded foe blocks your path? Charge on ahead, or take a break and try and find another way around?

For me it depends on what stage of writing I am at. If it's a first draft where I am basically in the process of pouring my brain onto the page, any kind of break in the process could mean an idea is lost forever. I recently had this stage described to be as 'The Mud Pie Phase' which I absolutely love.
When wading through mud pie, I find it is essential to push on through even if it means resorting to a list of bullet point ideas and in some cases, half finished sketches.
More often than not I end up with a cringe worthy section which sounds as though it has been written and illustrated) by a hyperactive eight year old 'and then this happened, and then they went here, and so-and-so does this...' but that's okay, because the bare bones are there and the ideas have been saved, and I can charge on ahead with whatever next scene is trying to burst from my head.

However, there comes a time when bullet points and doodles won't cut the mustard.
When your story is all laid out, and the plot developed what do you do next time you hit a wall?

Well the truth is, anytime I've ever hit a road-block is because I didn't know what I was writing about. I can't write dialogue for a secondary character if I don't know more about them than the reader will ever learn, and I can't write about the current events of a story if I don't know the details of the events that led them there.
I hate these times because it essentially means that yet again, I have not done my homework, a bad habit it seems I will never break. But with no teachers to give me a telling off, it's time for a spot of self discipline! And I am happy to say that my answer is much nicer than a spot of detention.

Times like these I find it is more help to take a break, of sorts anyway. The problems still lingers in the back of my mind, but it's on a back burner. I try and do something that requires very little thought, a spot of housework (oh yay) writing a post for my fledgling blog, going for a run/walk, or something nicer like taking a bath. Something where you can let your mind wander off on a tangent. But whatever you do, remember to take pen and paper with you!
Because when you least expect it, a wonderful idea will fall into your head giving you just the tools you need to knock that block out of your path, and you don't want to have forgotten them by the time you get home!

I am here this afternoon because once again Sir Writer's Block is telling me off for having not done my homework. History this time.
I don't know how my characters got to where they are, so I can't properly explain why they are doing what they are doing now! It is quite likely that no one need ever know this back story, it certainly won't make the final edit, but I  need to know it. And so does Sir Block.

So on that note, I am off for a run. Or, seeing as it looks like rain, maybe a nice bath instead...

PS when writing in the bath remember to take a Biro, not an ink pen...

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Life as a Lefty

From an early age I have 'collected' left handed people. If ever I spotted an actor or other famous-type on TV doing something left handed, I would make note of it, and instantly liked that person a little bit more.
I still have various tatty notebooks with scribbled names, but my hobby was somewhat ruined by the invention of the Internet. Five minutes on google and you'll have a long list of Lefties through the ages.

However, old habits die hard, and I always have my eyes peeled for a fellow left-hander. I have included at the bottom of my blog a 'Left-Handers Corner', where I hope to provide you with interesting links to lefty websites I have discovered.
Right-handers are also welcome in Lefty corner, but you must use your left hand for the duration of your stay.

More posts coming soon, bye for now!

LM xxx

Friday, 26 August 2011

Without further ado - My first post!

I have decided the end of the week shall now signify 'Fran Friday'

This is Fran, my magic cat (the mouse is called Florence)

The Story of Fran...

One day I wished I had a cat. Two hours later the neighbour knocked on the door announcing that they had found a kitten in their loft a few days ago, couldn't locate the owners and would I like it?

Yes. Yes I would.

She was named Frances Isabella Grace.
Frances, after Frannie Goldsmith in Stephen King's 'The Stand', 'Isabella' after Isabella Rossellini, and 'Grace' after Grace Kelly.
Though most of the time I just call her 'Bean'.

To this day we have no idea where she came from of how she managed to get into the loft!

As I say, magic cat.