A writing list

A writing chum told me has made a 2018 writing list – things he intends to tackle next year… I’ve got some priorities in my head, but as for a list, well, I hadn’t thought of it… so what would be on my list should I make one?

I think it goes without saying that I will continue to write here, sharing my thoughts, ideas, memories and my writing. I must also get back seriously or seriously get back to finishing my next Radwinter novel, which has been marooned three-quarter way through since the beginning of November when I tackled the national Novel Writing challenge of completing 50,000 words in a month. So finish Thomas Radwinter’s next story provisionally entitled ‘Saltpans‘, and I have an idea for another for later on in the year probably called ‘Alone‘. On the Radwinter front, I also want to publish as paperbacks at least two of my e-books, ‘Magick’ and ‘Raddy and Syl‘, and if all goes extremely well, then also ‘Beyond Hope‘.

In January and February I must prepare for a talk and two workshops I’m giving in February; the talk is on writing about family history, as I mentioned yesterday, and the workshops are on the process of writing and blogging.

I also have my unfinished stories – ‘Gus’, ‘Dancing in the Road’, ‘And the River…’, ‘Hamazasb and the Missing Shoe‘, and a couple of other bits of writing I started. There is also the story I began this year for NaNoWriMo, about Milla. Of those, I think there’s only a couple which I might actually tackle, others are very much on the back burner, as well as some I wrote many years ago which would need a total re-write.

I have completed five NaNoWriMo challenges, every year since 2013; they have been a great way to really get to grips with a new story, but they are also a great drain on time… the idea is also quite additive, though, will I be able to resist the challenge? Or maybe should I use it to get to grips with ‘Alone’? That actually is a good idea!!

I mentioned at the start my commitment to writing here; I also share another blog with two writing friends (which is actually open to anyone to contribute to!) From that we published an anthology last year and are hoping to publish a second next year. That is more a case of pulling together already written pieces rather than creating anything new but it still involves work. On our other blog we have challenged ourselves to write about subjects from a list we discovered with seventy-three suggestions of topics. We are doing really well with it, and have had a thought that maybe they could be edited and published – in three volumes!! There would just be too many words for one book!

So that I guess is my writing list… but then of course, something new, a whole new story might bob into my mind!! Inspiration happens in the most unlikely places and with the most unexpected ideas!

So, maybe like my friend I should write a list… should it be a calendar/diary/timetable?

  1. January – finish first draft of ‘Saltpans‘, prepare for family history talk and writing workshops. Begin to edit ‘Magic’ for paperback publication
  2. February – deliver family history talk and writing workshops, work on editing ‘Saltpans‘, also continue to edit ‘Magick‘ as a paperback – this takes much longer than you might think!
  3. March – prepare and publish ‘Saltpans‘, prepare first draft of seventy-three blog anthology, book I.
  4. April – work on ‘seventy-three’ maybe start thinking about next story for me – perhaps ‘Dancing in the Road’, but maybe something new will spring into my mind! Publish ‘Magick’ as a paperback’ and start of paperback editing of ‘Raddy and Syl’.
  5. May – publish ’73’, continue work on whatever new/old thing I’m writing
  6. June – writing, writing, writing, publish ‘Raddy and Syl‘ paperback, start preparing ‘Beyond Hope’ as a paperback
  7. July – more writing, writing, writing, continue with ‘Beyond Hope‘ paperback
  8. August – as for July but publish new paperback
  9. September – complete whatever I started new in April (maybe it will have got to the editing stage by now) Begin to look at second anthology with my two writing friends, to publish November/December
  10. October  – ditto September
  11. November – new Nano challenge, but also some light editing and pulling together of the April book, publish anthology II with friends
  12. December – maybe publish new book? Maybe continue what I started as Nano?

Writing it down like this makes 2018 look a massive challenge – however, a lot of it is editing and working on old things. This year I have felt that creativity has been pushed into the corner by other stuff I’ve been doing; I really want to make sure it isn’t the same in 2018. It’s all about balance.

2017 has been a great year, and I’ll write about in the next few days, but if I have any resolution for next year, it is what I mentioned above – find balance!

Now what…

Lucky Portbraddon is finished! It is done and it is published by KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) on Amazon. I’ve had five days of doing other writing, blogging mostly, but a few bits and pieces of other stuff too, while I consider what next. It’s a bit of a relief, to be honest, to launch this novel, which has been with me for nearly a dozen years, and as I wave it cheerio I remember some of the things I should have put in its luggage – or taken out, and realise that some of its clothes need a little more attention than I gave them… I guess it must always be the way – I’ve heard it said about painting that it’s important to know when to stop. There is the scene in the film ‘Mr Turner’ about the artist, when a work by him is hung in a gallery, and he strides through, between the crowd, paintbrush in hand, and adds a tiny dot of red to the picture – but Turner was a genius!

So what to do next… possible ideas…

  • despite what I just said, should I go back to Lucky Portbraddon and have one more last go at the manuscript while my thoughts of omissions and unnecessary additions are fresh in my head… I can upload the edited version very simply (the great thing about KDP)
  • complete my next Radwinter novel, ‘Earthquake’ which is about 4/5 finished
  • pull together some of the ideas and do some research for the Radwinter novel after that, maybe called ‘The Cunning Man’
  • work on a small book I’ve written called ‘So you want to write‘ – my ideas and observations on starting writing; I wrote this for my students when I was teaching, I’ve used it in my creative writing groups… should I pull it together and publish it?
  • finish the last few chapters of my old novel ‘The Story of Frederico Milan’ and get it off my virtual writing shelf? I began to write it about ten years ago, like Lucky Portbraddon… and it really does need finishing and publishing… it’s about a man whose wife vanished three years before the story starts and his father-in-law is convinced he murdered her…
  • begin to seriously think about how I could tell the story of my great-grandparents; he was a strict Jew from a very wealthy family, she was the daughter of a middle-class basket making factory owner – and not Jewish
  • I have an idea to write my own history – but not as a conventional biography, but through remembered items we had at home, items which no longer exist like the serrated tomato knife with the red handle… maybe I should start this as a series of blogs…
  • I’m not going to think about my ‘Dancing in the Road’ story which is only about 30,000 words so far, or my ‘Hamazasb and the Missing Shoe’ which only has a couple of chapters, or ‘A Strong Hand From Above’ which needs a complete rewrite – i.e. starting all over again and writing it from the beginning…

Hmmm… I’ll do a bit of mulling, and let you know!

In the meantime, if you haven’t read Lucky Portbraddon, here’s a link:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/LUCKY-PORTBRADDON-LOIS-ELSDEN-ebook/dp/B01LWTVURP/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1474103793&sr=1-3&keywords=lois+elsden

Hamazasb and the missing shoe

Ages ago, inspired by some beautiful carousel horses I saw, I began a story about one called Hamazasb and his friends. At night they leave the carousel and fly, but once a nail fell from Hamazasb’s shoe, and he lost his shoe and he too fell to earth. It was a whimsical story, I don’t quite know where it came from or where it was going, and it was quite unlike anything I normally write. I hadn’t written very much, Hamazasb had ended up on a carnival float, and his friends, the other carousel horses spent each night searching for him. I expect I will return to it and finish it one day.

I love carousel horses, I always have done from being a child when the fair came to town, it was always my favourite ride. I did learn to ride real horses, not very well, and somehow a real horse wasn’t as exciting or as magical as a carousel one,, gloriously painted and covered in little mirrors. The horse ride was always called Jollity Farm for some reason although the hoses and other splendid creatures weren’t much like farm animals! I am sure there are specific traditions attached to the decoration of these horses and other beasts, I guess the different patterns and designs have meaning – sometimes they seem like astrological signs or symbols, sometimes other and quite bizarre things… I must investigate… and I must also think again about Hamazasb and his missing shoe!

 

Hamazasb

 

 

DSCF2189Some time I started a story about a flying horse… I must go back to it and finish it, I think!

At night  Hamazasb leaves the carousel and with his friends he leaps to the skies and flies free among the clouds. He is not the fastest, he is not the strongest, but he is the most courageous! His shoes are shod in gold, his armour is lapis lazuli, studded with garnets amethysts, topaz and tourmalines  His mane is dyed with woad and plaited with fibres of gold, his saddle is burnished copper.

Did he once lose a shoe? Did a gold nail catch against the canopy of the carousel as he flew into the night, did the shoe work loose and fall to earth, for some innocent child to pick up as a pretty thing? Who knows!

1.

One dawn, as the first light of the not yet risen sun streaked the sky with the palest blue and apricot, the horses returned… except for  Hamazasb…  as he flew into the night a gold nail from his golden shoe caught against the canopy of the carousel. Anxious to fly into the clouds and near the stars he did not notice the shoe becoming loose, and when, glancing down he saw something falling in a shower of golden sparks, he thought it was a shooting star… it was his golden shoe, and without it he could not find his way back to the carousel.

DSCF2189This is Pangolin; his name means scaly ant-eater. He was teased about his beautiful enamel plaques on his criniere and croupiere and on his flanchard, and called pangolin, ant-eater… but he thought it a pretty name, and as a horse with the best sense of humour on the carousel, he adopted it, and bears it with pride.

DSCF2190This is Kakhaberi, his name is mysterious and comes from the east. He is the strongest of the horses, and the quietest; he is brave and fearless and loves his companions.

DSCF2187When Hamazasb did not return as the sun painted the land with light, Kakhaberi was anxious and uneasy; sometimes it had happened before that one of the horses had strayed too far, but this time, Kakhaberi felt something was wrong. Hamazasb was not foolish, or over-excitable, he would have returned, if he could, something was wrong…

2.

The sun came up, heaved itself above the horizon and sent its rivers of light across the land, catching the tiled rooftops and golden cockerels standing as proud weather-vanes on the church spires, spread floods of gold across the marshes and pastures and over the hills and snow-capped mountains. The horses on the carousel waited, waited for Hamazasb to return, and gradually they began to share Kakhaberi’s fears that something bad had happened.

It sometimes happened that one of their number disappeared for a while but would return with smart new paint, or mended saddle, or even a fine collar like Bialias did.

DSCF2191

The horses were uneasy, there was a space now between them, a gap in their ranks, empty except for a miasma of worry, worry for where Hamazasb was, and what had happened to him. The music started, the children came, but so too did black clouds, and soon the light had gone from the sky and the day was gloomy and dull.

2006_1113Carnival060045Hamazasb was lost, he had flown further than the others thinking they were behind him, but turning and looking down he could see nothing to guide his way back. He circled round, calling for his friends, but the wind took his voice and tossed it among the clouds. There was the faintest gleam of gold in the east, night was fleeing and Hamazasb must find somewhere to rest. There was a sudden flare of light below and a below of men’s laughter, then the darkness returned; but in that brief flash Hamazasb had glimpsed the colours of the fairground. This was not where his carousel was, but maybe there were friends here, other horses, and he descended. There were strange shapes and figures, figures of horses and he delicately slipped between them as the sun tipped over the horizon.

Where was he? Not a carousel but a carnival wagon, and he was among figures of warriors and foreign and frightening horses, bigger and more fearsome looking even than  might Darkus, the biggest horse on the carousel. Hamazasb, stilled his fears and arched his neck, and waited among the strangers

Hamazasb is missing

The sun came up, heaved itself above the horizon and sent its rivers of light across the land, catching the tiled rooftops and golden cockerels standing as proud weather-vanes on the church spires, spread floods of gold across the marshes and pastures and over the hills and snow-capped mountains. The horses on the carousel waited, waited for Hamazasb to return, and gradually they began to share Kakhaberi’s fears that something bad had happened.

It sometimes happened that one of their number disappeared for a while but would return with smart new paint, or mended saddle, or even a fine collar like Bialias came back wearing.

DSCF2191

The horses were uneasy, there was a space now between them, a gap in their ranks, empty except for a miasma of worry, worry for where Hamazasb was, and what had happened to him. The music started, the children came, but so too did black clouds, and soon the light had gone from the sky and the day was gloomy and dull.

2006_1113Carnival060045Hamazasb was lost, he had flown further than the others thinking they were behind him, but turning and looking down he could see nothing to guide his way back. He circled round, calling for his friends, but the wind took his voice and tossed it among the clouds. There was the faintest gleam of gold in the east, night was fleeing and Hamazasb must find somewhere to rest. There was a sudden flare of light below and a below of men’s laughter, then the darkness returned; but in that brief flash Hamazasb had glimpsed the colours of the fairground. This was not where his carousel was, but maybe there were friends here, other horses, and he descended. There were strange shapes and figures, figures of horses and he delicately slipped between them as the sun tipped over the horizon.

Where was he? Not a carousel but a carnival wagon, and he was among figures of warriors and foreign and frightening horses, bigger and more fearsome looking even than  might Darkus, the biggest horse on the carousel. Hamazasb, stilled his fears and arched his neck, and waited among the strangers

Where is Hamazasb?

At night Hamazasb leaves the carousel and with his friends he leaps to the skies and flies free among the clouds.

https://loiselden.com/2013/01/07/flying-horse/

One dawn, as the first light of the not yet risen sun streaked the sky with the palest blue and apricot, the horses returned… except for  Hamazasb…  as he flew into the night a gold nail from his golden shoe caught against the canopy of the carousel. Anxious to fly into the clouds and near the stars he did not notice the shoe becoming loose, and when, glancing down he saw something falling in a shower of golden sparks, he thought it was a shooting star… it was his golden shoe, and without it he could not find his way back to the carousel.

DSCF2189This is Pangolin; his name means scaly ant-eater. He was teased about his beautiful enamel plaques on his criniere and croupiere and on his flanchard, and called pangolin, ant-eater… but he thought it a pretty name, and as a horse with the best sense of humour on the carousel, he adopted it, and bears it with pride.

DSCF2190This is Kakhaberi, his name is mysterious and comes from the east. He is the strongest of the horses, and the quietest; he is brave and fearless and loves his companions.

DSCF2187When Hamazasb did not return as the sun painted the land with light, Kakhaberi was anxious and uneasy; sometimes it had happened before that one of the horses had strayed too far, but this time, Kakhaberi felt something was wrong. Hamazasb was not foolish, or over-excitable, he would have returned, if he could, something was wrong…

Flying horse

DSCF2189I wonder what his name is? Something exotic and mysterious I think, Kakhaberi maybe or Hamazasb… or Bahandur? At night he leaves the carousel and with his friends he leaps to the skies and flies free among the clouds. he is not the fastest, he is not the strongest, but he is the most courageous! His shoes are shod in gold, his armour is lapis lazuli, studded with garnets amethysts, topaz and tourmalines  His mane is dyed with woad and plaited with fibres of gold, his saddle is burnished copper.

Did he once lose a shoe? Did a gold nail catch against the canopy of the carousel as he flew into the night, did the shoe work loose and fall to earth, for some innocent child to pick up as a pretty thing? Who knows!