My Citizen & Echo column: Does Cara Delevingne prove you have to be posh to be a model?

Welcome to “Monday is the new Saturday” where I pop the link to my Weekend magazine column ‘The Last Word’ from the Gloucestershire Citizen and Echo…

My Weekend column on Saturday was all about models and, specifically, ‘it’ model, Cara Delevingne, and I ponder if to be loved by the fash pack as a model, do you have to be posh? I’ve stuck the column on my Citizen column page here so you can have a read.

You can also catch me each week on the Citizen and Echo Weekend magazine website. There’s lots of other lovely weekend stuff on there, too.

The Citizen & Echo Weekend magazine comes out every Saturday.

Posh or not? Or, let’s be honest, does it not matter one jot? Let me know.

**Look out for Wednesday Wafflings on, um, Wednesday, where I post my weekly entry in my Diary of a Hopeful Author**

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Gazette column: Why the bedroom tax is ghettoisation

It’s “Thursday Thoughts” where I post my weekly Gazette newspaper column to my blog so you can have a read…

This week my column for the Gloucestershire Gazette is about the introduction of the bedroom tax this month in the UK and how, by creating a divide between rich and poor, the tax is creating ghettoisation.

To read it, simply click to my Column page.

What do you think? Should the bedroom tax be scrapped? Is it unfair? Or is it justified? Should those on benefits expect to pay for an extra bedroom? Let me know.

**OUT THIS SATURDAY: My latest column for  Gloucestershire Citizen and Echo newspaper.  Catch the Weekend Magazine on their website link here**

**Look out for  Wednesday Wafflings next, um, Wednesday, where I post the latest entry in My Diary of a Hopeful Author**

Diary of a hopeful author: How a deadline can make stuff happen

It’s “Wednesday Wafflings” when I post the latest entry in my Diary of a Hopeful Author…Photo of a Diary

This week is mad busy editing and writing articles. ‘Tis bonkers. But my Diary blog bit is my favourite, so what I’ve done this week is go through my previous posts and pick my fave – and re-blog it to you. This one is about deadlines, and why, if we go for it, they can make stuff happen. Okay, so, I’m off to edit now. See you next to a coffee machine somewhere.

When I was young I loved studying. Loved it. I was one of those spectacled, nerdy kids who lapped up the books and got down to some serious studying every evening and thought it fun. FUN.

That’s right. You heard correctly. Then exams came round. Exams. I’m afraid to say they never really fazed me. Christ, I sound like a right arrogant muppet, so let me explain. Exams got me nervous, of course. Exams made me question whether I knew anything. (30 years on, nothing’s changed there…) But, BUT, exams came with a deadline. A deadline! They gave you a date! You had to be there. On time! Oh it sang to my young time-concious heart like Romeo to Juliette, or Homer to Marg.

Because, you see, I love a deadline. What can you do with a deadline? You either meet it or you don’t. You sink or you swim. And that’s why I like ‘em. Deadlines are the take no prisoner guardians of time. They stand by the gates of hours and minutes, tapping their watch, shotgun in hand. You’ve got a deadline? You meet it, punk! (that sounded better in my head)

And so, to my week. I have set myself a deadline. I refer here to the editing of my book, novel number two which, it seems I have been working on forever.

Now look, I don’t know about you but I can be a cracking procrastinator. Olympic medal winning. Skirting boards need cleaning? Pass me the cloth. Cupboards need re-organising? When do I start? Kids’ rooms need cleaning? Get me…Actually, no. It’s not come to that.  You get my meaning. Add this top draw procrastination into a book edit and well, you’ve got nothing, really. No progress or, at the very least, slow progress. And so I have now turned to my old friend the deadline. If I am going to complete the 1st (only the first!) edit of this novel, then I need to get down and dirty with time.

The deadline I have set is Christmas. Christmas. I say it again so you can remember it. You can remember it so you can hold me to it. Oh crap. Saying it on this blog, you see, means I have to do it. Think of yourself as my boss, if you will, telling me to get the bloody work done by Christmas or goddammit I’m outta here! (Again, better in my head).  Meeting the deadline means averaging two edit chapters a week at minimum, sometimes more. It sounds lame, two, but trust me, it’s a lot. I have 100k words to edit. 100k words with a lot of Lovefilm app distraction on my iPad.

If you’ve got a deadline, then buddy, I salute you. If not, then go get one. Let’s do this deadline thing together, people, because, when our backs are up against the wall, it’s the only way to get things done. Nerdy glasses optional.

Turns out, I beat the Christmas deadline. I’m on edit round three now and it’s going good. I do, though, need to set a new deadline to get this book finished and sent off – fast. But, in the meantime, how do you hit a deadline? Ooo, and , while I think of it, do you have a favourite post from my Diary of  a Hopeful Author (if I dare ask)? 

**Out tomorrow “Thursday Thoughts” where I post my latest Gazette newspaper column to my blog. This week I comment on the UK government’s introduction of ‘the bedroom tax’…**

My Citizen & Echo column: There’s a lot you can learn from the pages of a book

Welcome to “Monday is the new Saturday” where I pop the link to my Weekend magazine column ‘The Last Word’ from the Gloucestershire Citizen and Echo…

My Weekend column on Saturday was all about books, and, when your back’s up against the wall, there’s a lot you can learn from them. I’ve stuck the column on my Citizen column page here so you can have a read.

You can also catch me each week on the Citizen and Echo Weekend magazine website. There’s lots of other lovely weekend stuff on there, too.

The Citizen & Echo Weekend magazine comes out every Saturday.

How have books helped you out? Or do you get your info from other sources? Let me know.

**Look out for Wednesday Wafflings on, um, Wednesday, where I post my weekly entry in my Diary of a Hopeful Author**

Gazette column: Thatcherism wrecked our public transport system

It’s “Thursday Thoughts” where I post my weekly Gazette newspaper column to my blog so you can have a read…

This week my column for the Gloucestershire Gazette is about Margaret Thatcher and how, with the loss of the bus service in Thornbury,  Thatcherism wrecked our public transport system.

To read it, simply click to my Column page.

What do you think? Did Thatcherism change our public transport system forever? Is bus deregulation acceptable & inevitable? Or should privatisation be stopped? Let me know.

**OUT THIS SATURDAY: My latest column for  Gloucestershire Citizen and Echo newspaper.  Catch the Weekend Magazine on their website link here**

**Look out for  Wednesday Wafflings next, um, Wednesday, where I post the latest entry in My Diary of a Hopeful Author**

Diary of a hopeful author: How acting can improve your character writing

After a break and then being a tad unwell (we’re talking buckets by bedsides…) my Wednesday Wafflings post is now here again. Nice to be back. Minus the nausea. Here’s my latest entry in my Diary of a Hopeful Author…Photo of a Diary

 I used to love acting. 14-years old and staying back after school, a bunch of us from the drama group would sneak round the warrens of corridors, delighting as we would in the fact that we had the whole school to ourselves. It felt exciting, scary and odd all at the same time. But more than that, we would act. On the stage. In rehearsals. Even, in class, but don’t, you know, tell my old teachers.

(Many) years later, that’s the thing that now, I am pondering. Acting. Not acting on stage, you understand, although to be fair, I don’t think I could clamber up to a podium quite as fast as I used to. No, I mean acting in writing.

See I am in the 3rd edit stage of my novel. The plot is smooth, the chapters are running nicely into each other. But I was reading it the other day and something wasn’t right. And then it clicked: the protagonist. Yup, the main character, as it turns out, needs work. This comes as no surprise. Half way through edit round one, I changed the gender of the protagonist from male to female. The book worked better for it. Then I developed, as you do, the fabric of the character. Basically, the female lead, I decided, was to have mild Asperger’s. It worked. It made her jump out of my mind, out of the page. It fitted with where I wanted to take the novel, the story, the plot.

And so to acting. Asperger’s is not something I am overly familiar with and so a lot of research in the past few weeks has had to be done. Now, I have a good picture of what I need to do, of the filter I need to put on edit three to round out the character to be true to her Asperger’s.

Thing is, it isn’t as easy as it sounds. See, to write it well, to feel the character, I need to get inside their head – I need to get inside the head of a person with Asperger’s. And then I remembered acting. I don’t know why but back when I acted, I would try to get to think like a character by watching films of similar characters. I would watch how they would talk, walk, move, think. Then, what would happen, was, after watching the film, I would start to think like them too. It was remarkable really. Even now, I can watch a film and even though I’m not trying for any acting roles (trust me, you wouldn’t want to see that), I can still retain a film characters nuances in my head.

So, I thought, hey, why not try this method with my writing? And know what? It works. Yup, who knew watching films would help you write characters for your book. There is one particular TV character with Asperger’s I had seen and it is that character I looked up. I have watched her, recorded her actions, just sat, stuffing popcorn into my face letting her character seep into my head like osmosis. Then, I flip open the laptop and begin writing, editing, shaping my own protagonist on the page.

Fingers crossed it will work. Like anything, it’s worth a shot – ain’t nothing to lose. Actually, thinking about it, perhaps the only thing to lose is myself. Yes, turns out, thinking like other characters means you think less like yourself. But, wait. Maybe that’s not such a bad thing after all…

How do you edit your characters? Do you act them out or have your own methods? How vital is it to get it into the heads of our characters when we are writing?

 **Out tomorrow “Thursday Thoughts” where I post my latest Gazette newspaper column to my blog. This week I’m talking about  former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s deep cutting influence on society and local public transport…**

My Citizen & Echo column: Why Taylor Swift ain’t a bad role model

Welcome to “Monday is the new Saturday” where I pop the link to my Weekend magazine column ‘The Last Word’ from the Gloucestershire Citizen and Echo…

My Weekend column on Saturday was all about the singer, Taylor Swift and how, turns out, she’s not a bad role model for my daughters. I’ve stuck the column on my Citizen column page here so you can have a read.

You can also catch me each week on the Citizen and Echo Weekend magazine website. There’s lots of other lovely weekend stuff on there, too. 

The Citizen & Echo Weekend magazine comes out every Saturday. 

Taylor Swift as a role model – good or bad? Who are your best female role models? Or are there simply not enough female role models around? Let me know.

**Look out for Wednesday Wafflings on, um, Wednesday, where I post my weekly entry in my Diary of a Hopeful Author**

Gazette column: We need more commuter towns

It’s “Thursday Thoughts” where I post my weekly Gazette newspaper column to my blog so you can have a read…

Back from my holiday now, so time for my column for the Gloucestershire Gazette. This week it’s about commuter towns and how, if communities are to grow, we need more of them.

To read it, simply click to my Column page.

What do you think? Love or loathe commuter towns? Let me know.

**OUT THIS SATURDAY: My latest column for  Gloucestershire Citizen and Echo newspaper.  Catch the Weekend Magazine on their website link here**

**Look out for  Wednesday Wafflings next, um, Wednesday, where I post the latest entry in My Diary of a Hopeful Author**