I Won a Lemonade Stand Award!

Time to Hand Out Lemonade!

First off, thanks to Eric for this award. It's a great honour and I'm really grateful. Eric is a fabulous person to have as a follower and a great chap in general.

After a bit of snuffling around the web, I've discovered that The Lemonade Stand Award is presented to people with a good attitude or sense of gratitude so I'm really chuffed to have won.

Eric. Thanks again. Eric's blog: http://workingmymuse.blogspot.com/

'And the Award goes to....'

The people I would like to honour (in no particular order) with a Lemonade Stand Award for having a great attitude/great gratitude are:

  • Toad - Toad sent me a book from America that I couldn't buy over here... twice! It finally arrived today after being sent back by customs. Thank you Toad. http://to-the-manner-born.blogspot.com/
  • Brian - The first person to let me scrawl on his blog. Thanks for the guest blog and for all your support when I started blogging and ever since. http://the-new-author.blogspot.com/
  • Bonnie - This girl has a great attitude. The great love in her life is her very special dog and she has been so supportive of me and my blogs. http://deafdogconversations.blogspot.com/
  • Angie Ledbetter - Angie has always been supportive of me and my writing. She really knows her stuff and it's great to have her input. http://angie-ledbetter.blogspot.com/ Update! See Angie's Comment below. As Angie has already received this award once and isn't collecting them, she very kindly offered it back for me to give out again. I am giving it to London Belle as she has been supportive and she maintains an optomistic outlook despite the impossible employment situation in London at the moment of which she paints a vivid picture on her blog - http://ldnbelle.blogspot.com/
  • Vivien Hampshire - Vivien is responsible for my first step into the blogosphere. I was reading her own writing blog and thought 'I wonder if that would be an idea for me' so I set up this blog. Vivien is very helpful to other writers and is a hard working writer looking for a publishing deal for her book and sharing the process in Writers' Forum Magazine. http://bookdealorbust.blogspot.com/
  • April Showers - April has a wonderful attitude of gratitude and, despite having many difficulties in her life, is a sunny and creative person with bags of enthusiasm. http://www.aprilshowersblogdesign.com
  • 'Moolisa' - Brave and resilient. Despite her problems, she forges ahead with her writing with positivity, creativity and oodles of pink! http://melissa-megansthirty.blogspot.com/
  • Small Footprints - Terrific eco-friendly attitude without being preachy. SF has been supportive of the blog and even let me 'recycle' the 'blog bus' idea. Hope the people on your field trips like the organic lemonade from your new stand! http://reducefootprints.blogspot.com/
  • Last but by no means least, Charlie - you've been supportive, were the first follower on my author blog (http://rebeccawoodhead.blogspot.com/) and made my husband laugh when I was unwell. Enjoy the lemonade! http://curiousstories.blogspot.com/

Well done everyone and thanks for all the support.

Rebecca x



How Do You Like Your Heroes and Heroines? The Results!

The Poll

Now, before we all get too excited it is worth mentioning that only 17 people voted in this poll but the result was overwhelmingly supportive of one category. Hopefully, if you have a different point of view and never got round to voting, you'll comment here and let everyone know your opinion.

3% of votes went to.... strong hero and submissive heroine
3% of votes went to.... strong heroine and submissive hero
but a massive 64% of votes went to *drum roll*... strong hero and strong heroine!

The Impact

This is all highly unscientific but I'm going to assume - because it's my blog and I can - that this poll is highly representative of the opinions of the reading public as a whole. I'm sure you'll correct me if you disagree.

So, if this is accurate, why does it matter? Well, if you fell down on the side of 'plot' in the last great debate then it may not matter too much but for those of us with a lust for characters it's crucial.

If you are writing romantic fiction - or if your writing involves heroes and heroines interacting in any other capacity - you need to know that the old stereotypes are not likely to please your readers. In short, the call is for kick-arse (or kick-ass if you're American) characters. I for one say 'hurrah!'

What do you think? Is the poll accurate or are you kicking yourself for not taking part? Defend your opinions. The future of fiction is in your hands.

...Or not... it's just a bit of fun really but I fancy a bit of drama today so let battle commence!




For My Fiction Writing Followers: Which Came First - the Plot or the Characters? And Who Really Owns Your Book?


How do your stories arrive? I read somewhere that Iain Banks fastidiously plans his plots and the characters just have to fit in as best they can.

Initially, I was shocked by this approach. Surely the characters are the most important part of the story. The reader is carried through a work of fiction by a character or characters. They see the world through their eyes. I took a step back. Maybe he has a point. We don't map out our own lives. Events occur and we make the best of them - we try to set sail in a particular direction but the wind can change. If the plot is planned out first then your characters are thrown into the thick of it and their personalities will be shown by their responses to events - just like real life.


Hmmm. Maybe I'm not sure about the plot-driven approach. Interesting but too convenient. Bit too author-centric. Too much temptation to take control of the book myself and show no respect for my characters.

For me, my characters arrive first. The main character turns up with a small suitcase of ideas and hopes for the plot. I sketch them out tentatively and without too much detail then I put my time and effort into the characters. Where do they want the story to go? How will they screw things up for each other/help each other out? By 'the tricky middle bit' my own ideas for the novel are dispensed with and I ask my characters how to progress. By then they are writing the novel, not me. This isn't as insane as it sounds and it's good practice for the scary thing that will happen once the novels are published.

Your place as Dictator-In-Chief over your fictional world is astonishingly short-lived. If you want to be a good author, you need to care enough about your work to stop thinking of yourself as the author.

Stop Being the Author

Many years ago, I was fortunate enough to sneak myself some lessons with a number of Oxford Dons (English Professors) in the wonderful environs of some of Oxford University's fine colleges. It's a long story but, basically, I had a really bad car accident as a child that left me largely self-educated and when the compensation came through in my teenage years, I spent it on the best education I could afford to fill in the gaps. Nerdy huh?

The book-larning I had cobbled together to that point had convinced me of the vital place of the author in literature. It made sense. Without an author the book would not exist. However, during these rather intense one-to-ones with fabulously brained academics, I discovered that this is not the only view. I was furious to hear that the author doesn't matter much at all. I was only slightly worn in by the idea that art happens in a space between the piece and the viewer. It seemed logical so I let it go.

Finally, I was forced to do battle with an uncomfortable idea: once a piece of literature is 'out there,' it's anybody's. Did I kick against that idea? YES!! I phoned my cleverest friends and put my case for the importance of the author and they were quite sniffy about it. Academic types would have none of it. After much thought I decided that they may be right. Being published is a scary thing. Once the world has seen your work, it is no longer yours.

So Whose Book is it?

Tricky. My best guess is that it is the readers' - or maybe the reader's. It belongs to the readers as a whole but it belongs, more specifically to each individual reader. Why? Well, a good book - depending on whether it's literary or commercial - reflects society or changes it. In fact, I think the terms 'literary' and 'commercial' are troublesome.

The work of Dickens may have inspired changes in the way that certain people in society viewed and treated those afflicted by poverty. Blake may even have inspired certain people to re-evaluate their viewpoint on charity. That said, 'Friends' re-landscaped the urban scenery even in England. Cafes disappeared. Coffee slowly replaced tea as the national beverage. Thousands of people found work in Starbucks and its ilk. Inspired by the idea of 'making your own family' from your friends, people sought to develop new family structures. 'Loft apartments' became trendy; etc, etc. These are big social changes and they happened over a short period of time because a group of writers sat round a table a scribbled some stories about a group of twenty-somethings in New York. Don't even get me started on Sex and the City.

But I Want to Own It!

Copyright and autobiographies aside, if you want to own your work, don't publish it. When you read a book, you do so through your own frame of reference. This character is 'so me' because this thing she did was so much like the thing I did when... etc.

No two people will have the same reading of a novel. The experience of a novel, or any form of fiction, occurs between the words the author types and the world the reader creates. In making the step from amateur writer to professional author, maybe the most important lesson is to understand that in giving your work to the world, you will be losing it. Of course, you can reclaim it at any time. Pick it up and read it. Become the reader and the book will be yours.




Help for Fellow Writers

My Compromise

Right - since I'm still trying to get the old bod back to peak fitness, I'm trying not to get too involved with writing and take a bit of a break but... I can't help myself! I'm obsessed. Given that the writing addiction won't leave me, I've set myself a slightly easier restriction to stick to. For a few days/weeks ('weeks'?? who am I kidding?), I'm not going to guest blog or write any articles or even write any of my new novel (might edit my second one a bit though... no? Fine. No editing. Humph.) Instead, I'm going to help other writers out. I'm nice like that.

Jamie Ford - 'Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet'

Right, first things first. Followers of the blog will know that my new online chum is Jamie Ford. As he has been so sweet in shamelessly promoting my author blog - http://rebeccawoodhead.blogspot.com - it's only fair that I do some shameless promoting in return. Here it is. Buy his book.

The Tricky Scenario

Followers will be aware of the current minimalist appearance of my bank balance. Very Zen. Anyhow, with hubby's redundancy and what-not bringing down the income further, it is a sad fact that books have become a luxury. The local library is now my best chum. Put simply: if it ain't there, I can't read it. Here's the problem. Jamie's debut novel is not in my local library. Why? Not published in England yet.

This puts me in the tricky position of promoting a book I have yet to read.

The Cunning Plan

My following is almost exclusively American. YOU can read it and report back. What do you say? If you are English, buy it from Amazon and tell everyone you know about it so it gets published over here super-quick and I can get it out of the library and say:

'I was right - work of genius.'

My guess is that it's a great book because:

  1. It's on the New York Times Best Seller List
  2. Everyone else says it's a great book

Don't forget; this is Jamie's debut novel so he's effectively almost still one of us. He is just opening the glittery door into the world of fame and ushering one foot out, but his other foot is still in the gutter with the rest of us. It is our job to assist him in freeing that foot from its ordinary status and promoting it to greatness so that we can stare at it - all glittery and star-like and say 'we knew that foot when it was ordinary.'

I've officially dropped into the realms of mentalism. Forgive me. He's probably got it all sewn up anyhow but it's nice to help isn't it?

Help for Following Fellows

Since the majority of my followers are authors or authors-to-be, here are a couple of places you may find useful in your quest to further your writing and meet other writer-people.

The first came to me from 'Moolisa.'


Basically, this is the HarperCollins slush pile in Brechtian format - the mechanics all laid open for you to see. From what I can gather, your work is assessed by your peers and once HarperCollins see there's a market for it, they snap you up. That's the theory anyway. In practice, depending on the writer you speak to, it is either the best thing in the known universe or a giant time and energy-sapping nightmare. I've dunked my toes into the water but not jumped yet. The water seems warm and I'm intrigued. If anyone wants to leap in and tell me to grab my swimming cozzie go ahead, I'm all ears.


Thanks to Brian for this one. I only went on there for the first time today and I'm already a fan. Essentially it's social networking for readers/writers. You put up books you've read/are reading and rate them; other people comment on your ratings; you put up lists of books you hope to read; readers recommend books to each other... You get the idea. You can also upload your own stories and have them reviewed. Think that might be of interest to some of the writers on here.

Incidentally, Jamie Ford's on there. If nothing else, click 'fan' when you find him. :)

I like the privacy policy. The main reason I have nothing to do with Facebook is that their privacy policy is the work of some evil troll but goodreads' reads good. Give it a go.




Best Selling Author Jamie Ford Plugs my Writing Blog! (http://rebeccawoodhead.blogspot.com)

Gobsmacked! I've been plugged by a real published author - not only that, he's a best seller - touch me! :)



Strong Heroes and Strong Heroines

Do You Want Them? Only Two Weeks Left to Decide

The poll - on the left under the Blog Tour Bus - expires in only 14 days time. If you secretly prefer submissive heroines or heroes, or if you are adamant that both must be equally strong now's the time to vote!

Aqueous cream and antihystamines are still my best friends but conditions are improving. My skin is even starting to look like actual skin again. No longer do I look like I survived a night in a nettle patch. Yippee!

BTW, don't forget to check out my latest guest blog while it's still on the front article page of Today's Woman. Click on the red bus on the left to go straight there. You can also leave comments under the article about how great I am. :) Once it's off the front page, I'll archive it on my new blog but pop over to where it is now as Today's Woman is an excellent place to read other writers' work and well worth a visit regardless of gender. When you've read mine, click on 'articles' to read the work of other authors.

It's doing rather well actually. There's a counter on the articles to show how many times it's been read and it's over 600 now!

Also, thanks to those of you who've put your mug shots up on my new blog. As it's essentially an archive for published work, following it will probably be more of a 'watching' than 'following' activity but thanks for the support anyway. Having said that, I have a couple of celebrity interviews I did ages ago - and the people concerned are even more famous now - that I was planning to bring back to the world and I'll probably just put them straight up on the new blog as they've already been published. Comments are permitted on the new blog. If you want to say something about the writing or layout go ahead (click website thumbnail pic below my profile on left.)

Back soon,



Cannot express how helpful these social media tools are

I write like
Margaret Atwood

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

My debut novel

My debut novel
Palaces and Calluses

My Website

My Website
All my blogs link from here

  © Blogger template Shush by Ourblogtemplates.com 2009

Back to TOP