I hate dialogue

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I hate trying to write dialogue.

Trying to use it to get important points across and move the story forward.

I know its an important part of any story and helps pull the reader into the story and care about the main people in the story and the things that are happening to and around them. Going back to an earlier post on being dyslexic I think i should say that last sentence was changed as no matter how hard I tried i couldn’t spell the word i wanted right. Even the spell checker couldn’t get close to the word I wanted to us with the way i was trying to spell it.

The best writers out there manage to give the protagonists their own voice. one different to the one they use in the prose of the story. Different to the one they use in their normal every day to day dealings with people.

Tome reading back what I’ve written it sounds a lot like how I would say things and not the best way I could put information across at that.

I really admire writers who manage to write really good dialogue. Authors like Terry Practchett for instance. The dialogue he uses in his work is so spot on and truly helps to get the reader into the persons mind. Granny Weatherwax for instance is a very strong protagonist who when you read her lines you know its her saying it with out having to read she said it.

Or Sam Vimes. Another very strong protagonist that again you read his lines and know they could only be spoken by him and no one else.

Yes Pratchett has had thirty years practice at getting it right compared to my thirty days doing almost nothing but trying to do it right. so there is a huge gap in experience there.I always thought that dialogue would be the easy bit of writing as I talk a lot myself and like nothing more then listening to others talk. hearing the way they chose to put their sentences together and the words they chose to put their point across. Even people in the same family use different ways to say the same thing.

But writing it is much harder then I thought it would be. for all I enjoy listening to people talk I can’t seem to get my head around writing it.

It doesn’t really help that due to the Dyslexia Imp who likes messing with my brain when writing means i find myself changing the way I write as i can’t get the words i want to use spelt right.

Hopefully the family and friends I’m using to edit the stories I’ve drafted so far will help give the people their own voices in a better way then I can. We’ll just have to wait and see.


Trying to be an Author while Dyslexic.

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I’ll admit it took me a long time to learn how to spell dyslexia and i had to double check the spelling just now.

What a stupidly hard word to pick for a condition that in part means you have a tonne of trouble spelling.

Dyslexia affects different people in many different ways. I’m not going to go into all the ways as this post is an all about me post. Or more importantly how I’m finding trying to write stories while the dyslexia is on full “I’m gonna screw up your work mode”.

So a little bit about my form of dyslexia. I’m number blind. I have to work extra hard to do even the most simple of sums, often coming up with different answers to the same sum in a short period of time.My six year old son is better at maths then I am. And i can honestly say I couldn’t be happier for him. So far it looks like he has escaped the pain of any form of dyslexia. Fingers crossed it carries on to be the case.

I was in high school before i was told I had an unusual form of dyslexia. My reading age at the age of 12 was nineteen. I was reading at a Higher level then the school catered for. but being number blind and having very poor writing, spelling and grammar skills meant that i was dyslexic.

Cue lots of extra lessons at school to help me learn how to work around the problems I have. I had to go back to day one of school. Relearning how to make the shapes of letters, put them together to make words and learning how to take a deep breath before trying to spell things.

It was amazingly frustrating to be going back to the beginning, to a level lower then my six year old brother was working at at the time. But looking back now 17 years after i started the extra lessons I couldn’t be happier that i had the chance to do them.

I still have the problems but I’ve learnt ways to deal with it. And have the confidence to try to get past them to write stories and books for kids my sons age.

So spelling. Thank god for spell checker. Although there was more then once i totally broke it. To the point where my dad to break out his tools to fix it again. I can laugh about it now but at the time it was beyond anything i felt i could cope with.  How many people can say they broke spell checker to the point where the PC tower had to be taken apart to fix it?

Even now I get more red lines under wrongly spelt words then I care to admit too. If I didn’t have it on this blog then no one else would be able to read it with ease. But often i don’t know I’ve spelt the words wrong. To me it looks right and no matter how hard I look I can’t see where I went wrong.

But, I can tell when someone else has spelt something wrong. I may not be able to tell you how it’s spelt wrong or what the right spelling for that word is, but I know it’s wrong.

Grammar. What can I say?

Well to me I often don’t see it on the page. I often have no clue how to use it properly. How to structure a sentence so it reads better and makes more sense. Just where to put the punctuation in or which one I should be using.

Not a great problem for a budding author to have. But again there’s grammar check programmes out there. And like spell checker I have broken a few. So I often don’t use it. Instead relying on the editing skills of friends and family.

I have problems with getting the words out on the page. Often writing the same word two or three times. Not knowing that I’ve done it till either i read it back or someone else points it out. The notebook I’m using to write the stories in first before putting on the computer is full of useless repeated words crossed out.

For me it’s not worth giving into the dyslexia. I have all these ideas for stories that want to be told, So no matter how long it takes to get the words on paper, in the right order spelt and grammared properly I will overcome this bugger of a condition and get the stories out there. Hopefully they’ll help someone else with the condition see that despite it you can write for others to enjoy.

Every time I feel down about it and not getting very far writing I just remember that I have a little boy who’s waiting to hear the next story and tell me how I can make it better for him. Who gives me more ideas for stories, and asks for the ones i’ve finished the first drafts of to be read to him again. with or without the changes he doesn’t care. He’s just in love with the world I’ve created for him using his favourite mystical creatures. Dragons. In ways he’s never seen them before doing things he didn’t know they could do.

So if friends and family get fed up of editing for me I’ll just have to find new people to take up the mantel of helping me out.

I’ve voted

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That’s it. my on-line ballot for the Labour leadership election as been filled out and submitted.

Instead of sleeping i was awoken by a light night phone call and couldn’t get back to sleep. To try i thought I’d read all the stuff the candidates in the election have sent me. I hoped it would help me sleep. Sadly it didn’t,  but it dd spur me into voting before i see my Grandmother in nine hours time.

I know the first thing she’ll say to me is have you voted? Not did you have a happy birthday as it was my birthday yesterday. that’ll be second on her list of questions. right before how are you?

And to be honest i wouldn’t have her any other. My Gran is the labour party and as long as she’s around i will always know the gossip.

So after an hour of reading my mind was finally made up.

While i really like the things Jeremy Corbin says sadly i couldn’t vote for him as my first preference. Too many stories of Michael Foot’s time in charge and how Corbin is like him have been circling in my head for me to vote for him.

So that left Burnham. I’m not sure he really is the best man for the job but i think he’s probably the best of a bad bunch. I can’t see the two women candidates being able to make much headway in parliament. As much as that saddens me. I would love to have a female leader of the party but the two who’ve put their names in the hat just aren’t the right fit to make anything happen.

I’ve never had a problem choosing who to vote for, for deputy leader. It was always Angela Eagle. She is well known to the party having been an MP for over twenty years. And on a personal level she is personally known to the family.

OK personally known to my Grandmother. You cant be a Labour MP in the North West without being personally known by my Grandmother it would seem.

Even so I have never heard a bad word about her by any one in the party and she is a leading activist for LGBT rights. As far as I’m concerned anyone who’ll fight for my best friend who’s gay to have the same rights as me a straight person gets my vote.

Hidden amongst the leadership election is also the National Policy Forum Election and the Conference Arrangements Committee.

I wont go into the voting for that as a lot of the names put forward for it aren’t in the public eye and i don’t feel right talking about it.

I know that the vote is supposed to be secret but I hope by writing this it will help someone else make their mind up. Plus this is a chance for me to my excuses… sorry reasoning straight in my head for when i face the force of nature that is my Grandmother.

You may agree with the reasoning you may not. but it’s mine and helped me come to a decision on who I voted for. If you’r able to vote in this election please do. Don’t waste your chance to have your voice heard. And if you haven’t voted but could have when the poll closes keep your mouth shut if the person you wanted didn’t get the post. You’r vote might have been the one they needed to get the post.

Even if it doesn’t at least you’ve had your voice heard and can say with pride my person might not have got in, but i voted and now it’s time to join together and work towards a Labour government and a better future for us all.

Smear test.

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Yesterday afternoon i went for my latest smear test.

Not much fun but then what medical test is fun?!

to let you know when its time for you test you get a letter from the lab that carries out the test telling you to book it with a leaflet abut what its for and how they go about doing it.

IT doesn’t mention that when you enter the room all you can see is on the table a spiky torture instrument is waiting to attack your insides. It’s not very big and the spikes look a little like those on a toothbrush, but when you’ve not seen it before and know where its going it looks massive and like it will be very painful.

If your lucky like me you get a nurse with a sense of humour. she put me at my ease with a few jokes about the doctors who work at the practice.

It didn’t help that the computer system choose that moment to crash. Cue lots of jokes about how useless computers are when it rains and comments on how her handwriting is better then any of the doctors.

Before long it was time for my to drop my pants. just a thin blue curtain between me and the large window over looking the carpark.

Having had a baby i’m used to idea of the world and his uncle wanting a peek at my neither regions. But living in a small town it would be just my luck for the air-con to turn on and flash them to someone i know from the small town i live in.

thankfully the air-con stayed off.

so laying there with my neither regions on full display the nurse enters the curtain, holding a truely massive see through dildo with a huge seam running down both sides.

“dont worry it wont hurt” she says as she shoves up the tunnel nothing that big should enter. and it didn’t. she chose this point to tell me shed had lessons of a gay friend over how lubed up something should be before insertion.

she made me cough to get it snug against my cervix then got the spiky brush of horror.

“you’ll feel a little itch as i take the sample.” she said as in went the damn thing.  Two seconds later i got shouted at for giggling. it tickled and wiggling with laughter was making hard for her to take the sample. so hard in fact that the spiky tickle device had given me a little cut. oops.

In no time at all i was dressed again being told not to worry about the results. its just a precautionary test to make sure that every thing is as it should be. I’ll get the results through the post in about two weeks.

all in all it took less then five minutes and while there was a bit of discomfort afterwards it was nothing compared to the knowledge that i’d done something positive for my health.

I’ve shared my story of getting a smear test as i think it’s something that should be talked about to get the fear and misinformation gone. it was a little test that was nothing compared to the tests you have when your baby doesnt want to comply to the docs timetable.

Voting begins

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So the ballot papers have hit our mats. Yes we’re in the home straight of this seemingly never ending leadership election.

If your like my Grandmother the filled in ballot will have been sent off within minutes of getting it. I’m pretty sure the postie was still on her street when she set off to post her filled in ballot. And as predicted i got a call as soon as she got back home.

“Gemma the ballots have arrived, fill it in now. The RIGHT way and get it posted today!!!”

Yes my Grandmother is bossy. If I lived closer to her I’m pretty sure she’d find her way to mine on a normal election day, march me to the polling station and stand next to me as i fill the ballot in to make sure I vote the “right way”. She has very firm ideas on what is the right way to vote and likes to make sure the family votes that way.

Anyway during the phone call i had to admit i havent got my papers yet. They went to my dads address instead.

A bit of a back story is needed here i think.

In a past post i’ve mentioned that my mother was very active in the local party as i grew up. so active in fact a lot of the older folks in our clp where called auntie and uncle by us kids as we saw more of them then our real family. As the clp is run by people who aren’t very good at dealing with change I can predict what will happen at every meeting and the time it will take. Having been bottle fed, napped and finally taken part in the meeting over the last nearly twenty eight years i chose to stop going to the meetings. I believe the final straw was they stopped the holding the meetings in a pub. Yes once i was old enough i drank my way through the meetings. Hard to let your mouth run away with you and insult people you’ve know your whole life if your mouths fall of straws!

So when i moved and realised i would be living within spitting distance of a couple of these older members who i have a hard time saying no to when they corner me, i left the membership address as my Dads. I still get any important post.

And more importantly for me I haven’t had to deal with what I am assured is a true mountain of snail mail related to the election. Getting twenty thousand emails daily is bad enough. OK i might have over egged the number there but it sure feels like when the phone keeps beeping to tell me i have a new email.

Back to now. Having made my admonition to my Grandmother i waited for the expected lecture to happen. Instead i got told to get my arse over to my dads and get the ballot filled in now. Remembering to vote the right way. and to call her when its done to make sure she likes the way i voted.

I’m now dodging her calls as it’ll be a couple of days before i can to dads to fill in my forms. Luckly for me shes in her eighties and is a little scared of the internet so the chances of her seeing this, and my head losing touch with my body are slim to none.

But, even though the ballots have now hit our door mats there are still hustings going on and planned to go on till the last second before the poll closes.

I might be a lone in holding this view but surely once the papers have been sent out all hustings ect should be stopped. It should be treated like a normal polling day. No campaigning allowed.

Again going back to my Grandmother even though she has filled in and sent her ballot back tonight she’s been at a hustings and plans on going to others over the next few weeks.

Why i ask. Because her friends will be there. People she only sees at conference. And there’s food and drink on offer.

If you ever want to hold a political event have food and drink on offer and you’ll be stampeded. At conference if you plan your day right you never have to pay for food and drink. but thats another story.

So i guess at the end of the day, the old people are going to the events having already sent their forms off to have a good chin wag while younger people like me are still scratching our heads wondering just who to vote for.

I still don’t know who’ll get my vote. I may end up voting just as the polls close going with the candidates my Grandmother is backing.

Labour leadership election.

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Its been dragged out for five months and there is sill nearly a month to go.

I don’t know about anyone else but i’m getting sick to the back teeth with it.

I’ve been a member all my life. Yes i know you cant join till your fifteen, but i think your member as soon as you start pushing leaflets through doors and for me that was pretty much as soon as i could walk. At the age of four i was pushing leaflets through doors while my eight month pregant mother watched on holding the huge bag of leaflets yet to be posted.

Growing my my mother was a labour councillor and worked as an party organiser. So for me My first party leader was John Smith. i meet him not long before he died. My mother had spent a week driving him around and had my sister and i delivered to the train station to meet him before he went somewhere else. while we waited we had choc ices. being six and three at the time we got it every where and there wasnt time to clean us up before the big man arrived.

with out a pause he took a hankie from his pocket clean my hands then shook my hand. My little sister didn’t want to shake hands with him so i stuck my other hand out to for him to shake. with a laugh he did then was ushered onto the train.

My best memory of a labour leader and i’ve meet all of them since more then once. Not one of them can torch to the big man in my mind.

So to get back to the point the four that are standing this year are nothing like him and the party will be worse for it. how many of them could you imagine laughing while carefully cleaning up a child before shacking their hand. a child they had never met before and never will again?

Maybe its the way she’s been portrayed in the media and by the other candidates but i find it hard to believe Liz Kendell would know what to do in that situation.

Not that its the be all and end all of my decision making.

And i wouldn’t vote for her anyway. Having looked at her policies and listened to what she has to say i find it hard to believe that she really does want what’s best the party. More like she wants what’s best for her on the after speaking dinner circuit.

Jeremy Corbin is seen as a communist and generally not a safe person to trust with the party.

I’m not sure i believe that. there has to be more to the man for so many grass roots members to support him and turn up to his events in such numbers that they end up out on the street looking in.

I have found myself agreeing with him on some issues and liking the way he’s dealt with the others when they’ve tried to interrupt his answers to questions. often questions they themselves have asked.

Yvette Cooper. I don’t know what i can say about her. pretty much before this election campaign the only thing i knew about her was that she was Ed Balls wife. And so far that’s still pretty much all i know about her. she gets drowned out of the debates by the others. So i cant see how she’ll survive PMQ’s where the whole house is in uproar when she gets lost in the voices of three other people.

Andy Burnham. The lad from up north. Probably the best known of the four contenders. I first met him ten years ago and can remember being blown away with how down to earth he was. I’ve met him a few times since then thanks to my Gran’s local party inviting him to a lot of their events. He’s a great speaker and has got a room full of the most stubborn people you will ever met rallying behind his every word.

Could that translate into a nation wide movement. I don’t know. He has a lot of baggage from the last labour government to over come. even more so when you take into account he was the minister for health. health hasn’t had good press since before he came to the post, and the Tories won’t be able to stop themselves throwing any failures that happened during his time in office in his face every chance they get. So weekly at PMQ’s.

So in seven hundred words I’ve scratched the surface of these four and well i still don’t know who i’m voting for. I’ve managed to narrow it down to three. If i cant get a first place in my mind, i might just give the ballot to my Gran to fill out for me. She’s had her mind made up from the beginning and if i was less stubborn myself i might have gone with her choice before now.

Just a quick one line to say I’ve know who I want to be deputy leader all a long and that’s Angela Eagle.  I have a lot of respect for her and having family who have dealt with her in the past and to some extent in the present who only speak good of her, (which if you knew my family you’d know how much of a miracle it is they agree about her!) i think the party will be safe with her in the deputy seat.

Slowly getting there…

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It’s been a wee while since i last updated this blog.

During that time I’ve written four complete first drafts of short stories and struggling through the fifth.

The thing I’m struggling with most is dialogue. Its quite hard to make sure that every word of dialogue is moving the story forward and not wasting words.

As the stories are short stories aimed a children i have to be careful with how many words i use to get a point across. short stories need the pace to be fairly fast and simple, and lets be honest, children don’t have the best attention spans. so keeping to the KISS principle is a must.

Saying that the first story I’ve finished I trailed on my son. I can’t think of a harsher critic as if he doesn’t like something he just gets up and walks away. He’s done this while I’ve read him published stories with nice pictures.

So a little nervous of what the cruel six year old judge would say i started. no pictures for him to look at as i cant draw to save my life. just my messy badly spelt, even worse grammar handwriting for him to look at.

I finish the first A4 page and look at him, he’s sat with a smile on his face. I carry on, the only time he  moved was to snuggle up to me as I read. with what i thought was a nice flourish i bring the story to an end.

“that was brilliant mummy, fantastic.” shouts my son. I’ve never heard him use those words before so with a tear in my eye, now there really is no pretending his a small child any more, (even though he’s the tallest in his class and missing two teeth in my head he’s still a baby) i dare to ask him if he thought there was anything missing.

“fart jokes!” no denying my son is a true boy with that remark. “fart jokes and things falling over”

yes in six year old heads slap stick is still the best go to comedy you can find. And some how not as easy as you might think to crow bar into a story about dragons while keeping an eye on the word count.

But nearly five stories in and while its not getting any easier the ideas keep coming and soon i hope to have a good handful of stories that can take the next step to having pictures drawn for them and be fully edited ready for other six year olds to enjoy. If there anything like my son i may need to have a few back up ones.