The Fall

Writing Wings

Autumn is not here yet, and the leaves are hardly turning, so I had no reason to shout “Timber” as I hit the ground. Well, the floor of the bathroom – and my head and shoulders hit the shower.

Getting to the toilet is never easy, especially at night – or in this case at 7 a.m. in the morning, when it involves two wheelchair transfers. Multiple sclerosis drives me crazy. My body cramps up in bed, so I need to push, roll, and force my un-cooperative legs onto the floor. Then I have to push myself up off the bed and, using the bedside cupboard for extra support, swing into my wheelchair without falling. Stage One complete.

But then I need to reach the toilet before my bladder gives up on me – and it has a couple of times. And I need to do this without my legs…

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Critique partners and Beta-readers

Writing Wings

InsecureWritersSupportGroup2This post arose because I have just given my first critique for a fellow writer in the Insecure Writers Support Group’s Critique Circle on Facebook. And it is the first Wednesday of October, so this is myIWSG monthly post.

I felt that it was the perfect time to look at what the experts had to say about the critique process. So where better than starting with a useful post at IWSG on what to look for in a critique partner:

“The manuscript is polished – huzzah! Time for another set of eyes to look at it.

Beta readers/test readers are often those who are just readers of our genre. They’re great for spotting flaws in the story. But we also need skilled writers to go over the manuscript and examine the plot, the character arc, the grammar, the structure, etc. Enter–critique partners.

What should we look for in a…

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Would YOU miss me?

Writing Wings

From DeviantArt. For if one link in nature's chain might be lost, another might be lost, until the whole of things will vanish by piecemeal. From DeviantArt. For if one link in nature’s chain might be lost, another might be lost, until the whole of things will vanish by piecemeal.

Or rather would you miss my weekly blog posts? I was trying to think of something worthwhile to blog about, but kept rejecting the crass ideas.

Who wants to read about “A World without Shakespeare”?

Why pose the question “What sort of heroine rules your mind?” in any genre?

What is the point of musing about “Autumn Fruitfulness” if it’s not the “Colours of Fall”?

My inspirational “The Difference between Critique and Beta Readers” will be next Wednesday’s IWSG monthly post.

So I reached the conclusion that I wouldn’t write anything, and then see whether anyone noticed. Shtako! I’ve written something after all.

But what next?

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What lines set you alight?

Writing Wings

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I was going to blog about ‘A world without William Shakespeare’ but the prospect was too horrendous – even if Christopher Marlowe hadn’t been killed so young.

Did that line grab you, or turn you livid with anger?

How important to you is the first line of a book? I admit there have been some great ones. My favourites, and I read these decades ago, are:

There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it. — C. S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (1952)

It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. – George Orwell, 1984 (1949)

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But such lists are open to debate, and trying to pick favorites can be a challenge.

Getting that opening right, finding the right words, choosing the moment to start that is the question. Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to…

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Passage to America

Writing Wings

The USS Macon sails over lower Manhattan, on October 9, 1933. (AP Photo/U.S. Navy) The USS Macon sails over lower Manhattan, on October 9, 1933. (AP Photo/U.S. Navy)

A short while ago we were attempting to get my US visa, buy a house, sell this one, and then fly ourselves and four pets to the US by Christmas.

That’s now a non-starter.

No prizes for guessing why we’ve had to postpone. Just accept that there was the lack of fraternal support over here, regardless of the excitement across the Atlantic.

So we have postponed my medical – the next stage in the visa process. We’ve also put a hold on the whole housing issue. Now we have to face months more of living in a difficult situation.

However, we have made a momentous decision, not least because flying the four fur babies was not only daunting, but also stressful for them – and expensive. It was going to cost us £4,000 to fly them…

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Bring on the Revolution

Writing Wings

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As there is no progress on the Idaho front, I am reverting to another aspect of my weekly Pick’N’Mix Theme – Books.

So we start with my review of the last book that I’ve read, T E Taylor’s Revolution Day.

Who can a revolutionary trust?

As an autocratic and repressive ruler hanging onto power after 37 years, Carlos Almanzor seems to have little choice as he tries to survive. The scenario that Tim Taylor paints so vividly echoes the real-life situations of so many abusers of power, and the downward spirals of many dictators. And the scheming of Carlos’ colleagues proves very Machiavellian – very appropriate since I won a copy of “The Prince” on the launch day of Tim’s engrossing novel.

In a way, I could relate being part-Chilean and having known both refugees from Pinochet and supporters of the Sandinista Revolution. The Latin flavour worked as well…

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Will I clear the medical hurdle?

Writing Wings

The 10 Best Cities to Move to in 2015 - http://www.simplemovinglabor.com/blog/the-10-best-cities-to-move-to-in-2015#.VQXcaHY3dgs.facebook The 10 Best Cities to Move to in 2015 – http://www.simplemovinglabor.com/blog/the-10-best-cities-to-move-to-in-2015#.VQXcaHY3dgs.facebook

Well the US emigration adventure is moving forward. On August 11th, 36 days after applying, I got the approval letter from the US Embassy, which allows me to proceed to the next step of the visa process.

Then another eleven days later, on Saturday August 22nd, I received the crucial LND number that allows me to fix a date for my medical examination – probably in late September. If that goes well, and I pass muster, then the final step will be the interview at the US Embassy in London.

This all presumes that we can fix the medical date for late September. The medical is only valid for six months, but most of those are winter months when it could be hard to move the animals to the US – they can’t fly if…

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