Monday, 23 April 2018

Looking for...

I'm hoping to put up a few prompts on the main Stories site that visitors can use to write their own story with and, if they agree, I'll put them into the members area.  All rights will remain with the author and I'll try and remember to put a Creative Commons license on every one that will stop re-distribution.

Sooo, any prompts from my blog and/or site visitors?  Please?  You can't copyright ideas but I'll thank you on the site if I use your prompt!

It can be a word, several words or a sentence in text or a picture that you hold the copyright to if you prefer?

As long as it's suitable for children, anything goes!

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Book review: The Golden Fountain by Zuheb Alep



✰✰✰✰ out of 5

Just finished reading this and it was OK in parts but too young to be considered YA as the main character is only 12 so an 18 year old wouldn't want to read it, but some of the words are more YA than MG though so the author either needs to add several years onto the main character to make it truly suitable for YA readers or reconsider some of the words and phrases they've used so that MG readers don't get confuzzled and frustrated with not knowing what the words mean.

There are way too many characters too... the MC is OK, but there would ideally only be a few more, instead of the amount the author has used.

If you are an older MG reader who likes fantasy then give this book a read, but if you're looking for a YA read from this book then you'll be disappointed unless you can take yourself back to your childhood... sorry!

 Give it a read, just don't be surprised if you get frustrated by the MC being younger than you.

Friday, 6 April 2018

Possible future picture book idea?

I've caught a cold off my wonderful hubby and I've got a nose that is ripping off the Christmas reindeer now, but it's got me to wondering if there is a potential PB idea in it?

It obviously won't be about a reindeer or even be set around Christmas time.... it'll be a little boy with a snotty nose that won't stop running even though it's supposed to be Spring outside, not Autumn/Winter and it won't be hayfever either!

Soooo, a totally anonymous survey that just needs a yes or no answer:

PB set in Southern UK, the weather is unusually cold and Ashley has caught a cold after not doing his coat up at school in the yucky weather at break and lunch times so now has a cold.

Yes or no please?

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Book review: Yellow Socks for Purple Monsters by Teresa Kresheck


✩✩✩✩✩

What a great little picture book!  It deals with a common child's nightmare in a gentle, sweet and reassuring way!  The author definitely has a talent for taking a common fear and reassuring the child, in a totally unique way, that everything will be OK!

I've got no hesitation in awarding it the full 5 stars!

Keep up the great writing, Teresa!

Book review: An Authentic Experience by Kelly Wittmann


✩✩✩✩ out of 5


Just finished reading An Authentic Experience by Kelly Wittmann and it's a good book, just needs less swearing considering that her readers will only be 13-15 years old!  I know that they prolly all know the words and use them frequently with friends but the adults in the readers lives won't appreciate all the f**k and b***dy and even a c**t close to the end!

If it wasn't for the swearing and the parents and grandparents all having 2 names each (3 for Silver's mum) then I wouldn't have a problem with giving it a full 5 stars, but the author needs to think about how she would feel about her own child sitting in front of the telly after tea one day and accidentally blurting out "what a f**king joke!" after reading it in this book.

A good little read, just needs less swearing and not so many name changes is all.  Keep up the writing, Kelly, just find other words to use instead of swearing so much is all!

Friday, 23 March 2018

94% on the final quiz!

Not bad going I don't reckon!  I scored 17 out of 18 without looking back for any of the answers this time, so I'm feeling really proud of myself!

93% on week 7!

Just done week 7's quiz and scored 14 out of 15 which is 93%!

Yaaay!

Thursday, 22 March 2018

90% on week 2 as well!

Had to have a second try on two of the quiz questions which took 5% off each, but getting on well with my scores so far today!

90% on week 1's quiz

Just finished week 1 of the characters and stories course on OpenLearn with a score of 90% and the only reason it wasn't 100% was 'cos I only chose one answer instead of two for one of the questions and I answered all the questions without going back to the course too, which is even better!

Help file content ideas please!

The only link that isn't a link on the S4C site atm is the help link.

Apparently not many people look at them which is fine and dandy, but I'd like to put a basic one on the site but don't know what information you want/need in it!

I'm gonna put:

  • Contact Amanda
  • About Amanda
  • Tutorial about filling in application form
  • Tutorial on downloading and installing software

in it, but what else do you want me to put in it please?

Leave me a reply to this post so that I can keep track of what to put in there?  Please?

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

And it's sorted! At last!

Steve's just talked me through how to administrate the database he's set up and he's programmed the login form bit now too, so other than the 'help' link thingie that I still need to work on, the whole site is live and kicking and ready to go now!

Yaaaay!

Means I can concentrate on my studies without pestering him now!

I've asked him to do another piece of software for me that'll only be available to members, so get signed up so that you don't miss out on all the benefits of being a member!

Start writing fiction course on OpenLearn

Just finished the first introductory creative writing course but it was more like a literature course than a creative writing course unfortunately.

It would have been OK if I had been writing novels for adults instead of children 'cos it was about the variety of different genres and reading extracts from grown-up novels without even mentioning Young Adult novels, let alone books for even younger than that unfortunately.

I'm hoping that there will be something more specific to children in level 2... all I got out of it was an idea for another piece of software for the members area, literally nothing else.

If you're interested in the techniques and genre's in grown up fiction, give it a look, but if you're after something that even mentions children's books, look elsewhere... sorry.

👎

Monday, 5 March 2018

Opinions please!

I'm thinking of adding a brag book to the Stories site... should I though?  If I should, would you prefer it to be on the main site only, the members area only or both?

If you think I should add it, should I make it a page that I code and upload or would you prefer a blog that I moderate before the brag appears in it?


Sunday, 4 March 2018

The navigation bars are sorted now, so...

Steve's just helped with getting the members only navigation bar to show up in the members area now, so as soon as the login whatsit thing is sorted, I'll be able to do a tutorial for becoming a member then that's it!

Just need to find other things to put in the members area now!  Anyone got any ideas please?  There's a forum and my Twitter timeline dooberry in there already but I don't know what else you want!

Saturday, 3 March 2018

It's taken all evening, but...

I've been going 'round in circles all evening, trying to get the navigation bar to show up in the members area and neither me or 'im could work out why it wasn't showing up...

Until I removed the commenting from the code, uploaded it et voila!

😌

Sorted!

Changed the title of the blog now... tried to change the URL too, but something went wrong so changed it back to the original, but I'm happy with that now!  Just waiting for the database login thingy to appear, then I'll work on advertising the site and getting the members area sorted!

It works!

Just need to change the title of the blog and it's description now!

Testing, testing

I'm hoping you're reading this from within the Stories for Children site... I've worked out how to put this blog within the site now so I'm just testing how it works is all  😐

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Members only area of the Stories site

I'm working on the members only area of the Stories 4 Children site atm and I'm all out of ideas for things you want only members to have access to.

I've got a forum on there that's free for the members, they will have first access to new sofware at a reduced price, updates to the software for the entire time they are a member, but what else please?

Any and all thoughts are totally welcome - either anonymously or with your name, I honestly don't mind either way, it's your idea's that I want more than a way to identify you!

Whether or not you want to be identifiable, could you reply to this message with your ideas... keep it clean for small eyes though, please!

Thank you!

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Review: Master Blacke by Pete Prown


✯✯✯✯ out of 5

There are a few spelling and grammar mistakes littered throughout this book which made me tut a bit and it takes a while for the book to really get going but stick with it and it livens up soon enough.

If you're prepared to keep reading then it's a good read, even though some of the language seems to be a bit... historical?  Victorian?  Olde Worlde?  It doesn't detract from the story but it's far from modern language in several places which might make the readers put the book down and never want to pick it up again, which is why I'm knocking a star off it - sorry!

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

YES!!

Been working on my stories site for the last few hours and I did most of it myself... even, with my in-house-geeks help got my new members area navigation bar sorted too!

Just need things to put in there now!  lol

Come on, what sort of things would you want to see in the members area on your ideal writing for children site?

I've got a few ideas of my own, but I'm always looking for more!  What do you want to see more of?  Less of?  What's missing?  Any thoughts gratefully accepted!

A survey especially for boys and men!

I was smacked by inspiration to write a MS aimed specifically at boys, so I've created a survey asking the questions I need to know!

If you are a man or boy and you don't mind filling in a quick survey about weeing standing up, could you fill in this totally anonymous survey for me please?

Thank you so much!

Saturday, 17 February 2018

After a bit of a tizzy this evening...

After 12 hours of constant work, I've put the sites in Google and Bing and I've updated the Stories site's navigation.

Got into a bit of an arsey mood with Steve about it, but it seems to be working now, thankfully!

It started off so well :-(

Been trying to sort out the navigation page on my stories site all day and it was going so well... I sorted out the home bit of the navigation and I was really proud of myself.

I'd have gone to bed really proud of myself if I'd just left it there.

I didn't though.

Got too far ahead of myself and screwed up.

Had to get Steve to sort out the navigation for me and apparently now the burger menu bit has disappeared again.

I'm gonna check that the div tag is closed and put replace the code at the top so that it's back again and use the primary thing for the colour, then that's it.  I've had enough for the day now.

😒

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Review: Spirit of the Wind by Yasmine Hamdi


✩✩✩✩ out of 5 

This is a good book, told from the first person viewpoint, about an American Indian tribe.

Be prepared to lose your lunch in the last few chapters when the author describes an infected wound on the leg of one of the characters though!

I could swear I'd read this book before, but I don't think I have.  If you're an MG or YA reader who is interested in Native America then have a read of this book.

It starts off slowly but ends happily ever after... just have a couple of tissues nearby if you're an emotional person and don't eat much in the last few chapters if you don't like gross descriptions of infected wounds!

Sunday, 11 February 2018

And it's all planned out as of now!

Varik's parents have just disolved into purple goo that Varik and his partners are stirring with one of their limbs.

That's it until March now when I'll attempt to write the 80k words in 40 days.

5 down, 10 left to plan today!

Varik has just met his four partners and they are all going to a pizza place to talk through their concerns about the loss of all the parents so that they can create the next generation, or if they should keep the parents alive and not create a new generation.

What will Varik and his four partners decide to do?

Saturday, 10 February 2018

20 chapters planned today!!

It seems to be a 'thing' with me that the later it gets, the more creative I am.  I struggled to plan 5 chapters all morning but I've done 15 since I had me lunch!

Only 15 left to plan then that's it finished and ready for me to start writing in March!

15 chapters planned today now

Apparently 100k is too long for YA, so I've cut it down to 40 chapters instead of 50, so that means I'm over half way through the planning now.

Just planned out the bit about how VarikChit was created and how come he's got a sister too as well as why nobody on Thraag has grandparents.

Gonna plan out a few more chapters then head to bed and hope that I have another creative day tomorrow.

12 chapters planned today

Considering it was a really slow start and I stopped for lunch too, I've managed to plan out 12 chapters so far today.

Gonna plan out 2 more then take me pills and any more will be a bonus after that!

In about 7 hours, I've planned out double what I'd planned out since I finished JanNo!  Not bad going by anyone's standards!

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Review: The dragon of the month club by Iain Reading


**** out of 5
O
M
G

What a truly awesome book!  I read it start to finish in 1.5 days and it quickly became a favourite when the author got into his stride.

There are a couple of typo's at the start and a couple of swear words about half way through but they just add to the character of the book.

This is the first in a series and I can't wait to read the next book.

It's fantasy, just gentle fantasy and a great introduction for 9-12 year olds who want to read something different to their usual genre.  Just be aware that you won't get your head out of the book after the first couple of chapters!

A definite must-read from me!  I'm only knocking off the star because of the first couple of chapters being slow to start and introducing characters that are only mentioned in passing throughout the rest of the book and because of the two swear words, but if you can put those to one side then this is definitely a must-read!

Sunday, 4 February 2018

It's amazing what I achieve at night! lol

Been trying to work with a dooberry on my stories site that's with Namehog and I got confuzzled with it, so Steve put his geek hat on for me but it confuzzled him too.

I did a search for forms and surveys online and found a couple of free places that were easy to work with (Jot Form for the application form and Google Docs for the survey).

They are both sorted and online now so they are other things I can cross off my to do list!

Gonna have honey sarnies in celebration then head to bed I reckon!

Friday, 2 February 2018

Survey's on my stories site...

I'm pondering on putting up survey's on my stories for children site and just want some feedback about what I should/shouldn't ask and where to put the survey's and stuff.

I will never ask for your name on any of the surveys or your age or anything like that.  The most identifiable info I'll ask is if you're a member of the site or not.

I've got a few questions popping up for the members area, but do I restrict the surveys to members only or do I open the surveys to the public area too?

What sort of questions do I ask on the public site and what do I restrict to the members only area?

It'll only be me that sees the survey questions unless there's a legal requirement to release the information I hold to the police or whatever but considering I won't have any of the respondent's names or ages or genders, so I don't know how I would know who had said what.

Do you want me to provide surveys asking for details of non writerly stuff too, or should I not be so nosey?

Would you want information about courses and books and things like that or not?  How about links to places I'm a member of and ways that you can get free books in exchange for a review?

Melanie has already reviewed a few books on the public site... would you want more reviews in the members area?  Links to other books for children that you can get on Amazon?

I'm totally opening this up to you... I want your ideas of things you want to see on the site and non-identifying information you would be willing to give on surveys.  What about affiliate links and stuff so that I can get a few pennies for things I've recommended?  Should I be honest about the money I'll be getting or should I just link to the things?

Come on, peeps!  I genuinely want your thoughts on how I can improve the site!!  I'd prefer you to reply to this message but you don't have to give me your name if you don't want to... just your initials are fine!

What do you want to see on the public site?  What's missing online?  What sort of thing should I put in the members area?

Thursday, 25 January 2018

It's official... I'm a dumb arse!

I was trying to work out how many days it would take me to finish my 100k in 3 months challenge that I'm setting myself this year.

I spent hour after hour trying to work out how many words I had to write a day and none of the numbers seemed anywhere near long enough... I'd be finished in 6 weeks instead of 12, tops.

If we say that a month is 30 days long, for the ease of calculation and so that I don't go even more doolally with it.

30 days × 3 months = 90 days, yeah?  Right so far?

50 chapters × 2k words in each chapter = 100k which is my target, yeah?  Still with me?

So 1 chapter a day is 50 days of daily writing to reach my 100k target yeah?

So the number I was looking for yesterday was 50 days at 1 chapter a day or 25 days at 2 chapters a day!

My dunceness was that I was working around 3 chapters a day instead of 1, which *would* be 17 days!  Wouldn't it??  I'm not sure again now!  lol

I give up with any kind of maths and I hope you can see why now!  lol

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Is my maths right, please?

I started planning out my next challenge - 100k words in 3 months.

Each chapter has 2 scenes of 1k words each so that's 2k words per chapter.

100÷2=50 chapters, right so far?

This next bit is where I need a bit of a confidence booster.  I wanna work out how many days it'll take to plan out the entire novel at 5 chapters a day, so:

50÷5=10 days, yeah?

I know it's simple maths, I've just never been confident with even the simplest maths is all so just wanna make sure I've got it right, unlike my JanNo novel where I was a chapter short.

Assuming I've got that right, the next bit is to work out how long it'll take me to write the novel.  My PB is currently 9k words on the final day of my JanNo novel, but that's so far off my norm which is about 5 or 6 chapters at 750 words per chapter for MG.

This is a YA novel and there are 2k words per chapter instead of 750, so I'm hoping to maybe write 3 chapters a day tops 'cos that's my usual speed when I'm in the writing zone.

Here comes a bit more maths:

50÷3=16.6, so lets round that up to 17 days... that can't be right though 'cos my PB was 50k in 12 days for NaNo and JanNo, so how am I going to squeeze out another 50k in less than a week?!?  Even my current PB is 9k in one day so how am I going to squeeze out a PB every single day for a week?

I is muchly confuzzled!

Anyone fancy helping me to work it out properly please?

See why I need your help now?  lol

Monday, 22 January 2018

Joke alert!

Breaking news:  A man dies when a pile of books falls on top of him.  Police say he only had his shelf to blame.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Another new personal best

Wrote the final 12 chapters today which totally smashes the personal best that I set a few days ago!

My maths was one chapter out so had to add another chapter of 750 words to take me up to the 50k target.

It's amazing what I could achieve without The Bill on this morning and just listening to music through my headphones for the last 12 hours.

Feeling so proud of myself for writing 50k in 11 days so gonna reward myself with 2 J2O's now then head to bed.

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

5 chapters written today

Not the 7 I was hoping for, but better than yesterday.

11 chapters left to write now then that's the MS finished for another year.

Just worked out that...

I know it's taken me forever to realise this, but every 5k I write of an upper MG or lower YA novels is 10% of the entire manuscript!

I'm at almost 41k in my current WIP atm so I'm over 80% of the way through it!!

Had an incredibly unproductive writing day yesterday 'cos I only managed 3 chapters so that's about 5% of the entire MS that I wrote in an unproductive day and I'm on my 3rd chapter of the day atm so that's another 5% which means I've done 10% in 2 days and I've got less than 20% of it still left to write!

My MC is about to get his school uniform then it's just tieing up lose ends in the last few chapters and Jools' first day at CornerRidge!

Bit behind what I was hoping for, but I'll still be finished in under 2 weeks even if I write 3 chapters a day so I'm pretty happy with that!

Monday, 8 January 2018

Only 6 chapters today

Up to chapter 50 of 68 now so hopefully it'll be totally finished by the end of the week... not bad going for less than 2 weeks since I started!!

49 down, 19 to go!

👌 👍

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Back down to my 7 chapters again today

Just finished my 7th chapter of the day.  I could, in theory, write another one, but it's 8pm so I want an early night for the first time since the 1st.

Saturday, 6 January 2018

New personal best today!

My previous personal best was 8 chapters in a day.

I managed 9 chapters today!!!

I even stopped writing to have me lunch today too, so I'm well happy and proud of myself tonight!

I think that calls for 2 J2O's!  lol

6, 750 words in about 10 hours which is so totally awesome!

Target tomorrow:  8 chapters.

Hit the half way point in the entire MS after only 6 days, so, in theory, I'll be finished by next weekend which'll be another personal best!

How awesome is that!

Friday, 5 January 2018

Another 7 chapters today

It's caffeine that I need, not heat 'cos I wrote one chapter after lunch (a mugshot) but another mug of coffee and I was good to go all afternoon and evening!

I'll be able to write from the moment I wake up and come home from walking the pup tomorrow 'cos The Bill isn't on at the weekend, so I just need to listen to the music and start writing!

Thursday, 4 January 2018

7 chapters today!

I thought yesterday's 6 chapters was good going, but I've only had one coffee and one drinking chocolate today, as well as shutting down for an hour to have me lunch but still managed to write 7 chapters which is so totally awesome!

Going for a wee then grabbing a celebratory J2O now then heading to bed in the hope that tomorrow is another productive day.

If I manage 8 chapters tomorrow I'm gonna have 2 J2O's!  lol

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

A huge 6 chapters written today!

I've written a huge 6 chapters today which is so totally awesome.

I also worked out that it's the heat of hot chocolate that inspired me instead of it being chocolate 'cos I've had 2 coffee's, 1 mug of soup and 1 drinking chocolate and I only had the chocolate while I was writing the 6th chapter!

The first coffee woke me up after a late night, the second woke my muse up, the soup warmed me up which kept me going all afternoon which meant that I wrote 4 chapters in 7 hours then the 6th chapter with the drinking chocolate.

Gonna have a really early night tonight and hopefully be able to have another productive day tomorrow too.

Already celebrated with my J2O so I've stopped writing for the day now, but I'm gonna take me pills, check my emails then head to bed!

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

4 chapters written for JanNo, so...

Just written my 4th chapter of the day for JanNoWriMo so I've treated myself to the first J2O of the month... bet I won't wake up until lunchtime tomorrow now though!  lol

Nite orl!