Calendar Girls

I have decided on a strap line for The Goddess Workshop – If you liked Calendar Girls, you’ll love The Goddess Workshop!loved Calendar Girls. To me it was the perfect combination of fun and poignancy. A wonderful exploration of friendships and relationships and a celebration of love! I am setting out to make The Goddess Workshop all of those things. My saucy moments are probably a little more saucy than those in Calendar Girls… Well, Ok, they definitely are. But they are all a part of the roller coaster ride of the story. And today, I’m going to email the final manuscript off to a friend to proof read. I’ve read it and read it until I can barely see it any longer, and now it’s time for someone else to have another look. Yesterday, I was really happy because I found a way to tie up an amusing joke and incident that takes places at the beginning with something that happens at the end. Very satisfying as it takes things full circle and ends on a high.

Now I just need to keep my son entertained this weekend so my partner can stop procrastinating and get on with the drawing I’ve asked him to do for the cover! Really hoping he does a good job, because I’m not looking forward to having to tell him I won’t be using it after all…

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Snow Go!

Hurrah! Working on The Goddess Workshop as my son’s school is open, despite the snow! Feeling excited, as I have seen a way to change the beginning to make everything flow better and especially to introduce Kate, one of my characters, who is, at first, very prickly and unappealing. I mean, she’s got to be that way, but I don’t want her to turn the reader off before she’s hooked on the book…

Didn’t get to the comedy course this weekend. My plans started to fall apart when my son’s school was closed due to snow warnings and I didn’t want to risk taking him on the journey to the kennels with our dog. The kennels is in the wilds of Norfolk along a dodgy track in the absolute middle of nowhere. Our dog is VERY bouncy and strong, and definitely not suitable for Grandma to look after. Alfie, our son, is also very bouncy, and quite enough to contend with. Anyway, phoned the course and they said I could transfer to another date, so I only lost the money for the hotel and the train tickets… 

 

Pickled cows

So, I had managed to convince myself the Comedy Workshop wasn’t going to happen this weekend. I had a strong feeling about it. Not enough bookings, snow, the hand of fate… Something was definitely going to happen to stop me going. Then I heard from the course leader, so I know the first doesn’t apply – there are enough people. Yay! I think! Just the snow and the hand of fate to contend with now… Plenty of snow on the ground here, but the sun’s out. My son will be gutted if he doesn’t get to go sledging after school, poor boy. But anyway, it’s looking as if it is going to happen…

Here’s the beginning of the joke I’ve been working on – the one about the charity chugger we had to change for the course. “When I was at art college, there were the cow picklers and the still life painters.”  Guess which I was? I had my own little still life school of painting going for a while! Alas, it didn’t make me my fortune.Don’t think I’d have had the stomach for preserving cows in formaldahide though… Anyway, just got to practice my ‘joke’ a few more hundred times and it should be fine. Or at least, it should be good enough raw material for feedback. It will exist.

Got some very useful feedback from Juliet O’Callaghan about the beginning of The Goddess Workshop the other day, so am now going to make some final changes and the some final proof reading. Upping the comedy and cutting what she called the ‘information dump’ in one of the chapters. My partner has been working hard on something for the book cover. So it’s slowly but surely all coming together. Very exciting! 

Comedy homework and lingerie models

So, to prepare for the comedy course, I have to do some preparation. We have been given a joke, and we have to rewrite it as we would tell it and learn it to deliver on the course. I’ve made hard work for myself because my favourite kind of humour is a long, rambling tale. Besides, it’s the only way I can think of to do it. Here’s the joke, which, I warn you, isn’t pleasant. I think that’s the idea – it’s intended to spark off debate on the course about what type of jokes you like, and what you feel acceptable/unacceptable etc.

“I was walking down the road and I got stopped last week by a charity chugger and they told me that did I know that in West Africa, there are hundreds of little black children having to walk 8 miles a day to fetch water and would I consider sponsoring one of them now. I went of course I will, no problem and asked him to put me down for 50p a mile.”

The only thing we have to keep is the punchline, put me down for 50p a mile. I didn’t like this joke, and the only way I could think to do it was to make the person who delivers the line the butt of the joke. So in my version, I am the charity chugger, and I ramble on about other rubbish jobs I’ve had before I meet the offensive man who says the punchline. It got me remembering all the awful jobs I’ve done in my time. Like the carton gluing factory, where I had to sit at a conveyor belt, take 10 flat pack cartons off it, put a rubber band round them and put them neatly in a box. You had to work very fast to avoid a pile up on the floor. It was exhausting. Then there was the mushroom farm, picking mushrooms in dark, smelly sheds. The highlight of that was when somebody – me once! – found evidence of the mushroom disease mycogni, which made the mushrooms all wierd and deformed looking. A flurry of excitement whizzed around the mushroom sheds then, I can tell you!

Anyway, my long rambling tale grew and grew. I practised delivering it and recorded myself. First of all I sounded like a school marm, so I put more energy and verve into it. Then I sounded like a radio four story teller. It truly is a horrible experience to hear a recording of yourself. But evidently I hadn’t had enough torture for one day, because I decided to film myself. Arrrgh! I got a new Kindle Fire HD for Christmas and am still finding out how to use all its features. Must, must, must learn to delete films! That one must never, ever find its way onto You Tube!

So why, you may ask, have I put lingerie models in the title of this blog? Well, that’s because I want my partner to do a drawing of an unconfident woman dressed in lingerie as a possible cover for The Goddess Workshop. She’s going to be wearing L plates if I go with this idea. So I had a look at some pics. The models did NOT look as if they lacked confidence however, so now I have to find a suitable head to inspire him. Any volunteers?

Introductions – a bit about me

Hi all. A New Year, a new blog! The start, I hope of many exciting things for 2013! I hope it’s a sensational year for you too!

I am a published writer, and you can see my readers for people learning to speak English here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Margaret-Johnson/e/B001HD34G6/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

I’m hugely proud of these books, and the money I earn them gives me the freedom to write what I want to write. Yay! And this year I am going to publish The Goddess Workshop, a comedy about – and for – women as an e-book. Think Calendar Girls with a dash of Carry On films and you’re starting to get the idea. It’s a roller coaster of laughter and tears, and in this blog, I’m going to share my experience of launching it into the world with you – all the excitement and the highs and lows. I bet you’re on the edge of your seat already! 

And just to give you more of an idea of the kind of gal I am, let me tell you about another challenge I’ve arranged for myself for the New Year. Actually, in less than two weeks!  (Gulp). I’m going to do a weekend Stand Up comedy course in London! Yes, me! Aaaargh! So I’m going to tell you all about that too. It’s in the name of research for my next book, The Dare Club. But it’s also a way of keeping me on my toes. I used to teach, you see, and I liked the performance side. It brought another side of shy little me alive. Just have to manage to leave my shy side at home and be bold! Hold on to your seats!Image