Eva Jordan in conversation with… Anna Shenton

I am really pleased to have the lovely Anna Shenton as guest author on my blog today. Author of Seduced By Mind Tricks, Lust For Survival and Writing Spelled Out, Anna also runs the really friendly and helpful Facebook group The Writers Authors and Readers Group. As well as telling us a little about herself, Anna also explains how daydreaming helps her to write.

How daydreaming sessions helped me write! 

Thank you Eva, for the kind invitation to write a guest post. Having read many of your wonderful posts I realise I have my work cut out, and hope to make this fulfilling, interesting and joyful.

Anna Shenton (1954) – I was born in a small village in Staffordshire, England and experienced an interesting upbringing by my English father, and German mother. My two elder siblings Ilona and Steven, and later, a surprise brother from Germany helped fuel my imagination for writing. We lived in the real world in our new council house, metal window frames, freshly plastered walls, newspaper squares on a string in the bathroom, home-made ginger beer in the pantry, strawberries in the garden and lots of helpful neighbours!!! Woow!!!

My flair to create comes from my family, I think. I have a locally famous artist, Uncle Stan Richards, who has and continues to, paint and sell many beautiful paintings, often donating proceeds to the air-ambulance. My late father enjoyed pencil/cartoonist drawing which he occasionally contributed to the Daily Mirror. I spent many hours watching him sketch with charcoal; hence, I also like to dabble for fun myself.

My Late brother wrote his Debut Novel (Notes in the Margin) in Mumbai, which unfortunately hasn’t been published. I hope to look into this soon. And last but not least my Sister writes a very popular frugal blog (Mean Queen) she is amazing.

Always known as a bit of a daydreamer in class I was determined to put my vivid imagination onto paper someday.

Having left school at the ripe old age of fifteen I started work in a new Sainsbury’s store where I trained and became Senior Chief Clerk.

Ok, you want to know a little more about me today!!!

I live in Staffordshire with my lovely retired policeman hubby. We love to travel with our touring caravan – Any country goes!! Our favourite pastimes is walking, cycling, eating and enjoying a bottle of wine or two.

Ah yes… we do go to the gym and swim daily too, whilst not gallivanting!

We share a fantastic family of six sons and daughter-in-law’s, and millions of adorable grandchildren, so to say the least, there is no shortage of inspiration.

We fill the garden with vegetables to share with them and the toy cupboard overflows onto the bunk beds which they occasionally, in turn, sleep in, with the famous big ted!

Christmas is always a family affair!!

Always loved to write. Kids flown the nest! I ploughed into a home study course with the Writing School of London. Amazing stuff!  Success with Star Letter Pages and Fillers for Women’s’ Commercial Magazines was encouraging.

Venturing forward, my articles were soon published in Hobby publications, Practical Caravan, Caravan Magazine, Modellers World and Writers Forum International.

Poems didn’t go amiss either. Growin’ Owd – my pet poem – won World Book Day prize 2015 with Vind & Vag Publishing House, and, I loved writing short stories for writing group anthologies, where I used to be fund organiser.

Inspiration from life experiences and reading other authors helped me write Seduced by Mind Tricks, my debut romance novel and create short stories.

Want to share my love for writing, with – I wanna be a writers’ friend. My eBook Writing Spelled Out is devised and rewritten from my articles to help all budding authors.

Take a peek at an excerpt – How Daydreaming Sessions enriched my writing.

Whatever you’re doing take your characters, ideas, events with you. Adapting a habit of holding daydreaming sessions with yourself will compose a sketchy plan and actuate results.

The mind is a very powerful thing, daydreaming uses a complete range of images, feelings and sounds from your memory. It can conjure up an alternative life and outcome for your characters for instance.

Memory is not abstract, it’s built from bits and bobs and provides the writer with material, and all we have to do is probe every mortal strand possible. But with that, comes a word of warning, don’t allow yourself to slip into living in solitude as a hermit.

It is imperative to keep juices flowing and add to your personal memory bank getting as much on board as possible. So get out there and get involved in as many events, functions, and social affairs as possible with your eyes and ears wide open. You are probably thinking well how am I going to find the time to do all that in my already busy life? Don’t worry; your daily routine will also throw up a few ideas for good measure. Even half an hour sitting in the park or café can illuminate the exact situations or answers you’ve been looking for. Listen and watch! Then note! It works for me.

Everyone’s creativity is sparked by unique circumstances, so start searching deeply and laboriously into your subconscious with the following examples in mind which will throw out varying shades of sunlight. The power of daydreaming can transform rags to riches. So if you are sitting comfortably, close your eyes: slow your mind down and get ready to lift-off into the unknown.

Using characters for instance – to get the imagination revolving begin with a simple exercise by inventing lives for strangers you’ve seen in the park or café. You haven’t got a clue what this person does, no plots, goals or aims. So who is she? Where is she going? Why is she walking alone? Does she resemble someone you know? Give her a name to shape her image. This will add to or may conflict with your mental picture later.

Bait planted firmly, you can now expand on it. Exercise the imagination, turn your first impressions, thoughts around into different lights, hear what it’s saying, and play with it. Note down anything interesting, images perceived. The woman I saw in the park looked pale and fragile, her skin like tissue paper, her grey-hair greasy and thin – like rats tails. She will make a perfect third character in my short story, Family Inheritance, once I have taken her up to my domain, and dissected, with what if…? Or suppose that…?

A prime example of an exercise is to re-enact in mind an incident that has happened, imagine what the outcome would have been if things had gone differently.

The following example is taken from a short story in progress. The plot is a little sketchy at this point; I need to dress it up, add fire and colour, present my characters vividly and move the story forward. So I’ll take Jenna and her mum with me while I sprawl out on the sofa and gaze expressionless at the lounge ceiling.

Jenna and her divorced mum get on well, the dilemma being that Jenna wants to move in with her fourth boyfriend. Mum hit’s the roof, it won’t work.

What situation can I conjure up to make Jenna see she’s making another mistake?

Muddling it around in my head finding several conclusions I try to envisage every possible route by applying suppose that… or what if..?

I decide to let Jenna go, but in the meantime because of the upset she has caused, mum rents out Jenna’s room to a dear old friend.

On the other hand, mum could have sold up and moved north – or disagreed with Jenna entirely, disowning her – or insisted on moving in with the happy couple to make sure he doesn’t do the dirty.

My daydreaming session helped me visualise the most appropriate situation to move the story forward and entice the reader. Jenna and her mum in your head, what does your daydream reveal? Take your time, various scenes will appear and you may find that some elements you originally thought just don’t fit. You can then ask yourself; why did her mum do that? Or why is Jenna doing this? You will begin to think further ahead and the story will form into a plot as you guide it. Although, this doesn’t mean we should ignore the initial plot, as it is essential to have an early framework.

To refresh your daydreaming delve into your private fantasies, and keep your mind active. Read widely, observe details and study people. Daydreaming also creates ambitions and goals, setting you on the path to achieving these things. It really does wonders for the imagination.

Thanks for taking the time to read this fellow writers, authors, readers and friends. I hope you found it fun!!!

Currently, I am working on a Historical Novella early 1900’s I don’t intend to rush this as I want to enjoy the experience and create the book as I wish.

Also, The Writers Authors and Readers Group is my passion. A layman in Facebook skills landed me with the group accidentally, but hey it has turned out to be awesome. We have some fab people on there and I am happy to help others. You are welcome to join, send a request it really is inspiring!

Anna Shenton

Anna Shenton:
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Amazon Author Page




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