Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

Leicester Proofreader. My image.


Do you need a proofreader or do you know someone who does? If the answer is yes then I can help. I am a proofreader. For details of the service I offer click on the Proofreading Services tab at the top of this blog or visit my Leicester Proofreader page on Facebook.

If you’re a regular reader of this blog you’ll be aware that I’m currently looking for a job but as none seem to be forthcoming I’ve decided, in the interim at least, to set myself up as a freelance proofreader. A few months ago I completed a proofreading course and now all I need is some work.


My spelling is Wobbly. It’s good spelling but it
Wobbles, and the letters get in the wrong places.”

Winnie-the-Pooh – A.A. Milne

If, like Pooh, your spelling is wobbly (or your punctuation, grammar, syntax, etc. need checking) or you just need someone to proofread your work for your own piece of mind then please contact me at leicesterproofreader@gmail.com. I can proofread pretty much anything and can do it on screen using tracked changes or on hard copy using BSI proofreading symbols.


If you’re not in need of a proofreader then I’d be ever so grateful if you would “like” my Facebook page, follow my Twitter account (@LeicProofreader) or simply spread the word. I know quite a lot of people have already done this and I very much appreciate you taking the time to support me.


Thank you.


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I love poetry and I love to write poetry although I’m not especially prolific. Some poems I write for myself and some I write for others as you will see below. To read simply click on the picture.


All the links here take you to Wattpad. You don’t need an account to read these poetry collections but without one you will be unable to comment over there or vote if you should so wish.



My Poetry

I used to write songs when I was at school but never really managed to get past the first verse and chorus. Giving the song writing up as a bad job this is where I leave my very occasional attempts at poetry.



Poems for Special Occasions

I occasionally write poems for friends and family. They’re always personal but not private so I share them here.



Richard Armitage – A Poem

A short poem about the lovely Mr Armitage and how I think his admirers see him.



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I have started trying to write original fiction. This is something that I struggle with and so far I have only published two completed short stories. There is another story on my Wattpad page but I only posted two chapters and then decided not to continue with it so I’m not linking it here. Who knows, one day I might change my mind. To read a story simply click on the picture.   All the links here take you to Wattpad. You don’t need an account to read these stories but without one you will be unable to comment over there or vote if you should so wish. These stories are also posted on Archive of Our Own which can be accessed here if you prefer to use that site.  


The Photographer’s Lover

He photographs beautiful women … it’s his job. Why doesn’t he photograph her? Rated G.


The Photographer’s Wife

A sequel to The Photographer’s Lover.

Now married with a baby on the way, he still photographs her. Can he make her see herself as he does? Rated G.

The Warmth of Strangers

Two strangers are thrown together under rather chilly circumstances and find unexpected warmth. I may expand this but am promising nothing. Rated G.



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I only write Spooks fan fiction and only about Lucas North. I feel like I can get inside his head in a way I have been unable to contemplate with any of Richard Armitage’s other characters. To read a story simply click on the picture.


All the links here take you to Wattpad. You don’t need an account to read these stories but without one you will be unable to comment over there or vote if you should so wish. These stories are also posted on Archive of Our Own (except A Birthday Surprise) which can be accessed here if you prefer to use that site.




Lucas North is looking forward to a well-earned day off.

A very short story set immediately before Lucas went to Russia for 8 years.
Rated PG-13 but very tame.

Book cover2

A Birthday Surprise

A very very small self-indulgent fantasy written in honour of my 40th birthday! Rated PG-13 but very tame.



Losing Lucas

Lucas escapes from himself for a while – this is a one-shot set at the end of Spooks 8.6. (This badly needs editing as I wrote it quite a while ago – I’ll get round to it eventually.) Rated PG-13 but is quite naughty.



Soothing the Soul

A short story set sometime within Lucas’ first 12 months back on the grid. It’s his birthday and it looks like he’ll be spending the evening alone until he meets someone who helps to soothe his soul with music and dancing. Rated G.



The Christmas Eve Shift

A short AU Lucas North story set before the events of series 9. A lonely and embittered Lucas is called in to work the Christmas Eve shift on the Grid. Rated G but might provoke a few tears – it did with me and I wrote it!



The Special Asset

She risks everything to be with him … a Lucas North one-shot. Rated PG-13 for implied naughtiness.



The Terrors of Loneliness

Hannah is all alone in the world until she gets caught up in something that introduces her to Lucas North, MI5 agent. With her already fragile world turned upside down, she turns to him for support.

A multi-chapter story. This takes place some time after series 8 but ignores the events of series 9. (I am very proud of this but it needs editing as I wrote it some time ago and I can now see the mistakes.) Rated PG-13 for some swearing and occasional fairly tame naughtiness.



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This is my attempt to rediscover my writing mojo. I suppose I have good enough reasons for having lost it but recently I was asked if I’d like to participate in something and immediately knew I couldn’t do it. Not because I wouldn’t like to, but because I’ve lost all confidence in my ability to write. I’ve never been much of a blogger but I’ve loved writing. The saddest thing about not writing is that I have a story in progress…my first attempt at original fiction and after posting one chapter several months ago I’ve singularly failed to post anymore. I’m actually ashamed of myself! So I’ve had some personal issues to sort through…but in the grand scheme of things, they are nothing compared to what others deal with everyday and still manage to carry on.


So…I’ve decided to list some of my reasons for being cheerful to serve as a reminder that no matter how bad it seems, there is always something to smile about.


My friends – I have some pretty amazing friends. Friends who are always there, who understand me, who don’t judge me and who love me. I hope they know how much they mean to me.


My family – I might have moments where I whinge or complain about them, but let’s face it, like my friends, they’re always there. They support me, worry about me and accept me no matter what.


My home – It might only be rented and it might shake quite violently every time a train passes but I have a lovely, comfortable home. I’m surrounded by nice things, and it’s warm and dry and safe. Given what’s been going on in the world of late that’s something to give thanks for every day.


My car – This might seem an odd choice but just over 4 years ago I’d never driven a car. The thought of driving terrified me but I decided to put aside my fear and embarked on 12 months of lessons. My nerves nearly got the better of me when it came to taking the test, but I passed on my third attempt and have never looked back. Over 3 years on, I still occasionally have to pinch myself to prove that yes, I really am doing this! Driving…I love it.


Richard Armitage – Sorry, but I had to squeeze him in here! This is not an RA blog but you all know that I’m a huge admirer of his and if looking for reasons to be cheerful, he has to be way up there. If it hadn’t been for him I would never have met a lot of those friends I hold so dear and even though he’ll never know, I will always be grateful to him for that.


Twitter – Again, much like Mr A, without Twitter I would never have found a lot of the friends that are now so important to me. As I’ve mentioned before, it changed my life.


My musicality – I was going to put music as a reason but it occurs to me that it’s not so much the music as my ability to appreciate it and lose myself in it. I love the fact that I can sit down at a piano and play it competently (or at least I could…bit out of practice now!), that I can pick up a guitar and have it make a pleasing sound, or that I can open my mouth and hold a tune. I’m not a great musician by any stretch but I love being able to feel music and not just hear it.


My country – Say what you like about it, I am proud to be British. I never thought I would put this on the list but actually, after having watched the Olympics in the summer and the pageantry of the Queen’s Jubilee, I will be forever in awe of my country’s ability to put on a show, to smile in the face of the doubters and say, “look at us… aren’t we amazing!”


My ancestors – As part of my attempt to rediscover the things that make me happy I have recently immersed myself back into my family tree after a two year absence. For many years I’ve been researching the minutiae of all those people that have helped to make me who I am today. I’m lucky to have found some fantastic family stories and tantalising connections. But it’s not the links to the famous or infamous that I find the most exciting or that make me the most happy, it’s the ability to know so much about the lives of the ordinary people. I spent yesterday studying Merchant Navy records and crew lists (all online) to find out more about some cousins of my great-grandmother. Nothing spectacular, but I have to admit to being totally in awe of one man when I read an account of a voyage he took that ended with the words “Crew all saved”. Now there’s definitely a reason to be cheerful!


So there you have it.  Not an especially long list and by no means exhaustive. I’m actually really pleased that I’ve managed to write this. Maybe, I can start to think about continuing with my story…but baby steps…baby steps!


I’d love to hear what makes you happy if you’d like to share…

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Finally!  At last I’ve finished writing my first foray into Fan Fiction.  Actually this was my first real foray into creative writing of any genre.  I started the story, The Terrors of Loneliness, in March and wrote a total of 20 chapters…averaging two chapters a month.  Not exactly prolific but by my standards it’s fantastic!

Original photo source: richardarmitagenet.com. Edited by me.

The first story I have any memory of trying to write was about a family of hedgehogs.  I don’t remember the title but I can see the first page clearly in my mind.  Very carefully using a pair of compasses I filled each corner of a page of A4 paper with a quarter circle.  I then proceeded to draw pictures of the characters about which I intended to write.  I cannot draw…I never could, but even at the age of 10 or 11 I was something of a perfectionist.  This meant I spent a very long time on my drawings trying to make the best of a bad lot, and spurred on no doubt by the knowledge that if I stopped drawing I would have to write something.  Goodness only knows what my teacher thought of my efforts; I never did write the story…I think I managed a few sentences and then gave up.  You see I hadn’t planned my story.  I’m sure it was explained to me that a story must have a beginning, a middle, and an end, but all I knew was that I wanted to write about a little hedgehog who wore blue dungarees and lived in a hole in the ground with his parents.  I can see now that as a plot that didn’t have a lot going for it!

Realising that drawing was simply not a skill I was ever going to develop, when given the option of writing or drawing for our RE (Religious Education) homework, I always opted for the writing option.  RE classes were known as being an excuse to doss around and do no work.  Homework was always the same; read a particular passage from the Bible and then either, draw a picture, or write about it in your own words.  I believe I was the only child in that class to choose the writing option.  Of course here, a plot was already provided.  You just had to rewrite the passage using different words.  Let’s call it creative copying!  I got good grades for RE…but then so did everyone else!

My creative muscles were flexed a little further when studying for my GCSE‘s.  For those unfamiliar with our education system, these are exams I sat aged 16.  In Integrated Humanities (your guess is as good as mine) we were tasked with creating our own children’s book.  This was in the days before everyone had personal computers and access to desktop publishing so we had to do it all by hand.  I’m sure the book I produced still exists somewhere, possibly in my parents’ house.  It was by no means a masterpiece and as it was aimed at very young children, only had a sentence or two on each page accompanied by a picture.  It was about a group of farmyard animals including Percy the Pig and Suzie the Swan (are swans farmyard animals?) but the rest escape me.  I know there was an accident involving a pond and the story had a moral behind it but it was never going to be a bestseller!  I got around the drawing issue by opting to draw only part of those animals I found particularly difficult to illustrate, so it was full of heads and tails but few complete bodies!  Because the pictures were cartoon-like and because I spent so long doing it, the end result wasn’t that bad but it wasn’t great.

I studied music at school and part of that meant writing original pieces.  I had to produce three for the final assessment; however, as it was a music exam, the examiners were only really interested in the music.  I chose to write songs and therefore needed lyrics.  I managed to write complete lyrics to two songs but then relied on a friend to write lyrics for the third.  I did try…but I found writing a complete song really hard, and it showed…

Hundred pairs of eyes on me
Don’t know where I should be
Don’t know where I belong
Confused I sing this song

Confusion never ends

People staring through mist
What is this future I have risked
Standing on an empty stage
But confusion’s like a cage

And then there was…

I can’t last another day
If this feeling’s gonna stay
I can’t live for nothing
If there’s nothing there
If you would just impart
A few words to my heart
‘Cause even when I see you
You make the silence real

Living without your laughter
Living without your tears
Living without your kindness
Living without your fears
I knew I wasn’t wanted
There was someone else I knew
But I’m hangin’ on and waiting
Hangin’ on for you

The thing I notice about these lyrics is that apart from anything else, they don’t really make sense!  But I can forgive myself for that…I had no life experience to provide inspiration.  When I wrote these I had never even had a boyfriend!  All the best songs are inspired by love and life and I was lacking in both.

As I’ve got older, the lyrics have improved but I’ve never managed to write a complete song since.  I pondered over this little excerpt for years but am still no closer to writing any more…

You’ll always be my sleepless dream
The delusion of my day
For when I fall asleep at night
My dreams just fade to grey

Anyway, I got through school without doing any further creative writing and then went to University.  Doing a degree in Mathematics and Computer Science leaves no room for creativity and while I did continue my attempts at writing songs with the help of my trusty guitar, I never got anywhere.  It has only been in later life that I have had an urge to write properly.  I even started on more than one occasion but failed to get past the first page.  One attempt involved me writing about a real holiday romance but inevitably trying to put it down on paper only proved one thing…there was no romance to write about!

Making friends on Twitter, as mentioned previously, opened up a whole new world to me…and that world was the Richard Armitage fandom.  The first thing I wrote was inspired by someone I met online.  It wasn’t fictional but was about how I felt about that person or rather, their on-line persona.  I only shared it with a couple of friends as, although it was largely humorous, I rather laid myself bare in it.  Their comments actually made me think more seriously about my writing abilities.  I then discovered Richard Armitage fan fiction and wondered if maybe this was my way in.  With fan fiction you have a ready-made character…potentially, even some partially made plot lines.  Seeing what other people could do….some good…some bad…some phenomenal…I decided to give it a go.

I chose to write about Lucas NorthSpooks (or MI5 in the US) was a programme I had avidly watched since the very first series and having fallen for Lucas I was horrified by the events of series 9.  He deserved some real romance I thought.  I was pretty sure I could write about love, but I was unsure about the Spooks side of things.  I worked out how to start the story and knew vaguely how I wanted it to end but I had no idea how I was going to get there.  Having an idea about how to end it was a vast improvement on the hedgehog story but I still had no plot.  Unperturbed I started the story and when I reached a natural end point for the first chapter, I realised I knew what I wanted to write about in the second.  This “flying by the seat of your pants” style of writing might not be recommended but 10 months on it has gotten me to the end of a story of which I am very proud.

I’m under no illusions.  One story does not a writer make.  But, I am spurred on by the positive comments and support I’ve received.  Posting stories on Wattpad is a bit like taking part in a popularity contest but I am encouraged most of all when someone whose writing I admire takes the time to read my story and post comments.

The Richard Armitage fandom is full of talented and creative people and I am privileged to be a part of it.  It is my intention to write more and hopefully sooner or later, I will start with a plot.  One thing I can say with absolute certainty…I will not be writing about hedgehogs!

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