Something Useful for 2019 - Exercise No. 29

Memory is a random beastie. Some of my most vibrant and heartfelt memories are of events that have little true importance.

They aren't of choices I made that changed my life forever.

They're rarely connected with anything that is newsworthy.

Now I think of it, they probably wouldn't impress anyone other than the person I was in that moment.

One such memory instantly pulls me back into the mind and heart of my younger self.

I was six years old. I had three friends - A, A and J. Being an only child with parents who had kept me to themselves in the years running up to school, A, A and J were my first real friends. I trusted them completely, as six year olds do, and as such played with a joyful abandon at whatever imaginary game we chose.

Sometimes, we would play characters from our favourite TV show - Alias Smith and Jones, a Western TV series about two cowboys on the run from the law. A and J would play the named characters. The other A would generally play a girl character…

2019 - looking ahead

First off,
Happy New Year!
The first almost three weeks of 2019 have sped by at a rate of unforeseen, well, speediness.
The holiday season, besides a chance to spend lots of time with my family, was very much a period of thoughtfulness and reflection.
The image for this blog post is incredibly pertinent because, after all of that thoughtfulness, mince pies, and reflection, I've decided that 2019 will be a fresh start for my writing.
Haven Wakes, and its following novel Haven Journeys are, if not shelved, put on hold for the time being. I've polished and pushed the first novel as far as I'm able for the time being and I don't want to further develop the following novel until I'm sure what is happening with Haven Wakes.
So where does that leave me as a writer?
My content and copy writing business still continues successfully and the plan for 2019 is to increase my customer base and the variety of work. 
However, the dream is still to be a novelist. It always has bee…

December Wrap-up

Well, that's another year nearly over and what a year it's been.

The Highlights

Back in January, I made my freelance copy and content writing business official by launching my website. I never expected it to take off as quickly as it did.

After taking part in a Camp NaNoWriMo in July and receiving a critique from the Faber Academy in August, I finished my novel, re-naming it, Haven Wakes. It's currently doing the rounds of UK literary agents.

Haven Wakes has also been entered into the Bath Children's Novel Award competition.

With that novel put to bed for now, I started on the following novel, Haven Journeys - set partly in Iceland, and with selkies and genies for Steve and his friends to deal with, this is a continuation of the adventure that began in Haven Wakes.

The Lows

After running my murder mystery playwriting business Murdering The Text for 21 years, I decided to call it a day in November.

I'm not the same person I was when I started the business and I want …

What I'm doing this month - November

By the time November rolls round, a lot of people are on full Christmas mode. If it isn't present shopping, it's event planning, or just reeling out Christmas songs and memes on social media.

Me? I'm happy to plan ahead, where needed, but I also believe in savouring the moment. For instance, despite the time of year, the weather here is glorious, mostly dry and with that wonderful golden light  that you often get in the autumn. What's the rush to get to the end of the year? It'll be here soon enough.

I'm busy this month, with work, with writing and with saying farewell to something that's been a major part of my life for over two decades.

And no, I don't mean my husband.

Bye bye Murdering The Text

Back in 1997, I wrote my first murder mystery play with co-writer and friend, Janet, as a way to raise funds for the amateur theatre group we were involved in. Little did we know that it would turn into a business that would serve other amateur theatre groups …

What I'm doing this month - October

Is it just me or has it got chilly since October started? Brrrr. I had to root out my slipper boots because the dog won't let me use her as a foot warmer when I'm working.

October looks to be a full month - lots to do, lots to decide and lots to enjoy too.

Haven Wakes

That's the new title of my middle grade futuristic fantasy novel. What do you think? After finishing the latest (and hopefully last pre-editor) draft, I've been submitting my novel to literary agents in the UK. I've had one rejection so far but I'm not letting that dishearten me.

Preparing for November - or not?

NaNoWriMo will begin again in November and I'm in a bit of quandary over (a) whether to take part, and (b) what to write if I do NaNo this year.

The Camp NaNoWriMos have always been really successful for me and given me a real boost each time I've taken part, but I've never yet succeeded at the 50,000 word count of NaNoWriMo. I think it's to do with the time of year or maybe …

Something useful for 2018 - Exercise no. 28

The purpose of this month's writing exercise is to become more familiar with your protagonist and antagonist. Here goes.

If your protagonist and antagonist were in each other's shoes, how would they act differently?

Would they act differently?

What does this tell you about each of these characters?

Let's look at an example - how about Harry Potter and Voldemort?

If Voldemort/Tom Riddle had been orphaned and brought up by cruel relatives, would he had become a well-loved friend, hero and inspiration to others? If Harry had experienced Voldemort/Tom Riddle's upbringing, would he have followed a power-hungry path of evil?

Are your character's actions based on their upbringing and background, or do they have the choice to carve their own paths?

What would they do if they swapped lives?

What I'm doing this month - September

Every year, September marks a fresh new start for me. The teens return to school. I've had a rest and change of scenery over the summer break, and I approach my workload with a new level of enthusiasm.

After submitting my novel to a literary consultant at the beginning of the summer, I received the resulting report while I was away in Corfu with my family. Yay for roaming data!

I spent the next few days (in between cocktails, losing at pool to my son, and boat trips) constructing a plan on how to approach the next draft of my novel.

The report was provided by the Faber Academy and I have to say that they hit the nail on its well-worn head with their advice. They flipped my indecision over the way forward for my novel into certainty over what path I should take. Thank you, Faber Academy - you are my heroes.

I'm therefore setting myself a NaNoWrimo-esque self challenge in September to complete the redraft of my novel. I've set myself a daily chapter-count (1.7 chapters per …