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 …

Choice Words for August

Wow, the summer holiday break is racing by in a blur and it's been incredibly busy so far but that doesn't mean that I haven't searched out some choice writerly words for you.

First off, I have an article from Tim Grahl of Book Launch entitled Publisher Questions: What to ask before you sign a book contract. I'd love to be at that stage but this is a good reference article to file away for the future.

It took me a while, and a lot of coffee, to write my About Me page. As an unpublished writer, I just wasn't sure what I could or should say. In How to Write an Amazing About Me Page, Autocrit answers all of my (and probably your) questions on this topic.

Finally, here's some wise and choice words from writer, Alexa Donne.

Photo Inspiration for August

It's holiday season here in the UK so I'm going down an obvious route with this month's photo inspiration - the seaside.

There are three photographs to choose from, with differing aspects or view of holidays by the sea. Some are sunny. Others have grey skies.

Choose the one that catches your eye. What does it inspire you to write?

I'm a winner (or how I did with Camp NaNoWriMo)

Last month, I told you that I was taking part in Camp NaNoWrimo in July with the target of completing the (probably) final draft of my novel.

I got off to a good start but as I had to write a number of completely new chapters, my progress slowed down gradually. Still, I kept ahead of the required wordage and saw my wordcount build each day.

Taking part in an organised writing session with accountability partners helped keep me inspired and motivated, and the daily messages and advice from the organisers only added to this.

On 29th July, I reached my target and completed my draft. Yay!

My novel is now with a reader at Faber Academy for a full manuscript read-through. Having added new chapters, I'm aware that this isn't my final draft but it's close and I'm hoping some experienced advice can pave the way to my manuscript being agent-ready very soon.

What I'm doing this month - August

What am I doing in August? I'm giving in to the summer. Or to put it another way, I'm going on holiday somewhere hot.

The month of August will therefore be a little work-quiet for me. I'll be downing tools and picking up a suitcase instead.

One of the benefits of going away and being away from the call of my laptop and work is that I can get some actual, quality reading done. Bliss!

Having finished the latest draft of my novel (more news about that in my next blog post), I may spend a little time working out the plot for my next novel. Apart from that though, the focus will be on building memories with my family and relaxing.

So whatever you do in August, have a wonderful month.

P.S. There will be some more blog posts this month but they'll be scheduled to appear while I'm away.

Choice Words for July

Wow, July is almost over and the school summer holidays are in full swing. There's so much going on but I've still managed to find some choice writing advice for you.

The first is an article by Rae of Barely Hare Books - What is a Character Arc? And why does your character need one? The 'character arc' topic crops up time and time again in writing advice but Rae's article really breaks the notion down into an easy to follow read. Have a look.

Following (a lot of) changes to my novel, I'm struggling to come up with a new book title so I found How to title a book: What do good book titles have in common? by the folks at Reedsy really useful.

As you know, I'm taking part in Camp NaNoWriMo this month and as part of their Camp Care Package, they provide some brilliant writing advice videos. Here's one on interviewing your character.

And here's another on World Building.