Monday, 26 September 2016

Choice Words for September

As you know, this year I began to submit my novel 'Shadowbinder' to literary agents. After ten rejections, a reassessed novel, and a rest over the summer break, I'm about to re-start the process. I'd like to say that I'm revved up and raring to go but the truth is that doubts are beginning to chip away at my self belief. I've come to the conclusion that the only way to get where I want to go is to keep on keeping on so I'm readying my next submission.

Novelist, Claudia Cruttwell writes about this whole process in Finding An Agent: Why You Shouldn't Give up. Well worth a read if you too are feeling fraught from submission rejection.

10 easy ways to put agents off in your submission letter
Piers Blofeld

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

What I'm Doing This Month - September

So here we are at the start of a new school year and a new season. I have peace and quiet in my home, well, during school hours, and the chance to get back to my writing in earnest.

The first novel is complete. The second novel is drafted. I have a rough plan for the entire series.

I'm also looking into the whole process of self publishing. I'm still on the look out for an agent but I think it's wise to be open to options.

Away from writing, this is my daughter's birthday month which will entail two weekends of celebrating (with us here at home and then at Grandma's house). She's growing up and the toy aisles no longer interest her. She's already beginning to think about what she'd like to do for a living and looking at course options for her exams at school. When did my little girl get to be so grown up?

What are you doing in September?


Monday, 29 August 2016

Something Useful for 2016 - Exercise No. 21

I'm sure all writers pull from their own lives and experiences for at least a small part of their writing content, sometimes unconsciously, sometimes knowingly and in precise detail. Using what we know can ground our writing and add believability (apologies if that isn't a real world but it sounded right).

This month's exercise is to look into your own experiences and memories to find something unusual, or bizarre, an event or detail that was out of the ordinary, and embroider that memory or detail into a piece of writing.

My own memory happened on a winter's night on a railway bridge. My car skidded on black ice and piled into a lamp-post, thankfully preventing us from tumbling off the bridge onto the train line below. My then boyfriend was belted in but the force of the collision smacked him into the windscreen. I remember him screaming and then silence. Almost immediately, he went into shock.

The passing drivers all pulled over and helped. One drove to the local pub and called an ambulance. Another, an off duty paramedic, helped me treat my boyfriend. She told me that I had to keep him warm. He was dressed in a thin jacket on a frosty night and trembling, partly from the cold but also from the shock.

All I had to hand was a box of pantomime costumes in the back of my car so we wrapped him in those. To this day, I have a brightly coloured, mental image of my boyfriend sat in the back of the ambulance shivering with a dame's costume clutched around his shoulders as the paramedics strapped a neck brace onto him.

Car crash and pantomime costumes - that's my memory. What's yours?


Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Photo Inspiration for August


This entrance is close to where I live. My family and I traipse through it a couple of times each month. That's as much information as I'm going to give you. What do you think it is? Prison? Castle? Barn? Garden gate? What does it inspire you to write?


Wednesday, 10 August 2016

What I'm Doing This Month - August

August has crept up on me. Who am I kidding? August has grabbed me by the heels and dashed me through the past ten days in a whirl of family trips and events. It's always this way during the school summer break, finding ways to keep my kids (now teen and pre teen) amused and fed, and throw in my normal routine too. I wrote about this back in 2009 when I called it the August Monster.

With the first draft of my second novel completed (last month's target), I decided to take a step back from it all before I went any further. My muse, however, had a different plan. Cue several nights of tossing and turning and making notes on my mobile phone whenever ideas dived into my head.

I had always planned to write the Steve Haven books as a trilogy but the more I threw around the events that had to happen in the story, the more I realised that a series of books would suit much better, allowing me to tell the whole story rather than rushing through the bare bones.

The August target is therefore to map out the plot for the entire series and get on with writing it as a whole first draft. Come September, I should be halfway through the third novel if all goes well.

Wish me luck and have a wonderful month.