Showing posts from October, 2012

A scary (true) story for Hallowe'en

Many years ago, long before I met my husband, I lived in a bedsit in a house that I shared with a disparate group of strangers. There was the couple in the room next door who would row every day to the point of violence. Sometimes I would return to the house to find 'she' had thrown 'his' belongings down the stairs. There was the young man whose mother would send him food parcels each and every weekend, convinced that he would starve without her. In the other first floor room was a young woman whose 'boyfriends' would let themselves into the house in the early hours and tap on all the doors, calling for her, until she let them into her room.

None of us said more than a passing hello to each other. Each of us drifted around the others, separate in our own worlds. If the door bell rang, the person who was nearest (or the one who was in) would answer it. If the gas and electricity meters needed to be filled up, the one who noticed would take the key and card to b…

Tuesday Choice Words

On beginnings from Carrie Ryan of Magical Words discusses how to balance an inciting incident with an introduction to your characters at the start of your story.

Don't Make Your Character a Victim from Writerly Life suggests that however many hardships are thrown at your protagonist, they should never be a victim.

In Mojo, Steven Pressfield discusses the acquiring of this magical element through commitment to our writing (amongst other things).

Get Your Butt In A Chair And Write is an interview with author Jonathan Maberry on the Galleycat site.

Finding Characters Wherever You Look is written by Misty Massey on the Magical Words site. This is a piece of advice I faithfully adhere to, people watching to find characters.

7 ways to survive NaNoWriMo

1. Plan your book

I don't necessarily mean write out a chapter plan but at the very least sketch out an idea of where your story will go, the barest bones of its plot. You don't have to keep exactly to this plan but at least you'll have a guideline to start from.

2. When will you write?

It's all well and good to announce that you're going to take part in NaNoWriMo but when during each (and every) day in November will you fit in that writing? Be realistic. You will still need to eat and sleep, go to work, have a bath and so on. Don't sabotage your writing month by not working out when in your current routine you can fit in this creative onslaught. Look at the things you have to do in November. Reschedule if you can. Juggle. Delegate. Beg mercy from your family. Find your slot and stick to it.

3. Where will you write?

You may already have a perfect corner to do your writing or you may be one of those people who writes where they can, or wherever they like. Again…

Tuesday Choice Words

Daydream Yourself into Your Work by Geoff Hoff discusses a method I use to prepare each section of my writing.

Be a Tree is another exercise in creativity by Geoff Hoff. Give it a try.

You'll Have to Go Through Me: Eliminating Filter Words from The Other Side of the Story is an excellent post on tightening your writing.

Mapping Out Your Story from diy MFA presents a new way to 'map' your storyline. It appeals to me particularly because of my experience of writing plays that I bring to my novel writing.

How To Revise Your Novel from the Prolific Novelista is a series of posts which have dropped into my notice at just the right time as I'm about to start the second draft of my novel. I have the first two parts of this series for you:
Part 1
Part 2

A Bit of Bookish Fun

I recently came across a range of accessories by Lulu Guinness that appeals to my book-habit.

I may have to invest in some early Christmas presents. Shush - don't tell my husband.

Tuesday Choice Words

Although How to Turn Your Author Website Into a Resource Center Your Readers Can't Live Without from the bookbaby site is targeted at ebook authors, the advice it provides could be applied to any writer website or even their Facebook page. Have a look.

Forcing the Issue: Adding Conflicts to your Scenes from The Other Side of the Story talks about inner conflicts.

The Secret To Your Next Creative Breakthrough from Jeff Goins discusses the balance (or imbalance) between your art and your life.

5 Archetypes for Supporting Characters from DIY MFA talks about the role of the other characters in your stories.

Writing as Catharsis by Nathan Bransford talks about channelling our own emotions and life experience into our writing.

Where the creators gather

A British writer friend of mine recently made the comment that she had little idea where and when writers' conferences took place. I was sure that there must be a way to track these events down so from a trawl on the internet, I came up with the following.


Winchester Writers' Conference
Milford Writers' Conference
Edinburgh Wold Writers' Conference
Get Writing Conference
Swanwick Writers' Conference
Southern Writers' Conference
Northern Writers Workshop, York


Paris Conference
Williamette Writers Conference

Wikipedia  has a list of writers' conferences too. Have a look.

In the UK, you can also find news of writers conferences on the British Council website.

Other places to look are writing magazines, online and on noticeboards at libraries.

Finally, you can read about the benefits of attending a writers' conference here.

Tuesday Choice Words

More on Fear and Writing, part I: Confessions of an Idle Writer from Magical Words talks about the fear of starting the next book.

The second part of this series - Imposter Syndrome - discusses the fear that we're a fake.

PR Daily's Seven Habits of Highly Effective Writers is a short but interesting post from BookBaby.

How to Become an Exceptional Writer from the Copyblogger site looks at what makes a writer.

Shh! It's a Secret: Raising the Tension and Conflict in a Scene is an excellent piece from The Other Side of the Story.

Making the impossible possible

Many of the books I've read over the years, in fact the ones I've enjoyed the most, have been fantastical. They have been peopled by cyborgs fighting for their freedom, time travellers and fairy folk. Their characters have journeyed between dimensions, fought monsters and defeated aliens. Some have been fantasy stories and others have been science fiction (my preferred genres). On occasion, I've dipped into horror novels and quirky contemporary fiction. What all of these stories have done well is to create worlds where the fantastical elements do not detract from convincing me that these characters are authentic, feeling, living beings.

In the novel I'm writing, magical powers are an accepted part of society and yet Steve Haven still finds himself shocked by what he finds - a man who can travel miles by using a door, any door, to transport himself to a separate building, a woman with magical healing powers and children who can create light orbs. What earns his accepta…

Tuesday Choice Words

25 Inspiration Sources for the Discouraged Writer from Cheryl Reif Writes is an encouraging list of what to do when the muse goes on strike.

Jumper Cables - Kick-Start Your Writing Life from DiY MFA is a fun introduction to your writing journey via the route of a do-it-yourself equivalent to a masters degree in the arts (specifically, writing). Have a read.

How To Create A Killer Marketing Plan For Your Book Launch from Socialmouths is an informative and interesting article that I'll be bookmarking for future use.

Thinking in Blocks of Time from Steven Pressfield is all about pacing and resistance.

Wordsmithing: Backloading for Power from Magical Words discusses word order in your writing.