Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Tuesday Choice Words

I'm up very early this morning to get some extra mundane tasks finished so as not to eat into my writing slot after the school run. It's all very peaceful. My husband and children are slumbering, and even the dogs next door have quietened down (they start barking at 6.00 am most mornings). Coffee and quiet - bliss.

As I'm writing the first book of a trilogy, I found this article on The Other Side of the Story very interesting. It's called 10 Things To Remember About Sequels. Have a read.


Monday, 24 June 2013

Compose: A Journal of Simply Good Writing


Compose is a new, biannual, online, writing publication that features work by writers of fiction, poetry and non fiction. Their issues comes out in spring and in autumn.

They accept fiction, poetry, creative non fiction, articles on writing, excerpts from published works, photography and artwork.

There is an accompanying blog which regularly features Q&As from contributors.

The managing editor is Canadian writer, Suzannah Windsor of Write It Sideways.

You can view their first edition here.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Tuesday Choice Words

Breakfast is burbling on my hob - ham and spring onion omelette - so I thought I'd take a moment to post this week's choice words.

I've applied 5 Ways To Build Solid Relationships In Your Story to my own novel and so far I think I'm okay - phew. This article appears on the Writer's Digest site. Have a look.


Wednesday, 12 June 2013

The Human Condition


A few months ago, I watched a TV series called 'In The Flesh'. It was advertised as a zombie drama. I'll put my hands up now and admit that I don't like zombie films but the cast and the director, Jonny Campbell seemed good, more than good, excellent. It was also a home grown British drama which always appeals to me. So I watched it.

I expected zombies and killings and bits that made me close my eyes (followed by dreams of being chased and overrun). There were zombies, shambling, grey, murderous creatures. There was an occasional killing but these were acted and filmed in an almost matter of fact way.  Not once did I hide away behind a cushion and I had no bad dreams.

In The Flesh trailer

What I found was a story that, rather than concentrating on the horror of the zombies, instead focused on how humanity reacted to first, the zombies and secondly, the return of the reconditioned zombies to their communities. This was a drama about the human condition.

It got me thinking. I looked back over books and rewatched some films. I approached new material too - written and viewed - with one question in mind. Is this about the human condition?

The conclusion I came to is that whatever a story may be - romance, horror, alien adventure - it is ultimately about the human condition. We place our characters - human, animal, alien - in a setting, with a dilemma, perhaps with companions, and then we proceed to tell their story through our understanding of what it is to be a human.

I must have always written from this point of view but now I can bring it consciously to my writing. What about you? How do you write of the human condition?

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Tuesday Choice Words

Summer has receded into a blanket of cloud and rain. This kind of weather always makes me look inwards, which is handy when you're a writer. Less distractions, more imaginative delving, and all day (until school run) to write.

Dialogue can be a stumbling block for most writers - finding the right voice for your character, making every conversation count - so this week's link is especially useful, Write great dialogue scenes in 7 steps from Nail Your Novel.


Friday, 7 June 2013

Action vs Surprise

I may be showing my age here but when I was a child, I would take great delight in watching the Mission Impossible TV series with all its twists and turns, skeleton masks and mock rooms. The spies involved were sophisticated, clever and incredibly laid back.  No one seemed to run anywhere. Their plans were so well planned and timed that each action slotted into the next with apparent ease.

Nowadays I would probably be able to predict what was going to happen in most episodes but back then, when audience expectations were different and I was a child, their schemes were genius.

Excitement in books is often equated to action - a fight, a chase, a death defying leap - and it is true that action can help to maintain pace. As a reader, as well as a writer, I enjoy the thrill of a heart wrenching escape as much as anyone. However, there is one other element that can occasionally work just as well.

Surprise your reader. Throw something into the mix that they could never have dreamt up in their wildest dreams. Get their heart thumping, not through a chase or a fight, but through a shock. Wow! I really didn't see that one coming. She can't be his sister, surely? He was wearing a mask? He's a quadruple-agent on the run from smuggler nuns?

Sometimes the unexpected can be just as exciting as action.




Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Tuesday Choice Words

Good morning. Coffee? Tea? Juice? I'm on my third decaf coffee already. I know there's no caffeine involved but it fools my tastebuds so they don't feel deprived.

This week's link, Bring Your Characters to Life is an interview with author Roz Morris on The Creative Penn site.


Monday, 3 June 2013

My monthly photo inspiration post is changing too.

From this month, my photo inspiration post will feature just the one photo instead of the four, five or six that I have posted in the past. To accompany this change, I'll add some suggestions on how you can use the photo and maybe a little back story too. I'd also love to hear how you use my photo inspiration so don't forget to share that with me here too.

My photo for June is an old one. The boy in the photo is my father, Charlie. The man sat in front of him is his father, another Charlie. It was taken in the 1920s on a Scottish beach.


What is your eye drawn to in this image? The two Charlies? The men sat on the wall? The woman staring up at them? What do you think the weather was like? What sounds could you hear? Who is absent from the photo and what does that mean? What happened next?