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Showing posts from July, 2014

Tuesday Choice Words

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I'm coming to the final chapters of the final draft of my novel and while I'm inserting some new chapters, others simply need to be further polished. This is when I take a long look at my work and say 'is that necessary?' or 'could that be done better?'. I use adverbs incredibly sparingly but sometimes they do creep in there and I have to ask myself if they work or if I can write that section differently.

Janice Hardy's Fiction University discusses this topic in the article Writing Basics: How to Use Adverbs. Have a look.



Researching the Impossible

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I write murder mystery plays for a living and often, especially for a customer commissioned play, I have to research certain topics. For instance, this year's three new plays have required me to research aerobics routines, theft from railway lines, secret societies, how to construct a shed, the sex change process, Star Wars merchandise, and literary fairies.

I'm also working on a children's fantasy novel. To a lot of people, the fantasy genre doesn't merit the same need for research and hard facts. How can you possibly research a fantastical world of goblins and magic and flying cars? Isn't it all in the writer's imagination? 
I think research still has a important role to play in this genre. Look at Tolkien, for instance, whose studies in language led to his creation of the Elven tongue in his novels. Ursula  K Le Guin researched real locations, often visiting them, as inspiration for places in her novels, such as the Earthsea trilogy.


Personally, for my own …

Tuesday Choice Words

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Here's a good one - 22 Lessons from Stephen King On How To Be a Great Writer. Have a look.

Robert McKee's Storylogue Q&A: Working with Multiple Protagonists

Can you judge a book by its cover?

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A friend recently self published for the first time and one of the most interesting (and exciting) elements of what I saw of the process (beyond the actual writing) was choosing a book cover design.

She commissioned several artists, used a 'vote for your favourite' as publicity for her debut novel and went through a lot of previously unconsidered questions as to what she wanted. You can read more about her adventure here.

As writers, we can concentrate so much on the words on the page, creating and honing, that we often forget the importance of book cover design. To a browser in a book store, the look of a book is the thing that will first catch their eye. If they pick up our book, they'll probably turn next to the blurb, but that initial capture is purely visual.

The kind of book covers I like personally are very diverse. I find the covers of the Dark Towers novels by Stephen King to be quite eye catching.


But then I also like the simple design of Carlos Ruiz Zafon's …

Tuesday Choice Words

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I do my best to end each of the chapters in my novel on a question (even the final chapter). Chuck Wendig includes this method in his article, 25 Ways To Write A Real Page Turner of a Book.  Have a look.

Elmore Leonard on Writing

Something Useful for 2014 - Exercise No. 6

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I've just got in from the morning school run. To keep my children on time, I keep to a reasonably strict routine first thing (well, as strict as it can be with two children whose imaginations and mouths are on overdrive). Part of this is our route to school, usually on foot but occasionally in the car and, of course, the route home. I can busy my mind with other things (breakfast, chores to do, arrangements to make) because I know where I'm going.

Life is like that for most of us, most of the time. We know where we're going on the way to work, school or a night out. We automatically take those turns, manoeuvring ourselves through the world in probably quite a blinkered way. There's nothing wrong with knowing where we're going but what if, on occasion, we took a diversion?

On whatever journey you take today or this week, take a moment to think of what might happen if you took the other route. Instead of  turning left to the shops, you turn right. Rather than take o…

Tuesday Choice Words

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The deadline for finishing my novel is fast approaching so I'm striving to write one to two thousand words a day. If I did that for the entire year then I'd have 365-730,000 words on the page (ok, computer) which is an impressive thought. Jamie Todd Rubin shares How I Wrote 400K Words in a Year on The Daily Beast website. Have a look.

Creative Writing Masterclass 3: Plot

Photo Inspiration for July

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Do you cloud watch? When I was a child (an only child who regularly got dragged to gatherings where I was the only child), journeys home were often an inspiration. In the winter, the magic of the city lights would keep me entertained. In the summer, I would see islands in the clouds of the setting sun.

I still sometimes stop and look at the clouds. On the school run, a couple of weeks ago, I saw these bird shaped clouds. Do they look like birds to you?

Do you cloud watch? Do the pictures you see in the clouds inspire you? Why not stop today and look up. What do you see?

Tuesday Choice Words

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Sometimes, you just can't sugar coat things. Advice can't always be 'nice'. On her website, Between Fact and Fiction, Natalie Whipple offers her Too-Practical Maybe-Blunt Advice to Writers. It's well worth a read.

How to finish FINISH that book: Top Tips with Roz Morris