Showing posts from September, 2014

The next exciting chapter...

So my completed novel (final title - Haven: Shadowbinder) is put to bed for a while. In the meantime, I'm starting my plan for the next novel in the trilogy. I haven't got a title yet (Haven: something...) but I do have a premise and a couple of A3 sheets of paper.

Drawing from the experience of writing the first novel, I'm attempting to put together a chapter plan. I already know what the first chapter will entail, and the last one too. How the story will get from the beginning to the end is another puzzle to play with.

I have a list of the characters in book one (met or just mentioned), an idea of which of these will appear in book two, and a list of new characters to introduce.

I also have to tie in the story arc that covers the entire trilogy - bringing it from the shadows into a blurred sighting in book two (to be brought into complete focus in the final novel).

My task is to throw around all of these bones until they settle into a coherent, secure skeleton, ready to…

Tuesday Choice Words

My novel is finished. It's been through a barrage of drafts, beta-read and painfully tweaked into its current form. The next stage is a professional manuscript assessment (need to save up for that). It's been a torturous journey to get here and I wish I'd come across Jeff Goins' 5-Draft Method before now. I'll file it away to use on my next novel. Have a look.

Something Useful for 2014 - Exercise No. 8

What's in a name? Does a person's name inform us of their character in any way? Can it make us perceive them in a certain manner? Can Cyril or Sophie ever be a believable villain? Likewise, can Victor or Goneril be cute or loveable? When  we read a book, does a character's name create an expectation?

In my plays, I always start with a concept/setting and a list of characters. For instance, Dead Fit began like this:

Exercise class at a community centre.

Mature, glamorous aerobics instructor
Elderly couple
Two young men
Two female friends
Middle aged woman and her daughter.

These are the  bones of the play. At this point, the cast are faceless. I have a silhouette of who they will be but that is all. It isn't until I name them, that I begin to discover their personalities and their patterns of speech.

I want the aerobics instructor to be 'mature' and yet glamorous, pretentious even. She's very 'darling'y and dramatic. The name I finally gave her was…

Tuesday Choice Words

As soon as I read this article by K M Weiland - The Impact Character: Why Every Character Arc Needs One - I thought of my own character, Hartley Keg. He flags up Steve's inner conflicts, creates all kinds of trouble and adventures by his actions, and generally throws Steve's world up and all over the place. This is a brilliant, well written and informative article that's well worth a read.

'Into The Fire' blog tour

Today I'm taking part in the blog tour for the recently released Into The Fire, a YA novel by Kelly Hashway writing as Ashelyn Drake.

If you're interested in reading the other blog tour posts, you can find a full schedule here.

Kelly has been kind enough to answer some interview questions for me, so here goes.

Kelly, I've always been astounded by how diverse your writing is, covering so many age groups, but which is your favourite?

I do love all age groups, but I feel most at home with YA. I'm lucky to say my teenage years were great. Writing YA means I get to revisit them often, and I couldn't be happier about that.

With regard to your different identities, which is most you, Kelly or Ashelyn?

Hmm, that's a good question. I've always loved the supernatural, but I'm also a very emotional person. I think the reason why I love Into The Fire so much is because it's a perfect blend of Kelly and Ashelyn. They're both equal parts of me.

Supernatural and…

Photo Inspiration for September

This is something we'll be seeing a lot of soon in the UK- a street covered in autumn leaves. My children are almost past the age to kick around in leaves but whenever we pass a pile of leaves like this, there's always the temptation.

What could lie beneath this layer of leaves, beyond the obvious earwigs and worms? Something lost? Something hidden? What could you find if you bent to clear away the leaves?

Tuesday Choice Words

As we grow as individuals, in years and experience, most of us acquire the knack of self analysis. I don't mean that term in any technical way, simply that we can begin to recognise our underlying drives and emotions. We can say, secretly to ourselves, 'okay, I didn't do that as well as I could have because...' or 'the reason that this makes me so nervous is that it could work, and then I'd be successful, and then what would I do?'. For me, the emotion of fear has always been an underlying drive, specifically fear of success.  Writer, Elizabeth Gilbert discusses this and more in her wonderful TED talk, Your elusive creative genius. It's almost twenty minutes long but well worth listening to all the way through. She talks with honesty and humour and ultimately, she makes a hell of a lot of sense.

Book Review: A is for Angelica by Iain Broome

As part of my new year's reading resolution, I added this novel to my reading list for the year. It isn't the kind of thing I normally read but it sounded interesting and I'm always ready to stretch my literary experience.

Here's the blurb:

'My life is different now. I don't go to work. I don't have an office. I stay at home, hide behind curtains and make notes. I wait for something to happen.'

Gordon Kingdom struggles with the fate of his seriously-ill wife patiently observing and methodically recording the lives of those around him: his neighbours.

He has files on them all, including:
Don Donald (best friend and petty thief)Annie Carnaffan (lives next door, throws footballs over the fence)Benny (the boy who paints with his eyes closed). And then Angelica, the new girl (42) on the street, with her multicoloured toenails and her filthy temper. It's when she arrives that Gordon's world of half-truths really begins to unravel.
You can find more det…

Tuesday Choice Words

The more I work on my novel, the more I get to know and like my cast of characters. My main character, Steve (the protagonist) has grown on me especially. He is the person who discovers the world of  the novel along with the reader. One of the ways I've familiarised myself with him is to ask questions so that rather than the plot leading him along, his motivations and reactions create the story.

Bridget McNulty's article 5 Essential Questions to Ask When Writing Your Protagonist on the Fiction University website takes a similiar approach.