Showing posts from October, 2014

A haunting we will go

What will you be doing for Hallowe'en? Personally, I'll be spending the evening as I always do, with my family, and remembering loved ones who are no longer with us. That's what Hallowe'en means to me. If the veil between the dead and the living is thinner at this time, then what better way to re-connect?

For most people, though, Hallowe'en is about scares and witches and long-legged ghoulies. Children dress up in fancy dress (okay, quite a lot of grown ups dress up too) and pounce at doorbells for sweeties to add to their trick or treat buckets. It's a great way to bring people together.

Just in case you're not heading out on a confectionery rampage though, I thought I'd offer up some suggestions for Hallowe'en reading and viewing.

Scary Books

1. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley - not a light read by any means but incredibly atmospheric and masterly writing with a constant sense of doom.

2. Haunted by James Herbert - plenty of ghosts, betrayal and scar…

Tuesday Choice Words

Writing can be a lonely business so I was very interested to find out about the latest Writers & Artists video series, 'Write With'. It kicks off with writer, Cesca Major as she begins the second novel in her current series.

'Write With' Cesca Major - Week 1

What have I learned from writing my first novel?

My first children's fantasy novel - Haven: Shadowbinder - is languishing in a drawer (well, actually a folder on my laptop) for a little while and the plan for the follow-up novel (the second in a trilogy) is well on the way, so I thought I'd take a creative breather and look back over how I managed to write my first novel, the challenges and the lessons learned. Here's what I discovered.

The first draft is always going to be rubbish. Think of it as creative brain discharge, a bit gooey, sparse in patches, difficult to see through in others. It doesn't have to be your best, yet. Just get the words out. Throw it all down on the page and then see what you have.

Perseverance is key. There will be days when you doubt yourself, doubt your story, or feel ill. Characters will refuse to talk to you. Plot twists will start to unfurl. It's ok. It's all part of the evolution of your novel. Don't be disheartened. Every writer goes through this so you're in good comp…

Tuesday Choice Words

Perseverance. That's what it takes to be a writer. You keep on finding the ideas, pushing them into a write-able shape. You work at the first draft until it's finished. You take out the red pen and push through the re-write, then you keep on polishing and honing until you have a book that you're happy to submit. Phew - I'm exhausted writing about all that perseverance.

In his article, Writing Is Worth It, Simon P Clark writes about this issue from his point of view. It's well worth a read of this post on the Writers & Artists website. Have a look.

NaNoWriMo 2014

It's that time of year again, when writers all over the planet dive into the challenge of writing 50,000 words in only a month (November, to be exact). This year, I'm taking part as a way to kickstart my next novel. That leaves me a couple of weeks to finish my initial chapter plan which is already well on the way to being complete.

I've never actually made the 50,000 words. I think, 25,000 was the most I managed one year. This time round though, I have the added motivation of working on the second novel in my trilogy. I'm itching to get started.

If you want to be my writing buddy on the NaNoWriMo website this year, or just want to follow my progress, you can find my NaNo profile here.

Wish me luck.

Tuesday Choice Words

With my first novel finished, taking the next step (seeking an agent) is a scary prospect. I haven't even considered said agent acquiring a publishing deal but of course that is the ultimate intention.

In Getting a Book Contract is Hard Work (But You Can Do It), Jeff Goins interviews Chad Allen, editorial director for Baker Books on just this subject. The interview is in both podcast form and transcribed text. Well worth a read/listen.

Photo Inspiration for October

On the way back to the car after a family walk, I came across this signpost and it struck me how the name of the street, 'Paradise' didn't really match with firstly, the condition of the signpost and secondly, its location in an area of city terrace houses.

Even though I'm not a Christian, for me the idea of Paradise still links to the original, biblical idea (ideal?) of a beautiful garden, not a built-up row of red brick dwellings with tiny amounts of outside space. How could this be Paradise?

Perhaps, the mistake is in my thinking. Perhaps, each of us has a different idea of Paradise:

a break from the children and some adult conversation,freshly laid, untouched snow,or the buzz of the city.
Where could you find an unexpected Paradise?

Tuesday Choice Words

In my children's novel, Steve Haven plods along (miserably). He thinks he knows what to expect in the life that has been plotted out for him. It isn't until all of that certainty is thrown into disarray that his real life begins

In The Inciting Event, Janice Hardy discusses just such a point in plotting your novel. She says, "The inciting event is the moment when things change for the protagonist and she's [he's] drawn into the main problem of the novel, or problems that will eventually lead to that core conflict". Have a look. It's well worth a read.

National Poetry Day #thinkofapoem

Have you heard of National Poetry Day? If not, here's the explanation of what it's all about:

"National Poetry Day is the nation's biggest celebration of poetry. Everyone is joining in, releasing poetry into the streets, squares, supermarkets, parks, train stations, bus-stops and post-boxes. We know of poetry police, poetry funeral directors, poetry ambulances. Add yourselves to the ever-growing list by tying verse on trees, to make a poet tree. Or stick it in your window for the world to see. This year's theme is Remember, so if you remember a poem, however short, pass it on with a hashtag #thinkofapoem."

You can find this explanation and more details on the Forward Arts Foundation website.

This week also sees my late father's birthday so the theme of 'remember' seems very appropriate. My father was a well read man, a lover of theatre and a great fan of Robbie Burns so the poem that I remember and share today is 'To a Mouse'. My father wo…

Whoops Wednesday Words

Firstly, apologies for the delay in posting what was supposed to be a  Tuesday Choice Words article. A hospital appointment distracted me for the day. I'm fine, although a little tender and light headed, and raring to get back on the horse (or should that be a unicorn?).

Perseverance is an important part of my life. I persevere as a parent to keep my children safe, healthy and happy. I persevere in trampling though the tangles that life throws in my way. I also persevere in my writing, even when I want to tear my hair out over a plotline or a paragraph. Isn't that what human existence is about, essentially, striving to continually move forward?

In her article, Acme Anvils and the Long Unicorn Ride to Publication, Beth Cato discusses how she persevered with her own writing journey through agent and publisher rejection, penning her books, and the fight against self doubt. This is a topic that affects most of us writers. Have a look.