Thursday, 27 November 2014

An Advent Calendar of Writerly Gifts

It can be denied no longer - Christmas is almost upon us. December starts next week and to accompany the festive month, I'll be posting an advent calendar of gifts for writerly types. Fingers crossed my husband reads them (hm - may have to type them noisily while he's around). 

Keep looking in each day for lots of lovely gift ideas.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Photo Inspiration for November

I recently cut through our  village graveyard on the way home from a morning chore. As a child, and a teen, I found graveyards rather scary places to visit but now as an adult, they've taken on a different persona, something much more comforting - a garden of memories.

What does this photograph make you think of? Does it raise thoughts of ghosts, or families gathering together to remember? What stands out to you? The words on the gravestones, the shadows, or the flowers left on the grave?

What does this image inspire you to write?

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Tuesday Choice Words

I'm still working on the first draft of my second novel but a little help from a fellow writer is always welcome.

In Nathan Bransford's How to Write a Novel, he discusses some of the main considerations when creating a novel. Have a look.

This will be the last Tuesday Choice Words until the new year as December will be dominated by my advent calendar of writerly gifts.

Something Useful for 2014 - Exercise No. 9

As you know, I'm  taking part in NaNoWriMo this month (National Novel Writing Month). A large part of the NaNoWriMo experience is writing freely, without edit, and just keeping going. That's one of the reasons that it doesn't suit a lot of writers. Some people can just go for it full-pelt, while others need to stop and consider, research, edit a bit, and so on.

So in honour of NaNoWriMo, the exercise I'm setting this month is to write for at least twenty minutes in the spirit of 'full-pelt'. Don't plan. Don't think. Just write. Don't edit and read back. Just keep going.

Good luck.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Tuesday Choice Words

Working on my second novel, something strange happened that I hadn't accounted for in my chapter plan. The villain insisted on being seen (well, one of the villains). I initially had planned to hint at him and his cohorts but no, he wasn't happy with that.

Steven Pressfield's post, The Second Act Belongs to the Villain is about just this topic, keeping "the antagonist front-and-center in the middle of your story". Have a look.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Book Release: Dark is the Sea

 Today sees the release of writer Heather Blanchard's debut novel, Dark is the Sea. Set in the imaginary Scottish village of Dorchay, this is a young adult fantasy novel following the journey of eighteen year old Rowan Munro.

"Haunted by her mother's disappearance and plagued by nightmares, eighteen year old Rowan Munro abandons London for Dorchay, the remote Scottish village where she spent her childhood. With the help of her eccentric aunt and a familiar face from the past, she unlocks a power in her that is at once terrifying yet curiously addictive."

"As she uncovers the deeply buried secrets of her family, she awakens something only imaginable in her worst nightmares. The Hunter: centuries old, malevolent, ferocious... and intent on killing Rowan and those closest to her. To survive, Rowan must learn to harness her new-found inheritance, and use her powers to finally confront the brutal, murderous force which has plagued her family for generations."

Written from the first person point of view of Rowan herself, we travel with her from London to Dorchay as she makes new discoveries about her family and her own past too. From the eccentric Kitty to the brooding Blake, the novel houses an interesting and varied cast of characters who gradually pull Rowan into her new life.

Dark is the Sea has all the elements needed for a good young adult read - a protagonist who feels isolated and 'other', the lack of parent figures, mystery, adventure and romance. Heather's knowledge of and research into the Scottish highlands and folklore grounds this story of magic in a way that breathes real life into the characters and the setting.

You can purchase 'Dark is the Sea' on Amazon from today.

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 Heather Blanchard lives in London with her husband Paul. With a childhood spend in the Scottish highlands and Yorkshire, she developed a passion not only for books, but also for creative writing. Dark is the Sea, her first novel, emerged from a love of ghost stories, fairy tales, folklore, and old movies.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Tuesday Choice Words

Working on the first draft of my second novel for NaNoWriMo, I've already had to write two fight scenes and I've come to realise that there's a definite knack to it. K M Weiland offers wonderful advice on just this topic in her article 5 Keys to Writing Epic Battle Scenes. Have a look.

Monday, 10 November 2014

A tale of 10,000 words

So this November, I'm taking part in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). The goal is to write 50,000 words in a month. It doesn't have to be polished words, or even pre-planned words. It's quite acceptable for it to be an outpouring of 50,000 words of garbage (although I'm sure that doesn't happen).

I started off with my chapter plan complete and for the first few days was keeping up with, and at points exceeding, the daily average of 1,667 words (to accomplish 50,000 by the end of the month). Then, I hit not exactly a brick wall so much as a sticky patch. Here was the problem - my chapter plan didn't work. Now, I know that the premise of NaNoWriMo is to plough on regardless but I just couldn't carry on without rethinking my plot so I had a few days where I went back over what I'd written. I realised that a 'method' to find clues in my novel was ridiculous. It just didn't work. I thought up a new one, made a few amendments to what I'd already written, and carried on with my writing.

Then, I came across another problem - research. For various reasons, I needed to research certain alchemical symbols and work out a way to include them in my writing. That took a little time and rethinking (jumble, jumble, juggle, drop (whoops), a little here, a little there) and then I was off again.

In the meantime, my wordcount had lagged. I was running behind the daily word count. Oh no, must write faster, must write more (forget about feeding children and the ironing - argh). On Sunday, in the middle of a family food shop, I came to a new conclusion.

This month, to keep my sanity and my target realistic, I will not aim for 50,000 words. Instead, I will use the month to finish the first draft of my second Haven novel. It may end up being 50,000 words but if it's less than that, then I'll still be over the moon.

So back to it today. I have an exploding shop and a rescue to write. Now, should it be before they open the front door or after? Hm.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Tuesday Choice Words

Writing the second book of my children's fantasy trilogy, it's become clear that my 'villain', and that individual's motivations, is going to weigh heavily on how this and the final book shape up.

Steven Pressfield discusses how to let your antagonist or the concept of antagonism mould your novel, especially genre choice in Go Dark.