Showing posts from March, 2015

Tuesday Choice Words

Sometimes the most concise of writing advice can be the best. This Buzzfeed article - 27 pieces of advice for writers from famous authors - is just that.

And here is mine:

So only you can tell your story your way.

Getting Unstuck

The re-write/edit/revision of my novel is breaking my head. I have an updated chapter plan, not so different to the original but requiring a number of new chapters and a lot of juggling around of pieces of existing writing. Putting together the chapter plan was like tackling a challenging but do-able obstacle course. Once I got into my stride, it was fun. With the first fence past, I could see where I was going. I still can.

Writing the new chapters, however, is proving less attainable. I think my problem is that in my head, at the end of the last draft, I thought "that's it - done, finished" and of course it isn't. I'm taking up the reins of a stallion that I thought was happily bedded down, when in fact it was just taking a breather before the next race.

I know I can do this. In fact, I've already written the first new chapter, but the voice in my head, the one that prods, criticises and distracts, has bought itself a loudspeaker. I find myself tripping up…

I'm camping out in April

In November last year, I took part in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and got a massive amount of work done on my novel. Now that I'm revisiting/redrafting/ rewriting/editing (any of these may apply) my novel post manuscript assessment, I feel like I need another boost to get me going.

Camp Nanowrimo is for writers who want to return to the chaos *cough* concentrated effort of a month's committed writing. It takes place twice a year. I'm dipping into it this April.

Unlike the full November NaNoWriMo, you can choose your own wordcount and you are also assigned to a cabin with a number of other writers to share the experience with you.

Working from home, I sometimes lack the momentum that working out there in the real world with a team of colleagues can provide. Camp Nanowrimo is just what I need.

Wish me luck.

Tuesday Choice Words

Re-jigging my novel post assessment is proving to be both a joy and a challenge. Taking what I had, re-writing some, adding more, and beginning the novel in a different place, is making my head hurt slightly but I'm getting there. A large portion of the changes in my novel will be in the run-up to the ending.

On the Better Novel Project website, Christine Frazier's article How to Transition to Your Story's Climax with a Gatekeeper has proved very helpful in my rewrite. Have a look.

Something Useful for 2015 - Exercise No. 11

The idea for this month's writing exercise sprouted on a weekend trip to a place called Bodelwyddan Castle. This is what got me thinking.

My children dashed into the maze ahead of us and disappeared from view. We could hear them running along passageways, with the occasional glimpse of them through a gap in a hedge, but we didn't meet up again until we found the exit.

Imagine a maze. What does it look like? What purpose does it serve? Is there a centre or just an exit? Is the entrance also the exit? Are the walls of the maze made from hedges, bricks or some other material? Is it open to the sky or enclosed by a roof? Is it joyful or frightening? Are there distractions along the way?

Go on. Tell me about your maze.

Tuesday Choice Words

Sometimes, it's good to keep things simple. In his article, 10 Ridiculously Simple Tips for Writing a Book, Jeff Goins breaks down the creative process to a few easy to follow steps. Have a look.

The Word Wizard has left the house.

A few days ago, I heard the sad news that Sir Terry Pratchett had died at the age of 66, after an ongoing battle with Alzheimers. The news stopped me in my tracks. 
There are some writers who you never really get to know - you remember their books (perhaps) but the writer stays in some hazy focus. This was never the case with Terry Pratchett. It wasn't that he was a publicity whore, although he never shied away from that visibility either. It was more that when you read one of his books, you read a little bit of him - his humour, his amazing talent with words and his slant on life. 
I first came to his books at a time in my life when I was searching - for a writing style, for my place in life, for an identity that felt right. I don't even know how I happened on The Colour of Magic. I didn't know of any friends reading his books at the time (although they may well have been). I was attracted by the cover design and the genre. I had no idea of the joyful, magical journey I w…

Photo Inspiration for March

Last month was manic for me, and not in a creative way. Real life took me away from my writing and I completely forgot to give you a photo inspiration post. This month, I'm giving you two photographs to make up for it.

These two photographs are from a collection I have of unknown faces. I'm sure if my mother was still alive, she could tell me who they were but in her absence, I can only surmise that these were friends of hers or her family.
Which photo are you drawn to and which face within that photo? Personally, I can't see much of a family resemblance between them. I know that Billy is Margaret's child. I have no idea where this was taken but I assume that it's somewhere in Yorkshire, England.
What do you think? Was this a trip out with family? Was it summer time? 1946 was the year after the second world war ended in Europe. I have other photographs of Margaret and Billy but there is never a man present in those images. 
What would these photographs inspire you …

Tuesday Choice Words

One of the challenges I've set myself for the year is to return to short story writing, probably tales linked to my novel, and within that I'm taking on another challenge, to write from first person point of view. Normally, my writing is third person but I want to see how limiting/liberating using first person perspective is.

Cesca Major talks about different points of view in this video. First person? Third person? Which do you prefer?

Trailer Reveal: The Darkness Within by Kelly Hashway

Today, I'm helping out a fellow writer by posting a  trailer reveal for her novel. The Darkness Within is the follow on novel from Kelly Hashway's young adult book The Monster Within.

The Darkness Within continues the story of teenager, Samantha and her boyfriend Ethan.

After dying of cancer at seventeen and being brought back to life by an evil witch who turned her into a monster, Samantha Thompson thinks she's finally gotten past all the tragedy in her life. Now she's part of a coven of good witches who are helping her and her boyfriend, Ethan Anderson, learn to use the powers they received from other witches. Aside from the fact that Sam and Ethan are still in hiding from their old lives - the ones they had before Sam was brought back to life - things couldn't be better. Sam and Ethan are inseparable. What could go wrong? 


Ethan's magic came from a witch who'd turned as evil as possible, and though his coven thought he'd be fine, the more he us…

Book Review: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Last year, life impinged on my reading time. This year, I decided to make reading a priority (see my reading list here) and as my first book for 2015, I eagerly picked up the children's book The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman.

This is the back cover blurb,

Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn't live in a graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts.

There are dangers and adventures for Bod in the graveyard. But it is in the land of the living that real danger lurks for it is there that the man Jack lives and he had already killed Bod's family.

Neil Gaiman's dark, rich imagination has always appealed to me, ever since I read Neverwhere. His tone of writing voice is thoughtful, poetic and often unpredictable, pulling you along through his stories.

The Graveyard Book begins in a very dark way - murder. It introduces us immediately to the assassin, the man Jack and the peril that our protagonist, Bod is in.


Tuesday Choice Words

What did you want to be when you grew up? By the time I was seven years old, I knew I wanted to be a writer. Other jobs appealed to me from time to time - veterinary assistant, actor, teacher - but I always returned to my love of writing. I don't know exactly what it is about me that made me into a writer - imagination, persistence, certain life events - but those things have certainly added to the mix that is me.

Elizabeth Berg's article What It Takes to Be a Writer on Medium explains her thoughts on this topic. Have a look.