December Wrap-up

Well, that's another year nearly over and what a year it's been.

The Highlights

Back in January, I made my freelance copy and content writing business official by launching my website. I never expected it to take off as quickly as it did.

After taking part in a Camp NaNoWriMo in July and receiving a critique from the Faber Academy in August, I finished my novel, re-naming it, Haven Wakes. It's currently doing the rounds of UK literary agents.

Haven Wakes has also been entered into the Bath Children's Novel Award competition.

With that novel put to bed for now, I started on the following novel, Haven Journeys - set partly in Iceland, and with selkies and genies for Steve and his friends to deal with, this is a continuation of the adventure that began in Haven Wakes.

The Lows

After running my murder mystery playwriting business Murdering The Text for 21 years, I decided to call it a day in November.

I'm not the same person I was when I started the business and I want …

What I'm doing this month - November

By the time November rolls round, a lot of people are on full Christmas mode. If it isn't present shopping, it's event planning, or just reeling out Christmas songs and memes on social media.

Me? I'm happy to plan ahead, where needed, but I also believe in savouring the moment. For instance, despite the time of year, the weather here is glorious, mostly dry and with that wonderful golden light  that you often get in the autumn. What's the rush to get to the end of the year? It'll be here soon enough.

I'm busy this month, with work, with writing and with saying farewell to something that's been a major part of my life for over two decades.

And no, I don't mean my husband.

Bye bye Murdering The Text

Back in 1997, I wrote my first murder mystery play with co-writer and friend, Janet, as a way to raise funds for the amateur theatre group we were involved in. Little did we know that it would turn into a business that would serve other amateur theatre groups …

What I'm doing this month - October

Is it just me or has it got chilly since October started? Brrrr. I had to root out my slipper boots because the dog won't let me use her as a foot warmer when I'm working.

October looks to be a full month - lots to do, lots to decide and lots to enjoy too.

Haven Wakes

That's the new title of my middle grade futuristic fantasy novel. What do you think? After finishing the latest (and hopefully last pre-editor) draft, I've been submitting my novel to literary agents in the UK. I've had one rejection so far but I'm not letting that dishearten me.

Preparing for November - or not?

NaNoWriMo will begin again in November and I'm in a bit of quandary over (a) whether to take part, and (b) what to write if I do NaNo this year.

The Camp NaNoWriMos have always been really successful for me and given me a real boost each time I've taken part, but I've never yet succeeded at the 50,000 word count of NaNoWriMo. I think it's to do with the time of year or maybe …

Something useful for 2018 - Exercise no. 28

The purpose of this month's writing exercise is to become more familiar with your protagonist and antagonist. Here goes.

If your protagonist and antagonist were in each other's shoes, how would they act differently?

Would they act differently?

What does this tell you about each of these characters?

Let's look at an example - how about Harry Potter and Voldemort?

If Voldemort/Tom Riddle had been orphaned and brought up by cruel relatives, would he had become a well-loved friend, hero and inspiration to others? If Harry had experienced Voldemort/Tom Riddle's upbringing, would he have followed a power-hungry path of evil?

Are your character's actions based on their upbringing and background, or do they have the choice to carve their own paths?

What would they do if they swapped lives?

What I'm doing this month - September

Every year, September marks a fresh new start for me. The teens return to school. I've had a rest and change of scenery over the summer break, and I approach my workload with a new level of enthusiasm.

After submitting my novel to a literary consultant at the beginning of the summer, I received the resulting report while I was away in Corfu with my family. Yay for roaming data!

I spent the next few days (in between cocktails, losing at pool to my son, and boat trips) constructing a plan on how to approach the next draft of my novel.

The report was provided by the Faber Academy and I have to say that they hit the nail on its well-worn head with their advice. They flipped my indecision over the way forward for my novel into certainty over what path I should take. Thank you, Faber Academy - you are my heroes.

I'm therefore setting myself a NaNoWrimo-esque self challenge in September to complete the redraft of my novel. I've set myself a daily chapter-count (1.7 chapters per …

Choice Words for August

Wow, the summer holiday break is racing by in a blur and it's been incredibly busy so far but that doesn't mean that I haven't searched out some choice writerly words for you.

First off, I have an article from Tim Grahl of Book Launch entitled Publisher Questions: What to ask before you sign a book contract. I'd love to be at that stage but this is a good reference article to file away for the future.

It took me a while, and a lot of coffee, to write my About Me page. As an unpublished writer, I just wasn't sure what I could or should say. In How to Write an Amazing About Me Page, Autocrit answers all of my (and probably your) questions on this topic.

Finally, here's some wise and choice words from writer, Alexa Donne.

Photo Inspiration for August

It's holiday season here in the UK so I'm going down an obvious route with this month's photo inspiration - the seaside.

There are three photographs to choose from, with differing aspects or view of holidays by the sea. Some are sunny. Others have grey skies.

Choose the one that catches your eye. What does it inspire you to write?