I’m gearing up to take part in the Six Month Novel Programme, which starts next week. One of the first tasks you have to undertake is to select what is called a ‘companion novel’ to read. You’re supposed to choose something that contains an aspect of writing you want to work on in your own novel, not for the purpose of stealing ideas from other writers (instructions are to avoid anything that has a very similar plot, for example), but to learn skills and approaches from them that can aid you in your own writing.Read more
Winchester Writers’ Festival is an amazing opportunity.
Hundreds of writers of all types to meet and talk to. Workshops, talks, panels and presentations on all aspects of the craft and the industry. And, most importantly, submitting your work to agents and getting face-to-face feedback.Read more
The plan was all there. I spent a month brainstorming, outlining and cogitating. I felt excited about the story, and confident that I could make it good. I booked a writing retreat in the middle of nowhere for the first weekend in December, ready to crack on with the first draft of the new novel.Read more
Yesterday, I experienced a profound sense of accomplishment.
The four-month writing period of the Six Month Novel Programme is coming to an end, and I actually finished writing the last scene of my current draft about three weeks ago. That felt pretty great, not least because it happened on a writing date with a friend who was also there when I finished my first draft of the novel nearly two years ago.Read more
I didn’t write anything all last week. Then, I had a tiring, somewhat stressful but ultimately enjoyable weekend away at a gaming event, getting home later last night than planned. And I’d completely forgotten about my dentist appointment this morning. All I wanted to do with the rest of today was sit on the sofa and watch TV. But I had a writing date scheduled with a writer friend this afternoon, so I duly made my way to Brick Lane to meet her.Read more
When I wrote the first draft of my novel, it took five years, a lot of teeth-pulling, and a gradual progression from the original 1,500 word story to the eventual 90,000 word novel. There was a lot of mystery and excitement along the way, coupled with periods of staring into the void, wondering what on earth was going to happen next.
Now, I’ve signed up for the Six Month Novel programme, and I’m in a whole new world of plotting and outlining.Read more
I’m supposed to be finishing a final polish of the novel, ready to send it to Cornerstones for a professional edit report. My deadline for doing that, set by my wonderful husband who is paying for report as my birthday present, was 2 November. But it’s now nearly three weeks later and I’m only halfway through.Read more
Writing is a tricky business. It’s the thing I most want to do with my time, and it’s the thing I least want to do with my time. This seems to be true of all the writers I know. We desperately want to create amazing things - and in fact can’t imagine life without writing - but we find it so difficult to actually sit down and get on with it.Read more
Way back in October 2010, I signed up for an Open University creative writing course, with a good friend of mine, who is also a writer. The very first assignment was to write a 1500 word short story, on any theme. The idea for my story came from a conversation I had with my husband about magical tech support for wizards in Harry Potter. The course tutor wasn’t wildly impressed, but my friend’s response was, “You could develop this into a novel. I’d want to read it - write me a novel, based in this world!”Read more