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
This is an article I wrote this month for the Get Your Words Out online community:
So, you’re fearful of putting your writing out there into the world…
Well, you’re not alone. Every writer experiences anxiety about letting other people read their work. Every writer fears rejection and criticism of their work.Read more
Charlie, who runs the Urban Writers’ Retreats I go to, also just finished running an online writing programme for four weeks, starting on 2 January. It consisted of a daily email, containing a writing prompt, a suggested amount of time to write (starting at five minutes and working upwards), and either a task to help with story-planning or a link to an article or video containing writing advice.Read more
I spent the whole of last week on a writing course at Moniack Mhor, near Inverness. It was aimed at science-fiction and fantasy writers, with workshops in the mornings, led by the two tutors, Juliet McKenna and Pippa Goldschmidt, and the afternoons left free for individual writing time. I always find these kind of events really useful and enjoyable, but this one also provided me with a new focus for my writing as we head into 2017.Read more
This blog post marks a major achievement in my writing.
At the beginning of the year, I joined the Get Your Words Out online community of writers. In order to sign up, you have to pledge to write a certain number of words over the course of the year. They also have to be certain kinds of words - not just random scribbles in a private journal, but actual progress on works of fiction, or blog posts intended for public consumption. Now, on looking at the available pledges, I was somewhat dismayed to discover that the lowest number open to me was 150,000 words. At the time, this seemed pretty much out of the realms of possibility, but I decided to sign up anyway and do my best. At the very least, it would mean a new tracking spreadsheet to add to my collection.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
I was recently introduced to an interesting way of thinking about the conscious and subconscious parts of the mind, which I’ve found very helpful in working on my writing. Think of the mind as a ship, with the captain steering and looking out to the horizon, and the crew working away below decks, out of sight. From a writing point of view, the crew does a lot of the work without the captain even being aware of it, and it’s very useful to be able to communicate with them in order to tap into what they’re doing.Read more
Write every day - that’s what we’re told, isn’t it? It’s the only way to cultivate good writing discipline, and train your mind to see every day as a writing day, no matter what.
Well, in order to hit a self-imposed target of 100,000 words written in the first half of 2016, I ended up writing 1000 words a day for the last ten days of June - and I absolutely hated it. I wrote a lot, that goes without saying; but was it worthwhile writing? I don’t think so. It turned the whole exercise into a burdensome chore and focused my mind purely on the number of words I was producing, rather on what kind of words they were.
So, I don’t have a standard writing day. Some days, I write; other days, I don’t. And that’s okay by me.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