Tuesday, 23 December 2014
I think it's fair to say that I am DELIGHTED!
Tuesday, 9 December 2014
Real people. Doing real things. Changing real lives.
Monday, 8 December 2014
|Toby's day improved dramatically after the frog incident.|
Sunday, 23 November 2014
|You can go fast, or you can go slow. |
Barry didn't mind either way; he had the best view.
- More action scenes
- Giving your reader a series of incidents in rapid succession
- Cliff hangers and hooks
- Telling not showing
- Short words, sentences, paragraphs, scenes and chapters
- Your choice of words
- Taking time to describe setting
- Adding context
- Lingering over character development
- Switching focus to sub plots
- Prolonged dialogue
- Long words, sentences, paragraphs, scenes and chapters
- Your choice of words
Tuesday, 18 November 2014
- To put Sally in jeopardy
- A lonely beach, West of Cumbria
- All the children need to be on the beach with their buckets and spades.
- The children play in the sand – burying each other and having fun at first
- Sally and Todd have an argument
- Sally storms off into the nearby cave to sulk
- The tide starts to come in to the cave
- Sally is trapped by the incoming tide…
|And they all lived happily ever after ... kind of.|
|You can't eat it all in one go.|
And when first come face to face with the prospect of editing, it’s very easy to be daunted.
If you are in any doubt about this, it pays to write a chapter by chapter synopsis of the main plot points. As you go through your manuscript doing this you get a clearer picture of the structure without getting drawn into detail. It may take several drafts to get it right, but when you finish this blow by blow account, you will have achieved some objectivity and know which bits need changing - and which bits don’t.
2. Move on to the chapters and individual scenes and repeat what you just did but in finer detail. Every chapter, every scene, needs scrutiny. You can add language to your edits here, making sure that each character has a distinguishable voice and behaves in an appropriate way. You’ll need to check pacing and make sure your beats are in the right place. Get rid of extraneous detail and unnecessary exposition which neither adds to the plot nor enhances character. Be aware of your showing and telling
3. And when you’re through with that, it’s down to the fine tuning. Look at the words. Are the words appropriate? Would your protagonist really use that word? Does that sunset really need to shout cliché? And so on. Look for repeated words or phrases. How’s your spelling and grammar?
The reason you start with the big stuff is because this is the framework everything else hangs on. You need solid foundations before you can let loose on the paintwork and plumbing, and finally the decoration.
Now stand back and admire your work.
Monday, 17 November 2014
Saturday, 15 November 2014
|Discovering that her mother|
knew swear words, was quite
a shock for Sadie
2. Write these 'unexpected' events down on little pieces of paper, and fold each one up small so that you can’t see what’s written.
By the time you've written a few pages, you'll have a much better idea about what Hortensia will do when the chips are down.
Friday, 14 November 2014
|Children love stories.|
Make sure you write them a story worth reading
- Your story should always be about a child, a group of children, or a creature children will relate to; for example, an animal or being from another realm.
- The central character should be of a similar age, or slightly older than your target audience.
- The plot should focus on the main character, although there may be related sub-plots which feed into it.
- It should always be the protagonist who solves the problem or dilemma.
- The setting should be in a world engaging to children.
- Keep the story moving.
- The language and content should be appropriate to your target audience.
- Spend time with children and soak up their world.
- Don't lecture.
- Do your homework – read children’s books
with real life problems; the lonely and isolated, the economically disadvantaged, the emotionally unsupported, the kids whose families are falling apart through a myriad of reasons and it’s affecting their schoolwork because they can’t concentrate, can’t think, and feel powerless to act.
2) To give young people a voiceWe want to give those young people – and especially the ones who can’t express themselves (for whatever reason) – an honest voice; otherwise they might never be heard. When a young person says, “I can relate to that,” we know we are getting somewhere. When a young person says, “your book helped me,” we feel that we have done a good job.
Beyond this, giving them a voice will also help to boost their self-esteem. Just because they have to experience crap in their lives, doesn’t mean they have to feel bad or hopeless or unworthy. Our name is a metaphor; it’s the bit of the apple most people don’t want, and yet it’s the bit with all the seeds for new growth. As with apple cores, every single child has the seeds within them to grow into the person they would really love to be ... Read the rest of this post over at Bang2Write
Thursday, 13 November 2014
|Lucy and Charlie opted for vanilla|
"Do you want an ice cream?" said Charlie
Unless it is not part of the material being quoted.
If a character speaks, continues with action or thought and then returns to speak, you can keep this all within the same paragraph.
NB - A paragraph is a sentence or group of sentences that support one main idea.
4. If you end a piece of dialogue with “she said” or any other tag, then the dialogue sentence should finish with a comma, not a full stop (unless it’s a question mark or exclamation mark). The tag should start with a lower-case letter (unless it begins with a name, obviously).
PS - added 6th June - You might also be interested in my guest post - 5 Great Rules for Writing Dialogue - at Lorrie Porter's Blog - This Craft Called Writing.
Friday, 31 October 2014
As shocked as I was, I also wasn't surprised. Because the last few months have been crazy busy.
I've been finishing a book, fleshing out another one, working on a stage play (an entirely new departure for me, but it's going to have singing and dancing and a cast of thousands), critiquing, selling myself on social media, doing school visits, teaching (and you know, ugh, all the planning & preparing for that), washing, ironing (managed a whole hour in the last 2 months), cooking, cleaning, tending to the sick and the elderly, being a mum, running a hotel, taxi service and recipe information line, eating, sleeping ... Did I mention having fun? Because yes, I've even had some of that...
In the meantime, keep your fingers crossed for my new baby (aka my latest book), which is right this minute out there, on its own for the first time, looking for a new home. And if you happen to come across it, please be nice ...
Sunday, 31 August 2014
|Inspiration is not a single light bulb moment, |
but that moment repeated hundreds of times.
The original idea was to write a story about a girl (Ruby) who carried a bag of rocks with her everywhere she went. It was supposed to be a story about how the weight of these rocks got in the way of everything she did and stopped her living the wonderful life she was born to live. The rocks were a metaphor for all the emotional baggage she carried around with her, and the story was supposed to be about how Ruby learned to let go and find her true and precious self.
- a newspaper story about two girls who grew up not knowing they shared a father
- a theatre trip to see Wicked
- The Wizard of Oz
- the dozens of bird statues and art works on Morecambe promenade
- a conversation with a friend who told me how she had trained a robin to come to her kitchen windowsill for food
- seeing a Kingfisher flying upstream, while I was out walking my dog
- my own lovely grandma, who used to call me Ducky
- my dad and his garden full of wonderful things
- a multi coloured cloak once used in a school play but relegated to the dressing up box
- me, when I too was a messed up kid, struggling with identity
- the little moments -- like waking up in clean sheets and remembering the feel of a good night’s sleep, an overheard conversation on a bus, a fossil found on a beach ...
Saturday, 9 August 2014
|Writing a book ? Pah, can't undertand what all the fuss is about.|
Thursday, 17 July 2014
|Love's young dream|
|"Holy Catastophe, Robin. |
We have to save this plot!"
- Getting facts wrong
- Inconsistency (with character, plot or setting)
- Characters failing to react
- Lack of clarity
- Plot holes
|Do they or don't they? |
I'll never know.
Friday, 4 July 2014
Wednesday, 25 June 2014
- What is the name of your main character? And is
Mae, and yes – entirely fictional. (Any resemblance to persons living or dead etc…)
- When and where is the story set?
Mainly in a recycling centre in South Cumbria
- What should we know about her?
After punching a pizza delivery boy, Mae has been given a community payback sentence by the court. Her brother has died. She is 17 years-old, drinks too much, swears too much, has alienated all her friends, and is not handling her grief very well at all. Her step-dad has moved out -- as a result of Mae’s anti-social behaviour -- so she lives alone.
- What is the main conflict?
Hard to pick one without giving the game away, but I will tell you that Mae is in conflict with many people and things: her step-father, her friends, one particular woman at the recycling centre, authority, herself…
- What is her personal goal?
At the beginning of the story, Mae does not have a goal; she’s lost and directionless. By the end, this has changed. A long time personal goal is rekindled – to be a chef – but something far bigger than this comes into play. I’m not going to tell you what that is…
- Is there a working title for this novel?
- When can we expect the book to be published?
2015 – hopefully.
Monday, 16 June 2014
The story of an incestuous but loving relationship between a brother and a sister. And Oh. My. God. It’s brilliant – it’s awful. It’s not a justification of incest, but neither does it condemn it – just makes our hearts bleed for the poor siblings who fall victim to it. It’s had over 18,000 ratings and 4,000 reviews on Goodreads and it still scores a healthy average of 4.7 out of 5; it’s that good.
Grim real life, gritty and desperately tragic. A story about the hardest elements of society. My heart ached for Danny and his little sister Lacey, and never stopped aching even when I’d reached the end. You won't go away from this book feeling ooh, ahhh, and all warm and fuzzy inside . . . you will be left in a state of complete limbo. Dangling. In shock. Wondering WTF?
The story of two sisters left to fend for themselves when their parents die. This book is seriously dark. Think abusive parents. Think about killing them and burying them in the back yard. Think fifteen year olds having sex with ice cream men who sell drugs . . . Brutal, but not without humour, and most importantly, it’s not without humanity. Just don’t read it before you sleep at night – especially if you have daughters.
This story is beyond clever – but you probably won’t realise how far until you get to the end. And then, WOW!!! All you can do is stand there and wonder how you didn’t see it coming. I can’t sum it up – here’s the Goodreads blurb . . .
A beautiful and distinguished family. A private island. A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy. A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive. A revolution. An accident. A secret. Lies upon lies.True love. The truth.
Now You See Me by Emma Haughton
A boy goes missing, and years later he turns up again without any explanation about where he has been. A pacy psychological thriller with complex characters and bags of plot. I didn’t expect the end to be quite as satisfying as it was. Hard to say more about this book without spoilers so I’ll shut up.
My only paranormal choice; paranormal because it involves astral projection. I don't normally 'do' weird and freaky stuff like this, but there's so much more to Untethered than paranormal. It’s also about jealousy and obsession and the real life problems teens have to deal with. I laughed out loud and cried more than once, but mostly I was just gripped. There’s depth and subtlety to this novel, with an underlying message about self-acceptance, and paranormal or not - it's worth a read.
Dolphin and Star live with their heavily tattooed mum, but mum is a manic depressive and as fun as that can be on manic days, the rest of life is not so sweet. I love this book and Jacqueline Wilson changed my life the day she wrote this.
Another book from years ago which I still remember fondly. It’s the story of Rowan and what happens to her family after her brother dies. Apart from the heart ache and the tears, it’s also funny and well observed. It’s not going to keep you awake at night, but it’s perfect comfort food.
Marty longs for a dog and when she sees the dog star, she makes her wish. A real live dog appears beneath her bed and it seems that her wish has come true . . . This is a book I read to my children. I could barely get through some pages without sobbing. It’s a beautiful beautiful story for younger children and it will stay with you forever. Seriously you should get this one.
So there we have it. An impressive selection box if ever there was one.
It's my turn to tag another author in this challenge now, and I'm going to tag Katie Hayoz - because I reckon she should know a thing or two about chocolate, what with her living in Switzerland and everything...
Wednesday, 11 June 2014
|Who is he/she?|
(I see what you did there.)
(Jack? Jill? Jinja?)