Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Video blog posts are like buses...

...you wait for one to come along and then another creeps up behind you and blows you away.

Today, the very wonderful Kindle Ninja posted this on his/her blog...

Why don't you head on over and  check out the rest of the Ninja's posts -  they are VERY entertaining.

Woke up this morning...

Yeah - woke up this morning and my baby was gone.
Well not exactly gone, more like, transformed.
And at least, not yet - but any day soon.
That's one of the joys of creativity. You can change things! YEY! And with this new change, I am at last (beyond) excited about my WIP.
Whoop whoop... :)

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Creative Process Blog Tour, or Whatever Floats Your Boat

HMS Creativity

Having been kindly tagged in Rachel Howard’s blog to produce my own little missive for the Creative Process Blog Tour, I sat down to answer the following questions.

1) What am I working on?
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
3) Why do I write what I do?
4) How does my writing process work?

And erk … I quickly realised there was only one question I could answer with any real clarity, and that’s the first one.

1) What am I working on?
Well, I’m working on a women’s novel at the moment. And when I say ‘working’, what I mean of course is staring at my computer for days on end, stamping my feet, crying, tweeting, bleating, and meeting other desperate writers suffering from clinical angst and loss of faith in their ability to ever complete anything half decent ever again. Ever. (Ask me this same question on a good day and I might say something like, “I’m working on a women’s novel. It’s an exciting new direction for me and I’m having such fun writing for a grown-up audience, as opposed to the young teenagers I am used to. It’s liberating to have more complex characters and plot lines, with plenty of internal conflict, and I’m loving the opportunity to create a really sick baddie. Plus of course, I get to swear fucking loads.”) Today’s a bad day though; that’s why I am writing blog posts instead of chipping away at my literary Venus de Milo.

So onto questions 2, 3 and 4; let the vagaries begin.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
My writing differs from others of its genre because... but does it? Does it actually though? I write contemporary real life fiction, and I mean it’s obviously awesome and I’d like to think it was unique, but lots of people write awesome contemporary fiction. My brief flirtation with a traditional publisher led me to believe I was the second Jacqueline Wilson, because my stories put me in the ‘social issues’ camp, but they are more than just issue based. They are stories about ordinary people leading ordinary lives when something ordinary threatens to tear their world apart. Don’t you find that compelling? Because I do. I want to be Jacqueline Wilson meets John Green, at the fair, on the rollercoaster.

3) Why do I write what I do?
I write what I do because it’s what I know. I am an ordinary person leading an ordinary life and on more than one occasion, something ordinary has threatened to tear my world apart. But I’m still here and most days I’m happy and some days I’m not. The stories are pulled from the emotional vibrations which lie between those potentially life changing events. They are my means of expression, so could that be why I write what I do? Pah, *shrugs* who knows?

4) How does my writing process work?
Ummm, well, an idea comes to me and I mull it over, consciously and/or unconsciously for weeks, months, or even years, and then I put pen to paper and start writing. I don’t plan in detail. Sometimes I don’t plan at all.  I’ve started a book with nothing but a title before now, although not recently. I’ve tried to plan more. But really, my writing process is still evolving and I think it always will be. All I can tell you for definite is that I spend a whole lot longer editing than I do writing the first draft, and that at some point (during the creative process) I will fall in love with my work, hate my work, get despondent about my ability, think I am the greatest writer of my time, laugh, cry, enjoy the richness and beauty of language, think about my mum, miss my dog, drink too much coffee, plan what I’m going to have for dinner, play Words with Friends, be bold, be brave, shrink and hide away, write through the pain … and somewhere at the end of all that, I will hopefully have a book I’m proud to share with the world.

I ♥ being creative
One thing I will say about the creative process is that it's exhilarating, awesome and unpredictable. And if you look back through past bloggers on the Creative Process Blog Tour, you will find that no two writers approach creativity in the same way. When it comes to creation, my best advice is, do whatever floats your boat.

So now I am going to pass the buck to Kate Hanney, Marnie Riches and Emma Haughton, whom I met through SCBWI some years ago, and who are now my good friends.

Kate Hanney lives in Sheffield with her partner, two young children and an assortment of pets. By day she teaches English to teenagers who have social, emotional and behavioural difficulties, and by night - and whenever she finds two minutes to put together - she writes books. So far, Kate has published three novels for young adults, all of which fall into the gritty, contemporary realism genre. She is currently working on a sequel to one of these, and also an adult novel.
Find her blog here
Find her on Twitter here
Find her on Facebook here 

Marnie Riches, aka The Horrormoanal Woman, grew up on a rough estate in Manchester. With the ability to talk utter rubbish in five different languages, she ended up graduating from Cambridge University. She has been a punk, a trainee rock star, a pretend artist, a property developer and professional fundraiser. Having authored the first six books of HarperCollins Children’s Time-Hunters series, she also writes crime thrillers for adults. Represented by Caspian Dennis of Abner Stein.
Find her Horrormoanal Woman Blog here
Find her on Twitter here
Find her on Facebook here

Emma Haughton is a one-time family and travel journalist turned YA writer. Her first YA thriller, Now You See Me, is published by Usborne on 1st May 2014; her second, Better Left Buried, is coming out in May 2015.
Find Emma’s blog here
Find her on Twitter here
Find her on Facebook here 

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Feel the fear and run for the hills, by Emma Haughton

I am delighted to welcome back Emma Haughton for this week's guest post. In case you missed her last post, you can find it here. Otherwise, settle down and read on ...

The worst is definitely over, right?
First you face the blank screen. You feel the fear and you write that damn novel anyway, and then you’re out enduring the agonies of the submission process. You get lucky – you get your agent, your longed-for publishing deal. Time to kick back your heels. You’ve crawled your way to the top of the mountain, and all that’s left now is to enjoy the panorama below. The worst is definitely over, right?

Err, no. Sadly not. Climb to the top of the ‘I’m being published’ peak and what faces you are the many slopes that still lie ahead. And they’re steep. Scary steep.

Welcome to the world of a soon-to-be-published writer, as bewildering as it is daunting. First stop post deal – the structural edits. My publisher, Usborne, presented me with a formidable list of things I needed to do to make Now You See Me into a proper book. I wasn’t at all convinced I could manage them all; hell, I wasn’t sure I even understood half of them.

Nothing to do but bite the bullet – short of handing back the advance and running for the hills. And sure enough, when I sat down and went through the editing notes systematically, marking up what I needed to do on the manuscript, I found I not only agreed with most of their points, but executing them would definitely make Now You See Me into a better book. And after the ordeal of the first set of edits, the second felt like a doddle.

Then there was the title. Now You See Me has a rich history. It started life as Coming Home, which morphed into Welcome Home when I landed my agent and publishing deal. There was a brief spell where it looked like it was going to be called Missing, then we settled on Nowhere Boy. Great, I thought, finally I can go out there are start referring to it by name, as opposed to My First Book.

Sadly not. After feedback from various trade outlets, Usborne decided we needed a new title – Now You See Me is the result. That’s what it says on the cover, and I’m sticking to it.

Talking of covers, there’s another hurdle. As a writer, you quickly discover you don’t really get much say over the images that will adorn the front of your book. This is the province of the art department, in conjunction with marketing – they, after all, are the experts in what will help sell it and what won’t. I got lucky there. I loved my cover from the very first moment I saw it. I loved the startling imagery and the sophisticated cross-over feel. Not to mention that gorgeous zingy green.

So far, so promising, but as the months dwindled towards the May 1st publication day, I faced other challenges. Principally building a platform, which entailed whole new learning curves on Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites. Not to mention having to design and commission a website, and create a blog for it. Luckily all this has been a pretty enjoyable, and I’ve made lots of new friends along the way. And thanks to a great training day with Author Profile, sponsored by Usborne, I at least have a small clue what I’m doing.

With just one month to go to publication, I won’t deny I’m still apprehensive. I know there’s plenty more hills to climb – reviews, ratings, sales – not to mention those terrifying first appearances at schools, bookshops and festivals as a bona fide author. But at least I’m following a well-trodden path, and I’ve got plenty of people cheering me on. I might never get to the very top of the mountain, but at least I’ve enjoyed some seriously great views along the way.

Emma Haughton is a one-time family and travel journalist turned YA writer. Her first YA thriller, Now You See Me, is published by Usborne on 1st May 2014; her second, Better Left Buried, is coming out in May 2015.

Visit Emma’s website for more details, or connect with her on Facebook or @Emma_Haughton on Twitter.