A cliffhanger ...with a cliff
My Writing Bureau
Series or Standalone?
Snippet Saturday on a Sunday
Write or Write Not...?
Writing Goals for July
The Ruin by Dervla McTiernan
I was reading Audre Lorde's Sister Outrider across the Christmas/New Year holidays.
Now, I've started my first new book of 2021 - The Ruin by Dervla McTiernan. It was a welcome Christmas gift and I love that is introduces me to an author that is new to me.
What's your first book of 2021?
One of my best discoveries this year was TheStorygraph.
It's an app and website where you can keep track of your reading, participate in reading challenges, get #bookrecommendations and see dinky little pie charts breaking down your preferences into genre, number of pages, pace. It is fab.
Thanks to some of the #readingchallenge , I've read a wide variety of authors and genres this year. Some of their covers are included in the pic.
I can't wait to see what it brings to me in 2021.
And if you want to try it out, you can visit The StoryGraph website by clicking here
I Like Your Hat
I Like Your Hat Launch
You can purchase your copy of I Like Your Hat from Luath Press by clicking here [link to external website]
Time ... for a Masterclass
Before the Times Masterclass on getting published with Ella Wakatama and Clare Conville, I'd decided it was the last writing course I would attend this year. In fact, I told my husband it was the last course I was ever going to attend.
I've had some fab advice, met great people and ate some amazing lunches at writing courses over the years. BUT I don't want to fall into the trap of constantly writing about writing; or get caught in the cycle of attending course after course.
I've been writing a business book this year and the difference in my approach has been stark. As a former journalist and PR, I'm comfortable writing facts, summarising interviews and providing examples. I'm confident in my research and know my voice.
All that certainty melts like ice when I turn to my fiction.
As a master prevaricator (blame my Libran indecisive tendencies if you're an astrology fan) I could spend year after year trying to hone not only my craft but my novel. It may end up making it better but it will also end up ensuring it languishes in a drawer forevermore. There's always another course; another edit; another beta reader...until you decide that there isn't.
In a touch of delicious serendipity or in the spirit of self-fulfilling prophecy, some of the main takeaways from Clare and Ella's fab masterclass were:
BE CONFIDENT IN YOUR DECISIONS
CREATE YOUR WORK
One attendee asked about the process of submitting the first three chapters. Namely, if those chapters weren't being successful, when would you rewrite them? It was clear Ella and Clare were bemused. How could you have such little faith in your work that you'd consider rewriting rather than ploughing ahead with sending your chapters to more agents until you found the one that did like them?
Likewise, a question about including more than one approach in a non-fiction proposal was met with the response that you, the writer, have to pick an approach. You're not providing a buffet.
Be decisive. Know what you are trying to say.
But that isn't an excuse to be self-indulgent. Faulkner's instruction remains fundamental - Kill your darlings.
Then fight for their pared-down offspring with integrity and belief. It's time to step into the fray.
There are lots of great writing community initiatives on social media to raise awareness, support writers through the process and help to provide structure to the writing year. One that I discovered on Instagram this year was Preptober from @rachelbatemanbooks.
I'm in awe of writers who participate in these events, especially those who manage to follow and update diligently everyday. I am not one of those writers.
But, sometimes, even if you don't have time to respond to every prompt, or time to answer any of them, you can still find value in these events. Reading the posts every day and thinking about the answers can be worthwhile. It helps you hone your thoughts, your direction and your writing ... even if you never put pen to paper or fingers to keys.
One of the preptober prompts that I did manage to fulfil was providing ten facts about me. Here they are:
(10) The age I was when I first had something published & how much I was paid £10
(9) The number of people in my family growing up- mum, dad, 6 siblings & me
(8) The age I created my first magazine
(7) The time I would get up to deliver the local newspaper because everyone from journalists to editors had to help deliver it
(6) the number of wards I used to visit when I was a presenter on hospital radio
(5) the number of people I interviewed in my first news piece to camera
(4) the current number of book projects I'm juggling
(3) the number of favourite pens I alternate between when writing
(2) the number of versions of my crime manuscript
(1) poem I'm considering submitting
Scoping out Settings
LockedUp with Lee Child
Locked Up Festival
PR, Principles & Pink
My contribution to the #247Challenge. I'm loving reading everyone's work for #NationalWritingDay with my 11-yr-old. There's something about lockdown that seems to lend itself to short forms whether flash fiction or poetry.
Perhaps it's the sense of urgency from living in a pandemic? Or perhaps it's that lots of emotions spiral to the surface in times of great upheaval, making it easier for those emotions to spill on to the page?
Either way, I've found myself turning to poetry, both reading and writing, quite often these past few months.
The glass cracked
Shards of the
She tried to
Catch cascades, colours,
was cut to
Podcast Planning ...
Harnessing the Hunger Games
Light in the Darkness
A Bureau of My Own