writerwrites

The new novel is underway!

I am so happy to have started work on my next novel! As a writer, it’s such an exciting time as the characters and story begin to take shape in my imagination. Not all writers work in the same way, of course, but for me character definition is a critical part of the writing process. As soon as the overall plot is clear in my mind I begin defining the detail of each of the individuals that the reader will meet along the way. I already have a clear idea in my head of what each of them will look like, but I also like to find a photograph of somebody that is close in looks to my idea. That way I can refer back to it whenever I need a visual reminder. I search Google with a broad description and sometimes find an actor that fits the bill, or

writerwrites

A Writer Writes – December 2016

In October’s post about writing, I talked about the editing process, and mentioned that I read my whole manuscript out loud when I get near to the final version. I have always done this, and highly recommend it. But it was only when I was going through my new book that I was reminded why it’s so effective. The eye skims over words, and so it helps with spotting errors, but the most important benefit, as I discovered this time, was finding repeat words. It may be that the same word or phrase is used several pages apart, but when reading out loud I find that I ‘hear’ it, much more accurately than I ‘see’ it. It’s not the wrong word, so it wouldn’t stand out normally. But if you listen to your own voice (or maybe even record yourself) your book will be all the better for it. If

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A Writer Writes – October 2016

The Highs and Lows of Being a Writer This month has seen the completion of the first draft of my new novel, and it’s an exciting – but nerve-wracking – time. Now I have to wait for feedback from my agent and editor. Do they like the story? Do they like the characters? Is the pace consistent? Do I give away too much too soon? Do we feel that the narrator is intentionally withholding information from the reader? Before I started writing, I had no idea what an editor does. I thought that they read a book and made some corrections, perhaps rewrite paragraphs that are badly written. I was so very wrong. They read it, of course, with great attention to detail. Then they add comments: ‘this bit is too slow’ or ‘this character sounds wooden’ or ‘this exposition it too complicated’. And then the rewrites begin, until the

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A Writer Writes

The highs and lows of being a writer This month has been great fun in more ways than one. I live on the tiny island of Alderney in the Channel Islands, and August is total madness. Never have I lived anywhere like it, with parties, dinners, lunches and all kinds of other silliness going on. It’s exhausting, but fun. It would be possible to be out every night of the week, but the reality is that I need to work, and I want to work. That period is over now, and things are calming down. But it becomes the start of another silly season – this time the season of travel. As you will see from the News and Events, there are a number of writing festivals coming up, and I’m really looking forward to them. What it means, though, is that time spent writing becomes more limited, and that’s

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A Writer Writes

It’s easy to think that a writer’s life is at the very least a romantic one. Perhaps we all sit in our plush leather chairs behind our grand desks and wile away the hours tapping effortlessly on our Macs? Sadly, the reality is much closer to TOO MUCH reality! I work from 8am until 8pm every day of the week, breaking only when I travel for literary events and festivals where I am also working. It’s hard and frustrating and tiring and like most writers I wouldn’t change a thing! In this new-look newsletter I am going to note some of my highs and lows to let you see how tough being a self-employed scribe is. For example, this month I have had endless technical problems with my email and I have wasted hundreds of lost hours trying to solve them. Sometimes it’s soul-destroying and I have to remind myself that