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NaNoWriMo Day 19 - Writing Animals

Tuesday 19th November - Writing Animals

Most of my books feature an animal or two because, for the most part, we all have some sort of interaction with animals. Sometimes it's as a pet, sometimes in a working capacity, sometimes just admiring them in nature. Because so many of us have formed bonds with animals, you can't miss them out of your writing.


The most important thing to remember is that animals are individuals as much as humans. There are certain traits applied to certain animals, many accurate, some unjustly awarded. But it's always good to throw a few oddities into a story. Look at Mowgli being raised by wolves, and yet in fairy tales we're told wolves are scary and threatening. As people's relationship with nature changes, our perception of it changes, too.

Take my dog, Orlando, as an example... He's a typical spaniel. He never stops on walks; he's always far more interested in smells than anything else (except possibly balls in motion); he chas…
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NaNoWriMo Day 18 - Publishing - Self, Indie, Traditional

Which Way to Go?

I managed to claw my way back up to the line on my Nanowrimo word count graph. Having said that, I've done no writing today so I know what I'll be doing after this blog!

Firstly, I want to say that there is no obligation for you to publish your writing whatsoever! Don't let anyone tell you that if you choose not to be published, you're not a real writer. That is a load of...cobblers! You've written, haven't you? You've written a book? Then you're a writer, whether you're published or not.
If you do go down the publishing route, then best of luck to you! It's incredibly hard work, no matter which way you go. In this blog, I will be listing a basic pro and con list of each method. If you'd like more detail, then say in the comments.
Self-Publishing
More and more authors are choosing to self-publish for numerous reasons.
Pros You have complete control. Over everything! Content, cover, marketing, formattingNo painful long waits t…

NaNoWriMo Day 17 - Pace of Writing

Sunday 17th November 2019 - Pace of Writing
I obsess over graphs.I blame my dad – he was a maths teacher.So it’s perhaps unsurprising that my page of choice on the NaNoWriMo website is the Stats page.One of the reasons I’ve fought against doing NaNoWriMo for so long is because I have an obsessive nature and, when I start on something, I won’t let go until it’s done.But thanks to a combination of NaNoWriMo and my obsessive gene, I’ve already completed one novel and I’m zooming through the second.

One aspect I’ve really enjoyed is competing in writing sprints with two of my NaNoWriMo buddies (who are also my sisters!).Being highly competitive, we write for 20 minutes to see who can write the most words.I always lose.No, I mean ABSOLUTELY always lose.But it doesn’t matter because writing sprints have got me past some of the trickiest parts in my books, just because I want to be writing something.

My favourite graph is the one which give you the predicted line.  I like to know what I’m ai…

NaNoWriMo Day 16 - Characters - Part Three - Nature/Nurture

Saturday 16th November - Characters - Part Three - Nature/Nurture

In some way, all my creative writing reflects my fascination with the nature or nurture debate. As one of six children, I've seen how people can have the same upbringing, the same love, the same nurturing and the same opportunities, and yet turn out to be very different people with very different interests and skillsets. In The Backwater, I enjoyed exploring the similarities between Rebecca and the father she's only meeting when she’s twelve years old. Dance With Me – the book which is coming out next year – is about someone who's going around developing new relationships rather than being with the ones nature has provided her with.

NaNoWriMo Day 15 - Choosing Your First Reader

Thursday 15th November - Choosing Your First Reader

Some of us write books we never intend the world to see.  Writing for yourself is absolutely fine, but many of us like to imagine someone reading our books.  Sometimes we dream of hitting the Bestseller List, which everyone queuing down the street on release day, or sometimes we imagine our books in the hands of a certain someone.



Whichever the dream, your First Reader will most likely be someone different, but their role is nonetheless important.  Your First Reader will be someone who you have to convince, but also someone you trust.  They should at least have an appreciation of the style and genre in which you're writing, but they don't have to be avid readers of it.

Here are a few things to consider when choosing your first reader:

Trust - This is the *most* important thing.  When sharing a manuscript, you're opening a little window onto your soul.  All writers, whatever they claim, but an element of themselves into the…

NaNoWriMo Day 14: Settings and Locations - Rural Landscape

Settings and Locations.  Rural Landscape.
How to weave words into settings?  The temptation is to be a bit heavy-handed with the adjectives - but then you end up with one of those bumpy rugs instead of a neatly woven delight to walk on!  George Eliot, in The Mill On The Floss, brings alive the landscape and setting and soon conveys the importance of the river without the use of clunking adjectives. I'm reminded of the Lucy Boston stories about her beloved Hemingford Grey.  In The Children of Green Knowe she explains that the river is a lively inhabitant. If a writer is able to animate aspects of the countryside, then there is little need for poetical description. Once a river, a tree, or any other part of the landscape comes alive, then the story/account is accessible without the need to unravel unnecessary packaging.  Don't get me wrong - I've played games with poetic prose so that music sings from the page but I'm also aware that the same music drowns out what I'…

NaNoWriMo Day 13: Writing Personifications

Writing Personifications
Most of us talk to people not inanimate objects, or else (in the case of people like me) we talk to both.But sometimes inanimate objects are central to a story’s plot.For example, if you’re writing a mystery or crime novel, your characters want to maintain a certain air of unknown.They will probably become known for the coat they wear, or the car they drive.As authors we can throw our readers a hint by personifying these inanimate objects.

When I think of the power behind a good use of personification, I always think of the parable of the blind men and the elephant.It’s our human approach which makes us see things in a certain way – within the confines of our own understanding.
Metaphors are central to writing this way.Don’t say:
the car had wing mirrors like ears, ready to hear its master’s voice
Instead go for:
the car’s wing mirrors were ears, ready to hear its master’s voice
Here are a few things about personification:
That reminds me... Most things remind us…