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NaNoWriMo Day 21 - Night Vision: Writing Night Scenes

Thursday 21st November - Night Vision: Writing Night Scenes When I’m looking for inspiration for my writing, one of the best times of day is when I'm walking the dog. Not so much at the weekends, because then I walk in broad daylight (which is fantastic in its own way), but weekday nights. Last night, I got home from work early and celebrated having an excess of energy by taking Orlando out on one of the longest town walks he's had in a long time. When I'm out walking the dog in the dark, I find that complete extracts of stories just seem to come to me, or I'll suddenly work out whatever I’ve been struggling with for a while.
I remember walking through Wick in early December last year and passing a house where they had their Christmas lights up. It’s not far from where we live and they always have tasteful fairy lights in the window at Christmas. As I walked past in the anaemic streetlight glow, I realised that the lights weren't the only decorations: outside the d…
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NaNoWriMo Day 20 - Soundtracks: The Role of Music

Wednesday 20th November - Am I on the Wrong Track?


My Twitter bio tells all interested parties that I'm a lover of opera. I am. But I can't listen to it when I'm writing. I also enjoy folk music. But I can't listen to that either. In fact, I can't listen to anything with words. The words distract me. Even words delivered in a language I don't understand, distract me. There is someone's story there and it isn't my story so, while I'm writing my story, I focus on that alone. What DO I listen to when I'm writing? I listen to my favourite classical pieces - no words - the ones I have always loved. Chopin's piano sonata no.2 in B flat minor is a treasure and is always able to inspire me. It's known as the funeral march but the part everyone recognises as such is empty on its own. When you take it as part of the whole it is priceless. His nocturnes are capable of great things for me too. Music which trips along the sinews and twists and turns w…

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…

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…