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World Book Day - Lend a Hand

So, the New Year Resolutions went out the window. But don't they all?

I was in a staff meeting after school today, and it was mentioned that Park Primary had reopened, and needed some interim supplies before they could get their stock up again.

For those of you who didn't see it on the news, Park Primary in Invergordon was burned down after an old laptop caught fire. Amazingly, all the staff and children got out and were not harmed. They reopened last week, but have lost all of their supplies.

My headteacher, a practical-minded individual, was hoping to put together some textbooks that we don't use. My first thought was that it was World Book Day this week, and the school had no library. Surely, if they had lost all their textbooks, they would have lost all their library books too!

Imagine that! No books for the kids to sail away on. No chance for the children to fight or fly with dragons, or meet superheroes and wizards.

With that in mind, I determined to package up my bo…
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New Year's Resolutions

So it's that time of the year again. The time when the internet is flooded with a million and one blog posts about people's crazy new year resolutions.  Well, I've got some bad news for you...this is another one of those posts!
This New Year is special. It signals the arrival of a new decade as well, and I find it frightening to consider how much might change before the next decade. A year seems much more manageable to think about.
There are a lot of things I have committed to for the next year. Firstly, my job as a Primary Teacher. I swing from loving my job to the opposite, and I suppose this is quite normal for any paid work.
Another is my Science degree. I have an exam in June - my first exam since I was at High School - so that'll be interesting!!!
Thirdly, Crowvus will take up a huge chunk of my time. It's time consuming, exhausting, it sometimes feels like we're banging our heads against brick walls, but I love it!! As well as publishing other people's b…

Story Day - plotting a story 1

Every Christmas holiday, Ginny, Jude and I have a story day. This, quite simply, is a day when we all sit down together and have a mega long writeathon. We are fully immersed in our own fantasy world and our poor parents have to put up with our obsession. 
We each have our "story story" which is our main story. Tomorrow I am revisiting my old story story that I finished when I was still a kid. There was a reasonably good plot but the writing was iffy, and there were way too many characters.
Today, I sat down and wrote a list of characters that I couldn't bear to miss out...
Here's my vague list of essential characters to include. To give you an idea of how many have been left out, here's some others I can remember: Jacob, Felice, Calantha, Edward, Nicholas, David, Eloise and Michael. I'm sure there are more which I've forgotten! Yes...that was as well as the list in the picture!!

As you can see, some of the characters stick with you. Aylwin remains one of my …

NaNoWriMo Day 30 - What Next?

Saturday 30th November - What Next?

Wow! We've made it to the end of NaNoWriMo.  If you managed your 50,000 words: Congratulations!  If you managed to get off the starting block: Congratulations!  Whatever anyone tells you, there is nothing easy about writing a book.  Even when you enjoy it, it's still hard work.

So, what happens next?  Here's what Crowvus suggests:

Have a party - you've deserved it! And, by the way, a party only needs to have as few or as many people as you want.  My favourite parties have been family affairs.  It's important to be proud of yourself, and to celebrate your success.Revisit your novel - I suggest you re-read the whole thing.  Pick up and iron out any continuity issues and correct any typos you spot, but don't go through looking for them.  Proofreading comes later.Find your First Reader - for advice on this you can read our Day 15 blog.Rerevisit your novel - decide which of the First Reader's comments you want to build on and m…

NaNoWriMo Day 29 - Endings

Friday 29th November - Endings

Well, we're pretty much at the end of NaNoWriMo!  If you're anything like me, you'll be wondering where the last month has gone!  It might seem strange to have the penultimate blog on endings, but hopefully this just proves that the end of your book is not the end of the adventure!



On the first blog, I spoke about the importance of beginning a book well and how - in many ways - it's the most important part.  Endings are equally important, but for a totally different reason.  You don't have to hook anyone in, you want to give them a satisfactory ending for the characters they've invested in.

One thing I realised, after several years(!), is that happy endings are never going to be exclusive.  As readers, we invest so much in characters, so by the end what we're really looking for is a contented ending.  The reader will be as lost without these characters as you are, so give them an ending full of hope.  This could be with a ster…

NaNoWriMo Day 28 - Book Covers

Thursday 28th November - Book Covers



The first thing that people see of your book is the book spine. The next thing is the book cover. Then the back cover, with the blurb, then a sample of pages. Your book has to pass the test each time in order to be bought.

When I teach my class about book spines, and book covers, I explain how a reader will subconsciously try and persuade themselves not to buy the book. It's a crazy thing!

So, while it's important to write a fantastic book, it's also important to ensure you have the correct cover.

Now, I'm not going to say that you can't design the cover yourself. I seen some fantastic homemade covers...but I've also seen some terrible ones. The first piece of advice is one of the best:

* Look at other book covers in your genre!

Covers portray a certain type of book, so pay particular attention to books in the same genre that you write. Obviously don't copy, but look through some of the bestselling books and see if you c…

NaNoWriMo Day 27 - Formatting

Wednesday 27th November - Formatting

We're getting to the end of NaNoWriMo now. I'm just about on track to complete the 50 000 words by the end of Saturday, but it's been a real trial.

I start so many things that I give up on, so I am thrilled that I have stuck with NaNoWriMo in my very first year of doing it. I think part of the reason is my sister who completed her word count earlier on in the month. She's been very supportive, but also...I just don't want her to beat me!

So, when you've actually finished your book...in fact, when you've finished editing and redrafting, and then editing, and proofreading, and then editing your book, you have to start thinking about putting it out there in book form.

For the sake of this blog, I have concentrated on formatting ebooks.

Now, there's no reason to reinvent the wheel. There are programmes out there which help you format your ebook manuscript, and the best one I've found is Calibre.

Available here, this