Category Archives: Writing In Process

Plots, Sequels and Radio Interviews!

Well, what a lot has been achieved this week… lots of plotting and planning. Four hours each morning with a notebook and I think I am about ready to start my sequel to one of my novels on Monday. Yay!

I have blogged about many things on here, mostly writerly, but not on plotting and ‘idea brainstorming’. I don’t think you can force ideas to come, you have to let them show up. Sometimes they march in without knocking and plonk themselves down in front of you. Here I am! Other times they whisper as you sleep or drift in and out like a tide that you can’t hold onto, you have it, you don’t. It’s a tease until you grab it and hold onto it like a wriggling cat until it settles on your lap.

This week has been enlightening. And it’s been exciting. You just never know who or what is going to show up. The good news is that for all its convolutions and complexities that have to be part of this novel to make it a good sequel, the ideas have come mostly pretty well formed and the new characters even told me their names! I am getting to know them now! While I never planned it this way, I have ideas for the two books that will make this a trilogy — and scope for more later. I had not planned to ‘plan’ the third book but since there is this thing called ‘foregrounding’– the legwork for the next one, i.e. the planting of the seeds — then it makes perfect sense. I now know how it all ends and what has to happen in the third one. I even have ideas for the names of the books. I am excited ❤

So how much do you plan?

Well, not too much. That said, if you were to see my notebook you would say I have it pretty much worked out, and I guess I kind of do. However, the true magic of writing happens when you allow your subconscious to guide you. Plots change. They change because as you write, things need to happen: pacing things! When you read a great novel and a chapter ends with one of those moments: another body is found, someone isn’t who you think they are — you know, ‘the unexpected reveal’, well, I like to think it’s by magic. A lot of these, I think, are not planned. They just happen. I have had a character  walk in and make a statement and I’ve spent the next hours, maybe days, working out why and what it means. Truly. Something in me knew it had to happen, and every time it really was vital to the story, I just didn’t know it when I planned the book! See, magic! Writing is magic. You need to plot and plan, absolutely — but then you need to allow the magic in.

I can’t wait to get writing now.

And in other news…

Cover reveal!

My short story collection is out in July and I will be in conversation with Tony Fisher on BBC Radio Essex this very afternoon from 2 pm talking writing and short stories! Do tune in: here’s the link!

TONY FISHER ARTS SHOW

And, here it is… my cover. Me and my nan! Her photo was taken in the 1930s and relates to the last story in the book, the newest short story of mine 🙂

Because Sometimes Medium

Out July 2019

Launch Event, St Nicholas Church, Canvey Island, July 19th 7 pm, all welcome!

Leave a comment

Filed under Acknowledging who we are and why we write, being a successful writer, Being a writer, Believe, Believing, Book Covers, Book Launch, Book Launches, Book Signing, Book Titles, Bridge House Publishing, Character development, Cover Reveal, Creating fictional worlds, Dreaming, Editing, Inspiring Others, Literary Fiction, Live your writing dream, Living the dream, Novel writing, Openings, Pace, Page turnability, Passion for books, Passion for life, Passion for writing, Plot, Publishing, Short Stories, Story, Story Arc, Story Arcs, Story hooks, Story Shape, Story Structure, Structure, Success, The Writer's Imagination, time to think, Uncategorized, Winning, Writing, Writing In Process

Tunnel Vision

It was such a great week last week after the ‘new agent news’ and finally feeling as if I knew what I had to do next. So I found myself up and working at 5 am every day, after a break from that for a while, and fully in that zone: that fully immersive state we all relish if we can get in there! It does mean everything else falls away around you as you write, and some mornings I was aware of the hubby speaking until he probably realised I was not ‘in the room’ and off he’d go and next thing a coffee would plonk down beside my computer mouse. I have him well trained!

So edits under guidance completed along with new synopsis and off to my agent. I am now doing something I have never done before. Working out the plot intricacies of a sequel! I had always intended a sequel to this novel (not saying which one yet) but had not quite worked out what would happen. I spent three hours at 5 am scribbling and thinking. I am not there yet but something is slowly emerging! I often find I need to look the other way for a while to see it clearly as if plots like to take shape just out of shot. My mission for this week is to get something together and find my EUREKA plot moment when I realise what it has to say. And to be ready to start writing it!

Writing is a process of many stages.

  • Planning: advice? Never force it; let it come when it wants to, just nudge it along as I do not recommend waiting for your muse either.
  • Writing new material: is the really exciting part and my fingers get a buzz when I am in that zone. I think that is probably the most exciting phase. This is when the true magic happens and often things you could not have planned!
  • Editing: I relish because it helps your work to take shape and become something so much better than that first draft. And if you are lucky enough more magic creeps beautifully in 🙂

 

Many many rounds of edits later it might or might not be ready but it has to reach a point when you MUST let it go and if you have been working on the same thing for too long — rest it and write something else. We can get too close to it. My advice for anyone wanting a career as a writer and intending to find an agent and a book deal needs to let one novel go and work on a new one, especially when new to it. Get a critique, get solid editorial feedback and learn how to improve — but when you have reached that point know when to rest it and work on something new, taking those newly acquired skills with you. Agents want you for a career, not a single book. My fourth novel was the one that was finally deemed good enough to find a publisher.  But nothing is ever wasted because you have something to later work on.

So that is me, just wanted to pop by to report in mid-editing a manuscript for a client!

That is all. Happy Writing! Happy Week!

Books HD

Leave a comment

Filed under Acceptance, Acknowledging who we are and why we write, Banish self-doubt when you write, Being a professional editor, being a successful writer, Being a writer, Believe, Believing, Blogging, Creating fictional worlds, Critique, Dreamers never disappear, Dreaming, Editing, finally being signed, Find a Publisher, Find an Agent, ideas, Learning to be a writer, Living the dream, Mainstream Fiction, Novel writing, Passion for books, Passion for life, Passion for writing, Plot, principles in writing, Publishing, Succeeding, Success, Success is not about money, The Writer's Imagination, Uncategorized, Writing In Process

When To Delete {Editing Tips}

 

editing

All I can say is: be ruthless when it comes to anything that’s — clunky (awkward), redundant, superfluous, extraneous, clichéd, telling, overdone…

When it comes to having a nice fluidity to your narrative you have to ensure you remove things that simply don’t need to be there, simple! Take them out and if it still works then you are on the right track. Some writers think they have to say it in unique and interesting ways. While, to some extent, that might be true it can, if you work too hard, really feel forced. Then it simply doesn’t work! I have seen some wonderful metaphors and similes lost in a crowd of metaphors and similes! The trick is to use such devices sparingly and in just the right place. This gives them power. Got it?

 

Here are just a few things to ponder… I will talk about filler and the things you can lose from the actual story tomorrow!

  • Description — this is important for allowing the reader to really ‘see inside the moment’, to visualise it as you intended them to, but they don’t need every single detail drawn in for them — just enough and perhaps more importantly to create the right mood, or tone, perhaps, even, to create the right sense of danger if you are leading them to the edge of a cliff face, for example. Sparing, yet vivid wins the day! So it really does come down to how you use your words and which ones. And if in a moment of great tension then whatever you do don’t stop to admire the view, make the description an active part of the movement itself. Look at how other writers do it!

……………………………………………………………………………….

  • Look at things like attributions; the ‘he said/she said’ in dialogue. You will find that a lot of the time you can remove these as long as you can stay with the flow of the conversation. Better to show some body language so we know who said it. And don’t write  ‘they paused’ — create the pause with an action! None of us stop and pause, well not really! Lose adverbs that are redundant if we can see how something is done or said. Lose different words for said when said is just fine (I have talked about this before!) Punchy and sharp!

……………………………………………………………………………….

  • Lose clichés as these are considered to be lazy prose! The tears streamed down the face… ugh! How about she dabbed her cheeks or some other more interesting way to show she was crying!

……………………………………………………………………………….

  • Telling tags: These tell why something is done or said when it’s usually obvious! She stopped the man to ask the time because she was worried she was late. Telling! If we see her rush and ask the time as she rushes we can see it, it’s shown! See what I mean?

……………………………………………………………………………….

  • Lose ‘that’ and ‘very’ and ‘just’: a lot of the time … see some of my deliberate crossings out. Also see the use of italics when I think the word is more functional so I left it in…  The way that he said it made her smile; he was just so angry (more active?); she was very jealous (though better to show this through actions… right?) Also think about some of the adverbs we overuse! Like ‘suddenly‘… So often there is no other way to interpret the action so lose it and just show the action!

……………………………………………………………………………….

  • Pleonasms: nodding the headshrugging the shoulders; thinking in the mind… Where else? Get the idea?!!!

……………………………………………………………………………….

The message here is very simple: if you can lose it, lose it. That way the writing becomes sharper! 🙂 Only repeat expressions or use words that are less functional in a sentence when part of character voice and there is a difference as I will show you later in the week!

Happy Tuesdaying!

5e3d161f9093134762cfbc96928654db--every-tuesday-good-morning-tuesday

 

 

1 Comment

Filed under Acknowledging who we are and why we write, Being a professional editor, being a successful writer, Being a writer, Believe, Believing, Blogging, cliche, Cliches, Copy Editing Quick Note Series, Copy Editing Quick Notes, Critique, Critique groups, Description, Dialogue, Dreaming, Editing, Fiction Clinic, Inspiring Others, Literary Fiction, Live your writing dream, Living the dream, Page turnability, Passion for life, Publishing, Purple prose, Reach your potential, Style, Success, Uncategorized, Winning, Writing, Writing In Process

Why distance is great … (Writing Process Series)

We have all read how one of the best things you can do for your manuscript, once you’ve completed an edit, is to put it away and work on something else. This important part of the process is so often overlooked. With good reason of course, often writers have deadlines — especially those signed to a publisher, contract, obligations. Perhaps this is another reason why so often, a writer’s first novel, the breakthrough, is often deemed to be so much better than ones that follow. Of course this is not always the case. Hey, now isn’t that a validation for rejection and having several novels lined up when you finally get signed?

In his book On Writing, Stephen King talks about ‘resting’ a manuscript, to work on the next one and the coming back to it a few months later. And look how successful he has been.

Interestingly this is in my mind this week as I plunge back into the next novel.

I Am Wolf also benefitted from a good rest when I left it on about its 3rd or 4th draft to work on While No One Was Watching. That also benefited from a rest too.

With the latest one, it has had several drafts and surprisingly when I relocated it this week I realised I have written the whole thing including the ending.  I have gone back to this one many times and it has changed name, voice, huge sections have been deleted, it has had many incarnations. One of the problems I think is it was never a short story first (as the others were) so it had less of a defined shape. Also the plot had become far too complex and convoluted. I can not tell you how many times I sat down on my sofa with a notebook or wrote some notes in Word trying to get the plot right and not so complex. In the end with a complete draft I moved into the next novel.

And so this week I have plunged back in. And yesterday I ‘started’ to see what it needed. But sometimes, rather like the way a short story can form off set; kind of bubbling away while you’re doing something else, that’s how it’s been since last night. I knew from that buzz in my gut that came yesterday,I was  finally finding that part I couldn’t reach before.

Now it’s not quite formed yet — this epiphany is slightly softer than some might be, but it is there (and the concept of it feels BIG for the story) and I woke up this morning thinking about it. I love it when it starts to take over like that — just like I Am Wolf did a few weeks back. This morning, even before I had drunk my coffee (which is still in the pot — sipped!) I have been scribbling and I see it! So this distance thing also applies, not only to resting a manuscript, but also to letting it percolate out of sight.

So now I have worked out not only what needs to happen, but realise also how it will simplify the plot and readers won’t get lost in its complexities! It’s magic!

And I will leave you with that thought as I walk finish my coffee and walk Rosie — and then, WATCH OUT! I’M GOING IN … I might be some time!

And on this special D Day Anniversary I also think we should remember we have what we have now because of the sacrifices brave men and women made. RIP

And on this special D Day Anniversary I also think we should remember we have what we have now because of the sacrifices brave men and women made. RIP

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

 

Leave a comment

Filed under being a successful writer, Blogging, Learning to be a writer, Living the dream, Mainstream Fiction, Novel writing, Passion for writing, Publishing, Reading, Writing, Writing In Process