Posts

DSCN2619

Tips for Getting that Tricky Bit Written

Sometimes writing seems to call me insistently, so that I can hardly wait to finish my chores and get stuck in.  At other times I find myself doing all sorts of other jobs when I should be writing; things that could easily wait until another time.  For me, this has a great deal to doing with self-esteem or fear of some sort.  If I’ve reached a point in my work in progress that I don’t feel ready to tackle, or that I don’t think I can do justice to, I’ll find reasons not to work on it.  Unfortunately, this can become a vicious cycle, as I can then cite how long it took me to write this type of scene as evidence that I’m no good at it, and this then fuels my low self-esteem the next time I need to write something in the same vein.

Today I want to share with you some of the strategies I have developed to work past this fear of writing something, in case I can’t write it well enough. Read more

DSCN2365

Cafés for Writers

On the whole, I have found that cafés are surprisingly welcoming to writers.  I had not expected us to be greatly appreciated: we take up space for an hour or several, and often only buy one or two drinks.  Indeed, there have been establishments where I have felt hassled, where staff have come over every ten minutes to ask if they can get me anything else, or have sighed and frowned each time that they pass my table.  But there are far more places where I am left alone to get on with my work, whether I end up ordering more or not. Read more

trees

A Loner in the Crowd

Upon the First Day of the Seventh Year of the Reign of King Karpitz Karpikotz

Paknor Stapikos keeps his features impassive as he forces his attention back to the presentation.  The speaker is rambling interminably about the need to balance the needs of Artellosa, a forest goddess who resents her trees being cut down, and those of Walkatokis, a warrior goddess who requires ever more arms, the forging of which require a seemingly limitless supply of charcoal.  Nevertheless, Paknor is angry with himself; tomorrow he will be expected to comment on whatever recommendation this fool makes, and he should be listening attentively. Read more

dscn3112

Bookshops for Readers

What would your perfect bookshop be like?  Here’s my list:-

  • Lots of books (of course), but not just the latest bestsellers or the firm favourites. I want to stumble across exciting finds!
  • An ambience that encourages browsing, ideally with quiet nooks that give me the illusion of being on my own with the books. Somewhere to sit is also helpful.
  • Knowledgeable staff who are miraculously right there if you need them, and yet are never pushy when you want to be left alone to mull over the books. Read more
Day05

Three Reasons to Carry a Notebook

One of the standard pieces of advice to writers is to carry a notebook and pencil everywhere, so that ideas that you have on the move don’t get lost forever.  For some people, this may make complete sense, but it seemed incomprehensible to me.  I would have loved it if the sort of idea that needed saving for posterity arrived fully fledged in my mind while I was rushing around, delivering children to school or activities, doing the shopping and the chores, or while I was fully focussed on my work.  But for me, the initial idea for a story is something that slips fleetingly and repeatedly in and out of my mind, like waves on a beach, leaving barely the shadow of an imprint; certainly nothing tangible enough to be articulated in words.  To turn that formless inkling into something that can be expressed takes serious, single-minded concentration, shut away in my study.  If I’m fortunate, I will then end up with some sort of diagram that may, after further work, form the basis of a storyline that can be captured in words. Read more

DSCN2619

Writer’s Guilt

Should a writer write every day?  Did we ought to follow a prescribed plan?  Can we only consider ourselves writers if we write full-time?

It seems counter-intuitive to associate words like “must”, “got to”, and “ought to” with writing.  These words, in my mind, are usually paired with all sorts of things that are good for you, but not enjoyable, like brushing your teeth, cleaning the loo, and paying the bills.  Read more

Day17

Sociable Writing

I don’t suppose that any writing advice is universally applicable, but finding some way of connecting with others seems pretty important to me.  Writing is, on the whole, a very solitary activity, so belonging to some sort of group adds a dimension to your ways of working.   If you are not sure which would be worse: to expose yourself to the comments others might make about your work, or to exercise your creative skills in finding something vaguely pleasant and approximately truthful about that of other people, then fear not – there are many different ways of being part of a writing community, and there may well be one that suits your preferences better. Read more

IMG_9924

Ice and Sunshine

One of the facets of the decision to self-publish my books, is the need to createbook covers that are appealing and suit the contents of each book.  I am fortunate to have a very helpful photographer/designer (Jason from www.atomswarm.com) who takes my pictures, then edits the images and adds text and details to make each book cover.  I’d much rather set up photoshoots of the characters in my books, then have a designer create a less personal cover.
Read more

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

The Rhythms of my Year

I am very fortunate that my location and lifestyle make it easy to notice and appreciate the changing seasons.  At this time of year, for example, there is the steady increase in levels of light as I leave and return home;  the unfurling leaves on the goat willow tree outside my bathroom window;  the crocuses and daffodils, planted by my children when they were small at the edge of the lawn, which have multiplied and spread, and raise their brave yellow flags every spring (this year, through the snow);  the quality of the dawn light, which now enters my bedroom not only earlier, but at a sharper angle;  the lambing and calving on neighbouring farms;  and all the other reminders that the winter is over, and my world is renewing its association with the light.  Usually, changing temperatures are part of this – last year, we spent most of Easter weekend relaxing in the garden in shirtsleeves – but it snowed again yesterday, and the chill winds and frosty mornings remind us that winter can be tenacious, too!
Read more

The Second Instalment

Click for a full size version

 

Thank you to all who sent me feedback, both on the draft cover for my book and on the prologue.  Here is the final version of the cover, and, for those of you who asked to read more of the book, here is a link to the beginning of chapter one.

Read more