Tuesday 16 July 2019

Characters - where do they come from

For me getting to know your characters and seeing them develop into fully rounded, if at times eccentric, individuals is one of the great pleasures of writing.  They become friends (is that strange?).  This is especially the case with the three Inspector Kirby books (I’m now working on a fourth).  But where do those characters they come from? 

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Wednesday 26 June 2019

How do you choose the settings for your stories?

When you read a book the setting is like another character.  It’s important, you want to picture the characters in their surroundings, even if your version of that picture is different to everyone else.  I’ve written before on how I see describing settings as a balance between giving enough information to convey something of my vision of any given place while still leaving enough room for the reader to form their own picture.  It’s like I provide the outline and the reader colours it in.  For the Inspector Kirby books this was an interesting and evolving process.

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Wednesday 12 June 2019

Those pre-launch jitters - What to do

My last book, Inspector Kirby and Harold Longcoat - A Northumbrian Mystery went down well with those who read it.  There just weren’t enough of those readers.  A familiar story to many out there I’m sure.  It was fun to write and everyone said it was fun to read, which is great.  However, it was still just one book and everything you read tells you as an indie author you need a series.  Well, I’ve done it.  I’ve written books two and three and the early feedback has been positive.  So what now? 

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Wednesday 3 April 2019

Story settings and the reader's mind

For me the setting of any book if it’s pivotal to the story becomes a character in the story.  The reader has to be able to see the setting in the same way they vision the characters.  This means giving enough description to convey a frame work for that character/setting without being to prescriptive and depriving the reader of the fun of having their own vision of what the person/place looks like. 

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Thursday 14 February 2019

Brexit and the writer - reality is stranger than fiction

I guess even if you don’t live in the UK you’ll be aware we’re going through something of an upheaval called Brexit.  Now, before I go any further I emphasise in this post I am not taking sides, or expressing a political bias.  These are my feelings, on those elected to represent us in this matter and how that relates to my own work.  I am intrigued as to how these political characters and the stories they are telling compare to any of my fictional characters and my stories in general. 

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Tuesday 8 January 2019

30 things one writer learnt in 2018

At this time, in early January, I’m looking forward to what the new year might bring.  However, it’s always good to look back at the year just gone and see what nuggets of wisdom it left behind.  So here goes:
  1. It is possible to have a writing blip.  It’s not that I’ve fallen out with writing it’s just that other things have been going on and the thing that’s suffered most is my blog.
  2. How much stuff two people can stash in one kitchen.
  3. Those tins at the back of the cupboard are likely to many years out of sell-by.  Our record was 2005
  4. You never stop learning as a writer.  I’ve been back over my first book.  Tempted to do the same for the rest.
  5. I can enjoy relaxing on the beach (as long as the sea’s warm, there’s a sun lounger and a taverna which brings you coffee).
  6. Get those stories out!  They’re no good sitting on my/your hard drive.  For me I’ve got two follow-ups to the first book I published which have been sitting there for a years.  A 2019 resolution?
  7. I still don’t like playing golf in the rain and mud.  When you see it on TV they’re always playing in warm sunshine.
  8. Sometimes you can’t have too much of a good thing.  In the UK we had a glorious summer, fingers crossed for 2019.
  9. Most of the time you can take out the word “that” in your writing – try it.
  10. Beware the passive voice.

Thursday 22 November 2018

That next book - to plan or not to plan?

First to regular readers of my blog, apologies.  I know I haven’t written a post for some months now.  Nothing dreadful has happened, it’s just for various reasons it’s been, and still is, a busy time (OK not all of it).  I haven’t stopped writing, sometimes I think it’s the only sane place to escape to.  In fact I have two more Kirby books waiting for proof reading completion (bit of a snag there as well) and a fourth one started, more of that later.  I’m also trying to edit two follow-ups to the first book I wrote that have been sitting on my hard drive for a few years (I know, I know….).  So you see lot’s going on.

The other reason I haven’t posted for sometime is that, to be honest, I haven’t come up with anything I thought worthy of posting.  I’ve had a bit of a drought, post wise.  Then, the other day I read an article extolling the virtues of planning your novel, to the extent that it implied to write a good book it was essential.  I’ve written before on the pitfalls of some writing advice and I’ve always maintained take it on board, be self-critical, but in the end do what works for you.

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