1. Always have a pencil and paper with you, in every handbag, shopping bag, pocket, briefcase, and of course beside your bed. You never know when that wonderful idea might strike. A Dictaphone might also be useful. Gone are the days when you got funny looks for talking into a machine or even talking to yourself walking down the road. Everybody’s at it now.
2. Travel by public transport as often as you can. If you’ve got … Read More >>
Once I shared an embarrassing ‘secret’ with a group of friends. I was a tad tipsy at the time. ‘Don’t you find that always happens?’ My question was greeted by blank faces and a chorus of ‘No’s. So I’m not going to stick my neck out here in public and suggest that every published author reacts like me on seeing their first ISBN number.
I danced round the room (only my devoted husband would acknowledge my … Read More >>
The relationship between writers and their characters takes many forms. Some of my characters irritate me, others entertain, some make me feel cuddly and comfortable, while others I positively loath. And some I love warts and all even my alpha male Detective Superintendent Steve Uckfield, head of the Major Crime Team, with all his disgusting habits. But whatever the relationship between the creator and characters it should never be dull.
It’s easy to become a little bit … Read More >>
After contending with Amazon’s ruthless removal of ebook reviews that don’t follow its bizarre terms & conditions, independent authors publishing on Amazon now have to deal with the apparently random removal of the “like” button and the ability to tag books with meaningful keywords.
It probably doesn’t mean much to authors who have published with traditional publishers. And in reality it probably doesn’t mean much to independent writers either, but it did feel like we had a … Read More >>
It was 1997; I’d reached the end of my university life and headed off to spend four months working in Ibiza. It was a wild, one-off goodbye to freedom summer. It was also the summer that the idea for my novel first came to me.
Ibiza was a place where you lived in the moment. You could leave your UK persona behind, be whoever you wanted to be, have fun, throw caution to the wind. It was … Read More >>
As I write, NaNoWriMo has just drawn to a close and writers all over the land have spanking new 50,000 word manuscripts bulging out from their computer screens. Good show! And well done to whoever came up with the idea in the first place, because with a combination of group support, manageable word count and an unmovable deadline, NaNoWriMo has tackled and overcome the most significant stumbling block for any would-be-writer – getting the bloody thing … Read More >>
A debut author has to do a pile of marketing. Most authors will tell you that whether you have a large publisher or a small one, you’re expected to have a presence on social media and do author events, ranging from festivals to book signings.
And so as we approach the New Year, I’m been looking back on what I did in 2012 to help market The Beggar’s Opera. Whew — this list makes me tired! I’m … Read More >>
Many authors set out to write a series, plotting the protagonist’s development through the books. Characters are introduced and plot lines set up in one book, to be picked up and developed in later books. When I wrote the first draft of Cut Short, I had no idea anyone else would ever read the manuscript, let alone publish it. The idea that it might turn out to be the start of a long series of novels … Read More >>
All writers have different ways of working and finding the ‘perfect system’ for planning, researching, plotting, structuring and writing a novel is often a matter of trial and error until something clicks. That’s how it was for me anyway.
Before I struck on my ‘perfect system’ I tried all sorts of ways of compiling my research, plotlines, and character outlines, from using note books to wall maps, from card indexes to ring binders. None of them worked. … Read More >>
The other day, I learned how to hotwire a car. So it was a video on Youtube – and not a hands-on practical – but it took me through the basics and made me realise that actually you can’t just leap into a stolen vehicle, fumble around under the steering wheel and then drive off. If the steering lock is on, you risk damaging the entire steering column if you stick screwdrivers in holes, and in … Read More >>
One of the things that has surprised me about the steps involved in getting published is how angst-ridden the whole process is. Waiting for responses to query letters is anxiety-provoking and often heart-breaking. I think we all imagine that if we can only find an agent, our troubles will be over. But in some ways, it marks the beginning of another nail-biting journey.
Once you have an agent, they have to sell your book. The submissions process to publishing … Read More >>
I began writing seriously in the late nineties. I tried different forms of writing. You should too until you find the one that suits you best. Struggling to write prose, I turned my hand to screenwriting. I wrote a little each day, building a body of work to send to the BBC in the hope of getting a foot in the door. I had some cracking feedback too – comments that made me keep the faith … Read More >>