Saturday, 12 July 2014

Back from the Past

I've been out of the loop for almost three months. I've ignored my novel. I've been in the slums of Southwark, and by the cholera infested Broad Street pump. I've been in Kensington Palace, and to the Great Exhibition. I briefly visited the textile factories of Nottingham, and the coal mines of South Wales. I've marched with the Temperance Society, and marveled at Champagne Charlie's antics on the stage at Wilton's Music Hall. In short, I've been in Victorian Britain.

I've just finished an online course on Victorian history. I love research, and the course was excellent, but oh how much I love going back to my story. I was worried that our mutual absence would mean that my story and I would have grown apart, but that's not the case at all. In fact, the course has both inspired and informed my story and it is growing into a far better, leap-off –the-page thing.


And now I know it's true. Absence really does make the heart grow fonder!


Monday, 5 May 2014

5 Truths We Must Face Up To When Writing A Novel

1. The story doesn't write itself. It just doesn't. Wouldn't it be handy though? We could carry on sending those all important tweets and making those witty Facebook posts while the Story Fairies work away on those tedious drafts on our behalf.

2. Social Media is very nice but it isn't actually writing. Sorry. I mean they're words, there's no denying it, but does it get the novel finished? No. The words just don't count. In fact, sometimes they should be minus words. You should really deduct them from your writing word count because they are words that could have been in your novel had you been writing that instead.

3. Ideas don't just pop into your head one at a time, fully formed, ready to go. But this could be another job for the story fairies. You could have one fairy per idea. You just give them a hint of the story, the what if, the story spark, and away they'd go. They could research, they could order, they could plan, they could ditch the rubbish ideas and polish the gems. Sadly, story fairies aren't real. At least I've never seen any. So you'll have to sort your own ideas, you'll have to decide which ones to work on, and keep the others for later.

4. Sometimes you pick the wrong story. Yup. Gutting, but it does happen. You can get all keen, all excited; this story is the one! You research, you plot, you make character charts, you write, you write some more, you get a bit stuck…you realise it's going nowhere. This is not a good thing but what can you do? Learn from it. Every word written is an experience. Every word written is exercising your writing brain. Practice makes perfect, right? So you may have had a rubbish story, but, odds are, it's helped you to be a better writer.


5. You can write the best story in the world but unless you put down the editing pencil and actually send it out, no one will know. Really. Just send it out. Do it! There comes a point when you just cannot make any more revisions. In fact, to change another single word will set your story on the road to ruin. Leave it. Send it out. And work on something new.