Tag Archives: novel

The Secret to Making Your Characters Memorable

memorableWe readers are fickle beasts.

If you have a shit book cover we won’t pick up your novel. Sloppy blurb and we chuck the book on the NBR (Never Be Read) pile. If we get past all that and find forgettable characters buried in your pages, well… fuck you author, here’s a one star review.

A couple of weeks ago, I was lording it up in Paris with the girls for a cocktail fuelled weekend… I still have a hangover!

The thing is, I wouldn’t be a writer if I didn’t take advantage of any and every opportunity to spew some more of my hyperbolae into the world, and Paris has provided me the perfect opportunity to do just that.

I have a terrible memory. Like ,really bad. But my substandard brain cells got me thinking about books and specifically, about characters.

Without memorable characters, your book is worthless. Why?

Because books are written about characters. If your characters are boring, your books boring. But how do you make them memorable without turning them into the equivalent of a glitter covered literary drag queen? Continue reading

Master The Outline – 12 Methods For Plotters & Pantsers – Part II

OutlineingLast week I confessed all kind of Pantser secrets. Like the fact I’m a filthy dirty  cheating hybrid and I actually sit somewhere in the middle of the plotter-pantser hot tub party.

One of the biggest differences between plotters and pantsers is whether or not they outline. In last week’s post, I talked through the first three of twelve outlining methods, including:

  • Chapter Outlines
  • 7 Point Plot Plan
  • 3 Point Plot Plan

Today I am going to run through the rest of them. Continue reading

7 Tactics To Grip A Reader At The End Of A Chapter

end of a chapterWhen you write the end of a chapter, you want readers to be desperate to turn the page and read on irrespective of the fact its 3:41AM and they have work the next day.

You want your book to be the cause of their bleary eyed appearance as they clutch the work coffee machine and growl at any one who comes near.

But what is it about a chapter ending that makes someone read on, rather than put it down and go to snoozeyland?

Here are nine tactics you can use to grip a reader and tickle their temptation soft spot to read on. Continue reading

Perfect Your Dystopian World in 5 Easy Steps

DystopiaI’m obsessive. Once I get my little fishhook fingers into something there is nothing I won’t consume about a subject.

That’s why I’ve obsessively read books since I sung my first ABC and it’s why I write just as obsessively now.

One of my biggest obsessions, is the concept of dystopian worlds. I heart everything about them. I want the t-shirt, the fan girl moves, the merch and ALL the books. ALL OF THEM.

But right now, as a writer, I’m more interested in how to get them right. What do you need building bricks do you need to include and what key factors do you need to make a dystopian world realistic.

I’ve just finished reading Jane Dougherty’s Abomination. It was both a fantastic read and an exceptional example of an apocalyptic and dystopian setting.

Here are 5 steps to perfect the dystopian world. Continue reading

Mantras, Mindset & 7 Secrets You Need To Finish Your Book

Mantra MindsetIf you’re a creative person, then at some point you’ll meet my little bitch of a friend self-doubt. Meeting her is as inherent as the need to play God and cackle as you kill another darling.

Self-doubt really is the queen bee of inefficiency, procrastination and pointlessness. Frankly, she makes Trump seem useful… did I? Lets move on before I offend anyone with something more than just my potty mouth.

I’ve talked about self-doubt before and given four suggestions to beat it. But like anything, as you grow and develop as a writer, you find new tricks to make you better and more efficient.

Writing is always likened to running a marathon. It’s great analogy because personally, I’ve well and truly hit the 18 mile wall. But even if I have to chew my kneecaps off in a bid to keep my arse in the proverbial chair, I will hand my sodding book-baby to beta readers on 30th September. But fuck me, the universe is not making it easy.

So here are some awesome techniques I’ve been using that you can implement to get you and your book to completion without having to gnaw body parts off. Continue reading

How To Give Your Readers A Book Hangover in 3 Easy Steps

Book HangoverWriting a book is a form of torture, I swear. Between the paralysing self-doubt, the voices constantly screaming in your head and the genuine addiction to playing God late into the night, it is without doubt, a form of torture.

But despite all that, when you see the results or hear of a reader sobbing at 3am because you killed bunnikins the third and all his fluffy bunnywabbit babies, it makes it all worth while.

We’ve all been there: unable to see the page for the hysterical tears, or laughing so hard you drop the book and lose your page. Or the ultimate – been given a book hangover by the latest series you binge read.

As authors, that’s exactly what we want to do our readers: hook em’, shake em, change em’, and set them free again.

The key to a hangover, is being able to change a reader, but in order to achieve that change, we need to drag them into the heart of our story. Which means, we need to know what the heart of our story is in the first place. Continue reading

Writespiration #92 First and Last lines

writespiration first and last lineThis week, I am giving you a chance to share something from your WIP. I want to know what the first and last line of your current story is.

To join in, post a link in the comments or drop your lines (identified by which is first and which is last) into the comments.

If there’s a significant number of you joining in, I may not be able to comment on every entry this week as I am snowed under trying to meet a deadline. However, I will publish every one in the next Writespiration.

Here’s Mine: Continue reading

The Best Editing Trick I Ever Learnt

Editing TrickGUYS – sorry if this landed in your inbox in 2017, I did not mean to repost it, my bad.

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Editing is a bitch. I’ve written about the differences between editing and revising before. But my dear friend Ali recently taught me one of the best, most practically useful lessons I’ve ever learnedd when it comes to editing.

See for a long time, I wrote linearly and then when I finished, went back to the start and edited.

That’s good. But no matter how many times I did it, I still found a shit-tillion mistakes. Which resulted in a sort of crazed, goggle-eyed, fuzzy haired – I’m going to commit arson on my manuscript – type look. It wasn’t pretty, my hairs curly enough thanks.

So, I listened to Ali and started tweaking the method to suit me. I’m going to share this editing trick with you, and hopefully, it will help you to clean up your scripts too. Continue reading

How To Snag a Publisher First Time With Your Synopsis

How To Snag A Publisher First Time With Your SynopsisMy lovely writing tutor Esther, recommended a brilliant phenomenal book: Write a Great Synopsis – An Expert Guide by Nicola Morgan. Now I don’t have much time to read, and shamefully I have only read a handful of books this (last) year. But this nifty little critter is 54 pages.

1. If you don’t have time to read 54 pages to help you write your synopsis then give up now.

2. These are not 54 normal pages. They are 54 pages littered with the purest gold dynamite I have ever experienced.

3. Go immediately to amazon and purchase this book, here! I promise you it won’t disappoint.

You know me, can’t help but share what I learn, and these nuggets blew my mind: Continue reading

Nine Secrets to Successfully Completing That Elusive First Draft

Screen Shot 2015-08-20 at 01.02.24

At 1:04am, on the 20th of August, after exactly 292 days or 41 weeks and 5 days of writing my first draft of my novel, I wrote those two long awaited words… ‘The End’.

I was in bed, in the dark, laptop on my knees, with my sleeping beauty of a wife next to me. I stared at the screen, the cursor still blinking… and the first word that came into my mind was, “oh.” I stared around our darkened room and my gaze fell upon my wife. I searched for signs she was stirring… I had just finished my novel, of course she would just wake up… wouldn’t she? This was a momentous occasion… But her light sleepy snuffles continued. I couldn’t wake her.

I turned back to the screen. The cursor was still blinking. I read the two words in the middle of my screen. My eyes widened, my mouth fell slack… I really did finish? I wasn’t hallucinating or delirious like I had been many a time during this process…?

Nope. I really did finish. So what did I learn? Continue reading