There’s nothing I like more than getting to the point. That’s what flash fiction does, and it’s also how I started writing. For the longest time, I wrote fractured pieces, snippets of stories that weren’t destined for me to finish. Characters came and went, challenges were entered, and pieces of stories lay frayed at the edges and abandoned to dusty corners.
But the skills I picked up writing flash fiction were invaluable.
If it weren’t for the heroics of bloggers and community builders like Charli Mills, I might never have been brave enough to pick up the proverbial pen and grit my way through 70,000 words.
February sees the launch of the first flash fiction anthology from Charli’s writing community: The Rough Writers over at The Carrot Ranch. I am both humbled and deeply honored to have been part of that anthology.
Writers talk about their characters being disobedient all the time. It’s like some kind of cosmic joke, we spend weeks planning, checking, re-checking. We dust our shirt collar in a smug, ‘I’ve defeated my story outline’ pose, only to get 30,000 words or so into our novel and the little darlings bastards have pitched a killer twist that’s so far out of left field even book-God himself wouldn’t have seen it coming.
I’m telling you.
Those little story critters know exactly what their doing. Lulling us into a false sense of security and then when we’re balls deep into the flabby middle, they slap us upside the head with something so good, we can’t ignore it. Tyrants. Heathens. Thou cullionly idle-headed hedge-pigs!
And so, the plot is messed up, the timeline fudged and your brain a crockpot of drafts, twists, confused dialogue and stroppy characters.
What to do?
Here’s a quick tip to help you beat those little darlings back into shape. Continue reading →
There’s nothing better than an epiphany. It’s all gooey and warm on the inside, and on the outside it smothers my brain in a glass clear sensation of clarity.
What follows is usually a brief flappy hand dance, a wide stare into the distance as my brain discombobulates and then has an epiphany.
That’s what the Emotion Thesaurus did to me the first time I read it. If you’re a writer and you don’t own a copy, then shame on you… You bloody ought to. To my absolute delight, I was given a copy of the latest installment in the emotion thesaurus series to review: The Emotional Wound Thesaurus.
Once again, I had one of those delightfully sticky and positively crystal clear moments. Each time Ackerman and Puglisi release a new book, it’s like my writing jumps another notch on the development scale.Continue reading →
A little over a year ago, I saw a guest post on one of my writing heroes websites:writers helping writers. Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi announced their brand new writing Coach residency. The coaches were HIGHLY esteemed with the likes of James Scott Bell and C.S Laiken.
When I saw it I was so excited. I thought it was amazing that they had brought together such an insane line up of coaches and I’d get the benefit of learning from all their tips.
I also made a promise to myself that day. I swore that whether it was in five years, fifteen years or fifty years, I would be able to call myself a writing coach. I didn’t know how I’d manage it or if I’d ever be good enough to call myself that. But that didn’t matter. I wanted to be one and I was determined to help others.
So I was totally and utterly mind fuggled when a few weeks ago, an email from Angela herself dropped into my inbox asking if I’d join their coach programme…Continue reading →
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 →
We all want to learn to write better, yes? There are plenty of books out there that teach you to write better, write faster, do outlines, plot, structure, work on your prose, style and basically every other aspect of your writing you could think of.
Please welcome the lovely, and extremely funny Lockie Young. You can find out more about Lockie on his: Website, Blog, or Facebook. You can find his first book here, his sequel here, and some of his short stories here.
Life’s a funny old thing, so often we go through difficult times and have to make hard choices. Sometimes we lose friends, loved ones, gain new ones, have children. We travel and feel moved to change our entire lives. We give up careers and start again. I’ve seen my fair share of cross roads probably the most significant was being told if I waited to have kids, it might be too late.
Turn left – be young free and have money, travel.
Turn right – fork out thousands for fertility treatment and suffer losses and emotional torment.
I turned right. It was the right decision, but when you’re faced with a cross roads the decision isn’t always obvious.
This week, the writespiration is all about Cross Roads. Maybe your character is physically at a cross road, maybe they have a choice to make. If you fancy joining in, jot a few words or a short story and I will publish it with next weeks post.
You’ve written ‘THE END’ on your first, second, eighth – or if you’re me it will mostly likely be my third draft. You know it’s not perfect, but you’re happy you have taken your manuscript as far as you can. What next?
Alpha / Beta readers
As I approach the end of my first draft this concept is becoming more than just a twinkle in my eye. It’s quietly growing into the elephant in the corner of the room.
What are beta readers? How do I get one? How long will it take? Will they tear my work to pieces? Continue reading →