Hello and thanks for visiting my website and reading my very first post.
As always on New Year’s Eve, I shall be making some New Year’s resolutions. But first I’d like to reflect on some of the writerly things that happened to me in 2015.
I attended an amazing writing retreat in the Cotswolds, led by Janet Gover and Alison May and discovered how much I still had to learn about the craft of writing itself. How can I have been writing for so long and not know what POV (point of view) means? Therefore after a minor breakdown and a complete revision of my work in progress, I at least have a better understanding of why I need to put the word aspiring before author when referring to myself.
I was also interviewed by my friend, Darren Squires, for his TV series, The Reading Room, which was aired on Estuary TV in November. This was quite nerve-wracking to say the least as I hadn’t seen the final edits and, as we did the interview back in May time, I’d forgotten most of what I said. However, although I began watching myself through the gaps between my fingers, I don’t think I came across too badly and that in the most part was due to James’ fantastic editing and Darren’s skills as an interviewer.
I took myself off to Scarborough, to the Grand Hotel no less, where I spent five days solid revising my work in progress – sorting out the POVs, timelines, crying, sorting out the POVs again, while a rather inquisitive seagull kept an eye on me from my window to make sure I got on with it and didn’t just sit watching TV and drinking red wine.
However, eventually I completed my third novel – Safe, a psychological tale of two people who meet in unusual circumstances and the disturbing events that follow. Well, when I say completed, I mean it’s currently being read by a fabulous group of people who have volunteered to give me feedback on the plot, characters, start, finish, accuracy and what I can do to improve it before I finally submit it in 2016. Still, this time last year I’d only done about 15,000 words and my New Year’s resolution then was to get it finished and up to at least 85,000 if possible. Currently it’s at around 87,000 and I’ve a feeling there will be a bit more work to do on it after my readers’ get back to me.
Which brings me onto the subject of this year’s resolutions, but don’t worry I’m only going to focus on writerly ones.
My main resolution is to spend a little time each day focusing on writing. That might not mean actually writing of course. Sometimes it is just impossible for many good reasons to sit down and physically put words onto paper and I must not feel guilty about this. However, there are plenty of other things I can do to help progress my story other than just writing it down. There are many things that can be achieved by thinking! Plot lines that need working out, characters which need developing, ideas to create the impressive first and last chapters, places to visit, research to be done. Thankfully the list goes on. Sometimes I don’t write a word for weeks, however I do try and make a few notes about what thought I’ve had, otherwise I end up forgetting them!
I’m always looking for new ideas for future stories and have three in my head at the moment. But if you’re struggling for ideas, then spend some time searching for ideas. My suggestions would be to read the papers, people watch, record your dreams, talk to people, look at what ideas you can gather from where you work, or volunteer, ask your family about what stories there may be hidden within your ancestry. Find what works for you and don’t despair, your stories will come, you just need to be ready to catch them, develop them and yes, eventually you do need to write them down.
Some of my resolutions of course, remain the same as always, my main one being to find an agent for my work and, hopefully a publisher. And, after everything I’ve learned this year, I feel that may finally be within reach.
So it just remains for me to wish you a very Happy New Year, keep safe, healthy and happy and I hope you achieve whatever goals you have set for 2016.
See you next year!