New Release: The Good Expat Life

The Good Expat Life

The Good Expat Life

An exciting week as I release the first series of The Good Expat Life. This started life as a number of short vignettes about the main characters, Penny and George.

The stories are influenced by one of my all time favourite TV series in the late 1970’s (when I was very young, you understand) and sparked by some of my experiences of moving to another country and have been such fun to write.

The Good Expat Life is not a tale of renovating a tumbling down property; Penny and George live in a property classed as hovel status and have no ready cash to restore it. It is not about Prosecco by the pool; more like a treck in the wild gardens of their Italian casa. It is not about the golden, hazy days of retirement; more about learning from scratch the way to self sufficiency.

The Good Expat Life is about friendships; new and old. It is about laughter; usually at the expense of Penny and George. It is about the nuances of misunderstandings; the language, the culture and the odd malapropism (or what George fondly refers to as ‘Pennyisms).

Penny and GeorgeReaders Comments:

‘I love these guys…always good for a laugh!’
‘Very funny. The dialogue keeps the pace up.’
‘What a great opening – man shackled to a lamp post. I loved it. ‘
‘I had a smile on my face reading this, all the way through.’

Available in the following formats:

 

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My Favourite… Colours

Smarties I’ve been musing about colours and their meanings. Like you do. It started with a writing prompt that I submitted to Writers Abroad for us to have a go at this week. ‘Write about a shadow that changes colour’ – and it’s led me to all kinds of places. So I thought I’d share my top three favourite colours and what I found out about them I started to dig a little deeper. Continue reading

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My Writing Day

Wake up Call

Wake up Call

Is there such a thing as a typical writing day? Not in my world. My day starts very early. Too early. Our English Springer Spaniel pup, known affectionately Continue reading

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Writers Road Map

Where are you going?

Where are you going?

As you may know from previous posts, I’ve been looking at various plotting tools for structuring my writing. They serve as a kind of writers road map. A bird’s eye view of the journey. What you see and do on the way is yet to unfold but at lead you know the general direction.
There are several methods and principle and not one is right or wrong, it’s a personal choice for a writer about which one suits them best. These are a list of ones I’ve come across just lately.

  • Basic Three Act Structure
  • Story Engineering – The Six elements of Story telling
  • Save the Cat
  • Heroes Journey
  • Snowflake
  • Story Fix Four Part Structure

Some writers have shown that its enough to just write a few words down first and then write. It provides a base from which you can develop a structure and increase your word count.

My favoured structure tool is the Snowflake method. I used it to plot out The Duke’s Shadow, my first novel and I’ve used it for another work in progress. Beforehand I used to sit myself down and write. I have three manuscripts written in the ‘panster’ mode and when it comes to editing, I’m finding it a bit of a nightmare. As much as I’d like to think I can just dreamily write 70,000 words, a planned approach works best for me-though I fought tooth and nail against it. In a previous life, my day was all about structure and plans and I yearned for the chains to be unshackled.

However, most days need some kind of framework whatever you may be doing and if you want to achieve something it’s pretty much essential.  Having a rough idea of where I’m going and what I’m going to write about really does help. As a writer I don’t want to take just any road. I want a road that leads somewhere. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t change on the way. Nothing is set in stone and these tools are simply guides, a set of broad principles to apply as you see fit. I don’t see how that limits creativity or silences the muse. In fact, for me, it sets it free because once the planning bit is done I can fill up my pen and write and write and write!

So why do I favour the Snowflake method? Well, that’s the answer to the second big question about writing (the first being to plan or not to plan) and whether you prefer the character driven or plot driven approach to your writing? Again, this question is a personal one and it may depend on the genre you write in. I don’t have the right answer, only what works for me. And I’m character driven. For me, the characters ARE the plot and therefore I need them to be grounded first to make my story work. The Snowflake actually does a bit of both. I like to structure my stories around the characters so that they blend and tell the story rather than clash and fight for centre stage.

So are you a panster? Or do you plot and plan. And why?

Next Time: I will be talking about two information management tools that I use for reading and referencing

Until Later,

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On My Reading Table

bedside tableI don’t need much encouragement to sit down with a new book and read. But for the past few years I’ve participated in the Goodreads Reading Challenge where Continue reading

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My Scrivener Favourites

Scrivener Old TimesIn a recent post I shared some of my favourite writing tools. One of these was the writing content generation tool, Scrivener. It’s name is taken for a word for scribe, notary or clerk but it’s the modern take on this role and supercharged. This fabulous piece of kit only used to be available to Mac users but for the past couple of years – could be longer – a Windows version is available. It’s a very powerful tool and in no way, matter or form can I claim to be an expert. In fact, every time I use it Continue reading

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Writing Revision Process

Revision Process

Revision Process

During March I followed the daily revision course posted by Janice Hardy over at Fiction University. I can’t put my hand on my heart and say that I completed my revision, but I can say that it has helped me identify holes to be filled and areas to trim. It was quite a feat to commit to but a worthwhile one in terms of lessons learnt. Some of it wasn’t new stuff, but what the course did do was to provide a structure, a process which I will now follow for all my drafts. Having had a week of reflection on the 31 days of March Revision, these are the key learning points that stood out for me: Continue reading

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Works in Progress Health Check

Monthly Health Check

As part of my effort to keep motivated and have a record of my achievements (or details of the excuses) I’m going to write a short post of my current ‘works in progress’. I call it my monthly health check, after all these manuscripts have a heart beat, Continue reading

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Writing Tools for the Trade

Trusty Tool BoxLike every professional, a writer needs and uses a number of tools to produce a quality product. I thought I might share some of my current favourites with you. These are not a definitive list at all, and they change over time depending on my mood but these have been the most consistent. The ones I go back to time and time again, like trusty old friends.  Continue reading

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