Creating a Story Bible

storage-1209059__180Writing stories of whatever length, can mean gathering a lot of information. I don’t know about you, but I think I’m organised, then spend hours looking for that one snippet of research, or a name I thought would fit, or a picture of a setting. And the longer it takes Continue reading

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Reviewing Your Writing Goals

Courage: The Lion in The Wizard of Oz

Courage: The Lion in The Wizard of Oz

When I wrote my New Year blog post I knew that I’d set myself a big task and I also knew that my plans were not going to travel a straight forward path. I’ve just returned from two and a half weeks in the UK where I’ve been helping my family at a time in need. So did I fail at the first hurdle like the media predicted? Continue reading

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Daisy Chain Publication Plan

At this time odaisy-583090_640f year every writer will be thinking ahead. Indeed many people, writers or not, will be thinking about what they want to happen in this fresh New Year full of opportunities and the unknown. The sceptics of setting goals and resolutions are predicting that Continue reading

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Writing Habits and NaNoWriMo

habits and Lao TzuAs Autumn descends in my part of the world my thoughts are being taken over by one thing. NaNoWriMo. As November, National Novel Writing Month approaches, writers in their hundreds… no their thousands of hundreds are sharpening their pencils, filling their inkpots and exercising their typing fingers. To NaNo or Not to NaNo. That is the question.


NaNoWriMo challenges writers to write 50,000 words in one month. 30 days. That’s around 1666 words a day to be precise. Every day. Now some purists say that 50k doesn’t make a novel. But that isn’t the point. The point is that a story gets told. Well a rough draft. It’s about forming a habit, supported by other fellow habit forming writers and watching your progress on a daily basis. Some people don’t make it. Some people write double that. And some writers go on with the NaNo project to publication.

There’s an old folk saying that goes: whenever you delete a sentence from your NaNoWriMo novel, a NaNoWriMo angel loses its wings and plummets, screaming, to the ground. Where it will likely require medical attention.”

― Chris Baty

The initiative started in 1999 with 16 participants. In 2013 they reported 310,095 writers signed up for the challenge of which 14% achieved the challenge. So, it’s not an easy task and some do fall by the wayside. But again, that’s not the point. NaNo puts writers in touch with writers, develops local communities, provided tips and suggestions and a forum for participants to share information. It’s a huge family of writers and really it doesn’t matter if you don’t reach the target. What’s the worse that could happen? It’s about trying to form a habit. The habit of writing. For how else is that novel going to be written? And there is so much more. Two Camp NaNo challenges in April and July as well as help with editing and plotting the next challenge.

“Whether or not you write well, write bravely.” -Bill Stout

I’ve participated in four challenges. One I had to pull out of as a family illness became a priority and rightly so. I love the buzz it gives me. And I have signed up. But I have five Works In Progress, rough drafts of on average 60k words and my priority is to edit and revise them before I start another large writing project. Otherwise I’ll just end up with a load of sh*tty first drafts.

“It’s not always about writing more words or drinking more coffee. Sometimes getting to the end of a novel simply takes remembering that the world is more complicated than we know, and then sticking some of those complications into the story.”

― Scott Westerfeld

But I’m still going to participate because I’d like to encourage the buzz it gives me outside NaNo. I want to create a regular writing habit that sees things through to an end. I also believe that writing short stories can develop my skills as a writer, especially for scenes, which need a beginning, a mithe way to writeddle and an end. So scribbling away in my morning pages at 6.30 am I decided to write a short story a day. Around 1500 words, some may be longer some shorter but I hope to reach the target. My own personal NaShoSto month. And hopefully I’ll have some fodder for some competition entries in 2016. Who knows what can happen?


So what about you? How do you form a writing habit? And will you be participating. If so, my NaNo name is The Duchessa (another story for another time) we could be buddies!


Until Later,

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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 Works in Progress: Health Check from a Hot July

heatwaveAs the temperatures soared into the low 40’s this month and constantly stayed there, my WiP’s have struggled to keep it together. There was no respite from the humidity and sweatiness from the slightest movement, even during the night. My muse, I think is lying down in some cooler climate. Apparently, according to the Italian press, Continue reading

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My Ten Favourite Quotes on Writing and Life

Just Remember...

Just Remember…

As the temperatures here in Italy (and I believe in France and Spain) have been nudging forty for the past three or four weeks, the word on the street is that this month will be the hottest July for seventy years. My brain is a puddle by my feet and so I thought I’d take the easy option and share my top ten favourite quotes about writing and life in general. Continue reading

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Five Lessons Learnt about Rewrites

rewritingIt took me a long time through my writing journey (one which I know will never end) to understand that novels are not written in their readable form in one steamy afternoon. I don’t have a problem with knocking out a first draft – I have six of them in varying states of rebirth but I have struggled with finding a process for rewriting, which is the time when the real stuff really happens. Continue reading

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My Top Three Passions (After Writing)

One of my other Passions in Life

One of my other Passions in Life

All writers have a life outside of their writing. Although it’s generally considered that we writerly folk are more introvert (definitely in my case) we do have other things going on in our life-like all people-we need stimulation from a wide range of things. So what gives me pleasure, other than writing? Continue reading

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Works in Progress: Health Check June

Monthly Health CheckThe month of June has been a sad one as two dear writing friends over at Writers Abroad sadly passed away within days of one another. So it’s been a tough time for my writing. But I know they’ll be sat somewhere telling me to pick up my pen and Continue reading

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