Sunrise over the ocean

Reflections and Aspirations

As the sun sets on December, it’s inevitable that thoughts turn to the year that’s gone, as well as the one that’s to come. It’s a great opportunity for reflection, a chance to take account of what’s taken place. A time to analyse what went well, and what can be improved. Reflections A few days ago, I finally completed the first draft for ‘Pain & Gain,’ my Nanowrimo project for 2014. I completed the 50,000 words in the month, but I knew the story needed more. So I carried on, and the first draft finally came in at 67,782 words. I’ll be honest, I’m really excited with this story. I love spending time with the characters (both the good and …

A cat looks at a mouse

What Every Character Needs

Have you ever read a story and thought it was lacking something? Written a first draft and felt it meandered hopelessly? I know I have, on both counts. Sometimes, whether I’m reading or writing, I find stories that just don’t fit, don’t ring true. Even deep believable characters and an intriguing plot in place may not be enough. To solve this there is one essential element that every character needs for a story that satisfies the reader. I’m nearing the climax of my current WIP (working title ‘Pain & Gain’), and I just wrote a scene where one of the characters ask my protagonist why he’s carrying on. I’m not sure whether the question was really directed to the protagonist or to me, …

We All Tell Stories

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always loved to tell stories, and I’m not the only one. As humans we seem to have this innate desire to tell stories. We’re never satisfied with just the simple relation of facts. We revel in those extra details, like the herbs that spice up an otherwise bland meal. We add emotions and feelings to what we say. Whether we are consciously aware of it or not, we all do it. We tell them in many ways, and the more aware we are of this, the better the stories we’ll tell. If you’re a writer, these are stories your characters tell too. Here are four stories we all tell: What We Wear Whether we …

What comes after Nanowrimo?

As I write this it’s November 30th, and there are no doubt many people who are furiously typing in a last ditch attempt to hit the 50k word count. Not everyone who signs up for Nanowrimo manages to cross the finish line within the 30 days, while others achieve word counts high enough to make your head spin. But for all participants, the questions the same. What comes after Nanowrimo? Well, in the spirit of those classic ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ books, let’s find out. It’s just gone midnight, and Nanowrimo is officially over. You look down at your desk. If you failed to hit 50,000 words, go to Paragraph 1. If you wrote more than 50,000 words, go to …

A picture of a chalkboard with E=MC2 written on it

Lessons From Week Three of NaNoWriMo

We’ve now reached the 21st of November, three weeks into NaNoWriMo. The highs of week one, the doldrums of week two. and the whatever happens in week three. Now, with the final stretch underway and the finish line in view, I’m sharing three lessons I’ve learned after three weeks of NaNoWriMo. Writing Space A good writing space is essential. Where you write can make a huge difference to how much you write. I’ve found that even though I do all my writing on a laptop, having a set room where I write has helped immensely. Setting up a writing space can be a lot of fun, but it can also be an opportunity to make your writing as easy as …

Abstract Colours

How to Make Something Amazing

Yesterday my housemate was busy taking apart his bike and putting it back together. Sat there, with the various parts of a derailleur laid out on the side he asked me, how does somebody even begin to make something like that? Who sits down and thinks ‘I’m going to make a derailleur?’ I’ll be honest, I have no idea how a derailleur is made. I didn’t even know what a one was; I had to Google it just to be sure how to spell it. The question did however make me think about the creation process; something that’s very important to me as a writer, but should also be important to us all. To one degree or another, we are all creators, …

A compass on a map

The First Week of NaNoWriMo

Today marks the seventh day of NaNoWriMo! Words have been written, curses have been shouted, and laptops have been hurled at small kittens. With seven days behind me, I thought now would be a good time to consider how the first week has gone, and how I plan to face the next three weeks, hopefully without endangering any other mammals. Pre-Production Pays Off First of all, I’ve found the planning process for this years NaNoWriMo has really helped me out. I prepared far more than I have for any previous NaNoWriMo, and so far it has been worth every second. Knowing my characters means I get to write them in all their glory, rather than discovering them from scratch as …

Photo of the starting line on a race track

Ready, Set, Write

I’m enjoying my last few moments of October before the insanity of November and Nanowrimo descends. One of my recent posts was about preparing for Nanowrimo, and thankfully I’ve practiced what I preach and have prepared more than ever for this years writing. My 1,738 word synopsis has been written, characters have been cast and profiled, and locations have been scouted. Using Scrivener, I’ve broken down the story into 20 chapters with brief descriptions, and I’m currently adding more details. I already know that the story is more than likely to change as the month goes on (it’s already changed from the time I wrote the synopsis to the the time I finished the character profiles), but that’s okay. Now …

A view of the city's skyline

Location, Location, Location

It’s a well known saying that there are three things that matter in property: Location, location, location. Whilst this may be true for property, is it possible it’s also true for stories? When considering what makes a good story, characters and plot are at the top of everyone’s list, but location seems to rarely get a mention. It’s true, it’s essential for a good story to have characters that you care about and a plot that holds your interest from start to finish. However, I think it’s worth a little time to consider just how important location can be as well. Home Is Where The Heart Is First of all, it’s worth noting how synonymous certain locations are with their stories. Gotham City 221B …

Photo of a one way sign

Starting a Story

Two more weeks to go, and I’m really excited about this years NaNoWriMo. Apart from a couple of short stories, it’s been a year since I actually sat down and made something completely new. At the risk of sounding like a nutter, there is something quite magical about starting a story and creating a world from scratch. A few weeks ago this story existed as little more than a whisper of an idea. Now that idea is written down, becoming something more than an idea. I wouldn’t go as far as calling it the bones of the story, it’s not that advanced, just a short synopsis. But it’s coming, slowly but surely. And by the end of November, it should be an …