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Showing posts from September, 2014

Shiny and new and lovely.

On shiny new lovely things Published by springs in the blog springs's blog. Views: 0 I love new work-in-progresses. They sit in my mind, like a promise you'll get back to, taking shape over a few months. I've been dilligently working on older stuff, ready for reviews and edits and now I'm up to date and can play. And so the shiny new thing is taken out and looked at and oohed and ahhed over by me.

I can't say too much about it, mainly because it is so shiny and new and will no doubt change lots as I write it. I got the feel for it on holiday this year, in a forest. It was a beautiful day and the forest around me stretched still. Birds were flying from tree to tree, fat woodies, a little tame robin, a family of ducks waddled past, and I had the lovely magical thought of 'What if...?'

Sadly, a story needs conflict. So the what-if doesn't bode well for Ms Puddleduck and kids. But I just knew the setting had to be used and the sense of that place turned abou…

Looking in the right place

I loathe description. I have to be forced to the writing corner and told to write it.

Unless it's a place I know well. Then, I don't describe, exactly, but drop the feel of it into the piece. I did a short recently on a canal I've sailed and I think it worked well in it.

Abendau, my space opera world, isn't a real place. But I've been living there in my head for years and know it well. My next novel was set in Belfast, the one I'm editing at the moment in the Antrim glens, a new baby deep in a forest I've visited and loved. I've stolen train tracks I've got lost on, hotels I've stayed on, beaches I've stood and counted waves on. In fact my two currently trunked books are those with no distinct setting. The stories are good, but they need their place in the world to become real.

So, serendipity. Listen up, all you who have your dream agents in mind. My agent didn't state that she loved stories with a sense of place in her wishlist when I su…



I’m a lucky lady. I have loads of friends. I have childhood friends, friends in my family, I have people by the school gate, people I chat to at various hobbies. Loads of friends, or certainly as many as I need.

And I have friends who are writers.

This blog is about them. Because here’s the thing – writing isn’t only a lonely thing to do, it’s also an obssessive thing. I don’t know anyone who has got to the end of a novel without being obsessed by it to some degree (some are better than others.)

The lonely thing – I don’t think that bothers writers overly much. Because whilst we might look like we’re sad and alone, tapping away in the corner, we’re not. We’re with a whole bunch of people we know as intimately as only their creator can. We’re in a world we made. We’re not alone. We’re just not with you right now, thanks.

But the obsession. That’s a whole different game.

Now, my family and friends are very lovely and tolerant of my obsession. My husband is well used to conver…

Effective habits for writers

When not writing space opera with sexy pilots and what-not, I am a management consultant. It's about as scintillating as it sounds.... 
One of my favourite management gurus is the late, great Steve Covey. I've argued many times that his seven habits could be applied to any field and I thought I'd put my money where my mouth is and apply if to writing.

These habits are to promote effectiveness. They're useful for beginners to begin to think about what might lie ahead when learning to write, and useful for the more established in honing writing practices and continuing our growth.


1. Be proactive.

It's easy to sit back and hope good things will happen, but it's a bit of a shot in the dark. Frankly, as a writer, if the impetus does not come from within, you will produce nothing. So be proactive in choosing what you might want to write, in how you want to be published, in what you want to achieve. Once you have a clear idea of what you want and an inter…

To trilogy or not to trilogy....

When I started writing I didn't question writing a trilogy. That was what every sci fi/fantasy writer did - wrote three books. So that's what I set out to do. Since then, I've also written two standalone novels and trunked another, so I have a bit of knowledge of both processes.

Standalones are wonderful. They hit the ground running, their strands are easy-ish (er?) to hold onto, they have a lovely focus on the main story and don't meander so much. I doubt I'll write anything other than standalones in the future, maybe two books at a push. I'm not an epic lover, I'm happy with something neat and tidy.

But I wouldn't change having written a trilogy. I finished the good draft of book three today. I have editing and work ahead, but the bones are there. Could I have told the story in one book? No, absolutely not. Book one laid the groundwork, the point of reference. In two? I thought about it when the road to the third was hard. I even had a version that wrap…