Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Strange Times and Successes

I haven't posted on my blog for a while. When I last posted I was doing well with editing one of my novels using a technique of analysing the text with coloured post it notes. Shortly after that I'm not sure what happened, but the doubt crows began to circle and I also started to have a lot of headaches. So, I stopped editing and writing for a while and wondered if I would ever start again.

Having always enjoyed the November novel writing challenge NaNoWriMo, to write 50,000 words of a novel in the month, I decided to clear my mind and start something new and different. It worked! I wrote with enthusiasm and completed the 50,000 word challenge in 24 days. This novel needs work, but I have a full outline of the plot, including the ending. It felt so good to get my mojo back.

I'm back!

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Gathering Pace

Yesterday I showed you my scene pieces from my work in progress sorted into sections. 

After that picture, I bagged the sections up, so that they didn't get moved around and I can work through each one individually. I probably should have said that the story themes and scenes are drawn from a rather scrappy mixed up first draft.

Sections Bagged up

Working on Section One, I then split the pieces into themes used the colour coding and then put the theme strands in the right order.

Section One sorted into themes
Section One themes sorted into order

The next stage will be to interleave the themes to make a coherent story. Feeling quite surprised and pleased at this stage. Back soon.

Monday, 29 September 2014

Mmm maybe this can work

I posted last week about my experiment with printing plot points from my work in progress on colour coded paper.

Initially I didn't think it had worked in the way I expected, in that, I promptly ignored the cut out paper and re-wrote my first chapter in the first person. 

However, this morning I had the urge to sort the bits into rough sections of the book. I've ended up with seven phases and the bits of paper are in random order within those sections at the moment.

Below is the state of play so far. It looks a bit better I think you will agree... I'll post again as my project progresses.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Do Not Laugh

I've decided to try a few mini blogs, as I don't seem to be getting around to blogging very often.

The photograph shows the current state of my work in progress novel. Yes, it is in bits! I'd got rather bogged down in it and decided to try a new approach. The bits of paper represent each scene in the book and give me a key to where it is located on my computer. The colours represent the character or combination of characters in the scene.

Now I just need to put it all back together again.

Wish me luck and watch this space....

Friday, 15 August 2014

Rusty Blog

Where have I been all summer?

I slaved over my New Writer's Scheme manuscript, determined to make it as professional as possible. Rosie and Tanner is now with one of the RNA readers. Tick!

I went to the RNA conference at Telford and enjoyed blissful times chatting with other writers and attending fantastic workshops. A whole host of superlatives are not enough to describe the conference. Tick!

We had a fantastic holiday in Northumberland. The holiday barn was amazing, especially as I'd only booked it the week before! I then discovered that we were the first family to stay in it. A view of the castle out of the window - come on, every girl needs a castle outside of the window. We walked the beach at Bamburgh at least twice a day. I've even got a tan and I very rarely get one of those - in Northumberland! I really enjoyed being able to shop locally in the little shops too. The only slight downer was that my son and his girlfriend got stung by jellyfish. We counted 51 on the shoreline that evening, some bigger than dinner plates! Hubbie got a much needed rest, although with his pedometer he became obsessed with how many steps we walked. Tick!

Spending time with little son - he goes to big school in September and something tells me this might be the last summer he'll be happy for me to determine the summer timetable. He's growing so fast. Size 7 football boots at eleven! He grew a centimetre whilst we were on holiday. His dad is 5'2", so he is going to be a tall lad. I am loving our outings. Tick!

All of this means I haven't found much time to blog, but I haven't sacrificed my writing time and the new manuscript is coming along nicely.

What have you been up to this summer?

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

More Bird Talk

‘Aw, aren’t they sweet?’

Blackie spoke from underneath the bird feeder, where he was busy hovering up fallen seeds scattered by the little blue and yellow fluffy balls.’

‘Six this year,’ crowed Blue, puffing out her chest with pride.

‘I hope you know what you’re doing, Blue.’

‘Whatever do you mean?’

‘Letting your babies eat from bird feeders instead of teaching them how to forage.’

‘I’m giving them the best start, the best vitamins around.’

‘It’s spring! The hedgerows are full of nutritious shoots and insects.’

‘But it takes ages to gather enough food for the day. If they come here, they have so much more time to play.’

‘But you know, back in the day, humans hadn’t used to put seed out at this time of year, so that fledglings like yours would learn about natural food sources.’

‘Yeah, but since then Springwatch has been on the tele to raise awareness of us birds and what with the fantastic marketing of RSPB products and other wild bird food companies, there is never a shortage of seed.’

Blackie flew up and sat on the fence with a cackle.

‘Short-sighted, Blue. You mind my words, you’ll regret this faddy diet, they never work in the long term you know. What happens when the humans in this house go on holiday and there is no seed put out for two weeks? Answer me that.’

‘I’ll show them how to forage then.’

‘By then you could have flown into a window, been eaten by a hawk or a cat. What happens to your precious babies then?’

Blue froze, her beak set in a strange line.


Nevertheless, she turned to her fledglings.

‘Come on you lot, let’s go and investigate that damson tree. Lovely sweet shoots and loads of ants.’

The biggest fledgling flew over to his mum.

‘Mum, that’s so old-fashioned. Seed is best, foraging is boring. You said so yourself.’

Thursday, 12 June 2014

‘Meet my Main Character’ Blog Hop

I don’t know where the days go! How can it be so long since I posted on my blog? I have been busy polishing my work in progress for a critique by the Romantic Novelists’ Association (RNA) New Writers’ Scheme (NWS).

I'm loving my garden this year, the flowers seem to have vivid colours. I am continuing with my swimming lessons and making steady progress – now without floats! Last lesson, I managed half a length backstroke and half proper front crawl with arms and breathing. Yay! 

‘Meet my Main Character’ Blog Hop

Janice Preston has tagged me to continue in the ‘Meet My Main Character’ blog hop. Janice’s debut novel, Mary and the Marquis, is published on 1st August 2014 and available in the shops from 18th July - link here. If you would like to read Janice’s blog, or know more about her and her debut novel she can be found at

I have decided to introduce you to Tanner, my hero in Rosie and Tanner, the novel I am editing at the moment. Janice gave me some questions to answer about him, so here goes:-

What is the name of the main character? Is he real or fictitious?

Tanner Bryant is a fictional character in my novel Rosie and Tanner. His mother is American, hence the unusual first name. Tanner was her maiden name.

When and where is the story set?

The story is set in and around present day Worcester, Worcestershire, England.

What should we know about him?

Tanner didn’t have a particularly happy childhood. His father was distant and Tanner never felt he could please him. His mother had her own business, so rarely had time for her only son. His parents split up when he was sixteen, after years of living separate lives under the same roof and his mother went back to live in America.

As he never felt good enough for his father, he has tried to rebel against his father’s world and make his own way. However, now that his father is gravely ill, Tanner has stepped into his father’s shoes to maintain his business and charity commitments.

He is thirty years old, with wayward shoulder length blond curls and lips that make women who meet him fantasise about kissing.

What is the main conflict? What messes up his life?

Tanner’s father illness has bought him face-to-face with the conflicts in his life. When his father changes his will, after a visit to his hospital bed by his ex-wife, Tanner also has a mystery to solve. His father’s estate will be now be shared by Tanner and a mysterious Rosie Phillips. The terms of the document mean that their lives will be bound together, but who is Rosie and what is her link to the Bryant family?

What is the character’s goal?

Tanner’s goal at the start of the novel is to find out more about Rosie Phillips. He chooses an unusual way to go about this, which causes both himself and Rosie problems and conflict. As Rosie is unaware that she is mentioned in the will, or that Tanner has a private investigator’s file on her, she just thinks Tanner is showing an interest in her and this leads to misunderstanding.

Hopefully, if I can find a publisher, you will be able to read more of Tanner and Rosie’s story in the future.

I am pleased to invite two fellow RNA NWS members to carry on the blog hop. The talented and I’m sure soon to be published Bernadette O’Dwyer and Lynda Stacey. Bernadette’s blog can be found at and Lynda’s at

Watch out for their posts next week. I’m looking forward to reading all about their main characters.

Maybe you would let me know in the comments below if you are intrigued by Tanner’s story.