Sunday, 7 August 2011

Catching up

Well, it's been a while - and I can't believe four months have flown by so quickly.

In writing news, The April Challenge was a bit of a disaster as far as I was concerned. But I won't let that put me off taking part next year. And I've sold five short stories since May - four to The People's Friend and one to That's Life (Australia). These hits have given me a bit of a boost since my very slow start to the year.

My slow start was, of course, down to the pre and post Christmas lack of output. I didn't write much of anything for months and this is reflected in my sales. And proves the more you have out there, the more you're likely to sell.

I'm hoping to transfer this theory to longer work. It would be nice to have a novel published one of these days. :0)

Saturday, 2 April 2011

April Word Count Challenge

The Minxes Of Romance have set up an April Word Count Challenge so we can encourage each other to get some serious words written before the end of the month. I've put myself down for 35,000, which should be enough to finish my current wip. So far I've written, er, not very much. But plenty of time to catch up and I'll be adding a word count meter to the blog so everyone can see my progress.

We would be delighted if you'd join in the fun and leave a message of your own word count target for April.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011


I wrote the last post in a hurry and made a huge mistake with a well known saying. Unfortunately, correcting it doesn't change the mistake on the blog list for my main blog. So, I'm sweeping it under the carpet by writing this - even when I have less of value to say than usual - so the nasty mistake goes away.


PS will be catching up with everyone's blogs soon - the day job's calling with a task that's even nastier than the mistake - want to ignore it, but if I don't do it I won't get paid.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Naming Names

I have trouble with names. My daughter is the best example of this: Before she was born, we decided on a name, but once I'd met her, the chosen name didn't suit her. Nearly six weeks later, with the statutory deadline looming, her father and I were still arguing outside the registrar's office. She ended up with three names. And that probably explains why I sometimes still call her CatBaby - because, for nearly six weeks, that's all we called her.
I'm the same with my fictional characters - just can't decide. A name's so important and can tell you so much about a person - for a writer, names are a very handy shortcut to describing a character's age and social position. And, of course, there are so many characters waiting to be named - it's a never ending chore and I'm always looking for  for ideas.
There are some names I can't possibly use. Names of people who have upset me (there are many) unless for villains, of course. And unusual names of people I know - I wouldn't want them to think I'd stolen their identity for my story.
At my age, I know a lot of people, so it does somewhat limit the choice.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Daily Word Target: Help or hindrance?

I've never made a secret of the fact I failed at NaNo.



Personally, I blame the strict daily word target (this is much easier than taking personal responsibility). The first day's always fine, the second okay. But if I hit a day when, for whatever reason, the word count falls behind, it can be very hard to recover.

However, I desperately need something to give me a giant kick up the writing backside. I need to increase my output. I have ideas - lots of them - and I want to get them written. So, I'm toying with the idea of setting a daily word target - not as many words as NaNo requires, but maybe 1,000 or so. Just enough to encourage me to start writing regularly again.

Sure even I can manage 1,000 words a day?

What do you think? Would it be a help or a hindrance?

Sunday, 6 February 2011

How do you manage your story ideas?

In my experience, there's a perfect window for getting your ideas down on paper (or screen). Too soon and the idea is barely formed and once committed is very difficult to develop further. Too late and the excitement of a new story will be lost.

You need to mull an idea over and hit the keyboard at the exact right moment.

Easier said than done, I'm afraid. At least in my case.

So, how do you manage those story ideas for optimum effect? All ideas gratefully received.

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Man Scents - what should a hero smell of?

I know this has been discussed before, but, if I’m honest, I’m running out of ways to describe the way my hero smells.

Lynx have a man deodorant that they say smells of chocolate. I can't smell it myself - or rather I can smell the spray but not the chocolate. It's not a horrible smell, but it's definitely not chocolate.

In an attempt to harness the Lynx effect, the 14 year old boys at my daughter's school apparently bathe in the stuff. It's so overpowering, she thinks they all smell like they've rolled in cat's urine. In my day, the boys used Old Spice in the hope of attracting the opposite sex - the effect on girls was much the same as the eau de cat's pee, they used so much it repelled us.

But these are boys and I was talking about men - or at least fictional romantic heroes.

What should they smell of?

Citrus? Wood tones? Musk? Any more suggestions?

Personally, I might not like the chocolate Lynx, but if they ever invented a deodorant that smells of vanilla truffle, I think they might be onto a winner.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Writer's Guilt

Anyone who earns money from writing will tell you that writing is work like any other occupation. I don't feel guilty when I'm working at the day job, so why do I feel self-indulgent and lazy when I write?

Could it be because something that's this much fun shouldn't be classed as work?

I once sold cars for a living. And when I say once, I mean I lasted one week - and that included the residential training course. But one point made by our very entertaining trainer has stuck with me over the past twenty years: To be truly successful and wealthy, you must find a job you love above any other. That way leisure and work become one and the same thing - so, effectively, you spend your life at work, but it feels like you're at play.

So, I'm going to let go of writer's guilt and write when I can. And wait for success to follow.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

What's it all about?

I already have a blog that's been updated regularly for the past two and a bit years. This is under my real name - which I've used for some of the short stories I've had published. Although originally intended to be about writing, over time, that first blog has become more personal than I'd planned.

Lovely visits from very lovely blogging friends have made me reluctant to change anything about that blog. So...I've decided to start a new one under the name I hope to use if (or should that be when? - I'm trying to think positive here) my novels are published.

This is going to be a place with no ranting, no whinging and no whining. Yes, folks, I'm going to change the habit of a lifetime and this will be just a happy, happy smiley me.