Tuesday, 20 March 2018

How I plot my books

How do you plot your novels? Above is how I plotted my latest Rainbow School book. I know that some writers use Scrivener, but I prefer pen and paper and to have the sheets in front of me. I can't write straight onto a computer as I get brain freeze, and I want to have the plot in front of me as I write the book. Above you will see I have written brief chapter summaries. That is how I work. But this book is different to the others in the series. I knew whose story each book would tell, but this one I wasn't sure as it features all the characters who appear in the school show. I thought it might be Billy, to show how he has improved but thought, he has already told his story (Billy and the Sparkling Socks). Then I began writing it last month at the weekend writing retreat and a new character came along - Erin. I had a girl in mind some time ago. She wasn't at school before due to illness and was back now. As soon as I started writing about her, I knew this would be her story. She experiences the magic via Alistair and dancing with him; she is a keen dancer like him. Once I have written the first draft, I will have to go back and add in more detail about Erin's background and her home life. More work for me, but am loving writing these books.

So, how do you plot? On your pc or on paper?

Sunday, 4 February 2018

A poem about visiting the dentist

I wrote this the evening after I had been to the dentist at Guy's. I had left home at 9.30am for my appointment at 10.30am, and didn't get home until 1.55pm. I was in there for just over two hours, then when I got to the train station, the train that was going to my stop suddenly announced it wasn't and I had to get another train which was 15 mins later. Phew. Here it is

I went to the dentist the other day,
and that's quite a story.
First of all
they asked me my medical history.

Then I saw the consultant
about my antibiotic cover,
so the treatment could begin.
when that was over,

They checked my teeth
to see if they were OK.
Another wait before
I had to have an X-ray.

I hate those bites
they make me gag,
so pleased it was done,
I picked up my bag.

Then another wait,
the X-ray showed I needed a filling
I have to go another day,
all that waiting, it was killing.

Then I got to the trains,
the one I find wasn't going to my stop,
yet another wait,
I felt like doing a strop.

I'd left home at 9.30,
it was now four hours later.
I was finally home,

so glad to see my mater.

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Writing goals for 2018

As I mentioned in my last post, my writing goals for this year have slightly changed. I shall tell you why below.

My main goal last year was to get short stories accepted by women's magazines such as Woman's Weekly or The People's Friend. Well, that never came to anything and I realise why now. The stories I wrote weren't suited for them. I liked writing the stories but I now realise that they weren't the ones I enjoyed writing the most. The one I enjoyed doing the most was the one that did get accepted and published by the overseas magazine eg it had the sense of a ghost in it. So, one of my goals this year is to try to get another story accepted by this magazine.  I also want to get a story accepted by Spirit & Destiny magazine, who publish stories about magical realism topics such as angels and crystals. Just my cup of tea.

So my main aim this year is to write the genre that I enjoy working on, and that is magical realism. I have been writing Book 3 of my Secrets of Singleton series, which has made me realise this is what I like doing. So I want to write Book 4 this year, and continue next year.

I am continuing writing and publishing my Rainbow School series this year. I want to publish Book 3 (Susie) and Book 4 (Qessa) this year.

Also, as I had a few successes again last year with fillers being published in magazines, I am going to work on more of these this year. I have already sent a few off already to magazines and papers. Because of these successes, I have begun work again on the ebook about writing fillers, to include different markets and what they award for them.

One other creative thing I have begun this year is to write poetry. Now that I am not writing stories for womags, it frees up my mind for poems. I have already sent a few to magazines that publish them, which are womags. So I might end up being published in a womag, after all. 

So, they are my main writing goals this year. I shall blog when I get any successes with these. Watch this space....

Saturday, 30 December 2017

2017 goals and how they went

I can't believe it's been two months since I wrote here. Probably because come November things went awry at home again when my mum had another bad fall and ended up with sciatica. Anyway, I am back to talk about how my writing goals went this year.

I published the last of my Geraldine's Gems ebooks called 'Birds Flock Together'. It is available on all digital platforms.

I published Charlie in print. It is available here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Charlie-Captivating-Cap-Rainbow-School/dp/1548727415/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1514640587&sr=8-1&keywords=Charlie+and+the+captivating+cap

I did hope to publish Susie but I got feedback from an editor in May which I had to work on, and at that time I was writing Qessa's story.

I wrote Qessa and Alistair's stories.

My other main goal was to have a short story accepted and published by a women's magazine. I did, by You (SA). It is based in South Africa so I haven't got to see it in print.

I did have a couple of letters published in magazines, which made up for it, esp the last one which gave me a prize of a natural beauty set worth £120.

Next year's goals will be slightly different. I will explain why next week.

Friday, 27 October 2017

Creating characters to care about

Last Saturday I went to the last SCBWI Masterclass of the year (the only one I had managed to get to this year). It was on how to create characters to care about with Piers Torday of 'Last Wild' trilogy fame. (Confession – sorry to say that I hadn't heard of him before then. But now I know what he has written, want to buy the books).

He told us how he got writing his books. He wrote 'The Last Wild' 17 times. What inspired him.

We then had to write out our homework from our favourite children's book. Then wrote another exercise based on that. This gave me an idea how to start a children's animal series I have in mind. Shall have to write or type that out for a reminder.

I can't remember if Piers said this himself or he told us it was another author, but he said, (and I agree), you can't write if you don't read.

When you write you should get the child to visualise the characters.

Then we had another exercise based on classic children's characters. This gave me yet another idea for another animal series.

You should read widely and deeply. Read 10 books on the topic. Piers read 10 books about wolves for his trilogy. He quoted Jacqueline Wilson with 'Write with one eye on the market'.

Then it was another exercise about child inspiration or what frightened you as a child. I wrote something that might turn into a series of Asper fiction for children. We shall see.

Think about your character – their function, originality, voice and choices.

Another exercise based on your homework, which leads to a bit more homework.

Story – think motivation.

I enjoyed the day despite coughing my way through it, esp at the end when I got a tickle. Aargh. I also enjoyed the sweet potato fries I had, but couldn't eat them all as there were too many.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Diversity in writing Part 2

I am back writing about diversity in writing. Diversity is also about the authors who write the books. It is this that is the hot topic between authors because although BAME authors might get on the list for winning top awards, they might not win it in the end.

When I came to draft this post, I could only think of a few BAME authors who write for adults and children. As I write for children, I shall start with the few I have thought of.

Malorie Blackman, Patrice Lawrence, Catherine Johnson, Candy Gourlay, Chitra Soundar, Sarwat Chadda, Bali Rai.

After I drafted this post, I put a message on Facebook about this and got a few more names of children's authors in the Minor Ethnicity, and they are Jewish authors. Here they are: Keren David, Miriam Halahmy, Hilary Freeman, Judith Kerr, Meg Rosoff. It was raised that in traditional publishing authors might not be allowed by their publishers to write about Jewish events. Only a couple have recently.

For adults I could only think of Mike Gayle and Zadie Smith. If you can name more BAME authors who write for adults, let me know.

Next post will be another diversity post. Diversity is not just about BAME authors, there are disabled authors too, like me.

Sunday, 24 September 2017

An Aspie and her anxiety

My anxiety about going out has come back. I believe it is because after I had the kidney infection, I stayed indoors for over a week, with the only outside space I went to being the garden. I can go over the road to get the paper OK. But when I go shopping locally, I've felt my stomach flip with anxiety either before I go or within half an hour of being out. This causes an IBS flare up.

On Friday, I went shopping with my mum. I was fine before we went, so I thought that I would be OK. But, no, just as the bus got to the centre, I felt my stomach flip. I tried to put my anxiety into words; why did I feel anxious? I've been here before and I was OK. (Something I read to do in the current issue of Top Sante). It worked for a while but after walking round shops for half an hour, I had to stop. Luckily the centre has public toilets where I went. I was fine after that. It is so frustrating to me me and my mum as I feel that it spoils the shopping trip for us. I might have to sit for longer before I go out, or try the talking out my anxiety more. I hope to get back to normality soon.