Writing Process

Novel Kicks Fiction Friday: The Secret Mission

Novel Kicks Fiction FridayFiction Friday is our weekly writing prompt. The aim is to write for a minimum of five minutes and then keep going for as long as you can. Once you’ve finished, don’t edit, just post in the comments box below.

Today’s prompt is about that secret mission.

You are carrying on your day as you normally do. You get up, have breakfast at the usual time and leave at 8.30am exactly.

However, as you pull out of your driveway, your car gets stopped by a black sports car. The passenger window opens.

‘Get in,’ says the stranger.

From there, you get pulled into a secret mission by accident and are forced to make up a new identity on the spot. Go!

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Novel Kicks Writing Room: Interview Questions and Answers

Novel Kicks Writing RoomFor today’s writing group exercise, you’ll be interviewing your character.

Create a bunch of interview questions for one of your characters – general CV stuff but also personal questions like likes, dislikes, fears etc.

Do this for a character you’re currently working on or if you’ve not got a character who is suitable, create one named Bob James.

Now interview your character, asking them these questions. It’s interesting to see how your character will answer.

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Novel Kicks Writing Room: Descriptive Alphabet

rp_writeanything-300x19911-300x1991-300x1991-300x199-300x1991-300x199-300x199-1-1-1-1-1-300x199-1-1-1-1-300x199-1-1-300x199-300x199-1-1-1-1-300x199-1-300x199-1-1-300x199.jpgToday, we are going to write a descriptive alphabet.

On a piece of A4 paper, write the alphabet down the left side of the page. Leave enough room between letters to write a little glossary.

Now, look around the room you are in and fill in each letter with an object you can see.

Once you’ve done that, give each object a description. Give as much detail as you can in the small space you have.

You could also do another alphabet but this time, you could make up the objects and then descriptions for them.

 

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Novel Kicks Chats To: Emma Henderson, Author of The Valentine House

Emma Henderson author picHello Emma, thank you for joining me today. Firstly, What’s your writing day like?

It varies, depending on a lot of things – other commitments, my mood, the weather (yes, really). However, if possible, I do the bulk of my actual writing first thing in the morning. I’m an early riser, so this means no later than 6am in the winter and, often, as early as 4am in the summer. I love that time of day for its peace and quiet. No interruptions. And my brain seems to function best then. Later, if I can, I will go back to my writing and redraft or I’ll research things. There’s usually an energy dip in the afternoon, so that’s when I try to make myself do mundane but important tasks like tidying my desk (I’m a very messy writer), sorting, labelling.

 

Your new book is called The Valentine House. Can you tell me a bit about it?

The Valentine House is about an English family who go, every year, to their summer home, high up in the French alps and about someone from the village nearby called Mathilde. At the start of the story, Mathilde is employed to work as a servant for the family. She becomes involved with them in all sorts of ways, discovering a secret that affects them all. The novel explores the relationship between the two cultures and also the relationship between identity and place.

 

If you could have a chalet anywhere in the world, where would you have it and why?

I would have it in the French Alps. I can’t say where, precisely – there are so many beautiful spots to choose from. But somewhere that is accessible, yet feels remote, and, above all, somewhere with a view – of the mountains, a valley, a village, a river, a blue, blue sky. Why? Because I’ve seen chalets in places like that. They exist. It’s not a fantasy. People live in them. I’d like to be one of those people.

 

What’s your writing process like – edit as you go? Much planning?

My writing process is a mixture of editing as I go and planning. I’m not very good at planning in advance. I try to do it. I make myself do it. But I tend to write first and just see what happens. Usually, this results in a mess of words, which I then have to sort and turn into a novel. So the planning happens during and after, not before the writing, usually.

 

Do you have any writing rituals? Coffee, silence, tea?

No rituals, although I like silence and solitude. The only quirky thing is my use of 2B pencils. I have a big stock of them. I like to have them within arms’ reach wherever I am in the house. When things are going well, that means 2B pencils all over the place – on the floor, in my bed, next to the bath. They are used mostly for jotting, but sometimes for longer bits of writing, but my handwriting is terrible and, when I write quickly, even I find it difficult to read later. I have to type up my 2B jottings quickly, therefore.

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Novel Kicks Fiction Friday: Eavesdrop

Novel Kicks Fiction FridayFiction Friday is our weekly writing prompt. The aim is to write for a minimum of five minutes and then keep going for as long as you can. Once you’ve finished, don’t edit, just post in the comments box below.

Today’s prompt gives you permission to eavesdrop.

Writers are good observers. Throughout today, try to catch people’s conversations. Write down any snippets that you find funny, outrageous or inspire something.

Once you have five, use them all in a fiction piece that begins with the following sentence:

‘I couldn’t believe she did it. I mean, the nerve.’

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My Writing Ramblings: Every Word Counts

rp_Laura-Book-300x2251-300x2251-300x225-300x225-1-300x225-1-1-300x225-1.jpgHowdy all.

We are now on that last stretch before the weekend with all the hope that the weather will decide to give us glorious, warm sunshine (I know but it’s good to be optimistic.)

I don’t know about you but April for me has just flown by. Life away from reading books and writing has kept me a little busy (there were also a couple of personal events that happened this month which meant some quiet days with a want to not do a lot.)

I have not done that much writing over the last month. I think I managed to do 2,000 words give or take. Those words still count and it’s still a decent word count to reach. It is easy to play down small words counts as only this and only that. It’s not easy to convince yourself that slow and steady is OK if it works for you to build your novel.

I go through this horrible habitual process when I begin something new. I will write, then I will stop, I will immediately read what I have written and then I will have this urge to begin again. I fight every time to break this habit.

A first draft is not going to be publication ready to begin with so every word you write does matter.

As a new writer, I tend to play down the whole thing; my brain won’t let me call myself a writer. Sitting in a room full of writers, I will feel like the impostor.

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Novel Kicks Fiction Friday: Use That Song

Novel Kicks Fiction FridayFiction Friday is our weekly writing prompt. The aim is to write for a minimum of five minutes and then keep going for as long as you can. Once you’ve finished, don’t edit, just post in the comments box below.

Today’s prompt is all about using song titles.

Use the song titles below in your piece of writing that begins with the line, ‘What do you know about it?’

The song titles are:

What Becomes of the Broken Hearted?

Respect.

Thriller.

Can’t Stop The Feeling.

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Novel Kicks Fiction Friday: Sliding Doors

rp_friday-300x16411111111111111-300x164-300x1641-300x164-300x1641-300x16411-300x164-300x164-300x1641-300x1641-300x164-300x164-300x1641-300x164-300x164-1-1-1-1-1-300x164-1-1-300x164-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.pngFiction Friday is our weekly writing prompt. The aim is to write for a minimum of five minutes and then keep going for as long as you can. Once you’ve finished, don’t edit, just post in the comments box below.

Today’s prompt is going to ask what if?

Put your character in a situation where they have to make a split decision. Do they or do they not get on a specific train or bus? Do they decide to go out or stay in? Do or don’t they post an important letter or send an urgent e-mail. The situation can be anything you like.

Write two pieces. The first is if they did something and the second is from the point of view of if they didn’t do something – for example, the consequences for getting on and not getting on a train. How do the situations differ?

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Novel Kicks Writing Room: Editing

Novel Kicks Writing RoomFor today’s exercise, I thought we could look at editing. 

This is one of the most important parts of the process. This is a chance to tidy and polish your piece of writing before it goes on to an editor or an agent.

How do you like to approach the process? Do you like to wait for a first draft or edit as you go?

Write a piece of fiction no more than seven hundred and fifty words. Start it using this sentence, ‘The front door was black with a copper horseshoe knocker.’

Once you are done, try to put it away for a couple of days.

When you are ready to come back to it, edit it down to five hundred words. Then, once you’re happy with it, pass it on to someone you trust for feedback.

How was it? Did you find it a simple process? An enjoyable one? Quite difficult?

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Novel Kicks Fiction Friday: Alternative Realities

Novel Kicks Fiction FridayFiction Friday is our weekly writing prompt. The aim is to write for a minimum of five minutes and then keep going for as long as you can. Once you’ve finished, don’t edit, just post in the comments box below.

For today’s prompt, it is a chance to look at an alternative reality.

Pick an important event from history – maybe from an era you’re particularly interested in. Now question what reality would be like if that event didn’t happen the way it did.

What if Mary Queen of Scots became Queen instead of Elizabeth? What if someone else started and won World War I?

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Novel Kicks Writing Room: Lines, Lines, Lines

rp_writeanything-300x19911-300x1991-300x1991-300x199-300x1991-300x199-300x199-1-1-1-1-1-300x199-1-1-1-1-300x199-1-1-300x199-300x199-1-1-1-1-300x199-1-300x199-1-1.jpgFor today’s activity in the writing room today, it’s all about putting the following sentences in a story.

Use all of the following lines of text below in a short story involving a wedding.

Write a minimum of 500 words and a maximum of 1,500 words. You don’t have to keep the sentences below in the same order.

The lines to include in your piece…..

‘But I am in love with her.’

‘The war has begun and they are coming for us.’

‘No, you can’t take the unicorn home.’

‘You know he will kill you the moment you step outside.’

‘I saw them in the bowlplex yesterday. Kissing.’

‘When the time comes, you’ll know.’

 

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Novel Kicks Fiction Friday: Focus on Film

Frp_friday-300x16411111111111111-300x164-300x1641-300x164-300x1641-300x16411-300x164-300x164-300x1641-300x1641-300x164-300x164-300x1641-300x164-300x164-1-1-1-1-1-300x164-1-1-300x164-1-1-1-1-1-1.pngriday 10th March 2017: Film Focus

Fiction Friday is our weekly writing prompt. The aim is to write for a minimum of five minutes and then keep going for as long as you can. Once you’ve finished, don’t edit, just post in the comments box below.

Today’s prompt is about a character in a movie.

Think of your favourite movie. Now think about your favourite character in that movie.

Write a scene featuring this character but a scene that doesn’t feature in the current movie. Is it that the boy doesn’t get the girl? Could it be that the person you thought was the good guy is actually the bad guy?

You can write this in prose or you could have a go at writing it in a script format.

 

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Novel Kicks Writing Room: Become an Explorer

rp_writeanything-300x19911-300x1991-300x1991-300x199-300x1991-300x199-300x199-1-1-1-1-1-300x199-1-1-1-1-300x199-1-1-300x199-300x199-1-1-1-1-300x199-1-300x199-1.jpgFor today’s exercise, this is your chance to become an explorer for a while. 

Getting out into the fresh air is always good for clearing the cobwebs and going in search of inspiration.

Get out and explore your neighbourhood today. Walk down a street you don’t normally walk down. Turn left where you would normally go right or vice versa.

What do you hear, see or smell?

You could always take a camera to keep a record of everything you discover.

Once you’re back, go through and see what inspires a story.

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Novel Kicks Fiction Friday: A World Without…

rp_friday-300x16411111111111111-300x164-300x1641-300x164-300x1641-300x16411-300x164-300x164-300x1641-300x1641-300x164-300x164-300x1641-300x164-300x164-1-1-1-1-1-300x164-1-1-300x164-1-1-1-1-1.pngFriday 3rd March 2017: A world without….

Fiction Friday is our weekly writing prompt. The aim is to write for a minimum of five minutes and then keep going for as long as you can. Once you’ve finished, don’t edit, just post in the comments box below.

Today’s prompt is about imagining a world without.

There are many things that we, as humans feel that we can’t be without. Make a list of the things in your own life that you feel fit this category.

Then pick one and use it as inspiration for a story. Your character has just woken up and found themselves without this object. It’s an object that becomes important to their survival. What happens?

 

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Novel Kicks Writing Room: Off on a Tangent

rp_writeanything-300x19911-300x1991-300x1991-300x199-300x1991-300x199-300x199-1-1-1-1-1-300x199-1-1-1-1-300x199-1-1-300x199-300x199-1-1-1-1-300x199-1-300x199.jpgTuesday 28th February 2017: Off on a Tangent.

For our writing exercise today, I thought we could go back to generating ideas.

Find an A4 piece of paper and draw a box in the middle of the page.

Pick up the book that is closest to you. Open it and write down the first word you see in the box you’ve just drawn.

Use that word as a starting point. What does that word make you think of. Write an arrow out from the box and write it down. Does the first word inspire anything else? Use each word you write down as inspiration for the next.

 

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Novel Kicks is a blog for story tellers and book lovers.

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