Writing Process

Novel Kicks Fiction Friday: Confession

It’s Friday which means it’s time to start writing some fiction.

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: Confession. 

Your character is living in a country that, to the outside world is perfect. The truth is that the government is oppressing its citizens.

This character has lived in this country all their lives.  Age, sex and life situation is your choice.

Your story begins when your character commits a serious crime.

Law enforcement is trying to get a confession and your character has been given a piece of paper and pencil.

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Novel Kicks Writing Room: Freewriting with Prompts

It’s another freewriting exercise today. 

If you have something in mind already, then fantastic.

Write up to a 1000 words.

If you’re stuck as to where to start, there are five prompts below to hopefully inspire a story. You could always combine a couple if you like.

 

1. Write a letter to September.

2. Your character wakes up discovering that they are back at school.

3. You are stuck in a locked room alone with the person you despise the most.

4. You are confronted by the person you’ve been saying horrible things about online and they know it’s you.

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Novel Kicks Fiction Friday: Alphabet Sentences

It’s Friday which means it’s time to start writing some fiction.

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: Alphabet sentences.

Your first sentence for today’s story is ‘All he could see was smoke.’

Now, carry on the story but with a little twist.

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Novel Kicks Writing Room: Putting an Idea Together

With National Novel Writing Month just over a month and a half away, I thought it would be nice today to generate some ideas using magazines as inspiration.

This part of the writing process has been scary for me but I also find it fun, especially when doing something like the following exercise.

Gather as many magazines as you can. Cut out any words, images and phrases that interest you/catches your eye for any reason.

Once you’ve done that, put them all in a hat.

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NK Chats To… Laura Briggs

Hi Laura. It’s lovely to welcome you to Novel Kicks today and happy book birthday for A Wedding in Cornwall. Can you tell me a little about it and what inspired it?

Thanks so much, and very excited to share with your readers today! The romance read A Wedding in Cornwall is the first novella in a series that focuses on an American event planner’s adventures working at a Cornish manor house in a remote village. It was heavily inspired by other Cornish-themed stories, including the television shows Poldark and Doc Martin.

 

What’s your writing process like, from idea to final draft and how has it evolved from your first novel?

My writing process is actually much the same as when I first started. I usually start with brainstorming some notes, and then create an outline. This can range from anything from a few lines to describe each scene to a more full-blown, descriptive document outlining what happens in the story. From there, it’s just a matter of getting it all on paper and then onto revisions and editing for the final draft.

 

Where do you like to write, do you prefer silence and do you write longhand? Need coffee?

I work with a laptop, but my work station is most often in my living room (usually with a cat or two on hand for company!). I often work to music or sometimes a favourite television program, although silence is okay too. No coffee, but occasionally a cup of hot chocolate in the winter time!

 

What elements need to be in place for beginning a novel?

For me, the basic events of the story need to be outlined, so I don’t get too off track, so to speak! And I need to have some basic notes on character background too, even though certain things about both plot or characters may change as the story goes on paper.

 

Do you think plot or character is more important?

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Novel Kicks Writing Room: The Middle is now the Beginning

Today, I wanted to look at beginning in the middle. 

Look through your current work in progress or your idea book, preferably picking something where you know how you want to begin.

As usual, if you’d prefer to use a book you’ve recently read, that’s OK.

Have a think about the three major events that will happen in the middle of your book. Pick one.

Now, write that scene as though it is the beginning of your story.

Write about 500-750 words.

How was it? What does it do to your plot as it stands?

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Novel Kicks Fiction Friday: Nigel

It’s Friday which means it’s time to start writing some fiction.

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 – Nigel. 

Your story this week is about a young man named Nigel, who has just arrived in a strange city.

Use the following words in your piece of writing – bloom, exercise, paperwork, continuation, speculate and uncle.

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Novel Kicks Writing Room: A Letter

In the writing group today, we will be writing a letter.

In this digital age, I am a little sad about the fact that the art of letter writing has diminished. I adore writing letters. There is something very personal about them.

Take two of your characters in your WIP or two of your favourite characters from fiction. You could even take a character from your WIP and an established fictional character if you wanted.

Write a letter from your main character to the other person about an event in your novel. Put in as much detail as you can. Once you’ve done that, write the reply.

Has this given you a new insight to these characters and how they react and feel?

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NK Chats To… Holly Tierney-Bedford

Hi Holly, I am so pleased you’ve joined me today. Can you tell me a little about your book, I Will Follow Him?

My story is about Francie, a private detective hired to follow a groom-to-be and his groomsmen as they go on a cruise. It’s a romantic comedy about a singles’ cruise, so there are lots of laughs, surprises, and (naturally) love.

 

What have been the challenges of writing within the Oceanic Dreams book series?

No challenges! It’s been great!

 

Do you need to have read the other books to read yours?

No. Every book can be read as a standalone story.

 

What is your writing process like, from idea to first draft? (If you are happy to provide a photo as an example of any part of the process, then that would be fantastic.)

I just jump in and start writing. I’m a total pantser, meaning I fly by the seat of my pants. Every story has a “feeling” to it, a mood, of those particular characters, setting, etc. When I signed on to the Oceanic Dreams project, I loved the light, fun premise. Although I didn’t have a particular plot or character in my mind until I sat down to write and saw what showed up, the series had been on my mind, percolating, for months before I started and I’m sure that helped me.

 

Is character or plot more important?

Character. I’d read a book about a fascinating person cleaning their house. I would not want to read a book with a great plot but characters who are boring.

 

How important is it to pick character names and how do you pick yours?

Important. I often change my characters’ names (find and replace) several times before I get it right.

 

Which authors do you admire?

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Novel Kicks Writing Room: Contacts

Starting a contacts page in your notebook.

Today I wanted to look ahead and get prepared for what comes next. I know it is not a good idea to think too much beyond the completion of the book if you’re still working on the draft but I am hoping this is a helpful exercise.

It’s something I have been meaning to do for a while. If you’re a planner like me, then it’s an excuse to make a list.

With the genre of your book in mind, find five agents that handle the type of work you’re currently writing. Make a note of their postal address and e-mail too. The Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook is good for this but obviously the internet may be more available to you.

Do the same with five publishers, whether they be a large or a small outlet. Be as specific as you can. Also, find the name of the person to whom you would submit the work. Like before, note down the postal address and e-mail address. Look for some online publishers too.

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A Moment With… Julie Caplin

It’s finally the weekend. Julie Caplin joins me today with the blog tour for her novel, The Secret Cove in Croatia. 

Sail away to beautiful Croatia for summer sun, sparkling turquoise seas and a holiday romance that’s forever…

When no-nonsense, down-to-earth Maddie Wilcox is offered the chance to work on a luxury yacht for the summer, she can’t say no. Yes she’ll be waiting on the posh guests… But island-hopping around the Adriatic sea will more than make up for it – especially when Nick, her best friend Nina’s brother, is one of them.

Sparks fly when they meet on board and Maddie can’t believe self-entitled jerk Nick is really related to Nina.

But in a secret, picture-perfect cove, away from the real world, Maddie and Nick discover they might have more in common than they realise…

 

Talking about the value of research, it’s over to you, Julie…

As I set my Romantic Escapes series in interesting, overseas locations, I’m often asked how I research my books.

These days with the internet at the tips of our fingers, it is so easy for authors to do their research from the comfort of their own homes and it is amazing what you can find out without ever having to leave home. However, as a writer, I’ve found that nothing quite beats proper first hand research thanks to those interesting little facts and insights that you pick up when you actually visit a place.

I’ve been to Italy, France, Spain, Portugal and Germany many times and I feel I have a reasonable understanding of the cultures of those countries, however when it came to writing my first book in the Romantic Escape series, The Little Café in Copenhagen, I had never been to Scandinavia let alone Denmark, so it felt really important that I visited Copenhagen to get a feel for the country and it’s people.

And it was exactly the right decision, I felt much more confident to write about the city once I’d been there.

With book five in the series, I decided to set the story in the beautiful country of Croatia. This was inspired by my lovely work colleague, Gordana, who grew up in Croatia. In our quieter moments (not many in a school office admittedly) she would show us the most wonderful pictures of the islands, the sea and the beautiful little towns. When my editor gave an enthusiastic thumbs up to Croatia as the next setting, I immediately knew that I needed a research trip to Croatia and specifically the Dalmatian Islands.

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NK Chats To… Alex Brown

Thank you so much for joining me today, Alex. Can you tell me a little about A Postcard From Italy and what inspired it?

Thanks for inviting me. A Postcard From Italy is my eighth full length novel and it’s a love story that spans nearly ninety years. Connie is harbouring a secret at the onset of the Second World War and then we fast forward to today where Grace opens a storage unit containing a lifetime of treasured belongings.

She then sets out to unravel the secret in a quest to right the wrongs meted out to Connie all those years ago and maybe find love for herself when she travels to the breathtakingly beautiful Italian Riviera.

 

What’s your writing process like (from idea to final draft) and how has it evolved since your first novel?

I’m not much of planner so I usually have an idea which I brainstorm with my editor before writing a synopsis which I then use as a rough guide to get me started. I write Monday to Friday and aim for at least a thousand words unless my deadline is looming and then I’ll write every day and into the night too for a week or two until the book is finished.

I start the day by editing the previous day’s words before writing on. My writing process hasn’t changed much since my first novel, although I procrastinate a lot less these days, I don’t have the time, and I always end the day by writing the outline for the following day … I like to know what’s happening next.

 

Which elements do you think are important for a successful novel?

There are so many variations but if you have a good story with a cliffhanger at the end of each chapter, so your reader feels compelled to read on, then you’re off to a good start. If you have wit and a sprinkle of wisdom too then even better.

 

Which fictional character would you like to meet?

Georgie Hart from my Carrington’s department store series. I love her so much and think we’d be the best of friends. It might sound daft but after writing four books she really does feel real to me and I miss her sometimes.

 

What other advice would you give to new writers like me?

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NK Chats To… Des Burkinshaw

Hi Des, thank you so much for joining me today. Can you tell me a little about your book, Dead and Talking and what inspired it?

It’s lovely to be here. Thank you for the invite. The novel is about a man who is forced to atone for the “sins” of his family by a sort of ghost – think It’s a Wonderful Life’s Clarence! – And he can only do that by righting some historical wrongs. He’s given the gift of being able to peer into the last moments of dead people’s lives if he’s near their remains. Which sort of helps. He’s a natural sceptic and thinks he’s going a bit mad but picks up some fellow travellers who help him. It quickly becomes an ensemble piece. Although set today, the first case he has to solve is of a private shot for desertion in WW1. He soon finds it is linked to his own family history.

It’s dark in places but is also funny because he and his helpers are all so reluctant to believe any of it is happening. There are some Ealing Comedy moments too. Tone-wise, it’s in the same ballpark as Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Though, as I say, the dark moments are pretty dark.

It was inspired by a few actual events from WW1. After I started plotting it, I also had to make a film about the role of soldiers from the Empire who fought for the British. I spent some time in Ypres, at the In Flanders Fields Museum and at some locations not open to tourists. It all sort of fitted together. Actually, doesn’t this show how research doesn’t just adorn the plot, it can become the plot?

 

What’s your typical writing day like? Is there somewhere specific you like to write?

I nearly always get up and go to a local coffee shop to get started for an hour or two on my laptop. I like to see the world go by before I hunker down behind the closed doors of my office. I write between 1-4 hours a day because I’m a filmmaker by trade and that takes up a lot of time. I wish I could spend more time writing.

 

How did your background in journalism help with writing your book?

Many ways. Not having a fear of the blank page helps a lot. Knowing how to plan, how to sub, how to edit. Knowing the importance of drafts and revisions. Welcoming constructive criticism and actually acting on it.

But it’s also in the people I’ve met. I’ve spent a lot of quality time with Normandy veterans and other soldiers. Also, my starting point has always been a journalistic one of trying to see both sides of an argument and so, though a natural sceptic myself, I’m able to suspend that disbelief while writing, simply by putting myself in the mind of someone who does believe. Sceptic or not, who doesn’t love the idea that there are ghosts?

 

What would your reaction be to a ghost? It would scare the hell out of me.

I’m a journalist. A sceptical journalist. But not a cynical one. I will never, ever believe there are ghosts until I see one myself though. I don’t care who else tells me. But if I did see one, I would use it as a basis to explore how I’d been wrong all this time. Sadly, I haven’t seen one – though I’ve seen quite a bit of death and spent a ridiculous amount of my life in cemeteries when I was younger. Always been a bit morbid.

I’d kill to see one. Even if I was afraid, I’d be delighted.

 

What’s your favourite word and why?

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Novel Kicks Fiction Friday: Viral

It’s Friday which means it’s time to start writing some fiction.

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: Viral 

Think about a typical day for you.

One event from this day gets recorded by a stranger and goes viral on social media, eventually making its way onto national news.

Continue the story using the first person point of view.

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Novel Kicks Writing Room: Combinations

Welcome back to the Novel Kicks Writing Room. Today, it’s about combinations.

Pick a character from either something you’ve written or from the book you are currently reading. This is your main character.

Now randomly choose three more, each from different stories and as varied as you can make them.

Your main character is speed dating. One at a time, this character has a brief conversation with your other three choices before the bell goes off and they have to move on.

Write only using dialogue.

For each one, write for five minutes each time.

You could then always do other combinations within these characters. How would it work if your main character was suddenly the one who had to impress the others?

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