Writing Process

Novel Kicks Writing Room: Having Faith Whilst Writing

Novel Kicks Writing Room ChristmasPart of the battle when writing is having faith in yourself. 

The internal editor can be a very harsh critic. I know I am my own worst enemy when it comes to my own writing.

Whilst doing National Novel Writing Month this year, I struggled enormously to keep that pest of a nagging voice at bay long enough to get some words typed.

The advice many writers have given when doing interviews for this blog is to have faith and to not get too obsessed with making the first draft perfect.

One exercise I have found to be helpful when I’ve had trouble telling the editor in my head to kindly shut the hell up, is to open a new word document or find a blank piece of paper and just write.

However, the twist is that I close my eyes. It’s quite a fun thing to do.

Continue reading

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

12 Days of Clink Street Christmas: Daisy Mae_224’s Traditional Christmas

eBook Daisy Mae - 9.6.17 - v6My next stop on the 12 days of Clink Street Christmas has arrived. Author Daisy Mae_224, the author of Dating Daisy shares her traditional Christmas. Over to you, Daisy Mae_224… 

I’ve decided honesty is the best policy. If you are reading a Christmas blog, you probably expect to read how much I love Christmas. How I can’t wait for it to come round – again. How I love the preparations and the traditions etc… Well – you may just be disappointed.

I really dislike Christmas! And I am not Mrs Scrooge either!

– So now, I’ll try and explain why –

For starters, I’m not religious. I do actually like that part of Christmas however, as that is about story-telling, kindness, and involves the Nativity, children, and singing beautiful Christmas carols. It is rather magical to light candles in a church and sing Hark the Herald at the top of your voice on a cold winter’s evening.

It’s the commercial side of things which are so abhorrent. Somehow we are all caught in a trap of “finding something someone might like.” Also, even those little stocking fillers cost a fortune. And the vast majority, beautifully packaged they may be, will just end up in land fill sites. Having cleared out and downsized from my 6 bedroom house a few years ago, I am in fear of clutter. Never again will I be doing all that!

Let me say up front it’s not so much the cost. I’m a generous person and I love giving things to people and spreading a little happiness. It’s just that when the world is full of starving, poverty-stricken people, how can we the rich of the Western world, be quite so greedy. It makes me feel so uncomfortable. I don’t like opening my presents as I feel so guilty about that. I sit with a pile next to me and watch everyone else open theirs, and I just don’t want to do it.

The sad fact now is that as I am divorced and my parents have died, I can’t think of Christmas as the family occasion it used to be. I miss my parents, especially at Christmas. My children divide themselves up for a day each between myself and Voldemort. There is always a big row about which day is for who, and I dread it.

Then there’s the food. It isn’t a great Christmas to be sweating in the kitchen over an enormous and gastronomically fashionable Christmas dinner. How often have I downed a few gin and tonics one by one, stuck in the kitchen, while everyone else is laughing in the lounge. Because it’s supposed to be such an amazing dinner, it’s very stressful. Mostly they can’t all decide on one meal, so I’m trying to cook a turkey, a ham and a salmon for example, all at the same time. It just doesn’t work! And I’ve never been very good at gravy!

I have to say I like to plan the day so we don’t just “sit around looking at the tea cups!” Last year, soon after the children arrived on Christmas Eve, we went out for lunch at a New Forest pub, following a dog walk on Canada Common. When we got home, we all jumped in Edward’s amazingly hot, clean, sparklingly fresh, hot tub with a few mugs of tea.

Continue reading

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

NK Chats To: Isabella Davidson

beta mumHi Isabella, thank you for joining me today. Can you tell me about what your typical writing day is like? 

Thank you for having me on your blog! My typical writing day consists of waking up to my children’s chatting and playing, getting them dressed, preparing breakfast and taking them to school. Then, when I get back home, I sit in my office and start writing. I am most productive in the morning, when I have a clear mind, and feel the most motivation. After my children come back from nursery and school, I have to find any moment I can to continue writing; after putting them to bed, when they are at activities, and any other moment I can find – which isn’t always easy.

 

What’s the best and most challenging thing about writing your first novel? 

The best part of writing The Beta Mum, Adventures in Alpha Land, was when I felt like I had written a really good passage, and thought people would enjoy it. I once laughed at what I wrote, which is usually a good sign. They say that if you are bored writing then your reader will be bored. You have to keep the writing alive and fun if you want your reader to continue reading. If I can move someone to feel something when they read my novel, that is success to me.

The most challenging? The entire process is challenging! Writing the book, word after word, until you finish typing the last word. Then the editing. And more editing. Then sending it off to agents and publishers. Then, once it has been published, promoting your book and trying to get sales. It is like an intense obstacle course over years.

 

What’s your favourite word and why?

That’s difficult for me to answer! I don’t have a favourite, I like all words, whether simple or complicated. To me, each word has a purpose, a meaning and a place, so all of them are important in their own way.

 

What was your writing process like from your idea to final draft? Did you plan? How did you approach the first sentence? 

When I first started writing my novel, The Beta Mum, the story line was completely different than this one and it also had a completely different title. I had a general idea of what subject I wanted to write about – the Alpha mums in a nursery setting in west London – but the plot changed completely after I started the Faber Academy novel writing course. There, I received a lot of input, both positive and negative, and I found a new story to tell. I also learned about writing an outline and now in the future, I will always work with a basic outline. We also learned about writing our first line and our last line and how to make them count. It was an invaluable experience and I learned so much.

 

What advice do you have to keep motivated? 

Sit on that chair and write. Word after word. Even if it is ‘bad’ writing, it can be edited in the future, but it gets the creative juices flowing and helps you re-enter your world. The worst you can do is not write at all. Even if on some days you don’t feel like writing, you have to push yourself to write. And your first draft is meant to be bad! So don’t worry about writing ‘badly.’

 

Which three fictional characters would you want round for dinner and why?

Daimyo Toranaga and John Blackthorne from the novel Shogun. It was one of my favourite novels growing up and is an encyclopedia of knowledge about Japan. It is exotic and beautiful and so foreign, I would have loved to be a part of it. I tried to learn Japanese from that book! And one final character on a completely different note, Carrie Bradshaw (from the book Sex and the City by Candace Bushnell), because I think we would be good friends!

Continue reading

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

NK Chats To: Mira Tudor

Mira TudorMira Tudor, the author of Poets, Artists, Lovers is joining me today to chat about her book, her writing process and the advice she has for new writers.

PAL is a fast-paced yet poignant character-driven novel riding waves of romanticism, drama, and wit in a manner reminiscent in parts of David Nicholls’s books (One Day)—and set in the exciting world of several vibrant Romanian artists and musicians.

Henriette, an accomplished sculptor, seems to find more joy in her feminist-inspired work and her piano playing than in the people who care about her. Ela, a piano teacher turned book reviewer, hopes to discover the key to happiness and a more meaningful life through studying the workings of the mind and crafting poems about emotions she trusts will lead her to a better place. Joining them in beauty and blindness is Pamfil, a violinist who dabbles as a singer and lives mostly for the moment and his monthly parties. As they follow their passions, they find themselves on treacherous journeys to love and happiness, and are slow to figure out how to best tackle their predicaments. Fortunately, their lovers and friends are there to help . . . but then a newcomer complicates things.

 

Hi Mira. It’s great to have you on Novel Kicks today. 

Thank you, Laura! It’s great to be on your blog with you.

 

Your novel is called Poets, Artists, Lovers. Can you tell me about it and what inspired it? 

I’d been trying to write a novel for years, but it just wouldn’t come together. I was working too much from memories and simply couldn’t find the novel’s raison d’être. And then after putting it aside for a while, I realized in a matter of days that I had the whole story of Poets, Artists, Lovers. I couldn’t write it fast enough.

It’s a nostalgic piece, in a sense, harking back to a time when I was friends with a group of artists who used to hold parties every now and then at their office over the weekend. These parties have inspired Pamfil’s in the novel, but my characters are all imaginary. They grew out of real-life observations, of course, but I surprised myself how much they grew out of my own writing process as well. I say that because when I started writing I already had all the characters pinned down.

 

What’s your typical writing day like and do you have any writing rituals before and whilst you write? 

I write an average of five or six hours a day (seven days a week), which includes research. I don’t have any rituals apart from drinking all sorts of coffee and tea, but I do need to take walks in order to get some distance from my writing and figure out various things that need to be changed, taken out, or added.

 

If you could spend time with your characters for a day, what would you do? 

I can’t decide. I would like to go to San Francisco and Lake Tahoe; but also hiking through Ireland or driving along the Rhine Valley in Germany; visiting small towns and vineyards in France or Spain; exploring Paris or London; the list goes on.

 

Which fictional character are you most like? 

I’m not much like any of these characters. Only the poetry is deeply mine.

Continue reading

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Novel Kicks Writing Room: Structure and The Eight Point Arc

Novel Kicks Writing RoomThe structure of your novel is one of the most important things in novel writing.

It’s something I have been really trying to focus on whilst trying to write my first book.

The following is what is called the ‘eight point arc.’ I came across it in ‘Writing a Novel and Getting it Published’ by Nigel Watts. I’ve found this structure suggestion incredibly helpful and I feel it’s worth going though the following list and applying your current work in progress.

Stasis – this is the ‘every day’ in which your story is set. For example, Kat in District Twelve at the beginning of the Hunger Games or Harry Potter in Privet Drive. What is this in your book?

Trigger – this is the thing that happens that kick starts events for your character. This may be something that is beyond the control of your character.

The Quest – this could be something bad for the main character like breaking up with a spouse, loosing a job or a loved one or it could be winning the lottery.

Surprise – this is the obstacles to overcome; the conflicts and the hard choices. It could also include pleasant events but predictable should try to be avoided.

Critical Choice – This is where the character has to make a choice and we see what they are made of. These choices are often hard to make and overcome.

Continue reading

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

NaNoWriMo Advice: Louise Dean Says Short Sentences Can Be A Powerful Tool

oldromantic becomingstrangersAs we reach the final few days of National Novel Writing Month 2017, Louise Dean, author and founder of online writing course Kritikme.com joins me to share her insights into why using short sentences is a powerful tool when writing a novel. Thank you for joining me today Louise. Over to you. 

Short Sentences. (BANG!)

Creating Impact.

We can’t always be poetic. We cannot always find a new way of saying things. But if we offer visual images in short sentences, we can create an effect on our readers that is an assault on their senses. Think Bob Dylan.

One short sentence hard on the heels of the last is a highly engaging way to write. It forces the reader into a world that is unfolding with immediacy, speed, possibly danger. Wham. Slam. Bang. Things are happening fast as in an emergency. The story is unfolding. The reader is alert.

Short & Sweet

The most economical short story writer of all time is probably Raymond Carver. With his precise, punchy prose, he conveys in a few words what many novelists take several pages to elucidate. In stories such as ‘Fat’ and ‘Are You a Doctor?’ he writes with understatement about suburban disenchantment in mid-century America.

I’d like to share with you the two things that made his short stories works of art.

  1. At the end of every short story – as in the first chapter of a novel – EVERYTHING HAS CHANGED.
  2. Carver’s genius was to incorporate here what happens in the last chapter of a novel which is the narrator is facing life after him or her – THE ANNIHILATION OF SELF.

These themes can be served, should be served, in staccato sentences for great power.

Make it shorter.

‘Remember that two great masters of language, William Shakespeare and James Joyce, wrote sentences which were almost childlike when their subjects were most profound. ‘To be or not to be?’ asks Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The longest word is three letters long.’ Kurt Vonnegut

Vonnegut employs a choral technique from the songbook of modern music too, with repetition of an almost biblical phrase ‘So it goes’ throughout Slaughterhouse-5.

When Kurt Vonnegut uses that sentence again and again throughout Slaughterhouse-5, setting it against the backdrop of one of the worst tragedies of WWII — the firebombing of Dresden — the fatalistic attitude of that short sentence provides a hard contrast to the horrific details of Dresden.

Continue reading

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Novel Kicks Fiction Friday: Over A Cliff

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…

Your character finds himself/herself at the top of a cliff.

Below, there is a waterfall that is both beautiful and very noisy.

Your character is trying to hear what a friend (who is standing nearby) is saying but nothing can be heard over the crashing of the water.

Your character is holding something valuable. It is not yet known what the object is or how your character ended up on the edge.

Continue the story.

Continue reading

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Novel Kicks Writing Room: A Fifteen Step Plan

Novel Kicks Writing RoomThis time next week, many of us will be getting ready for National Novel Writing Month. It’s a big month in the world of writing and I for one can’t wait to get started.

At this point, we are all thinking about what we’re going to write. If you are planning on taking part, I have found that having a chapter plan really helps keep me going especially during week two and three where momentum can falter.

Whether you’re a pantster or not, in my experience in previous years, some sort of plan is a must.

Using the idea you’re using for NaNoWriMo (or any idea you have if you’re not planning on NaNo in November,) write a plan.

Continue reading

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Novel Kicks Writing Room: More Free Writing

Novel Kicks Writing RoomFree writing can produce many ideas for fictional stories. If you’re familiar with the concept of morning pages then you will know that this is a valuable source of inspiration.

The writing exercise for the writing group this week is to try and free write over the next seven days for a minimum of five minutes a day or three pages of A4.

I’ve included a one word prompt list below if you wish to use them. Let yourself write without judgement or editing.

When you develop something in your free writing that interests you, just make a note of it.

Most important of all…. have fun.

Prompts:

Day one: Treasure

Day two: Orange

Day three: Mighty

Day four: Injury

Day five: Travel

Continue reading

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

My Writing Ramblings: The Season of Literary Abandon Approaches

rp_Laura-Book-300x2251-300x2251-300x225-300x225-1-300x225-1-1-300x225-1-300x225.jpgI love summer but I love when Autumn rolls around too and it’s for a few reasons. The colour of the trees, the excuse to cuddle up under a duvet as the weather gets cooler, Halloween and Christmas. I even love listening to the sound of the rain on the roof. Yeah, I am strange.

Another reason why I get so excited for this time of year is that the countdown has begun for National Novel Writing Month.

For anyone who isn’t familiar with NaNoWriMo, it is ‘thirty days of literary abandon.’

Founded by a group of writers in San Francisco in 1999, the idea is that for thirty days between 1st – 30th November, we tell the internal editor to leave us alone and just write. It’s all about getting the fifty thousand words written rather than worry about the quality. There is a whole load of advice on how to approach editing once the challenge is done.

My internal editor has a lot to answer for and I think this is why I love this chance to say goodbye to it for a while. The community surrounding NaNoWriMo is incredible and so supportive. I really feel like I am a part of something.

This will be my seventh year participating but it still hasn’t lost any of its excitement.

Your book can be in any genre and POV you like.

My routine is that I buy a new notebook in October. I know, any excuse right? I always set out to plan what I am going to write. Some years have a more detailed outline than others and more often than not I will start out with a plan and end up a pantster by the end of the month. That’s part of the fun.

The advantage of this challenge is the fact that by the end, you will have words down on paper or computer. Even if you don’t finish, you will still have more words written than you did at the beginning of the month. It’s a fun way to write.

Continue reading

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Novel Kicks Writing Room: Knowing Your Market

Novel Kicks Writing RoomI am a big reader. When asking published authors for advice, I think the majority of them have said that reading is one of the most important things a writer can do.

Also, knowing your market is always advantageous when deciding what genre to write in – knowing what works and the elements you need to write the best novel that you can.

That is what I thought we could look at today; Learning what is good or bad.

Pick ten books from the genre in which you want to write.

Read the blurbs and make a small two sentence summary about what it’s about.

What is it about these books that appeal to you?

What does not appeal about them?

Continue reading

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Novel Kicks Fiction Friday: A Forced Reality

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: You are picked at random to take part in a reality TV show that will be shown across the whole of the nation.

If you refuse, you will be put on trial and face a possible death sentence so you don’t have much choice but to take part.

You have to get past so many rounds and be the only one standing to win. Write a scene at a point in this story – the part that has appeals to you.

Continue reading

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Novel Kicks Writing Room: Visualising Your Novel

rp_writeanything-300x19911-300x1991-300x1991-300x199-300x1991-300x199-300x199-1-1-1-1-1-300x199-1-1-1-1-300x199-1-1-300x199-300x199-1-1-1-1-300x199-1-300x199-1-1-300x199-1-300x199-300x199-1-1-1.jpgVisualising your novel as a movie. 

As I begin to put my first novel together, I am increasingly finding that sitting and visualising a scene in the book like a movie helps in describing the scene.

Pick a bit of your work in progress or a favourite passage from a book and not only tell it from someone else’s point of view within the scene but write it like a script for a film.

Visualise the setting, the weather, which characters are there. What they look like, what they are wearing. What are the characters talking about?

Try to get over as much information and detail as possible in your dialogue.

Continue reading

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Novel Kicks Fiction Friday: Haunted Accusations

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: Haunted Accusations.

The scene is a courthouse. The weather outside is brisk and it threatens to rain. A crowd of people have gathered outside all waiting impatiently for the result.

Inside the courtroom, the happy go lucky guy sits as he waits for his trial to begin. He’s there because of a supposedly haunted object which he says carried out the crime he is being accused of.

Write this story.

Continue reading

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Novel Kicks Writing Room: A Character Bucket List

rp_writeanything-300x19911-300x1991-300x1991-300x199-300x1991-300x199-300x199-1-1-1-1-1-300x199-1-1-1-1-300x199-1-1-300x199-300x199-1-1-1-1-300x199-1-300x199-1-1-300x199-1-300x199-300x199-1-1-1.jpgIf your character was told they only had a small amount of time left, what would they do with the time? 

The concept of the bucket list is well-known. There will be things you’ve thought about doing whilst you still have time. I have a list.

What would your character have on their bucket list? Travel to the Great Wall of China? Be the star in the circus? Want to travel to the moon?

With no financial or practical restrictions, create a bucket list for the protagonist and antagonist in a work in progress. Are they similar? Do they differ greatly? Write two short stories where each of your character picks something off their list.

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

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

Facebook
Twitter
Google+
Pinterest
LinkedIn
INSTAGRAM
RSS
Follow by Email
December’s Book Club
December’s Book Club
Twitter
Poll
Do you like Halloween?
Archives
Categories