Writing Process

Novel Kicks Writing Room: Valentine’s Day Party

Happy Wednesday and another Writing Room exercise. 

As it’s Valentine’s Day today, the exercise will be based around a Valentine’s Day Party.

Is it a party celebrating love or is it one for people who don’t have a significant other? What happens at this party?

Write up to 800 words. You could set a timer for 10 minutes?

To add to the challenge, try and get these words into your story –

Language, Love, Hate, Leave, Underneath, Sorry.

Feel free to post your writing in the comments below but as usual, there is no obligation.

Enjoy.

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Novel Kicks Writing Room – Reflections in Conversations. 

Reflections in Conversations. 

Happy Wednesday everyone.

What I thought we could do today is write a conversation in two parts.

The situation of your story is as follows – your character is a clown and has just been fired. They’ve been told that the upcoming performance is their last one. In the first conversation you write, your character is having a conversation with another colleague just after they’ve been fired.

Then write the conversation again but the clown is alone. He is looking into the mirror as he’s putting on his make-up. He is talking to his reflection.

How different are the two conversations? Would the clown be saying something different to his colleague than he would to his reflection?

Write up to 500 words per conversation.

If you feel like sharing your writing, please do post in the comments below.

Have fun.

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Novel Kicks Fiction Friday: Magical Builder

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

Fiction Friday is our weekly writing flash fiction prompt.

The aim is to write for a minimum of five minutes and then keep going for as long as you can.

Don’t edit, just write. Once you’re done, you’re welcome to share in the comments but there’s no obligation. 

Today’s prompt: Magical Builder. 

Your character’s profession is a carpenter. They have been doing this for years but lately, business has been slow.

On the morning they decide to close the business down, a customer comes in asking your character to build them an object.

Once this object is built, the character realises it has magical powers. Word soon spreads as they continue to create objects that then become magical. They don’t know how they are managing it but as they are now successful, they don’t want to stop.

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Novel Kicks Writing Room: The Art of Letter Writing

The art of writing letters is so wonderful. 

I am such a fan of writing letters and fascinated in what can be said and the emotion that can be conveyed – how handwriting your thoughts and feelings to someone and the symbolism that represents.

So, what is the task today I hear you ask?

Writing a letter of course.

The letter is from the point of view of either the main character of a current work in progress or a favourite fictional character. The recipient is you.

What would your character say to you? What would they want to convey? Is there something about them that they want to tell you?

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Novel Kicks Writing Room: Switching

Today, I wanted to focus on a writing prompt with a bit of a twist.

Your word target is a minimum of 1000 words.

The prompt – The story begins when your character discovers an object that convinces them that they can have the superpower they desire the most.

Begin your story using the prompt and one of the genres below. It doesn’t matter which one you start with.

Here’s the twist – every 200 words, change the genre, choosing another from the list.

 

Romance

Horror

Sci-fi

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Novel Kicks Writing Room: Prose to a Script

Today, we are looking at changing a piece of prose to a script.

I feel that it’s good to change things up every so often.

I don’t know about you but, when I am writing, I imagine everything as though I am watching a movie. I found this helps.

Take a passage from something you’ve written and convert it into a script. What would you add/take out? What would the background look like? Would you include music? Continue reading

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Novel Kicks Writing Room: Ride Transportation

Today is a straight forward writing prompt. Try and write from a third person narrative and include more than two characters.

Your character is visiting a theme park. One of the rides is styled like an old hotel which has had a mysterious thing happen to it.

The ride is functioning normally but, when you’re in the middle of the ride, there is a bolt of lightening. There is such a loud crash, you close your eyes.

When you open them, you find that the hotel environment looks new, you’re dressed differently as is everyone around you.

You’re in the lobby and it’s not long before you realise that you’re no longer experiencing the ride, you’re standing in a hotel in a famous city in the 50s.

Continue the story.

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Novel Kicks Fiction Friday: Continuation Ever After

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

Fiction Friday is our weekly writing flash fiction prompt.

The aim is to write for a minimum of five minutes and then keep going for as long as you can.

Don’t edit, just write. Once you’re done, you’re welcome to share in the comments but there’s no obligation. 

Today’s prompt: Continuation Ever After.

Today, think of your favourite fairytale and how it ended. Now write a continuation of the story. Did Cinderella adjust to Palace life or did she crave her country house? Did Belle spend all her time in the library and this annoyed the beast?

Did Hansel and Gretel face any consequences for what they did to the witch?

Have fun.

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Novel Kicks Writing Room: Making a List

Today, we are going to be making a list.

If you’re anything like me, you love a list. I feel more in control if I have a to-do list for example. Whether I complete that is another matter. Haha.

As writers, we can also benefit from having lists and that is the task today.

Grab your writers notebook and pick three of lists below. Make a list for each. Then, if you feel like doing so/are inspired, begin a story to include some of the things from your list. Begin with this first line – ‘I didn’t expect that to happen.’

List ideas:

What 10 things would you grab if your house was on fire?

Which five things could you never forgive?

List five of the worst presents you’ve ever received.

List five places you’d love to go on holiday.

List five situations you’d never like to find yourself in?

List five people who have had an influence on your life.

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Novel Kicks Fiction Friday: Accidental Mind Reader

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

Fiction Friday is our weekly writing flash fiction prompt.

The aim is to write for a minimum of five minutes and then keep going for as long as you can.

Don’t edit, just write. Once you’re done, you’re welcome to share in the comments but there’s no obligation. 

Today’s prompt: Accidental Mind Reader. 

On your way to a job interview, your character falls over and hits their head. They don’t think too much about it until the next morning.

They wake up and discover they can hear the thoughts of other humans and animals around them.

Write a conversation between your character and either another person or animal.

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Nk Chats To… Jo Johnson

Hi Jo, thank you so much for joining me today. Can you tell me about your novel, Surviving Her and what inspired it? 

Surviving Her is a dual narrative domestic suspense that follows Nicky, a nine year old and Keziah, a twenty nine year old from the first day of their summer holidays.

The book explores the issue of emotional coercion, an issue that in my opinion  is poorly understood and always demonised when explored in the media. I see many people in my clinics who have stumbled upon control as a strategy to soothe their inner distress. Like many addictions, the desire to control starts small but often grows until it is harmful and destructive for the perpetrator and victim.

 

What’s your typical writing day like? 

Given my real life job is clinical psychology, I have to squeeze writing in the gaps. Sometimes I’m unable to write much for months but I scribble down notes and record voice notes when I have ideas to include in my novels. 

 

What are the challenges you found when writing your novel? 

Finding enough time. I find it hard to get back into the story if the gaps between writing splurges are too big.

 

Which fictional character would you like to meet and why? 

Will, the main character  from Jo Jo Moyes – “Me before You”. I loved that book and want to work with him as a psychologist so he doesn’t kill himself! I have a saviour complex!

 

What elements do you think make up a good psychological suspense novel? 

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Novel Kicks Writing Room: Micro Fiction

For today’s writing room, I thought we could write some micro fiction. 

Short stories are deceptively hard to write, micro fictions even more so.

Pick three out of the following genres – gothic, romance, horror, sci-fi, historic, young adult.

Now, write a 6 word short story, a 50 word short story and a 100 word short story assigning one of the genres you’ve picked to each one.

For example, I’ve chosen gothic to the 6 word short story:

Midnight struck; she’s now lost forever.

Let me know how you get on in the comments below and as always, if you feel brave enough to post your work, I’d love to read it.

Have fun!

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NK Chats To… Sarah Rodi

Hi Sarah. Thank you so much for joining me today. Can you tell me about your novel, One Night with her Viking Warrior, and what inspired it?

When her parents are killed at the hands of Danish raiders, a young Saxon girl, Rebekah, becomes the ward of her powerful uncle Cynerik. Alone at the fortress of Ryestone Keep, Rebekah’s only pleasure is riding, until she falls in love with a stable boy, regardless of his lack of status. However, her uncle wishes her to marry his son, Atol, a cold and corrupt young man. Envious of Rebekah’s relationship with Rædan, Atol seizes him and does the unthinkable…
Eight years later, a fleet of Danish ships sails up the river and lays siege to the fortress of Ryestone. The leader of the Northmen is instantly recognisable to Rebekah even though he is much changed. Rædan is back for revenge on those who destroyed his life. Seeing Rebekah at his enemy’s side, and with a daughter too, his anger – and attraction – burns. The Saxons offer the Vikings gold and silver to leave their lands, but Rædan demands something much more valuable – one night with Lady Rebekah…

I wanted to write a story where my characters have endured a lot – and I can’t think of anything worse than being parted from your loved ones and kept captive. These two characters really deserve a chance of finding their happy ever after. I loved creating Rebekah – she is beautiful yet strong – and Rædan is a true warrior yet kind and compassionate.

 

What’s your typical writing day like and do you have any particular writing quirks or rituals?

I actually work full time on magazines, so I have to fit my book writing in in the evenings. I put my daughters to bed then settle down with a coffee and some peace and quiet and try to write at least a few paragraphs, so I have something to work off the next evening, before I write some more. Chocolate definitely helps with the inspiration!

 

What are the challenges you found when writing your novel?

I always find the first few chapters the hardest, as you’re laying the groundwork for the plot and the characters’ personalities – basically setting up the story. I spend a month or two getting those first chapters right, and then the rest of the book usually flows quite naturally.

 

Which fictional character would you like to meet and why?

In my books? All my heroes… they’ve all been different, but swoon-worthy! In someone else’s book? Elizabeth Darcy

 

What elements make up a good story?

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Novel Kicks Writing Room: Pick ‘n’ Mix

Hello and welcome to the first Novel Kicks Writing Room of 2023. 

Today, I thought it would be fun to write a short story.

Before you begin writing, pick one thing from each section. Don’t overthink it, just write down the one you’re immediately drawn to. Once you’ve done this and written your piece, ask what kind of story it is. Is it a rag to riches, a quest? You get the idea.

Let me know how you found this exercise in the comments below or if you’re feeling brave, feel free to post your story.

 

Section one – pick one of the following occupations.

A joiner, a detective, an oil rig worker, an ice hockey player, a diplomat.

 

Section Two – pick one of the following places.

The alps, a basement, top of the Shard, a cat sanctuary, a bank vault.

 

Section Three – now pick an object.

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Novel Kicks Writing Room: Character Pen Pals.

I love the art of letter writing and have a couple of pen friends myself. It got me thinking about what you reveal about yourself in a letter that you wouldn’t if you met in real life.

Take a character from one of your WIPs. If you’re currently not working on anything, pick a character from a favourite novel.

Write a quick letter to this character. Tell them about yourself – your likes, dislikes, hobbies, fears and dreams. Ask them questions. You get the picture.

Then reply back as your character. Include responses to the information you gave them, as well as answers to the questions you asked them, like you would a pen pal.

Include revealing details about them. Get into the mindset of your character. What do they want you to write about them?

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Novel Kicks Fiction Friday: First Meeting

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

Fiction Friday is our weekly writing flash fiction prompt.

The aim is to write for a minimum of five minutes and then keep going for as long as you can.

Don’t edit, just write. Once you’re done, you’re welcome to share in the comments but there’s no obligation. 

*****

Today’s Prompt: First Meeting. 

Your character is getting married but they have never met the person they are going to marry.

They don’t meet this person until they reach the church. Oh and there are cameras filming the whole thing.

What happens?

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Novel Kicks Writing Room: Short Story Pick and Mix

Today, our writing exercise will be a short story of between 1000 – 1500 words.

Write a short story using the prompts below. At random, pick one element from each section.

Then combine your four answers and create your characters, background etc.

Pick one each from the following:

  1. Police, Circus, Shop.
  2. Town, Country, Boat.
  3. Maggie, Brian, Jamie.
  4. Letter, Article, Doorbell.

I’d love to see what you come up with. If you feel comfortable enough to do so, post your story in the comments below.

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Novel Kicks Fiction Friday: Mirror Mirror on the Wall

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

Fiction Friday is our weekly writing flash fiction prompt.

The aim is to write for a minimum of five minutes and then keep going for as long as you can.

Don’t edit, just write. Once you’re done, you’re welcome to share in the comments but there’s no obligation. 

 

Today’s prompt: Mirror Mirror on the Wall.

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Novel Kicks Writing Room: Writing a Letter to Your Younger Self

Writing a letter to your younger self.

As I attempt to edit the drafts of my first novel, I have been thinking a lot about how much I can hold myself back, mostly through lack of confidence.

I have never been the most assured person but, as a sixteen year old, I seemed to be a lot more fearless than I am now. How does that happen?

Something I thought might be helpful is to write a letter of advice to my younger self.

What would you tell your 16 year-old-self? It doesn’t necessarily need to focus just on your writing life. It could be about anything.

Try it and see how you get on.

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Novel Kicks Fiction Friday: We’re Going on an Easter Egg Hunt

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

Fiction Friday is our weekly writing flash fiction prompt.

The aim is to write for a minimum of five minutes and then keep going for as long as you can.

Don’t edit, just write. Once you’re done, you’re welcome to share in the comments but there’s no obligation. 

 

Today’s prompt: We’re going on an Easter Egg Hunt.

Your character is in their 20’s. They wake up on Good Friday and find a colourful envelope on their pillow.

It is addressed to them. They live alone so they don’t know where it has come from.

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Novel Kicks Writing Room: Change a Story’s POV

For today’s writing room, change a story’s POV.

Sometimes, it can be good to change it up a little.

Take a passage from either a current work in progress of your own or a favourite novel.

Change the POV of the main character and rewrite the passage.

What would a scene from Pride and Prejudice be like from the point of view of Lady Catherine De Burgh or what about if Rom was the main character in a Harry Potter scene?

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Novel Kicks Writing Room: Twelve Days of Christmas

Happy Wednesday everyone. 

For today’s writing room, I thought it would be good to just write.

As its December, the theme is going to be centred around Christmas.

Twelve days before Christmas, you arrive home to find an envelope on your doormat.

Your name is on the front, written in cursive writing that you don’t recognise. There is no stamp so it has been hand delivered.

When you open it, there is simply a clue, ‘on the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me… to find out, go to the car park on Morgan Ave at 6pm today.’ 

Carry on the story, using the song as inspiration.

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NK Chats To… Eliza J. Scott

Hi Eliza, thank you for joining me today and for inviting me onto your blog tour for A Cozy Countryside Christmas. Can you tell me about your book and what inspired it? 

Well, without giving too much away, A Cosy Countryside Christmas centres around Ella Welford and Joss Campion. The couple were childhood best friends, until Joss left the village rather abruptly. When he returns, sparks fly but neither of them are keen to do anything about it. When they find themselves thrown together in an unexpected drama high on the snowy moor top… I’m afraid to say anything further would give too much away!

 

How long does it typically take you to write a book and what’s your process like? 

It can take between three to four months per book. As for my writing process, I tend to start by drafting character profiles, jotting down as many details as possible. Then I set out a rough draft of the outline of the story so when I start to actually write it, I have an idea of the journey I’d like my protagonists to take. Having said that, I tend to let them take the lead and see what challenges they face on the way to their happy ending. I’m a mix of plotter and pantser – plotty pantser or pants plotter; I’m not sure which is applicable!

 

Which fictional world would you like to visit and why? 

I loved The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe books when I was younger (actually, I still do), so I’d love to slip through the back of the wardrobe and visit Narnia. Can I be cheeky and name two? I’d love to have a wander around Enid Blyton’s Enchanted Wood too – and maybe have a quick scramble up the Faraway Tree.

 

Which songs would make up a playlist for your book? 

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NK Chats To… Helen Buckley

I am delighted to be welcoming you to Novel Kicks today, Helen. Thank you for inviting me onto your blog tour. Can you tell me about your book, Strictly Christmas Spirit and what inspired it? 

Strictly Christmas Spirit is a heart-warming, festive romance about a bad boy Hollywood superstar sent to do community service at a homeless shelter. Blake immediately clashes with community centre manager Emily, who is a former dancer from TV show Strictly Dancing with Celebs. Blake doesn’t care about the centre, or Christmas for that matter, he just wants to get his community service over and done with. Will the people he meets at the centre, and Emily herself, change his heart? Strictly Christmas Spirit is book three in the Spotlight Series but can be read as a standalone story.

The book was actually inspired a lot by my real life work. I used to run a community centre in London, providing services for the homeless and marginalised in the community. I based a lot of the story on the experiences I had there (although I never had a Hollywood star come to do community service there!)

 

What’s your typical writing day like? 

Almost impossible at the moment as I have two very young children! If I can, I write between 5-6am and 7-8pm. I literally squeeze in time while my kids are asleep and it’s very hard.

 

What are the challenges you found when writing your novel, especially when it’s part of a series? Did you know that it was always going to be a series? 

Strictly Christmas Spirit is the third book in my Spotlight Series. When I wrote the first book, Strictly on Ice, I had no idea it was going to be part of a series. It was only when I met a literary agent that he gave me the tip to write a series, and that’s where it all came!

The main challenge I have when writing is having to research information. I just want to write and let my imagination run wild but sometimes a little research is necessary!

 

What songs would make up a playlist for your book? 

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Novel Kicks Fiction Friday: Random Page Story Starter

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

Fiction Friday is our weekly writing flash fiction prompt.

The aim is to write for a minimum of five minutes and then keep going for as long as you can.

Don’t edit, just write. Once you’re done, you’re welcome to share in the comments but there’s no obligation. 

Today’s prompt: random page story starter. 

Pick a random book from your book shelf or Kindle.

Open it to page fifty-two. Go to the fifth sentence on the page.

That is now the first line of your short story.

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Novel Kicks Writing Room – NaNoWriMo Writing Sprint

Through November, I take part in National Novel Writing Month.

The idea, if you’ve never heard of it, is to write 50,000 words in thirty days.

That works out to about 1,667 words per day. This is what I usually aim for as a minimum, but I also don’t go over by much. Why? I like the community of the event. I like reaching that last 1,667 on or around 30thNovember. I’ve rushed through it before, and it wasn’t as exciting. One year, I had finished by 18th November and there was such an anti-climactic feeling of “oh, OK. What now?”

No, I much prefer to take it slow. 1,667 words a day is manageable to me. That’s not to say that it always comes easy. Some days, it takes me all afternoon to reach that target.

Finishing early is a bad thing. It just doesn’t work for me. What is good for you is the most important thing.

One of the things I have found helpful is writing sprints. These are made up of small writing challenges. They are usually based on a theme and do require a little imagination. If you want to see more examples, click here. I find them so helpful and fun. They have helped me improve my word output on more than one occasion.

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Novel Kicks Fiction Friday: Superhero Confession

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

Fiction Friday is our weekly writing flash fiction prompt.

The aim is to write for a minimum of five minutes and then keep going for as long as you can.

Don’t edit, just write. Once you’re done, you’re welcome to share in the comments but there’s no obligation. 

Today’s prompt: Superhero confession

Write from the point of view of someone who has to tell a loved one that they have not only superpowers but a nemesis.

The person/people your character loves are in danger.

First line: ‘what are you doing here? It’s late.’

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NK Chats To… Anne Montgomery

Hello Anne, welcome to Novel Kicks. Can you tell me about your novel, The Castle and what inspired it? 

Why write a novel about rape? For me the reason was personal. While attending college, I was sexually assaulted. I became a statistic. Today, one out of every six women in the United States will be the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime. Like 80% of those victims, I never went to the police. Why? I believed they would have blamed me. I was on a date with a sweet-faced farm boy who played for my university’s football team. I’d had a few drinks. I willingly followed him into his dorm room. What did I expect would happen? So, I said nothing.

Years later, I became a teacher at South Mountain High School in Phoenix, a position I held for 20 years.  It was during this time I came to understand another sad statistic: Four out of five rapes are committed by someone the victim knows. I kept meeting young girls who’d been sexually assaulted, always by a family member or friend. Sadly, many of these teens were ostracized by their loved ones when they came forward, told they were lying, or that the assault was their fault.

This prompted me to investigate the behavior and psychology of rapists, the profile of a victim, and the ways sexual assault survivors can heal. The end result was the story of Maggie, a national park ranger who works at Montezuma Castle in Arizona’s Verde Valley. Maggie is recovering from the gang rape she suffered in the Coast Guard. We follow her through her depression, anger, and ultimate healing.

 

What’s your typical writing day like? 

Until I retired from teaching, I only wrote during school breaks, so most of my books were produced during the summer. Now, I generally get some work done every morning and sometimes in the late afternoon, depending on what else I have going on.

 

What are the challenges you found when writing your novel? 

I find the writing is the easy part. I like to tell stories, perhaps a hangover from my previous life as a reporter. The real challenges come when an author tries to convince others—agents, editors, publishers, reviewers, readers—to like their books.

 

Which fictional character would you like to meet and why? 

I find Clive Cussler’s Dirk Pitt rather appealing. Not only is he pretty hot, but he’s a scuba diver. I am as well. I would love to tag along on some of his underwater adventures.

 

What elements make up a good story? 

The setting is especially important. I consider locale as another character. Most of my stories, for example, take place in Arizona in and around the Sonoran Desert, a magical area filled with rugged, wild terrain and plants and animals that live nowhere else. The land is both magnificently beautiful and horribly treacherous, if one is not careful. Of course, a good story rides on its characters, who must be engaging, interesting, and relatable.

 

Which authors do you admire? 

I don’t have any favorite authors. I read stories that look interesting, whether the author is a well-known for best-sellers or a first-time Indie author.

 

What’s your favourite word and why? 

Favorite word? I don’t know. I like lots of words, but mostly ones that sound funny when you say them, like absorb and nudibranch. (The latter are strange Seussical-like creatures who live in the sea. As I mentioned, I’m a scuba diver.)

 

Any other advice for aspiring writers? 

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Novel Kicks Fiction Friday: Running From The Circus

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

Fiction Friday is our weekly writing flash fiction prompt.

The aim is to write for a minimum of five minutes and then keep going for as long as you can.

Don’t edit, just write. Once you’re done, you’re welcome to share in the comments but there’s no obligation. 

Today’s prompt: Running From The Circus. 

The circus comes to town but instead of wanting to run to it, your character wants to run as far away from it as possible.

The circus and your character have history and when they met someone from their past, they can’t run.

Starting line – ‘well, I didn’t think I would see you again.’ 

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Novel Kicks Fiction Friday: Every Breath You Take

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

Fiction Friday is our weekly writing flash fiction prompt.

The aim is to write for a minimum of five minutes and then keep going for as long as you can.

Don’t edit, just write. Once you’re done, you’re welcome to share in the comments but there’s no obligation. 

Today’s prompt: Every Breath You Take. 

It’s the middle of August. It’s summer and it’s the best time for romance.

What about forbidden romance?

The setting is a balmy summer evening. You’re near the beach and can see a beachside cafe.

Your first line is: ‘I watch as he throws his head back, laughing at something she has said. It should be me.’

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Novel Kicks Writing Room: Put Your Reader into The Story

One of the things I am struggling most with the draft of my first novel is putting the reader into my story. 

Put it this way, there’s currently many adjectives and a lot of telling, not showing.

The thing I have heard many writers say when giving writing advice is to try and put your reader into the scene.

For example, don’t just say I walked up the hall and was scared, but try something like my heart thumped as I crept up the hall, the banging getting louder the closer I got.

I know, not my finest work but hopefully you get my point.

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Novel Kicks Fiction Friday: Your Repeated Horrible Day

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

Fiction Friday is our weekly writing flash fiction prompt.

The aim is to write for a minimum of five minutes and then keep going for as long as you can.

Don’t edit, just write. Once you’re done, you’re welcome to share in the comments but there’s no obligation. 

 

Today’s prompt: Your repeated horrible day… 

You get home from the worst day of your life. You are so exhausted that you fall asleep in the same clothes.

When you wake up the next morning, things are feeling a little too familiar but you can’t quite put your finger on why.

As you gradually start your day, you realise that you’re reliving the horrible day you had the day before.

And the same the next day, and the next and the next. You’ve found yourself in a Groundhog Day.

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Novel Kicks Fiction Friday: My Best Friends From TV

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

Fiction Friday is our weekly writing flash fiction prompt.

The aim is to write for a minimum of five minutes and then keep going for as long as you can.

Don’t edit, just write. Once you’re done, you’re welcome to share in the comments but there’s no obligation. 

 

Today’s prompt: my best friends from the TV. 

Pick two of the main characters from the last TV show you watched. They are now your best friends.

Your setting is an ice-cream shop. There are ten tables, five of which are occupied (including the one you’re sat at.)

Then, out of nowhere, everything goes dark.

Continue the story.

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Novel Kicks Writing Room: Rewriting the End

Welcome to the Novel Kicks Writing Room. 

Today, I wanted to look at the ending of novels.

Endings, in my opinion, are as important as beginnings. If it’s not a satisfying end, it could really annoy the reader and leave them feeling flat.

Pick an ending to a book you’ve previously read and rewrite it.

You could do this by using the original POV or, you could choose another character from the story. It’s your call.

The only rule is that it should be different to the original story.

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NK Chats To… Kasi Blake

Hi Kasi, thank you for joining me today. Can you tell me about your novel, The Business Engagement and what inspired it?

I started off writing for Harlequin years ago. Then I moved on to YA Urban Fantasy/Paranormal books. I love writing YA, but it was nice to write about adults for a change. The Business Engagement is Contemporary Romance, a story of two lawyers that can’t stand each other. When the story begins, they are both experiencing huge problems at work. Skylar decides a fake engagement would solve everything. I have always loved Marriage of Convenience stories. That’s what inspired me to do this book.

 

What’s your typical writing day like?

Well, sometimes I get up before dawn to start writing. But when I get up late, I catch up on emails first. I do some marketing and whatever else that needs doing. I usually don’t really start to write until evening, and then I am usually up until midnight working on a book.

 

What are the challenges you found when writing your novel?

It’s always difficult to get to know the characters well enough that you know how they’ll react in any given situation. There are just so many moving parts when it comes to writing and endless challenges.

 

Which fictional character would you like to meet and why?

From this book, it would be Grandma Dot. She’s a pistol. From any of my books, it would be Nick Gallos/Tyler Beck from Bait: Van Helsing Academy because he is a gorgeous rock star with a bigger than life persona. He tours the world killing vampires.

 

From idea to finished book, what’s your writing process like?

After I get the idea, I make a list of possible scenes. I have to check to make sure all the romance elements are there. Then I dive in. When the book is finished, I put it aside for a while and work on something else. After I’ve forgotten how the story goes, I read it as a reader would, but I pay special attention to what’s wrong. I rewrite. Then I send it out to my wonderful beta readers. They let me know all the problems they spy out, and I rewrite again. Eventually, it gets looked at by an editor. The book goes through several rounds of revisions and editing before it’s ready to go.

 

Which authors do you admire?

S.E. Hinton got me started writing back when I was in the 7th grade. Her books inspired me. I also love to read Cassandra Clare, JK Rowling, Stephen King, Sarah Rees Brennan, and Nora Roberts.

 

What’s your favourite word and why?

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A Moment With… Angela Jackson

Best-selling author Angela Jackson, who has just launched her new book, The Darlings, reveals her top five tips on writing:

 

  1. YOU DEFINITELY DON’T NEED TO WRITE WHAT YOU KNOW

You have an imagination, so use it! My second novel, The Darlings, is written mainly from the point of view of a thirty-something male comedian. I’m not in my thirties, I’m not a man, and I’d be stretching it to claim to be a comedian, but I did my research. One of our jobs as writers is to head down research rabbit holes to find out why people have affairs, sail around the world, change their religion, leave their partners, change careers, kill people. If you find yourself losing track of time as you research your subject area, it’s a good sign you’ll enjoy writing about the subject. If I’d have stuck to writing solely what I know about, I’d have submitted 70,000 words on the merits of a good cup of tea.

 

  1. BE YOURSELF

I once spent a whole academic year silencing my voice. After a buoyant start to an MSc in Creative Writing, once I was ‘put in my place’ by a particular tutor a couple of times, I sat in classes cowed and uncharacteristically silent. Even though I won a prestigious writing award during the same year, I didn’t trust myself to write another good sentence. I started to believe the ridiculous idea that commercial fiction, which is what I write, wasn’t good enough. If you find yourself thinking along these lines: STOP! You don’t need to be a ‘heavyweight’. You don’t need to produce a classic. I look at material I wrote during that wretched year, and it feels utterly forced and lifeless. That’s because I was trying to be someone else. I was trying to be a ‘serious’ writer. It didn’t work. You don’t need to write what you know, but you DO need to allow your own writing voice to emerge.

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Novel Kicks Fiction Friday: Christmas in July

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 if you’d like. 

Today’s prompt: Christmas in July.

Your character doesn’t like holidays and celebrations at all.

They particularly don’t like all this Christmas in July nonsense.

So, what happens if they fall and suddenly find themselves in a world where it is always Christmas?

First line ‘Gold, red and green lights, what is this?’ 

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NK Chats To… David Russell

Can you tell me about your novella, High Wired On and what inspired it?

I was inspired to write my dystopian novella High Wired On by a state of extreme despair and negativity. I was inspired to try romance by some powerful efforts on the part of a friend of mine.

 

What’s your typical writing day like?

For many years I did not have a typical writing day. There were brief snatches of evening time, after a multiplicity of daytime work. That changed with the onset of Covid: with this I generally get up at 6 am and have a solid stretch until about 9.30 am. There are parallel slots in the afternoon and evening.

 

How long does it typically take you to write a book? 

Anything from weeks to years.

 

What are the challenges you found when writing?

To convey suspense and tension while trying to maintain stylistic accuracy.

 

Which fictional character would you like to meet and why?

I’d like to meet Selene, the Greek Moon Goddess – the supreme Dream Girl.

 

What elements make up a good story? 

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NK Chats To… Michelle Angelle

Hi Michelle and Angelle. Thank you so much for joining me today.

Thank you for having us. We are fans.

 

Can you tell me a bit about your book, Wrong Guy, Right Room and what inspired the story? 

Twenty years ago, we started a book club and fell in love with the romance novels our group read. Inspired, and wanting to work together, we immediately started dreaming up characters.

Unlike traditional rom-coms on the market, we wanted side characters that had agency and strong voices. Together, we imagined scenarios involving two lost loves forced together in impossible situations. We all have a “WHAT IF” person from our past and it was fun to fantasize about a reunion.

Once we started writing this book, the characters presented themselves. Wrong Guy, Right Room is a stand-alone contemporary romantic comedy about second chances and reconnecting with your soulmate.

 

What’s your typical writing day like and do you have any pre writing rituals like needing coffee and silence?

First, we begin with an ancient chant, and then do an incense ritual to clear our space. Totally JOKING! Between juggling kids, husbands, and part-time jobs, the writing time happens when it can. Luckily, we have one another on speed dial and chat often about crazy ideas. There is rarely a hello, just diving into work the moment we answer the phone. Since we write together, we share docs and emails constantly. While there is no specific ritual, there might be a little mind reading.

 

What are the challenges of co-writing a novel and what’s the most valuable thing you’ve learnt about the process since starting?

Honestly, the biggest challenge is the writing software. Our first novel was eaten by Google Docs. Trust us, it was an AMAZING book. Otherwise, we both feel super lucky to have a balanced and creative partnership. We have different skills sets and they match up perfectly.

 

What songs would be on a playlist for this novel? 

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Book Extract: Deadly Whispers in Lower Dimblebrook by Julie Butterfield

I’d like to give a lovely welcome to Julie Butterfield and the blog tour for her latest novel, Deadly Whispers in Lower Dimblebrook.

When Isabelle Darby moves to the delightfully cosy village of Lower Dimblebrook, she’s searching for peace and quiet as well as a chance to escape from heartbreak. After making friends with Fiona Lambourne, another newcomer to the village, Issie is left reeling when tragedy strikes and Fiona is murdered, the second wife Anthony Lambourne has lost in unfortunate circumstances.

And if that wasn’t bad enough, the local gossips insist that Fiona had been embroiled in an affair before her death, something which Issie knows not to be the case.

Determined to clear her friend’s reputation and solve the mystery of the rumours, Issie takes on both the gossips and the handsome but stern DI Wainwright, making both friends and enemies along the way!

 

Julie has shared an extract with us today so grab that tea/coffee, comfortable chair and enjoy. 

 

***** beginning of extract*****

 

Introduction

Living in a village on the edge of the Cotswolds, it was easy to imagine life in Lower Dimblebrook and the characters are all the sort of people I would like to meet myself – with the exclusion of the murderer of course! As a lifelong fan of Miss Marple and Poirot, I could imagine the keystones of the village being the vicar and those residents who were have lived in the same houses for generations and know every nook and cranny of their village. I decided to dispense with the vicar in Deadly Whispers but I definitely needed a vicar’s wife, one of those kind-hearted, totally dependable women who provide a rock of support for anyone who asks.

 

For a moment Issie thought she had found the house empty until she detected a snuffling noise approaching ever closer and the door flew open, two over-excited dachshunds tumbling out to sniff her feet and ankles with all the focus of bloodhounds. A pink-cheeked face appeared a few seconds behind them and Miriam Hollier wiped her hands on her flour-covered apron and tilted her head enquiringly in Issie’s direction.

‘Hello, Isabelle isn’t it? Do come in. Flounder … Scuttle come along now,’ and Issie found herself herded in the direction of a warm kitchen, rich with the scent of baking and with scones and cakes covering every surface.

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