A rose by any other name…

When it comes to ideas of what to write about, I am never short of ideas. One of my main problems is choosing one from among the many ideas flashing around my brain at any given moment. I can usually get a quick grasp on the most important elements of my characters; I can see the settings, hear the noises and smells the smells, but the element of writing I find the most difficult is choosing names for my characters. How do people do it? I invariably call every male character Mike or Dave and the females are usually Louise or Hannah. And if I have more than two characters of each gender, I panic. When I realise that I’ve used the same names again I then get so hung up on finding the “right” name that writing grinds to a halt. It’s a problem. I had a kid’s book...

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I Don’t Know What to Write!

I’m a terrible procrastinator. I could represent Scotland in the Avoiding What You Should Be Doing olympics, such is my talent for being busy with anything except writing. And does this proficiency make me happy? No. So why do I do it? I was chatting about my low word count to Gary Parkin yesterday evening. “I want to write,” I moaned, “I just can’t decide which project to do.” “You know what you want to write,” he said. “No, I don’t.” “Yes, you do. You know what you WANT to write but you’re getting confused by things you think you SHOULD be writing.” “But…” He’s right. It pains me to admit it, but he’s absolutely spot on. I have three main projects on the go: Close To Home (crime fiction), The Maths Man Prophecies (black comedy) and The Knife Thrower’s Assistant...

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Five Facts About Aurelia Miele

Many thanks to Angela Barton who passed the “five facts” baton to me. What’s this? Well, writers are sharing five facts about a character from their work in progress. These aren’t necessarily facts you’d learn from the book but may form part of the back story which, as the creators, only the authors know about. You can read about Angela’s five facts here. And here are mine from The Knife Thrower’s Assistant. My main character is Aurelia Miele who lives in a southern Italian village. The story begins just before WW2 when Aurelia is 12 years old. She has a scar on her foot from when her mother dropped a knife on it when she was only three years old. Aurelia loves to pick olives from the trees surrounding the village and...

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Stabby Words and Cutting Remarks

Last week Gary Parkin wrote a very good blog post about word lists and why it’s a good idea to use one when you are writing. You can read what he had to say about it here. Basically, Gary makes the point that it can be useful to have a small lexicon of era/genre/character specific words which you can use to make your story more believable and timely. Gary puts it much better so you should go and read his post. I’ll wait ’til you come back. There, good, isn’t it? This got me thinking. Firstly, it’s a bloody good idea, but there is another way I think the word list could be useful. When I write, I like to pay attention to theme and metaphor. I usually get an image or a situation and use it to permeate all areas of my story. Take a short story I wrote called...

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My Creative Process – The Grand Blog Tour

Firstly, many thanks to Abi Burlingham who nominated me to take part in the Grand Blog Tour for creative types. The whole point of these tours is to encourage new visitors to your blog so if this is your first time at my particular madhouse, hello, welcome and please come again. If you’re a regular visitor you already know not to put your hands near the cage bars and under no account to feed the exhibits. Unless it’s chocolate. Unless it’s chocolate for me. And booze. And….ahem. Each participant in the blog tour has four questions to answer, so here goes. What are you working on? I have more projects on the go than is healthy. To get me actually writing I work on a little bit of “Senga McGurk’s Guide Tae Glesga: An A to Z.” Senga has...

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