The Pantser and The Second Act Sag (Or, more things I have learnt writing a novel)

I’ve finished my first novel, and plans are underway to publish it. As I bask in the afterglow (AKA the thank-feck-that’s-over, Netflix-saturated, crap-magazine-reading malaise), I’ve been reflecting on the novel-writing process and what more it has taught me (You may also want to read my earlier post, Ten things I have learnt writing a novel). […]

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Wrestling the Octopus: how to avoid writing a novel

At a certain point, a novel-in-progress starts to get a tad unwieldy. When you begin, you have a blank screen and the boundless enthusiasm of a puppy. After a few months you have a mountain of scrap paper scrawled with half-finished paragraphs and synopsis drafts, screeds of ideas jotted down and pinned all over the walls in your office, […]

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The Story Thief

My six-year-old daughter made up a story for me before going to bed tonight. Here it is, as close to her exact words as I can remember: The Story Thief [NB – not to be confused with Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief – although possibly just as riveting.] Once upon a time, before the dinosaurs […]

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That “Aha!” Moment

I’ve just had an “Aha!” moment. It was one of those moments we writers live for, when a sudden flash of elucidation sets your writing morning on fire, reminding you why you’re sitting at your desk sweating blood, struggling to get your story down on the page. This particularly sweet “Aha!” moment came as a […]

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Characterisation – The Naked Truth

Some of you will be aware that I do musical theatre. I’ve performed in many shows through the years including Chess, Blood Brothers, Jesus Christ Superstar and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. My latest role, however, is making me feel rather vulnerable. You’ll understand why in a minute, but first let me take you back a few […]

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