Sunday 31 March 2013

The Very Inspiring Blogger Award

I've been tagged in a blog chain by the very lovely Rae Rivers, whose debut book Cat Got Your Tongue! will be released this year and will be going straight onto my To Read List. It's taken me ages to pick up the gauntlet because I've been fiddling with the partial sub of the WIP (more on that soon), so without further ado...

Rules for the award:

  • Display the award logo on your blog
  • Link back to the person who nominated you (thank you, Rae!)
  • State 7 things about yourself
  • Nominate and link to another blogger/bloggers and link to them.

And my 7 things:

1. I have a bit of an obsession with How-To books. It's a comfort thing, I think, the idea that if I follow a list of rules I can have the outcome I want. When I had my children I searched feverishly for the Holy Grail book that would tell me how to instantly have them sleeping through the night. (Incidentally, I recommend The Baby Whisperer by Tracy Hogg as the nearest I got to Holy Grail!)
Now that I'm writing, I have the same desire for a set of rules which, if followed, will give me a good and saleable ms. Of course there is no such set of rules any more than there was one for babies, but part of my brain doesn't seem able to accept that, and so I have a rising pile of theory books on writing. Of course they have helped, but there is no magic formula!

2. I am addicted to Candy Crush, the Facebook timesuck game. I am a terrible procrastinator and this is yet another distraction I don't need when I should be writing. I am currently stuck on level 42, sigh.

3. I had my milestone birthday this year. I thought I would mind being 40 but it turns out I minded turning 30 much more! I'm in a very happy place now with my family and with my writing.

4. I love American TV shows to the tragic point where I feel aggrieved if I have to go out in the evening, especially in the winter when it's cold out and cosy inside! I like nothing better than snuggling up on the sofa in my pyjamas watching my current favourite, The Following (creepy but excellent). I also love Dexter, Supernatural and Game of Thrones. The heroes in my last two books have been based on the stars of TV shows I watch weekly - the inspiration for my current WIP hero is Niall Matter from Primeval: New World (for a pic check out my Pinterest board by clicking on the button in the sidebar). Every Saturday I watch it and think how I can better describe Dan in my story!

5. My favourite childhood memory is watching The Incredible Hulk (the original TV show with Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno) while cuddled up with my Dad. I was about four. My mum and brother hated the show, so it really was our special thing. I always thought it was very sad that David Banner could never settle down anywhere because Jack McGee always turned up to flush him out.

6. I'm not well-travelled. I've only been out of Europe once, and all of my trips have been sunshine package holidays. I have a massive bucket list of places to visit and see with DH when the kids are off our hands.

7. I don't have a middle name and neither does my brother. For some reason my parents couldn't agree on one. As a kid I always felt very short-changed by this and I used to make up exotic ones to impress my friends like Saffron and Savannah!

Passing on the tag is hard, as so many of my writing  friends have already been hit and I've taken so long, so I'm tagging Libby, who is extremely creative and since she's recently redesigned this blog (she made my daisy header and buttons!) is definitely a very inspiring blogger to me!

Thanks for reading, and Happy Easter! x

Tuesday 5 March 2013

New WIP!

It's been a few weeks since I last blogged, apologies all, but I've been hanging on until I had something concrete to blog about!

Since having 'All Bets Are On' finalised I've been busy putting together ideas for my next story. The way it works (for me at least) is that I send my three best ideas over to my editor and she chooses the one she thinks has the most potential. The next step is for me to come up with detailed character outlines (covering goal, motivation, conflict as well as background details) and a story plan. This bit takes a long time but it's one of my favourite parts of my whole writing process.

This time it has taken three weeks, during which I've filled in character questionnaires (I use the ones in Liz Fielding's Little Book Of Writing Romance), thought about locations and used my plotboard to develop a three act story outline. If you hadn't already guessed, I am most definitely not a pantser! For the first time with this story, I've also discovered Pinterest, which is terrific fun and a terrific time suck. What it has done is given me some lovely visual inspiration for my story in a way I've never really had before. If you want to check my board out (as it is so far), click on the lovely Pinterest button my very clever 13 year old has created for me on the sidebar.

I have a working title for my story - 'The Get-Out Clause', and I've just received feedback from my editor on my story plan - I get a couple of pages of detailed advice. Some of it is the flagging up of potential pitfalls for the story before I begin writing it - for example in this story I have a second love interest for the heroine and my editor has pointed out that I need to keep tabs on this because it has huge potential to detract from the main romance. Other advice is more detailed, suggestions on how I can improve on my plot and how I can deepen the conflict of the main characters.

This is possibly the most prepared I've been for any of my stories so far, but I've learned a lot over the last year and one of the main things is that the more effort I put in at the beginning, the easier the actual writing becomes. I can't say that would be true for everyone - I know of people who have a rough idea and dive straight in and the thought fills me with horrified admiration - but  it's certainly true for me.

I'm off now to put in a couple of hours reviewing and revising my story plan in line with the editor's advice and then I will be kicking off with 1k a day. I will keep you posted on what I hope will be an easier book to write than the last one!