Saturday 30 May 2015

The changing face of research

I don't research much. I've always written what I know, or glossed over stuff that I didn't know.

Mostly, this is because I started writing in the dark ages (ie. Before Internet), so any research meant traipsing off to my local library, or the much larger library in Plymouth. It was a hassle, to be honest - and I was never organised enough to make notes of all the things I needed to know before I went, so after a half-hearted browse among the shelves, I'd give up and go home. Only to remember what I'd wanted to look for.

I did once learn how to count to 10 in Hungarian, because I wanted one of my characters to have a weird fact attached to them. I had to go to the big library and search through their Hungarian dictionary. I've forgotten now, though, so don't ask!

I liked the idea of research though - of having piles of old, fragrant books on my desk, of writing notes, of sipping take-out coffee from plastic cups... I'm a research romantic!

Fast forward to today. My latest character has announced herself as a lover of female blues singers... and I know nothing about them. Luckily for me, the internet - and YouTube - exists. So I have spent the last couple of days immersing myself in all things blues.

Do you enjoy research?
What's the weirdest thing you've learned through your research?
Do you have any female blues artists recommendations?

Saturday 16 May 2015

Too much to do

It is probably obvious to my new followers that I a) don't post as regularly as I do during the A-Z challenge and b) there aren't many flash fiction posts. Perhaps I should do more fiction on this blog, but I prefer to write things that I might be able to sell, and if I post them here I won't be able to do that. Also, it will become obvious that I spend my time taking photos like this...

... instead of writing, posting and generally keeping on top of my to-do list.

However, the reason I take a lot of alcohol and nice-view pictures is because I spend some of my time listening to my husband gigging (Peter Crawford, in case you're really new here - he mostly gigs in Cornwall, Devon, Cheltenham, Belgium and Germany). And that will also explain why I take nice-view photos through windows rather than being outside!

My current to-do list includes making more use of my mailing list and writing a new novel.

I was doing well with the new novel, which was actually going to be a rewrite of an old novel, Until I realised that it was awful, certain events made no sense whatsoever, it was set in London even though I've only been there twice, and I'd used a narrative device which I mutated to use in Cat & The Dreamer, so I can't really use the same device again.

So, I've taken it back to the drawing board and letting my imagination run riot... and it is!

As for my mailing list goal, why not sign up to see how I get on...

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Wednesday 6 May 2015

IWSG - Pass the red pen

There I was thinking my bloghop duties were over for a few days, at least, and then I look at my blog feed and everyone has realised that it's the first Wednesday of the month, and you should know what that means by now...

Click here for the linky list of members

I have decided to query agents with my latest novel. I had planned to simply pep up my synopsis and send it on its way, but I couldn't remember the story! So now I am reading my novel for the first time since before Christmas.

I thought it would be an easy recall the story and write the synopsis type job, but as I read, I can see parts I would love to rewrite. I'm battling against myself at the moment, because this poor story has gone through so many rewrites over several years I can't see how I could do better.

I still have half the book to read, so the battle isn't over yet. On the positive side, I think I might have nailed the synopsis... maybe.

Do you find things you want to change on your final read through?
Have you ever forgotten the story you told?
Do you have any general querying/submitting advice?
(UK and US methods vary greatly, so some advice might
not be suitable for me, but will definitely help others)

Monday 4 May 2015

Reflecting on the A-Z

I did it! I completed the whole month! I put up 26 vignettes, some of which I wasn't completely happy with, but I got wonderful comments anyway, so...

Thank you for visiting my blog this April!!

I decided on taking part in February, because I'd started to stagnate with my blog - I wasn't sure what I was doing with it or whether I was enjoying it any more. I chose to write vignettes because I'd spent the previous few months writing them for a competition entry and really enjoyed them - capturing scenes and moments in time without explanation or back story really suits me.

And, best of all, I've come away from the month teeming with ideas - not only for more vignettes and short pieces, but another novella (possibly just flipping over into novel-length territory).

The Good
  • I met some brand new bloggers that I'm really looking forward to getting to know better
  • I reconnected with some bloggers I've lost touch with
  • I was organised enough to visit and comment on other blogs - although I still have replies to write to the people who visited me
  • I didn't eat as much chocolate as I thought I would
  • The dog wasn't neglected
  • My kids still recognise me!
The Not-So Good
  • I started with the intention of visiting a lot of new blogs, working my way down the linky list, but as the month went on, I just didn't have time for as many new blogs as I hoped for.
  • I managed to completely ignore some of the blogs I've followed for years, in some cases not even realising they were taking part! I am so sorry if that was you.
  • I got so tired, and when I get tired I get grumpy... So I got grumpy too... oops!

And now, I'm looking forward to getting back to normal, to pulling out my WIP and having a few computer-free, coffee shop writing sessions.

How about you? How was your month?
Did you take part in the challenge, or sit back and read other people's efforts?