Friday 26 August 2016

Writers are yellow cars

Every so often, I have a wobble - you've probably been witness to it once or twice: I wonder why I'm even a writer. Because everyone seems to be a writer. Is there really any room for me? I talk to people online, and discover they're writing a book. Or I'll meet someone new in real life, and - guess what? - they're a writer too.

In fact, there seems to be far more writers than readers these days.

#2 son is a budding actor. Today he was telling me about his friends, and they all seem to be part of one acting group or another. As a child, he's drawn to the people who have the same interests, of course - and perhaps acting groups are more prolific for kids these days than when I was at school. None of my friends were actors, and I didn't want to be one - I can't recall any of my non-friends who were actors either.

My husband's first car was a yellow Metro, and I knew how easy it would be to find that car in a multi-storey car park... it would sparkle like a star from a bed of really dull-coloured cars. Until every car seemed to be yellow. Ugh! They weren't all yellow the day before, when we didn't have a yellow car. They were many colours.

Many years later we had an import car - this time, when we met other drivers of the same car on the road, we'd give them a wave. We seemed to be waving an awful lot!

So, perhaps there aren't a limitless numbers of writers oozing out of gaps in the walls or cracks in the pavement. Perhaps, by being a writer, I just notice them more.

This post is brought to you from a really boring bus journey this morning

Saturday 20 August 2016

No story goes to waste

Having fun on Seaton Beach, Cornwall with Artoo
After working hard on You. I. Us. and turning a novella into a novel for most of this year, I'm now looking back at some of my older stories and wondering if I can create something amazing out of them.

I do this on a fairly regular basis, with various levels of success. One of the stories from You. I. Us. - Redemption - was based on a story I wrote around 1997. The actual story bore no resemblance by the end of the re-write, but it kick-started me, and allowed me to tell the story I'd wanted to initially. Sometimes I find my own improvements as a writer enable past stories to be revitalised in a way that I could never imagine.

I'm currently attempting this process with two stories at the same time. One is basically a piece of description that I'm hoping to squeeze a plot out of, and the other is the first part of my 2012 NaNoWriMo novel.

But I'm going through the whole spectrum of writing within one page. I'll write a sentence I think is perfect, then another which is rubbish, then I'll decide the whole idea is a waste of time, then I'll sweep right back to writing something brilliant again.

This makes it really hard to know if I'm actually writing anything that's any good. In fact, the original title of this post was "How do you know if you're writing a good story?" but that sounded like I was going to give advice and actually explain, rather than appeal for help myself.

(If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you'll know giving advice isn't my forte!)

As far as I can tell, from my own experience, you know when you get that gut-feeling. I've had it many times, and I'm usually right. Which should mean that when I don't have that feeling I should give up, right?

But I won't. Because I'm stubborn.

How do you decide which projects are worth the effort?
Have you ever shelved a story and gone back to it?


In other news, You. I. Us. has been getting some really great reviews recently. Thank you to everyone who's taken the time to leave a review on Goodreads or Amazon.

Whenever I get a good review, I treat myself to some chocolate - and you should know how much I like chocolate by now, so I really appreciate it on a whole new level.

Friday 5 August 2016

Me and the Doctor

I've been quiet this week, because I've been away. First we stopped off at a very normal and grown-up National Trust property, then we went to the Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff. If you're ever in Cardiff, it's well worth a visit. We spent almost three hours there.

I thought I'd share some photos, because I know some of you are just as big a fan as I am! (Some of these are blurred, and I'm in a few of them... sorry, on both counts.)

Clara's display and TARDIS tribute
The TARDIS from the 70s and 80s -
with the all-important hat stand

The Silence

Me with Eleven, kinda

The TARDIS of Nine and Ten

Some random baddies and the Face of Bo
I really thought I was acting
nonchalant here. Turns out I was
just smiling a lot!

River Song's outfits