Tips on writing a first draft

This week I have the possibility of finishing a first draft.  It’s tantalisingly close.  But I am aware this is when I have the potential to freak myself out – tell myself the story isn’t strong enough, that it won’t be what editors are looking for, that the story has been told before [enter self-doubt…

Fearless storytelling

Several writing workshops I’ve run recently with a fab group of year 6 kids have been enlightening.  Their ideas and what they’ve written have dazzled me. Last week’s workshop was to edit a deliberately pedestrian seven sentences: There was a full moon.  Tyra and Jason were sat under a tree.  They were in Jason’s garden.…

What’s in a name?

Naming characters, I find, can go one of two ways: either ludicrously easy or nigh impossible.  Some characters arrive in your head, fully formed, chatting away, named and ready for you to jot down.  Most however are trickier.  You wear out the ‘find and replace’ function as you flick through Maisy, Morgan, Mimi.  You eventually…

Writing feel-good teen

In case you haven’t been a teenager for a while, let me remind you – the teenage years can be tough.  There are hormones, important exams, the shifting sands of friendships and parents who sometimes forget what’s important.  And that’s on the good days.  On the bad days there can be challenging mental health issues,…

Show, don’t tell

When I first started writing, ‘show don’t tell’ was one of the first rules I came across.  It seemed straight forward enough; don’t tell the reader what is going on in the scene, show it.  A simple rule which takes a bit of practise before you crack it.  So, rather than saying ‘he was angry’…

Surviving The Wait

There’s lots of waiting involved in the publishing process; from waiting to hear from beta readers, to agents, to editors, to early reviewers until finally your readers.  It would be wise therefore to find ways to cope with the waiting.  I blogged three years ago about waiting and I like to think I’ve improved.  My…

Feeling the fear

‘Nothing will stop you being creative so effectively as the fear of making a mistake.’ This from John Cleese is another quote stuck above my desk, and it’s been there so long it’s starting to look a little faded.  It sums up perfectly something I struggle with occasionally and this week has been one of…