Author archive: Caroline

Nanowrimo

November is over. For those who write, this means the end of another Nanowrimo.  A chance to splurge out a first draft of a novel in thirty days. I haven’t participated in Nanowrimo every year, but I always find it an interesting experience. Twice I  tried ‘just writing,’  starting out with no more than an idea and maybe a couple of characters, and on both those occasions I got to 25,000 words and ‘hit the wall’. While that might sound disappointing, looking back now I realise it was a positive experience. It gave me something to work with, and both those projects are much…

How to hook an agent

I have just signed with an agent, and what I have to say about the process might contradict other advice out there, but I think it’s worth considering. Those who did not know me BC (before children) might find it surprising to know that I used to sell life insurance for a living. In fact I was pretty good at it – not only did I earn a heap of money, I even won prizes. I only stayed in ‘the field’ for about three years before I was promoted to sales manager, but the principles of how to sell stuff have stayed with me, and…

Films about writers

One of the most misunderstood professions has to be writing. Everyone seems to think you don’t need to spend any time doing it, that as soon as you have a book published you’ll be a millionaire, that it’s easy to get said book published in the first place, and that ‘they’ could/should/will write a book any day now, they just haven’t bothered yet, but they have ‘lots of ideas for books’ as if coming up with the idea is the hardest part of writing. Where oh where do these misconceptions come from? Maybe Hollywood doesn’t help? Seven Psychopaths is about a writer who is…

Are ‘how to write’ books any help?

I will admit that I am a sucker for books. Any excuse. I never pass by a bookshop. And although I primarily read fiction, I do have quite a large collection of “how to write” books. So… are they any help? I think so. When my writing gets stuck, I often reach for a “how to” book. I don’t always find the answer but I do often get some insight into something which just helps me find a new way forward. What is particularly interesting is that I can read the same book on different occasions and each time something…

My August in Edinburgh

August is over… and I feel like I’ve been in a marathon. Feet pounding pavements en route to events, dodging flyers, groups of tourists, etc.  2,839,000 tickets were sold or issued for free for more than 3,500 shows, and it feels as if I might have been to most of them.  I did try to pace myself by giving myself festival free days, but once the book festival opened its doors, it all became harder to limit my time. I’ve added it up. I saw sixteen and a half hours of fringe and sixteen hours of book festival events in…

Best books of 2017

When Goodreads asked readers to set themselves a reading challenge for 2017, I thought why not make it a round figure? 100 seemed plausible at the time. But as it turned out, not quite achievable, although I’m not far off.The challenge did mean keeping better track of what I have read, and it’s fun – at least for me – to look back on the year and consider what I read and why. Non fiction  Only a couple to mention this year, but really worth while. Into the Blizzard by Michael Winter is the human story behind the fate of the Newfoundland regiment…

Writing is not always solitary

Anyone who knows me is well aware that I lurve events to do with books, authors, writing. Usually these also involve visits to illustrious places. Last year I drove all the way to Wigtown (which, believe me, is a LONG way from most places) just to catch the last day of their annual book festival, and to soak up the beauty of Scotland’s premier book town. This May I spent a long weekend in Ullapool, sitting inside their village hall – despite the glorious weather outside – experiencing back to back writers talking about their books and the craft, although…

What to work on next

While Prey and Tombstone are both out on submission, it is time to turn my attention to other works. I’m working on two other novels for young adults: I have a first draft of Albatross, while  Not Dead is in the planning stages. Albatross began life during Nanowrimo 2012. http://www.nanowrimo.org  (Nanowrimo: novel writing in a month. It’s a great way of getting going with a new project. If you’ve not participated before, do give it a go this year!)  I’d toyed with the idea of writing a book exploring gender identity for some time, and it seemed to me that this is a great theme for a young…

PREY… and TOMBSTONE

PREY s currently out there on submission, and so I’m unable to fiddle with it any more. It started life a few years ago as Emily’s Dreaming in which the protagonist Emily has vivid dreams which come true, and she is forced to use her psychic powers to track down nanny Gabrielle who kidnaps Emily’s baby brother. Version Two Prey lost the psychic element and concentrated purely on the kidnap and the evil nanny. The latest version is now a dual narrative thriller – now Gabrielle is sixteen, and we see how and why she gets into crime. The idea for…

Echoes of the City

I’ve recently been involved in a fascinating project. @EchoesoftheCity has recorded site specific podcasts linked to various locations in the city of Edinburgh, designed to be listened to as podwalks. When the call first came out for writers to submit stories for this project, there was also a list of suggested sites. As soon as I saw Broughton Street on the list, my story came to me, fully formed, and took little over half an hour to write. That was a first draft, of course, which required editing, tidying, etc, but the basic core remained the same, and I am…

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