Nanowrimo: November Novel Writing in a Month

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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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Writing is not always solitary: SOAIS conference

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...

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Podcasts, Podwalks and 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...

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Writing, Re-drafting…Everything but the kitchen sink

It's a hard lesson to learn, but less is more. On my fourth draft of current project and I'm paring right back to find the story is getting stronger and stronger. I'm learning that my default reaction is to say, 'oh that'll be good' and 'what about if this happened'...

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The Jane Austen Writers Club – a great book for writers.

I don't usually blog about one particular book, but for this, I will make an exception. Not a beginners book - you need to know what PoV and characterisation etc are for instance - but for someone who wants to improve, particularly in plotting and editing - this is an...

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