Tag Archives: writing

Long time, no post

Happy new year! Time for a little catch up 🙂

It’s been a busy few months since my last post – mainly with life away from writing and after some good progress in September, things have stumbled a little since then on completing Cirque de la Nuit. I’m hoping it’s not too far off completion now, just a few more chapters and the joys of editing to contend with.

My new year report from Goodreads tells me that I’ve averaged reading one book a month in 2015, which is pretty pitiful for me. Blogging has had it’s peaks and troughs too – if only the Time Turner I got last Christmas really worked, I’d be able to get everything done (damn my Muggle-ness!)

Anyway, here’s to 2016, I hope it brings you all success in whatever you’re up to.

Mel x

PS – If you’ve not read my latest book The Rainbow Maker’s Tale, you can grab a FREE copy today until 3rd January, just click the link and send it to your Kindle 🙂

 

Music to Write By…

ns

Background I don’t know about the other writers out there, but I do find music helps me when I’m writing.

If I’m trundling along in the car, thinking about whatever I’m working on, certain songs will jump out at me (metaphorically speaking, obviously, otherwise it would be dangerous). Usually, I find myself day-dreaming, mini-montage style about a particular scene or piece of dialogue. Perhaps, because I was a teen of the nineties 80s power music has a tendency to get me thinking of action scenes or inspiring ‘progress’ moments for the characters…I tell you – film makers of the eighties have a lot to answer for in the strange world that is my brain.

When it comes to actually typing the stuff out, I struggle to have songs on, even in the background – they’re better for prompting ideas and scenes really. For actually writing, fingers to keyboard stuff, I have a couple of favourite soundtracks – both from films – whose scores cover a range of themes from battles to romance. If you’re looking for some inspiration yourself, why not check them out on You Tube clips here.

Gladiator    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4xQqFDInc5s

The Last of the Mohicans http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42MAk4_DBFc

My other ‘go to’ is composer Craig Armstrong – he’s done a lot of film soundtracks and early on worked on several British movies (Love Actually, Plunket and MacLean). His piano compositions are beautiful and if you’re looking for background music to match your scene, or just in general, this could be right for you.

Anyway – after sharing some of my inspirations, it’s back to work – because NaNo waits for no one and I’ve only got a bit more to go now 🙂

*flicks to iTunes and presses PLAY*

Week One – Done!

Too many ideas It was about this time last year in NaNoWriMo world, that I had a bit of a crisis, stopped writing anything and basically sat on the fence umming and ahhing about what I was actually going to write.

This year – because I’m working on a familiar story, that’s been in the works for a L-O-N-G time – I’ve thankfully dodged this bullet, for week one at least! Progress wise, I’ve been doing pretty well – nearly 15k words for the first week, which is a great start, but I also have to remind myself that I am deadline queen, which means that I tend to ease off, thinking I have lots of time to do nice interesting things….then have a mad panic when I realise I’ve tried to squeeze in a little too much.

So today, I’m carrying on – hopefully a few good, undisturbed hours in the library will help move me along and set me up for next week, when I know I won’t have as much time to dedicate to writing. But, in the meantime….

but first, tea (ssshhhh, don’t tell anyone!)

 

 

 

Happy Halloween!

Cute Ghost To those of you that love all things spooky and dark, Happy Halloween! 🙂 And if you don’t like things scary, then have a light party instead and make yourself brighter and happier than ever.

Last year we did an October-fest spooktacular (I know – I’m sad, but I love puns, even the cheesy ones) on Aside from Writing, with lots of short stories, features and posts from people about all things spooky.

I’ve not had time to do that again this year – but yesterday, I decided to set myself the challenge of writing a quick, short and (hopefully) spooky story to post today. Think of it as a warm up for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), which starts tomorrow… Come back later today, if you want to see what I managed to write in the hour time limit I set myself…and hopefully I can get some other surprise posts for you today as well. Flash-fiction? This is flash-blogging, surely 🙂

Word Art!

Anyone else love words as little bits of art?

I recently noticed from my ongoing affair with Pinterest just how many times I pin pictures that are more words than images… True, the quotations and wordy-art I like often have pictures accompanying them, but a lot of them are actually quite plain. One of my most recent additions to my ‘writing corner’ in the real world, is an image printed over a page out of an old dictionary… In some ways, I think I get ‘words’ more than I get traditional art – maybe they ‘speak’ to me more than other mediums, because writing is the main art form I use? Although, I do have to say my stick men are really something to marvel at 😉

Hope's Daughter / The Rainbow Maker's Tale 'Tag Cloud'

Hope’s Daughter / The Rainbow Maker’s Tale ‘Tag Cloud’

And you know what? I one of my favourite word art things are ‘tag clouds’ – especially when you generate them from something you’ve written yourself. The one above is coloured is in the colours and shape of a globe, made up from the blurbs of The Rainbow Maker’s Tale and Hope’s Daughter. I love the way tag clouds pull together the whole range of ideas in your book and bring them down to a collection of the most common words.

When I look at this picture there are things that leap out at me immediately as key themes from the two books, that are actually thrown together by accident when the cloud is generated: ‘Dangerous Friend’; ‘Lies Station’; ‘Secrets System’; ‘Parents Oddities’; ‘Society Terrifying’; ‘Hope, Believe, Love’; ‘Follow, Simple, Life’….

Once I’ve written the blurb for a book (which I seem to do reasonably early on when I’m writing – as if I’m trying to sell the story to myself!) I like getting a tag cloud put together and put them around my desk or in my notebooks for that piece – they’re great little tools for getting ideas clicking together and keeping you focused on the main ideas you want to write about.

So…how about you – do you find yourself drawn to ‘word art’ because of your love of books…? Or, if you’re an author, what do you think your ‘tag cloud’ would say about your book?

Outlanders…I’m Writing (ish)

OUTLANDERS - Cover - 9

Outlanders…. A work in progress

So…with a little spare time on my side, I’m trying to make a ‘proper’ effort to do some writing and move the Outlanders story forwards. It’s a bit frustrating, as it’s not like I don’t know what’s going to happen, when, to who and how…I’ve just really been struggling these last few months to sit down and do anything productive with the manuscript.

I’ve just re-vamped my ‘playlist’ to try and help get the creative juices working and put me in the right mindset for writing, and funnily enough, I have found myself rather inspired by a song that I came across accidentally, which a friend of mine had done several years ago. And yes, it is now in my ‘inspiration’ playlist 🙂

I knew Kerry had worked in music before, but sometimes when you know someone in a different part of their lives it can be hard to picture them in one the others. Anyway, what I found funny when I came across this track was that her voice, the lyrics, even the tune reminded me of Cassie and the journey she’s got to go on in Outlanders. 

Here’s the track:

“Dream Another Dream” Featuring Kerry Lee Clark Produced and co-written by Rickytee

I love the idea that comes through in the song about making your own decisions, internal strength and moving forwards when life – or dreams – don’t happen the way you thought they would. Some of my favourite lyrics are:

“Find another way to be yourself some day”

“You’re choosing all the roads you follow, you gotta walk in your own shoes.”

“If you want to make it, you’ve got to take it, cos nothing’s free. / You build yourself a new tomorrow.”

 

So what do you think – do you like the track, feel the inspiration? Do you have your own playlists for your book when you’re writing? And any advice for making me knuckle down and get some work done 🙂

 

 

Need Inspiration…?

Need some inspiration today?

Need some inspiration today?

Just read this interesting post on Bookbaby, which might help you if you’re looking for some inspiration today. (Click the picture above to go through to the blog page and read the article).

My usual tips are the same as their no. 1… Just do it! Write, write, write then write some more 🙂 trying to get away from distractions can be tough, but maybe try some of the other tips here and see how far you get! And with NANOWRIMO around the corner, maybe you could use that to give a kick-start to your project.

Now, if only I could follow my own advice! 😉

Do you want to come on a journey?

 

2013-Participant-Vertical-Banner I suppose this isn’t a particularly fair question, as I’ve already kind of decided that I’m going to share some of my NaNoWriMo 2013 experience as I go along anyway 🙂 As I’m working on a brand new project this time, I didn’t think it would hurt to share some of the bits I write this month – first draft, mistakes and typos and all, because NaNoWriMo is about writing and not editing. So, if you’re interested in seeing what I’m doing, how my word count is going or catching snippets of bits as I go along, then keep an eye on me in November, and I’ll try and remember to post, along with writing a couple of thousand words a day to meet the 50,000 word target.

As it’s 1st November, I’m off now, to get started on Chapter 1 – no title for it yet, because who knows where it’s going?

30 days – 50, 000 words – are you up for NaNo in 2013? Tell me what you’re doing if you are 🙂

Once Upon A Time…

…there was a boy named Balik and a girl named Cassie and they lived on board the Space Station Hope. But where did they come from?

 

People will always look for autobiographical elements to someone’s writing, perhaps in the belief that you can only “write what you know”. I’m sure for every writer there are elements of them in each book they write – it might simply be a single phrase you use or a description of how you feel about something, which you then put in the mouth of one of your characters. But I think writers must appear in their own books somewhere.

I can tell you honestly that I am not Cassie, but we have similarities… I don’t like silence when you’re with people: I’m definitely a nervous waffler; but with people I’m comfortable with and care about, I’ll happily be quiet. We both have sarcastic tendencies and similar taste in guys 🙂 We like the same school subjects and she probably got her mildly argumentative streak from me. But I don’t live on a space station (surprise, surprise), or rock climb in my spare time (I am clumsy to a point that would make Bella Swan appear graceful and coordinated), and my medical expertise is limited to a basic first aid qualification.

Balik is – unfortunately – not someone I’ve met personally. But some of his strongest personality traits are familiar. The “have to know how it works” thing is another little piece of me – not necessarily in the practical sense as my lack of co-ordination inhibits me there J – but I love learning about new things. His strength and protective nature, putting someone else before himself, is something I have seen in loved ones close to me and is perhaps the most desirable quality anyone could possess. Who wouldn’t want the warrior with a heart on their side?

So where did the rest of the story come from?

Before I began Hope’s Daughter I was stuck in a rut with another novel I’d been working on (I probably hadn’t done any real writing in six months or so) and knew that I wanted to start something new, just to get myself going again. I had also been through a bit of a sci-fi phase in my reading (lots of Philip K Dick and HG Wells among others) and so I decided to do a very short piece for myself in this genre, just to see what it was like. At first it was just the Married Quarter, Balik and Cassie – but once I was writing it the story kept growing: I would drive to work listening to music and would see scenes pulling themselves together in my head, like a mini-montage and the outline of a deeper story began to come together.

I’m not a sci-fi specialist by any stretch of the imagination and so when I started building the world Cassie lives in, although I knew what it looked like, I had to refer to other people’s versions of space stations and outer space colonies to understand where technology we have now, might genuinely take us in the not too distant future. Although some of this detail was edited out of Hope’s Daughter, some things remain like the body scanners (which are real today) and waste recycling systems – naturally The Rainbow Maker’s Tale, which is Balik’s story shows much more of these things J You know how he is!

Similarly – and quite scarily – Cassie’s answer to the exam question posed at the beginning of the novel is based entirely on newspaper articles I have read. Often I would grab a copy of the free paper on my way into work and each day there are odd little science snippets alongside the more prominent articles on which celebrity is doing what or bizarre news stories. These tiny, single sentence items usually reference research being done or scientific predictions being made, which if they prove accurate could well affect the whole world…and they are hidden in a small text box alongside a page of celebrity fluff, which says a lot about what people think of as important. I cut out and kept the one that first made me think about this:

 

Metro – August 5, 2009

GLOBAL WARMING WILL SEE ‘BILLIONS AT WAR’

Billions of people will go to war as they are forced to leave areas made uninhabitable by global warming, climate change expert Lord Stern has warned. Much of the world’s population will be put into ‘severe conflict’ unless temperature rises are tackled, he added.

 

Billions of people…Billions… That’s the whole world isn’t it? As post-apocolyptic views of the future go (zombies, global plagues, giant monsters from outer space) for me, this is the one I could actually imagine happening. I could imagine us sleepwalking into a devastating situation like this, brought about mainly through a lack of interest and co-ordination. Today’s science fiction being tomorrow’s science fact…? A terrifying thought.

There is obviously more to the creation of Hope’s Daughter, most of which I can’t share because of the spoilers! But it is surprising, even to me, when I go back to my notes and research from the beginning and see how a single idea became an entire book. It is interesting to see what changed – a lot – and what remains from the original concept.