Still time to sign up


Storystorm 2017. Prep for a year of productive writing with a month of daily prompts, prizes and positive influences to create a twelve-month ideas file. 
Registration is open until 7th Jan, but go on, get in now.


Plan to write

Get on with it

In a timely fashion after yesterday’s post, lovely Charlie from Urban Writers’ Retreat popped up with a 2017 Writing Planner. Take an hour to get ready for next year and it’s bound to pay off. 
She’s even included a ten minute cheat version, so you’ve no excuse. 

How to write every day

craft, Get on with it, Words, words, words

Twixtmas, that ethereal time between Christmas and New Year, when you’re often not sure of the day of the week. For extra atmosphere, our town is bunkered under a layer of fog and the streets are still awaiting their residents’ return from holiday trips. It’s delightful.

For me it’s when I start thinking about the encroaching calendar flip, and Making Plans. New pencil case type plans. World Domination type plans. Do Something Big This Year plans.

Many writers (in every medium from blogs to novels) advocate writing every day. Apart from the fact that 300 words a day turns into a decent first draft of a novel over the course of 365 days, those writing muscles need a regular workout.

“Simplifying” is also writ large across my 2017 to-do list. With both goals in mind, this bit of wisdom from Zen Habits really struck a chord this week.

Do you write daily? How about giving it a try in 2017?

Do you have a designing principle?


I’m currently battling with writing an outline, bored of spending my (meagre) writing time chasing plot bunnies through ever-deepening warrens. Going back to outlining is kind of a spiral in itself. But I know that if I don’t crack the premise and outline then I’m going to go round in circles for ever.

I’m reading up though, and enjoying KM Weiland‘s Outlining Your Novel, Libbie Hawker’s Take Your Pants Off, and from there jumping to a text she recommends called The Anatomy of Story, by John Truby. I’ll probably look at Rachel Aaron’s 2k to 10k again at some point too.

The latter two go into the idea of a Designing Principle. I have just about got my head around it, but now struggling a little to apply it to my own writing. But it’s helping me to realise that some things I really wanted to feature are more part of the designing principle than the plot. There’s a good breakdown of the idea here.

Now to avoid spending too much time getting bogged down in yet another element of structure. But that’s the learning process, I guess?


A productive Autumn


I am manufacturing more time for writing this Autumn. Sometimes I’ll be making it out of thin air, other occasions I’ll be borrowing from chores and the boring bits of life and frequently it’ll be snatched back from Facebook and other ways of being social. 

If you’re looking for tips on planning and productivity, check out tonight’s #geaqa discussion. Children’s writers, but lots of good stuff on there to help all of us. 

The agony of antagonists


So one of the issues I’ve been battling with in my middle grade is my antagonist, for various reasons. I think that’s pretty common but all the great books, the ones that stick with you, are the ones which pit a worthy adversary against your bold hero.

Sandra Nickel is posting wonderful, reasoned arguments for how to hone your baddie (and a host of other characters) to round out your story and make it compelling, I highly recommend her series of posts


In the companion post, Enter: The Antagonist, no scratch that, Enter: The Antagonists, Plural, I talk about the 13 Antagonist Archetypes. Starting with Pure Evil and continuing to the Enemy Within, I explain who the different antagonists are and what they can do. Here, we are going to look at how we can romance these antagonists. This […]

via Romancing the Antagonists — whatwason…

Still at it

Get on with it, Uncategorized

Yeah, that’s right. Still plugging away at the same middle grade novel.   And now blogging about that while rocking a nine-month-old baby. Ah, children. So conducive to writing, said nobody ever, but to be fair my four year old has started coming out with fabulous nonsense which could turn into a picture book or three. Of course I’m not going to give him credit, all writers steal. I’ll keep him in Smarties though. 

I just renewed my SCBWI membership and am still part of my phenomenal Crit group (oh my but that lot are doing IMPRESSIVE things, more on that to come) and still learning. Oh god so much to learn. 

When I get the chance/make the time to write it’s still fun though. That’s the point, right?