When I choose a book to read I tend to look for an author I’ve heard of, then read the blurb and maybe the first few pages. If I’m still intrigued, I’ll go ahead and buy the book. However, I am put off by photographic representations of characters. I like to make my own mind up about how they look. Artists’ impressions are a little more palatable as they only make a suggestion and this is just about the same as the one made by the text itself. Oddly, I’m less precious about setting. Also,
I get invited to a lot of these and I’ve hosted a few. Sometimes, I’m too busy to do more than literally “pop in”. I’ll often buy the book buy not always. It has to be the sort of thing I’m interested in. But I can wish a fellow writer well, even if they don’t write what thrills me. I’m trying to be incredibly honest here and it’s up there with only liking on Facebook what I genuinely like. Elsewhere I’ve described the activity that can take place and made suggestions about how to “behave” at a
The idea came to me as I sought reviews for a book I’ve published – not one of my own. I was trying to get reviews for a collection of flash fiction. Between our imprints we have over 200 authors. If one in four of our writers review for us, we’re home and dry. I wouldn’t expect everyone to review every time … hence my idea of actually creating a dream team. And why stop with reviewers? Why not also look for beta readers, editors, copy editors, proof-readers, artists, illustrators and designe
News about my writing I have now completed the latest in my Schellberg Cycle. What to do with that now? That makes three of them looking for a publisher. I’m toying with self-publishing and also with looking for a niche publisher. I originally had one more planned but now I have two. I’m taking a break from that at the moment and having a go at another one in my Peace Child series. I’ve started planning this – using the odd times I’ve had between classes at the University of Salford. Believe it
Sometimes writing isn’t writing. Sometimes something that is supporting your writing can be just as creatively demanding but it doesn’t actually produce the normal word count per hour.
I’ve had fun recently “writing” a workshop. This is about my Schellberg Cycle and in fact refers to my The House on Schellberg Street. I’ve included: · Board games · Role play · &nb
I work with story theory a lot. I’m a planner and I establish the spine of the story before I start writing. I instil ideas about how stories work in my students on two of the modules I teach – Intro to Children’s Literature and Writing Novels for Young Adults. I also use it as an editing tool. If a story isn’t working what’s missing? What isn’t strong enough?
Many writers say that their stories come from the conflicts between characters. This is where I start anyway. I establi
Three author events in one week? Yes that’s right. Now how did I manage that? Well they all seemed to make sense at the time. I’ll give you more details later but in outline:· Author even with Jenny Palmer, Libby O’Loghlin, Clare Wezeand Catherine Green on Wednesday 29 March· School visit for Schellberg Cycle Workshop 31 March Hartford Church Of England High School
In fact I’ve got a couple I’m working on as I’m working with a newly-published author on another one. I’m discussing here the one that I’m holding on 29 March. It will run from 6.30 p,m. until 9.00 p.m. and in many ways will replicate what happens in an actual event. I’m working with four other lovely ladies. We’ll each take the “floor” for half an hour each so the schedule runs like this: Jenny Palmer 6.30 – 7.00
Jenny Palmer lived and worked abroad and in Lo
I’ve decided to keep some of these on my The House on Schellberg Street site. I see these as being a little like what you sometimes find on a DVD. Here is one. Beneath it I attempt to explain why I deleted it.A Misunderstanding 30 January 1939 “You will be fine,” said John. “Absolutely fine. You’ll learn very quickly once you start school. Your uncle said you learnt Italian really quickly?” “That was different,” wailed Renate. “We’d had lessons at school and then we only had to speak
“Writing” a workshop I’m speeding ahead with getting material ready for my first school workshop on the Schellberg cycle. As I mentioned last time, I’m also developing the kit so that schools can work on it on their own. I‘m having most difficulty in deciding what to charge here. Any suggestions are very welcome. The kit includes:· Six board games · Thirty-six profile cards (for ro
I’m definitely using writing here as a means to exploring something I’ve found difficult to explain. Before I became a full time writer, I taught modern languages for 26 years. I was always the main teacher of German and consequently got to know a lot of German people very well. They’re decent. So why did they go down that horrible road back then?
We aren’t saints, either. Didn’t we invent the concentration camp during the Boer War? Shouldn’t we be thoroughly ashamed of the Slave Tra
A real feeling of getting there It’s all very good timing. Last Saturday I caught up with my self-imposed writing deadlines: four hours a day, 3,000 words. I was up to date and even a little ahead by 9.00 p.m. My SCBWIgroup met on that day and amongst many other very enjoyable and worthwhile activities we reviewed last year’s goals. Mine had been simply to find more writing time. Well that has happened. In 2017 I aim to finish my Schellberg Cycle and go back to science fiction.
When the National Curriculum was first introduced I was a teacher of Modern Foreign Languages. A strand about creativity and doing things “creatively” was included. However, nobody could define what that meant so it was taken out again. I have since developed a sense of what creative language learning and creative writing in other languages are but that is all for another day and possibly for another blog; I intend to write about it soon on my Writing Teacher blog. I’m a creativ
I have read two books recently that both came with a good pedigree but actually they couldn’t be more different. Both of them are published by the Big Five. Good story but poor writing I borrowed this one from the library. It was in the new books section. I always check this first as I’m keen to read the latest. This also looked like a nice easy read and it was set in era in which I’m currently writing. Yet this book was a disappointment. Had it actually been edited? I was astounded too th
What a year it’s been in the world though in my world of writing, editing, teaching and publishing life has gone on pretty much as usual. The weak pound has made our books cheaper worldwide but printing costs have gone up. On a personal level I’ve had my usual mixture of acceptances and rejections. Since the end of September and giving up the day job I’ve been getting more writing and marketing done. That had always been the plan and it seems to be working. Br
The Society of Authors recently conducted a survey amongst members and established that the average amount earned by authors was £12,000 per anum. That’s not really enough to live on these days. So most of us do other things as well. Sometimes they’re things we want to do and sometimes it’s just work. Occasionally, other work may be more attractive than mere jobbing writing: e.g. doing shift at the pub to pay your rent and for food, then spend all of your creative energy on the
The imperfectThis sort of describes itself. It’s used for an incomplete action. In French it is expressed by in endings on a certain part of the verb or “je travaillais” or “il allait”. These two can mean three different things in English: I would work, I used to work, or I was working and he would go, he used to go or he was going. All are incomplete, continuous and / or repeated actions. Don’t say “She was sitting”, say “She sat” say some of the gurus. However, I’d argue that these two phrases
Life post retirement goes on. I still say it’s more of a career change than retirement per se. Do writers and other creative practitioners ever actually retire? I’m certainly very busy. I’m doing many things that I did before but not the admin. I’m my own boss, which I’m enjoying.
Nevertheless I’m upping all of my marketing strategies. I’ll shortly be sending out an email via Sprint Mail. It’s an expensive option but I’ve found it very effective in the past.
You’re reading here from the woman who goes clothes shopping and then spends most of her time in a bookshop, often coming home with books instead of shoes.
It used to be different though. When I was a high school teacher a monthly visit around the shops was a must. Yes, it was definitely “retail therapy”. I just don’t feel the need for that any more.
I’ve just “retired” from the day job. What a lovely day job that was, where no one would quibble if I sat writing my novel
I’d only just started out on my writing career when this important point about character came to me in flash. It was the dress rehearsal of Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime by Constance Cox and I was playing the part of Lady Windermere. It was a smallish part but nevertheless she is the mother of the female lead. In one scene she leaves the Savile household and goes home to take tea. I then found myself wondering about what she would do for the rest of the weekend and indeed until the time that she ap
Older people can write ya I am 64 years old and am still writing young adult literature. I won’t be too apologetic about that. The young adult is a creature I know well. I’ve taught them for 42 years and studied them for a PhD thesis. I’ve mastered the voice.
Crossovers? However, my latest works, in the Schellberg cycle, seem to have lost their identity a little. I’m writing a cycle to books that focus on the 1940s and World War II and that explore Nazi Germany. Three of
Well, I was warned. “You won’t know how you had time to work once you’re retired.” That is most certainly true. This first month has whizzed by. However, I have been quite disciplined about writing for four hours a day and that’s generally about 3000 words. So, I am getting on quite well with my work in progress, the fourth in the Schellberg cycle and a couple of proposals for non-fiction books. Plus a lot of blog posts and newsletters like thisMy new blog We are European is graduall
We all do it – myself included. I do try for every promotional post to make four others that are just friendly. I actually rarely buy books that I’ve seen promoted via social media. That’s in part because I have so many books to read at the moment. I have forty hard copies waiting in the bedroom, about 256 on my Kindle and I go to the library as well. Occasionally, though, I am tempted to buy one I come across via social media. Below I’ve listed what makes this happen: Really interesting bl