2017 — Only the Good Stuff

A year is a big ol’ chunk of time. While 2017 easily wins the title of Worst Year of My Life So Far, these past twelve months have also been peppered with positives. Between the sobbing fits and long tearful walks and whole evenings spent pouring my heart out on Reddit, I did so much. IContinue reading “2017 — Only the Good Stuff”

Writing Through Heartbreak

I met up with an old friend a few weeks ago. We chatted about a lot of things, reminiscing and swapping stories, and she mentioned she hadn’t seen any blog posts from me in a while. “Have you been too busy being happy?” she asked, smiling. And I cried. Because for seven months, that was the case. After yearsContinue reading “Writing Through Heartbreak”

Pitch Wars: The Walking Wounded

  I fought in Pitch Wars 2015. And I lost. I mean, I got in. My name was on that list. I saw it at silly o’clock in the morning UK time, after feverishly refreshing my phone’s Twitter app in the darkness of my bedroom, and I thought, ‘This is when it all begins.’ I’dContinue reading “Pitch Wars: The Walking Wounded”

10 Tips From a Flash Fiction Judge

I’m a judge for the wonderful Mash Stories, a keyword-based flash fiction competition that focuses on showcasing new talent, and I love it. The ideas, the language, the brilliant pieces — I’m honoured to read our submissions, let alone help decide the winner. But it’s not all good news and happy faces. I’m a judge, and thatContinue reading “10 Tips From a Flash Fiction Judge”

The Other Side of Rejection

Being on the receiving end of rejection sucks. It really, really sucks. I’m a wannabe novelist and I’ve had my mystery MS — my baby, my pride and joy, my masterpiece — rejected by over sixty agencies and countless more competition judges. I’ve been overlooked in Twitter contests. I barely scraped through the Pitch Wars agent round.Continue reading “The Other Side of Rejection”

Said, Said Quietly, Whispered – Know Your Dialogue Tags

Pick up any novel from your bookshelf and flick through it. What do you see on the pages? Indentations; gaps; short, sharp sentences; one-word responses; speech marks. Dialogue. Books aren’t just 300 pages of description and storytelling – they’re built on conversation. A single scene of dialogue between characters can achieve almost anything. It can show usContinue reading “Said, Said Quietly, Whispered – Know Your Dialogue Tags”

Character Description: Beyond Stick Figures

Novels are made up of three main elements: plot, character, and action. The plot or storyline of a work is shown through the action taken by the characters. Try to imagine Harry Potter without the wizards, or Lord of the Flies without the school kids. Nothing would happen. Characters are important – and unless you’re working on some kind ofContinue reading “Character Description: Beyond Stick Figures”

Filtering Out Filter Words

I’m currently trudging through the first draft of my second novel, an experience made horribly stressful by my self-imposed one-month deadline. (Just over two weeks to go! Eek!) I’m already way behind schedule after spending the first four days completely ignoring all the advice I gave myself in my previous post on first drafts, but I’veContinue reading “Filtering Out Filter Words”

How to Write a Killer First Draft

In a month’s time, I’ll have written my second novel. Well, hopefully. For some stupid, ridiculous, reckless reason I’ve ordered myself to write a whole book in four weeks, as a kind of unofficial NaNoWriMo. Now, that’s not like me. I’m a plotter, a planner, a stop-and-smell-the-roses kind of writer. I spend days fretting over chapter titles.Continue reading “How to Write a Killer First Draft”

The #1 Rule of Writing: Show, Don’t Tell

If you’ve read my previous post on 15 Ways to Improve Your Writing, you might remember what came in at number 2 on the list: yep, that infernal phrase of the writing community, ‘show, don’t tell’. If you haven’t heard this phrase before, you’re about to get sick of it – and if you have,Continue reading “The #1 Rule of Writing: Show, Don’t Tell”