What is a writers notebook, why are they important and how do I choose one?

Do you have a writers notebook? Do you know what a writers notebook is? It’s kind of self explanatory really, it’s a notebook to write random ideas, research, advice, pictures, anything that inspires you, or that you don’t want to forget.

I love my notebook, this is what it looks like

It’s A5, lined, hardback, and I take it everywhere with me, I mean EVERYWHERE, I always have it. If I loose it I will definitely have some sort of breakdown!

There is no specific notebook you HAVE to use for this, you can pick anyone you like.

BUT….you must love it! Hear me out, if you don’t love it, you won’t use it, it needs to be perfect, so spend some time choosing. If you need some pointers on choosing a writers notebook, check out my list below.

Things to look for in a writers notebook –

  • Aesthetics, let’s be honest, it’s got to look appealing to you
  • Lines, plain, square or dots? Personally I’m a lined paper kind of gal, but I like the lines to be very specific, thin, but not too thin and the line drawing not to be too harsh. Picky picky picky! I hit the jackpot with mine, the lines are uneven!
  • Paperback or hardback? I have a paperback one for a specific trilogy I’m working on and a hardback one for my actual writers notebook
  • Weight. If I’m honest, mine is a little heavy (don’t tell it I said that!) but I refuse to change it, or stop adding to the weight by sticking things in it!
  • Paper weight. You don’t want any of that thin, see through rubbish, you want a fine upstanding thickness that can hold all your writery secrets!

That brings us onto what to put in said notebook. The true answer is anything you want but this is what I tend to put in it,

  • Words I like or ones that are new to me
  • Word or phrase origins
  • Research, for me there is a bit on forensic stuff and stuff about demons etc
  • Part conversations. Now, you know when you have a conversation happening in your head and you have no idea what characters they are or where the conversation comes from? Write it down! Just because it doesn’t make sense now doesn’t mean it won’t make sense in the future
  • Book or story ideas
  • Character ideas
  • Other people’s ideas (you know, the ones you find on Pinterest and stuff)
  • Prompts, your own or others
  • Overheard conversations (eavesdropping is wrong…….but I still do it)
  • Pictures of celebrities that may appear in your future stories, or just because you fancied some eye candy!
  • Newspaper headlines

There is literally no end to what you can put in it, stick tickets or receipts in it if you want to, it’s YOUR notebook, your choice.

Here are a couple of pages from mine,

As you can see I stick pieces of advice in mine too.

So there you go! It’s like having all your bestest thoughts in one place.

Guard it with your life! Got questions? Sure, give me a shout!

See you soon!

Stop being a ‘Pen-Hippo’ and write!

We all do it. Some of us consciously and some subconsciously, but we all do it. It’s funny how even the most mundane tasks become of vital importance or seem like fun when you are ‘supposed’ to be writing. Procrastination is addictive.

What’s my reason for not writing I hear you ask? Well, I have taken a small break from the blog because I felt like my writing wasn’t as important as other things. This had more to do with how I thought I was perceived rather than anyone saying it. I felt that my writing was perceived as something of unimportance and therefore I was just ‘playing’ or ‘not really doing anything’ when I was writing. (I’m literally eye rolling myself here folks!)

You can treat it like a job, even if it’s not. Find some time to put aside for your writing and don’t let anyone tell you it’s not important. I find that I can’t stick to a writing regime as such, even though I love a good regime, part of what makes me unconventional is that I rarely follow the processes I am ‘supposed to’ but that’s ok, as long as I still write.

You may remember Peppermint Tea from a previous post, well she was the one that gave me the push I needed to shut up and write. If you love writing, like truly love it, you will feel like a part of you is missing, or it’s too crowded in your head if you don’t write, this process is dangerous and before you know it you are a pen-hippo (Yeah, I made that up!) wallowing in the mud of self-doubt, eating the leaves of despair. Ridiculous.

Sometimes you need to hear the harsh truth and that’s exactly what I am doing here my friends, I am telling you to stop making excuses and just write, right now, go and get a pen and paper (Oh who am I kidding, you already have one right?!) and write something down, anything. You got this! I believe in you  my friends!

So? What did you write?

See you soon…..

In your face plot hole!

Hi Friends,

So guess what happened to me this week? I was merrily writing, in the yellow room, coffee on the go, birds singing outside, when all of a sudden I stopped. I literally just stopped. I was half way through a scene and realised there is a plot hole so big in my book I could probably fit 3 elephants and 2 trains through it, all at the same time!! (Cue blank stares and the occasional eye twitch).

Why did my character do that? Why didn’t they stop me from continuing? What the hell is wring with them? – All seemed like valid questions at the time, along with a small amount of self doubt and an edge of hatred – What is wrong with me? How did I not see that? Idiot! Moron! Grrrrrr! – Literally things that happened!

Then I sat back and thought, well, this happens to us all at some point and so I figured I would tell you what I did to get over it, that seemed more productive than stomping round the house saying words that should not come from a sailor, let alone a lady!

I wrote a timeline. Yep. It was that simple. Ridiculous right? They are my new favourite thing ever. I am a pantser (Someone who doesn’t manically plot, I have an idea of characters and story and I just write, I write what they tell me to write!) but having a timeline was really helpful. I could add to it as necessary and I could tract the main plot, the sub plots and relationships as I write them.

Here is an example of a timeline, its not the actual one, that’s super top secret!

Timeline
Timeline

So you can see where I have tracked the basics, that’s how it starts, the orange lines are the main story and the yellow lines are the sub plot, the romantic relationship between hero and village idiot. It gets messy, and you have to let it. Go where the story takes you my friend.

This REALLY helped me sort out the massive plot hole I had in my book and I hope it helps you too, if you want more information on it, or you just want to chat, you know where to find me!

See you soon…….

Acceptable answers to the question all writers dread…

We have all had it at some point. Picture the scene, you are at a posh soiree, or simply at your mates house for a pizza, no judgement here; and someone you have never met before asks what you do. Now this is an open question, you might be a full time writer, or a hobby writer, or a wanna be writer even but for some reason you pluck up the nerve to state it in a matter of fact way;

‘Oh, I’m a writer’ You can feel the heat rush to your cheeks, giving you a full on rosy glow, you smile nervously as you await the dreaded question. You know its coming. You swallow thickly and curse yourself for your sudden bravery. You wish the ground would open up and a demon would escort you to the underground, where you belong, with your new demon friends, where shame lurks in the air.Your jaw tenses as they say,

‘A writer, oh, have you written anything I might have read?’ Now remember where you are, this person did not mean you any harm so replying with ‘Not unless you have broken into my house and read my notes’ is not really an acceptable answer. You shuffle awkwardly from foot to foot, hang your head a little and gently explain that you have not yet been published. Take a breath and remember, success is not measured in whether we have been published or not, it’s simply whether or not we have put words on paper.

Damn it. Dude, you need to rethink your answer, we all know that this question is inevitable, you ARE a writer, you ARE worthy of the title. So have some fun with it, smirk a little as you reply ‘Maybe not, but then I suppose not everyone has read Harry Potter’ Smile though, remember these people are not trying to upset you they are simply asking a question they do not realise will instil fear in us all. We are a delicate breed, writers, and we need to learn to use our skills in awkward situations.

Don’t worry, I’ve got your back, here are some acceptable (*Disclaimer, the word acceptable is to be taken I the loosest sense of the word) answers:

  • ‘Not yet, but look out for me!’ Raise your eyebrows and smile, at the very least they will be unnerved and leave you alone!
  • ‘Depends, are you into (state your genre here)’ Let’s face it, we have all posted a Facebook status, twitter post or Instagram picture about our chosen genre, this is a good time to tell them about it.
  • ‘No’ Turn on your heel and walk away, Mr Darcy style. Although this is probably not an option I would choose, unless I was tired and narky.
  • ‘Oh, no, not yet, it’s a work in progress’ This is your opportunity to tell them about your mad writing skillz. So smile, a lot and show them your enthusiasm. Remember that you are an amazing writer!
  • ‘Ah, yes, the dreaded question (pause to smile, and for dramatic effect, show your teeth a lot too, this will unsettle them) to which I answer, nay, not as yet, but success is on the horizon, I can feel it in my (choose your favourite part of the body)’ I quite like saying that I can feel it in my pancreas. As long as you laugh after, people will respond to your madness. We are supposed to be eccentric, our imaginations are out of control.
  • ‘Possibly not, but that’s because I was about to publish what was possibly my finest piece of writing when a group of gnomes in black balaclavas mugged me. They used their tiny hands and fishing rods to bring me to my knees where they began to pull my hair and bite my fingers…….(You take it from here guys, remember to assess your audience, don’t offend anyone!)

Keep it light folks, have fun with it, answer in any way you like and then simply explain that you are a work in progress. Let your imagination come out to play, you will be memorable, people will want to speak to you just to hear what you might say next. I love to tell spontaneous stories about a situation, you should try it, it will make you exercise your brain. You can get as silly as you like, some of my best stories have been about something mundane, like where did I get my hairclip from? It’s ok to be weird. So embrace it!

See you soon……

Word of the week (11)

Hey there folks, you know we all like words that are obscure? We wouldn’t all be taking up this little corner of the internet if were didn’t right? Well this one is a doozy! I love to find out that weird things have actual words for them, it makes me smile quite a lot, so I’m passing that smile on to you guys with this one………

img_4978

An aglet is that little bit of plastic at the end of a shoelace! Mind blown right? Who even knew that had a name? Amazing! Next time one of those pesky little things comes off you can announce in a loud voice that you have just broken your aglet and see how many people think you have broken some obscure bone in your hand or something?!

Why is it so comforting to find things that have names that you didn’t know had names before? It just is though. Am I right?

Go and check your aglets, they might be missing and you need to tell someone stat!!

See you soon word lovers.……..

Word of the week (10)

So carrying on with the recent theme of words for annoying people I found this one, I love it! I’ve used it twice already! I feel very extra saying it too! We all know one of these, and if you don’t then its probably you!

img_4977

A blatteroon is a senseless babbler or boaster. You know when you are with your buddies and some dude is just talking utter poop? Well they are a blatteroon. You should tell them, in a nice way of course!

How may blatteroons will you encounter today? Keep your eyes peeled, they are everywhere!!

See ya soon……..

Talking with Psychopaths and Savages – A book review

This is my first book review on the blog, something I will be doing each time I finish a book. I don’t have schedules stating that I will do one a week or one a month because I am a slow reader, I like to enjoy the books I read, not skim through them. Therefore, I shall simply review them when I have finished reading them.

On with the review. This book ‘Talking with Psychopaths and Savages’ by Christopher Berry-Dee was a fascinating read, you are taken into the minds of some of the worlds most notorious psychos and savages. As an added bonus you also get a great explanation of the difference between them.

There are some descriptions of grizzly crimes but not enough to put those with a weak stomach off. Someone with the authors obvious talents for pen-palling will recognise that engaging someone in correspondence is a great way to get into someone’s mind. Although I wonder if the author realises that at times he sounds a little like the people he writes about, he boasts the ability to use ‘mind control’ techniques and even goes as far as saying that he can manipulate them into telling him their secrets and that he ‘knows them better than they know themselves’.

As long as you overlook the occasional typo and weird dates that are either set in the future or change as the story progresses, you are in for a good read. We must remember that this is snippets of these evil peoples lives, not full length books about them and I believe that given the short word count the author did a very good job of letting you into their lives. He is not afraid to speak he truth and will give his opinion, no matter how controversial. This impressed me as we live in a world of people too scared to say anything. He invites you to think of how many ordinary people these psychos and savages are able to fool, not just in their social lives but their family lives too.

He makes a lot of references to his other books, something that begins to get a little tedious towards the end. I am sure his other books are as intriguing as this but I am left with the question of wether this book is more about the psychos and savages or the authors manipulation skills. I of course say this tongue in cheek as the work the author does in getting closure for the families is outstanding.

Overall I would recommend this book, it is one you can pick up and put down as you wish, it is full of interesting snippets on the minds of these maniacs and offers you the opportunity to almost sit and have a cuppa and a chat with the author.

See you soon…..

(I have no affiliation to the author or publisher, all views are my own and I was not paid for this review)