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……

Writing prompts to get your juices flowing!

I know this is pretty much a flooded market with writing prompts everywhere you look, but I believe it is always nice to have someone else’s prompts to try. We all have different ideas and styles, it might even spark something you didn’t know you had inside you!

So here you go, 10 prompts for you to do what you want with!

  1. You are in a dark room, its cold and all you can hear is a ticking clock. What happens when the light goes on?
  2. What if all the colours in the rainbow had different smells? They all smell great individually, but when combined they smell awful. Tell me about it.
  3. Your character (one you will create) thinks they can talk to animals. They cant. (insert eye roll)
  4. Write about your favourite flavour, without stating what it is, ask someone to see if they can guess your chosen flavour.
  5. Shark-nado, lover or hater? Discuss! (I am personally a lover of all ridiculous movies!)
  6. Write a letter to your childhood self, not one of those self help ones. No, this is one where you are telling your younger self off for something you did but were never caught for.
  7. Write about language. Any language, written, spoken, made up, widely used, any language what so ever. What do you like about it? Why?
  8. Write a diary entry for a villain who loves musicals and ball room dances, when they are not robbing banks etc.
  9. Tell me about your best friend.
  10. What is your favourite insult? Why? Tell me about a time you used it and felt pretty good about it.

You probably think I’m some kind of weirdo when you read my prompts, but that’s the point of sharing, you realise you are not the only weirdo out there!

Let me know how you get on, did you enjoy writing this week?

See ya soon……

Fictional Town Map

I like to imagine the towns I write about in varying detail, sometimes I will create a town in my head that is just boxes representing buildings and lines creating roads. But, sometimes, I put a lot of detail in, I’m talking about a lot of detail here friends, even down to grass texture.

I’m working on my first series of books, I’ve finished the first (it’s with an author buddy of mine, shout out to Fizzypop!), and I’m on to the second. Same set of main characters, same location, which is a made up town. I can imagine every little part of this town, if I shut my eyes I can walk through the streets and see the lake, or the police station, or the local farm. I can see it all. And let me tell you friends, it’s beautiful here, towering trees, open grassland and hedges surrounding the farmers fields where mice play in the undergrowth. The beautiful town of Puddleford.

Today I decided to attempt to draw what I can see. I discovered very quickly that my hands do not cooperate when I try to recreate what I can see! So this is a semi detailed map of Puddleford. I will add more detail, lots more detail when I can.

I wanted to share it with you because often I see people asking how to create fictional towns or villages and how you know where you are book after book. Creating it in my head is the easy part for me, transferring it into paper is not so easy. But a tip I will give you for creating a fictional town is to imagine a very small part of it in great detail in your imagination and begin to spread out from there. Maybe even just start with a single house, or a tree, anything that is relevant to your story. Watch it bloom and come alive as you imagine it more vividly. Visit it daily, even if you are not writing, still visit it. What does it look like in each season? How does the terrain change? Are there any landmarks?

My favourite time in Puddleford is Autumn, the leaves are changing, the farmer has grown pumpkins and the local school has a mini Halloween parade through the streets where the children dress up and carry lanterns and the shops pass out sweets as they go by. The wind has a certain nip to it and the end of my main female characters nose goes a little red. It’s the only time of year my main male character relaxes, as like me, he loves Puddleford in Autumn.

Imagine it in any way you want, but the more you think about it the more alive your writing will become.

See you soon!