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!

Let’s talk about fan fiction (fantic)

Have you heard of it? Maybe you’ve written some yourself? I happen to think it’s a very underrated form of writing. To write in someone else’s style takes a lot of skill and talent. Of course, there is some shockingly bad fanfiction out there, but there are some absolute gems too.

People put whole books up online, usually, a chapter at a time for you to enjoy, and some of the most wonderful quotes come from fanfiction (don’t believe me? Look it up, you won’t be disappointed!). These people are brave, amazing and talented. And a little bit weird.

There is something for everyone too, there will be a fandom (community of excellent fans) for everything you can think of, from real people to fictional characters and everything in between. You can have stories that are rated U and fine for all, all the way up to x-rated kinky stuff, smut. They almost always come with warnings, so if you are looking for heterosexual romantic stuff you won’t suddenly start to read dude on dude porn. There is a LOT of smut out there peeps, be warned, or excited, I’m not here to judge!

The words fascinate me too, Wanna learn some of them?

‘Shippers’ people who really REALLY want two people to get together.

‘Canon’ which means the original work by the creators, the official universe.

‘Non-canon’ is where writers have used their characters and world to create their own fanfiction. They must state that they do not own any of the characters or the world, this is a copyright thing.

‘Cross-overs’ are where you cross two forms of fiction, so you may have Dean from Supernatural in a relationship with Phoebe from Charmed.

‘AU’ or ‘Alternate Universe’ in which the story is set somewhere else, or in a different time, or reality. These can be lots of fun, seeing how the characters react to different circumstances.

‘Fanzine’ is a bunch of fanfictions put together to make a magazine for fans.

There is a rumour, a very exciting rumour surrounding fanfiction, it is said that writers/producers/generally important people sneak on and read fanfic incognito as a way to see what the fans want from the show they create (I hope you did a dramatic, ooooohhhh at that?!). I can neither confirm or deny this rumour, mainly because I’m not any of the above people.

I love it! I love it all! I didn’t know about such things as fanfiction existed until this year, and now I read it all the time. I have yet to write anything myself but I have the utmost respect for those who do write it. As a reader I will ask other readers to do one thing, let the writer know you have read it, comment, like it, do whatever is acceptable in your fandom but please let them know that their hard work is appreciated. Be kind. Don’t write ‘this is crap’ if you didn’t enjoy something, be constructive, these people are proud of their work and it takes balls to put it out there for all to read. Be nice. Lend a hand, help them with grammar or sentence structure.

Here are some good sites for reading fanfic, please be aware of the age bands, they are there for a reason!

https://archiveofourown.org/

https://www.fanfiction.net/

https://www.wattpad.com/user/Fanfic

One more thing before I go, some of them are shockingly bad, I mean, really really bad, but please remember that you started somewhere too, let’s help these people, help them to improve. And also some of them are written by young teens, please be aware of that too.

Want me to read your fanfic? Sure! Send it my way!

See you soon!

Finding your inner octopus!

I have a little doodle of an octopus on my desk (See picture below, be amazed at the artistic quality!) to remind me that I created my ‘inner octopus’ for a reason. It helps me to remember not to start more projects than I can handle.

But it so difficult not to, that moment when inspiration hits and you think you might explode if you don’t start writing right freaking now, you want to drop everything and start something new and fresh and exciting. Don’t. Stop it. I’m serious. Write down everything you can about it, but don’t actually begin that project, it will leave you with a million unfinished projects and you will never get anywhere.

Enter the inner octopus. An octopus has 8 tentacles right? It can hold 8 things at once. 8 projects. 8 things you are already working on. Making sense yet? I like to keep 2 of the arms free for wandering around on or holding coffee (cue amazing artwork mark 2). The rest are filled with other writery type stuff I need to do. I can’t start something else until I finish something and the octopus has a free tentacle. I love a bit of imagery.

You can choose any animal you like to keep you on track, I can recommend ants or spiders, but not millipedes, let’s not get carried away here!

So what’s your inner animal to keep you on track of projects already begun?

See you soon….

Make your own mistakes guys!

We have all heard and read so many helpful posts about things people wish they knew before they began writing, or mistakes that people have made that you can learn from, and those posts are great, but, I have a different theory.

Make. Your. Own. Mistakes. Simple right? We, as writers (yes, we are now calling ourselves writers, let’s get in character people!) need to make mistakes in order to learn what suits us, someone’s mistake is someone else’s success.

Sometimes going through the process of the mistake is what enables us to grow as writers. The first draft is full of plot holes and boring characters. So? (shrugs shoulders) Who cares? It’s the first draft, its allowed to be pants, along with drafts 2, 3, 4 and 5 if necessary. It can take a plethora of drafts before your characters are who you want them to be or the plot finally make sense on paper. I’m here to tell you that’s ok. You don’t have to follow ‘protocol’, you can literally do whatever you feel compelled to do. Often when I start something I have a vague idea of what’s going on and go from there, and I read through it as I go too. I can feel the glares from here! What can I say? I’m a rebel!

So do it. Go and make your own mistakes, then learn from them, or don’t, it’s your choice, your journey.

Catch ya later!

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…..

And so she returns, after learning a valuable lesson!

Hello, you cheeky lot,

I am back! I apologise for the unannounced sabbatical, life got busy! Too busy to write? Yeah, kind of. Well, that and I decided that I was pants at writing!

I attempted NaNoWriMo, for those of you who are not familiar with it, it’s a month-long writing marathon where you literally write the first draft of a novel. It takes place in November, so I spent September preparing, November manically writing and December dealing with the fact that I failed!

That’s right, you heard me, I failed. Turns out, I HATE failing, like really hate it. I didn’t reach the 50,000 word count. Not because I suck, but because this process simply doesn’t suit me. I lost all creativity and love for the book I was writing during this process, I hated working to a certain word count a day, it made me write a whole bunch of bunkum! I found I was literally writing anything just to reach the word count, and that’s just not my style, I allow myself more creativity than this. I write when I want to and when the feeling takes me, suppose that serves me right for trying to be conventional though?! (See what I did there?!).

But, I’m not here to poo-poo NaNoWriMo because I believe it will suit certain people down to the ground, those kind of people that cram for an exam the day before they take it, or those who spend hours in the library maniacally writing and guzzling can after can of the energy drink of their choice. I am definitely not that sort of person. I love to take my time, enjoy the process and waft up and down the aisles of the library touching the books and eating sweets!

Which type of person are you? Manic or wafty?!

Also before I bid you adieu there is someone I want to thank, she knows who she is, I shall refer to her as Peppermint Tea, anyway, she gave me the confidence to once again put my words down on paper (or internet!) and get over my writing block. Thanks, Peppermint Tea, you rock!!

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…….