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…….

I might spontaneously combust.

For me, being a writer is cyclical, it mirrors lots of things in my life. I love regimes, lists and repetitiveness. It’s an ongoing joke in our household that I make regimes but can’t stick to them, Flip says if I stick to something for 2 weeks straight I can call it a regime! You’re on buster!!

Writing is more than a regime, it’s a passion, it’s something I have to do or I might actually spontaneously combust (has anyone looked into wether this is the actual cause of spontaneous combustion in people? No. Didn’t think so, come on science, keep up with me here!). It’s a feeling from deep within, it flickers like a small spark and grows into a flame before engulfing you in a full on inferno (points to anyone who sang burn baby burn, disco inferno just then).

Writing is a way of life, come on, you know I love a good cliche, but this is actually true. I constantly write in my head, even if not on paper, computer, or phone, it’s still being written in my imagination. Small snippets or scenes here and there, or even full on short stories sometimes. I have an ongoing story that I come back to when I daydream, it’s been going on for years and although the characters change the story is still continuing, it’s like an add on to real life, running simultaneously alongside my everyday life. I can’t stop it. It’s a compulsion. More than a daydream, it’s an epic book that would more than rival the size of war and peace!

But, remember I said I was cyclic? I go through phases of being an enthusiastic, outgoing, very proud, writer where I will buy hats and bright clothes and want to wear make up, disabilities permitting! Then I will start to doubt myself and begin to dull down the enthusiasm for my skills and write lots of prompts but less actual stories. I will wear less patterned clothes and give the hats a miss. I will stay indoors a bit more and not sit in the garden so much. Then the final stage is where I begin to think I’m just rubbish at everything, life in general but especially writing, my inner critic takes over completely and I will wear darker colours, blacks and navy blues, I will scrape my hair back and buy jogging bottoms and pyjamas because I’m not going out anywhere and I don’t want to see anyone and I’m never going to be an actual writer.

Let’s get one thing straight friends, I have several disabilities that prevent me from doing things but I cope, through writing, this process has nothing to do with them, it is the writer in me that goes through this. Why am I telling you and dragging the conversation down? Because we all feel it, we all have an inner critic that likes to beat us up from time to time but we also have the disco inferno within that will make us combust if we don’t write. So this, my friends, might actually be the most normal thing about me!

Spontaneous combustion. Something to think on.

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)

Word of the week (7) Late! Yikes!

I must apologise for my tardiness on word of the week, there was no big drama, no life hanging reason as to why I didn’t do it, no incident to render me incapable. To be perfectly honest, and I do like to be honest with you, I couldn’t motivate myself to write this post. Rude I know! I just left you hanging without a word dear friends, I am sorry.

This word actually describes me!

I am a paralian! It means a person who lives by the sea. I live in a beautiful seaside town with a small high street and a busy harbour. My town is famous for its oysters and people come from all over the world to try them. I live in Whitstable in Kent. Look it up, you won’t be disappointed. Lots of the buildings here are interesting and we have great road names like ‘middle wall’ and ‘Squeeze gut ally’ I have no idea why they are called that, I should look it up really.

Are you a paralian? Tell me about it, what is your town like? Do you overlook the sea? I don’t, but I am on a hill so I have a sea view.

See ya soon folks……

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!

Word of the week (6)

This word is not just a word, it’s a way of life. At least, it is for me.

A philocalist is someone who sees the beauty in everything. I do see the beauty in everything, do you? One of my best friends once said to me that I see life in HD and she was absolutely right, I really do.

I’m going to keep it short, but I would like you to look for the beauty this week. It is there, trust me! Become a philocalist! I dare you!

See you soon……

When you feel like all the stories are taken

You know when you sit down to write because inspiration has hit and you are all excited and you reach for your coffee and have a moment of unwanted clarity…… damn…… this story has already been written. So you get annoyed with yourself and go and eat some cake, or is that just me?

Let me tell you this friends, the story may well have been told before, it may have been told in 42 thousand different ways and although it may sound cliche (come on, who doesn’t love a good cliche?!) it has never been written by you. You have something special, something that no one else has; your voice. You have the ability to tell a story that is completely different to anyone else. Cling to this. Remember it when you feel low. Write it down and leave it where you can see it. Print out my quote. Do whatever you need to do to move forward. I believe in you!

If I am totally honest I am still working on my voice, I write exactly how I speak on here and that is when I’m at my most comfortable. In the same way that no 2 people speak the same, no 2 writers write the same. If you can’t think of a story you want to write, reimagine one you already know. You may find an unexpected comfort zone.

And if you need a little pep talk or gentle push then give me a shout, let’s not do this alone!

See you next time…..