Thursday, October 15, 2009

Heaven Can Wait

I know it's been (editing, wedding planning, looking for work) has yet again got in the way of blogging.

But I couldn't let today go by without marking this exciting occasion - Cally Taylor, writer, full-time worker and blogger extraordinaire has had her debut novel Heaven Can Wait published today.

Cally's blog was one of the first writing blogs that I came across. Not only is she a talented and dedicated writer (she wrote Heaven Can Wait while holding down a demanding full-time job and has had tons of short stories published) but she has a great attitude towards life and writing. I've learned a lot from her blog posts about the realities of being a writer and getting published.

Heaven Can Wait is available from Amazon and other bookshops from today. I can guarantee that you won't be disappointed - she is a great writer. She's running a competition on her website where you can win plenty of goodies and a signed copy of her book here.

Congratulations Cally!

Thursday, June 25, 2009


Once I sent out my first novel for review I did a lot of work on my second - read some "How to" books, interviewed my characters, played around with a premise - it was all systems go.

But then I heard that my contract at work is more than likely going to end in six weeks. I had heard rumours for a while so the official news wasn't a big shock, but it did make me realise that I had to pull my socks up and apply for some jobs.

Fingers crossed I'll find something soon, but until then the job hunt has trumped writing. And I'm in no hurry to get my editorial review back either!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Writer's Workshop

I sent my manuscript to the Writer's Workshop, mainly because the report is followed up by a phone call with the editor. They also accept manuscripts by email and payment by credit card (handy if you're an overseas client like me). My little book is now with them and I'm feeling a little nervous for it. Good luck book!

I'm re-reading my "How to" books and just enjoying the anticipation.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Out With the Old and In With the New

For the last few days I've been able to lounge on the sofa and watch tv without a nagging guilt weighing down on me. It's a complete relief to have finished my edit!

Thank you for your editorial consultancy suggestions, my shortlist is the Writer's Workshop, Hilary Johnson's Advisory Service and the Literary Consultancy. I've sent out a few query emails so as soon as I hear back I'll submit my ms for an honest appraisal. I'm nervous for my little book that could...

I started work on my second novel yesterday, choosing the characters' names, putting together a rough outline and so on. It never feels like work or effort at this point, it's just pure creativity and it feels wonderful. I downloaded yWriter and I've already fallen in love with its fantastic tracking and chunking facilities - for example you can rate each scene for tension and then see the rise and fall of your novel in a handy graph, or make a note of your deadlines for each stage and keep track of the daily word count needed to meet those deadlines. Even better it's free!

I've given myself a month to work on the characters and outline the novel, which is a little daunting as I only have a few scenes in my mind at the moment but I'm sure as I keep plotting and researching it will all come together.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Finally Finishing and Editorial Consultancies

A lot has happened since my last blog post, all those weeks ago.

First, I got engaged. Yes, The Ours and I have decided to do the grown-up thing and get married. Gulp. Does that mean I have to start listening to classical music and take up golf? But like true kidults we're thinking of getting a lego bride and groom for our cake topper. We're getting married in February on our ten year anniversary, just a small ceremony in a registry office, followed by a slap-up meal in our favourite restaurant and a party in a pub after.

I took advantage of my unexpected euphoria about the whole thing and shelved the novel for three weeks to concentrate on wedding planning. In that time we booked all the venues, asked the bridesmaid and best man, decided on the invites and got the save the date cards printed...and I loved every minute of it. I never imagined I'd be such a willing bride. Let's hope I don't cross the line into Bridezilla-hood.

Second, I started on my editing again. Being a technical edit there was very little creativity involved, just cold-hearted cuts and teacher-like red pen wielding. I'm not ashamed to say that between this painful process, working full-time and wedding/honeymoon planning, I became a little worn out. My social life suffered and people began mistaking me for a zombie.

So amongst other things I decided to stop blogging. For me blogging is a community thing. I feel guilty reading other people's blog posts without commenting, or when other bloggers take the time to visit my blog and I don't return the favour. I need to give it my full attention, maybe just for fifteen minutes a day...but I couldn't spare fifteen minutes. I was desperate to finish this edit, format the entire novel, and start on my second book. I felt it had dragged on too long.

There were several stories that needed more work than anticipated (aren't there always) so it took longer than I hoped. But I hit a lucky streak at the end and finished at 11 o'clock last at night. It felt brilliant to finally get it done. I'm going to take a short break and then start work on my second.

Until then, I'm looking for an editorial consultancy and I was hoping that you could help me. I really want to use someone who comes recommended, as it's a good chunk of money to hand over at one time. Any ideas?

P.S. It's great to be back. I missed you.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Books, Mslexia and Westport

Since my last post I've been keeping very busy. My most recent book splurge arrived a whole two weeks earlier than Amazon's delivery estimate - perhaps these dates are just plucked from the air? But I couldn't complain as I am now the proud owner of the following books:

Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Browne & King (which I'm reading and making notes on at the moment, so far it's excellent);

Write Right! by Jan Venolia; and

The Elements of Style by Strunk & White.

I also subscribed to Mslexia magazine which I received last week - and I already can't believe that I survived without it. It is chock full of tips, interviews, case studies and competitions to help even the most budding of writers out of her shell. The Mslexia diary is packed with even more goodies. I am officially a Mslexia evangelist!

The Ours and I took a break from work to celebrate our nine year anniversary. Thursday we had lunch at Chapter One and then watched Slumdog Millionaire, and on Friday we travelled to Westport in Co. Mayo to spend the weekend in a lovely hotel and spa. The weather may have been too changeable to get much sightseeing done but the soft rain made the outdoor heated rockpool even more enjoyable. It was a fantastic weekend.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Getting Ideas

I have roughly two weeks before my grammar books arrive, therefore I've decided to start thinking about my second book. Problem is - I have no idea what it should be about!

If I wait for inspiration to strike it may never be written, so I bought a notepad from Paperchase today (and a ton of differently coloured pens...yay!) and started to make notes. I know I have some ideas bubbling under the surface, I just need to start digging. I've begun by listing the things I've gone through and am familiar with (write what you know) and the themes and issues that I'm interested in (write what you want to know).

The plan is that, once I've come up with a decent list of themes to play with, I'll pick a few and then ask myself - what if? Perhaps I'll be able to link different themes through this question, or ideas will just form from these thoughts alone. Then I'll do some freewriting on each.

Hopefully out of the freewriting some characters, plots and premises will emerge. I'd like to start with short stories to get a feel for the story before committing to an entire novel on one idea.

This may come across as a little cold and calculated for such a creative process, and perhaps it is - but I'm just hoping that it will give my inspiration a little shove in the right direction! And who knows, once I start concentrating my thoughts on book two the ideas might start popping into my head on their own, so I'm making sure to keep my ideas pad with me at all times. I'm willing to write anything and everything down, even if it seems ridiculous...

How do you come up with ideas? Do they just come to you, fully formed, or do you have a process? Do you mainly get your inspiration from themes or characters?