Wednesday 30 April 2014

Things that made me smile today...

1.  A man playing the piano in the shopping centre

2. Having coffee and a giggle with a friend I haven't seen for a while

3. Starting a  new book

4. Getting to the end of a particularly hard spinning class

5. Being Twitter followed by a real, live author, Rosie Blake (I have no idea why but I love her book so am well chuffed!) 

6. Afternoon Spring sunshine

7. Seeing lots of people at the library this morning

8. Dancing with Lady M

Tuesday 25 March 2014

Writing Process Blog Tour!

I'm so pleased to be part of this blog tour - big thanks to Sally Poyton for tagging me in! 

Sally and I met at the excellent writing group, Abingdon Writers, whose members write in a large variety of genres. You'll note that my tagged authors are also members of Abingdon Writers and write in different genres to both Sally and I. 

If you're new to my teeny tiny corner of the internet, I write contemporary romance and am currently waiting to hear from an agent who requested my full manuscript a couple of weeks ago - eek! The same manuscript is out with a couple more agents who I am hoping might ask for the whole thing too... Fingers crossed. 

Anyway, onto the subject of the blog tour and the how and whys of my writing!

What am I working on? 

Well, I have a first draft of my second novel locked away at the moment waiting to go through a first edit - as suggested by Stephen King in the excellent 'On Writing', I'm leaving it to sit for a while before I go back to tear it apart and tidy it up. 

In the meantime, I'm working on the first draft of a spin-off novel based on a secondary character from my first book. This character was so popular with my lovely test readers that it seemed only right that I give him his own story. He is enormous fun to write and I'm having a great time writing his story. He's a bad boy and a bit of a man-whore but he is incredibly loyal to his friends and would do anything for them. 

How does my work differ from others of it's genre?

This is a toughie. I suppose it's all in 'the voice'. That unique way of telling the story, the characters you choose, the way you progress your story line and develop your characters. 

I also tend to have my couple get together early on and deepen their relationship until something or someone tears them apart. Then I can explore their responses and the reader really gets to know the characters as individuals. Getting them back together often shows how they have grown and learnt something about themselves along the way. 

Why do I write what I do?

I love a good romantic comedy - they can make you feel the whole gamut of emotion. Sadness, happiness, love, lust, excitement, tension, frustration. 

I want my readers to feel all those emotions when they read my work - I want them to cry and smile. I want their hearts to race and their stomachs flip over. I want them to laugh out loud and make faces when the characters do something stupid. My aim is for the reader to live the book until the very last page and beyond!  

How does my writing process work? 

Hmmm, writing process. I don't really have one! 

I'm definitely a pantser and not a plotter. I usually have an end scene in mind and let the characters guide me to the finish. 

As I'm going along, I keep a rough time line of events and I write character bios so that I'm consistent with eye colour or height, etc. These will also include personality traits, a bit of family background, education, relationship history, likes and dislikes, that kind of thing, and will get constantly updated as I write. 

After the first draft is complete, I leave it a month or two before going back for a first edit. Nobody gets to read a first draft! I print it off and make notes as I read it through. Some characters get cut completely, scenes get deleted or written in, back story gets dispersed more evenly, dialogue replaces bits that are telling and not showing. 

Once the first edit is done, I send the whole thing to my guinea pig readers and await feedback. Once all that wonderful constructive criticism comes back, I make amendments, fine tune the spelling and grammar and make sure everything makes sense and characters are behaving consistently. 

Ta Dah! A complete manuscript ready for submitting when I feel completely ready for the emotional trauma and agony of waiting for responses. 

Please check out my tagged authors next week on Monday 31st March:

Robin Triggs

Rob has been writing seriously since 2005 and is still grumpy. He writes cross-genre fiction, blending crime, science fiction, adventure  and psychological thriller. He favours the catch-all term 'speculative fiction', which just goes to show. He's also extraordinarily bad at cricket.
In 2003 he came in the top 500 of the Dublin International Poetry Competition and is inordinately proud of this achievement. No one knows why. You can find his (not) winning entry on his blog -, along with assorted writerly ramblings. You can also stalk him on Twitter @RobinTriggs

Marissa de Luna is an up-and-coming young author with a passion for writing, travel and adventure. The Bittersweet Vine is her second novel which has been published by Thames River Press after Marissa successfully self published her first novel, Goa Traffic. She lives and works in Oxfordshire. 

Monday 17 March 2014

Oh, how I love this song

I really am loving this song at the moment so I wanted to share it with you.  

Haven't we all been here - resisting an ex that we KNOW is bad news but are drawn to nevertheless? Gah. 

Also Nashville is frickin' awesome. You should all be watching it. Thursdays, Channel 4, 10pm. 

I sort of love country music now but don't hold that against Nashville. That's all on me. 

Wednesday 26 February 2014

I'm back and querying again!

So, the last few months have been a bit rubbish for me BUT I have had a partial request from an agent which is a real confidence boost and makes me believe I can do it. Even if she ultimately rejects my ms, at least she has confirmed that my writing isn't completely horrible. 

Wanna know how I got this much appreciated request? Through Twitter! Ah, the power of social media. If you aren't on it, you need to be. There's always someone tweeting an interesting article or a blog post full of great tips. I caught the attention of an agent with my 140 character pitch for my novel on #pitmad day. I sent her the first ten pages and she asked for the next four chapters - hurrah! I'm waiting for her to ask for the rest of it now... :)

Today on Twitter, agents are tweeting their ms wish list all day - #mswl. Search #mswl, check out what they're asking for and query away! I think a lot of them will be Stateside so I'm heading over to Twitter as soon as this post is published! I'm not missing out on any opportunity to query agents at their bequest! 

So, buoyed up by the partial request, I hit the library, grabbed the 'Writers and Artists Yearbook 2014', listed all the agencies who take on women's fiction and then headed home to research, research, research. 

Boy, it takes a long time but I have a comprehensive list of agencies, their submission guidelines, the agent most relevant to me and, crucially, a top five wish list of agents I would really like to represent me. I'm not going to reveal them here but they represent authors who I really like and think my writing is most similar to. 

So, this week's writerly task is to compose a really good query letter which intrigues my five agents enough that they ask for more, more, more! 

I think the most daunting part of that is convincing them that I am qualified to be a good author when I have no evidence to back that up (apart from my writing). I haven't won any competitions or been published in anything since I was nine years old. I have zero writerly credentials and nothing that qualifies me to write about musicians (apart from a few years of enforced piano lessons. Not sure an agent would count that as a qualification to write about rock stars...)

So, how do I bolster my writing CV? I'm not sure I can. I think I just need to make myself sound as interesting as possible - quirky hobbies, having lived abroad, weird achievements. Anything that sounds marketable and is sufficiently interesting enough to set me apart from all the other debut writers out there are the things that are going to go on my 'CV'. 

So, whilst I ponder what makes me marketable, I shall head on over to Twitter and check out #mswl for agents wanting contemporary romances with super hot heroes and a rockstar vibe. Wish me luck!