filed under How To Write A Book.

I’ve published 4 books, but I’ve just handed in the structural edit on my 5th, and am up to the final draft on my 6th. This is not a position I ever really imagined I’d be in, back when I was writing book number one. If I had been able to glimpse the future, there are a few things I would have liked to have known—saving the good names being chief amongst them! Here are a few of the lessons learned from writing those books. Save the Good Names There is a finite supply of good names, especially male names!…

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filed under Her Mother's Secret, How To Write A Book, The French Photographer, The Paris Seamstress.

I taught a Plotting Masterclass on the weekend and we talked about plotting versus pantsing, and how much of my first draft would incorporate the key plot points, or whether I would incorporate those points once the first draft was finished. I get asked similar questions at each course I teach—whether the similes in my books just come out in the first draft or whether they’re something I work on later, whether the plot twists in my books are known to me in advance or whether they unravel themselves in  the writing process. So I thought it might be useful…

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filed under Her Mother's Secret, How To Write A Book.

On Facebook last week, I saw someone asking the question: how do you define success as a writer? It came on the back of a Twitter update, from someone attending a writing seminar, where UWA Press publisher Terri-Ann White said that the average sales of a book in Australia were just 800 copies per year. Does that then mean if you sell 800 copies in one year you’re a success? 800 copies might earn an author just over $2,000—for something that’s taken about 5 years of their life to write. Maybe for some that is success. For others, perhaps not.…

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filed under How To Write A Book, The French Photographer, The Paris Seamstress.

Incubation is a greatly underrated but hugely important part of the writing process, of how an idea becomes a book. Everyone talks about the actual writing and the redrafting and the editing but few people talk about the thinking time. I guess that’s because it’s hard to talk about: blogging about time spent doing nothing other than thinking could quickly turn into a very dull post! But I’m going to give it a go because it’s been on my mind a lot lately as I incubate an idea that will hopefully become a book for 2020 (crazy far away I…

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filed under How To Write A Book, The French Photographer, The Paris Seamstress.

During the week, I posted a picture on my Facebook page of a chart I like to do at the end of my second draft. It helps me see where the gaps are and what I need to work on in the next redraft. Unexpectedly, the picture attracted a flood of comments and requests for me to blog about how I use the chart and what I do when I’m redrafting a novel. So, here goes! The Second Draft I’ve blogged before about how my first drafts are a bit of a mess; I don’t print out my first draft,…

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filed under How To Write A Book.

The one question I’ve been asked by readers at every event over the last two months has been about my writing routine. I know I’ve blogged about it before, but probably not for a couple of years, and I’ve just realised I have lots of new readers who haven’t read my previous posts on the subject. So, given the number of questions I’ve been asked about it lately, I’m going to shed some light on my writing routine. The 4 Parts of My Day My day basically falls into 4 parts. Part 1: 6am-8am, which is before the kids go…

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filed under Her Mother's Secret, How To Write A Book.

Last year I wrote a post about deleted scenes in A Kiss from Mr Fitzgerald. I got so much feedback about it that I’ve decided to write a post about the deleted scenes in Her Mother’s Secret. Apparently writers don’t often share their deleted scenes but I think it’s really important to understand that nobody begins with the perfect novel; a first draft is an exploration of what the story is and, to truly explore, you have to be prepared to try some things that don’t work. Which is why I’ve decided to open up my Trash in Scrivener and pull…

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filed under How To Write A Book.

The best things about being a writer are obviously the fame, the fortune, and the glamour, right? Well, I haven’t been lucky enough to find any of those things but here I am, still writing. And despite not having those things, I still think I’m lucky anyway. Teaching a couple of courses to aspiring writers over the weekend reminded me of this so I thought it might be good to share with you what exactly it is that I love about writing. We so often hear stories of how hard writing a book is; maybe it is hard sometimes but there…

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filed under Her Mother's Secret, How To Write A Book.

I have a fascination for the clothes the characters in my books wear. Fashion and character is something I spend a substantial amount of time researching. Why do I bother? I could easily use that time to do some other more “serious” research; after all, clothes are thought to be fairly trivial items. But they’re not. For me, they’re an essential part of getting the character onto the page. How Clothes Get Character Onto the Page? As a writer, I have four main methods of getting the character to come to life in the reader’s mind: dialogue, action, thought and description. If you’ve…

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filed under Her Mother's Secret, How To Write A Book.

Last week, in Part 3 of my blog series about Her Mother’s Secret , I talked about the process of actually writing the book. I finished at the point at which I was about to send it to my editor, thinking it was amazing and wouldn’t need much work in the way of structural editing. Ha! I was very deluded. 19 Pages of Notes I received back from my publisher 19 pages of single-spaced notes for the structural edit. 19 pages! Can I tell you how daunting it is, when you think your book is fabulous, to receive an email…

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