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

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

Welcome to Part 3 of my blog series taking you behind the covers of Her Mother’s Secret. You can find Part 1 here and Part 2 here. Today’s post is all about the writing process, what I actually did when I sat down to write the book and how easy (or hard!) it really was. Her Mother’s Secret was my fourth book and my second historical novel. I knew what I was doing right? Wrong! In the Beginning … The book covers twenty years, two seperate timeframes and has two different female protagonists. One of those is Leo, who’s trying…

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

I’ve talked before about the fact that I don’t really love writing the first draft of a novel. I prefer the redrafting process because then I know what the story is and I’m not struggling every day to work that out. But I don’t think I’ve been one hundred percent honest in saying I don’t like first drafts. What I find torturous and terrifying and very hard work is the first 20,000 words, the pre-first draft, which I’ve written about here. Once that’s done, writing the first draft of a novel is actually fun! Recap: The Pre-First Draft Every year from…

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filed under How To Write A Book.

A very big welcome to my first guest for the year in my occasional series of interviews with emerging writers. One of the things I love most about teaching writing courses is that I get to meet other writers and it was great to meet Nadia King at my Plotting Masterclass a couple of weeks ago. I hope you enjoy reading about her writing journey so far, as well as the tips she has to share. On to the interview! Describe the book you’re currently working on. My current wip, Sam and Ranga, is about ten-year-old Chloe and her secret…

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filed under How To Write A Book.

It’s much nicer to do things we’ve done before, things we know, things we’re certain about. But, as writers, I think this is one of the worst things we can do. Today I wanted to talk about why it’s a good thing to think that the book you’re writing is too ambitious, to wonder if you have the skills to finish the story you’ve started to write. We Never Plan to Make Ourselves Uncomfortable When I sat down to write A Kiss from Mr Fitzgerald, I didn’t deliberately plan to write a book that was outside my comfort zone. I…

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