filed under The French Photographer, Writing Historical Fiction.

For anyone interested, here’s a rundown of what I did on my recent research trip to Europe. I was finishing up a last bit of research for The French Photographer (2019 book) and researching the seed of an idea I had for a 2020 book, which has now grown into much more than a seed! I started in Paris, staying at the Hotel Scribe in the Opéra district. The hotel was built in the 1860s and was used by the Allies as their press headquarters after the fall of Paris in WWII, so it features in my book. I headed…

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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 The French Photographer, Writing Historical Fiction.

I’m off to Europe in late September for another historical fiction research trip so I thought it might be fun to share what I’ll be getting up to. And it’s a nice excuse to talk about the fabulous trip I have planned! I’m finishing up the last bits of research for The French Photographer (2019 book) and starting the research for the germ of an idea I have for a 2020 book. Paris I’m starting in Paris, where I’ll be staying at the Hotel Scribe. This hotel was used by the US Army as their press headquarters in WWII and…

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filed under The French Photographer, Using Scrivener.

I recently posted a video on Facebook and a picture on Instagram showing the redraft I’m currently working on of my 2019 book, The French Photographer (working title). The video and pictures showed my Scrivener manuscript and it prompted a lot of questions from people about why I like using Scrivener to write a novel. I have blogged about using Scrivener to write a novel before, here and here, but that was a while ago. So I thought it was time to write an updated post, focusing on why Scrivener makes my redrafting process so much easier. First, the Binder…

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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 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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