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 Author Interviews.

As soon as I thought of the idea for this blog series, I knew I’d have to have Kirsty Manning as my guest. Her writing outlook is spectacular, and definitely worth sharing. She’s also offered a signed copy of her new book, The Midsummer Garden, to one lucky person who comments on this blog post. So sit back and enjoy this tour of Kirsty Manning’s writing spaces! 1. My stories are made … At home, mostly. I have a home office that has French doors on a deck high among my chestnut trees. It feels a little like writing in…

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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 Author Interviews.

Welcome to my brand new blog series: Where Stories Are Made! If you’re anything like me, you might be fascinated with the spaces that allow writers to find their words, the locations where magic happens. That’s what my new series is all about: taking a peek at the writing spaces where stories are made. My very first guest is the lovely Pamela Cook, who’s here to tell us about and show us her writing space. 1. My stories are made … At home. I have a fabulous study with a beautiful old desk and walls lined with purple bookshelves. We moved…

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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.

I can’t believe it but it’s only 2 weeks until Her Mother’s Secret will be in stores! So I thought it might be a good time to start sharing something more about the book. Over the next 4 weeks, I’ll be running a series of posts which take you behind the book covers, and tell you a little about where the idea for Her Mother’s Secret came from, the research process, the writing process and much more. This week is all about the inspiration behind the book. For me, it’s never one thing that inspires a book. It’s always a few things,…

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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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