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 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 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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