Second draft – It’s all up hill from here…

Shouldn’t that be downhill? I had this strange notion that once I’d written the first draft of my novel everything magically fall into place and just flow. I have no flow! Every time I open my document I’m overwhelmed by how bad things are looking and get stressed that it’s just not good enough. I’m going through my ‘novel’ chapter by chapter, slowly improving what I originally thought was good and made prefect sense but doesn’t, I’m surprised at how quickly my draft it’s starting to flesh out without much effort, I imagine the backspace button on my keyboard will be worn away long before the final draft.

The problem I’m having is complicated, I have an idea in my head, I have a scene, dialogue etc but when i come to work on my novel it all seems to dissolve. The pages just don’t seem to be flowing with ease like they do in ‘real’ books. I read something and wonder why I’m not writing dialogue in the same way. I have dialogue that I’m semi happy with(at this stage)but struggle to find convincing ‘action’/thoughts to lead/follow the speech. It all seems very wooden. How do you naturally do this? How do I make the scenes come to life so you can really visualise them? I’m having scary visions of having to go through the whole draft and then add all this later since I don’t seem capable to write it convincingly at the time.

I can’t seem to get past this, all I can think of to do is plow on or I’ll never get anywhere but at the same time i feel like I’m going through chapters ‘improving’ them except not really finishing each one since I’m not convinced the dialogue is good enough.

Any pointers will be greatly appreciated.


“Welcome to my world”

I’ve just finished reading Miranda Dickinson’s Welcome to my world and I loved it. It’s been a while since I’ve felt really satisfied after reading a girly book. This chick lit book isn’t so much about romance like the rest and it’s not all perfect characters with perfect lives. It was a good story, the characters are charming and a little different from the norm in this sort of genre, they were interesting and real. They were definitely different from the bog standard 2D characters i usually find myself reading about, but all the same I felt like I really knew them.The setting wasn’t a big city where everything is exciting and perfect but it’s a place you can imagine clearly even if you’ve never been anywhere like it. It’s a place that feels like home, the characters invite you in and make you feel welcome.

What i most enjoyed about this book was the fresh description. Although, I’ve not read anything I thought had boring description, the words on these pages really stood out to me. It’s the first time I’ve read a book where I’d really noticed the descriptions/metaphors/similes(not because i don’t normally) I kept finding myself thinking ‘that’s a really good way of writing it’ or ‘i wouldn’t of thought of putting it like that’. I loved how original those were(though i can’t think of any off the top of my head. Will add some at a later date) and how easily I was able to see what the author was showing me.

I really recommend reading it and if you’re not into chick lit, read it anyway because it’s a great example of originality, it’s been a while since I’ve read about someone or some place, written so well I could almost reach out and touch it.

I went back through the book, below are a few snippets of description that I particularly enjoyed reading.

“Large spots of rain began to pepper her head and shoulders, catching the light from the street lamp as they fell; a shower of shimmering crystals splashing around her as she remained frozen to the spot.”

“The sun was beginning to dip behind the early evening clouds, gilding everything in rich golden light.”

“Brazilian rainforest canopies, throwing spotlights of pure gold onto the forest floor hundreds of feet below.”

“Outback Australia, its surface cracked by the scorching sun and peppered with skeletal frames of weather-beaten trees..”

“When their lips meet, its like a billion shooting stars colliding, filling every atom of darkness with shimmering light.”

World Book night 2011

I came across World Book Night on The Book People’s website just after Christmas. Luckily the deadline for applicants had been extended so I….well my fiance applied on our behalf.

For those who haven’t heard of it, World Book Night follows a few days after World Book Day, that’s usually run in schools. The kids are given vouchers and/or a free book to encourage reading. When I was at school it was just kicking off and I definitely looked forward to getting a free book since I didn’t get enough pocket-money to be able to walk into Waterstones to purchase a book. Since, it’s really bugged me how a lot of kids no longer use the vouchers or bother collecting the books, I’d love a free book! Finally, there’s something similar….better even, for kids, adults, for everyone.

On 5th March one million books will be given away for free across the UK and Ireland. 20,000 applicants were selected to be the ‘givers’ and will distribute their chosen book. Each applicant was asked to select a title from a list of 25 books that they’d already read and wanted to share with others.

I think it’s a great idea, though I’ve read a lot of comments from annoyed booksellers that don’t agree.
I really wanted to get involved but shamefully I’d not read a single book on the list. My fiance had read and enjoyed Northern Lights by Philip Pullman. So we picked that and luckily have been chosen as givers ourselves. I’m sure it’s a great book, I’ve been told a bit about it but I’m kicking myself because I’ve since come across two other books that I’d like to read that happen to be on the list.

Anyway, the aim is to encourage people who are ‘reluctant readers’, people with less access to books or just someone you think is deserving and would appreciate it.

I was on Facebook the other day reading through the comments and people have some really good ideas of how they will distribute their books. Some people will be taking theirs into hospitals, handing them out to fed up commuters on the London Underground,some are having parties or carefully handpicked students/people who would really appreciate a book. Some made their selection to increase awareness of related things such as Autism with the book The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon. I think it’s an amazing idea and wish I’d known more about some of the other books to have been able to do similar.

There’s a lot of annoyed people who weren’t picked to be givers.It’s disapointing that some of them had really good ideas and specific plans for the books. Others just thought they deserved to do it more than the next person. It’s about the books and who gets them, not the person giving them, people should keep that in mind.

We’re hoping to give half our books out at my fiance’s work since there are people working there from all walks of life and also (if they let us) join an event happening a few towns away where they are already giving out books. There are events up and down the country to draw more attention to the whole night, unfortunately not near us. It’s worth checking out your local one or attending the celebrations in Trafalgar Square on 4th/5th March. It’s gunna be a good one….!/worldbooknight?v=info

The never ending road to writing a book…

I was on a roll typing up the first draft of my first attempt at a novel. Though, every time I loaded up my document a heavy weight formed on my shoulders. I read parts of it and realised it was no best seller but looked past this and ploughed on knowing that if I don’t do the work I will never have anything to improve.

I’ve been waiting a week (it may turn into two) as I’ve read it’s best to edit your work with fresh eyes, to edit as a reader not the writer. I’ve got some books together that are on all aspects of writing and I’m planning on studying them so that I’m completely prepared to improve my work and not just spend hours changing it.

It’s so overwhelming trying to create something that others will want to read, something that would be as good as the books I read. I want it to be one of those you’re not able to put down, one that stays in your hand as you eat, cook and clean.

It’s going to be a much bigger job to get my book anywhere near that stage and I’m starting to appreciate the effort authors put into their books. Now every time I read something I like, I think of the author slaving away for hours putting everything they have into it.   

I’d like to say thank you to all of those people out there dedicating their time to creating something for others.

Scott Sigler

This morning I read an interview of Scott Sigler, a New York Times Best-selling author.

Not someone that I’ve heard of before since I’m not really a fan of science-fiction/horror but I thought the way he found success was really interesting.

As I understand it, in 2005 as a unpublished author, Sigler recorded an audio version of his novel(read by himself) split it into episodes and released it via podcast. “Earthcore became the world’s first podcast-only novel” achieving over 10,000 listeners by the time the last episode was aired.

I think it’s really impressive and obviously did the job. For all those interested in the thriller/horror/sci-fi genre, you should check out his website You’ll find plenty of free audio books available to listen to, links to buy his novels in print and an author dedicated to his fans.

Even I’m temped to see what he’s all about.