Friday, January 27, 2012


I haven’t made my first short story sale yet for 2012. I have had an article accepted though … woo hoo! I’ve written four new stories so far this year and am working on three others which are in the drafting stage. My latest short story was inspired by pics I saw on The Librarian’s blog. I started writing this story and hit a brick wall when my muse decided to go on vacation. Mr Muse recently returned (I think he missed me) and the rest of the story flowed with ease. It’s not the usual story I would write. I do enjoy challenging myself. Pushing those boundaries. Exploring new territory. And I had so much fun writing it! I’ve submitted the short story feeling hopeful and dare I say, confident? Time will tell.

While I wait to hear some news on those two novel manuscript proposals I’ve sent to Pan MacMillan I’ve taken the author cap off and donned the short story writer cap.

Come on Muse back to short story drafting. Slave driver you say? I wink at him. Welcome home Muse!

Keep writing….

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Fear not fellow writers. If you, like me, are having problems stringing together a sentence I have heard on the grape vine aka the muse vine that there is a general meeting of the muses. They are all there on a tropical island, sipping cocktails, enjoying the sun and laughing at our demise. Fear not, they will return (ETA unknown at this stage) but they need us as much as we need them. (Important that we believe this.)

Meanwhile there is a way to entice the little bugger back; go for a walk and indulge your senses, read a book or a batch of short stories, dig out those old stories and give them a revamp. Read inspiring blogs! Write a blog post - even if it is to express your desperation (like me). Inspiration could be just around the corner, sometimes you just have to go look for it!

The muse shall return... hopefully sooner rather than later :-)

Please come home muse....

Saturday, January 21, 2012


I have been determined to read genres that I don’t usually read. I stumbled across Brava books and began reading erotic romance, both contemporary and paranormal. (Most definitely out of my reading comfort zone.) I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. The plots were great and the stories entertaining. I’m always interested in other writers’ styles, their thoughts and their writing process, so when I stumbled across Writing Erotic Romance by Alison Kent, I couldn’t resist borrowing a copy from the library.

Alison Kent says:

I find the number-one telling difference between traditional romance and erotic romance is that characters in erotic romance tend to fall into bed and then fall in love.

PLOT: Establishing motives, goals and conflict. A character’s outward desire (goal) and the exterior force behind it (motive) create the momentum of the external plot. Both the desire and the force behind it must be clearly defined, as together they will push the character into making choices and taking action. Throwing obstacles (conflict) between a character and his goal makes for compelling fiction, as it gives readers a hero to root for. Once you’ve established your character’s external goal and motive, you can then have fun deciding how to tell his or her story.

It’s not the position or the location that makes the scene erotic or edgy. It’s what’s at stake for the characters, the risks they’re taking, the conflict to which they’re closing their eyes that sends such a consummation scene into envelope-pushing territory.

Use sharp evocative words and short sentences to give a scene a sense of urgency. Longer descriptive sentences that employ more adjectives or metaphors will give a languorous quality to a dreamy or sensual scene.

Of course some of the good advice Alison Kent gives here can apply to all genres. Well, now for a change of genre, I’m off to read an action thriller - By the Light of the Moon by Dean Koontz.

Keep writing… and reading!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Momentum is magic when you've got it going. When I'm in the writing zone I feel complete. BUT after a visit from my parents (I see them once a year) I found it difficult this morning to get back into the swing of things. My momentum had come to a stand still and although I have many writing projects to tackle I just couldn't get into it. I paced around the house for the first half of the day searching for my muse. He had found a good hiding place! After convincing myself that I wasn't going to be happy until I achieved something today, and needed to be disciplined to get on with it, I eventually found my muse. My momentum returned and I completed that book proposal I've been wanting to do for my non-fiction manuscript. I also managed to do some further drafting on a short story I'm working on. I'm happy now!

Today I learned when momentum stops I need to push myself to get going again. It is worth the effort - the sense of achievement at the end of my day has made me a much happier writer.

Keep writing....

Friday, January 13, 2012


A book proposal generally consists of three parts:
  • Covering letter
  • Synopsis
  • The first two or three chapters
The Covering Letter

Keep it simple and brief. State what you are enclosing, include the title of your book, word count, genre, theme and if you have any other publications.

Example: I enclose for your consideration a synopsis and the first three chapters of a 100,000 word supernatural thriller called, ‘After Midnight’. ‘After Midnight’ is a story about a detective who is looking for a murderer who is on a killing spree in a usually peaceful coastal village. He soon discovers he isn’t dealing with your average murderer. After Midnight’ is my second novel.

The Synopsis

The main reason for writing a synopsis is to attract an editor’s attention. Let us not fool ourselves, competition is fierce, the supply exceeds the demand and your task here is to get your manuscript read. Your synopsis is your sales pitch.

From your synopsis an editor will decide whether your story is a commercially viable product. So do not underestimate the power of your synopsis. Is your story unique? Does it have some special quality?

A synopsis is usually one or two pages long. In a general synopsis you should include:

  • Title and setting
  • Introduce your main characters
  • The conflict and drama
  • The mood/tone/atmosphere
  • What is special and unique about your story
  • Turning point of your story. Which scene changes everything?
  • The climax
  • Conclusion – draft a satisfying sentence
NOTE: Some genres need to be treated a little differently. For example in a crime synopsis you would include the progress of the investigation, revealing the clues and twists and turns. An editor wants to know if the story works and the plot is believable.

The first two or three chapters

The opening paragraph must contain a hook which grabs the reader’s attention; a clue as to the content of your book. The first page should set the tone of your book; romance, thriller, science fiction etc. The first chapter is of crucial importance – pivotal. It needs to be interesting enough to stimulate the reader’s interest or curiosity to want to read more. There is no point if your story swings into action in chapter five. From the very first page of your novel your task is to lure the reader into your story. Strive to make your manuscript a winner from the beginning to the end.

NOTE: Always check with editors/agents what their requirements are. There may be certain variations from the above information. Give yourself the best possible chance in the first place by meeting their requested requirements.

Keep writing....

Monday, January 9, 2012


The recent blog interviews about my novel Dream Keeper done by Rosemary Gemmell and Teresa Ashby have made me one happy writer. I can’t even begin to express the gratitude and excitement that these two popular and successful writers have made me feel. Thank you. If you haven’t already please visit these blogs where you can learn more about Dream Keeper and me as a writer. Both these interviews are a good example of what makes an interesting interview – the questions.

Many years ago I did a writing course by correspondence. I’ve always enjoyed writing but I knew I needed the tools to nurture my craft. I embarked on a journey which at times, many times, was frustrating. Competition was always fierce –and all those brick walls! I wanted to hit my head up against them. I was driven by passion. I still am. I persevered and eventually learned that rejection is part of the process. It still is. But to me, one acceptance erases many rejections. It still does.

These author interviews have made me feel acknowledged and accepted. They have made me feel important enough to be made mention of. My journey so far, the ups and the many downs, has all been worth it to get me to this point. I have been truly inspired to continue to nurture my craft. I am one happy writer!

Keep writing…

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


I've sent my first 2012 short story off to That's Life (fingers crossed). I have also submitted my new novel manuscript to Allen and Unwin who run 'Friday Pitch' where they accept unsolicited manuscripts, and my second novel manuscript I wrote to Pan Macmillan Australia who run Manuscript Monday. I have also managed to dig up some old short stories which haven't been anywhere in a while and submitted them. I've been in the mood to make things happen, so I thought, why not take advantage of the frame of mind I am in? I have another new short story which I am drafting and last night drafted out an article.

I can only hope I can maintain this momentum. My muse has been very obliging.... so far!

What have you been up to?

Keep writing...

Monday, January 2, 2012


This is a list of goals I have set for myself for 2012. I have recorded them here as an added incentive to me to stay focused and determined – because I know that recording this here and having witnesses to this list will help me to put in the effort that is needed. Well, that is my plan anyway! Sounds good in theory, don’t you think?

01    Beat record of short stories sold in one calendar year.
02    Read, revise and submit non-fiction book manuscript.
03    Read, revise and submit second novel manuscript.
04    Read, revise and submit third novel manuscript.
05    Continue marketing first published novel, Dream Keeper.
06    Write one short story per week.
07    Write and submit articles.
08    Begin drafting new novel manuscript.
09    Blog once per week.
10    Search for new writing markets/opportunities.

NOTE TO SELF: As long as I do my absolute best to achieve this list, in my eyes I have succeeded! (This is my back up plan/attitude – it takes the pressure off, and prevents me from going into panic mode if the year is coming to a close and I am wishing I hadn’t had such high expectations of myself.) J

Keep writing….