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writing

Don't Close Your Eyes, Try Not to Breathe, Writing

Handy tools for getting to know your characters

22nd April 2018

Robin inspiration board on Pinterest

Last week I shared some handy tools and techniques for planning a novel and because I’m literally currently doing this, I thought I’d follow up with the next step: planning characters.

Most of my books have a small ensemble ‘cast’ but I tend to start with the most ‘active’ voice and build that character first, the other characters are formed almost as ‘answers’ to that first character.

In Don’t Close Your Eyes, which features twins with equal billing and points of view, I started with one character (Robin) and then built the others using her as a starting point. The reason for this was simply that Robin came to me almost fully formed, so I had a running start. It’s not always that easy!

In Try Not to Breathe, I started with Amy. Although in the present day she is definitely not the most active, Amy’s point of view opens the book. And because the central question of the novel is ‘what happened to Amy?’ it was vital that she really came alive for the reader straight away.Readers have to care about what happens to a character, and you can’t care about someone you know nothing about.

But I don’t use anything remotely cutting edge to plan my characters…

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Podcast, Writing

Useful resources for planning a page turner

14th April 2018
This week, I’ve been planning out my next book idea… I’ve not put pen to paper yet (well, fingers to keys) because I’m working on the intricacies of the plot before I jump in. I’m using a whiteboard and index cards to plan out the structure and layer possible scenes and I’ve never done so much ‘thinking’ before writing before.
Whiteboard with plot plans
 
I’ve also been reading a lot about different techniques for planning and structuring, a lot of which I did (and I think a lot of authors) do instinctively, but an equal amount I have tended to do afterwards, through big edits, bigger glasses of wine and a lot of headaches. So if you’re also at the planning stage, here are some links and resources I’ve found useful.

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Writing

How I write books

15th November 2016

Okay, I’m waiting for something and consequently finding it impossible to focus on my work in progress so instead I’m going to write… about writing. I think this is where I insert a gif of a snake eating itself and procrastinate for even longer via a deep dive into Giphy.

via GIPHY

Since I was published, I’ve received a lot of interesting questions from readers, especially those working on books of their own. Something that comes up a lot is how I write, my process for turning this:

via GIPHY

 

Into this:

 

via GIPHY

So I thought I would attempt to boil it down and show you the raw ingredients.

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Writing

How Aaron Sorkin is making me a better writer

8th October 2016

Yes, I am deliberately making it sound as if Aaron Sorkin is giving me personal one to one advice. Of course he isn’t really. But I kind of feel like he is.

I’ve been taking his online screenwriting masterclass from the aptly named Masterclass.com and it’s exceptionally inspiring and useful, not just for fledgling screenwriting attempts, but for writing in general.

There are 35 lessons in total and I’m not going to blabber the contents all over the place (not least because I’d get in trouble) but one lesson in particular really stood out. It’s called “Writing Habits”.

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