Improving As a Writer

Ok, it’s been some time since I’ve written a blog. What have I been doing you ask? For one thing, I’m ecstatic that I finished the second novel in the Knight of Kenilworth series and sent it off to my agent about a month ago. Woohoo! It’s a time in any writer’s life to celebrate (and I took a short break and started a new job…but that’s another story).

Next, I turned my attention back to the first book in the series. Why? A while ago I was asked to speak at an event for Leicester Writers’ Club. As part of that event, I was asked to read out a sample from the Knight of Kenilworth. Of course I wanted to read something from the first book.

Whoa! I had to edit it prior to reading it. Why? Because in the span of time between finishing the first novel and now, I have grown as a writer. I’ve continued to hone my craft and that has paid off. And I can see it! Talk about another thing to celebrate!

I’ve seen this progression as a writer happen to others. In fact, often you can see it if you follow a series from a particular author. Read some of their early work and then something from later.  Hard work, perseverance and constant writing pay off!

 

The Devil’s in the Details

That’s right. I’m down to it. It’s just the way I like to do things. When I’m writing the first draft of a novel, I spend all of my time writing the main action of the scenes, all the dialogue and a bit about where it is happening.

What I don’t do is spend a terrific amount of time on description either of people or places. But now I’m at that stage of my novel. I’m doing sweeps back through it. And as I go, I edit. And while I do edit some bits out, for the most part, I add a lot more in (that’s why I don’t stress about the word count not being up where i think it “should” be).

What an odd way to do it, you say? Well, I do it that way because that’s just how it all comes into my head. And I want desperately to get the story out (or maybe it’s the story that wants desperately to get out – not sure which). It does mean, of course, that some things need to be re-written slightly, as I discover when I’m describing something that it couldn’t have possibly happened the way I originally wrote it.

But does it work? It works for me. And that’s what we’re all looking for. You do what works for you!

The End

Yes, I’m coming down to The End. The end, that is, of Book II in The Knight of Kenilworth series. I am at the last stage. I know how the book ends and have written most of the last scenes. Everything is in place except one thing.There is only one little part that requires finishing.

The bad guy has to be revealed and Drake has to overcome him in some clever manner. I can’t believe after all this time that The End is so near.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

Leicester Writes…and more…

Last evening, Leicester Writers’ Club held an event for the Leicester Writes Festival. I was asked by the Club to be one of the panel members and discuss how the being a member of the Club has helped with my writing and how to interact with the publishing industry. I’m really glad this gave me a chance to reflect on my time with the Club.

One of the take aways from this exercise was I got to see my own character arc. I remember when I started at the Club, I wasn’t a very good writer and the first couple or so times I actually workshopped my manuscript, I felt like I’d been through the chopper. Then as I worked and my writing skills got better, there was a turning point reading for me that I remember clearly where I got as many compliments as I did critique for things that might not have worked so well. What a breakthrough!

Then I went on to discuss other events at the Club that have added to my development including the wondrous Masterclasses put on throughout the year by various members of the Club and our annual retreat in the Cotswolds.

But what I and other members of the panel came back to time and again is the amazing camaraderie and support we get from the other members of the Club. I deeply feel that each member wishes me well in my work and wants me to succeed – and I them! That’s priceless. My fellow panelist Liz Ringrose had the best line – “we catch each other when we fall”. I truly feel blessed!

Using Social Media

A couple weeks ago, we held a ‘Using Social Media’ workshop at Leicester Writers’ Club. We had a fantastic panel of Club members, some of whom are award-winning social media experts. It was all going swimmingly for me until the expert on blogging said something like, ‘If you’re going to blog, you have to be consistent. Whether you decide you’re going to blog every week, every other week, or once a month. Be consistent as your readership will expect it.’

Oops!

Failure at the first hurdle. Because quite frankly, if you are a regular follower (or perhaps I should say, were), you will know that it’s been awhile since I’ve blogged! OK, yes the truth of it is, once again, a heavy dose of my day job has caused interruption to our regularly scheduled programming (too much reference to American TV there?).

The good news is, this didn’t end up being a Scriptum-Hiatus-Induced-Testiness (S*!T) situation for me (see my May 31st blog) ! I still managed to keep writing, albeit somewhat less consistently. No, something had to give so it was my blogging. But guess what?

Yes, I’m back!