Why You Should Never Mess with a Writer

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The longer I live in this world, the more people I encounter whose only goal seems to be to upset others. These sociopaths vary in their degrees of intensity but there are a lot of them out there. We encounter them in our working lives and in our personal lives. And when we leave one behind, another one appears disconcertingly to take their unpleasant place.

I’m not fond of confrontations so when I come across these people, I tend to hold my tongue, partly to retain my own emotional health and partly because when I’m later holding my pen, my revenge will be more satisfying and more long-lasting than any face-to-face clash ever could be.

And that, of course, is why you should never mess with a writer. Because a writer will generally have the ability and the motivation to take his or her revenge in a form that could end up in print for thousands, tens of thousands, potentially millions of people to read and remember long after the initial incident. Continue reading

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Is there value in keeping a writing journal?

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I don’t keep a writing journal. It feels like a waste of words. But back in 2007, a writing journal was the required major assessment piece for the final subject in my master’s degree. And not just any writing journal. A writing journal consisting of “a record in about 3,000 to 5,000 words of your development as a writer with particular emphasis on the period of this unit”. (If you’re a regular follower of my blog, you would have spent the July just gone reading it.)

I really didn’t want to write a writing journal. Why use up the time and effort when I could be writing my novel? That’s certainly what I thought at the time. I wrote:

“Writing journals are a waste of time. Five thousand words spent on something I’d rather not be writing. Five thousand words that could comprise 25% of the last 20,000 words I need to write to finish my novel.” Continue reading

New Year’s Writing Resolutions

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In mid-November 2012, I released my debut novel, Enemies Closer. By the end of November 2012, people were asking when they could expect a sequel. So on 31 December 2012, I made a New Year’s resolution (and made it public by tweeting it) to spend 2013 completing The Cassandra Syndrome. It’s now 1 January 2016 and I still haven’t finished writing it. Continue reading

Does The Age Of Your Characters Get Older As You Do?

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There’s a theory (and it might just be my theory but I’m sure there are others who espouse it, too) that most main characters are simply disguised versions of the author writing them. Sometimes the disguises make that fact virtually unrecognisable. Sometimes the disguises are so thin the authors might as well not have bothered.

A quick glance over the marital, gender, racial and family statuses of my main characters shows that I only write people who are single, female, white and childless. Single because it allows for a bit of romantic tension with a supporting male lead. Female because I always feel like I am doing a disservice when I attempt to write in a male voice, both to men and to my writing abilities. White because I’m white and while I know writers can and should explore racial identity in their writing, it’s not something I focus on. And childless because having to care for and chauffeur children to their mundane everyday activities really gets in the way of the things I like to make my characters do (such as getting kidnapped, travelling at a moment’s notice, evading authorities, living reclusive lives, that sort of thing).

The one thing that has varied over the years is the age of my main characters. And as I get older (closer to my forties now than I am really all that comfortable with – I read a main character in a novel bemoaning the fact that they were forty and middle-aged and realised I need to start thinking of myself that way as well shortly!), it seems a lot of my main characters are getting older, too. Continue reading

Can Women Write Male Characters? Can Men Write Female Characters?

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Receptionist: How do you write women so well?
Melvin: I think of a man and I take away reason and accountability.
As Good As It Gets

Melvin wasn’t sexist – after all, he hated men and women equally – but this quote seems to be remembered when writing from the perspective of the opposite gender arises.

Continue reading

Inspiration

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Anyone who knows me will know I alternate between two social personalities when it comes to my writing. The first is a chatterbox who will go into exquisite (and sometimes exquisitely painful) detail about whichever piece of my writing I am chattering about. The other is a secretive scribe who resists efforts at engagement by family, friends and co-workers because I don’t want to bore people (which is what the chatterbox sometimes does). Continue reading