I am beyond delighted to find out that my short story A Woman Out Of Time, has made the James Tiptree Jr. Award Honors list. You can see the full list over on their site Tiptree.org.
The story was my contribution to the Irregularity anthology, (brilliantly edited by Jared Shurin and published by Jurassic London) which is filled with amazing stories by the likes of Nick Harkaway, Claire North, Adam Roberts, E. J. Swift and James Smythe.
It’s an amazing anthology and I highly recommend you grab yourself a copy now.
I am so very proud of the story as not only was it a chance for me to research the life of the amazing scientist Emilie Du Chatelet, it was also the first thing I’d written that really scared me in terms of form. When I first sent it to Jared it … Read More »
DELETE is coming out on March 31st! Along with a new edition of the first two books in the series, SHIFT and CONTROL. So if you haven’t had a chance to grab them all, you can pre-order them now. UK peeps here. US peeps here. (Keep an eye out for the new design to make sure you get the new versions, rather than the old ones which will be out of stock soon)
Also, amazing Faye Rodgers – the PR powerhouse behind my GLAZE Blog Tour, is back on the case, so prepare yourself for yet another Blogopocalypse!
If you’d be interested in having me pop by your site, head over on Faye’s site and let her know (if you haven’t read the first two books and you’d like to, just let us know in the sign up). Otherwise, spreading the word about when DELETE and … Read More »
I’ve been thinking a lot lately, as is my wont, about niceness. About how there’s not enough of it in the world. About how being ‘nice’ is equated with being a pushover. How nice girls never win. And nice guys always come last.
And there’s a temptation to just accept that’s how things are and to toughen up and become less nice and more of a dick.
Well, you know what, screw that. I’m here to bring niceness back.
It started with a necklace I bought from Black Heart Creatives.
And when I tweeted it, the awesome Kate Neilan (aka @magic_kitten) grabbed the idea and ran with it. And before you could smile at a stranger, she’d started a campaign to bring more niceness and kindness into the world. And then other people started to get on board. And now, #teamnice is a thing!
And you … Read More »
First off, Happy New Year to you all. Here’s hoping this year has fewer tricks up her sleeve!
So, exciting news on DELETE. As of today, I got the rights to SHIFT and CONTROL back! I’ve given the whole, action-packed trilogy to the great team at Xist Publishing and we’ll be bringing out all three at the same time!
It might mean a small delay in DELETE hitting the shelves. But it does mean that we should be able to do cool stuff with the other books (like maybe give some of it away for free!). So stay tuned.
And thanks to everyone for your support. Here’s to a world dominating 2015!
Letting the dyslexic write the words on the summoning paper had been the first mistake. The same five letters jumbled up and instead of the Lord of Darkness, Father of Lies, Angel of The Bottomless Pit standing in the ritual circle chalked on the floor, there was a surprised looking fat man in a red suit.
“Ho, ho, huh?” the man said.
He looked around at the four girls who were staring back at him, their black-painted lips hanging open. The last thing he could remember, he was about to give the elves their annual pep talk to boy them up for the final push. It had been quite a good speech. He’d been very proud of it, even if he had cribbed much of it from one of Coach Taylor’s speeches from Friday Night Lights. But the elves weren’t to know … Read More »
I’ve been sitting on this news for months, anxiously waiting for everything to be signed before telling you all, but I am DELIGHTED to say that the final in my Shifter series, Delete, will be published in January 2015 by Xist Publishing.
Calee Lee, Xist CEO, approached me soon after the news about Strange Chemistry broke. We chatted, clicked instantly, and her publishing strategy for the book was exactly what I was looking for.
Xist Publishing started in 2011 to bring books to the touchscreen generation. Originally a children’s publisher, they had been planning on expanding into the YA market. And when they heard about Strange Chemistry’s closure they saw a golden opportunity. They’re hungry, so switched on and I am ridiculously happy to have found a new home with them.
Calee Lee, Xist CEO, said, “We’re thrilled to launch into the YA … Read More »
The SF is landing in London this August. And I’ll be getting up to all kinds of hi jinx, especially at Nine Worlds and LonCon.
My schedule is below, and I would love to see any of you there, especially at the reading and signing at LonCon. I’ll bribe you with book marks if you come.
Also, it’s my birthday on the Saturday at LonCon and I will accept most drinks (not gin) and all cakes bought.
Friday 8th August
Jon Morgan, Jonathan L Howard, Rebecca Levene, Scott Lynch, Kim Curran
In a corner of Nine Worlds, four authors roll dice and battle evil. Sanity Optional
Saturday 9th August
It’s a man’s world – Where are the women in the creative industry?: 1.30pm
Clara Jackson, Kim Curran, Juliet Mushens, Laurie Penny, Shelagh Rowan-Legg, Will Brooker
What are the implications of a male dominated creative system on creative output? If the majority of writers, … Read More »
I’ve been getting a number of tweets and emails asking what the hell is up with Delete. Apparently anyone who had put in a pre-order (and bless you by the way) had their notification changed to say the book wasn’t coming out till 2035!
Well, I can tell you with absolute certainty that it will be out before then. I have a couple of exciting things in the pipeline but I’m just waiting for final confirmation. But hopefully I’ll be able to get it out in September.
Worst case, I end up self publishing it and you STILL get it in September.
If you got it from Netgalley and had been planning on reviewing it in August, please go ahead. I’d love to hear what you think. And if you’re waiting to find out what happens to Scott after my very cruel cliff … Read More »
I saw some writer’s advice on Twitter today that made me think, blimey, some advice given to writers is so much bullshit.
In honour of that, I took to twitter to gather the bestworst writing advice ever.
Writing is like spreading chocolate on toast. (Laura Lam making me hungry)
Writing is like blowing up a balloon.
Writing is like taking drugs.
Writing is like punching yourself in the groin. Most of the time it kills to fuckery, but sometimes it just feels numb. (James Smythe there #Smything the game)
Writing is like putting espadrilles on a donkey.
Writing is like buttering a tyre.
Writing is like spitting out lemon rind.
Writing is like quantum gymnastics.
Writing is manly. Men do it, and when men do it, it is good. Bulls cannot write, and therefore it is not bullish. (Lou Morgan chanelling her inner Hemmingway)
Writing is like drinking gin through a … Read More »
With GLAZE launch a couple of weeks away, I’m starting to hear back from review readers. Their comments have all been lovely and I’ve been getting rather emotional over the whole thing. But what’s really struck me is how tentative people are when the say that GLAZE is the best thing I’ve written yet. As if they’re worried that that is somehow an insult to my previous books. When all I can think is: I should bloody well hope so!
I should bloody well hope that each book I write is better than the last. Otherwise, what’s the point?
I didn’t do a creative writing degree. I haven’t done any writing courses. And so, I’m learning on the job. And, I hope, learning fast. I push myself with each new thing I write, whether that’s a book or a short story. And … Read More »
The very lovely Ellie Irving tagged me in a cool Blog Tour idea! So here goes:
1) What am I working on?
I’ve just finished the structural edits on Delete – the finale on my Shifter trilogy, which have now gone off to the copy editor, so I’ll be working on that again soon. In the meantime, I had one of those glorious moments of being a writer where an idea explodes in your head and keeps you awake. It’s an evolution of an idea I’d already started work on and was about ten thousand words into. But, I’m scrapping the lot and starting again. I’m going to be really annoying now and not tell you anything about it, as it’s a really precious idea and I’m still working it out. But I can tell you that it’s YA and it’s epistolary. And … Read More »
So, yesterday morning I woke up with the strange notion to make a dress. I’d been wearing one on Friday which I like but always feel is a bit too short. And I was thinking, I could probably make this and have it longer. The only thing I’ve done with my sewing machine in decades is take trousers up and make curtains. So what possessed me, I have no idea. (I’ve probably been watching too much of the Great British Sewing Bee.)
Anyway, a quick google search later and I discovered Pattern Runway. And I chose to try and make this dress:
I then hopped on the bus to John Lewis and picked out some fabric.
Got all my stuff together:
Cut out the pattern:
And several hours (and surprisingly little swearing later) I had this:
And that’s it. I made a dress.
I’ve been thinking a lot about role models recently. More specifically, women role models and how important they are for other women. So often, the people we call role models are those at the top of their game – the outliers and game changers. And yet, those people, as inspiring as they are, often seem so untouchable, so out of reach.
As much as I need these strong, marble-like creatures ahead of me, what I also need are the kind, strong, supporting women behind me.
I’ve been lucky to have lots of women bosses and women partners in my career in advertising – which is especially rare in a male dominated environment. In my writing career, I’ve built the most incredible support network of women writers, to whom I turn to for advice, support and more often than not, cake. These remarkable people … Read More »
AS GLAZE is about to go out to reviewers soon, I thought I’d share a small sample with you. Enjoy!
The playground’s in an even worse state of repair than last time I was here; the thick blue plastic has been peeled off the monkey bars and it looks like someone tried to set fire to one of the seats on the swings.
NF has been sprayed in large letters on almost every surface.
‘What’s that all about?’ I ask Kiara, pointing at the tag on the slide.
‘Oh, it stands for “No Future”. It’s what those anarchists spray everywhere.’
‘Vandals who are causing all the black outs.’
‘That’s them?’ I say. ‘I thought it was power cuts.’
There have been more and more black outs lately. The last … Read More »
I’d been humming and hawing over the idea of self-publishing GLAZE for a while. It seemed like the right thing to do. But it was scary as well.
I was emailing with Regan, my amazing Art Director partner, about the idea and asking if she would consider designing me a cover if I did go ahead. (Regan had read GLAZE and her enthusiasm was part of the reason I didn’t just put it in metaphorical a desk draw and forget about it.)
About five minutes later (it may have been longer, but knowing Regan, probably not), Regan whizzed back an image. And I knew right then I was doing this self-publishing thing. Because this was the cover I wanted for my book. It was instalove.
So I wanted to invite Regan over onto my blog to have a chat about the cover and … Read More »
So, now that’s I’ve ‘come out’ as someone about to self-publish, I feel like I’ve taken a side in the Us vs Them war that is publishing. People send me articles about self publishing and expect me to come out, fists flying, in defence of my fellow ‘indie*’ publishers.
Which is why, I guess I was sent the link to the piece about John Green in the Guardian.
In his recent address to the Association of American Booksellers Green made his opinion on self-publishing very clear. It’s not something he will ever do as he believes it “threatens the overall quality and breadth of … literature.”
Green has clarified his comments on his Tumblr, stressing that he wasn’t attacking self-publishing. “Many great books are being self-published, and that has been the case for centuries.” What he was doing was criticising Amazon who he feels are … Read More »
There’s this ‘thing’ among writers that being asked ‘where do you get your ideas from’ is the most ridiculous of all questions. Some writers, like Neil Gaiman, are so frustrated by it, they have glib responses pre-prepared.
But why all the snark against what is a perfectly simple and straight-forward question? Is it that they’re bored of answering the same question over and over? Or that they really can’t answer it?
For me, I can pinpoint the exact moment when each of the central ideas I’ve had for books appeared in my mind; that dizzying firing of synapses, like a pinball machine going off in my skull. Each time, they’ve been a collision of two or more ideas frantically spinning around my head. Like some kind of conceptual nuclear fusion.
The idea for SHIFT came when on a bus thinking about all the decisions … Read More »
I am ridiculously pleased to announce that I will be publishing not one, but two books next year. One, you probably already know about, is DELETE – the final instalment in the SHIFTER series – which will be coming out in August.
The other is a brand new young adult book, called GLAZE, coming at you from all angles via Jurassic London and Amazon White Glove (more on this in a bit).
GLAZE is a techno-thriller about the ultimate social network and the 15-year old girl, Petri Quinn, who gets banned from it before she even has a chance to get hooked up. In her desperation to be a part of the network, Petri takes darker and darker paths, till she learns the true cost of belonging to GLAZE. (You can read the blurb here.)
I started writing GLAZE (originally called Panopticon) when SHIFT first went … Read More »
I wasn’t going to write an end of year post because there’s something uncomfortably narcissistic about them. I mean, really, does anyone care what my book/film/album of the year really was*? I’m not entirely sure I care. But it’s 4am on 31st December and I was lying in bed thinking back over this year and what a crazy, up, down shake it all about, kind of year it’s been. And I found myself wanting to document it now I’ve made it out the other side.
It’s highly fitting that 2013 was the first time I’d been on a rollercoaster (which I adored, and was instantly ‘again again!’) Because that image, of the soaring highs followed by the crashing lows, perfectly captures my experiences this year.
In 2013, I wrote two books, had one published, had my busiest year of freelance copywriting since … Read More »
I went to see Neil Gaiman talk at the Royal Society of Literature tonight. Which was amazing and funny and everything you would expect of a master storyteller like Gaiman.
However, there was one small problem. I only caught half of what he was saying. I totally missed the powerful origin story behind his new book Ocean at the End of the Lane (something to do with a suicide in a Mini). I only caught every second word of the best advice he’d been given (beards featured). And I pretty much zoned out as he was reading a chapter from his book (although it sounded amazing).
And this is not because Mr Gaiman wasn’t as riveting or witty or brilliant as always. It’s because, just as I was getting settled in my seat, I got this tweet.
At first, I was all, “what … Read More »
Look at it. Ain’t it stunning. I am a very, very lucky writer.
It’s hard to explain what it’s like getting your cover. It’s a moment that’s filled with trepidation and excitement and hope. If you’re like me, you’ll have a clear image of what (you hope) it will look like. An image that has played around in your head since you wrote the first draft.
And then the email comes in… and you wait while it loads. And those seconds feel like the longest in the world.
But when the cover for CONTROL came in, I was overwhelmed with joy and relief and gratitude. It’s better than anything I could have hoped for. It’s exactly what I had imagined, only more. More awesome and more striking and well more!
I’m working on my edits for the book right now. So knowing how beautiful it will look when … Read More »
Here’s some quick pics. Will write a proper blog post once I get a chance. But it was a fantastic day. Thanks to Kerry and all at St Teresa’s
I was delighted to be invited to The National Space Centre in Leicester as a part of their Space Fiction events.
I’m ashamed to say, I’d not heard of the Space Centre before the event. But I wish I had. It’s an amazing venue with rocket ships and pieces of the moon and astronaut suits and absolutely everything anyone who even cares remotely about space could want. The planetarium show is especially jaw-dropping.
(The PGM-17 Thor simulating take-off to the delight of kids)
I was there to do a couple of readings and have a Q&A. And I was amazed that quite a few people decided to take a break from exploring the mysteries of the universe to listen to me read from SHIFT and talk about how it was inspired by Quantum Physics.
(Seeing my face five meters high was … Read More »
‘Urgh couples in love. Makes me sick. I mean just look at them. They’re so bloody smug.’
‘I think they’re cute. Makes me feel, I don’t know…’
‘If you say warm inside I might have to stick my arrow up your arse.’
‘No. They give me the feeling of a job well done.’
‘Oh please, where’s a good vomitorium when you need one?’
‘Hey, if it wasn’t for them we would be out of a job. Not a pretty thought in today’s financial climate. Just, face it. These couples you find so utterly repellent are our raison d’etre, mon petite amie.’
‘What you talking French for? You’re Greek!’
‘The language of love!’
‘It makes the world go round!’
‘No, Jupiter sees to that. While we get to sit around all day firing arrows into dumb schmucks.’
‘And making their lives complete.’
‘And what thanks to we get … Read More »
For anyone involved in the blog tour or doing a review of GLAZE, here is everything you should need.
PETRI QUINN is counting down the days till she turns 16 and can get on GLAZE – the ultimate social network that is bringing the whole world together into one global family. But when a peaceful government protest turns into a full-blown riot with Petri shouldering the blame, she’s handed a ban. Her life is over before it’s even started.
Desperate to be a part of the hooked-up society, Petri finds an underground hacker group and gets a black market chip fitted. But this chip has a problem: it has no filter and no off switch. Petri can see everything happening on GLAZE, all the time. Including things she was never meant to see.
As her life is plunged into danger, Petri is … Read More »
So, this started life as a post for another blog. I was supposed to write about the mistakes I’d made along the way toward getting a book deal. Simple right! But when I actually sat down to write it, and started to realise just how many mistakes I had made, it grew and grew. And grew! Safe to say, I made a lot of mistakes. And I’m still making them! So this long list of things not to do ended up here.
First off, let me start by saying there’s no such thing as ‘the right’ way of getting a book deal. Or anything, for that matter. Anyone who tells you there is should be regarded with a healthy dose of suspicion and perhaps have stuff thrown at them. There is no magic recipe. No secret formula. If there were, and … Read More »
So, I was tagged by the lovely E.C. Myers, author of the fantastic Fair Coin and Quantum Coin (fans of quantum physics, you will LOVE this)to answer questions for The Next Big Thing. In turn, I’ve tagged a bunch of writers beneath.
What is the working title of your book?
Where did the idea come from for the book?
I was sitting on a bus on my way home from work, watching everyone scurrying about in the rain and thinking about all the choices we make. At the same time, I was thinking about a book I’d just read on Quantum Physics, and BAM! The idea arrived in my head: what if you could change your decisions the way light changes from particle to wave. I started scribbling and Shift was born.
What genre does your book fall under?
Teen/Young Adult Thriller
Which actors would you … Read More »
So, SHIFT has been out in the world for a week now. People keep congratulating me and asking me how it feels. And I’ll be honest: I don’t actually know.
That’s not to say I’m feeling the flat sense of anti-climax I know a lot of debut authors experience. I’m still excited and positive and hopeful. It’s just that I’m exactly as excited and positive and hopeful as I was the day or the week before SHIFT was published.
I think it’s been made slightly more complex by the fact that I had four sort of launches before the book came out. I did a panel at Blackwells Charing Cross on August 16th, where the lovely Den Patrick arranged to have copies of my book for sale. That was the first time I got to see my book for sale in a … Read More »
So, last week I was in Chicago. I know. It doesn’t seem real to me either!
I was there primarily to attend WorldCon – the world Science Fiction Convention. But I also did a reading in a funky indie bookshop called The Book Cellar with fellow Angry Robots, Adam Christopher and Chuck Wendig and Strange Chemistry sister Gwenda Bond to launch all of our books. (If you haven’t already ordered Seven Wonders, Mockingbird or Blackwood, do so NOW. You’ll thank me for it. I promise. Go on. Do it. I’ll wait…. Done? OK, good. Back to Worldcon.)
WorldCon itself was… well, it was mental. Not one but two hotels filled with sci-fi’s finest. George RR Martin was there, although I decided not to go and chat with him this time, as I wanted to keep the memory of our time at EasterCon … Read More »
It was my birthday last week. What? I’ve already said that? Like 50 times? Well sue me. I love my birthday. And this one has been one of the best ever. First of all, I had all the excitement of books coming out and all of that. But I also had the best present of my life from my husband (and this is considering he bought me this last year).
He bought me a flying lesson.
As soon as he told me, I was skipping around the house like a nutter. I have always wanted to learn how to fly. Especially after last year in Belize when Chris and I were flown around the country by our own pilot as it was cheaper than getting cars. Plus, one of my favourite books is Wind, Sand and Stars by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, which … Read More »
It was a gloriously, sunny day in London yesterday. And yet, with all of the delights of the capital on offer, some people still decided to come and see me and a bunch of YA authors do at panel at Blackwell’s Bookshop on Charing Cross Rd. A good thing too. As we would have looked a little foolish sat in the shops by ourselves.
But what I mean to say is thank you, to all of you who came and made my very first panel and reading as an author so amazing. Especially when you could have been sitting in a park somewhere sipping Pimms. (Seriously, were you mad?)
Me reading the prologue from Shift. Thankfully, it was very short.
Thanks also to the amazingly talented, intelligent and kind authors – Tom Pollock, Laure Eve, James Dawson, Will Hill and Tanya … Read More »
I am beyond delighted to be joining some of the hottest names in UK YA on Saturday 18th August at Blackwell’s Charing Cross.
You have Will Hill, author of the phenomenal, best-selling Department 19 series, which I highly recommend to all young adults (and adults young at heart).
James Dawson, author of the spookily brilliant Hollow Pike and true Queen of Teen in my mind.
Tanya Byrne, whose debut Heart-Shaped Bruise not only broke my heart but has already been shortlisted for the The John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger 2012 Award.
Tom Pollock, author of the absolutely staggering The City’s Son, which is already garnering critical praise and
Laure Eve, whose debut coming from Hot Key books next year is already getting a lot of people (my agent included) very, very excited.
Oh, and me!
If you come along, not only will you get to see these authors read from their books and discuss … Read More »
When I was first invited to visit my old school, Gumley House, to talk about Women of the Future, I thought that we might be discussing jet packs and laser bras.
But I quickly found out that “Women of the future” was a creative writing project the girls had recently completed.
The aim of the project was:
To enable Year 8 and Year 12 students to think about what it means to be a young woman growing up today, and to encourage them to use their personal experiences as inspiration for their creative writing. Through sharing common experiences and listening to advice from other girls, the course was an opportunity to think about the women who have inspired them and why, and to think about the kind of women they hoped to be.
As part of project, the girls from year 8 and … Read More »
So, I’m super late in getting this blog post done. Blame work, a stinking cold, and a sequel that needs to be written. But finally, here is my take on EasterCon. Warning, I’ve made up for being late by being ridiculously long winded!
This year was not only my first ever EasterCon, it was also my first ever convention. I walked into the Radisson Edwardian, Heathrow, at 12pm on the Friday, knowing no one and seriously thinking about turning around and going straight home, and I left on the Monday afternoon, having made some (I hope) friends for life.
In just three days I went from wondering what the hell I was doing there, to eagerly looking forward to the next convention where I could do it all again.
I guess my initial nerves had a lot to do with the … Read More »
So, I recently sent back my edited manuscript, ready to go off to be typeset. And here’s the thing. I love editing. Who knew? Certainly not me. I thought I hated editing. In fact, I used to say that all the time. ‘Argh! Editing sucks!’ But what I’ve realised is this. I hate solo editing. I hate when it’s just you, going over and over and over the same piece of writing changing this line, moving that paragraph, trying to make it better, but probably only making it worse. That really does suck. But when I’m working with an editor, well, that’s a whole new kettle of shiny goodness. When I’m responding to someone else’s comments to fix issues I didn’t know where there (or probably really did know, but just didn’t want to see them) it’s really exciting. … Read More »
A brilliant spoken word performance on the love of girls who read from Mark Grist.
The first thing I ever wrote? A poem about a snail.
In case you can’t read it, here it is transcribed:
The snail slithers up the wall
When danger appears he rolls up into a ball
He tuckes his head into his home
He has no lodgers he lives all alone
The he mates and layes his legs
Another life is born with one foot and no legs.
Yep, I have no idea what those random ‘e’s are doing in there either. Surprised they didn’t spot my dyslexia a bit earlier. But hey. I was proud of it and those 5hp they earned me. Eat your heart out Hermione.
My parents must have been proud too, as this has been framed for about 25 years. I got it back off them only last year.
I was sorting through old notebooks and came across what was my very first page of thoughts on SHIFT. Surprised how much of the core idea was there from the beginning.
Oh, and it was written on the top of a bus. So excuse the handwriting.
As you know (I’ve been boring everyone with the news) my book, SHIFT, is going to be published. Yay!
The main character in the book is a 16-year old boy who has the ability to change any decision he’s ever made. It’s called Shifting. At first he thinks the power is going to be pretty cool. But soon he realises there are some decisions that would be better off untouched. (You can read the 1st page of SHIFT here if you fancy.)
The book is coming out in autumn – yep, that soon. So to start building excitement about SHIFT, my amazing editor came up with an idea to get people thinking about what decisions they would ‘shift’ if they had the power. And by people, I mean you guys!
We’ve set up a website – http://decision-shift.tumblr.com/ – and I’d love you to help get the ball rolling … Read More »
Now that things have (almost) sunk in, the welts from pinching myself over and over have started to go down and I’ve stopped high-fiving random strangers in the streets, I thought it was about time for me to blog about what it feels like to get a book deal. So let me tell you, it feels a little like this:
Crossed with this:
With a little of this thrown in for good measure:
Wrapped up in a whole bunch of this:
In short, it feels fan-bloody-tastic. No better than that it feels amazeballs. Awesometron! I’ll stop now. You get the gist.
Because I’ve not just got any book deal (although, let’s face it, any deal would have been pretty darn cool in this economic climate). I’ve got the deal – with a publisher I am beyond excited to work with.
I’ve been … Read More »
A special message to my incredibly awesome agent Sam Copeland.
It’s a shame it’s not still Star Gazing Live, as I’m pretty sure if they pointed their telescope to the moon tonight they would see a small figure soaring over it.
And all because I have just signed a two-book deal with Strange Chemistry!
You can read their wonderful post about it here. And once my hands have stopped shaking enough to type, I’ll write a blog post about it.
But for now I just want to say: WHOOOOOOOOO
I finished the 1st draft of my new book today. Who-hoo! Only 3 days late as I promised myself I’d have it done by the end of 2011. And when I say 1st draft, it’s really what should more rightly be called Draft Zero because it’s a good 10-20k away from being a real 1st draft.
I’ve settled into a way of working, inspired by seeing Eoin Colfer at a talk a few years back that worked for my last book and I hope it works for this one too. He said he often skips great chunks so he can get to ‘the exciting parts.’ And that’s just what I do. Take huge bounding leaps forward in the story and come back to them later. So my current draft is filled with little notes saying, ‘ or and … Read More »
You’ve probably already heard about the mystery paper sculptures which have been popping up in places dedicated to the written word in Edinburgh. If not, it’s about time you did.
It’s has personal resonance because this blog, and my journey as a writer, began in a way in a flat above The Storytelling Centre in Edinburgh – where my husband and I stayed for a week just after I’d handed in my notice and gone freelance and where I contemplated my new life.
Those clever astronomer types have just discovered a new planet in the ‘Goldilock’ habitable zone. Not too hot, not too cold, just right for possible terraforming and future Science-Fiction novels galoreKepler 22-b. Or Earth 2.0 as some are calling it. 600 light-years away. 2.4 times the size of our planet. And with a balmy temperature of 22ºc. Looks pretty doesn’t it? They’re not sure yet whether it is made of rock, gas or liquid. But it seems ripe for exploring.
As exciting as the discovery of new planets always is, the reports put me in mind of another ball of blue and green seen from light-years away. In 1990, the Voyager 1 spacecraft was 6 billion miles away from earth and sailing further into the great cosmic darkness. Having completed its primary mission, and at the request of Dr Carl Sagan, Ground Control issued a command for Voyager … Read More »
I was chatting with some fellow writer peeps last week about first draft hell; that hump you hit – normally around the first third mark – where you realise that everything you’re writing sucks and all you want to do is lie face down in a carpet.
I had thought that this wallowing in self-pity was unique to me. But judging by their reactions it became clear that we all go through it.
‘Oh, yes, I get that,’ one author said.‘Totally. It’s perfectly normal,’ another said.‘Isn’t that just being a writer?’ the last mused.
We discussed techniques for beating the block, talked about the little notes we leave ourselves: ‘Write like no one’s watching.’ ‘THIS IS JUST THE FIRST DRAFT’. And we laughed at what a weird bi-polar lot we all are.
Knowing I was not alone helped a lot. But so has something … Read More »
Last week, I had my first day as a Story Mentor with The Ministry of Stories. If you don’t know what The Ministry of Stories is, get ready to be inspired.
Hidden behind a monster supply shop in Hoxton (naturally), is s secret organisation dedicated to one thing. Stories.
The Ministry of Stories was set up because it loves stories. And loves helping young people write their own stories. Inspired by Dave Eggers’ 826 Valencia Writing centre, The Ministry welcomes all children (once they guess the password) from 8-18 who want to write. Some come with their own stories to work on. Others arrive with nothing and leave with a book of their own – complete with their name on the cover and a story they’ve written inside.
Only three things are asked of everyone involved:
Respect. Imagination. And courage.
My first session turned out to be … Read More »
This was filmed in my parent’s garden.
I’ve started work on a new book recently ( a Work In Progress or WIP in case you were fretting over the terrible spelling in my post title) – hence my lack of bloggery as of late. It’s had a couple of false starts: I’ve wandered down roads that lead to exciting places, just not places I really needed to be. The first lead me to a wonderfully dark but essentially too adult place for a YA writer to find herself. The second was filled with characters too meek and frankly too dull for anyone, especially me, to want to spend any time with. But now, I feel like I’m back on the right track.
I have my main character – 14-year old Petri, who makes up for her lack of height with a big personality. I have a … Read More »
I’m woking on a new book at the moment. A Work In Progress – hence the title of this post, and my lack of general bloggery as of late.
The book has had a couple of false starts: I’ve wandered down roads that lead to exciting places, just not places I really needed to be. The first route lead me to a dark and essentially too adult place for a YA writer to find herself. The second was filled with characters too meek and essentially too dull for anyone, especially me, to want to spend any time with. But now, I feel like I’m back on the right track.
I have my main character – 14-year old Petri Quinn, who makes up for her lack of height with a big personality. I have a loose (and I mean loose) outline. … Read More »
Imagine this. A single ninja, standing silently by himself. Beside him sits a sign urging people to fight. Walking along the pathway, you notice said ninja, the sign, and lastly a foam sword laying at your feet. You pick it up. Seemingly from thin air, ninjas appear. (via http://improvintoronto.com/)
It was about two years ago that my best friend Lisa Myers, (SEO guru and Social Media Sherpa) said to me, ‘You just HAVE to be on Twitter.’ It was, I was promised, the best way to get new business. I was just about to go freelance and having midnight sweats about where the work was going to come from and I was open to all and any avenues. Plus, I like to think of myself as an early adopter even thought this is painfully untrue. So I was all, ‘Yeah, Twitter, brilliant. Bring it.’
Lisa set me up with a ‘company’ profile, explained RTs and FFs and all that. This was great. She also (just for starters) set me up following some of the people she enjoyed following. They were mostly other SEO types, which meant my timeline was filled … Read More »
Last Saturday, I trotted off to The British Library to see the Out of this World exhibition and hear Lauren Beukes, winner of the Arthur C Clarke award, give a talk.
The exhibition itself was fascinating. Showcasing the history of sci-fi from the 1600s to present day, it took you on a journey from other worlds to dystopian visions of our own, via aliens, robots and time machines. Proof of just how wide sweeping sci-fi is.
My favourite part of the exhibit was seeing the hand-written pages from Ishiguro’s Never Let me Go and Atwood’s Handmaiden’s tale. I always get a buzz out of seeing author’s handwritten work, as if I could touch the page and some of the their talent might just rub off with the ink. I was fortunate enough to chat with Tanya Kirk, the lead curator, after the … Read More »
Look at her. Isn’t she stunning? My husband gave it to me for my birthday yesterday, and it almost beats the MacBook Air he got me for Christmas. (Yes, I’m spoilt. And your point is?)
It’s an Underwood Noiseless Portable from the late 1920s. A classic. It needs a bit of love, but nothing that a gentle clean and a new carriage pull string won’t fix.
I keep wondering how many other fingers have manipulated those keys? How many other writers have used it to craft their work?
The smell alone has brought back memories of my childhood; hiding in my room typing out tales about monsters on my first typewriter. That machine transported my stories from mere scribbles to ‘real’ writing – a couple of stables and I had myself a real book to bother my parents with.
Computers are wonderful (well, Macs are. I’m undecided about PCs). … Read More »
I was asked recently if I had any more ideas for books. What followed was a brain dump of thoughts that read like the episode list from Friends: The one about the social network that leaves everyone brain dead, the one about the Victorian adventuress, the one about the emo kid and elemental magic, and – my favourite – the one where sea monkeys take over the world!The truth is, having ideas is never the problem. My head buzzes with them. It’s knowing whether those ideas are any good that’s the real problem.Can they sustain my interest for the months they will take to write, let alone the interest of a reader? Will they fizzle out after a couple of pages? Will they inspire characters that I will fall in love with?There’s a phrase in the ad world about ideas. … Read More »
In this post, I’m taking off my author hat for a second and putting my copywriter hat back on. It’s been a while. And the hat is a bit dusty, but bear with me.
As a kid, I wanted to be a journalist. A hard-nosed investigative journo. So I always felt like a bit of sell out by becoming an advertising whore copywriter. But the events of these past few weeks have made me rather glad that I didn’t. I don’t have to tell people that I am an assassin rather than admit what I do for a start.
But what has been most interesting is that it’s raised lots of questions about responsibility in the media. Now, you might not think that there is any sense of responsibility in advertising. But you’d be wrong. As proved when I went to a talk by a woman called … Read More »
My awesome friend and Art Director partner Regan Warner has just cast the movie of my book – Shift. I’m so blown away that she’s managed to see most of the characters just as I had them in my head. Here they are:
(Click to see the image better)
The only ones I think aren’t close to perfect are Rosalie and Jake, who I imagined as mixed race. But other than that, pretty spot on!
If you’ve read Shift, who would you have cast?
Well, I’ve written blog posts dedicated to pens and letterboxes in the past, so it’s hardly surprising I’m now dedicating a post to a bus.
But not just any bus. The 243 from Waterloo to Wood Green. So why is this bus any more special than any of the others I take on my routes around London? Well, because it was on board, on the upper deck to be precise, where I was struck with the idea for my last book – Shift. It’s where I wrote most of it – squeezed up against strange smelling men, being thrown about as the driver raced through the streets of East London like he was at Brands Hatch and, on one day, dodging a roaming cockroach.
It’s also where, just last night on my way home from work, I had an idea for a … Read More »
I recently came across this utterly fantastic book from 1856. Even the name is awesome.
The idea of the book is to encompass in 6000+ phrases everything the travelling gentleman could need to say while away, from discussion of how sick the journey did or didn’t make him to messages to the priest about his pulpit. By reducing each phrase to a number, you can save many a farthing on telegraph costs. It was the twitter of its day.
I think I shall henceforth only communicate with my nearest and dearest using this book.
Well, I’m back from my little jaunt around Central America. And what a trip it was.
People keep asking me, what was the best bit. Was it seeing Tikal in Guatemala? Swimming with sharks and dolphins in Belize? Surfing on one of the sweetest beach breaks in the world in Costa Rica? All of those things were amazing. Mind-bogglingly so. But perhaps not quite as good as what happened to me when sitting in a small, stinking hot, un-air-conditioned cabin in Belize. Because it was there that I got an email saying an agent wanted to take on my new book – Shift.
I was in complete shock for about a week after. Even after calling the agent (Sam Copeland of RCW) to chat through the book, even after he sent me the letter of agreement thingy. I think I’m still … Read More »
Here is the speech I gave at my old school, to celebrate the Women of The Future creative writing project:
First off, thank you. It’s such an honour to be here, and I’m really looking forward to hearing you read from the amazing book you’ve created.
It’s strange, because while we’re all here to talk about women of the future, standing here, looking at all of you, I feel very much as though I’ve stepped into the past. It really doesn’t feel so long ago I was sat where you are right now, dreaming of what I wanted to be when I left Gumley.
And my greatest dream when I was your age was to be a writer. But, as I got older, I stopped believing that dream would ever come true. So, after school and university, I did … Read More »
Hello all,I’m off travelling around Central America for 3 months so this blog will be pretty quiet. Although I will be posting on a new blog here: http://cancuntocaracas.tumblr.com/So if you want to hear what I’m up to, check in there.Cheers
For anyone who might be interested (my mum), here is the first page of my new book – Shift.It’s at beta stage (I much prefer that term to first draft – because there have been about 6 drafts so far). So there will be changes.I wrote the very first draft of it in the back of a taxi on my way to an edit and it made me feel quite sick. Talk about suffering for your art I hope you enjoy.
A friend once told me to ‘Live your life in beta’. Instinctively I thought it sounded cool, rather techy and all geek chic. But I didn’t really stop to think what it meant. However, I recently sent my new book out to some Beta readers and so my mind’s returned to that phrase. And what I think it means is this:
Life is never perfect. You never nail it. You have to keep learning and adapting and growing. Or else what’s the point?
Also, you need other people’s input in your journey, you won’t get there, wherever there is, alone.
So there. And because that all sounds a bit tossery here’s a funny picture of a cat. Which is really what everyone wants from blog posts, after all.
Writers love to write lists of rules. The web is filled with them. Bloggers compiling their own. Rehashing Elmore Leonard’s rules, over and over. And The Guardian’s rules for writing keeps doing the rounds on Twitter and Facebook. But there seems one rule that keeps rearing its head as of late.
Never write in 1st person
Sometimes, this law of writing is ameliorated slightly with the proviso:
Unless the voice is so compelling as to be unable to avoid it.It seems that whenever I read about writing in 1st person it is done in warning tones. Like workmen kissing their teeth and saying “risky, love, risky”.
The confidence with which this rule is thrown about is like it was handed down to us from on high, with the burning bush and everything. Gabriel himself appearing just to say: “Only fools write in 1st person, … Read More »
Well, the first draft of my new book is done. I’ve been scribbling away on buses, in the bath and any other time I could squeeze in between work and general lifey duties. And it’s all taken shape. There’s a definite beginning, middle and end in there. Some of it I don’t entirely hate and some of it I might even love.
But now the real work begins as I try and mould this shaggy, messy pup of a story into lean, snarling beast of a book. Or something like that.
There will be tears, insane laughs and much headdesking between now and when it’s ready to be shared with my hungry beta readers. But we’re getting there.
And it seemed a good excuse to crack open the champagne that a client send me this week. So, Cheers!
Is there any buzz like the buzz you get from inspiration striking? I was just lying in the bath (the finest place for inspiration, I think you’ll agree) mulling over the ending of my WIP when suddenly an idea so perfect hit me it was like someone had just dropped a toaster in the bath. I actually punched the air I was so happy, and sent bath foam flying everywhere.
The idea had been staring me in the face from the very beginning and now it’s made everything suddenly make sense. I still haven’t got my ending quite right. But the world the book is set in suddenly more solid, more convincing and, for me, more exciting.
I am one very happy writer.
Now go away. I’m writing.
OK, so I had a bit of a wobble this weekend. Wondering where my new book was taking me. But, like a Weeble (who wobble, but don’t fall down, in case you were born after 1980) I’m back on track.I was helped by the virtual slaps from writer friends, a kick up the arse from my mother (thanks mum) and the article all about ‘Keeping on keeping on” in this month’s Writing Magazine.In fact, it’s better than back. It’s firing. Because during my wobble I solved one of the big issues that was niggling at me. The age of the narrator.I wanted him to be 15. But he simply resisted all my attempts to make him any younger than 17. So, it struck me – make the girl (who is the real protagonist) the younger one. And everything has just slotted into … Read More »
As regular readers (my mum) will know, I’m working on a new book called Shift. Now, when I first started writing it I was a frenzy of excitement. It was, like, the best idea EVER. It would be funny and scary and thinky and all that. And all those agents (three of them) who passed on The Border Lord but asked to see what I did next, were just going to love it. Publishing deals and film rights would follow. Oh, yes.Now I’m over 30,000 words in and the doubt is starting to set in. Despite my careful planning, the book is taking unexpected turns that I’m not entirely comfortable with. I don’t even know if it can be classified as YA anymore, as the character has aged two years from chapter one to chapter three and is now seventeen. … Read More »
Well, hello and Happy New Year and all that. 2011. My that does seem very much in the future. When do I get my jetpack?I have decided to pass on resolutions this year. Instead, I have decided that this is the year for ACTION!Last year was all about waiting. Waiting. And a bit more waiting. But not this year. Oh no.I’m a short way off finishing the first draft of my new book, Shift, and hope to get that out to some of the agents who have asked to see more from me in Spring. So I shall be head down, writing away, and focusing on doing.I hope that all of you out there are bounding into 2011 filled with positivity. Or if not bounding, due to the massive quantities of chocolate munched over Christmas, then at least waddling happily.
A friend was recounting recently how a man texted her at 11.30pm asking if she would join him at an opening night of something or other. 11.30pm. On a school night! The horror.
While I initially shared her disgust (what was he thinking, doesn’t he have a watch, etc,), I started to think about how I would rather like to be That Girl. The kind of girl who would happily receive a text at 11.30pm and, if it just so happened she had nothing better to do, step into a darling LBD and a pair of Louboutins, jump into a cab and be at the opening night, fashionably late, where she would proceed to stay up all night, laughing and being ever so sophisticated with arty types. The kind of girl who wears dark glasses and smokes Gauloises at 8.30am, probably … Read More »
Hello, my name is Kim Curran. And this is my new pen.We’ll it’s not. It’s me typing on my laptop. As I couldn’t actually write this blog with my new pen. But that’s the first thing that you write with any new pen, isn’t it?And my new, beautiful, chrome-etched, fountain pen is so special it deserves a post of its own.It comes courtesy of my friend Lisa as my first Christmas present this year. A fancy pen is one of the best presents you can get as a writer. But it’s what was written on the note attached that brought me close to tears.“You better get practising. As this is the year it all happens.”You see, Lisa bought the pen with the precise purpose of me signing my autograph on the inside cover of my book. Because she believes it … Read More »
I need a new job.Not a real new job. I have one of those. My real job, which puts real food on the table and real jeans on my backside, is copywriter. And that’s great. I love that. But what I don’t love are the tedious conversations I have every single time I meet someone new. They go something like this:Stranger: So, what do you do?Me: I’m a writer for the ad industry.Stranger: Oh really, and what do you write?Me: Mostly stuff for computer games. But what I really want to be is an author, blah, blah, blah. Bore bore bore. Screeeeammmmaarrghhhhhssplat.That last bit is when the person I’m speaking to invariably runs/drives head long into a wall, just to block out the tedium of me yawning on about agents and publishers and slow markets. And I don’t blame them. … Read More »
I’m fascinated by the writing process and how it’s so different for each writer. Some I know plot and plot, before putting pen to paper. Others are Pansters (write by the seat of their pants types). Some type straight to computer and others write in long hand before typing up.I’ve been a plotter and a panster. A typer and a scribbler. But, what seems to be working for me currently is more what you might call daydreaming than plotting. I have the main arc of the story worked out (the key plot points and incidents) and then I just imagine different scenes and the characters start to take over. I hear their voices and, with this particular book, see them running down dark East London streets. Once the scene has played out in my head, I scribble it into … Read More »
Well, I’ve signed up to National Novel Writing Month which means that this November I’m aiming to write 50,000 words. Yep, 50,000 words in just one month. Insanity, right? I might not make it. But it seems like a great idea, to just focus on telling the story, and leaving the editing till later.And I’ve decided to use it to work on my new book idea: Shift. I’ve already made a start (is this cheating?) and am 3,000 words in. Here’s an excerpt from the first chapter.
What if you could undo every decision you’ve ever made. Unmake every mistake. Would you? Let me stop you right there. You’re probably thinking it would be really cool. You’re imagining getting on that bus instead of walking in the rain, right? Thinking about all those missed opportunities taken, all those missed moments seized. … Read More »
This week I have been given a timely reminder of what made me pick up a pen and start writing 2 years ago. (That’s not to say I didn’t write before that – I’ve been writing professionally for 13 years, I wrote stupid poems all through school – I mean what made me start writing my book. Right, glad we’re clear. I’ll get on with my point now.) It was a quote, along the lines of “Writing isn’t making stuff up. It’s getting stuff down.” Something like that. Anyway, the gists of it was writers write. And it actually came as a bit of a blinding realisation. How could I call myself a writer if I wasn’t actually writing? In short, I couldn’t. And so I started writing.62,000 words later I had written The Border Lord. Those 62,000 words are … Read More »
I am rather excited by an idea I’ve had for a new book. It’s inspired by my rather dodgy understanding of quantum physics, in particular Schrödinger’s cat and parallel universes and all that. I have no idea where it will take me, or even who my main character is at the moment.But I can tell you, it’s called Shift. And it’s gonna be cool!You can read an extract here.
Who would have ever thought that I would miss the letterbox? But time was that I only had to check to see if I had received a message from an agent once every day. Just once, each morning, after hearing the tell tale flap of metal, I would walk down my steps and see if the letterbox had spat (lovingly mind) any missives of hope. And that was it for the day. But now, thanks to the miracles of modern technology, I can check my email inbox every 30 seconds. And I do so. Constantly. Over and over. Every ping makes my heart flutter. Will this be The Answer? Will this be The Email? But it’s only another bit of spam.So I want to say sorry to the gentle letter box. I never appreciated your brassy brilliance till now. I … Read More »
I’ve been following the rather fantastic Natalie Fischer on Twitter. She’s an agent who shares her wisdom with the Twitterverse, and who has been kind enough to answer a few of my Tweets about what agents are looking for on a bio, how long is it ok to wait before sending an agent a gentle nudge, and other such worries that pop into my head.Anyway, I was reading her blog and I came across this wonderful ode to tenacity, so I thought I’d share it here.http://adventuresinagentland.blogspot.com/2010/08/dont-you-dare-give-up.html
I’m frequently surprised by my friends’ excitement when I tell them about having written a book. ‘You’ll be so rich!’ they say with glee. Then I role out the stats about how tough it is to get published and how even getting published is absolutely no guarantee of making a living out of being an author (I’ve been told that only 1% of authors do). As I go on and on about the challenges, I watch their expressions turn from joy to confusion to depression. After explaining the hard cold reality of being a writer, they will each ask me; “Why are you doing this again?”And they have a good point. Why did I give up my job as a head of copy and put all my hopes into a story about a tough emo kid learning to control … Read More »
One day, I will write a poem
so heart-breakingly beautiful
it will make grown men cry.
They will marvel at its metre,
revel in its rhythm and its
depths will touch their souls.
But not today.
One day, I’ll become a masterof language, a mistress of songand words will dance for me.They will perform like circus fleasand not the herd of flying antsthat they normally are.|But not today.|One day I will open my veinsand bleed on the page as I’m toldthat’s what real writers do.I will discover these issuesI’m told I must have, darling,if I look deep enough.|But not today.|One day I will awake at nightto find all of the nine musesare standing around me.They will whisper into my ear,secrets of the craft and I willsmile and reach for my pen.|But not today.|One day my friends and … Read More »
Replace Porn with more cats, and you might just be there.Kim Curran
Last Saturday I went to Writing Fiction – Authonomy’s first writing workshop. And I had a blast. I got to see inside the uber glossy HC towers for a start.The day was highly worthwhile. Not only did I take away loads of useful information that will help me in my writing and on the road to publication (fingers crossed), I also met some fantastic people, whom I will now be adding to my list of writer friends.The day began with a presentation from Scott Pack, Publisher for HC’s imprint TFP. Scott used ever so fancy clip art to depress the hell out of the lot of us by showing just how long and hard the road to publication is and how many fall by the way side. Of course, it’s good to see it as a filter of quality with each … Read More »
It’s the smell of these places I hate. I don’t think there’s enough bleach in the world to hide the smell of death. Every hospital is the same. The same stink and the same noises. The noises drive me crazy, too. Especially at night. Like the kid in the bed next to me. He’s been here two weeks longer than me, so you’d think he’d have learnt to stop crying for his mum. But every night it’s the same. The whimpering and sobbing, ‘mummy, mummy…’
That’s what I think of when I think of hospitals. The smell and the sound of fear.
I reach a hand up behind me and start picking at the wallpaper again. The evil bunny is grinning tonight. Sometimes he smiles. But not tonight. The wallpaper is covered in his little clones, but he’s different somehow. … Read More »
I have a bit of an obsession with strong women. And female strength. And what that really means.The main character in my Young Adult series is a feisty young girl called Megan. I always envisioned Megan as a damaged person; she’s been through a lot. But one whose inner strength and fire sees her through all the adventures that I throw at her – from gangster orcs to seductive fairies.
In writing her, and in hoping for her to be a character that teenagers can connect with, I wanted her to be someone they (and I) could look up to. She’s far from perfect. She’s impulsive. She’s filled with rage. She’s closed off. But on the balance, she has a lot of the qualities that I think define a strong character. She’s fearless. She’s driven. She has an inner moral compass … Read More »
Philosopher’s safari.Why do we think,do you think?Do animals sit and ponder,Do ruminants ruminate the wonderof things? Are wombats whimsical?Meercats, are they metaphysical?Is the humble bumble beelogically positive the treeshe was sitting onisn’t simply up and gonewhen she is not around?Do elephants listen for the soundof the music of the spheres(is that why they’ve got those ears)?Do the creatures of the plaindrive themselves insanewith the problem of evil?Is the tiny weevilcapitalist or communist,Marxist or monarchist?Do the snuffling warthogsengage in Socratic dialogues?Is the buffalo existentially glum?Does the lion take solace in Cogito ergo sum?Do cheetahs find the timeto unravel Wittgensteinand those who were to follow?Does the hippo wallowon the existence of godand the tree in the quad?Or are they, unlike we,simply content just to be.And think our thinking’s decidedly odd?Kim Curran
‘Urgh couples in love. Makes me sick. I mean just look at them. They’re so bloody smug.’‘I think they’re cute. Makes me feel, I don’t know…’‘If you say warm inside I might have to stick my arrow up your arse.’‘No. They give me the feeling of a job well done.’‘Oh please, where’s a good vomitorium when you need one?’‘Hey, if it wasn’t for them we would be out of a job. Not a pretty thought in today’s financial climate. Just, face it. These couples you find so utterly repellent are our raison d’etre, mon petite amie.’‘What you talking French for? You’re Greek!’‘The language of love!’‘Love. Pah!’‘It makes the world go round!’‘No, Jupiter sees to that. While we get to sit around all day firing arrows into dumb schmucks.’‘And making their lives complete.’‘And what thanks to we get for it? I’m … Read More »
The debate rages. Do you or don’t you? Well, now you can decide.Here’s a prologue I wrote a while back for The Border Lord. And here’s your chance to vote:[polldaddy poll=2511079]
Forget raw talent, amazing ideas and a miraculous way with words. Patience is the quality a writer needs most. There’s the waiting for friends to feedback. The waiting for agents to get back to you. Then (if you’re lucky enough to get through that stage) the waiting for publishers. The waiting to see how your book sells. In short, it’s a whole lot of waiting.But you know what, I reckon those Guinness ads are right – good things will come to those who wait.
Well, it’s done. And just short of 60,000 words at 55,000.
Now the actual work begins in trying to shape this hot mess of writing into something that resembles an actual book.
Over on another blog about an advertising copywriter trying to get their novel published (there seems to be a lot of us about these days) I read a post about lulu.com. It’s a cool site where you can get your book printed and bound.Well, it got me thinking about the whole self-publishing thang. After all, a few friends have asked why bother with an agent or publisher when with my marketing background couldn’t I just market it myself? Lisa, who I have spoken about before, is a SEO guru and has said that she’d love to help me be the first writer become famous via social networking and SEO.But I guess for me, part of the whole process is having my work validated by an ‘expert’. Perhaps I should have enough confidence in the book itself to not to need … Read More »
Yes, I go on about authonomy constantly. But for me the best thing about it is the friends I have met. One of whom is a woman by the name of Sandie Dent, who is very close to finishing a simply amazing book called The Tipping Point.It’s a dark, twisting tale of the fallibility of memory and the meaning of friendship. Powerful, moving stuff. I recommend it highly.
I have just been recommended a literary consultancy company called Cornerstones. I really like their hands on approach. I may well be getting in touch with them, to help me hammer The Border Lord into shape.Kim Curran
You know when you are reading a book and the pages held in your right hand slowly start to number less than the pages held in your left, and you are just wishing for time to stop so you don’t have to finish it, but at the same time so gripped that you can’t stop reading? Well, I just had that very experience with my friend’s book The Heart of Nightmares, by Justin Carroll.It’s been described by one agent as Indiana Jones meets Lemony Snicket. It reminds me in some ways of Cornelia Funke’s Ink Heart. But really it is a stunning book all of its own.Like me, Justin is in the process of looking for an agent and publisher. Which just goes to show that there is no justice that a book like this hasn’t been snapped up and … Read More »
I met up with a fellow Authonomite last night. Well, not just any Authonomite. The Authonomite. Miranda Dickinson – one of the few people who got picked up by HC and given a contractShe is one of life’s shiny people, and her boyfriend Bob is an equally genuine and lovely sort. The hours whizzed by as we talked about writing, editing and the publishing industry.Miranda is a copywriter as well. And it was very interesting to learn how all the skills you pick up along the way, like the ability to take criticism and just roll with it, come in very handy as an author. I joked that a copywriter gets used to not only having your baby crushed, but crushed, blended up and fed back to you as a smoothie.We also talked a lot about luck. Everyone says getting … Read More »
My god, I’ve been shockingly slack at blogging as of late. I blame Authonomy.I uploaded TBL to Authonomy, as you know, and it slowly took over my life. Not only was I addicted to that buzz of a new comment, but I started playing on the fora and having far too much fun, all the while neglecting actual writing.I got as high as 22 after only three months and then had to take the book down to finish the thing. I realised that I’m far too competitive to be in the race and not win, so better not be in it!But I got loads of amazing comments on my book, learnt loads, and most important of all, made some amazing friends. So it was a hugely positive place. I may even put my book back up there, now that … Read More »
Because there’s nothing like a bit of time displacement activity, when you are supposed to be writing, I’ve been messing about with some cover designs. My favourite is the third, but my mate Lisa thinks she looks like she’s on crack.
You know those questions they ask celebs in the Guardian Saturday magazine? Well, I took it upon myself to answer them.When were you happiest?On the back of a moped, racing towards Ankor Wat, trying to get there before sunrise.What is your greatest fear?Nothingness.What is your earliest memory?Eating piping hot sausages, sat between my sister and the removal van driver, as we moved from Dublin to Thurles.Which living person do you admire the most, and why?My Mum, for her strength and serenity.What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?Being judgmental.What is the trait you most deplore in others?Ignorance.What was your most embarrassing moment?I must have blocked it out.Aside from a property, what is the most expensive thing you’ve bought?Two leather sofas.What is your most treasured possession?A first edition of The Romance of King Arthur, illustrated by Arthur Rackham.What would your … Read More »
Well, I’ve been popping in and out of Authonomy for a while. And now I’ve dived in and uploaded the first 5 chapters of The Border Lord.In case you don’t know, Authonomy is a site by Harper Collins which encourages writers to upload their novels. The idea is that the best five books each month get read by an editor at HC. But in truth, I am actually using it more as a peer-to-peer review facility – hoping to get insightful suggestions from a community of writers.One of my friends Joanna from the Richmond Writer’s circle uploaded her book a while back and it is storming to the top.So who knows, will be great to get some feedback from people on it.
Because I’m all about the positive thinking for 2009, I’ve gone and bought the URL for my novel. You know… if you build it, they will come.
The Richmond Writers’ Circle is, well, the name kind of gives it away. I went along last week, and got a very warm welcome from everyone. I was too nervous to do any reading on my first visit, but I was very impressed by writing of everyone there. There was a real range, from a detective novel to a feminist perspective on pre-impressionist art, right down to poetic commentaries on the Austen delusion. I think the collective IQ in the room would put a Mensa gathering to shame.So it was with a large degree of trepidation that I went along last night and read from my first chapter. And I got a very positive response. Not only did a few people say it was very gripping, but they gave me some really useful comments. In particular, insight on what it’s … Read More »
I love my Amazon deliveries. And the one I had fall through the door the other day contained a book on how to self-edit yourself into print. As soon as I started reading the first chapter it was like a revelation. There weren’t quite scales falling from my eyes, but I did stare into space a lot thinking ‘how could I have been so stupid’
The first chapter is titled Showing and Telling, and I couldn’t believe I had failed quite so miserably in my first chapter to fall into the telling trap. I spent so much of those first pages establishing the scene, and explaining the background of the character, no wonder it wasn’t gripping. Well, I have now got my showing head on, and have happily hacked the first chapter in half … Read More »
I thought I’d take a little diversion and write about pyjamas. Because you see, I have taken this week off to dedicate to writing the novel, and am planning to spend as much time as possible in said pjs. And I am considering buying myself a new pair, to celebrate. Now, should I go for traditional, tartan flannel? Or something more modern, like a track suit, that I might actually be able to answer the door in, while still revelling in the fleecy comfort?Today is going rather well. I’ve written 1,500 words, while still in bed, wearing leggings and a hoodie.You know I could get used to this life.
I came across this cool little site on a friend’s blog, that makes word clouds of text. Here’s the word cloud for my synopsis…. ain’t it pretty.
I gave out my first three chapters to a few select friends. Lisa being one of them. And I was really chuffed when I got a very excited phone call from her, enthusing about the book. Now, I know she’s my mate and would probably say she loved it even if it were a pile of rubbish – but her excitment got me really excited – untill we were both jumping about like idiots. I’ve now given her the next three and will wait and see how she react to them.
Today I made a pilgrimage to the cafe in Edinburgh where JK Rowling wrote the first few chapters of Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone. She sat there scribbling away, tucked up in the warm while her baby daughter slept.It is now a Chinese restaurant, but has a lovely cafe underneath, where I sat this morning with a hot chocolate, soaking up the imprint of harry and hoping some of its magic might rub off.It’s actually been a magical few days in Edinburgh. We’ve been staying in a lovely little apartment on the royal mile, above, appropriately enough, the story telling centre. We visted the castle, and revelled in the beautiful swords on display. And then went on a ghostly tour of the city, visiting what is known as the most haunted place on Britain. I felt nothing other than … Read More »
A while back, I read a quote that was partially responsible for me being here. The quote in essence ( unfortunately I can’t remember the exact quote or who said it) was that being a writer is not about making stuff up – but rather getting stuff down. Essentially that one becomes a writer by writing. Sounds pretty damn simply when you think. But at the time, when I was more busy dreaming of being a writer than actually doing any writing, it struck me with such clarity that I went home and started writing straight away.What good were all those ideas I was having on the bus, if I didn’t acutally get them down?Stupid it took me someone else’s words for it all to make sense. But hey, that’s often the way of it.If anyone out there knows … Read More »
Just a quick word of warning, seeing that I will be doing a lot of my blogging via my iPhone, don’t expect beautifully-constructed prose. In fact, there will be plenty of messy writing and typos that even apple’s text recognition software can’t handle.This is not a place for me to master the craft of writing (that’s what the book’s for); it’s just a place for me to dump some of the ideas that clutter up my head.Consider yourself warned.
That’s my aim for my first novel – a fantasy novel for young adults.I’ve been living with the idea for this book for years now, but recently an unstoppable desire to get it written has taken over. I’ve even quit my day job (as an advertising copywriter) and am about to go freelance to try and make it all happen. Insane I know. But what’s the fun of life if you don’t take crazy risks every now and then.The first 3 chapters are currently in the hands of some special people (Kylie and Lisa) who I hope will give me some invaluable feedback.So hey, watch this space.
I was born in Dublin and moved to London when I was seven. I got my first typewriter when I was eight and had a poem I wrote about a snail published in the parish magazine. From then on, I was hooked on writing.
After school and college, I went to Sussex University to study Philosophy, with the full knowledge that the only preparation it would give me for the real world was an ability to think deep thoughts about being unemployed. I was rather surprised when, just a week after graduating, I landed a job as a junior copywriter with an ad agency. I’ve worked in advertising ever since, specialising in writing for the youth market on accounts such as Disney, SEGA and for charities such as UNICEF and NSPCC.
My real dream was always to write books for young adults. … Read More »