Saturday, 20 August 2016

Latest article in Writing Magazine

Another Brick in the Wall

No, not that song by a famous group, but the title of my latest 'Beginners' piece in the September issue of Writing Magazine.

It's not uncommon for writers to find themselves staring blankly at a sheet of A4 or a monitor screen, desperately trying to get an idea down. It might be a scene, a piece of dialogue, maybe building a character. But creeping in under the wire is a relentless flow of other ideas for the same project (or maybe others if you're lucky), all of which interrupt and deflect the focus.

Result. Nothing. Or at best a few feeble attempts that are likely to convince nobody, least of all yourself.

We've all been there. It's called trying to bite off more than we can chew.

Far better to push back the unbidden invaders and focus on one at a time. At least then you will accomplish something meaningful.

They might not 'fit' at first, because these are still ideas in the raw... and growing as you work on them. But they're the essential parts of your project.

Like bricks in a wall, each one contributes to the overall work. Create each brick, adding them one by one and filling in the 'mortar' between each layer, and soon you're looking at something approaching a wall... or in your case, a complete story.


Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Canada has it.

I read a lot of American thrillers, but I tend not to notice whether the authors actually come from north or south of the border. That's my fault, I confess. I just like to get to the story.

However, to redress the balance in just a small way, I've been watching the progress over the years of Ethan Jones, the prolific author of the Canadian Intelligence Service (CIS) operative, Justin Hall, series, and the Carrie O'Connor series. If you like your stories with a relentless pace, buckets of action and a recurring lead character, these are most definitely worth checking out.

To add to his already impressive output, his latest title, The Central Connection, (Knightsville Books) is out this month.

After going rogue, will Justin Hall still be a part of the CIS? Will his boss forgive Justin's disobedience? And what is cooking in Mossad's kitchen? These and more questions will be answered in the The Central Connection, 

Barnes & Noble:

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Trust Your Inner Editor

In Writing Magazine's latest (August) issue, my 'Beginners' page deals with the issue of doubt; doubt that we've done a good job of writing; doubt that a sentence sounds right or that a word might be in the wrong place; doubt that the manuscript isn't full of hidden typos that will blow any chances of publication out of the water.

The simple solution is, if you've read it through, edited it (more than once) and read it through again on paper - always a sure-fire way of spotting a hidden horror you'd missed first and second time out far better than on screen - and got someone else to read it for an objective view, then you've done as much as you can.

Anything else is just fiddling and a waste of time and worry.

Throw off the doubts and send it off. Then get on with the next project.

You'll get a response sooner or later. In the meantime, rather than staring at the post box or checking your email every couple of minutes, push it away by doing something positive.

My New Author Profile in the same issue covers Peter Breakspear, who gained publication of his first book, 'End Point' by winning a writing competition run by WM in collaboration with Matador Books.

In addition, Peter got something most authors never get to see: to follow every stage of his book through design and production.

As he points out in his interview, winning a competition was the only difference when it came to producing a book. What he shared with all other writers is checking his facts and doing his research.

And most important - getting the story on paper.