I'm excited to share that I'm starting a new blog! Every month (perhaps even twice a month!) I'll be talking about all things writing. Because I'm a bit of a pantster, I don't know exactly what I'll be writing about just yet, but to give you a taster, I'm hoping to delve into the following (and much more) during the next year and beyond...
The craft of writing - thinking about setting, dialogue, character, pace etc. etc.
The business side of being an author
The nuts and bolts of writing a book
Generating ideas that publishers will love
Prompts to kickstart creativity
Interviews with authors, agents and editors
Reviews of writing courses
Reviews of books on writing
I won't be reviewing novels - there are plenty of super talented people already doing that, so you don't need more of the same from me!
I'll be aiming this blog at adult writers writing for children, but in the future I'd also like to involve my young readers and give them a chance to get involved in blogging on an author site. I was at 'take pART' at Venue Cymru in Llandudno a couple of weekends ago, and was bowled over by the talented young writers I met and the quality of their writing. So, I'll be reaching out to schools in the next few months to talk about how I might be able to help young writers develop their creative writing skills and nurture a lifelong passion for the written word.
In time, I'm hoping to get to grips with the technical side of blogging, and will give readers a chance to engage with these posts. I look forward to chatting with you more!
I came to writing quite late in life, only making the commitment to attempt to become a published author in my late forties. Until that moment I'd played about with writing and enjoyed writing little poems or odes for friends, or even the odd short story, but had never dared to take my writing seriously. When my youngest was approaching his GCSEs and with a sense that I'd have more time on my hands, I decided to take the plunge. I'd heard about the Times Chicken House competition and decided that all I had to do was write a good story, pay my £20 entry fee and hopefully get myself on the longlist. (I've always been a hopeless optimist!) Anyway, I wrote a story (it was about two dogs, and I still hope to dredge it out of my bottom drawer one day), sent it in and of course it didn't get listed. There were only another 1000+ brilliant entries after all! So, not really knowing what to do with it I started looking around for writing courses. I didn't know anyone in the world of writing and publishing, so didn't know who to turn to for advice and through Jericho Writers, paid for an editorial report of my dog story. The feedback was very positive and gave me the confidence to carry on.
I still felt that I didn't know what was 'right' or 'wrong' about my writing, and I use those words loosely because there really aren't that many rights or wrongs in writing! By this time I'd sent my story out to 8 agents and had received 8 form rejections. I realise now I probably should have persevered and that 8 rejections is nothing! Anyway, to cut a very long story short, I applied for a place on the MA in Writing for Young People in Bath and spent a very happy year immersed in their creative embrace. I met some wonderful writers who have remained close friends. At the end of the course, I was awarded a distinction (the biggest success of my life - my first degree and school exam results were decidedly average!) and was signed up by my wonderful agent, Joanna Moult from Skylark Literary. Soon afterwards I was offered a publishing deal by Nosy Crow. I'll talk about all this in a future post so won't go into any more detail here. The book I wrote on the MA, FLEDGLING, was published in November 2021 and a year later was nominated for the Carnegie Medal for Writing. My second children's novel, WREN, was published in October 2022 and I've just submitted my third novel to my publishers. I believe/hope that might be coming out later this year!
I'm conscious I've waffled on and probably breaking all the rules of successful blogging, but with each post I'll learn what I'm doing and look forward to sharing more over the coming months.
Happy writing folks!