Monday, 30 June 2008


I'm considering rewriting novel #2 in first person present tense (it's currently first person past tense).

There's no REAL reason to do it it's just I've read a few 1st person present tense novels recently and like the way you seem to zip through the novel along with the main character. And it seems like it might be quite fun (I wrote novel #1 in first person past tense so it'd be a change, and somewhat of a challenge).

Should I stop writing novel #2 now and go back and rewrite in the first person or plod on until I'm finished and change it at the end?

Am I procrastinating? You betcha!

I had an idea for novel #3 the other night that I just LOVE! When I mentioned it to someone who said "If you love the idea for novel #3 so much why not ditch novel #2 and write 3 instead?"

Urrrgh. Confused.

I think I'd enjoy writing novel #2 more if I wrote it in first person present tense but....

Anyone written a novel/part of a novel in first person present tense? How did you find it? Anyone convert past tense to present tense? How long did it take?

Friday, 27 June 2008

Grab a free book from a rabbit!

I've just found out about a site called BookRabbit where you can get a free book (from 30 June until they run out!) by joining and uploading a photo of your bookshelves. Simply tag 5 or more of your books and they'll select a free book for you (based on the selection of books you tagged).

I'm not 100% sure what the site's about yet but it seems to be a book discussion thingy as well as an online book retailer (no, I didn't read the small print!) and it displays your real name next to your bookshelf so if you're worried about people googling you it might not be for you. I'm not a fan of being googleable but I'm a sucker for a free book so I signed up!

Oh...and if you're a published author you can sign up as 'author' rather than 'reader' so you might get to promote your book or something (I've got no idea...not being a published author myself yet *sob*). Also, if you're a published author you can search for books by you, find out how many people have your book on their book shelf and then look at your book on their bookshelf (and see which books yours is sitting next to!). That's so cool. God I want to be published...;0)

If you're interested click the link below:

And if you know my full real name I think you can search for me and have a nose at two of my bookshelves!


I saw this one someone else's blog (sorry, can't remember who, I was randomly surfing) and decided to print it out on glossy photo paper and tack it to my desk. I'm hoping I'll find it motivational on days when I come home to a pile of brown envelopes on my doormat!

Slowly, slowly, writey novel

Last year I completed the first draft (100,000 words) of novel #1 in 3 months and 3 weeks. Looking back now I can't believe I managed to write so much in such a short time. Actually I can. I chose writing over a social life and hardly went out!

This time around, with novel #2, I decided I wanted to take things a bit easier and have more balance in my life only I seem to have taken things a bit TOO easy. I stared writing novel #2 on 4th April this year and so far, in just over 11 weeks, I've only managed to write 16,363 words (20% of the novel). At this rate it's going to take me another 44 weeks to finish the novel.

That would mean it would take me 13 MONTHS to write novel #2!

I know that probably sounds a reasonable amount of time to write a novel to some people but I'm already itching to get on with novel #3 (I'm not 100% sure what it's going to be about yet but a few ideas are bubbling around) so want to get novel #2 done and dusted asap.

So I've set myself a new deadline - to finish novel #2 by the end of September.

According to YWriter that's 'just' 670 words a day. Thanks to Helen's 100 Words a Day blog I've got into the habit of writing every day again and it really, really helps. I'll have to up my average word count though (about 267 words a day this week!).

But I can do it. I hope.

16,363 / 80,000 words (20.5% of novel #2)

Thursday, 26 June 2008


Oh I do like doing a meme sometimes, particularly if I haven't got anything interesting to blog about. Lucy Diamond (author of the brilliant, unputdownable Any Way You Want Me. If you haven't read it, why not? Buy it now!) tagged me for this one...

What were you doing 10 years ago?

I'd just moved to Brighton and was living in a shared house with three strangers (all men) and working as an admin assistant for a computer software company.

Five things on your to-do list for today:

1. Write my hundred words a day (at least) for novel #2
2. Update my spreadsheet to include the two short story rejections I received today (boo!)
3. Wrap belated birthday present for sister in law
4. Do washing up
5. Move bike and recycling box out of hallway so Neighbour's new flatmate can move in (she lives in a one bed flat like me but she's decided to rent out her living room. Money must be really tight!)

What are three of your bad habits?

1. Picking my cuticles (the raggy look is so this season ;o))
2. Ignoring the housework
3. Ignoring the phone

What would you do if you were a billionaire?

Write full time, travel the world, buy my brother and his family a house, treat my parents, buy myself a house (in several locations around the world!), employ a chef and personal trainer, hire a stylist (unlike most women I'm not a fan of clothes shopping), give some money to charity, do some charity work, buy a teeny tiny ultra-light laptop and a massive plasma screen TV, adopt some dogs from a sanctuary. God, I could go on...and on...and on....

What are some snacks you enjoy?

Peanut butter on toast
Milk chocolate (most types but particularly Lindt and Milka!)
Salted cashew nuts
Salt 'n vinegar Walkers crisps

What were the last five books you read?

Behind the Scenes at the Museum - Kate Atkinson
The Accidental Mother - Rowan Coleman
Shopaholic and Baby - Sophie Kinsella
31 Dream Street - Lisa Jewell
Haruki Murakami - South of the Border, West of the Sun

What are five jobs you have had?

1. Strawberry and raspberry sorter (yep, you'll get a different grade of strawberry/raspberry depending on which supermarket you buy it from!)
2. Royal mail post room worker (NB: If you write 'fragile' on your parcel chances it'll still get thrown across the room. If you're really lucky it'll make it into a sack rather than end up on the floor)
3. Shipping Co-ordinator
4. Bar person
5. Graphic designer

Five places that you have lived?

1. Brighton
2. London
3. Chester
4. Newcastle
5. Bergen (that's in Germany, near Belsen)

I tag...

SallyQ, A.Writer, Caroline Smailes, Lazy Perfectionista, Tam and anyone else who fancies doing this meme. I love reading the answers!

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

What makes a compelling character?

Here's what American literary agent Nathan Bransford has to say...

Story Sale!

At last...some good news...

I just had an email from one of the editors at My Weekly magazine telling me they'd like to buy a 600 word flash of mine for their Coffee Break section. Thanks so much to womag for posting My Weekly's guidelines on her blog or I wouldn't have known they wanted such short stories.

My fifth story 'hit' of the year (and 3rd womag sale of the year). Hooray!

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

The encore!

they're playing songs off the old albums at last!


Victoria park, London.

Feel the fear and do it anyway...

Very interesting post here:

on writers' block and fear.

Saturday, 21 June 2008

Creating lovable characters

There's a bit of a discussion going on in my writing community about the reasons agents and editors give for rejecting a novel. The one that seems to crop up most often is a variation on the following:
  • "I just didn't fall in love with the main character"


  • "I didn't warm to the main character enough"

So it seems that's what's very, very important in Women's Fiction is creating a main character that the reader falls in love with.

But what makes a warm, lovable character and how do you create one when you're writing?

I'm stumped...

So come on. Help a girl out. Think about your favourite WF or chicklit character and tell me why you loved her so much.

(and if you've got any link to online articles on this subject please post them into the comments).

Thanks v much!

Friday, 20 June 2008

The words wot I use a lot

I saw Clare's word clouds (created when she fed her entire novel into an online gizmo) and couldn't resist having a go with my own novel so here's a sneak peek of the words I use most frequently in novel #1. In Clare's blog she said she obviously used the word 'back' a lot. Me too! Look at it, it's massive! It's almost a character in itself.

Hmm...that's probably not a good thing but I'm not going to worry about it!
Here's the link if you want to have a go at it yourself.

Thursday, 19 June 2008

How do you know you're a writer?

The title of this post is a search query that ended up on my blog so I thought I'd answer it in case they ever come back.

I think you're a writer when...
  • you love what you're writing one second and despise it with every bone in your body the second
  • you get rejected and rejected and rejected and you keep on writing
  • you have a new experience half of you is enjoying the experience the other half is thinking 'Could I use this in a story?'
  • you have ideas for stories when you're falling asleep and you'd rather wake yourself to write them down rather than drift off
  • your friends say 'and I thought you were supposed to be the writer' when they beat you at Scrabble
  • you read a really, really good book and half of you says "That was amazing" and the other half says "Bitch/Bastard, I hate you!" about the writer
  • you find yourself thinking about your characters as though they were real
  • what you write makes you cry/laugh (and not because it's bad!)
  • you'd rather cancel a social engagement than risk breaking the spell when bitten by the (rare) 'I can't stop writing now, it's just flowing out of me' bug
  • you pick up on small things in a social situations and file them away. You notice the unusual hat someone is wearing, their odd speech inflection or their strange little mannerisms and think "I could use that for a character"
  • you have a book on your bookcase that you think is really badly written but you don't throw it away because every time you feel crap about your own writing reading the rubbish book makes you feel better
  • you think about giving up writing all the time but you just can't
  • you wish you'd started years ago

Can you think of any more?

Am I the only one...

...that grins when they mention 'Alistair Darling' on the news?

It reminds me of Captain Darling in Blackadder... "Hello Darling!"

Sunday, 15 June 2008

I'm back!

A proper post will follow soon but, until then, here's something amusing (I thought so anyway)...

The Road to Enlightenment - The Teachings of Zen

1. Do not walk behind me, for I may not lead. Do not walk ahead of me, for I may not follow. Do not walk beside me for the path is narrow. In fact just f*** off and leave me alone.

2. The darkest hour is just before dawn. So if you're going to steal your neighbour's milk, that's the time to do it.

3. Sex is like air. It's not important unless you aren't getting any.

4. No one is listening until you fart.

5. Always remember you're unique. Just like everyone else.

6. Never test the depth of the water with both feet.

7. If you think nobody cares whether you're alive or dead, try missing a couple of mortgage payments.

8. Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.

9. If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is not for you.

10. Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish, and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day.

11. If you lend someone £20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.

12. If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.

13. Don't worry; it only seems kinky the first time.

14. Good judgment comes from bad experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.

15. There are two theories to arguing with women. Neither one works.

16. Generally speaking, you aren't learning much when your lips are moving.

17. Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.

Sunday, 8 June 2008

Friday, 6 June 2008

Self-tanning tips for the stupid

1. If you must leave applying self-tanning spray until the very last minute (so you don't look like a white whale on holiday) do NOT then put on your knee-length boots and walk to the shops. When you get return home and remove said boots you will have developed lovely tanned legs. It's just a shame that the parts of your calves the top of the boots gripped look like they've been striped with white paint.

Not that this happened to me.

Oh no. I wouldn't do something that silly.

*retires to the bathroom with a loofah for an emergency exfoliation session*

Thursday, 5 June 2008

I swapped the dog for a bottle of Baileys!

Actually my sister came to get her and gave me a bottle of Baileys and a gorgeous stone pot/box from Kenya (I love boxes and pots and have a small collection) to say thank you.

I don't normally drink Baileys in the summer (to me it's a Christmas drink!) but I was so desperate for some chocolate the other night I had a glass as it was the only sweet thing in the flat. And very nice it was too. Am thinking Bailey's flavoured milkshakes with lots of ice would be lovely the next time the sun comes out (assuming it's after midday and I'm not working of course!).

I thought I'd miss the dog tons...and I did for a few hours...but the realisation the next morning that I wouldn't have to scoop any more poop or have my knee or arm nudged every few minutes whilst trying to work from home soon put an end to that! I still want a dog, but a much lazier dog that's not quite so emotionally needy!

The good news is I managed to get another story in for my Story A Fortnight group so very pleased with that (especially considering I had no idea what I was going to write about until the very last minute!).

The bad news is I haven't done any work on novel #2 since last week. Eeek! Still, there's not much I can do about that at the moment because I'm back off on holiday this weekend. Yeah!!!

The next time you hear from me I'll be back from the South of France (unless I can text a photo to my blog that is).

See you on the other side.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Firing Your Agent

Most people reading this blog (and the person writing it!) are still hoping to find themselves an agent so why on earth would you consider firing your agent when it's so difficult to find one in the first place?

I've heard a few reasons why authors might start thinking about firing their agent and getting a new one:
  • the agent hasn't managed to sell your book(s)
  • the agent keeps rejecting your new book ideas / is very critical of your books
  • the agent doesn't return your emails/phone calls
  • you don't feel very supported by your agent or that you're important to them
  • you're afraid of your agent and are loath to contact them
  • etc etc etc

So, if anyone reading this is thinking about firing their agent and finding a new one here's a good post on the subject from Bookends Lit Agency:

Chick Lit Competition

The Stiletto is a chick lit contest in the USA, open to entrants around the world. It costs $30 to enter (about £15) and you can pay via PayPal. I'm not 100% sure what the prizes are (I think it's your manuscript being read by an agent and editor) but all entrants will receive two critiques for their money.

Also, if you win a prize, it'll look very impressive on your cover letter to a British agent (Leila Rasheed the author of "Chips, Beans and Limousines" came second in the Young Adult category a few years ago and says she included her placing on her cover letter to her agent).

To enter you need the first 35 pages of your novel, double spaced, plus a synopsis (no more than 5 pages) in one RTF document (don't put your name on it).

I've entered (the paranormal chick lit category) not because I'm desperate to win but because I think it would be helpful to receive two completely impartial critiques (they're quite detailed - you can download a sample report from the website).

The deadline to enter is June 15 and full details are on the website:

These are the categories and judges:

Editor: Latoya Smith, Grand Central Publishing
Agent: Michelle Grajkowski, Three Seas Literary Agency

Editor: Megan McKeever, Pocket
Agent: Elaine Spencer, The Knight Agency

Editor: Callie Lynn Wolfe, Wild Rose Press
Agent: Christine Witthohn, Book Cents Literary Agency

Editor: Beth Adams, Guideposts
Agent: Holly Root, Waxman Agency

Editor: Anica Rissi, Simon Pulse
Agent: Caryn Wiseman, Andrea Brown Literary Agency

p.s. Apparently they haven't had many entries to the Young Adult category and are thinking of pulling it so if you've written a YA novel and want to enter get your entry in quickly!

Sunday, 1 June 2008

Gotta love web stats

Most amusing search term to reach my blog this week?

"how to speak and write in Elvis"

Well, er, you need to throw in a few "Uh huh huhs" and a few "Ahm all shook up" and...

Oh...sorry, did you mean Elvish?

Well, according to this site, my name in Elvish is Larien Sáralondë.

You're welcome.