Thursday, 24 November 2011

10 Xmas Gifts for a Writer

Dear Father Christmas

For some time now I have been telling people that I am a writer.  Now I need to look the part.  Perhaps you could help by bringing me one or more of the lovely items below!

P.s. Sherry and mince pie on the mantelpiece as always!

  1. A Pen.  Montblanc would be great, but that would suggest I am a commercial success, so perhaps a Fisher Space Pen from would be more fitting.  A style icon and indestructible.     
  2. A notebook for capturing all my ideas (why do they always arrive at 3am?).  For this the only option is Moleskin.  There are plenty of styles and sizes to choose from at
  3. For spelling on the move a heavy dictionary and thesaurus just aren't practical.  But if I had a Kindle I could download both and have all the spellings, definitions and synonyms I need at the tip of my fingers.
  4. An ipad
  5. A really great bag to carry all this paraphernalia around.  Perhaps something from or
  6. A Panama Hat to really hammer home the point.  Try
  7. A huge bag of self-belief!
  8. No aspiring writer should be without The Writers' and Artists' Yearbook.  Find the 2012 Edition at
  9. Similarly a subscription to Writing Magazine would make a perfect gift.
  10. A publishing contract.  Sort that Father Christmas and I'll see to it that no-one ever questions your existence ever again!

Sunday, 13 November 2011

How Many Drafts?

I thought it would be interesting to follow up my previous post with a Publisher's view on rewriting.  After all, these are the people we are trying to impress. 

Stewart Ferris, interviewed in Writing Magazine (December 2011) has this to say:  '...there are no such things as writers; only rewriters.'  He goes on to break the process down into ten stages:

Draft 1 - Type out the rough version of your whole book

Draft 2 - Tighten structure, fill in plot gaps

Draft 3 - Develop character

Draft 4 - Improve dialogue

Draft 5 - Work on language and imagery

Draft 6 - Restructure parts of the work

Draft 7 - Add layers of conflict

Draft 8 - Improve the crucial opening pages

Draft 9 - More work on character development

Draft 10 - Proofread for mistakes

I'm currently on my third draft.  I'm working on developing character, but also restructuring parts of the work and tightening the structure.  I'm not sure I could split out the editing process as above; it feels a bit regimented.  But then again, perhaps that's what I need!

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Write or Rewrite?

What do you find easier: writing or rewriting?  For me it's the rewriting.  I like nothing more than tearing into the previous day's work, pulling it apart and making improvements.  It's a forensic process and extremely cathartic.  Every time I sit down to write I find that my impulse is to rewrite first and then move onto something fresh.

This may be counter-productive.  It may explain my slow progress.  I think though that I will end up with a very tight third draft.

I also find that when I'm writing something fresh I get some good forward momentum, but I'm never happy when I read over the material the following day.  So out comes the red editing pen and I reshape and revise until I feel confident with what is on the page.

I'd love to hear your views on this.  What comes most naturally to you:  writing or rewriting?  What tips do you have to share?

Friday, 4 November 2011

Exciting news for Authors


Check out this new website:  Unbound is a new (well, rediscovered) way of getting books published.  Now an author can pitch a book idea and then potential readers can support the proposed book.  If there is enough support the book will be made.

Go to the web site and view the great introductory video for a full explanation!