Choosing character’s names

My character’s names often change as a novel develops. Sometimes the original name just doesn’t seem to suit the way the character or their backstory develops. There’s a theory called nominative determinism which speculates that your given name might define what you do in life. I don’t subscribe to that theory, but names do needContinue reading “Choosing character’s names”

How do you start a novel?

I had heard from many different sources that there is a tendency to put a version of yourself front and centre of your first novel. I wanted to avoid this trap so decided to write from the perspective of a young woman. Writing is a form of escapism and jumping both gender and age wasContinue reading “How do you start a novel?”

Plots and storyboards

My first novel was planned meticulouslyI had no idea how ‘real’ authors developed their plots. Previously I had tried to write a novel with very little planning and my plot got confused – even the characters in my novel got confused. So I set about working out everything beforehand. Here is my nerdy, old-fashioned, personalisedContinue reading “Plots and storyboards”

How not to get a Literary Agent

PreperationBefore submitting any material I read through the profiles of some 150 agents. But I didn’t only read their profiles, I read their twitter feeds, watched their video posts, read about their likes and dislikes and checked the authors they represent. I’ve failed so far, but what have I learned?I submitted the first three chaptersContinue reading “How not to get a Literary Agent”

A character spider

Spoiler alertThis character spider contains facts about characters in my second novel The Act of Falling that don’t appear in the text. If you know anything about personality disorders you would probably work them out anyway, but just thought I’d mention that. The size of the circleMy focus is on Emily Hamton, therefore she takesContinue reading “A character spider”

Does the world need another novel?

Probably not, and yet I’m writing my fourth novel. So why? I still don’t have a simple, single sentence answer to that question of why I do it – but here are some of the excuses I’ve used when I don’t feel people want the full answer. I wanted to see if I could writeContinue reading “Does the world need another novel?”

Hannah’s Island – disaster strikes

A work in progress. A post apocalyptic novel of sorts, but set in somewhere between a dystopian and utopian world. The first disaster I envisaged for this novel is rising sea levels (it didn’t take much imagining). I had come across a map of how various coastlines, and indeed whole countries, would change if theContinue reading “Hannah’s Island – disaster strikes”

Gender fluidity in creative writing

A man writing women’s fiction? I am a man writing women’s commercial fiction. I never set out to trespass into a genre that is usually written ‘by women’ and ‘for women’, it just happened. When I was a child we had flip books that showed us how bizarre gender stereotyping is. They don’t exist nowContinue reading “Gender fluidity in creative writing”

I was born in black and white

I am a part of that post war, baby boom, privileged generation – except it wasn’t quite like that for everyone. Silver spoons from which to sup were few and far between in the suburban hinterland between North Kent and London. The most common weed on our pavements was wheat, still trying to break throughContinue reading “I was born in black and white”