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The enigma of the first three chapters

With the Winchester writers’ festival just around the corner it’s time I got my house in order, so to speak. And nothing requires more maintenance than my submission material: the first three chapters of my novel. We all know submissions have to sparkle, that the first chapters have to be perfect to hook that vital… Continue reading The enigma of the first three chapters

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Hooray for the rewrites!

A common question people ask me when I tell them I’m writing a novel is whether I get frustrated rewriting the same story over and again. The simple answer is: No. I find it fascinating how, by making a few changes, you can alter the quality of the story so dramatically. A few extra sentences… Continue reading Hooray for the rewrites!

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Call me…Super Dooper Chapter Hooker!

This shall be my superhero name. Hmmm, maybe it’s a tad inappropriate... The hook. That jazzy little nugget that keeps your reader reading past the first few pages. But you can’t just stop there, oh no no no! You have to keep on hooking until your book is like the scratchy side of Velcro and… Continue reading Call me…Super Dooper Chapter Hooker!

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A sofa of one’s own

Office, study, a room of one’s own. This space, call it what you will, features heavily in my daydreams at the moment, particularly those “winning the lottery” fantasies. A light room with high ceilings, bookcases on each wall, a window with a view. A space to write. But is it really necessary? Do you have… Continue reading A sofa of one’s own

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Happiness is…finishing the novel

I’ve finished it I’ve finished it I’ve finished it I’ve finished it. There is little else for me to say this week, other than: I’ve finished it! It’s still too long, and there is the odd tweak here and there that I will, erm, tweak in the coming week, but apart from that it is… Continue reading Happiness is…finishing the novel

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Word Count Woes (and handy tricks to help)

I have been advised many times to keep my word count below 95,000. This is the max for any psychological thriller, ensuring the pace remains high and the hooks frequent. So, now that I have finished this bad boy (in theory) I am doing the laborious tasks of getting that word count down. Ideally, I… Continue reading Word Count Woes (and handy tricks to help)

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and then, And Then, AND THEN

I have a pet hate when it comes to writing. It’s a three letter word that I find, quite frankly, rude. That word is: And. Is there another word in the English language as demanding as ‘and?’ It is a question in its own right, forcing you to insert another phrase to form a full… Continue reading and then, And Then, AND THEN

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Revenge is best served fictionalized…

    I have had an eventful Christmas break: a wonderful holiday seeing friends and family in Ireland, and some not so wonderful calamities to deal with along the way. A personal item, holding a great deal of sentimental value, was lost. Ever the opportunist I turned the latter into a chance to improve my writing,… Continue reading Revenge is best served fictionalized…


Spot The Simile

As you may be aware I am currently rewriting my novel (it’s nearly ready by the way, which terrifies me) and one of the things I have been trying to do is scale back on my use of metaphors, adjectives and similes. It is incredibly tempting to over describe things when writing and whilst this… Continue reading Spot The Simile