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NaNoWriMo Versus The Novella

October 9th, 2020

First, thanks to Barry for last week’s post. In these difficult times, when far-flung travel isn’t always an option, it’s good to get some advice on using what’s on your doorstep to craft a successful travel piece.

NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) will soon be upon us. But, what exactly is it? Their website says:

“National Novel Writing Month began in 1999 as a daunting but straightforward challenge: to write 50,000 words of a novel in thirty days. Now, each year on November 1, hundreds of thousands of people around the world begin to write, determined to end the month with 50,000 words of a brand new novel. They enter the month as elementary school teachers, mechanics, or stay-at-home parents. They leave novelists.”

But if the thought of trying to write a complete novel in a month scares the living daylights out of you, then why not consider a novella?  Most novellas range from 12,000 to 16,000 words. So, they’re not as demanding as a 50 to 100,000-word novel but you’ve more scope for plot and characterisation development than in a short story. At one time, this genre was seriously out of fashion because such short books weren’t considered commercial. But with the surge in e-publishing (and people’s growing desire for a quick read) they’re now a very viable proposition. Read the rest of this entry »




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What’s My Motivation?

May 11th, 2018

I would imagine everyone who’s tried to produce something more than a coherent piece of writing remembers the event or reason which inspired them to make a conscious effort to give words to the ideas in their head. Until recently I thought I knew what prompted me to pursue my dream of being an author but it turns out things were far more complex than I realised.

I’d always wanted to write and over the years had made a few stabs at it, but nothing really serious; mostly attempts to entertain my family and amuse my friends.

It was the sudden and untimely death of my sister that finally gave me the jolt I needed to stop procrastinating and write.  She’d been a teacher for thirty-seven years and had given her life to the profession. I was following in her footsteps and had been teaching for seventeen years when she died. But education was changing.  What had started as an enjoyable and satisfying vocation focusing on pupils’ wellbeing had become all about targets and league tables.  This had been exacerbated for me because I was the Director of Humanities in a particularly challenging school. Read the rest of this entry »




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Limerick Competition Open For Entries

April 20th, 2018

First, thanks to Claire for last week’s blog. For me, it demonstrates two things. First, that writing isn’t an easy option. You really have to work at it if you hope to succeed. And second, if you feel you’re working on something good, you should follow your own path and not just go with the flow.

We’ve been hearing for ages that novels should be a minimum of 70,000 words, or they are hard to market, and that novellas and collections of short stories don’t sell unless they are written by someone famous. But Claire’s experience disproves this – they will sell if you persevere and find the right way to get your message to the reading public.

While we’re on the subject of novellas, I’ve just read that ‘Nightflyers’, by George RR Martin is being turned into a ten-part TV series to debut on Syfy (and Netflix) later this year. I’m a great fan of Game of Thrones and can’t wait for the final series to be ready. But I have to admit that since production outran the actual writing of the novels episodes do seem more run-of-the-mill and less riveting. Read the rest of this entry »




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My Writing Journey – 72 Hours To Novella

April 13th, 2018

I’ve wanted to write a book for as long as I can remember. As a child, in the pre-Harry Potter days, I read adult books with lots of pages like Jeffrey Archer and Maeve Binchy, and longed to write like them. Unfortunately, life got in the way and for one reason or other my ambitions were shelved.  However, I never forgot my dream, but just earning a living and paying the bills meant there was never enough time for writing.  Years later, I enrolled on the Writer’s Bureau course in 2016 after I saw an advertisement that piqued my interest, and I found the course materials and the tutor to be second to none. I had a period of illness, which led to a long period of absence from work, and I found the coursework therapeutic. I thought to myself, maybe this is my time to follow my dream.

Six months after I started the course, I heard about a writing competition that takes place on the American holiday, Labour Day weekend every year, which involves writing a complete novel in just three days. I didn’t have much time to prepare but I was determined to enter. My husband was out of the house that weekend on a short break so it was a perfect opportunity. Read the rest of this entry »




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Where There’s a Will …

March 30th, 2015

Knights-Vampire-BlogCarole Taylor’s a stubborn lass. Even back at school she told everyone that, one day, she was going to write a book. Now, granted, she did get a bit side-tracked raising a family (and with her daughter the deputy head of a London primary school, son a departmental leader in an international bank, I think we can assume she put a reasonable amount of effort into that.) More recently, there’s been a major health scare with her heart. And now, as well as working part time for a TV production company, her first grandchild’s appeared on the scene … Nonetheless, she never did give up on that book thing and, in the end, didn’t just write one, but five. They’re not only written either, she’s had them all published as ebooks by an American online publisher. So, if any of you out there were thinking it was too late to get started on a writing career – read on. Read the rest of this entry »




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