Research wasn’t like this when I was a lass

Me by Rembrandt

Today I am feeling a little Lazarus-like thanks to antibiotics. But still happily confined to bed, where I have been engaging in research for novel #2. I am a sort of after the event researcher – I like to write unhindered by mere fact. It’s only after I make something up that I want to go and check if it’s actually true. It can be annoying if it isn’t, but that’s the great thing about fiction-writing.… read more


I have finished the first draft of novel#2. While Old Man and Littleson were out at the footy this rainy Sunday morning, I exercised my writer’s privilege and stayed in to work.

I have been anticipating the end for the last three or four days, but my characters kept spinning it out, getting diverted into yet more tension-increasing alleyways. But we finally nailed it this morning. I know I have an epilogue to write, but I need some specific New York State criminal law advice before I can write it.… read more

Nearing the end

I am so close to the end of first draft – and I am so enjoying writing it at the moment. When it’s all going well, and you have to tear yourself away to eat, read, write blog, it’s all so marvellous, this writing thing.

other times, of course, it can be sheer, bloody hell.

What I am itching to do is start the work on the second draft, though. I want to rip it up, move it round, delete, add, invent and weave.… read more

So this is how it happens

Today, after a fruitless day yesterday where I wrote myself into a dark hole, (including some inappropriate sex scenes that took me nowhere except to consider making an appointment with a therapist) I sat down with my good old friends from the eighties. Yep. I got out the index cards.

I don’t know why I need cardboard real-life index cards when I have the wonderful Scrivener, which duplicates the process, but virtually. In fact, I then always go on to transcribe the scenes onto the Scrivener more

That NaNoWriMo word emetic

National Novel Writing Month started three days ago. CUCKOO – out in March 2011 – was my second NaNovel. The first draft was written in November 2008 – even during the weekend I spent in Cornwall at my dear friend Max’s weekend long civil partnership celebrations. You know the sort of thing: come back to the dear little cottage after a whole day of drinking champagne in the ruddy outdoors with an eclectic crowd of gay aesthetes down from London and local farmers, write 1700 words, pass out at the kitchen table….… read more

The First Draft Appears

That’s what it’s feeling like at the moment. I’m in a good spot after a slow summer, producing over 2000 words a day. It just keeps coming and coming, for which I am very grateful.

I am having some very familiar difficulties with self-doubt, but it’s amazing how a deadline makes you push them away. I am aiming to get  to the end of this very first draft by half-term, when I will read it through.… read more

New York, New York!

Franklin Stage Company. By local artist Lisbeth Firmin:

The two weeks in upstate New York were entirely fruitful. An immersion in the sensory world was really important – I rely so much on environmental detail to tell my stories. One particular case in point was how noisy the American countryside is, with all the crickets, cicadas, katydids, coyotes, chained up guard dogs and dirt bikes. I had remembered it as being really quiet. And then there’s the different feel of American grass underfoot – coarse, almost sharp – when compared to the more silky British lawn.… read more