Tuesday 22 July 2014

Seeking Inspiration

I made a joke on Facebook yesterday, about spending the afternoon untangling the synopsis of my new book, Trust Me I Lie. It has two timelines, so I meant that I wanted to make sure each flashback scene was in the correct place. It is easier to experiment with moving paragraphs in a synopsis, than it is to move huge chunks of text in a 100,000 word book!

My friend (and fellow Novelista), Valerie-Anne Baglietto, misunderstood and thought I was stuck and in search of inspiration. She kindly listed all the ways I could kickstart my imagination: Create a Pinterest board (she knows how much I love Pinterest), create a 'soundtrack' of inspiring music or, failing either of those, eat cake! (The Novelistas have a bit of an obsession with cake!)

Valerie-Anne and I apparently share some methods in common. I've already created a Pinterest board. And I've blogged about the inspirational benefits of Pinterest before (here). It is easy to dismiss Pinterest as a time sucker - pinning and re-pinning pretty photos of dream houses and cupcakes, but for a writer it's incredibly useful. For my new book I have pinned photos of the ruined house where my novel is set, which is based on a real place called Baron Hill. I have famous quotes, which sum up the character of my heroine, who has a different temperament to anyone I've ever written about before, and references to all those dark, gothic-style fairy tales which I love, because I have a character who illustrates them.

I have a soundtrack too - don't laugh! It's an incredibly useful way of plunging yourself right back into your story when you've been interrupted by the more mundane aspects of life, such as the household chores! My playlist for Trust Me, I Lie has an eclectic mix of tracks, including My Superman (Santigold) Sweet Dreams (Emily Browning) and Once Upon a Dream (Lana Del Ray).

What else do I do for inspiration? As I've said, in Trust Me, I Lie one of the characters illustrates classic fairy stories, so I've been re-reading some of the darker ones. You know, the stories which don't always end with a Happy Ever After, because they were supposed to have a moral? For example, Little Red Riding Hood (Le Petit Chaperon Rouge), as retold by Charles Perrault, was intended as a warning to young girls to beware of smooth-talking strangers.

I've been taking photos of locations - mainly spooky old houses and woodlands. I don't have a scene set in a graveyard yet, but I'm sure it's only a matter of time! I've created a new village - Raven's Edge, which was briefly mentioned in Nemesis. I've been brainstorming ideas in my notebook and discussing the plot with the Novelistas, who have an uncanny way of pointing out all my plot holes.

Inspiration? Not a problem!

But synopsis wrangling ...

Related Posts:

I Heart Pinterest (for Novelistas Ink)
Tales of Smugglers and Seaweed (the inspiration behind Breathless)
Music: Wings to the Mind

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Monday 14 July 2014

Getting Noted

There is a story which says Einstein never bothered to remember anything he could look up within two minutes. I like to quote this to my family when they are teasing me about my appalling memory.

The reason I can never remember anything is because my head is too full of book. Even when I'm not sat at my desk, plot, characters and one-liners are all buzzing around inside my head leaving no room for anything else. Funnily enough, when I am sat at my desk, that's when my head is completely empty. So now I write everything down.

If you've read the post My Writing Process, you'll know I write my original ideas in one of these notebooks and then keep on expanding it until I have a book. The rule is one notebook, one book. Here are my original (and very rough!) notes for The Accidental Proposal, which started out as two short pages. You'll notice my handwriting is as appalling as my memory. I'm not sure where I was when I wrote this, but I expect it wasn't at a desk.

(Photos contain spoilers!)

As you can see, I am notebook-obsessed have a LOT of notebooks. There's the shorthand notebook I keep next to my laptop for daily use, and then there's the one I write my 'to do' list in - which doesn't see much action - apparently I'm not that organised.

I have a notebook next to my bed, to jot down ideas as soon as I wake up (stop laughing). This one came from the Globe Theatre (London) along with a matching pen. Why are so many of my notebooks pink? Well, I had this theory that the pinker and more disgustingly glittery, the less likely I'd be to lose them to my kids. (Didn't work. The little bug blighters still pinch them).

I'm supposed to keep a notebook in my bag, to jot down ideas when I'm out and about. Unfortunately while I remember to write down the ideas, I often forget to put the notebook back. So as well as my own notebooks, I have several that I've stolen borrowed from other people. Which means I often receive notebooks as presents, usually from my fellow Novelistas (possibly because they're tired of me pinching theirs).

I am particularly fond of this one, although I am sure I have no idea exactly what evil plans they think I'm plotting.

So, there you have it. As much as I love technology, I'd never be without an old-fashioned notebook and pen.

Now, did I mention my pen collection?

Saturday 12 July 2014

In which I blog about not blogging (again)

I can see I'm going to be one of those people who blogs three times in one week or not for months on end. Sorry!

Me with Valerie-Anne Baglietto
at Novelistas' launch for Sunlounger 2

How did it get to be July already? And, more importantly, what on earth have I been doing? Well, if you follow the Novelistas blog, you'll see I've been to three book launches: Every Woman for Herself (Trisha Ashley), A Girl Can Dream (Anne Bennett) and my own (OK, shared with Valerie-Anne Baglietto and 40+ other writers!) launch for Sunlounger 2.

I'm still working on my next novel, Trust Me I Lie and a novella called Something Wicked. I've also made a start on a new series of short stories/novellas called What You're Proposing. The first story, The Indecent Proposal, can currently be downloaded for free.

New Series!
What You're Proposing is a series of five short stories about a rock band, so I've also written a post for the Sunlounger blog, about why rock stars make the best romantic heroes.

And finally, Breathless did really well following the Easter promotion. It got to #1 in Movers and Shakers, and #1 in Women Sleuths, and only missed out on the Amazon Top 100 by 20 places. Huge thanks to you all for buying it!