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Posts Tagged ‘kristen lamb’

plotting

You have an idea for a novel. It’s been floating around inside your head for months. It’s all you think about. You eat, sleep, and dream it. In fact, you feel like you’ve already lived it. Surely you must be ready to start writing, right?

Wrong.

Creating some two hundred plus pages of a story is no easy feat. Trust me, I know. My first novel went something like this: Get idea, open laptop, start typing. And what happened? I wrote myself into a corner on more than a couple of occasions. Sound familiar? Of course it does. That’s why, before any writing commences, we first have to plot.

I’ll be honest, I never used to be a believer of this method. And to back-up my argument, I always referred back to a Roald Dahl interview I saw (now decades ago), where he also admitted he never plotted. He just ‘kinda made it up’ as he went along. What better author to quote?

So, armed with just my laptop, off I set on my journey to write my first novel.

One thing I am a big believer in is that you have to learn my your mistakes… and boy, was this ever a learning curve for me.

Now, before I start to explain the art of plotting, let me make one thing clear. I am NOT dictating that this method is a one size fits all. As I said previously, Roald Dahl tells a different story, and if you Google ‘authors who don’t plot‘, you’ll find this quote:

“I distrust plot for two reasons: first, because our lives are largely plotless, even when you add in all of our reasonable precautions and careful planning; and second, because I believe plotting and the spontaneity or real creation aren’t compatible.” -Stephen King.

One thing I am certain about, though… For me, plotting was a life-changer.

What Is Plotting?

Plotting is your entire story from start to finish in ‘note’ form.

How Do I Plot?

There are many ways to plot your story. Some people bullet-point the entire story from beginning to end. Others split their plotting into the 3-Act structure. Regardless of the method you use, if done correctly the outcome for writing your novel should be, as Kristen Lamb puts it, like painting by numbers.”

For this post, I’ll go with how I plot.

Scenes within the 3-Act Structure

First, a quick explanation of what a 3-Act Structure is.

Act One – The Beginning Act Two – The Middle Act Three – The End

Simple, but for a more in-depth look at the 3-Act Structure, see Part Eight.

Okay, back to plotting. Now, although plotting and the 3-Act structure go hand-in-hand, we’re just going to concentrate on the plotting side of things for the time being.

First, I break each scene down into three parts that I like to call ‘Scene Structure’. These three parts involve the Character’s Goal, the Obstacle they have to overcome, and how they Resolve it.

Then, when actually plotting each scene, I work with a table. Within this table, I have four columns:

Column 1 – Chapter Number, Day, Time. Column 2 – Location, POV, Brief (Quick glance) Scene Outline. Column 3 – Scene Structure (Goal, Obstacle, Resolve). Column 4 – Scene Description.

Column 1 and 2 is purely for my own information as saves me from having to scroll back through my novel every time I need to check who did and said what, why, and when, etc.

Column 3 is my scene breakdown, which I explained less than a minute ago.

Column 4 is the all important description.

scene structure

The scenes within each Act should be as detailed as possible. Writing – *Girl works, *Girls gets attacked, *Girl survives, and *Girl is in danger, may do the job but it is the quick and lazy option and won’t help you much when the time comes to writing your novel. Instead, write in-depth scenes. Include character feelings, any dialogue you would like them to say, mannerisms – basically anything you don’t want to forget later on. By using this method, (or something similar), it enables you to easily change and alter earlier events if later events call for it, and vice-versa.

Plotting Mistakes

  • Research – With the wealth of information that is the internet, there is no excuse not to know what you are writing about. Good research equals a more realistic story.
  • Coincidences – Every character needs a valid reason to do what they do. Coincidences are convenient. Using ‘Just because’ is lazy and will annoy your reader and spoil your story.
  • Large Cast – Just as too many cooks spoil the broth, too many characters ruin the story. Asking your reader to remember every character and their cousin, from postman Pete (who appears once), to the little boy fishing by the stream, will confuse your reader and give them brain-ache. Cut those little darlings.
  • Plot Diversion – Don’t let your story drift off course and disappear into a one way street. Stick to the story. Ignore those road diversions.

So, are you a plotter or a pantser? Do you plot or do you fly by the seat of your pants? If you already plot, what kind of techniques do you use? Do you use in-depth tables and graphs, or do you bullet point simple points?

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For those of you who don’t already know, I am starting something very special at the end of this month.

Teaching.

Yep, in between an already over-subscribed schedule, I’ve joined the team at WANA International and slipped in a few classes on fiction writing.

In the past I have helped writers via email, but find this method extremely limiting and time consuming.

So What’s different about the WANA method?

I’m really excited about WANA teaching. Mainly because of the awesome team on hand, but also because everything is done on-line via Webinar. This means distance between student and instructor isn’t an issue, plus the WANA method enables a much more personal approach. It gives me the opportunity to interact with you guys, verbally. For you, it’s like being in a classroom – only in the comfort of your own home. Perfect!

There will be opportunities to speak to each other and ask questions. Plus, the class is recorded so you don’t have to worry about scribbling down any notes. You can just sit back, relax, drink a cup of coffee, and absorb. And, I may even throw in the odd competition 🙂

On 30th June I’ll be holding a class on ‘Dialogue Only Your Characters Would Say. This will cover common mistakes, basic do’s and dont’s, and all the tools you’ll need to give your character their own ‘voice’.

On 14th July, you’ll have the opportunity to learn how to create your characters. The class, ‘Getting To Know Your Characters‘, will take you through the stages of character creation and show you how to inject them with life. Your readers will love them!

And last but not least, ‘From Idea to Storywill be held on 21st July I’ll be explaining how to take your idea and turn it into the full length fiction novel you’ve always dreamed of writing, with

I am so excited about WANA.

As well as my classes, there are many more subjects available from the crème de la crème of instructors.

So, what are you waiting for? Get over to WANA and book a class.

 

 

If you want more of me, try checking out FacebookTwitterGoogle+,GoodreadsKloutand Linkedin

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I’ve been away from my blog for what seems ages. But I do have good reason. I’ve been in Texas, working.

Honest, I have. And here are the pictures to prove it.

First, you find an awesome group of friends. Above, I’m with the adorable, Jenny Hansen, best room-mate ever, Piper Bayard, my gorgeous twin, Ingrid Schaffenburg, and the Godmother of us all, Kristen Lamb. This picture was taken after a long and stressful dinner with NYT Bestseller, James Rollins,  and a ton of other people. (I think Nigel Blackwell is taking the picture and bitching at the amount of time we took to say goodbye to each other).

Then, we invaded Lamb Ranch to do a little character R and R. Originally, my antagonist was a mild mannered gal whose only crime was to return her library books back two days late. Kristen ripped her apart and turned her into the Terminator’s ‘Sarah Connor’. Can you spot the difference?

  

Piper and I became so obsessed by our characters, we shot up the place.

We thought I’d missed the tin can….then on closer inspection found I’d hit it with every shot. 🙂

Afterwards, we went riding on the ATV’s at night across snake infested land…. just ’cause we’re hard as nails.

Unfortunately, it was all too much for Spawn. He may need a few more years training…..

So, back to business. How to hook an agent the ‘SOO’ Publishing way.

N.B. For those who haven’t been following my Facebook page, and I will shoot you later, ‘SOO’ stands for ‘Squeeze One Out’ – a term I used while stormchasing when wanting a wee or tinkle as the Americans like to put it. Unfortunately, to the Americans it means ‘No.2’ and I was saying it every time we stopped for gas – which averaged ten times a day five days of the week. No wonder they looked at me a little weird. ‘SOO’ Publishing will publish any novel…… as long as it’s c**p.

Right, the tried and tested way on how to snag that all important literary agent.

1. Gate-crash a writing conference party. The DFW Writers Convention is excellent!

2. Along with a friend (I recommend Jillian Dodd), find a likely male candidate. The more vulnerable he looks, the better. For the purpose of this blog and because I don’t relish a law suit, our agents name will be kept a secret 🙂

3. Start a conversation to break the ice. We began with the very boring, “so, what genre do your represent?”

4. Then make it more personal. We used questions like, “what are the names of your mum and dad?” and “what is your inside leg measurement?”

5. You’re almost best friends at this point so go for broke. Ask about his Abs and whether you can take a picture. If their face begins to redden, offer to do this in a secluded corner of the room.

6. Then, lure him back to a hotel room and ply him with drink.

You will have an agent for your novel by the end of the night – Guaranteed! If not, don’t untie him just yet. Take further pictures, if you know what I mean. It will help your cause immensely and he will cave in to your demands by morning.

If you’d prefer to take a more serious route, (you boring lot), then check out these posts:

Ingrid Schaffenburg’s Top Five Lessons from DFWCon,

Jess Witkins Celebrating her Writing Slump,

David Walker’s take on the DFW Convention

Julie Glover’s Ten Things to do at a Writing Conference

Tiffany A White’s What Writers Really Do at Conferences (apart from the above)

Jenny Hansen’s DFW Con and the Flu…Oh My!

And, Julie Glover’s Vlog – you can see us in the background, plotting.

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Picture via crinklecrankle.com

Okay, are you ready for Part 5?

Good, because today’s mission is to jot down a jolly good log line.

Huh?

A log line. You know, that one sentence you scream at an PEA (publisher/editor/agent) as they whizz past you at a writers conference.

Oh, that. But I can’t tell anyboy what my story is about in one sentence.

Well, suck it up because you have to. Hey, you do it on Twitter all day long.

Right, I’ve already explained it but for the benefit of the few sitting at the back of the room playing ‘Angry Birds’ on their i-phones, a log line is one short, sweet, grab you by the seat of your pants, sentence that explains your whole story. Simple :D

Easy. Now for the hard bit.

But why do we have to do the log line thing now? I want to plot.

We do the log line now because it will help you stay on track when writing your novel. Plus, if a PEA asks what your current work in progress is, you’ll be able to tell them minus the ‘..and then this happened’ or ‘..oh, I forgot to tell you about so-in-so at the beginning’…. See how it all makes sense? You need to hook them and quick. A good log line will do that.

Would it surprise you if I said PEA’s really do want to know what your novel is about? The problem most writers have is they just cannot get the right words out quick enough. In some instances you have a mere ten seconds to hook your listener. Choosing the right words is vital. Get it right, and you are on your way.

So, how can we do that?

Basically, a log line consists of four things. Seems simple doesn’t it?  Think again. Nothing in life worth having is simple. *Cheesey grin*.

Lets take a closer look at what these three things are.

1.     A main character, who
2.     Has a mission or a goal, but
3.     Must overcome an obstacle or some kind of opposition
4.     Before all hell breaks loose.

First, our protagonist is our main character or ‘hero’. The goal is what he/she wants and the obstacle is what is stopping he/she from reaching it. All hell breaking loose is what happens if he/she fails in their quest.

For example:

In the first of the ‘Twilight’ series, (the aptly named ‘Twilight’), the protagonist is school girl, ‘Bella Swan’.
Her goal is to find out more about mysterious class mate, ‘Edward Cullen’.
Her obstacle is that he is a vampire and vampires like to drink humans dry.
All hell breaking loose is that Edwards vampire enemies want to kill her.

Now we have that down, is there anything else we need to create a great log line?

Hell, Yes!

First, we must be perfectly clear. We may understand what is going on in our story, but the PEA reading our log line doesn’t know squat and has absolutely no idea what it’s about.

You need an example? Oh, alright, I’ll tell you my very first ever log line. No laughing.

An American socialite witnesses a murder and goes on the run from the MOB and FBI, but an attempt on her life leaves her with selected memory loss and it is up to a London police officer to uncover her past before they’re both assassinated.

And breathe. No choking. Excellent, lungs refilled? Then let’s continue.

There are so many things wrong with this log line, it would be easier to tell you what’s right with it….absolutely nothing. It’s too long – another ten words and I’d have a completed novel. It has too way too much back story, and blah, blah, blah.

So what went wrong? I followed the rules. I have my protag and antag. I have the goal and all hell breaking loose.

Well, yes that’s true, but then I just threw everything on the page and hoped the words would sort themselves out while I grabbed a cuppa and watched NCIS. Let me explain – Writing the words is only part of the processes. The order in which we place them is a whole different ball game.

Thanks to the awesome Kristen Lamb, the format for a log line should be something close to this:

An ADJECTIVE NOUN (protagonist) must ACTIVE VERB the (Antagonist) before  SOME REALLY HORRIBLE THING HAPPENS (stopping the protagonist from reaching her goal).

Now, if I’d presented my log line correctly the finished product may have looked something like this instead:

‘A quiet museum curator suffering from amnesia must uncover her secret past to unlock the real reason the mob has put out a contract for her life.

One thing to remember: The main logline is one sentence.

And please bear in mind that squeezing ten commas and a couple of semi-colons between one hundred and fifty words doesn’t constitute as ONE sentence….more like a splitting headache and a weekend recovering at the Priory. So, one sentence = 30 or less words.

Ok, I’ve embarrassed myself enough (something I seem to do a lot on this site), and now it is your turn. Be brave and mirror in the comment box your first vs current  log lines. Alternatively, if you have a log line you need help with, add that too. Everyone will be kind, I promise :D

Have you had a novel requested off the back of a log line? Do you find writing log lines hard or easy? Come on, don’t be shy….you know how I love talking to you guys.

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Well, hello again. What does this make it? Three weeks? Doesn’t time fly?

You’re probably chomping at the bit to start the writing process but I’ll let you into a little secret. You’re already doing it.

Writing starts way before you type ‘Chapter One’ a third of the way down the first page.

Firstly, there’s all that preparation you have to do. Oh now come on, stop your whining. We all have to prepare for something or other. For example, take builders. They wouldn’t build a house on mud, (unless you’re watching TV show Cowboy Builders), because their house would sink within a couple of years; pretty much like your novel would.

No. The builder has much preparation to do: Dig foundations. Get Building regulations approved. Add concrete. Bring up the damp course. Only then does he start to build his house. – And in case you’re impressed by my knowledge of building, don’t be. My father is a builder and I can build a brick wall 🙂

It’s much the same with writers. Preparation is a MUST! Without it, you’re novel is guaranteed to sink. Trust me.

Still with me? Tantrum over? Excellent. Let’s move on.

After last weeks post you should now know what genre you’re writing for. But why do we have to talk about social media now? Isn’t that something to think about after we finish writing our novel? And where do we even find a social media site?

I’m glad you asked.

What is Social Media?

Social Media is exactly what it says.

‘Social’ is the social interaction between two or a group of people. It’s similar to going out at night and getting together with friends, or meeting and making new pals.

‘Media’ is media. Just as newspapers and magazines report news, entertainment, local stories, and fashion, your ‘media’ runs pretty much the same. With your friends and ‘new’ cyber pals, you build relationships and discuss everyday life…as well as your work, writing, and upcoming releases.

Building a Brand

Remember, our name is our ‘brand’. The only way we are going to build on it is by using it…. All the time. 

Decide what social media sites you are most comfortable with and plaster it ‘everywhere’. The more you use it, the more you become associated with it. You want people to remember it.

When I first started using twitter I had a random name, like most of us do. We hide because we don’t want to be ‘seen’. But that isn’t going to help us when it comes time to sell our books. Make sure it’s your name (or your pen name) that you use on the social networking sites. To my knowledge, Waterstones, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble don’t have the resources to find me if someone asks for a book by ‘EssexGirl71’.

But why do it now? Wouldn’t it be better to wait until I have written my book before I start promoting myself?

Well, you can but other than your mother and her friends at the W.I., you’ll have nobody to buy it. By building your brand now, you’ll have a loyal following of friends all queuing to read your book when it’s finished.

And, an extra tit-bit of information. I regularly hear that if a publisher or agent likes your book, the first thing they do is Google your name to see how big a presence you have on the internet. A well written book just doesn’t seem to be enough anymore.

Promotion

The promotion package no longer comes wrapped in glittery paper and tied with a silky smooth bow. Here’s why:

Pre-internet: Author wrote a book. Author personally delivered, or posted, manuscript (remember those days?), to the publisher. Author returned home for a well deserved cup of tea before starting their next novel. Publisher runs around like a headless chicken promoting book.

Post-internet: Author writes a book while tackling social media. Author publishes novel either via traditional, indie, or the e-publishing route. Author works their ass off promoting and marketing the novel. Publisher relaxes with a cup of tea.

Promoting and marketing is exhausting and time-consuming and when you first start out, you’ll be doing everything yourself. Try different things. Watch what method makes the biggest impact.

Er, just to clarify, I am not telling nor condoning you take the same drastic action as Russell Brand, but if you do, send me pictures 🙂 

Social Media Sites

So, that brings us to which social Media should we undertake?

There are many out there: Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Goodreads, MySpace,Google+, LinkedIn….. the list is endless. And you will never have the time to join all of them. You have a book to write, remember? So, pick two or three and throw them into the mixing bowl.

Although I can be found on Google+ and Linkedin, I have two main sites I frequent; Twitter and Facebook. Not surprising as they are both listed in the top ten of social networking sites.

So, you’ve chosen ‘your’ social media sites. What do you do now? How much do you update them? I try to visit my sites at least ONCE a DAY. I update my status, have a chat and a giggle with people, and generally walk away with a smile on my face. Social media can be FUN!

Still not sure? Check out my Facebook page and see how it works for yourself.

Blogging

Okay, now we’ve reached that word that scares the hell out of some writers. Blogging. Take a deep breath. Hold it. Hold it. Breath out. Blogging. Say it. Blogging. See, it’s not so bad, is it?

Blogging is another way to meet the world outside your window. And it’s a wonderful way for writers to enhance their writing skills.

But what do I blog about?

Hey, you’re a writer with a fabulous imagination! Trending topics are reviews and information on gathered research. Start by blogging once a week until you find your feet. Most importantly, be consistent with the timing of your posts. 

Remember, you are a writer the moment you decide to write your book. Be proud to call yourself a writer.

Need more help on the art of social media and blogging? Social media Jedi, Kristen Lamb has two fabulous books on the subject.

So, your task this week is to check out which social media sites you wish to build a presence on. And let me know in the comments section. It will be interesting to see what are the more popular sites.

You can also find me on FacebookTwitter, Google+ and Linkedin

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Welcome back! Wow, you must be serious about wanting to be an author.

During this ‘So, You Want To Be An Author’ series, I’m using all my WWBC knowledge taught to me by author and social media Jedi, Kristen Lamb, to help you become a better writer.

Last week we talked about why we wanted to become a writer and what it was about writing that we love so much, we need to write ourselves? And there were some brilliant answers.

This week, I want to talk about genres.

How many of you know what a genre is? Pretty much every single one of you, right?

Well I’m not ashamed to admit there was a time way, way back when they baffled the hell out of me. Huh? Is this girl a thicko, or what? Hang on. Before I’m hung, drawn and quartered, let me explain what I mean.

There are two main categories in writing: Fiction and Non-fiction.

Non-Fiction

I’ll touch briefly on non-fiction as this post is mainly about fiction writing.

What is non-fiction writing?  Non-fiction is factual. It’s real. Under this heading we find DIY, health and beauty, sports, automobile, craft, autobiographies, etc, etc. Non-fiction shows, narrates, and even gives helpful little pictures of the topic we wish to learn more about. Got it? Good. Now lets move on.

Fiction

Right, now let’s get down to business.

What is fiction writing? Fiction is totally fabricated and made up – hence why I love it so much.

Now, I myself love writing thriller and crime novels although I’m currently writing a paranormal (but that’s whole other story). Fiction has many sprogs: historical, contemporary, western, romance, science fiction, young adult. The list is endless. But, how do we know which genre is for us?

For example, as I said earlier I am currently writing a paranormal novel. But, I recently entered a competition and paranormal wasn’t an option. Instead I found ‘supernatural’. Okay, close enough,’ I thought. Paranormal – supernatural…. same thing, right?

I mean, most of the genres seem straight forward. Horror pretty much speaks for itself and you can’t go wrong with romance… Well, unless you write a romantic suspense. What does that make your novel? Romance or suspense?

If you plan on writing for Mills & Boon, then you’re pretty much covered. They have a gazillion categories for everything you can think of: medical, nocturnal, western, historical. You just can’t go wrong….unless you’re writing something that has zilch romance. Then forget Mills & Boon.

So I thought I’d try to simplify the genre dilemma a little.

Genres

Western: Howdy. If it has cowboys, horses, (maybe) a damsel in distress, a saloon and a heard of cattle being yee-hawed across a prairie between 1800 and 1890, then western is your partner.

Historical: Whether Victorian, Edwardian, or Tudor, these tend to be based around specific eras with a ton of knowledge to go along with it. If you like your history and you like your research, this just may be the one for you.

Horror: Slicing and dicing is the theme here. Lots of blood, gore, and frightening the bejesus out of your reader.

Children: Don’t confuse this with young adult. The children genre is usually aimed at toddlers and kids up to the age of eleven. So no bad language or sexual references. We don’t want mumsy-wumsy throwing a fit.

Here’s an example of how not to write for children – I warn you, it’s rude.

Young Adult: Probably the easiest way to describe this genre is to think Stephenie Meyers Twilight saga, or L.J. Smith’s (you can see her 30 second interview here), Vampire Diaries. All involving teenagers doing way much more than I did when I was their age. I was a good girl 🙂

Paranormal/Supernatural: This is a big genre at the moment. Vampires and werewolves are a hit with readers of all ages. So if it has fangs, claws, no reflection, rises from the dead, or wears a halo above its head – stick it here.

Mystery/Crime/Police Procedural/Detective: Firstly, if your opening page starts with your main character searching for her hair brush, not only does this NOT mean it’s a mystery, but I will brain you. However, if your story revolves around an unsolved crime, murder, or anything else that needs both the protagonist and your reader together searching for clues and piecing the bits like a jigsaw, then you may call it a mystery.

Fantasy: Not to be confused with science fiction, this one can be set anywhere; Earth or some made up land where unicorns, fairies, elves and trolls make an appearance – along with a magical maze and a spellbinding witch. Fantasy is totally make-believe, thank God.

Science Fiction/Sci-Fi: Futuristic aliens, robots, the distant galaxy or downtown New York; if you can explain it, no matter how far-fetched, using science, then you have yourself a genre.

Romance: Two people meet, two people fall in love, tragedy strikes, two people break up. reader cries – but then two people get back together for a happy ending and reader goes to shops to buy another box of tissues.

Chick lit: Ever read Sophie Kinsella’s Confessions of a Shopaholic or Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones Diary? How brilliant are those books? Aim at the female population to provide nothing more than humor, romance, and good old-fashioned girl power.

Thriller/Suspense/Espionage

Action/Adventure: Similar to thriller/suspense for its car chases and fight scenes, this genre is usually aimed a the male race and often uses an expert of some kind: whether ex-military, police, bomb expert, or in Sly Stallone’s case a mountain guide. Then the story will bung said hero in a jungle, dessert, or on top of a mountain. Sometime, though, if the hero is really lucky he’ll stay in his own city.

Legal Thriller: A large part of the action takes place in a court room while we run through a did-she-didn’t-she scenario. If you haven’t ever read John Grisham, surely you’ve seen his movie The Firm? No? How about Judge Judy?

Commercial/Mainstream: These are of no specific genre but are whatever is trending in the ‘moment’. They are, more often than not, plot driven and are expected by the publishing powers that be to make a ton of sales and wads of cash.

Literary: Unlike commercial novels, these tend to be more character driven. But that about ends the description. Even publishers cannot pin-point what makes a novel – literature: use of language, ability to address human conditions, it’s ‘truth’, moral ambiguity…

Right, I think that about covers it. So now it’s your turn. What genre do you write? Have you ever chosen the wrong genre? Do genre labels confuse you? Do you have a story where you are unsure of the genre? Let me know in the comments and together we’ll crack it.

You can also find me on FacebookTwitter, Google+ and Linkedin

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It is said that everyone has a book inside them. Who said it first? I have no idea and Google is being unco-operative in helping me find out.

In last week’s post Back When I First Started To Write, I gave a very edited version of my path into writing. So this week I thought I’d expand on it by running a series on the writing process and using my own experiences and what I’ve been taught by the WWBC and myWANA guru, Kristen Lamb.

So, You Want To Be An Author? Part One is going to be about WHY? Why do you want to be an author.

Now, if you read last week’s post you’ll have a rough idea of my background and my unhealthy fascination with Dempsey and Makepeace…..moving on. But for those who don’t know anything about me, keep reading.

This week saw World Book Day and it got me thinking. What other stories and characters, other than the suave Michael Brandon, have inspired my writing. My first book for instance was Enid Blyton’s ‘The Children of Cherry Tree Farm’. At least it’s the first one I remember reading. In fact, I loved all Enid Blyton Books. What kid didn’t? I would have given my right arm to be a member of the Famous Five! But that would have made it the Famous Six….unless I off’d George or Timmy or…..did I just say that aloud?

At school, my three page story assignment turned into a mini 30 page ‘who-done-it’ novel. I received an A- for that piece of work and it ended up taking pride of place on the staff room coffee table.

My sister and I were always trying to solve some mystery or another when we were younger. And growing up didn’t stop me, either. School friends, including horror writer Steven Marshall, and I investigated haunted houses and ghostly sightings. Not even adulthood could slow my fascination for the unsolved mystery. During my (very late) teens, a group of us used to go ghost hunting in woods and cemeteries in the dead of night – just ask Erkan Mustafa 🙂

My favourite TV shows were CHiPs, Hart to Hart, Hunter, Murder She Wrote. If there was a murder committed and a mystery to solve, I loved it.

My love affair with Michael Douglas began when I saw him Romancing the Stone away from Kathleen Turner. I wrote many ‘man-saves-woman’ mysteries set in jungles after seeing that film, I can tell you.

I was born to write, and write crime and horror and mystery.

But does that answer the ‘Why’ I want to be an author?

I don’t believe it does, although it certainly explains where my love for writing has come from and why I write the genres I do.

So, why do I want to be an author?

If I really strip away the outer layers and plunge head first into the core of the question, it has to be this. I want to scare the crap out of people. And, after they’ve wiped the sweat from their brow, reset their pacemakers, and put the book back onto their shelf – it’s my name I want them to see on the spine.

Money has never been the drive behind my wanting to write. Just as well considering there’s hardly any money to be made in fiction – unless you name ends in King, Rowling, or Grisham.

In today’s world of digital publishing, and the ever increasing e-books downloaded onto Nook and Kindle and iPhones etc, my spine dream may end up being just that. But then, I’m not the kind of girl who sets her sights on only one thing. If I can’t have my book-spine, then I’ll have other things instead. Okay, so being read on a Kindle isn’t my dream but it isn’t that bad either. And I’ll be just as happy for people to see my name among the end credits of a show as they scroll to the top of someone’s 42” TV.

So, that is why I want to be an author.

Now, lesson one. Tell me why YOU want to be an author. None of this “Oh, I’ve loved writing since I was a kid” baloney. I want the real nitty-gritty reason.

If you want more of me, I can be found on FacebookTwitter, Google+ and Linkedin

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