Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Margaret's blog

With rumours of My Weekly Story Collection going weekly there could be far more opportunities to get our stories out there. I have never written a crime story but I presume they would not have to be too gritty although obviously more edgy than say a light romance.

I could not write a medical romance, being woefully deficient in my knowledge of the world of doctors and nurses, but I lived in a village for many years and could perhaps do a 'cosy' murder along the lines of Murder She Wrote or Midsomer Murders.

Of course there would have to be a hero and heroine and I presume a love interest but I think it will be a new challenge that we should embrace. The scope is all encompassing. I should imagine there are no taboos apart of course from anything too graphic.

Crime can also mean theft. Perhaps a priceless jewel or someone's identity? The long lost daughter coming back to claim an inheritance? Is she who she says she is?

I think I may very well have a go at 'something different'.

How does everyone else feel about excercising those 'little grey cells'?

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Re-publishing a Pocket Novel

My latest KDP book, Bride for a Duke, was published earlier this year as The Daring Heart. When we re-publish our pocket novels we can't use the original covers so have to find another image. When I decided to put The Daring Heart out as an e-book I thought the book needed another title as well. I added a couple of extra scenes to give the story more sexual tension so the new cover is perfect. I had to change the heroine's name from Grace to Anna as the hero had been elevated from a lord to a duke. Having 'your grace' and 'Grace' in the same sentence was confusing. Finding a cover is not as hard as your might think. There are dozens of sites where you can buy inexpensive picture and photos. It takes a few hours to track down something appropriate but the search is worth it. Then all you need is the title and your name and the job's done. The only downside to this is that you can see your hero or heroine in the arms of someone else and on a different book. Unless you pay hundreds of pounds you don't own the image. This doesn't bother me - but I wonder if readers are put off? best wishes Fenella

Saturday, 14 July 2012

New Cover for Love or Marriage

This is the new cover for Love or Marriage - free on Amazon from Monday until Wednesday next week. It started life as a My Weekly Pocket Novel.
If you haven't read it already, give it a go.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

The Baby and the Bathwater

Editing your WIP or polishing your work, whichever you care to call it, can be either the fun part or a nightmare depending on your point of view.
     When I first started trying to write Pocket Novels, I much preferred the actual writing of the story, the creative process and the character and plot development. I was then impatient to get the story out there and wasn't keen to spend much time on editing.
     However, editing is absolutely essential to the process of a finished book. Nowadays when I write, my work goes through at least 3 to 4 edits. I write longhand with paper and pencil. Then I type it up which allows me to make the first changes - perhaps changing sentence structure, finding spelling errors and also making major changes such as a character's job or hair colour and so on.
     The second edit is made on the computer, again picking up jarring notes as I read it out loud from the screen. Here too is the opportunity to make further plot changes if things are heading off in the wrong direction as the manuscript lengthens.
     Finally I print the whole MS out and read it through again. There are still things needing changed and improved at this stage!!
     Before I send the book off to My Weekly, I take the time to make sure that paragraphs are indented, that chapters are numbered correctly and that my timeline really does work.
     It's important not to throw the baby out with the bathwater though. If I do decide to remove great chunks of text, I keep them in a separate folder and some if it can be recycled. For example I started a pocket novel which had three girls in it. It soon dawned on me that there was room for only one main female character so the other two had to be ditched to my spare folder. Later I took Melody from the folder and gave her her own story - published recently as 'Calling Home'. It's true, none of your work is ever really wasted!
My first published pocket novel -Wild For Love-  in its first incarnation was only 24,000 words long. Maggie (My Weekly's editor) kindly told me she liked the story but it was far too short for the market. It was only after several painful rewrites and lots and lots of editing that it was accepted - what a thrill! In a shameless plug - you will be able to buy it as an E-Book from tomorrow at Astraea Press.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

What Do You KNow?

"Write about what you know." Something we’re all told. I was once running a creative writing class and someone miserably put up a hand and said she’d done nothing in her life worth writing about. I tried to explain that it meant she should use familiar things .. places, environments, working situations and so on. She said she lived in a very boring village in Cornwall where nothing ever happened. She was disbelieving when I suggested that Cornwall could sound attractive and even exotic to someone living in a town centre!
I write about Cornwall much of the time and my settings are very clear in my imagination. My recent one is actually the village where I live but with a number of modifications. Different name and different buildings but I know it intimately with the rocks on the beach down to the flora and fauna.
Writing about a setting that is credible, suggests that you know it. It is much easier these days to discover information about distant places with the Internet. Type in the name of almost anywhere in the world and information pops up. But to write about somewhere without any knowledge at all, means there may be inaccuracies and someone will always see the errors. No use describing an exotic location and setting your characters in a fish and chip restaurant. I’ve seen it done, believe me! I remember reading a story where the café had checked table cloths and candles in bottle had a ‘maitre de’ in full evening dress. When quoting the names of wine, you need to know it actually fits into the scenario you are painting. Easy to check names and prices on-line by looking at wine merchants or even supermarkets. Same with food. Check out hotel or restaurant menus for ideas. Cookery programmes also provide ideas for the intimate dinner party at home. I find meals a perfect opportunity for intimate chats and progressing the story.
To me, accuracy is vital for the credibility of a story. I heard a play by the great Daphne du Maurier the other night ... set in 1645 era, someone offered to make a nice cup of tea. And she had daffodils coming into bloom in late May. Perhaps it was a bad winter. Her distances left much to be desired too. People could travel from one end of Cornwall to another before lunch and on horseback. Maybe the roads weren’t so busy! Bit sad maybe, but it spoils it for me.
I have a collection of very ‘useful’ friends who always seem willing to help check a point. Medical stories can be difficult if you have little idea of procedures so I have a GP, a surgeon, midwife and even a pathologist I can ask. Simply reading may not always be enough to make it convincing so someone to ask can be helpful. It’s the detail that makes it real.
Having said all of that, obviously, you don’t have to experience everything you write about. Murder? Fantasy? Space Travel? ... and many more. But it’s easier to base things on experience and let the writer’s imagination make it a story!

The picture is my next ‘My Weekly’ ... coming out next week!

‘Double Deception’ is promised to be in the goody bag for those attending the RNA conference.