How to write a book

Faith in writing … because Chila asked

beyi8ndIt’s funny the things you get asked to do. Chila Woychik, proprietor at Port Yonder Press, likes to set her clutch of columnists a provocative topic. This time it’s faith in writing.

‘But I’m not religious,’ I said.

‘So what?’ she said.

And then I remembered a story I read as a teenager that greatly influenced my attitudes. If you were around two years ago when I was launching My Memories of a Future Life, it may be familiar because I first wrote about it then. If not, or if you don’t mind deja vu, take a leap into Beyondaries.  You can also read interpretations of the subject by Dan Holloway, Chila, Scathe meic Beorh, Shannon Elizabeth Hardwick, Michael Potts and Grace Bridges.

In other news, Lifeform Three is coming soon! If that makes you curious, sign up for news. If not, as you were 🙂

How to write a book · Writer basics 101

The ABBA of plotting: video at Beyondaries

beyondmammaI’m at Chila Woychik’s Beyondaries ezine today, musing about what it might have been like to take ABBA’s back catalogue and try to write the plot of Mamma Mia. Those of you who’ve followed this blog since its first days might recognise the post. It was one of my very earliest, but evapourated when I moved from self-hosting. So here it is again with hand-waving. (If you remember it from – gulp – 2009, wave back in the comments.)

As before, I’m in stimulating company at Beyondaries. Dan Holloway writes about fusing perfume and poetry. Shannon Elizabeth Hardwick talks about tackling the blank page. Grace Bridges talks about stories as ‘the thin places where realities merge’. Small press editor Gray Rinehart describes life as gatekeeper of a slush pile. And proprietrix Chila talks about creativity in the very atoms of the air.

nyn2covsmlIn the meantime, I’m taking a blogging break this weekend while I plough on with the next book. Nail Your Novel: Bring Characters To Life is due for release in May, so if you’re interested to know more, sign up for my newsletter.

How to write a book · Inspirations Scrapbook

The long and the short of writing novels – guest spot at Beyondaries

beyondHow long does it take to write a novel? Years, months, a Nanowrimosecond? I’m riffing on this idea today at Beyondaries, the ezine of Port Yonder Press.

Port Yonder is one of those publishers whose remit I could have written myself. It looks for strong, original crossover books with award-winning potential. In charge is managing editor Chila Woychik, who recruited for her ezine a bunch of writers who like their rules thoroughly bent and kicked.

Among the other contributors is Dan Holloway, who often stops here with a challenging take on whatever I’m talking about. His video is about the music of words. Also at Beyondaries you’ll find Shannon Elizabeth Hardwick talking about finding poetry in the everyday, and Grace Bridges comparing Witi Ihimaera to Doctor Who. And of course, Chila herself on the stubborn, self-driven qualities that mark out a true creative.

If you fancy a trip beyond the usual, pull up at Beyondaries.


Writers in control of their destinies… Back at Everything again

Almost a week without a post and several come along within minutes of each other. Sorry about that. As well as nattering about stories here, I’m also talking to poet and independent publisher Chila Bradshaw Woychik.  We delve into serious matters such as my favourite movies (she eventually had to put a gag on me), my four-hooved pet, and terribly frivolous ones such as the future for writers in a fragmenting publishing industry. Find part 1 here, and hop over to Chila’s place for part 2.


I’m in Everything

I’ve been interviewed today at a blog called Everything. Everything is the online home of Chila Woychik, writer, poet, outspoken blogger and mistress of an empty dungeon because she takes no prisoners.  Her collection of lyric essays and poetic memoir On Being A Rat will debut on Amazon on 3 October. One early reviewer writes:  ‘Her prose sings; her poetry plants tactile, unforgettable images in your mind:  “My tongue boils cold – it licked a star – .”

Chila (pronounced Sheila) also has her own publishing imprint, Port Yonder Press. What’s she looking for? The excellent, the evocative, the eclectic. If that’s you, go and say hi.

She also likes nifty boots, which can’t be bad. What do we talk about? Writing, of course. Englishness. Nothing and everything.