Random Ramblings of a Writer Blog

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Wild Wednesday – Common Lizard

The boardwalk at Thursley Common and Elstead Moat is one of my favourite places to walk and take photos. In summer the boardwalk is teaming with basking lizards of all ages. I’ve seen young lizards smaller than my little finger and mature lizards ranging in colour from brown through to a wonderful iridescent green. Frighten them and they’ll lose the end of their tails (which grow back again) and any sudden vibration, or a shadow falling across their faces, will have them scuttling for cover. I was really surprised to come across this little fella on Monday, 13th March, as...

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Write what you know – make the rest up

There’s a long-standing premise that as writers we’re supposed to write about subjects we have a fair amount of interest in or knowledge of. This doesn’t mean that we have to write stories about ‘the day job,’ because, trust me, a blow by blow account of what I do for a living would make for a pretty dull read. What it does mean is that we use the knowledge acquired through our day job or hobbies to enrich our writing. Researching an unfamiliar subject is much easier now that we have the internet. The trouble is that when we actively...

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Wild Wednesday – Swan on Frensham Little Pond

I quite often visit Frensham Little Pond to photograph the wildlife and mull over the plot of my current novel in progress, Murder in the Meadow. One day the two guys I was with helped out by enacting a car chase scene, each one being a car and running along the track then bumping into each other to work out how the cars would move and what might happen. Passers-by thought we were totally bonkers as we argued, discussed and got quite heated over the details. “It’s okay, she’s a writer!” they explained, which resulted in smiles and various pleasant...

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Short Story Success

As a writer it’s easy to get into the doldrums and believe that your work simply isn’t good enough to stand out amongst the crowd. If you have a book out there it’s uplifting to receive a five star review because it affirms that what you’ve written is readable and enjoyable. Your work gave someone pleasure, so much so that they took the time to reward you. When your readers are busy reading and not feeling like pressing the ‘rate this book’ button, then you need to explore other roads for encouragement. This is why I tried my hand at...

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How a negative critique can provide useful feedback

After last week’s rant about negative and unhelpful feedback on creative writing, I thought I’d show you how to mine for diamonds in amongst the dross. In my critique group we read our work to each other, and this is the format that many creating writing groups choose because it’s interactive and offers an opportunity for constructive discussion. Group Dynamics: the Soul of Critique Every writer is respected no matter what their level of expertise Every project has worth. Every reader’s opinion is valid. Critique techniques will: Help the author distinguish what was conveyed versus what was meant Find strengths...

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Why I’ve been AWOL

I’ve been absent without leave and I expect you’ve been wondering why. In short, my website fell to bits! You see, the thing is, I’m a writer, and all of the writing experts constantly remind me that as a writer I need to hone my world-building skills. World-building sounds rather grand but what they’re referring to is my ability to create a sense of place within my stories. Where does the action happen? In a city with bright lights, in a mystical garden inhabited by white unicorns or a futuristic landscape with two moons shining throughout the night? I need...

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Why I’m giving away FREE books

Am I feeling generous? Am I feeling altruistic? Probably a bit of both, but I’m also giving away my two novels as free Kindle Downloads so that I can reach out to you as a potential reader. Let’s face it, if you’ve never heard of me and never read any of my work, then why should you wish to risk your hard earned cash? The days of leisurely browsing in a bookstore are fast fading. They certainly are where I live. We’ve got a Waterstones bookstore in Guildford, some eight miles away, and a Smiths stationers and a Waterstones in...

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Understanding Jane Austen

I must admit that until recently I’ve never truly understood why everyone gets so excited about Jane Austen. To my mind her novels have always been classic romantic tales of girl meets boy. Through some disaster, usually a social disaster, girl gets torn away from boy, only to meet boy again, then live happily ever after. The end. Not so fast. This is a highly simplistic way of viewing Austen’s work. Yes, I have been naïve in my understanding and comprehension of what she is actually showing us. When I studied Persuasion at school we all mocked Louisa’s stupidity for...