Blog, Writing

You Can Write! Part Seven

In the first six blog posts in the You Can Write! series, we’ve discovered how to make a start on that writing project you’ve had in mind for such a long time. To catch up on any episodes you might have missed, clicked here, then scroll forward through the arrows at the bottom of the first post, or use the images at the top of the blog.

Don’t panic of your writing hits a dry patch. Visit your own particular well of inspiration, even if it’s only snatching a nap. Take a walk. Read a book—although it’s a good idea to choose something outside of the genre you’re working with. The brain has a squirrel-like tendency to hoard things. You don’t want to subconsciously incorporate something from somebody else’s work.

Odd though it sounds, sometimes you can achieve more by trying less. There will be times (if you’re a fan of Red Dwarf, or The Simpsons) when you’ll be tempted to write “I am A Fish” or “S***w Flanders” multiple times rather than face making up the several hundreds, or even thousands, of different words that make up your daily tally. Fine. Go ahead. Write any old thing you like, but try and make it constructive. If you’re writing a book, try a session of journaling instead. If you’re having trouble with fiction, try drafting a non-fiction article about your writing experience. This worked for me, and resulted in me getting the contract to write Struggle and Suffrage In Bristol! Sometimes the simple act of getting a few words down in front of you frees your mind to create a lot more.

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Coming Soon! Find out more here

If it doesn’t, you’ll still have broken your duck. You won’t be faced with a blank page when you return for your next writing session. You’ll find it a lot easier to whip a page of random jottings into shape than it would be to open up a whole new blank page and start again from cold. Remember Scarlett O’Hara’s maxim that tomorrow is another (and probably better) day–and she was living in a war-zone.

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Stratford-On-Avon, twinned with Venice. And Cyprus. And…

One cliche every list of writing tips includes is ‘write what you know’. It’s a cliché, because it works. Everybody on this earth is an expert in something, and that’s their own life experiences. It’s a rich seam to mine, so get digging.

Instead of stressing about creating something that’s 100% fiction, go back over your own memories and see what inspiration you can find. That doesn’t mean you should regurgitate your life story, and nothing else. Did Shakespeare murder his wife over a pocket-handkerchief, as Othello did? No. Did Thomas Hardy hang children from clothes hooks? No, but both writers used their own experiences of human nature, desire, jealousy, shame and misery to colour their fiction.

Blog, Extract

It’s Not Exactly Champagne Granita Weather, but…

…we can dream! There are times when I need more than comfort food like soup or casserole to lift my spirits. It was the same sort of foul wintry weather we’re suffering at the moment that inspired me to turn up the heating and imagine a holiday in the sun. In my mind I escaped to Greece. Dreaming of  somewhere hot and exotic inspired me to write a book with a hero to match. The result was His Majesty’s Secret Passion, the first book in my Princes of Kharova trilogy for The Wild Rose Press. Here’s an extract…

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Find out more at mybook.to/HisMajestysSecret

…when the waiter arrived with dessert, Leo pushed back his chair and stood up. “You’re a ball of tension, Sara. You’re winding yourself up tighter and tighter. One day you’ll be so wound up, you’ll snap. Addiction, depression, suicide…I’ve seen it all.”
“I suppose you’ve got the ideal prescription?”
He strolled around to stand beside her. “Of course I have. Close your eyes.”
“In a public place?” she gasped, but he was serious.
“Do it. Close your eyes and open your mouth.” His commanding voice made her obey.
When she realized what she had done, her eyes flew open again—at the exact moment the cool kiss of silver touched her bottom lip. Leo had piled a spoon with champagne granita, and was about to put it into her mouth. “Open wide.”
“I’m not a child.”
A bead of sorbet fell from the overloaded spoon. It landed on the smooth pale skin at the base of her throat, trembled, then ran down into the shadowy cleft between her breasts. “I can see that,” he purred.
“People are staring!”


“Let them. Open your mouth, or—”


“Or—” Or what, she had been going to say, but as she started to reply Leo took his chance. She couldn’t talk with her mouth full of sorbet and silver spoon, so she clenched her teeth on it.
“I thought you said you weren’t a child?” he teased.
She released her grip on the spoon. “I did that because I’ve got a chill in my teeth.”
“Excuses.” He scooped up another helping of thedessert in front of her. “I’m including a sample of each different flavor, and if you don’t enjoy it, well, I’m afraid there’s no hope for you.”
“Is that your professional opinion?”
“Maybe. First, I’d need to make a full examination…”
She scowled.
“…of the facts? Or something more interesting?” he added, slicing into another scoop of sorbet.
He was concentrating so intently, it was hard not to crack a smile. To resist the impulse, she opened her mouth like a baby bird, ready for the next spoonful.
“On the other hand, perhaps you’d prefer to seek a second opinion,” he said, at the very last moment diverting the next scoop of dessert into his own mouth. Sara was left sitting with her mouth open.
“Hey!” Reaching out, she retrieved the spoon and dish from him. Their hands connected, and he laughed. For one heart-stopping moment, his warm fingers sandwiched hers against the cold porcelain of her dish.
There was a question framed in his eyes, and she knew what it was. She looked away, unable to let him guess her answer. She had been fighting temptation from the moment he carried her up the beach, and she wasn’t about to stop now.
“You’re on holiday, Sara. Loosen up.”
His brutal words brought that dark, dangerous night on the road back to her in a horrible rush. The shock of waking as her car veered over the studs at the edge of the carriageway, with just enough time to think she might be about to die as her car hurtled down an embankment before coming to rest in a farmer’s field…
Leo’s hand went to her mouth, and she realized she was biting her nails. She stopped before he could tempt her with his touch again. “Oh, I can see danger, all right. It’s standing right next to me, Leo.”
“Fine. At least I’m an honest threat. Everything about you, from your beautiful appearance to your delightful conversation, your charm and intelligence promises everything any one could want. Why are you so dead set against allowing any man to take what you have to offer?”
“Because that’s all they do. Take,” she said.
He refused to be put off. “Not me. Where would be the fun in treating a woman like that? I like to give as well as take. You’ll see.”

To find out more, go to mybook.to/HisMajestysSecret

What’s your idea of the perfect holiday? Have you booked to go anywhere this year?