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Showing posts from May, 2009

Sunny Sunday at Windsor

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Following in the tradition begun by my virtual blogger friend, Marsha, here is a cameo of life in and around London.

I'm about the go out and enjoy one of the few hot, sunny weekends we get here in May. We'll find a pub by a river in Windsor and sit with a drink beneath a willow overhanging the water. Then simply spend the afternoon wallowing in the peace and quiet of an English Sunday in the shadow of Windsor Castle. A really beautiful and awe inspiring place close up, it's very easy to imagine all the ancient kings who used it as a base in Medieval times.

Windsor is the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world. Ten British monarchs lie buried in St George's Chapel: Edward IV, Henry VI, Henry VIII, Charles I, George III, George IV, William IV, Edward VII, George V and George VI.

Oliver Cromwell captured Windsor Castle after the Battle of Edgehill in 1642, and for the rest of the Civil War it became a prison as well as the headquarters of the parliamentary forces.

What Is The Perfect Length?

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For a novel? [and apologies for those who were expecting something infinitely more racy.]

The concensus of opinion of all the writing articles I have Googled appears to be - It Depends!

Incredibly helpful - not. I admit I began this post whingeing about having to cut another 18,000 words from my current wip to: 'appeal to a wider publisher base'. In no position to argue, I will accept this rigid criteria: After extensive searching for ideas, I found this blog from Darcy Pattison with this post on
6 Techniques for Cutting a Novel’s Lengthwhich I dived on gratefully.

Here are some gems:
Use chapter breaks - instead of living minute by minute with your characters - Take key events and give your readers credit for being able to make accurate assumptions about what happens in the interim.
Start scenes later and leave them sooner: Readers will correctly assume the mundane things that happened before or after the good stuff. i.e. we know the main character plans to or is headed to vi…

What Real Writers Say

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Shamelessly Nicked From Another Blog

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But It made me laugh so much I have to share it......

Me: Deb, do you have any lip gloss?
My Sister: DO I HAVE LIP GLOSS?!
*pulls open her purse to reveal approximately 10,236 lip glosses*
Me: Uh, I’ll try this stuff.
My Sister: OH! It’s good! It’s called “VENOM”. I got it for Christmas.
Me: Oh. Awesome. *applies lip gloss* *pause* *one minute of silence*
Me: Deb?
My Sister: Yeah?
Me: Is it supposed to, like, burn?
My Sister: Yeah, it totally does that.
Me: Is it, like, one of those lip glosses that are supposed to plump your lips like collagen by irritating them?
My Sister: What? They have lip glosses like that?
Me: Yeah dude. Are you telling me you’ve used it for the past few months and never questioned that?
My Sister: I never really thought about it.
Me: You never thought it was weird that a lip gloss was setting your lips on fire?
My Sister: Uh. No. I guess I didn’t.
Me: BECAUSE SERIOUSLY, MY LIPS ARE ON FIRE RIGHT NOW.
My Sister: Well.
Me: ON FIRE. I MEAN, THIS KIND OF PAIN IS INTENSE.
My Sister: …

Where To Now?

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It's a strange and difficult time writing wise – which happens to most writers I know - with a new book out there awaiting an insightful publisher to pick up - well why not, it might happen - which way to go next!

My critique group are enthusiastic about one of my wips, but I have been made aware that historical fiction of this genre is not being published at the moment. It robs the work of the excitement in some ways, not to mention the urgency of doing the re-writes, but I still love the characters enough to finish it.

I do in fact have a story mapped out on a spreadsheet and a second is a germ of a idea based on a ‘Famous Woman of the 17th Century’. The principal, time, characters, setting and so on are in my head but I have no idea where I am going with it to make it a compelling story. As for actually writing it – bleah, I keep looking out of the window and not getting on with it. Hours at the laptop are one thing, but hours staring at the keyboard are something else entirely…

RNA Summer Party 2009

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The May Fair

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King Henry III

An historical post this week, about the reason I’m not going to be able to step outside my front door this weekend or park in my own street! The fair is put on by the Showmen's Guild of Great Britain, who are due to roll into town this weekend with fairground rides and stalls.In 1269 the right to hold a fair at Beaconsfield on the Vigil of the Ascension and for six days afterwards was granted to the

abbess and nun of Burnham Abbey in the reign of Henry III.[the son of King John] they held the fair every year over an eight-day period.

This was shortened to two days when Henry V renewed this grant in 1414. In 1551 Sir John Williams was given the right to hold a fair on the Vigil and on the next day. By the end of the eighteenth century, fairs were held on Holy Thursday and on

13th February when a cattle market was also held. In 1863, the date was set at May 10 or 11 if it fell on a Sunday –which it does this year

The majority of houses and cottages in the Old Town flank th…

How Do You Write?

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As a member of several author groups as well as writing critique groups, the question is often asked: How do you write a novel?

By this I don't think they mean open the laptop, settle down with a cup of coffee and then quietly open a vein, [or maybe I do!] but where do you start?

As a historical novelists, I am often asked if I complete all my research first, making copious notes to refer to throughout the writing process. Or do I look something up as it's needed?

Do I start with an opening scene and let the characters write the novel themselves as their thought process become part of me? Or do I set out a chapter by chapter structure with the goals and conflicts laid out in order to be strictly followed?

I have met, well some I have met, but most of them only virtually, both types of writers. The seat-of-the-pants type and the ones who use novel writing software to plan every conversation, dscription and piece of action. Then there are writers who have no idea where their charact…

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