#stayathome – and attend #BigBookWeekend

I’m quietly excited about Big Book Weekend, the digital book festival that runs this coming weekend. It’s free, sponsored by BBC Arts and Arts Council England and has a slew of big names speaking and performing.

The festival has a virtual venu with spaces like a book shelf, a café and a theatre. The box office is a natural first step and I look forward to finding out how it feels on the day. Will it be more interactive, more ‘real’ than a festival that’s a list of links?

I’m looking forward to Laura Lam, Neil Gaiman, and A.L. Kennedy to keep the list short and sweet. I’ll be watching around other crucial tasks like year-end accounting and editing my own novel. Fingers crossed for rain.

#stayathome – and attend a literary festival

I went to a workshop on world building earlier today. It was part of The Stay At Home! Literary Festival and used Zoom as a medium. Last week, I hadn’t heard of Zoom. Now it’s everywhere.

Laura Laakso, author of the urban fantasy crime series Wilde Investigations, talked to us about building your world without overwhelming the reader. Urban fantasy is often set in very near-real worlds with the details tweaked. There’s a lot of pleasure to be had both from the reading and the writing and world building is core to how the characters and plot works.

The workshop was fun, informative and interactive. We looked at different scenarios and discussed how we’d describe that particular world without info-dumping. For example, how do you tell the reader that the rain is poison without saying ‘hey, the rain is poison, don’t go out in it!’?

It wasn’t my first world building workshop but it was my first time on Zoom. Laura talked on the topic, questions came in on chat, and towards the end we had an open Q&A session with camera and voice. It worked really well. I enjoyed Laura’s style – digressions included – and was reminded about the rules of world building.

The Stay At Home! Literary Festival is on until April 11. The programme is a mixture of workshops, book launches, authors and poets; all free, all online.

NaNoWriMo 2018: week 3 sees my tricks for overcoming doubt used to good effect

If there’s something I know about NaNoWriMo it’s that I can do this. 50K words in a month isn’t a huge deal for me. I’m a fast typer*. What I don’t know, and looking at my previous posts, I’ve never known, is how to tell a story. So why do I do this?

NaNoWriMo 2018: week two I’m back in the groove

If the first week was all about loosing time and track, the second week is where I found I know how to do this and caught up. I’ve got a draft short story* and am working my way through the meat of my plot. I’m a little ahead of target (just as well, because I’ll lose Saturday to roller-derby).

NaNoWriMo 2018: week one gets off to a bad start

It’s that time of year again: National Novel Writing Month, affectionately called NaNoWriMo. Like last year, I’m writing something I’m plotted in the hope to get a glut of words around a story idea I can then edit into something like a novel. Last year it worked, kind of. (Final edits still pending but I’m hoping to start sending it out in January. Fingers crossed.)

Setting goals for the year (couldn’t have done it without you)

Last year was rubbish for me. I met none of my creative goals but floundered around in a fug of worry and self-doubt. (A lot of life happened.) Not a helpful state. Something needed to change. So…

Recently I attended a workshop on setting creative goals given by writer, journalist and writing coach Kaite Welsh. The purpose was to learn how to set goals and start putting some in place.