Monday, 29 October 2012

No one says a novel has to be one thing.

“No one says a novel has to be one thing. It can be anything it wants to be, a vaudeville show, the six o’clock news, the mumblings of wild men saddled by demons.”
Ishmael Reed,

So last night I finished reading Barbara and Allan Pease's book The definitive guide to body language. It was well worth the £6.99 or whatever it was on Amazon. Hopefully this will allow me to add a further dimension to my characters with their subtle changes in body language. When you read a book like this it is surprising just how much you are already aware of. The nice thing about this book though is that they tell you why things happen. For example if you touch your nose when you lie- its because the blood vessels in your nose expand or something like that making you want to touch your nose.

Its very good - definitely worth reading. And very comprehensive. It covers everything from the direction your feet point to why women wear lipstick! Very interesting.

I have decided to leave the grammar course until next year and for now concentrate on Under The Coconut Tree and sending out more submissions for The Bittersweet Vine. A bit disappointing it has been about a month and only heard back from two agents! Although someone somewhere did say October was a busy time. Maybe I'll have more luck in November.

I'll leave you as I start reading The Penguin Guide to Punctuation.

Monday, 22 October 2012

The beautiful part of writing is that...

“The beautiful part of writing is that you don't have to get it right the first time, unlike, say, a brain surgeon." Robert Cormier

That is what is such an amazing thing about writing. Its always a learning curve. The beauty of it these days is that people share their mistakes and learning with the rest of the world - after all it makes us more human - thank you social media.

Anyway I logged on to last week and I was reading an interesting article on reaching your target market when I thought I would take a look at the resources page (I can never just do one thing at a time) - I thought I would open the page in a  new window whilst reading how to reach my target audience and  minutes later I had at least ten further pages open. This kind of slap shod research is no good to anyone because I cant really say who said what or provide valuable links for all you writers out there. But I will try and share the information I have gleaned.

Well for starters I stumbled upon two web tools to help authors. The first is Which is a free on line grammar check. I am not sure how many authors use this and surely it is just the same the the spell check and grammar checker on word? I don't know. It detects plagiarism and provides a little guidance on style. I am not convinced that a computer can do the latter and given that I have no clue about punctuation in the first place I think a site like that (for me) is best avoided.

Secondly I came across - This looks pretty good. Collect data from your facebook, linked in and twitter followers - This could help in market research and if I wasn't so busy opening multiple pages I probably would have signed up. It is definitely something I need to look at. Is it similar to survey monkey? probably but if it creates some stats for you based on your social media hits and what not - well then it is probably.

Of course there is also  which I said to myself 'Oh that looks interesting' and then realised that i already have an account. It also provides stats on who has clicked through from your twitter account. Needless to say I need to do a bit of work on that.

I also came across some pretty useful writing website and blogs such as and and one I definitely will be going back to

All these sites provide a plethora of information for all writers out there. And best of all it's all free!
One of the sites even had an article on 20 careers as a writer : Could I see myself as a greeting card writer? - no Although I was tempted after watching 500 days of summer. A writing coach - well I could see myself doing that. After all I nearly trained as a life coach it would be like missing the two together and I can be pretty motivational when I put my mind to it.

The final nugget of information that I found was in an article by @jimhbs where he asked why authors were so cagey about giving out their email addresses. he said he could find twitter details, facebook details and feedback forms but no contact email address. - I guess a lot of us don't want spam but when we are so desperate to get out there why dont we put an email address out there?

Thursday, 18 October 2012

A story is a letter that the author writes to himself

“A story is a letter that the author writes to himself, to tell himself things that he would be unable to discover otherwise.” Carlos Ruiz Zafon, The Shadow of the Wind

The shadow of the Wind is one of my all time favourite books - so why not open with a quote from it. So I now have some free time after quitting the gym- bad idea - I have put on loads of weight and now have to re-join the gym- bad times. Shifting weight is so hard - but not as hard as editing your manuscript- that's the worst.

I have also read Tweet Right by Nicola Morgan and my followers have gone up - yay- mostly because she recommends some good authors to follow - who have kindly followed back. I must say I have realised I have been going about twitter all wrong and I am now hoping to increase my followers and retain them (unlike what I have been doing)

The book was good- because it was short and it got to the point so if you are on twitter and want to know what to do and how to improve your tweets buy it! And for only a couple of quid its worth it just to get some twitter addresses for some really lovely authors.

People have suggested to look at which shows you popular tweet accounts and their bios - you can look up writers or musicians etc

I am now anxiously waiting for my Amazon order so I can start reading on body language and How I should be writing a novel... I am also anxiously waiting for rejections from my last lot of submissions.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live...

“If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn't brood. I'd type a little faster.” - Issac Assimov

Where do I begin? Well not much has happened since I last blogged but I have some time to my self for the first time in ages and that feels good. 

I completed the edit of The Bittersweet and H has edited the first three chapters as well. He has a talent for this which is good. At first I was a little worried as The Bittersweet is probably only the 4th book he will have read-but he knows his stuff - punctuation for starters - and how words flow. he can be quite critical as well which is good for someone like me. I am seriously getting him to edit the whole book for Kindle - now there's a discussion. I know many people publish to kindle without having a professional edit it and they do just fine - I mean if your punctuation is pretty good - do you really need an editor? 

I don't think I can answer that but perhaps I need to do a survey monkey test to see who thinks it is important! 

So with completing the edit and getting H and someone else to punctuate the sample chapters I sent them off to 7 more agents!!!! two rejections already in less 24 hours- both with full lists - is that just a standard reject then? 

The search for an agent continues... either that or I need to seriously start thinking about the cover design for The Bittersweet Vine. 

So anyway with some time on my hands I have decided to get some reference books. I have done some extensive research and I am going to buy the following:

Tweet Right  - Nicola Morgan (Already bought!) I loved her how to write a great synopsis book so I'll let you know how many followers I get after reading it. Currently I only have 70! so get following @marissadeluna if you are not already. 

The Penguin guide to punctuation - good reviews on amazon and will compliment the course I am about to start in grammar (November!!!)

The Complete handbook of novel writing - Meg Leder - written by several writers - each taking different chapters - I scoured the web for ages for a book like this and it seemed to fit the bill so watch thsi space

The definitive book of body language - typical I didn't write down by who- but I am pretty sure if you tap it into amazon it comes up- its bluey purple on the cover. Looks great - and you need a book like this if you want full rounded characters. Well that's what I think in any case. 

So I shall be reading whilst H reads through The Bittersweet. I am really happy with it - much happier than I was with Goa Traffic. 

Also I finished reading The Girl with the dragon Tattoo. Its funny now I always Google an author if I like their work or follow them on twitter. Is that because we live in an age of social media? or is it because I am so used to doing stuff like this as a writer. I think its the first. Anyway as most of you will know Steig Larsson is dead - sad - He was clearly an amazing writer. I look forward to reading The Girl Who played with Fire. - although they are long books - Maybe over Christmas. 

Anyway... so watch this space in regards the rejections that will be flowing in. there is that wintery chill in the air and actually I quite like it- nothing nicer than cosying up with a good book/movie on a winters day! 

Thursday, 4 October 2012

A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer...

“A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.”
― Maya Angelou

So I am nearly there- 4 more chapters to go. The last couple are always the hardest because the revelations and the twist need to be accurately and passionately executed.

I am also loving The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Its such a good book - why did I wait so long to read it. I have also started compiling a list of books that I want to read - like Dorian Grey and The Book Thief, The Help and Keepsake (which is self pubbed), The old man and the sea - Hemmingway and Metamorphosis - Kafka- Its about time I educated myself- do all authors have to be well read? I don't know but surely you should know the classics. I do read a lot- and yes I am not completely unaware of good literature- I have read Shakespeare, Chaucer, some of the Bronte's work - Which reminds me of one of the first books that I read and loved - it was The Bronte's and it told the story of the family. It inspired me as a child - the way they created their own little books that they used to write stories in- maybe then I should have known I wanted to be an author.

I am also contemplating going to a self publishing conference in the new year. Not only will it be educational but I may meet some self pubbers and its all about contacts and networking isn't it?

I also (time permitting) would like to profile my customers. As in who is likely to read my book (who is my audience) - what do they like doing in their spare time? where do they go on holiday? - I think by creating a consumer profile I will be able to know where to advertise my books. Goa Traffic is selling well but it can do better - The KDP newsletter tells me that every month or so. Self Pubbers out there are selling hundreds of books a month. I am going to see where I can get with it. Many people say that if you have more than one book out - you are not just a one hit wonder and you get more sales- We'll see if The Bittersweet goes that way. Anyway watch this space for tips on consumer profiling and advertising your book to the right people. I know I said I would quieten down on Goa Traffic after I sold 1000 copies (only 10 copies to go) but it has spurred me on!

I feel like time is just slipping away at the moment. I am busy compiling a comprehensive list of agents to send The Bittersweet to - hopefully at the end of the month. Chupplejeep is not going anywhere for now.