Tag Archives: writing

Characters, development and niggles…..

By the title I’d say most people expect me to write about characters first then development and launch into whatever is currently niggling. Right?

Wrong.

I’m going to start with the niggles so I can move on and end the blog on a positive note (as per the norm). So what is bothering the writerly¬†world of Kerry today? Well in all honesty they’re mostly minor and not directly affecting me. Except this cold and cough, that’s affecting me but I’ll move on from that ūüôā One niggle¬†of the moment is the introduction of bedroom tax by this oh¬†so wonderful government (note the sarcasm). While it doesn’t¬†directly affect me, it affects my mum greatly. Mum lives in a 3 bed semi with her disabled husband, and has her disabled son come to visit weekly, and stay over on the odd occasion such as Xmas. Mum and Dad often can’t sleep together due to his disabilities so two bedrooms is required. Also the house is adapted for disabled living and mum has put in her own touches such as fire, pond/landscaping, driveway etc. In their infinite wisdom it’s been decided that as Michael doesn’t actually live there he has no rights to be able to use the toilet, or sleep over, and that Dad isn’t on the tenancy¬†agreement so his disabilities won’t be taken into account! I’m here watching my mum and dad get insanely stressed out believing the council are trying to force them out of their home, despite the obvious indications above that they’re in the right place. Don’t get me wrong, I agree with bedroom tax within reason as long as the obvious exceptions are made – I wouldn’t expect to live in a three bedroomed¬†home if it was just me for example, not when there are families needing a bigger house. But it’s hard to comprehend how the government¬†can implement something affecting so many people country-wide¬†and not take individual cases into consideration! Naturally I realise they are starting to adapt¬†and do this but it’s a very slow process and in the meantime the country’s family’s are incurring unnecessary stress and heartbreak!

Ok – rant over – it’s been bugging me all week seeing mum so down and worried about it all.

So moving on now to characters and development.

It may have been noticed by those of you who follow my facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/K-A-Richardson/117179681794105) that I have been really getting into my characters this last week. Sub plots have emerged that I had no idea were even there until they appeared! It’s been a fantastic week this week, resulting in some 5000 plus words being written – if only every week could be this way! I have had six days off from my day job though which definitely helped matters. I found myself extremely focussed and intent on getting to know Ben and Jacob even more than I already did. I actually have an interview scheduled (EEK – excellent word use Helen Anderson!) with an ex-paratrooper on Monday to go over some finer points of Jacobs character – so exciting to analyse him in such depth and gain an understanding of what makes him tick. Aoife¬†(Ben’s aunt) has also really come into her own and we are learning more about the bad guy with every page. Someone once asked me what is the most important thing to remember when building a character – the answer to this, to me anyway, is simple. The character has to be a real person. If you just write a character without knowing what upsets and challenges then, what makes them smile, what makes them want to live their lives the way they do, you will end up with a 2D representation of something that has no reality about it. Imagine if your best friend didn’t laugh with you, cry with you, and understand you – they probably wouldn’t be your best friend right? It’s exactly the same when preparing characters. Through the book, as you write, they grow and you learn even more about them, getting to know them. When I finished writing With Deadly Intent, for the first couple of weeks after I felt a little lost. I had gotten to know¬†Cass and Alex¬†so well that they formed part of my thinking on¬†a daily basis, and moving away from that was quite hard. I also found it equally hard getting into Ben and Jacob’s minds when I first started book 2 – it has already been redrafted now though and they’re both wonderful people¬†– with flaws of course!

As to the development side, it’s safe to say I’ve been multi tasking this week! I’ve been keeping on top of social media and chatting to other authors, finding inspiration in random things seen such as a quote on twitter posted by someone, written by Buddha – it quite fits with what I’ve been saying earlier – “Have compassion for all beings, rich and poor alike: each has their suffering. Some suffer too much and others not enough.” My poor mum is one of the ones who suffers too much – if I could I’d fix it all and just let her have happiness. Who knows, one day maybe I will be able to.

I’ve also been writing book 2 (whose title is eluding me at present – any suggestions around the theme of watching or seeing gratefully received via the comment on this post section!) and editing With Deadly¬†Intent, as well as keeping on top of the boring stuff such as housework. It’s things¬†like this¬†though that keep me focussed. I¬†want to be at least half way through book 2 when I approach agents with¬†book 1 – Baring in mind I only really started writing book 2 around the start of February, I have done really well in the last 6-7 weeks getting to 24000 words whilst editing! I am feeling very much like the cat that got¬†the cream.

So the week ahead? Well obviously there’s the¬†interview – which will result in further character development, then there’s the dreaded day job for six whole days (gah¬†–¬†interrupting my writing time!) but I shall¬†most definitely keep on top of my writing, and hopefully finish the latest Baldacci novel, The Forgotten, which is fantastic also!

Hope you all have a fantastic week – and as always, thanks for reading. x

Exciting times, and rain….

Well what an exciting week I’ve had.

For a start I’ve got a little of my work back from the editor, all nicely polished for my review! It’s absolutely lovely working with Jenny, she’s fantastic and knows her stuff inside and out. It’s so different having someone else edit your work as they see the parts you’re too emotional about to see as fluffy (excellent word – thanks to my Uni lecturer Carol Clewlow!) or too wordy, and they either recommend changes or just rip them straight out! My first instinct when I read the returned copy was ‘where have all my descriptions gone’ quickly followed by ‘eek i didn’t know there was that much wrong!’ but as I sat and read it over, I very quickly realised that it was still my work, just much more punchy and to the point. I’m looking forward to comparing it to my last draft and polishing it even more.

I’m also smack in the middle of writing mode of novel two – the plot is coming together nicely and the characters are a joy to get to know. It’s a constant part of my mind, I’m finding myself playing out scenes in my head while doing other things – which is great but sometimes (i.e. when driving for example) I can’t just grab a pen and write it down which is so infuriating! Luckily for me I have a good memory and nine times out of ten reach for the pen as soon as I arrive at said destination! I’m not having many people read it at this stage, but my good friend Vicky Brown has been instrumental in me checking I’ve got emotion right, and facts right – so huge thanks to her for putting time aside to help me when I know she’s manic busy herself! Can you believe I’ve written over 3000 words in the last week around my everyday job! Exciting!

It’s been a good home week too – me and Peter have deep cleaned the house – don’t you love that feeling when you’ve pulled out the units and beds, and cleaned underneath along with the skirts and paint-work? I love it! Occasionally wish spring would come more often! Speaking of spring, the daffodils and crocus’s (?!) are starting to unfurl and make welcome to this lovely time of year – it’s like the whole country starts to wake up from its slumber. Even the spiders in the garage are starting to wake (yuck – they could just stay asleep if they liked). I know several people who suffer badly with SADs¬†(Seasonal Affective Disorder) and even they are starting to pull out of the depressive mist a little and notice the things around them: lighter mornings and evenings, buds starting to show, and birds¬†doing….well what birds do at this time of year!

And now on to the rain – I know, you don’t¬†need to groan. I know I waffle on a lot about the rain but lets look at why. I was born in November which means I’m a Scorpio (water sign) meaning I naturally embrace all things water related (true I promise!). When it’s raining the windows of the house turn into an access point to another world – outside those windows looks so completely different when its raining, especially with the mini rivers and waterfalls streaming down the glass! It’s obviously wet outside, and generally a touch cooler temperature wise, so it means that instinctively we want to stay inside, wrapped up warm with a blanket and a cuppa. Which (and here’s the final point!) means that it’s perfect writing conditions! I love being provided with additional opportunity with which to sit at my laptop and write – I schedule in writing time as most authors who work to pay the bills have to do – so if it’s raining and I’m meant to be doing something else outside, it’d additional pen time! Which is always a good thing. Like today – today I had scheduled to do my blog at work during down-time tonight – but it’s done now meaning later I get to do some more editing/writing!

Anyway that’s it for this week – but I hope you all have a fantastic week and embrace the joys of spring! Dont forget to like my facebook page if you don’t already – http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/K-A-Richardson/117179681794105¬†and follow me on twitter @kerryann77.

Final comment – thanks for reading as always – it’s you guys reading that make this worthwhile and I really appreciate it. x

Social Media, confusion and ramblings….

As you all know I’ve been busy this last week editing With Deadly Intent (book 1) and researching/preparing book 2 which is as yet untitled.

Because of wanting to get book 1 done and book 2 started, I’ve slowed my reading down and put certain things on the back burner, such as Writing magazine. Getting to work this evening I realised that I had both February and March copies to read, and it being slow tonight, I decided to make a coffee and crack them open.

One article, Blow Your Own Trumpet (pg 58, February issue, Writing magazine) made me pause and consider. The article is basically about an up and coming author, Philip Henry (website www.philiphenry.com, twitter @philiphenry9) who was struggling with the use of social media and blowing his own trumpet. It made me think about how much things have progressed since I first started writing those stapled-at-the-side books for my teacher in primary school. At 4-11 years old the most technology I was exposed to was an old atari computer, a handheld pacman game and eventually I think a gameboy! Social media back then was newspaper articles and radio shows.

Now I personally own a digital SLR camera, the latest model Iphone, an Ipad, a kindle, and¬†a laptop and I use social media in its literal terms on a daily basis. This is probably because I happen to be in the generation where all of the devices and social media options have become readily available. I don’t¬†claim to be technically minded, despite having the Bsc¬†and Ma under my belt. I am however a learner, I love learning how to use things and do things. Reading the above article about Philip however made me realise, that although it is all second nature to me, it would be very daunting if I hadn’t¬†been brought up with it all. Twitter is full of people plugging their work constantly, often over selling if this is possible. Google plus gets us noticed, linked-in means we make and maintain professional contacts, facebook¬†is well just facebook! But the point of it all is to get ourselves noticed. It’s actually heart warming to realise that people want to read what we post, and opens up a virtual journal in many cases of people’s¬†lives. With all of this going on it’s naturally going to be confusing.

As a writer, I have spent much time deliberating when is best to do my social media – should I put time aside to do it? Should I do it when it takes my fancy? Or just when I have something worthwhile to say? Well the simplest answer for me, having been honing my social media usage since the initiation of my website all the way back in January (wow its March already!!!) is that I use it when it doesn’t¬†interrupt other things. So I’ll pop on twitter as I lay in bed, or if its quiet at work. I’ll do a quick facebook¬†page update at the same time – the ease of use on my portable devices making this immediately possible. And I try to use my personal facebook account strategically – I’m nosy by nature so this is the hardest part! Linked in gets checked every couple of days and my website? Well needless to say I’m a little obsessed with the checking of stats.

I think the most important feature of social networking is not to let it take it take over our lives – use it as we need to, and recognise it for what it is. A tool to connect, converse and advertise. But remain true to ourselves and our lives in general.

On other subjects, I have sent the first section of With Deadly Intent to an editor (see Sections of my Work for sneak preview of the prologue). The next few months will be busy editing the whole thing again, again and more than likely again, as well as continuing work on the new one which I will naturally keep you updated with.

It’s finally springtime too – take the time to look around and take it all in as the world wakens from winter. It won’t be long until the daffodils flower, the baby birds start singing for their supper and the baby bunnies start bouncing all over!

Hope you found my personal insight interesting and, as always, Thanks for reading. ūüôā

 

Things that make me smile…..

Well I returned late last night from my short ‘nana holiday’ with National Holidays – yes it is a long time on a bus to Belgium, but we still had a wonderful time.

The weather was freezing – one day there had been rain overnight and the rain had frozen solid on the footpaths – to say it was like a skating rink is an understatement! The older folk opted to stay in the hotel, but me and Pete decided to brave the ice, and the still falling frozen rain, and pop to the local shops for a wander. We were slipping and sliding, and giggling like little kids as we held each other up. It was a lovely morning.

One of the organised trips was to Brugge – neither of us had ever been so we were looking forward to it – and it didn’t disappoint. As a city, the centre is widespread and full of little boutiques and shops, and the best bit? The chocolate shops! There was loads of them! Mostly down little cobbled back streets ten to a street. The prices varied in each, some exclusive like Godivers¬†(like ten euro for one small box of chocolates) and others were reminiscent of small deli’s dealing only in chocolates handmade on site. Obviously we had to buy some for presents¬†(and maybe one or two for us) – the smell was absolutely fabulous! If I could’ve bottled it and brought it home I would have. One of the other things I loved about Brugge, apart from the fantastic architecture, was the swans. They were on every canal and waterway in great numbers – random fact about Brugge – it’s illegal to feed the birds! How strange that you can’t throw the sandwich crusts to the ducks and swans!

I did manage to get some writing done also – managed a little under 3k words which leaves novel two well and truly¬†in the starting zone at just under 11k. I’m loving how the characters are developing – the more I write the more I’m getting to know them. You guys are going to love Jacob – phew he makes me swoon just a little and I created him! I’m writing in a similar theme to book one – the antagonist is ‘he’ when it’s time for him to feature. I’m also playing with titles now too – initial thoughts are this one will be ‘I’m watching you’ however this is open to change.

Editing of With Deadly Intent will begin in earnest next weekend – eek! It’s been weeks since I picked it up and looked at it – will it be good enough for agents? Will I read it and think everyone is wrong or I’ve written it in the wrong voice? It’s exciting and scary all at once! If you want a sneak preview of the prologue, please see the top page tab labelled ‘sections of my work’.

There’s been a lot of things this week that have made me smile, some of them outlined in my blog and some not. Sometimes I do think we people don’t smile enough – so as you drive to the supermarket, or take that daily walk today, see something that makes you smile and do it. Smile at the old man walking the other way – it might be days since someone smiled at him. Smile at the dog walkers, and the other drivers. Smiling releases endorphins – it’s designed to make us feel good. And it’s contagious – if you smile at others generally they will smile back. Spread the joy – I know I will be.