Writer's Blog

THE MORNING PAGE

Most writers I know are aware of the little black devil who sits on your shoulder and tells you what you've just written is no good. So how to defeat him? We need to

conjure that dreamlike, imaginative side of our brain that writes without judgement. One way of developing this is the morning page. Before you do snything else in the

morning, sit with paper and pen and write. Write whatever comes into your head without stopping to question its worth. After all, nobody's going to see what you write

except you. It may look to you  like nonsense sometimes but if you cultivate this habit asnd keep at it, you will discover, looking back on your pages, that ideas have emerged,ones you can develop. 

Forbidden love

Who hasn't rebelled when they're young? Who hasn't done the exact opposite to what your parent advised? Beautiful Isabella defies her mother in my novel Monet's Shadow. The consequences are far more dramatic than she could have dreamed. blue flower

Monet's Shadow

Can I tantalise you with this short excerpt from my book?  

Klara was already seated at the breakfast table when Izzy finally came to join her. She looked up from her dish of eggs Benedict. ‘I’m sorry but I’ve started. I was starving.’

         Izzy stood at the buffet and helped herself to coffee. After deliberation, she chose a croissant and pain au chocolat and sat down opposite Klara who had returned to her food. 

She sighed and glanced round the room, taking in the piano in one corner, the unlit black stove in the fireplace, with an odd sense of recognition.

‘Sleep well?’ She asked Klara.

The other nodded. ‘Like a log, the bed was very comfortable but even if it wasn’t, I was dog tired.’

‘I just couldn’t get off. Too excited, I suppose. And there was something out there that kept making this strange noise. Goodness knows what it was.’

         Klara grinned. ‘A fox, I guess. I always forget you’re not used to the country.’

‘Well, we do go out to Donohue Woods sometimes. That’s pretty wild.’

‘But you’ve never actually lived in the country.’

Izzy sipped her coffee. ‘Ugh no! I like the city life far too much. It’s so quiet in the country and you have to wear such sensible shoes.’

  She watched Klara for a moment. How rooted she was, feet 

squarely planted in the physical world, understanding current affairs, studying literature. If only I could be like that. But I always feel restless, searching for something though I don’t know what exactly. Maybe my father, whoever he was.

         Mother was always so evasive whenever she asked the question. ‘It’s not important, darling.  You’ve never lacked anything, have you?  He was just a man who let me down.’ 

‘Penny for them, Izzy?’

         She smiled. Klara understood her only too well. ‘I was thinking about Mother.’ 

‘She’s just wonderful, isn’t she? I mean the way she copes. You’d never think…would you?’

‘Oh yes, she’s amazing, of course. But I wish she’d tell me about my father. It’s all so mysterious. There are no photographs in the house, not a trace of him.’

‘Maybe you were the result of an immaculate conception,’ Klara remarked, wryly. ‘Or Venus born from the sea.’

Izzy smoothed the sleeves of her crepe de chine blouse.  ‘I might just as well have been. But it’s hard, Klara, you don’t know how hard it is. You have a solid family life and brothers and sisters. There’s only mother and me. You can’t know what it’s like.’ 

‘Brothers and sisters can be a mixed blessing,’ Klara replied, ‘Especially when you’re trying to write. What I’d give for a little room all of my own where I could keep my books and my writing materials. Virginia had the right idea.’

‘I guess none of us is satisfied,’ Izzy sighed

Write the right synopsis: point ten

Today's section is perhaps one of the most difficult in writing a synopsis that captures attention. Can you find a way of bringing the feel, atmosphere or voice of ypour novel into your synopsis? It is one of the best ways of showing its unique and bringing it to life.Please don't worry unnecessarily but if you can find a way to do it, It will add that extra 'something.'

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Write the right synopsis point nine. Giving the game away

Do I need to give the game away and include the ending of my novel? A tricky one. There are agents who see the ending as important as part of the story. Others consider thry'd prefer to approachthe novel from the point of view of a reader. So, it is up to you and whatever feels right.

The Right synopsis: where are we?

Here we are at number nine of the points that make a synopsis hit the eye. Past, present or future...eery novel has a dimension of time. When is it set? Does it take place over a day, a month? Years? Where is it set? Even if it is in the present, don't just say 'now.' By the time your novel is, hopefully published, the 'now' will be in the past. Finally, don't confuse with loads of place names and dates. Keep it simple.

Memory and the writer

We are sometimes told not to 'dwell on the past' but this is exactly what a writer does, from time to time. A remembered image, sound and, especially, a scent can be the spark that releases the emotions of the past and sets you on the path of a story. If you think of  Proust and the madeleine cake which resulted in the many books of 'Remembrance of Time Past' and you'll get the idea. Eve, one of our group of writers which meets at Toast By The Coast illustrated this point perfectly. She used a sprig from a flowering bush which her protaganist picks and smells to evoke a  time in the past when she sat with her lover hidden from her grandmother by such a bush. The result  though short contained all the elements of a structured short story thast was impressive. Give it a try. 

Wake up and smell the coffee: using your senses in your writing

Writers Tip of the Day. We experience the universe in several ways. Yes, we see it, but we have much more than one sense: smell, hearing, touch and taste. Yet, it is surprising how many writers don’t make use of all these tools to present their lively version of the world. If we want to entice the reader into believing in our stories, we need to use all five senses in our writing. Not only can they create a three-dimensional setting but, with their use, they also have the power to evoke associations and memories. Marcel Proust’s taste of a madeleine transported him (and his readers) on the long journey (seven volumes) into times past. So don’t just tell the reader about a rose, recreate its scent, the feel of its thorny stem. Let your character hear the sound of the sea like a wild beast, hurling itself against the shore, don’t just say it was rough. The sense of taste can be used powerfully to set your readers’ taste buds tingling as you set a fictional feast before them. You are in possession of these senses, all you have to do is employ them. And you’ll bring your writing to life.

Write the right synopsis that doesn't confuse.

  Last time i suggested you tell us something about 'who is telling your story'...in other words your main protagonist. But you want to tell about all the other intriguing characters you have created. Don't!  Don't give us the full cast list, don't give many names, at all. Your page will look cluttered and make your synopsis confusing and difficult to understanblue flower

Less is certainly more in this respect.

Writing synopsis: don't lose the plot

Now is the time to tell us about the plot of your novel. Make this as simple as possible. You may have written intriguing twists and turns and subplots. Leave them out. You only need to give the major plot points to demonstrate what your novel is about and how you have tackledblue flower moving the story forward. 

Struggling with your synopsis?

I hope I haven't given you anxious hours struggling with your 'pitch'. That's the last thing I want to do but, I admit, it isn't an easy thing to do in one shot. If you are despairing, try this instead: include a quote from your novel, something that gives a tantalising glimpse of its tone, enticing the reader in. So, if you decide the pitch is not for you, offer a quote but do one or the other, you don't need both.

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I am based in Shoreham-by-Sea
West Sussex

Email: info@jenniferpulling.co.uk

 

Writers Workshops

Unleash your imagination at one of my forthcoming workshops, beginners welcome, I take an organic approach which encourages the writer to sift through experience and allow it to compost in the imagination.... read more