Posts Tagged ‘creative writing process’

Writing Book 3 in The Morrow Secrets Trilogy, “The Dark Spell”

July 1st, 2014

8741_495390240481323_579824652_nWhen I began writing The Morrow Secrets I didn’t have a plan and hadn’t decided that it would be a trilogy but as the story evolved I knew that Tallitha and Tyaas were destined for many more adventures after they reached the dark castle at Hellstone Tors.

My writing style has evolved from those first rough drafts. I am a writer who naturally lets things develop from inside the plot and the characters. Initially I had an idea for a girl trapped in a sinister family, desperate to escape from her strange relations, to unearth the family secrets and to leave the eerie house of Winderling Spires behind … but to go where? Curiosity got the cat… so to speak ( or rather Tallitha) and so the story developed and the characters took over. The whole experience has been a roller coaster journey that I have loved.

I created over 50 characters in Book 1 and this number grew significantly in Book 2, The Shadow of the Swarm. But what would Book 3 be like? What would the characters do, where would they take me? Believe me, I let them have their head and the third book evolved in the same way.

ghostsThe Dark Spell has been more difficult to write than the first two with many changes, tweaks and rewrites. There have been periods of procrastination when the task ahead felt daunting. Magically however whenever I sat at my computer and re-read the last chapter, off I would go, back into Tallitha’s world and the realm of magic and make-believe.

I ask myself, how does this process happen? Where does my inspiration come from? Quite honestly I have no idea other than I love my characters, am inspired by old film stills and my Gothic, fantasy setting.

Perhaps the final book in a trilogy is always difficult to write, or perhaps it’s because I don’t want to end my time with Tallitha and Tyaas, Sybilla, Ruker, Snowdroppe and Marlin to name but a few.

I would love to know what other writers think. I know that G.R.R. Martin has spoken of his mammoth task in bringing The Game of Thrones to a conclusion and he has many more characters than I do.

the-woman-in-black-review-e1353327177531During this process I have written into the wee small hours often obsessing about my characters as I fall asleep. They lead me here and there, down a number of dead ends; plot lines that don’t work; having to rewrite scenes and kill off a ‘number of my favourite darlings’. That was painful and oddly it took a long time to get there but I did it in the end and they have been exercised.

The Dark Spell is almost, almost finished.

My second edit has been gruelling.

The story is dark and creepy; a Gothic fantasy with a smattering of the supernatural, paranormal and the occult; witches and more, ghouls and ghosts and a few tears.

time-of-their-lives-seanceFor those of you who loved the first 2 books in The Morrow Secrets, hold on for book 3.

I promise you won’t be disappointed!

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Posted in Being An Author, Fantasy Trilogy, Gothic Fiction, Gothic Influences, Supernatural, The Morrow Secrets | Comments (0)

Gothic Dreams…

September 8th, 2012

Oh I wish I’d had some Gothic dreams, please let me drift off to the land of nod… Last night I couldn’t sleep, plot lines from Book Two going round in my head, characters developing a life of their own, demanding to be in the story… not yet I cried!  Then more eternal questions…How to resolve the conundrums of book one ?

This week I had many good writing days. The words flowed and I became immersed in developing at least three great sub-plots in Book Two but the corollary to that is that I have to write at 1am! Not good for the body clock.. So it goes something like this..I go to bed, try to sleep, toss and turn and these pesky characters flood into my brain… ‘why not have me doing this?’ and ‘what about me?’ ‘ what about letting me back into the story, please, I could creep around Winderling Spires and do this…’! So much so that I have to get up and start writing, bleary eyed and unable to sleep until the wee hours.. Until I can decant my head of all the competing  ideas ( like wasps trapped in a jar buzzing round my brain) and put the errant characters back to bed. They are becoming like small naughty children, refusing to go to sleep until they get what they want!

The Morrow Sisters, Edwina & Sybilla in the Crewel Tower

The Weird Morrow Sisters, Edwina & Sybilla

Those weird Morrow sisters – Sybilla, Edwina, and Agatha have been particularly tiresome in the early hours.

How will they shape the story? Are they a bit witchy? What are their powers?

It’a my own fault. When I started writing, I sought the the wise words of the established writers, their tips about how to develop characters. Their advice was to imagine your characters in any situation, get to know them inside out, even the wicked ones… So of course I did just that and can’t get the blighters out of my head!

Now I’m beginning to understand how writers become obsessed, drive themselves mad… so I either harness the beast or go for a long walk on this beautiful nearly-autumnal day… and put those irritating sisters out of my head… for now. This must be the creative writing process – it has me in its thrall.


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Posted in Creative Writing Process, Fantasy Trilogy, Gothic Fiction, How to Write a Children's Novel, Susan McNally, The Morrow Secrets | Comments (0)

You Tube Video & Radio Broadcast about Writing “The Morrow Secrets”

August 23rd, 2012


You Tube Video & Radio Broadcast about Writing “The Morrow Secrets”

The Old Dark House of Secrets at Winderling Spires


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Posted in Being An Author, Best Children's Fiction, books for 9-14 year olds, Creative Writing Process, Fantasy Trilogy, Gothic Fiction, How to Write a Children's Novel | Comments (0)

How to Write a Novel: Magical Gothic Adventure Story

August 18th, 2012

I wish someone had told me some of these writing tips before I started to write my trilogy. Here are some of the lessons I’ve learned along the way and maybe they can help you in your writing adventure!

* If you think you have a book inside you, just begin, it doesn’t matter if you change it later, at least you’ve started.

* There are no rules about when to write…. only the ones that suit you.

The Old Dark House of Secrets at Winderling Spires

* Write the book you want to write, anything else is too much like hard work – Writing must be fun!

* There are many books on how to write fiction but two that helped me are :

Sol Stein “Stein on Writing”    Strategies/dp/0312254210/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1345134804&sr=8-1

Celia Brayfield “Bestseller: Secrets of Successful Writing”

* Always stop when you have more ideas in the “creative pot”, then coming back to the work will be easier.

* Keep reading lots and lots of books! Look at how writers write their books, their use of dialogue and plotting. Watching movies is an excellent way to learn your craft. Screen writers have to get an idea over very quickly, they may only have 90 minutes to tell the whole story so observe their techniques – their spare use of words, how the actors communicate with one another, how tension is built. This “intense watching” of a movie will make you more critical and you will begin to see when a plot line works and when it doesn’t. It’s the same with writing, once you lose the reader they’re gone, they’ve stopped believing in your make-believe. So keep it real, reduce the number of words you use and imagine yourself as the reader… would you be hooked on this character or this scene? If not change it or cut it.

* Don’t give up, even when you’ve had a bad day, remember how good you feel when the writing just flows… you and only you have created that!

* Never be satisfied with the first draft!

* If something jars with you then it will jar with your readers. Listen to your gut instincts and cut it out!

* When you get an idea, sit with it and let it brew inside you like a delicious potion, until it is time to experiment and write it down.

Finally, enjoy the writing process, it’s the best fun ever!

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Posted in Being An Author, books for 9-14 year olds, Creative Writing Process, Fantasy Trilogy, Gothic Fiction, Uncategorized, Writing | Comments (0)

How To Write A Children’s Novel

August 7th, 2012

Listen to my radio interview with Viv Oyolu on the Dream Corner Radio Show about

the creative process of writing the fantasy children’s story, The Morrow Secrets.

The rambling house of Winderling Spires

The interview includes ideas and tips on how to write children’s fiction, the new e-book phenomenon,

the ups and downs of self-publishing and how to develop your approach to characterisation.

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Posted in Being An Author, Best Children's Fiction, Gothic Fiction, How to Write a Children's Novel, New Children's Adventure Story, Self Publishing Tips, The Morrow Secrets | Comments (0)

How to Improve Your Search Engine Optimisation: Getting Your Book Blog Out There

August 7th, 2012

When I started writing my book I just thought I’d write it, polish it and edit it a few times then post it on Amazon and that would be it!

How wrong I was. Writing the book was fun and easy compared to the marketing and PR needed so that people ( beyond your friends and family) find it. Even then that’s not enough.

The Black Hound from Ragging Brows Forest

So you’ve uploaded your fabulous book on to Amazon, you’ve had some sales then you realise that your book is a tiny little needle in the huge Amazon haystack. How will anyone ever find the book I have written? That’s the BIG, BIG question. This is what some of what I’ve learned so far:

You’ll need a website and it must have interesting content; you’ll need to blog on a regular basis to attract people to your site. You’ll need a blogging plan that covers all the things you want to say to your readers.

How will anyone find your website… you’ll have to increase your SEO (search engine optimisation) How will the google spiders find you? How will you increase your presence? By adding your site to blog directories. I have just started doing this so I’ll see if it makes a difference. This takes a lot of time working out which URL they want in the format they want it.

You must reply to the people who take the time to comment on your blog. You then need to understand google analytics and feedburner, to see what sort of website traffic you’re attracting. Then experiment with different posts. What do your readers like? How much traffic have you got? Which countries are they from? Do they stay on your pages? Which pages? Do they blounce off again…

So you see I didn’t know I had to be a marketing, IT, social networking, analyst. I thought I’d just write my children’s fanatsy adventure and the rest would be history….. how wrong I was!



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Posted in Being An Author, Better Blogging, Creative Writing Process, Improving your SEO, The Morrow Secrets, Writing | Comments (0)

How To Write Fiction: Gothic Fantasy and The Creative Writing Process

July 28th, 2012
Winderling Spires

I wish there was an easy answer but I guess my top 5  tips would be:

1. Write the book you want to read; if you’re not gripped no one else will be.
2. Your first draft is only that… now edit and get someone else to edit the book too.
3. Know your characters inside out and what will they do in any situation.
4. Good dialogue comes from knowing your characters really well, then the words will flow.
5. Always stop when you are brimming with new ideas then it will be easy to start the next day.
If you get blocked do something else, leave the writing alone and do some research. But don’t
stop completely – stay with the project.

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Posted in Being An Author, Best Children's Fiction, books for 9-14 year olds, How to Write a Children's Novel, Self Publishing Tips | Comments (0)