Posts Tagged ‘how to wriite a children’s novel’

Gothic Fantasy – A Supernatural Saga

July 7th, 2013


The Black Hound in Ragging Brows Forest

The Black Hound in Ragging Brows Forest

Richard S. Friedman “Rick Friedman” 

This review is from: The Morrow Secrets (The Morrow Trilogy Plus) (Kindle Edition)

“The Morrow Secrets’ is a high-fantasy gothic adventure story written for children in the 10 to 14 year age group but also enjoyed by adults who love delving into the world of mystery, suspense, imagination and make-believe. It is the first book in a series about Tallitha Mouldson, a headstrong girl caught up in the sinister web of her eccentric family”

A most magical and wonderful fantasy- while geared towards the YA crowd-The Morrow Secrets makes for a splendid read for all ages!
I was entranced from the very first page- the imaginary prowess of Susan McNally is to be greatly admired!

Characters and locations burst off the page with lusterous gusto- the prose is finely tuned and fast paced- and the plot never slows- Highly recommended for many reasons- wonderful writings style, unique characters and most certainly the first in what promises to be a most remarkable new Fantasy series!! Bravo Susan McNally!!





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Posted in Dark Gothic Fantasy, Fantasy Trilogy | Comments (0)

On Writing The Morrow Secrets

May 26th, 2013

This interview includes my experience of the creative writing process and my favourite writing tips for new and aspiring authors.

This is an excerpt from the broadcast including clips from the Gothic illustrations in the book

The Black Hound in Ragging Brows Forest

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Posted in books for 9-14 year olds, Creative Writing Process, Dark Gothic Fantasy, Fantasy Trilogy, Gothic Fiction, Supernatural, The Morrow Secrets | 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)

Radio Interview with Susan McNally Author of The Morrow Secrets

August 5th, 2012

This is the link to the radio interview where I talk about the writing process, the ups and downs

of self-publishing and how to sustain creativity.

Winderling Spires

 If you know someone who is interested in writing fiction please share the link with them.

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Posted in Being An Author, Best Children's Fiction, books for 9-14 year olds, Creative Writing Process, Gothic Fiction, How to Write a Children's Novel, Improving your SEO, New Children's Adventure Story, Self Publishing Tips, The Morrow Secrets | Comments (0)

How to Write Fiction: Radio Interview with Susan McNally author of The Morrow Secrets

August 5th, 2012
Winderling Spires
Listen to this radio interview about how I began writing fiction, my top tips on sustaining
the creative writing process and the ups and downs of self-publishing.
Tell me what you think!
Please share with anyone you know who is interested in becoming a writer.

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

Get a Free Book! Name a character in the The Morrow Secrets Trilogy!

August 2nd, 2012

Can you name a character in my next book?

This is a competition and the winner will receive a free copy of  “The Morrow Secrets”, the first book in my fantasy trilogy about Tallitha and her amazing adventures across Wycham Elva to the land of Breedoor.

In The Morrow Secrets, the weird servants living in Winderling Spires are called shroves. Their names are Marlin, Florre’ and Grintley. I’d like you to name one of the shroves in my second book that live at Hellstone Tors, the gothic castle that Tallitha travels to in Breedoor.

Hellstone Tors in the land of Breedoor.
Marlin on the dark stairs

The two illustrations are of Marlin, a shrove and of the haunting castle of Hellstone Tors.

Take a look at the book excerpt on this webite and come up with a weird new name for a shrove and the best one will appear in the second book. You’ll need to sign up to my blog so I get your email address.
I need lots of young people to have a go at this competition … at least 50 replies so I have a good choice of spooky, odd sounding names.
Encourage all your friends to join in….I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

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Posted in Competition, Supernatural, Teen Fiction, The Morrow Secrets | Comments (0)

Ten Rules for Writing Fiction!

August 1st, 2012

I had a gap between finishing The Morrow Secrets and starting the second book in my trilogy… about a week! Then I got caught up in my website, how to do a blog, self -publishing and all the other things you have to do by yourself to be an indie-writer! I didn’t know there was so much stuff to do apart from write my books. Now of course I know differently and try to divide my time between actually writing book two in the series and publicising book one… and that’s hard.

So now book two is underway, which tips would I like to remind myself of? Here are some of my favourite ones.

* Sometimes you have to kill off your favourite children… that means at times you may have to write a character out of the story because he/she doesn’t work anymore.

* Don’t give up writing, even when you’ve had a bad day just keep going and it will come right… write more, not less!

* Read books all the time in your genre and outside of it. Observe what writers do – how they write dialogue; build tension and create great characters that leap off the page

* Good dialogue flows from knowing your characters inside out, how they will react in any situation. You don’t really know them until they begin to inhabit your head space !

* Continuity is key. You don’t have to remember every one of your character’s idiosyncracies … keep note cards on each character, different themes, any activity that is repeated ( for me it was Tallitha’s trances) and key events that you refer to in the plot.

* This is a good one. Take no notice of the criticism people you don’t respect. But take notice of the criticism from people you do respect. Have a thick skin, you’ll need it.

* Defend your work. You know best how it was meant to be. It’s your story, your characters, just love them! That’s why self publishing is so good – no one can tell you to change a character’s name.

* Most importantly – write the book you want to read. If you don’t love the story, no one else will.

* Writing is never a quick win. It takes a lot of time and patience. If patience doesn’t come easily …try and acquire some.

* Characters will grow and evolve as you write the book.. be prepared to change them!

Most of all, enjoy yourself! When the writing really flows being an author is the best ever.. it transports you to a magical world all of your own creation. Treasure it…


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

Gothic Cemeteries and Gothic Book Research

July 31st, 2012

Last week I went to the Western section of Highgate Cemetary in leafy North London  to do research for the next book in The Morrow Secrets series. Oh what a fantastic gothic haven! The cemetary is packed with ideas – the amazing Egyptian Avenue filled with family vaults leading to the a circle of gothic catacombs.

The Egyptian Avenue


Many famous people are buried there: three women authors, George Eliot ( “Middlemarch”) d.1880; Radclyffe-Hall d.1943 who wrote “The Well of Loneliness” and Stella Webb d. 1989 better known as Stella Gibbons who wrote “Cold Comfort Farm” –

On the tour we heard about supernatural writers and films. Dracula has been filmed there and A Picture of Dorian Gray with Colin Firth.

As a writer I always take a camera and something to jot down ideas. In the late Victorian era families would often visit their dearly departed and take tea with them in the vaults!

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Posted in Being An Author, Gothic Influences, How to Write a Children's Novel, Magical Adventure, New Children's Adventure Story, Research, The Morrow Secrets | Comments (0)

How to Write a Great Children’s Novel for 9 to 14 Year Olds

July 16th, 2012

Be ever alert, collecting snippets of random information from people, the TV and newspaper articles.

So always carry a note book, or a phone so you can make a note of these ideas.
The Morrow Sisters, Edwina & Sybilla experimenting with their perfumes.

The Morrow Sisters, Edwina & Sybilla

Believe me, if you don’t do it there and then you will have forgotten that magical moment by the time you find a pen!

I find art a great inspiration for vignettes in my book, particularly gothic art from the Macarbre and the Beautifully Grotesque. These paitings lead me on a thought journey, moving from one idea to the next until suddenly the solution comes to me.

Always be alert, listening for words that inspire you and that will work in your book so listen to what people are saying. This will help with your dialogue too.

Keep lists of inspirational ideas, words, thoughts. At some point they will be useful.

If someone or something catches your eye, make a note of it. How someone wears their hair, their expression, even if you don’t like them! It can be a resource for your wicked characters.

You have to be a bit of a magpie! Collect all sorts of things…



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Posted in Best Children's Fiction, books for 9-14 year olds, How to Write a Children's Novel, Supernatural, The Morrow Secrets | Comments (0)

How to Write a Novel: Magical Gothic Adventure Story

June 19th, 2012

The Old House of Secrets at Winderling Spires

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.

* 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 from your brain… 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.


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