Monday 31 December 2012

New Year Resolution

We made it to the end of 2012 and survived the end of the world.  It's an ideal time to reassess whether we have achieved our goals for this year and draw up a new plan for 2013.

Last year my resolution was very cryptic "Make Lemonade".  Basically it was just to stay strong despite anything life threw at me.  I didn't set off to a good start but I'm definitely in a better place emotionally now.  In fact, I am feeling more focused and more determined to achieve my goals so my resolutions this year will be more SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-sensitive)

My plan it to improve Mind, Body, Soul & Writing.  It sounds a bit hippy but I think they are all things that are healthy and will make my life more positive.  There is no harm in that.

There are so many resources online that I can read but often when I have the urge I over do it.  I read so much that by the end I've forgotten it all and becomes a waste of time.  I shall set aside time and this will include time for editing and critiquing - honing the craft. It also includes working on my blog.

Measure:  At least two blog entries a month, five critiques a month, edited at least one chapter and read a resource  

We all need to exercise and keep fit.  I'm going to try and do something every other day.  I have a skipping rope, a hula hoop and Wii Fit - they are all fun things so it shouldn't feel too hard.  I have a Pilates DVD I've never used and would like to learn yoga, Tai Chi, Belly Dancing or some other dance craze.  I will start with my Pilates DVD and to keep it fresh get a new DVD each month.  My friend does teaches a fitness class on Friday's that I will stop skiving off.  

Measure:  Managed to turn up to at least 2 classes a month, the Wii is out (and been used) and the Pilates DVD has been introduced to the DVD player.

I need to relax - people who know me deep down will know that's an understatement.   It's mainly my minds fault, it just won't switch off.  I over think things and my imagination can be a curse.  My plan is to enjoy more long baths, do my nails (got a gel kit for Christmas), perhaps do a face pack, snuggle up in bed with a book, watch TV and do nothing but chill.  Seeing my friends is good for my soul so I'll definitely make time for them.  

Measure:  My nails look good, I'm smiling and I've seen at least one friend every week

I will make sure I spend at least 15 minutes a day writing and make sure time is spent on my novels.  I write snippets all the time, throughout the day.   My novels are taking the real punch. I'm so distracted with improving my writing (editing) that I've lost time for what I enjoy.  I love my imagination and it needs to be watered regularly otherwise it will wilt and die.  

Measure:  A daily Opuss and I should be able to easily produce a whole chapter in a month (ideally 4 but I don't want to get over ambitious when I'm still struggling to switch off my internal editor).


Monday:  A random mini-workout followed by writing (body & write)
Tuesday:  Write for 15 minutes, then, an hour of research followed by an hour of editing or critiquing (write & mind) 
Wednesday:  Wii Fit workout, then relaxing long bath, followed by TV (body & soul)
Thursday:  Write for 15 to 30 minutes before seeing best friend (write & soul)
Friday:  Go to fitness class, hang out with  best friend afterwards. (body & soul)
Saturday:  Some type of pampering, then work on whatever area I feel like, i.e writing or mind (soul)
Sunday:  Work on the blog/website and then work on novel (mind & write)

To make my resolution smarter, I will also evaluate and reevaluate.  

I'm going to assess how I am getting on at the end of January and then adjust my schedule accordingly.  I don't want the scheduled to hinder me but structure my life enough to maintain my focus.  I don't want to feel unmotivated if I can't keep to it (life happens) and I haven't forgotten how to make lemonade.    

Target Date:  31 December 2013
Target Goal:  I will have a schedule that works for me even if I re-write it every month.  I will have a sense of achievement and success that I am moving in the direction that ideally will take me closer to publication.  

Sunday 23 December 2012

Swoon Reads

In Spring 2013, MacMillan Children's Publishing Group will be opening their new website Swoon Reads. Swoon Reads is to be run by Feiwel and Friends, a division of MacMillian.
Swoon Reads will be a crowd source publishing venture. In 2014, they will publish 10 to 12 Novels (e-format and paper). Winning authors will get $10,000 advance and standard royalty terms. 
They are looking for:
  • unpublished romance novels
  • aimed at readers age 14 and up
  • 50,000 to 70,000 word manuscript
  • 140 character Twitter keynote (one or two sentences that'll capture the essence of your story and entice others to read it)
  • 125 word synopsis - this will be the real challenge!

The rest of the story is up to you as they welcome almost any type of romance novel.  Whether your story is gay or straight romance, realistic or supernatural - it doesn't matter.  The story can be set in any time era and doesn't have to have a happilly ever after. 

You will need to make it unforgettable and make your readers swoon to win those votes.   Winners are chosen by the community of readers. That is what crowd sourced publishing is all about. 
They'd like it posted exclusively to their website, however, it will not be disqualified for being on other sites. It just must be unpublished!
You can enter whether you have any agent or not.
Make sure your novel is to the best standard it can be because once it is entered it cannot be edited.

My reaction:

This is the competition that I've been waiting for.  I love writing YA fiction and I am so soppy for love.  I can't wait for Spring 2013!
I plan to enter Drift as I've editted that so many times that I feel it is ready for public consumption. 
I'm going to ask if its just one entry per writer as I have lots of other stories but I will need to edit them to be ready for this competition as they aren't as polished as Drift.
My only concern is that this could turn into a populartiy spamming contest.  I'm hoping that strong writing will prevail and win overall. 
Wish me luck and good luck to you!



Over the years, I've tried a range of websites and blogs. This is my most current and most up-to-date blog.  Over the past two years I have had various different blogs & websites. These are listed below:
Mar 2012 to Current Blogger
Jan 2012 to Feb 2013 Webpage
Dec 2011 to Jan 2012 Webs
Mar 2011 to Dec 2011 Wordpress
Jan 2010 to Mar 2011 Weebly

Blogging Advice

Tip 1: Write about what interests you, that way if nobody else wants to read it then you've at least enjoyed writing it. In addition, if you are writing about what interests you then when you do get followers it'll be easier to maintain their interest as it'll be the same as yours.
Tip 2: Blog frequently to show that your blog is maintained and up-to-date. This also provides your readers with fresh news and will encourage them to check back more frequently.
Tip 3: When relevant, promote your blog. For example, you could direct someone to an article in your blog that you think they'll find of interest. This will be recieved much better than if you spam forums or social sites. You could tweet when you have a new post and what the post about to enable people to find you.
Tip 4: If you find another blog that is of intererst then share it. Bloggers tend to be supportive of each other so by promoting someone else there is a good chance that they'll promote you back to their readers.
Tip 5: Take you're time to check that your blog is well written. Check and amend any spelling, grammar or punctuation mistakes. If it doesn't make sense then people will be instantly turned off and not take your seriously.

Blog Site Reviews

Blogger: I currently use this site and would recommend it. It alows a wide range of sharing options for your readers (email, facebook, twitter, blogger, google+). There is a mobile app so you can blog on the go and you are able to email posts to your blog. It is very easy to use and shows you how many views you've had.
Tumblr:I currently use this site for personal use and would recommend it. Tumblr has a strong community of "follow back" so you can obtain a good number of readers and find people with similar interests. The site allows people to share posts (reblog) meaning your article can be read by their followers. There is a mobile app so you can blog on the go and you are able to email your posts to your blog. It is very easy to use and very social.
Webpage: Writing a blog as a webpage is very cumbersome, I would not recommend it. It basically meant I had to edit the website. This did mean the blog was nicely intergrated into my website, however, it was not easy to keep up-to-date. It did allow RSS feeds.
Webs:I created this as a free website after Weebly. However, I did not like the appearance and the free ads all over my site. The ads were part of the freeservice but seemed to take over. It also wasn't very user friendly either.
Weebly: I loved this website and it was free too (the ads were not that bad). The blog was easy to use, update and I like the way it looked. The only problem is that I got a few hits from "robots" placing odd comments on my posts. Otherwise, I would have happily stayed here forever.

Saturday 1 December 2012

Write Yourself Into This Heroic Book

United Press and Operation Shoebox are hosting a competition where you can win £100.

The short stories/poems entered will be selected for use in a book for Operation Shoebox UK.

The idea for the book was by Operations Director Ian Whiteway, who in 2005, set up the scheme. Ian said, “With the help of United Press we are putting together a book, funds from which will go directly to help our forces. We are looking for poems and short stories from people all over the UK . You don’t have to be directly connected to the services and your entry does not have to be on a military subject.“

Operation Shoebox UK is an entirely voluntary organisation, with a UK wide network of over 40 regional co-ordinators, they have over 22,000 supporters all making and helping to provide goodie boxes to be shipped out to Afghanistan.

“The boxes contain treats and gifts the troops could never get out there,” said Ian. “It is a huge morale boost to our boys and girls, the general public probably don’t even realise how amazing it is to receive a shoebox from a stranger, someone who cares enough to take the time to make up a shoebox.”

There will be three age categories (under 12s; under 18s; over 18s) open to all UK Residents. The winner of each category will get a prize to the value of £100 donated by the sponsors.

Under 12s prize is £100 Argos Voucher
Under 18s prize is £100 Primark Voucher
Over 18s prize is £100 Marks & Spencer Vouchers

All winning entries will be published in the book, planned for Christmas 2013.

Full terms and conditions with details of how to enter can be found on: or

If you want to enter now, e-mail your short story or poem (any length) to Please put "Shoebox Book" at the top of your entry and you must specify which category you are entering. Or post your entry to United Press, Admail 3735, London , EC1B 1JB .

You must include your full name and postal address (including postcode).

The closing date is February 28th 2013.

Thoughts In The Night

My best ideas always seem to run into my mind just as my head hits the pillow.  There has been many times that I've woke and picked up my mobile to quickly record an idea.

It's not a good experience for my husband who is soundly asleep beside me and suddenly feels the bright light glare of the electronic screen shining in the dark on his face.  He usually makes a strange grumbling noise which signals  that I need to go back to sleep.  My husband has suffered a lot as a result of my writing but I tolerate his obsession for online gaming so it seems a fair compromise.

My dreams have always been very vivid.  Sometimes they are so real that I wake in tears or the other end of the spectrum, which isn't sexy when you are doing it alone and looks more like I'm being possessed than... you know.  If you don't "you know" what the other end of the spectrum is then you'll need to read 50 Shades of Grey because I'm not sharing.  Sometimes my dreams actually make sense and its like watching my own personal Blockbuster movie.

As I wake, I feel all the emotions, characters and locations wash out of me.  No matter how good the idea, like water I can't grasp them and pull them back.  Then they are lost in the pool of my imagination which is a shame because the small snippets I have are a great source of inspiration for my stories.

I read that when we first wake we can only recall half of our dream, then after 5 minutes its almost completely forgotten.  I feel blessed that often get flashes or reminders about my dreams - it feels a bit like Dejavu.

I wish there was an easy way to remember the ideas that I have when I'm meant to be sleeping.  Perhaps one day there will be be a way of recording our dreams so we can play them back.  For now, I will just have to try to note them down without disrupting my husband or my sleep too much.

Next time I get writers block, I'm going to just sleep it off.

Saturday 24 November 2012

Writers iPhone4

<This was originally posted in January 2012 - when I added labels it updated the date.  I plan on writing a more current post regarding the apps I use now and most often>

I've had an iPhone now for just over a year. Before that my previous mobile allowed me to make and take calls and send and recieve text messages. The iPhone was a long over due upgrade. I always said I couldn't see point of buying an expensive mobile that didn't do everything I wanted but the iPhone4 sounded like the handheld PC that I'd always dreams of. My passion is my writing so I really hoped I could get an app on my phone for writing and this brief list are some of my favourites: This app comes with word of the day. Today's word in Profluent (flowing smoothly or abundently forth). You can email, twitter of facebook the word if you like or star it to add to your favourites. There are other daily news articles about the English language. Then there is the whole point I downloaded this app in the first place - the dictonary (gives the meaning of the word and how to pronouce it). It also has a Theasauraus that suggest more words for you. Wikipedia Basically, exactly the same as the website. The app has a daily featured article. Today's article is The Battle of Barrosa. This app is handy for research or inspiration. My Writing Allows you to colour code writing projects and edit chapters. The work is backed up online so you can work from your PC or your mobile. It has a very plain enterface, however, it is free. SkyDrive If you have a hotmail or live account, then you can upload documents to your skydrive to work on at another PC. Having the app on your iPhone only allows you to read and email the document as an attachment - you cannot edit on your phone. Maybe if I bought the Microsft Word for iPhone package I would be able to but its quite pricey and I worried it would take up to much room on my phone.

Independent Author Network Prize

The independent Author Blog is giving away a Kindle Fire HD 8.9 pre-loaded with titles by Indie Authors (and members of IAN).  To enter you just have to send them an email with the subject title being "Kindle Fire Contest Entry".

The contest is open from 1st November 2012 until Christmas Eve (24 December 2012).

This is a very exciting prize, especially for someone who loves to read.  It is also a great way to promote the Indie Authors who have donated their stories to be includ-ed.  Hopefully the winner will read and review, giving them all the recognition.  It may attract the support of more Indie Authors creating a stronger network.  

Screen shot about the prize from their website is below:  


Saturday 23 June 2012

The Importance of Editing

Writing your novel is the fun part. It’s exciting to allow your imagination free reign to take you wherever it wants.  It’s fascinating to watch your characters become people with hopes and fears and you become part of their lives as the plot thickens and their world Is created, growing and unfolding with every page. 

When you finish you will be pleased with what you have achieved and the story you've created and you'll want to share it with everyone.  

Stop!  Before you start sharing your creation and sending it out to publishers or agents, you must first edit it.  Poor spelling, grammar, punctuation, structure and layout can be the difference between someone seeing your book through your eyes or not seeing it at all.    


You can pay a professional to edit your work.  However, this costs money.  Personally, I wouldn’t be able to warrant paying for an editor without editing the work myself.  
  • You will pay for the editors time so I’d suggest getting your work to as high a standard as you can on your own first before sending it to an editor to work on. 
  • Research your editor the same as you would a publisher and agent.  Make sure that they are familiar with your genre and the market that you want to submit to. 
  • Recommendation is also good if it’s from a source you can trust.  Also remember that different people like different things and it is a working relationship.
I've never used an editor as I can’t afford one. 

Self Editing

I hate editing.  It uses a different part of my mind that’s logical and full of processes instead of fun and creative and plot driven.  You should read and re-read your novel and edit and re-edit your novel until you are sick of reading it and can’t find anything else wrong with it.  Each time you go through it take a break of a month before going through it again and a again.


Once you’ve edited it a few times and it’s in a suitable format to send to friends, fellow writers and family for feedback then give this a go.  It is very encouraging to here “This is great!” but you also need some readers who will point out your pit falls.  Listen to what they have to say but remember it is your novel so if you don’t want to make the changes you don’t have to.  Try and find readers who are for your target market as these will be more beneficial.  

Sunday 20 May 2012

A Treasure Trove of Publishers

Book Publishers Accepting Submissions

A member of my local writers group Scribblers forwarded me an email from Brian Grove who recently published The Treasure Hunter's Handbook with Little Brown Books.

Brian's email was to let writers know that he has created a website that details 1,000 publishers that are currently looking for novels to publish.  As a writer who has queried agents and publishers (usually found in the Writers & Artists Yearbook) I can tell you, first hand, how time consuming it can be to check if an agent/publisher is looking, what their submission guidelines are and whether they are interested in your genre - their tastes and requests change all the time and everyone has a different website layout.  

In addition, his website is full of useful advice for authors looking to get published.  This website looks like a time saving gold mine so all I can say is thank you Brian for sharing your hard work, for me this website is a real treasure.  Perhaps I should consider buying his book and see what other riches I can find whilst I consider who on the list to submit to.

Brian's website:
Brian's book:

Saturday 19 May 2012

Opuss - Featured Authors

Wow! Just found a new page on Opuss. It lists the featured authors and the Top Author Pic - and it...

Download the Opuss app FREE on the App Store

Feed a Read Competition

Win a Critique
We all want to be read, even published writers.  So, on Feed A Reed they are offering the chance to budding writers to be read by an editor at Random House.To enter, all you have to do is read the first 6 pages of 6 books and answer a question about each one.  Deadline is 31 May 2012.  It looks as if this competition runs every month so check back.

Read more @

Self Publish
With Feed A Read they also offer your a chance to Self Publish.  You can publish your novel with them for free on their website or for a fee of £88 your book can be made available to major online publishers (like Amazon) and high street book shops (like Waterstones).  The website appears to have good reviews.  I can't say I've looked into Self publishing that much so don't know how good this is but the sales pitch was very good.

The books that do well also get a chance to receive a critique from supporting publishers of the site.  They can offer you a publishing deal.  The website is funded by the Arts Council.

Read more @

Opuss - My Mum (poem)

My mum I know she in not perfect
In the past she's forgot my birthday
She's made mistakes along the way
But she always knows how to brighten my day

Read more @

Download the Opuss app FREE on the App Store

Sunday 13 May 2012

Dictionary App

This is one the applications on my mobile that I frequently use.  Every writer should have a dictionary app on their phone and there is no excuse not to as there are loads of free options to download.  The version I have is by  This was the website I generally used before when working at my PC but now I have the site with me when I am on the go. My app is on the iPhone but I just checked their website and it is now available for iPad and Android mobiles too.

Word Search

On my bookshelf I do have a dictionary and a thesaurus but I must admit I lazily enjoy just tapping my phone and typing a search word in to find what I'm looking for, rather than going upstairs to retrieve a large book and flicking through pages.  I like that the app remembers all the words I've previously looked up in the past where as with a manual book, I'd have to fold down a page and I hate doing that.  

In addition, you can save your Favourite words and you can retrieve your list at the click of a button (profluent, pachyderm, paramour) and if you want to check the meaning of a word on your list just tap it.  

You can check "Trends" to see what words other people are searching on today (meta, diocese, postpone), the overall most popular words searched for (decorum, egregious, austerity).  You should be able to see what people nearby are searching on.  For some reason the app thinks I'm in Oakland, USA which I'm sure is a lovely place but I'm nowhere near there - I feel like a ninja that's dropped off their radar, he he.  


Every day, I get an alert for 'Word of the Day'.  The little prompt helps increase your vocabulary and consider words you've forgotten on never knew about.  The words can prompt your imagination, for example, today's word is Matrilineal (inheriting or determining descent through the female line) which has got me thinking about a world where procreation has became a problem and wars break out to protect fertile women, treated like goddesses, caused by the break out of a matrilineal virus.  I'm not sure why but there is always a 'Spanish Word of the Day' too. 

The app has a sporadic article (appears roughly every other day).  Today's article is about the meanings behind flowers.  The articles are varied, informative and always well written.  You can read back past articles too.  There is a daily questions "What is the origin of grinder, as in sandwich?" and then the answer.   The daily questions are usually about where words or phrases have originated from.


At the top of each page, you can switch to thesaurus and get a choice of other words and then you can switch back to dictionary to check their meaning is what you want.


Saturday 12 May 2012


Be a butterfly and embrace change.
Find the beauty in what it brings.
Fly with silver tipped wings.

Download the Opuss app FREE on the App Store

Tuesday 8 May 2012

Giddy News

Struggling to think straight. My hardwork writing has paid off:

1. I get asked to be a regular...

Download the Opuss app FREE on the App Store

Saturday 5 May 2012

Top Today - Opuss

I've never been competitive as I always want to see everyone do well but I can't help but feel rewarded when people like my posts on Opuss.  Yesterday night, I checked the Top list and to my surprise and joy, I was number 1.  The next morning I checked my News Feed and found the alert confirming that I had really made it.

I've also been amazed that I've made it to Rank 12 on the top authors list (currently #19).  It's really encouraging to have people not only want to read my writing but also like it.  Currently I have three posts in the top 20 for the week and month chart (but we are only in week 1).  My highest rated posts is "Words" which is currently at position 5 (but did make it to #3).

I'll give an update at the end of the month as to whether I made any more #1s and where my posts sit in the chart.


1. Send out a query letter for Drift. Just cause the last agent wasn't interested doesn't mean nob...

Download the Opuss app FREE on the App Store

Sunday 29 April 2012


Obviously, I don't know but I honestly believe that being a writer is harder than being an author.

At least as an author you've achieved your goal and you've had your work valued, recognised, printed and read.  Maybe when I become an author I'll find that untrue.  Maybe once you've made it the goal posts move and suddenly you find yourself needing to achieve more and work harder to maintain your position.  I won't know until I become an author, so for now, I will share with you why today I feel hopeless.

Some days the need to be read is overwhelming, almost as if the air has been taken from my lungs and I'm suffocating with the need to breathe, the need to be read.  I can't settle at my desk to write, I'm pacing around with tears in my eyes frustrated that there is very little I can do about it but wait.

The voices in my head want to be heard and the worlds I've created need to be seen.  It sounds crazy but its something that only those who've truly been there have experienced.  I know my characters like real people and I've visited my worlds like true places.

Luckily, I am a good self motivational speaker.  I tell myself that I am good which I know I am.  I remind myself that I'm not NEVER going to be published it's just a matter of time.  Whilst I wait I should be entering competitions or submitting stories or articles to magazines or anthologies and continue working on my novels.  I have a plan, I just have to stick to it and be patient.

It's okay that sometimes I don't want to be patient, we all have moments.  We all sometimes need reassurance that we are good, that we're not delusional.  I network with other writers who share my experiences, my feelings, my ambition and for no reason they encourage me and help me no longer feel alone as I wait in line for luck and fate to find me.  I want to see them do well, they have so much talent and people are missing out on experiencing their words.

One day I will make it into print.  I know this because I will never give up.  I will never stop believing, dreaming, imagining and it is this drive that what will carry me to success.

Friday 20 April 2012

BWA Competition

British Writers Awards is holding a short monthly competition where you need to write a 300 word story, poem or song based on their picture by 30 April. This is free to enter. I think I might give it a go.

Wednesday 18 April 2012

Free Courses

Did you know the Open University do 600 courses for free!

There is one on fiction writing I'm going to give a go.

I've always wanted to do a course but the full study ones are so expensive and I don't really have the time to devote to it.

I'm also curious about Latin and some of the history courses.

There is a unit on almost everything. Just Google "OU Open Learning". You sign up for free. You can test yourself and track your study hours.

It is useful if you want to:

1. See if online learning is for you

2. Test out a subject before you commit to a full time paid course

3. Want to learn something new but can't afford time/money to do it.

4. Want to update you C.V. or CPD. Plus the OU have a good reputation.

Sunday 15 April 2012



This week I discovered Opuss in the App store and already (despite a few connection problems), I would say it is the best writing app ever!  It is currently App of the Week in the UK.

What is it?

It's a bit like how Instagram is the Twitter for photos, except this is for writers.  Initially, you think, how is that different to Twitter?  Well, Twitter is for short status updates and often full of links to external sites.  Opuss allows you to write more and  everything is contained in one place - no external links.  Also, it's got a quirky cat and wood themed design that looks really smart.

Write it

To write a post is easy; you just click on the paw print in the middle of the icons list.  This the large one labelled 'Compose' at the bottom of the screen.  Then you title you piece and write away, add some tags, post and your done.  Alternatively, when you signed up, you will have received an email address to send your posts too and these will be uploaded but tends to be slightly slower.  Therefore, you can easily post to Opuss from your mobile or PC.

Read it

The left hand icon 'Feed' with a picture on a dinner bowl is where all the posts submitted by yourself and people you are following will appear.  This feed will become more active as you start subscribing to others.

The 'Top' icon with a picture of a collar on takes you to the screen picture on the left.  This lists all the most highly rated posts for the day, week, month and year.  This is handy for discovering what others are enjoying on Opuss and you may discover somebody new to follow.

The 'Find' button with a little mouse on it is where you can run searches to find things that will interest you.  Click in the search bar to type your criteria (i.e. 'Holidays') and decide if you want it to find Opusses (posts), Authors or Tags.  Then you can search to read something choosing from Everything to something more specific like a poem or a quote.  These categories are then broken down into even more specific criteria (i.e. Joke that is Adult, Animal, Food, Geek, etc).

Account it

The 'Profile' button is all about you.  On this page you can see an overview of your Opuss posts count to date, number of people following you and number you're following.  If you are competitive, there is also a rank number.  Beneath this you can see a News feed, which is worth checking to see if anyone has commented on your work or chosen to follow you (good etiquette is to follow back).  Then there is a Liked feed so you can find posts that you enjoyed reading to read again.  Then there is a Friends page where you can link your Opuss to Facebook, Twitter or your email account to find your friends and get them to join the fun too.  

When you get a notification the app makes a cute 'Meow' noise.  I didn't realise this and spent some time looking for my cat only discover I had a number of notifications on my Opuss.  

The app has also got some entertaining 404 error messages for when connections are lost.  It's not often that an app gets praised for not working but these do make me chuckle and I know the app is fairly new so I just take a break and come back later.  Other members have logged in and out (standard IT reboot) which also seems to fix this.  

The Future

Currently, Opuss is only available on the iphone and ipad (and maybe the iTouch).  There is talk about it being rolled out onto other platforms for everyone to enjoy.  The poll currently is in favour of it being developed for PC use but plans are that it will be available for all mobiles in the future.

Find out more at:

Thursday 12 April 2012

First Draft To Masterpiece

There is no such thing as rubbish writing. Getting your ideas out is the first step to your masterpiece. Without words you will never produce a novel.

Don't restrain your imagination with editing. When the story is flowing it's hard to keep up as the ideas tumble onto the page, racing ahead before scenes and characters are properly formed.

Then, once you have something there, you have somewhere to revisit and work on improving.

Don't be surprised if it takes 20 edits to get it right. Quite often, you can't see the mistakes right away and need to take a break from it. Sometimes you'll need to start a section over from another perspective to make it stronger. Don't be afraid to delete a section completely that has no value to the story.

Scrutinise sentences and change description words; take them out if it's getting a bit wordy or add them in if it strengthens the image. Strike a balance between show and tell.

Then there are the basics such as spelling, grammar, punctuation and the layout of your manuscript.

For me, editing takes a lot longer to do than actually writing the story. I enjoy letting my imagination run wild rather than analysing what it's produced. For others to see the story as I've envisioned, editing is crucial!

Once edited I'm more confident that my novel is marketable and can then send it out to agents or publishers. Still, I do hate editing!

Monday 2 April 2012

Published - My Article

In January, I was forwarded a News Letter from a friend at Scribblers (my local writers group).  The News Letter informed me that an online magazine that supports writers was worried they were not getting any submissions.  I posted about this on my blog to encourage others to submit articles:   

On 20 February 2012, I decided to follow my own advice and submitted an article "Struggle" to Writing Raw for consideration.  On 21 March 2012, they emailed me to say they planned to include it in their April edition but needed me to write a Bio.  So, on the 25 March 2012, I worked on writing my first Bio:

I was very excited as I waited for my article to be published:

I would recommend, to anyone to passionate about writing, to give it a go.  I honestly didn't think I would get anywhere with it but now I'm published.  Next time, I think I'll spend more time editing as I don't think it's my best work but it has boosted my confidence and I'd happily try writing an article again.

Best of all, it was fun and didn't cost me a thing.  

I guess I best update my bio to include my recent published article...


Sunday 25 March 2012

How to write a Writer's Bio

I'm going to be published!

Got some excellent news the other day, Writing Raw are going to publish my article 'Struggle' about new writers trying to get published in their April addition.  However, they'd like me to submit a Writers Bio.  

I know my writers bio is not great as I'm still struggling to get noticed.  I'm not sure what to put in it, so I did some research.

I found the following websites very useful in my quest:  

5 Rules to Writing a Writer's Bio

The general rules I learnt was:

Rule 1:  Write in third person

Rule 2:   Introduce your self and what you do. 

Rule 3:  Give the facts - nowhere in your bio should you mention your hopes and dreams:
  • writing courses you've completed
  • writers groups you're a member of (online and offline)
  • any work you've had published (even if it was free) or competitions won.
Rule 4:  Conclusion.  Some of the sites suggest that you can use this an opportunity to say something personal about yourself or leave a hook about your current projects.

Rule 5:  Edit it.  Keep it concise - aim for less than 90 words.  Check spelling, grammar and punctuation is accurate. 

My Writer's Bio

Here is what I finally come up with...

Alison Aldridge is a blogger and writer of fiction novels.  Her short romance story was published in the Scribblers Anthology to raise money for the Children’s Hospice.  She maintains a website and blog on writing. Alison delivers courses to develop written English skills for students in work based learning.  She's a member of Scribblers, a local writers group in Felixstowe and several online communities.  Alison is currently working on Wipe-out, a sequel to Drift, a coming of age Young Adult novel about a mermaid and first love.  

I am going to save a copy and update it as and when required.

Tuesday 13 March 2012

Mobile Blogger

Wow! How come nobody told me about mobile blogging. Just downloaded Blogger from the App Store. It's free and means I can blog anywhere, anytime.

There are so many other useful apps on my iPhone that I want to share with you that I've decided to make them a regular feature of my blog.

Coming soon Writer App Recommendations...

Sunday 11 March 2012

British Writers Award

I spent this morning editing Drift and my synopsis. Then I spent the afternoon checking the format was correct to meet BWA's guidelines. 


  • One to two pages long 
  • The whole story revealed (including the ending)*Font must be Arial, 12pt, black 
  • Top left must say "Synopsis - Drift" 
  • Word or pdf format 


  • Three consecutive chapters - ideally the first ones 
  • Font must be Arial, 12pt, black 
  • Must follow the synopsis in the same document 

As I was worried that they may not be able to open my Word document, I printed and saved it in pdf format. I then submitted it to both the Novel and Children's Story categories as you can make three submissions and the submission can be the same story to more than one category. If I want, I can submit another entry but I don't think I have anything else up to standard. I've got several stories in the making but nothing else polished and complete. 

Once this was done, I went to bake some butterfly cakes to celebrate.  I think my creative writing is better than my creative yum - icing sugar, white chocolate stars and smarties everywhere.

Good luck to everyone that has entered. I think this one will have a lot of competition as it is international and the fee is quite reasonable (about £10 for three entries).