Monthly Archives: July 2014

Inspirational music to help find the muse

I’m a fan of sharing the knowledge, be it tools to help writing, benefits of my (limited) experience of just links to writing-related tips, news or other nuggets.

Today it’s the turn of the music. I personally find it beneficial to listen to music whilst writing, it seems to help me tune in a little more emotionally to what I’m trying to write, especially when the scene is particularly evocative.

So, today’s sharing is EpicMusicVn. This talented group of editors have compiled an excellent series of music compilations on YouTube that really serve to inspire, motivate and just simply help visualize what I’m writing about. I don’t watch the videos as such, just listen to the music and type away.

Check them out anyway, hopefully someone will get the same benefit I have.





Coma Companion – a horror/sci fi short story of mine, now available at Smashwords (free)


This was previously available at Amazon (and still is), but I’ve taken advantage of the new Kindle Unlimited option of getting out of kdp select early and I’ve now published this for free at Smashwords here.

Hope you like it 🙂

“When Doctor David Baines creates a machine that allows him to directly enter the mind of a comatose patient, he encounters a twisted reality that, rather than being the inner workings of one person’s mind, is actually a limbo world beyond life, and death, in unexpected forms, awaits the unwary.”



Researching WHILST writing your WIP, and why you shouldn’t do it…

It’s my own fault really.

A lot of my current WIP draws on modified versions of different mythologies from times of yore.  Now, before I did my first draft I spent many an hour on Wikipedia, mythology sites, old books etc as I worked to build the world behind my story. This went well, the background seemed solid, and the framework held for the first draft.

Then I made a silly mistake that I aim not to repeat.

I wanted some extra depth on my ancient Gaelic myth, so I dug around the web, eventually finding the fascinating “Epic Of Gilgamesh” (yes I know this isn’t Gaelic, I was branching out from my prime “Gaelic” source – curse ye Wikipedia and you’re suggestive links!).

Now, I should add that I’m not using this story in my own, but the story was fascinating, and I dug more into ancient Mesopotamia and other ancient legends. Inevitably, I found things I would just love to put in my WIP,  and so ensued manic reworks of outlines, backgrounds, histories etc just to fit in these extra juicy titbits of that I felt enriched my story.

Now I sit here, previously angry but now serene. Initially, the end result was  a sprawling mess – a prime example of trying to fit in too much to too little available space, but after that I took a heavy duty editing machete to this background work and trimmed the hell out of it. Gone were the various cherry-picked morsels from various old world religions – I took the best bits, the core required for my story, enforced consistency by way of sticking with one underlying mythos and I’m now left with a much simpler version of my background.

The exercise was helpful, but it means yet more work in draft three, when I get to that. My aim now is to consolidate my background documents into one master document and aim to work from there.

I suspect this is a newbie mistake due to my relative inexperience as a writer. I’ve never invested so much in world building before, but in order for this story to hold credence it needs to have a solid, consistent mythology for me to build upon. I also learned that this WIP will definitely NOT be a one book piece, there’s just too much – even with my simplified history – in my world for it not to be visited again. Whilst part of me is excited by this prospect, the other side is dreading the upcoming battles I’ll have with my own curiosity and the need to add “just one more thing”….

Anyone else experience this kind of story bloat when trying to cram too much in? Please say sit ain’t just me! 🙂

Here endeth the rant 🙂



Novel Structure Cheat Sheets


I’ve added this link to my blog roll but also as a post. I found it via a link from reddit a few weeks ago but only really got round to looking at it now. For me and my inherent lack of planning skills I’ve found some of these templates very useful for checking my beats, structure etc. In fact I’m using one right now to go through my current WIP to check I’m on the right lines.

I know there’s no hard and fast rules about plot and story structure, but for me, with this being my first “properly edited” novel, I’ve found adhering, even loosely, to some kind of framework very helpful.

There’s a few here, kudos to Jami (@JamiGold) for doing this 🙂


Amazon vs. Hachette – Indie authors and lovers of Indie Lit. – take a stand against big publishing, sign the petition.

Indie Hero

Some have called for a boycott of Amazon. Read the article excerpt below.

“Self-published authors responded to Preston’s open letter on Thursday with their own petition, which now boasts over 3,000 signatures.

Launched by Howey – author of the hit dystopian novel Wool – and others including the bestselling thriller writers JA Konrath and Barry Eisler – the letter urges readers not to boycott Amazon, arguing that the online giant has liberated authors and readers alike from the clutches of “New York Publishing”.

“Major publishers like Hachette have a long history of treating authors and readers poorly,” the petition states. “Amazon, on the other hand, has built its reputation on valuing authors and readers dearly. The two companies didn’t simultaneously change directions overnight.”

“Amazon has done more to liberate readers and writers than any other entity since Johannes Gutenberg refined the movable type printing press”, the petition continues, adding that “Amazon…

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Another short, Cogito Ergo Sum, available at Smashwords (free)

One I wrote before commencing my current rewrite. Hope you like it 🙂

“…you never wonder how you’ll react to a defining moment in history until you experience it for yourself…”

Gareth Young makes a tweak to the most powerful experiment on earth based on just a hunch. The result is a revelation of the most profound, but is all it seems to be?

40,000 words of 2nd draft reached!

A battling milestone this.  What began as a hefty revision of the first draft of my current WIP (working title – The Embers of Danu) has turned into a painful, but necessary rewrite. I tried to avoid it, I really did, but ultimately there had been too many deviations from my main outline. One perhaps I could have handled, but there’s at least three total direction changes that I’ve clocked so far. I think that’s it, but it’s enough to drive me to the decision I have made.

So – I’ve now got a second word doc, a revised outline, and I’m now plodding through the second draft. Many darlings have been killed. Much fat has been trimmed. It’s looking a lot better, but it’s not an experience I want to go through again.

In my head my next WIP is already forming, and this time I aim to complete a much more thorough outline. It turns out being a gardener isn’t for me…


The Benefits of Writing a Terrible First Novel

An excellent post that I couldn’t put better myself.

Words of Margaux

As some of you may know, I recently completed a novel for the first time. After two failed attempts to complete manuscripts before, just the fact that I wrote “The End” was an accomplishment to me. I took some time away from the book in attempt to return to it with a fresh perspective. What I saw upon my return, however, shocked and disappointed me. My finished book, the one I spent three months writing, was not worth reading. Many find it difficult to admit this about their own creations – believe me, it took me a while to accept the fact myself. In spite of how disappointed I was by the first draft of my book, there are invaluable lessons that I learned throughout the process.

Many might say that I shouldn’t put so much pressure on myself, a first draft is never as good, and it was only…

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