Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Why I watch #truecrime

I don't watch #truecrime out of some macabre fascination. To hear gruseome details of how people were hurt.

No, I watch because whilst I do the people who were murdered who never got justice are alive and its like they're telling me "I matter, don't let people forget me."

I hope someone is watching who can get them justice so they can rest in peace.  

Sunday, 27 October 2019

Finishing that novel - 2 things you must do

When you first start writing your novel it's all new. You have an unbridled enthusiasm and are bursting with ideas. You can barely contain the words as they come trundling out.

Even some normal, mundane task like washing the dishes can bring forth another twist or thing to add to your story.

Then comes the inevitable (at least for me) mid-novel slump where you start to question everything.

Have you chosen the right story?

Is the main character you crafted the kind that will appeal to readers?

Are you even the right person to write this novel?

Doubt hits you like a sledge hammer. This is the stage where you're just as likely to trash your manuscript as submit it to a publisher or agent.

Step away from that novel. Have a break. Have a holiday even if its just from your novel.

Give yourself some distance before you start to edit your novel. Your finished product will thank you.

Before you get down to the final edit after you've set the book aside for some timehere are two things you must do-

1. Print the whole book out - Often on screen you see what should be there instead of what is actually there. That's why it's a good idea to have a hard copy in front of you.

Tip - If you want to be environmental friendly try putting your book on your tablet or mobile phone to edit it. You will notice any mistakes better if you fo this.

2. Cut what doesn't work - It may be one of the best bits of writing you've ever produced, but does it work in this novel?

Be ruthless.

Ditch it. Don't look back.

Good luckxxx

Monday, 21 October 2019

Can you write when you're depressed?

Over recent months I've found myself hitting the wall when it comes to my writing as lifes constant punches leave me reeling. 

At times writing my latest big novel (you know the one you think will get you a book deal at least in the five figures and make you a household name at long last) has hit the buffers so many time I'm thinking of renaming it Stuttering to a Stop.

Some people might call it writers' block - that condition some people believe doesn't exist - but I know its depression. 

When you have depression it can be hard enough getting up in the morning far less crafting captivating text.

So how do you carry on writing when you're depressed? 

First of all have you been to see your doctor? Treatment can help ease your depression although it doesn't work for everyone. 

1. Be kind to yourself - So you haven't hit that two thousand words a day target you set for yourself or made that massive breakthrough in the plot that will have you manically dancing around the room. But you have reformatted that tricky paragraph or realised your killer's name shouldn't sound too much like they belong in a cartoon. 

Even baby steps deserve credit. Pat yourself on the back now. 

2. Take a walk - Familiarity breeds content and that can apply to your own novel. You're so close to it, every word has bled out onto that page forever imprinted in your consciousness. You can get to that stage where you think I've written a load of rubbish and want to delete it or if you're old school toss that novel in the trash. 

Please don't.

Take a deep breath. Then go for a walk. 

I have a rescue dog called Harley who spent the first six months of his life stuck in a house and never taken for a walk. He's now more than happy to sprint/saunter along for miles and be a sounding board for my latest novel. 

The last thought is a lie. 

3. Get talking to other writers on Twitter or writers' message boards - You're not the first to suffer from depression and talking to others who have suffered too can be helpful. 

4. Write a blog post - It can be short and sweet but managing to do any writing at all when you're depressed is an achievement. It can also have help kick start the writing you're doing on that larger project like your novel.

Thursday, 29 August 2019

Rip it up and start again - your novel might be better for it

There's nothing worse than working hard into the wee small hours, making yourself so tired you don't just have grey bags under your eyes you have saucers, only to get two thirds of the way through writing your novel and finding yourself shaking your head. 

You know something is wrong with your novel. Thankfully you realise what it is.

You might have taken the wrong turn in the plot or given a character way too much of the story that they haven't earned (if you've watched the 3rd season of 13 Reasons Why and met the new narrator Ani you'll know what I mean).

Of course you could ignore this feeling in your gut that your book isn't quite right. Then you could end up sending it to a critique agency when publishers and agents turn it down, which is very expensive, only to be probably told what you already knew - that a part of your book wasn't working. 

Something you knew already but couldn't face acknowledging. 

Getting over the finishing line isn't what it's all about

Instead of spending money 
you probably haven't got ask yourself this (I look like I'm shouting but I  need to be reminded of this too) ask yourself this   -


Sure, getting that novel finished is your goal, but you want it to be as good as it can possibly be so it gets a publisher or you get an agent, or you self-publish a good novel. 

That may mean either cutting swathes of text or even ripping it up and starting again. 

Be brave. Good writing is fearless. It often comes from knowing when to reach for that delete key or recycle bin.

Saturday, 17 August 2019

Who is Ed Kemper aka the Co-ed Killer in Mindhunter?

With Mindhunter returning to Netflix people are asking who is Ed Kemper aka the Co-ed Killer.

Here are 5 things you might not know about the giant serial killer -

1. Kemper is a giant at 6foot 9 and was teased about it at school and by his family including his elder sister who allegedly tried to push him in front of a train and also tried to drown him.

2. His mother Clarnell Elizabeth Kemper was an alcoholic drunk who despised her son. He later killed her.

3. When he was a child he already showed signs of being a serial killer. He would decapitate his sister's dolls, torture and kill animals and ask his sister to play an electric chair game where she'd pretend to electrocute him.

4. He's called the Co-ed Killer because most of his victims were young women students at co-educational establishments. He targeted them when they were hitchhiking and would drive them to secluded spots where he'd decapitate, dismember and violate them.

5. When he was 15 he murdered his grandparents and was diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenic and sent to a psychiatric hospital. Had he not been released at the age of 21 he wouldn't have gone on to murder his mother,  her friend and the six students.

6. At one stage he wanted to be a police officer, but he was rejected because of his huge size. He still made friends with cops by hanging out with them at a bar and was given the nickname Big Ed.

Wednesday, 7 August 2019

Only in a parallel universe could Netflix kill The OA

Like every other fan of the wonderfully twisty, time travelling drama The OA I was  saddened to see the show being cancelled  after just two seasons by Netflix. 

The so-called champions of new shows and the amazing people who create them have cancelled a truly one of a kind show beloved by critics and fans in equal measure. And we are damn angry. 

What makes the cancellation such a bitter pill to swallow is that right now we need a show like The OA especially at a time when we've waved goodbye to another popular show with a stellar and diverse cast Orange is the New Black. 

Both shows are the perfect antidote to the big bad in the White House Donald Trump who tells people who were born in the USA to go back home (but would never dream of saying that to his non-US born wife because she's white). 

A man who is the pin up boy for the racist extremists like the racist coward who went on a shooting rampage in El Paso, a place that was apparently deliberately targeted because of its high Hispanic population. Or if you want to put it another way because it'd a high percentage of non-whites. 

A man who's cohorts seem to want to turn the land of the free into their own version of The Handmaid's Tale by cutting off women's rights to choose abortion. 

The OA has the kind of diverse cast that's under attack in the USA right now. The transgender community is represented by the wonderful Ian Alexander as Buck/Michelle Vu.

The Latino American community by gay boy genius French played brilliantly by Brandon Perea.

Disaffected youth by the extremely likeable Patrick Gibson who plays Steve. 

Phyllis Smith from The Office is handed the best role I've ever seen for a mature woman as Betty Broderick-Allen (or BBA for short).  The way she saves Steve from wayward teens camp (it looks more like parent sponsored kidnapping) still makes me smile. 

In the OA's world you can change the world and you don't do it with hate speech or bullets, you do it with love and some tai chi style movements. The way the gang stopped what would have been a mass school shooting was nothing short of genius. 

Maybe in another dimension The OA does still exist on Netflix and there's a season 3, then 4 and 5 on its way as was planned. I'll keep meeting my friends to do the movements just in case I can reunite Prairie and Homer once again. 

Until then The OA will continue to live in all of us privileged enough to watch it thanks to its amazing creators Brit Marling  and Zal Batmanglij.

DI Duncan Waddell - Detective in a Coma Book 2

Why I watch #truecrime

I don't watch #truecrime out of some macabre fascination. To hear gruseome details of how people were hurt. No, I watch because w...