Friday, 26 August 2011

Anger Management

I realised I had an anger management problem when, during a particularly bad week, I tried to throw the telly out the window (without even opening it first). The reason, I couldn’t get the parental lock off the telly and I needed to do my exercise DVD to get fit and de-stress. 

An extreme reaction? You betcha.

After that I told myself I would never get worked up again.



The next day an email brought me more problems. I tried to reply to it. My phone wouldn’t cooperate, so I threw that across the room. Luckily, it wasn’t broken.

These incidents left me realising that I had let things get on top of me. One of the reasons was I was in a hurry to get things done.

Once, I managed to calm down, I made myself a vow - that I'd never let myself get that worked up again. This meant doing a few things -
  1. Not rushing to get things done. The people I was dealing with were taking all the time in the world, so why was I the one doing everything ASAP?
  2. Taking time to sit down and watch some old comedy videos/DVDs. Well, they do say laughter is the best medicine. I howled with laughter through The Office up until the first part of the Christmas special that had me thinking 'is this rally comedy?'
  3. Actually writing something I wanted to write instead of something I needed to. In my case that's The Waking Dead, my zombie novel set in Glasgow.
  4. Chasing my rescue dog Benjy around the room and basically crawling about the floor with him. Ok, I looked stupid when anyone came in, but I had a good time.
  5. Taking my Kalms. They have valerian that acts as a mild sedative.
Whatever you do to relax, remember you earnt it and you need it. Don't let it get to the stage where you're ready to throw a telly out a window that's not even opened.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Noir Nation Call for Submissions

Do you write crime fiction? You may be the writer Noir Nation are looking for you.



They'd love to get some more stories (including graphic stories i.e. comics) from the UK for Issue 2  (Issue 1 will be available Sept 1, 2011). They start reading for issue 2 on Oct 1.

Note - until October 1st, submissions will not be accepted.

This is a paying market.

The contact is Alan alan@noirnation.com 

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Kick-starting Your Writing


Call it writer's block, call it hitting a brick wall. Whatever you call it, it's every writer's nightmare when the words won't come and writing anything is an effort.

We've all been there, but how do you dig yourself out of the hole you're in?

 
Here are some things I do you might find useful:

1. Stop at a question - is your character pregnant/dead/the killer/in a building that's about to collapse - leave your character on a cliff-hanger and you will want to know how that question is answered.

2. Leave your character in peril. They could be facing a gunman, about to fall down a cliff, be in a stolen car escaping from the cops.

3. Suggest characters are not who or what they seem to be. For example, the police come to protect your family in peril, but it becomes clear they are not the police.  This is a good plot move as it leaves a question - if they're not the police who are they and what's their motive.

4. Follow Stephen King's advice. Think about what should logically happen next. For instance, I have a character who's been manhandled into a van by 2 thugs and taken to a deserted location. She's saved when one of them turns out to be an undercover cop. My character didn't see it coming and to be honest, neither did I.

5. Write something ese. It doesn't matter what it is. This can get you writing again.

6. Watch something funny. You might find laughing inspires you.

7. Do some unusual research. I knew that I wanted my Kirsty character to jump out of a cake but when I tried to write it, it was dreadful. I did the research and it really helped me with the writing.

8. Ban yourself from writing anything at all for one day. There is nothing more guaranteed to make you want to do than telling yourself you can't.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Bullying - A Parent's Guide



Bullying - A Parent's Guide has been updated for 2011 and will be on sale on October 1st 2011, from Amazon, all good book shops and the publisher's website. RRPis £9.99.

The updated book focusses on cyber bullying at greater length and also offers tips on how to keep your child safe online.

I also make the point that even princesses can get bullied as Kate Middleton had to leave her school when she was just 13 because of bullying. Because of that she asked that as a wedding gift, people donated money to her favourite bullying charity.

The best advice I can give to anyone who is being bullied, is to tell someone - I know its difficult (hey, I've been there). Bullies lose most of their power when you tell someone.

I have also created a Facebook Page for the book.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Don’t make your characters stereotypes

Make him real, not a stereotype

I’m a woman, so I must like shopping, shoes and soaps. I must hate football, not know the offside rule and how to fix things. And of course, I abhor bad language as it offends my feminine sensibilities.

In reality, shopping is my idea of hell, I hate shoes and wear trainers all the time because I walk a lot and soaps, well as though I am as susceptible to big storylines as anyone, I can take or leave them.

I don’t just love football, I was a football journalist for years and I am the one who fixes things in our house.

I also (shamefaced) have done quite a bit of swearing in my time. Well, put it this way, if there was a swear box in our house, I’d be putting a heck of a lot more in it than my boyfriend.

Are you a stereotype? Chances are you probably are not. So, why should your characters be?

Make them different. Make them stand out. They can even be a contradiction. For instance, in the Harlan Coben Byron Molitar books his friend Win Lockwood looks like a soft rich boy, but he’s a violent man and a master in various martial arts.

Myron’s business partner Esperanza is a small, pretty Latino lady but she used to be a professional wrestler known as Pocahontas in the Fabulous Ladies of Wrestling.

Whatever you do, DO NOT make them a stereotype; don’t generalise.

Real life people aren’t stereotypes and you want to breathe life into your characters.