Wednesday, 8 February 2012

A new novel approach...

Ask me to write a short story - something dark and macabre - and the words just fly out of the end of my fingers so why, oh why is something longer such a tall order?

I'll tell you why - planning. I have the seed of an idea, more than that even...a sapling...and I'm off in a flash, bashing at the keys for a few weeks before gradually...inevitably...steadily...running out of steam and grinding to a halt. And all because I haven't thought it through properly.

I blame my age - 40 is looming ominously large on my life horizon and I am beginning to panic that if I don't finish one soon I might as well forget it. Utter rubbish I know and fortunately help is at hand.

If you are suffering from the same 'few thousand word' syndrome as me then I suggest you buy a copy of Writing Magazine this month and check out the article by Stewart Ferris - idiot proof planning and inspiration and a life line to the struggling masses.

His website has some wonderful 'cheats' and ideas to help keep things moving. Log on and have a look.

On a more productive note, the latest shortbread story has been very well received, so thank you one and all for reading - there are many more to come!



  1. I enjoyed Stewart's article too! Lack of planning is one of my weaknesses too. I always thought planning would 'stifle' me and I'd write better without it but now I'm not so sure. Will definitely check out his website.

    Really enjoyed reading your story aswell!

    1. Thank you for reading the story - so glad you enjoyed it! Shortbread has such a fantastic community of contributors - high quality submissions and honest productive feedback - I hope to see you on there soon!
      As fas as the planning goes I'm rather ashamed of myself for not doing more. My whole life is chronicled by lists so why not my writing? Thanks to Stuart's ideas I have a whole skeleton for a novel now - based on his boy meets girl scenario. I'll keep you posted!

  2. I know where you are coming from Heidi-Jo - planning is not my middle name - I rely (wait usually) on inspiration and writing full length manuscripts is another ball-game from the short story. I will have a look at the article you linked to but I imagine I will not be drawn back to the notion I might write a novel one day. At not quite forty I suspect you have a way to go before calling time on your first novel - you write very well, and let's face it not all published writers are that good writers, in a literary sense, so...

    1. Hi Adam, I am having great fun with the simple 'boy meets girl' scenario identified in the article. I am learning to slow up a bit I think, pace myself and my ideas...having said that...I was in the kitchen writing my flash fiction shortbread entry at 12.40am this morning...say no more.