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Choice Words for December

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This time of year always finds me in a reflective mood (well, in between the chaos of present shopping, wrestling the Christmas tree down from the attic, and doing my best to subtly interrogate my family about what they'd like me to buy them for the big day).

Ali from Aliventures feels exactly the same and that's why this month's Choice Words are her Twelve Wise and Inspiring Quotes About Writing. Have a look. They're well worth a read.

Phoebe Morgan, author and editor, offers some insightful advice in her article, Your Publisher's Decisions.

Finally, here's a little help on the topic of literary agents from writer, Iain Broome.

What I'm doing this month - December

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Advent calendars are eagerly opened each morning, the tree is up in all it's tinsel-ly grandeur, and Christmas cards are written and ready to post. December has arrived.

After the house move in November, we're well on the way to unpacking all the boxes and bags we brought with us. The new place finally feels like home.

December will be a month of winding down after all the hard work of settling in here, preparing for the festive break, and looking ahead to all the new beginnings that January will bring.

Writing-wise, I'm determined to carve out some time during the Christmas holiday to return to my novel (armed with advice from my recent meeting with literary agent Lucy Morris).

Work-wise, Murdering the Text has never closed its online doors during or since the move. Blog posts have been written and newsletters have continued to fly out. We'll be winding down for Christmas on 22nd December though, opening up again on 3rd January.

Family-wise, the present buying is an …

Something Useful for 2017 - Exercise No. 26

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This month's writing exercise is intended to set your creative cogs whirring.

You're at home on your own. It's dusk and you're settling down with a hot drink.

As far as you're concerned you won't be going out and you certainly aren't expecting a visitor.

There's a knock on your front door, a quiet, hesitant knock.

You put down your drink and stand up.

There's a second knock, this time heavy and insistent - knock, knock, knock, knock, knock.

When you get to the door, you put the chain on and gingerly open it.

There's nobody there but as you look down, you see a cardboard box has been left on your doorstep.

You take off the chain, cautiously open the door and peer out.

There's nobody around. You step outside and examine the box.

It's sealed but there's no address, label or writing on it.

What do you do? Do you open it on your doorstep? Do you carry it inside? Do you ignore it and  close the door?

If you do open it, what's inside?

Literary Festivals - why I think they're worth it

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Last week, I had a wonderful excuse to escape the mountain of unpacked boxes still filling my new home, dress up and head into Chester.
On Monday last, as part of the Chester Literature Festival held at the Storyhouse, I met with Curtis Brown literary agent Lucy Morris to go over the opening chapter of my novel and the accompanying synopsis.
The feedback on my chapter was brilliant but what proved to be the most helpful was the discussion of my synopsis. 
I had always played a bit of a guessing game when it came to writing my synopsis, pulling from the information offered by literary agent websites and online writing advice. Talking to Lucy cleared all of that up for me. 
The definition of a synopsis that I grew up with was a break down of a novel's chapters. I knew that this wasn't the case anymore and that an overview of the storyline was preferable but that was as far as my idea of a synopsis went.
Lucy began by asking me to tell her what my novel was about and how it diff…

What I'm doing this month - November

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It's finally here - the day my family has been waiting for. It's felt like the whole process has moved at a snail's pace but we got there in the end.

We're moving!

When I next post on this blog, it will be from our new house (well, new to us).

There'll be a lot to sort out - boxes to unpack, change of address notifications to send out, finding a place for everything - along with continuing to run our normal life too.

So, although you will hear from me this month, most of it will be taken up with settling into our new home.

Wish me luck.

What Hallowe'en?

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Hallowe’en is a bit of a non starter for me this year. The whole family are working on the new house we’ve bought (but not yet moved into), decorating our teens’ bedrooms in readiness for when new carpets arrive tomorrow.
We’ve spent the last few days steaming, scraping and generally manhandling woodchip off the walls. Each morning we’ve woken up stiff and tired from our evening stints, so by tonight, all we’ll be any good for is watching a scary movie on TV, phoning for a takeaway meal, and staggering to the door to hand over sweets to the trick or treating kiddies.
This time last year, I wrote about what Hallowe’en means to me in A Hallowe’en Dilemma. All of that still holds true.
Hallowe’en will always be a special day to me, and before I drag myself off to bed (I’m beginning to sound more and more like a zombie as I write), I’ll spare a thought for my loved ones who are no longer with us.

Wherever you spend it, and whatever you do, have a wonderful Hallowe’en. 

Photo Inspiration for October

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Seeing as it is Hallowe'en in a matter of days, I thought it only fitting that this month's photo inspiration should be suitably scary.

Or perhaps, you don't find this image or graveyards scary.

There's a leaf strewn path leading through a shady graveyard to an area of bright sunlight. Do you walk along the path? Do you stay where you are? Do you investigate the gravestones, leaving the path to tread in between the stones?

Are you walking the dog? Are you meeting someone? Are you escaping someone?

What does this photo inspire you to write?