Creating images of the characters that feature in your novel is a great way to help you visualise your cast. You can do the usual checklists and build psychological profiles. You can list their hair colour and height, what they like to eat, how they talk, and so on. But nothing beats an actual image.… Continue reading Creating Character Portraits: Meet the cast of The Shining Ones
Last time we looked at the art of morphing the reality of real locations to suit your story. Sometimes reality gets in the way and it’s easier to make stuff up. Creating fictional locations means you can ignore the facts and get on with the business of telling the story – which is the whole… Continue reading Tweaking Reality: Should you rename locations in your novel?
Describing reality in words is a tricky business at the best of times, and in fiction especially so. Part of The Shining Ones is set in and around Newcastle where I live so I should have no excuse for getting the locations wrong. But it’s not that simple. Some of the locations weren’t quite right… Continue reading Tweaking Reality: How accurate should locations be in your novel?
A blurb can sometimes mean a short review quoted on a book cover, but in this post we’re going to look at the other kind of blurb: the book description. The blurb is your sales pitch, printed on the back of your book or quoted on its sales page online. It’s the second most important… Continue reading How to Blurb: Writing a book description that sells
It should go without saying but: I’m not a graphic designer or an artist. I’ve taught myself how to design book covers and this post distils what I’ve learned from people wiser than me online. The most important piece of advice is: Don’t design your own covers unless you know what you’re doing and have… Continue reading A Blagger’s Guide to Book Cover Design
Designing a book cover is lots of fun and a welcome change from word wrangling and beating your novel into shape. But it can also be a frustrating experience. I scheduled two days to work on the cover for The Shining Ones, but in the end, it took a week – and it still needs… Continue reading The Shining Ones Cover Considerations
They always say you should never give up on your dreams, but what if your dream isn’t worth fighting for? What if it turns out to be a nightmare? I’ve been writing and sending my work out for years, trying to get the publishing industry interested in what I’m doing. But the publishing industry has… Continue reading Why I Gave Up the Dream of Getting Published
There’s a weird recurring search term that pops up on my stats occasionally, so I thought it was time to investigate. In amongst queries for dark night of the soul symptoms and astrological mythology, you get this: “who are you jessica davidson” Not the most interesting thing to be Googling, and I should know. So… Continue reading I’m not the Jessica Davidson you’re looking for
My muse is a shapeshifter. She’s indiscriminate: a divine whore and angelic trickster up to her knees in mulch and butterfly cocoons. She’s in sunshine and dogs and fleeting thoughts and pain. She isn’t something other than me, but I can’t control her. She is my daemon, my guide. She would also like me to… Continue reading Musings on the Muse
I was always odd, the resident freak or weirdo in any situation. And then I became a sound engineer. As a woman, that makes me exceptional. There aren’t many of us, so when I heard about Laura Marling’s latest project, Reversal of the Muse, I gave a cheer. It’s about time there were more ladies… Continue reading The Only Girl: the search for female sound engineers
I’ve struggled with Morning Pages for years. I would do them for a bit and then quit. Start again. Quit again. Repeat. Then last week I finally worked out why: I understand the problem with Morning Pages and I know how to fix it. If you don’t already know, Morning Pages is a writing practice… Continue reading Getting the most out of Morning Pages
“I traffic in fiction. I do not traffic in lies.” Alan Moore reminds me of an Old English Sheepdog with a wry twinkle in his eye. You just know he’s got a juicy bone hidden somewhere. He’s best known for his comics, like Watchmen and V for Vendetta, and for the fact that he hates… Continue reading Alan Moore on the magic of fiction and imagination