Friday, 22 January 2016

Writer's Block Buster: 'Play-date' with my heroine brings fresh insights and inspiration

You know the classic cartoon meme of the hapless character who runs off the cliff, but only falls when he looks down, causing suspended gravity to kick in, splattering him on the canyon floor?

Do you ever get to a point in your first draft when, like that character, you're running along at breakneck speed, creating your fiction with blissful abandon? Then, two thirds of the way through, as the plot becomes ever more clear to you, you grind to a halt, over-analyzing and second guessing yourself ? You itch to edit edit edit, change course, look down, and suddenly you're stymied and blocked, lying splattered with bruised wings on the canyon floor?

That's what happened to me last week while scooting gleefully through the first draft of my second novel "Kittiwake and Cloudhover." My feisty heroine Thirza and my wildlife whispering hero Bram from "Goatsucker Harvest" find themselves hurtling towards the dizzying cliffs of Flamborough on the Holderness Coast, summer 1856. Suddenly, I found myself temporarily stuck in the wet sand, caught in a bind between my writing and editing brains.

So, I was inspired to try to find my own solution. Maybe you'll find this approach helpful, too. Maybe you have your own self-restart buttons to press? I'd love to hear about them!

I let myself skip off for a quick off-piste "play date" with my heroine, letting Thirza tell me, in her own inimitable voice, how she saw the plot, the other characters, from start to finish.

It gave my querulous inner critic the night off. 8000 words later, I had some useful fresh plot twists, insights and inspiration. I'd also been able to "kill" some of my floppier "darlings" plus some of Thirza's turns of phrase cried out for inclusion in future drafts.

So, with a clearer road map, a renewed purpose, rested and refreshed, it's a joy to put my hands back on the tiller and steer for the end of the first draft again.

I'm excited for the day in the future when I can share more of these crazy, cliffhanging emotional adventures with you!

Thanks for reading and for all your support, amazing reviews, laughs, and for sharing my writing journey!

Saturday, 9 January 2016

South Landing at Flamborough nominated for BBC Countryfile Magazine's Beach of the Year

Wonderful news that this beautiful hidden treasure of the Yorkshire Coast has been nominated as Best Beach of the Year!

If you want funfairs, sticks of rock, crowds, donkey rides and noise, this gorgeous spot isn't ever going to be your cup of sea.

For those of us who love the sound of the ocean, the cry of seabirds, chalk cliffs meeting the waves and sweet seaside solitude, for me at least, it just cannot be beaten.

Still time to vote in all categories here till 31st January 2016: BBC Countryfile Magazine Awards 2015/16

Here's some more views  of Flamborough's South Landing I took in June 2012:

Friday, 8 January 2016

Flamborough Cliff Climbers: Historical Human Cliffhangers in my Work in Progress

The Flamborough "climmers" (climbers) or egg collectors, seen in this Yorkshire Film Archive footage from 1908, YORKSHIRE FILM ARCHIVE: THE EGG HARVEST - CLIFF CLIMBING AT FLAMBOROUGH (1908) are integral to the action of my WIP "Cloudhover Solstice" set in the 1850s. Thirza and Bram on their keel "Thistle" find themselves swept off course, caught up in a maritime nightmare where seabirds face daily peril from gangs of tourists with guns and locals who harvest their eggs for profit and their feathers for fashion.

What hidden dangers haunt the East Coast chalk cliffs and caves? Beached and stranded, Thirza and Bram strive against the odds, risking everything to uncover what makes the Kittiwakes cry and turn the tide of creeping commercialism and vested interests towards care and conservation of our fragile coastline. This quest will challenge Bram's ancestral skills as a wildlife whisperer, his inventive ingenuity and compassion, not to mention his unsteady sea legs to the limit, as well as plunging the feisty and fearless Thirza literally over the edge.

Warning: We wildlife lovers may find distressing the sight of one climmer near the end of this short film, staging a mock 'fight' between a captured Guillemot and Puffin. It is historical scenes like this that motivate Thirza and Bram in the struggle to 'reverse the ravage' caused by humankind and to champion these voiceless and vulnerable creatures.

Watch for future updates about "Cloudhover Solstice" and meanwhile don't miss my first novel featuring Thirza and Bram in the heartstopping historical fantasy "Goatsucker Harvest" on Amazon in paperback and ebook.

Thanks so much for stopping by!