Had to share a pic from my fashion and lifestyle blog to show you one of my favourite writing inspiration locations (ooh rhyme). These bluebell woods are in Heartwood Forest, just a half an hour walk from my parents’ house. In the spring the wood turns purple with flowers, making it such a magical place to go for a slow wander and getting lost in daydreams about my latest WIP. It’s especially beautiful at sunset, when the sunlight filters through the high canopy and glazes everything in hazy, golden light. Bliss.
What are your favourite places to go for writing inspiration? x
GUYS I’M SO EXCITED! Today I get to share with you the cover for my second novel, The Memory Keepers – and isn’t it absolutely beautiful! When Hot Key showed me the cover they’d made for The Elites, I didn’t think it could get much better. But then this came along. Huge props to Jan and the design team for such a great job, especially as they started the process a while before I’d even finished writing the book! It still amazes me how perfect the cover is when Jan et al had such little to go on.
Seeing the final cover is one of the best parts of the publication process. It’s when everything starts feeling as though it’s coming together, and you have little daydream visions of the book in readers’ hands, being eagerly opened, lovely paper-smelling pages thumbed for the first time.
Anyway, without further ado, may I present to you in sexy high-res (click on the images to see a bigger version) the oh-so-gorgeous cover for TMK …
Isn’t it gorgeous! I just cannot WAIT to see it on the shelves in a few months time. If you’re super keen, you can pre-order it on Amazon here, and the first few chapters are up on Hot Key’s site if you fancy a read! x
Looky looky look! How beautiful do this bad boy look? Receiving page proofs from my publisher is one of my favourite parts of the process. It’s the first time you see your story looking like a proper book, and words you’ve read over and over again now look fresh and new. However, it’s also a sad time, because it means my work on this story has come to an end. I’ve enjoyed my time so much with Seven and Alba, and am going to miss them. At least, until we’re next reunited – when I receive the advance copies in a month or two!
(Originally posted over at Author Allsorts)
Every writer has a different style when it comes to description. Some use only a minimal amount, focusing instead on action and dialogue, with short, sharp bursts of description to ground it all. Others really build it up, winding their narrative around atmospheric writing that’s so alive it’s almost another character.
Personally, I’ve always loved description. Both reading and writing it. When it comes to writing, however, especially if you’re in the children’s/young adult arena, description is usually one of the things to cut back on. I often cut around 20k of words from my first draft during a first edit (!), and a lot of that come from description. But it doesn’t mean you can’t have any description – it’s just about being clever with how you use it.
Here’s a little checklist you can use when you’re writing or editing to keep your description concise but powerful. Of course, these are just a few things to look for, but hopefully they’re helpful!
- Is the vocabulary you are using varied? We all have those crutch words and phrases. When you’re editing, look out for them and replace them where you can with new turns of phrases. Even just switching up the verbs can be effective. Eg. My heart dashed against my ribcage. You can replace dashed with crashed, slammed, smashed … the synonyms finder in Word is your friend!
- Is your description active? Meaning, does it intertwine with the action and narrative? Eg. Leaves slapped my face as I ran, but I didn’t stop, feet slamming, beating on the muddy ground, the dappled golden light filtering through the trees just a blur around me. Think of how you can weave description in without slowing the pace of a scene.
- Are you featuring all the senses? Don’t just focus on the visual – really immerse your reader in your world by using all the senses in your description. Smells and sounds are so evocative. And what’s the texture of the scene? If your character is scrabbling on the ground, describe the way the dirt feels under their fingertips, the rich, loamy scent of the earth around them. More on 360 writing here.
- Have you relied on cliches? Again, something I spot when editing a first draft are instances where I’ve been lazy and fallen on cliched descriptions. Rewrite those parts with fresh, unexpected language. Play the scene over and over in your head to hunt for those interesting details you missed before.
- Do you focus too much on description at the start of a scene? Sometimes I’m so excited about a setting I find myself wanting to lay it all out at the start of the scene. But hold back! Readers are clever. They can pick up and piece bits together as they go. If you find yourself writing a block of description at the beginning of each chapter, break it up and interweave it with the narrative.
- Are you describing through your characters? Make your description more powerful by personalising it. Ask yourself what your characters are seeing, feeling, hearing, experiencing, and really sense the scene through them. Use those insights to add emotion to your description and keep it from feeling detached.
What are your mistakes when it comes to writing description, and do you have any tips to overcome them? Let me know in the comments below
Happy writing sweeties! x