Linda’s February blog

A whole month of the New Year has gone by already and where am I? Happy to say that, so far, things are going to plan.

  • I have returned to writing the sequel to Pathway to the Gods.
  • Charlotte, my agent, is preparing the packages to be sent out to publishers in the next week.
  • And quite a few members of my writing groups are planning to self-publish their own books of short stories or poems.spring-cleaning

And I’ve had a couple of sessions of spring cleaning. Not the mop and duster variety, I hasten to add. More of the I remember writing that years ago, never knew I still had it variety. But it was an incident in the kitchen that got me going. I was baking a cake and was trying to find that little bottle of vanilla essence I knew I had in the cupboard, somewhere. To get to it, I had to empty one complete shelf and I started noticing the sell-by dates! To cut a long story and two hours’ worth of clearing short, I got rid of every bottle, jar and packet that was past its date, one even going back to 2008 🙂  After that, I felt quite virtuous and my mind turned to other ways of spring cleaning, starting with writing.

I never advocate deleting old stories. But I do recommend taking a look at what you have got, squirrelled or filed away, used or unused. Some, you may well consign to the “Learning the craft” file, recognising all sorts of errors. But you may be pleasantly surprised at some of your past writing.

Believe Me coverI have just read a captivating psychological thriller called Believe Me. It is the second book by JP Delaney whose first, The Girl Before, was a best seller. Talking about that book, Delaney says: “I started this book over fifteen years ago, but for one reason and another I just couldn’t make it work. So I put it aside and wrote another book instead. That book led to another, and another – but each time I finished a book, I’d come back and have another go at this one. I knew the central idea was too good to discard, but the plotting – and the narrative structure I’d chosen – was so daunting I kept abandoning it. It was only in 2015 that I decided I’d have another, more determined go. So I ditched around 40,000 words – half a book, in other words – and that was the key to unlocking the rest of it.”

The lesson? You may well have a gem hidden in the cupboard or deep in your computer filing system. It might take a bit of work, but if you never dig it out and have a go, you’ll never know!

Also this month:
My article about Censorship and the Stage
Writing Prompts & Exercises, Recommended Websites, and Competitions

Happy Writing!

3 Comments on “Linda’s February blog

  1. I’ll give it some thought, Jackie. But there’s a warning: it might involve a chart! Not everyone’s cup of tea. But as a prolific writer, you do need to keep track of your writing, to be able to recycle stories. I’ll see what I can do for next month.

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  2. Good advice as usual Linda. I must do some spring cleaning in the form of organising my stash of stories. Every now and again one comes to mind as I see new competitions but I can’t find it! Maybe you could do a blog on organising your writing, entry completions etc. It would help if I ever get around to compiling a collection of my work!

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