Tag Archives: novel

How much did my Cat really need Saving?

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For regular viewers of my blog, you’ll remember my post singing the praises of the author help book ‘Save the Cat’. You can view the post here https://wendysteele.com/2018/11/19/are-you-ready-to-save-the-cat/

It’s a great little book of ‘beats’ to help you create a great score to hang your story words on, but how much did I really need this book? How much did I already know? How big a part should a book like this play when creating a novel?

Having already written the first draft of The Eloquent Witch, I applied the beats to it, and though some of the points weren’t in the exact order, I was there or there abouts, so the manuscript needed a good edit and tighten up…but I would have done this before publishing any way.

I’ve started the fifth book in the Lizzie Martin series, The Able Witch, twice now, using the Save the Cat beat sheet, and though the story is moving on, finally, and I can feel the magic happening in some of the scenes, I’ve not been feeling the joy. I put the book aside for a few weeks, and returned to it last week, as I had a break from teaching.

On the first day, I gave myself free rein to pick up the story and run…and I loved it! The next day I read through what I’d written, and started to get concerned I’d veered away from the sheet. I spent the day attempting to write my way back…it wasn’t a good writing day.

Day three, I spent a good few hours distracting myself with outdoor jobs (it was sunny!), digging and barrowing wood, even washing up, rather than picking up my WIP. When I did, the writing was forced.

Day four, I deleted what I’d written the day before and allowed myself to be caught up in domesticity.

Day five, Friday, I realised the problem…my characters and the story wanted to be written one way, while the beat sheet wanted me to write a different way. I was writing to fitting in what I needed to meet the requirements of the beat sheet, rather than how the characters wanted to run with the story. The struggle became a battle because I didn’t trust my own ability enough. I spent the weekend arguing with myself about it.

On Monday, I picked up my WIP, read the last chapter I’d written, made a few changes and wrote on with my hand written notes beside me. I’m not giving up on Save the Cat, but sticking to a pre-planned beat sheet of the whole book isn’t suiting me at all.

Sadly, my schedule this week isn’t going to leave much room for writing as I’m launching a new evening dance class in Aberystwyth on Thursday, as well as Tuesday and Wednesday lessons, and it’s Women’s International Day on Friday, but once I’ve established a new routine, I’ll let you know how the writing is going.

There’s no doubt Save the Cat has taught me a lot, but I’m beginning to see that my story writing/story telling, is as important as the structure.

 

 

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Are you ready to Save the Cat!?

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I belong to a fabulous group on Facebook called Witch Lit, for readers and magical creators, who enjoy poetry, songs, short stories, novels, in fact all things magical. I was recommended this book by Laura Perry, one of the other admins on the group, which arrived two weeks ago and hasn’t left my side for more than twenty four hours! Here’s my review and then you’ll know why…

The best ever self help book about writing a novel!”

‘Save the cat! Writes a Novel’ is the best self help book about writing I’ve ever read. As soon as you begin to read, there’s a feeling of excitement as this tried and trusted recipe for successful novel writing is explained by Jessica Brody. Originally an idea by the late Blake Snyder, a Hollywood screenwriter, Jessica, one of his pupils who had used and succeeded with the original method, has created a concise, straight forward, easy to use guide to creating a great novel.

With very little pre-amble, the book dives straight in, asking you questions about your book idea or the WIP you’ve started (or completed.) One of the beauties of this book is that it suits plotters or pantsers. If you want to organise and plot with precision, you can use this book from the word go, or if, like me, you’d already written the book, but wanted it to be the best it could be (or wanted to see how close to the perfect book you’ve managed to get yourself), then you can use it at this point to.

Having already studied another novel writing book, I managed to get the majority of the points mentioned in the book, but not necessarily in the right order or to the degree I needed to press the points home. With my newly fashioned ‘Beat Sheet’, I’m working my way through my book, crafting and sculpting to make it flow better and keep the reader hooked with every turn of the page.

This book will not write your story for you. You need a good story to start with, but be assured, if you follow this ‘Beat Sheet’, you’ll have the best possible structure for your book.

The book guides the writer through Beat Sheets and Story Genres, and you think ‘Wow, this is so simple when you read it like this.’ While you’re basking in the sunshine of knowing you’re onto a winner, Ms Brody gives you more! ‘Pitch it to me!’ gives you all the info you need to create fabulous, unforgettable loglines and concise, exciting synopses. …And then there’s even more! ‘Save the Author!’ is all of her FAQs, beautifully answered to give you the most detailed yet manageable ‘big picture’ you’ll ever need.

I paid £11.99 for the paperback of this book, and in only two weeks, I’ve more than had my money’s worth. I recommend anyone writing their first novel to read this book…in fact, every story teller should read it!

You can purchase Save the Cat! here…

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Save-Cat-Writes-Novel-Writing/dp/0399579745/ref

https://www.amazon.com/Save-Cat-Writes-Novel-Writing/dp/0399579745/ref

If you’re interested in magical reading or writing, come and join our Witch Lit group for books and more https://www.facebook.com/groups/1055104057875422/

Press the newsletter link on this blog for monthly updates about books, dance, plant based food and all things magical. Bright Blessings xx

 

The Flowerpot Witch is coming soon!

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Lizzie Martin has chosen pottery to be her new career…

But the teacher from hell threatens to thwart her ambitions before she starts.

She has support from her best friend Louise and Evan, another pottery tutor, but Rowan, her fifteen year old daughter is restless, Josh, her ex-husband is colluding with her aunt and though her mother is alive, access to her is forbidden. When The Morrigan appears in her sacred circle, Lizzie knows she has a battle on her hands.

There is hope though.

Stardust the chicken brings a new creature into Lizzie’s life and a long awaited meeting with her Aunt Matilda brings Lizzie’s past into perspective.

Lizzie’s magic ventures beyond The Sanctuary, into the Welsh landscape and the realms of the fae.

 

You can pre-order your copy now!

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Flowerpot-Witch-Wendy-Lizzie-Martin-ebook/dp/B07DDK3BYW/ref

https://www.amazon.com/Flowerpot-Witch-Wendy-Lizzie-Martin-ebook/dp/B07DDK3BYW/ref

 

The Flowerpot Witch is a stand alone novel but why not meet Lizzie and her daughter, Rowan now in the first two books of the series, The Naked Witch and The Orphan Witch?

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Naked-Witch-Wendy-Novel-Book-ebook/dp/B06W5D6GVV/ref

https://www.amazon.com/Naked-Witch-Wendy-Novel-Book-ebook/dp/B06W5D6GVV/ref

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Orphan-Witch-Wendy-Lizzie-Martin-ebook/dp/B074XBHH5R/ref

https://www.amazon.com/Orphan-Witch-Naked/dp/1974421023/ref

 

Find out more about Lizzie Martin https://wendysteele.com/2017/03/17/my-name-is-lizzie-martin-and-im-a-witch/

Listen to stories and extracts from my books on my Youtube channel, Phoenix and the Dragon.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCw3ee9CuNdek9ZC1Im8I_iA?view_as=subscriber

 

Do drop in again soon and Ill put the kettle on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meet author Jane Risdon

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I joined a new group on Facebook Writers Authors and Readers, administered by the wonderful Anna Maria Shenton, and met a whole host of kind and supportive authors. Jane Risdon was one of them. Knowing she was launching a new book, I invited her over for a chat so you can meet her and learn more about her writing as well.

Hello Jane! Welcome!

Hello Wendy, thanks for asking me to chat with you on your blog.

No problem, lovely to have you here to share more about your writing.

 

1        How do you write? Is everything plotted, planned to perfection? Do you ever change tack as you go along or always stick to a pre-made plan?

I never plot. I have an idea, possibly from a name which comes to mind, or an experience will trigger something, possibly a news item – whatever – and I will sit down and start to write. It comes from the ether I guess. If I get a name, the story often comes with it and it writes itself.

I usually write Crime/Thrillers but with Only One Woman (Women’s Fiction), the way the book came about is different. Christina Jones – my co-author – and I are old friends. We share a past. My now husband was a lead guitarist with a band in the late 1960s, and Christina was employed as their Fan Club Secretary. We’ve always wanted to write together but never got round to it. I moved house in 2012 and was looking through memorabilia from my husband’s band and also from musicians we’d subsequently managed during our career in the International Music Business. I came across fan letters, photos, old diaries, and touring schedules etc., and thought I’d write a story set in the late 1960s. I was going to write a crime story but it turned into more of a romance and about life back in the Swinging Sixties. Christina is a Romance author and so we’d found the perfect way we could write together.

This time I sat down with diaries for reference and the names came quickly for my creations – Renza and Scott – and from then on it wrote itself as usual. When I’d done with my part, I passed the baton to Christina and she wrote her character, Stella.

I rarely change tack, but I do edit as I go so before I begin writing I always go through the previous days writing and tweak. But no, I don’t think I’ve ever changed anything basic, except that I decided to make Only One Woman a romance and to leave all the dead bodies for another day.

I love that it is the muse that inspires you, Jane.

2        Do you have a writing ritual? Meditation, certain cup for your tea, writing trousers?

Not really. I like to sit down with a cup of tea. Sometimes I need liquorice to nibble, but mostly I just decide to write, and off I go. Tea sustains me. Clothes don’t matter. Often I have the BBC News on in the background or my husband plays his guitar, song-writing or messing about beside me as I write. He is the first to read it all, and gets to comment as I go along.

3        Aside from writing, what makes you tick?

Wow! That is a question. You’d have to ask ‘himself,’ who knows me so well. I guess I am curious and always anxious to learn. I love reading, walking, photography, astronomy, history, architecture, science, music – you name it. Curiosity I guess makes me tick. In order to write better Crime stories I’ve undertaken 7 Forensic Science and Criminal Justice Courses to that I am up-to-date and accurate with my bodies, crime scenes and investigations. I am that curious!

I too love learning. It’s handy for research but it has a joy of its own.

4        If you were stranded on a desert island with shelter, food and water, what 5 items would you want with you?

I would need access to the internet via a computer.

A good supply of liquorice.

Radio with a great signal.

My husband with his guitar.

All my photographs.

 

5        On said island, what 5 books would you take and why?

Cripes! I have no idea. I love books, I am surrounded by books and I have no idea which I could pick if forced. Perhaps the full set of Encyclopaedia Britannica to help my research when writing.

 

6        Off the island now, which famous person would you like to have dinner with?

Having spent most of my life working in the International Music Business I have had dinner with many famous people. Frankly, there are few people I could stand for that long, but I suppose – if dead folk count – Einstein, Stephen Hawking, Sir Patrick More, and living at time of writing, Professor Brian Cox and Doris Day.

 

7        Your current writing projects?

Goodness me, now you are for it! I have three books (to date) in my MI5 Officer series, Ms Birdsong Investigates, almost ready to go to my publisher – actually book one is in with them but they are not publishing anything new until the winter, and so I have time to complete the other two, possibly more in the series.

 

For some time I have been writing about Bollywood and the Indian Mafia – The White Haired Man – based on real life. I must get back to it when time permits.

 

There’s also a novel about the Music Business and our life working in it, but again that has been started but time has been short due to the promotion etc., of Only One Woman. This book was entitled LaLa Land a long time before the movie came out with the same name, so I guess I need to think of a new one.

 

I have about 50 short stories which I am compiling for my own anthology – some of which have appeared in numerous anthologies for other publishers, in online newsletters and magazines. It’s about time I put them into my own anthology. It is all down to having the time…

 

The response to Only One Woman has been amazing, fabulous reviews and a solid fan base has emerged, and they have been asking for a sequel. So ideas for this have been floating around my head, even as I was writing my parts for the current novel, I was thinking about a sequel. I am not sure if Christina is up for it as she has her own books for which she has a huge following. She is an award-winning, best-selling author of romance and has deadlines to meet. And, as I said, our publisher is not taking anything which has not been scheduled until winter. Christina has a book which has to be finished soon for a September publication deadline. Our publisher has not mentioned a sequel to Only One Woman so who knows!

 

It would be fun to take Narnia’s Children, Renza, and possibly Stella, beyond 1969 and tell the story of their lives as the band become famous, perhaps to the present day. Only One Woman is not only a love triangle, but an authentic representation of life in the grooviest decade of the 20th century with the Cold War, social changes, the amazing music and fashions of the era, and the way it all shaped the lives of not just our characters, but a whole generation. My Generation.

 

Only One Woman is published in Paperback and Audio Book on 24th May 2018 for stores and libraries.

It sounds like a busy year ahead, Jane but I wish you good luck in all your endeavours and thank you so much for dropping by.

 

If you would like to know more about Jane Risdon and Only One Woman, here are some links including the e-pub and Kindle Paperback buy links:

 

Jane Risdon Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B00I3GJ2Y8

 

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook/JaneRisdon2

 

Author Blog: https://janerisdon.wordpress.com/

 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Jane_Risdon

 

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5831801.Jane_Risdon

 

Only One Woman Amazon UK/USA/Australia (so far):

UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Only-One-Woman-Christina-Jones-ebook/dp/B075D88JBP

 

USA:  https://www.amazon.com/Only-One-Woman-Christina-Jones-ebook/dp/B075D88JBP

 

Australia: https://www.amazon.com.au/d/Only-One-Woman-Christina-Jones-ebook/B075D88JBP

 

Only One Woman Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/RenzandStella/

 

Only One Woman Blog: https://onlyonewomanblog.wordpress.com/

 

Only One Woman YouTube Playlists:  For Renza and Stella each

https://www.youtube.com/user/AccentPress/playlists?view=1&view_as=subscriber&shelf_id=0&sort=dd

 

 

 

 

My review of Sweetpea’s Thief by J Cassidy

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Sweet-Pea's Thief

I downloaded this book on a whim just before I went on holiday and it gave me happy reading all week.

This Young Adult fantasy book begins with Sweetpea telling her life story while playing poker for tiny spheres of time with an old man who knows he is dying. The book reverts from retrospect to the present, describing the mirror world Sweetpea found herself in, the men who ‘save’ her and the part played by the Tin Men in that world.

I had three tiny niggles: I would have liked more info on Sweetpea’s character. I felt more sympathy and empathy towards Brin as I felt I knew him better and cared about him more. There were times when the plot was tricky to follow and I had to skip back a few pages to check I hadn’t missed anything and sometimes, the point of view changes left me spinning.

But overall, I loved the concept of this book. It’s an interesting, captivating fantasy tale, populated by fascinating characters. Adding a further parallel world to the mix was inspired and I read on, intrigued to find out how it would all fit together.

A perfect little book for a holiday read.

Wendy Woo’s Wicked Week

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…and it’s not over yet!

Every other Monday I attend the Cwrtnewydd Scribblers writing group but this week, after a full weekend of chain sawing, chopping and barrowing wood, I needed a day to make my bath bombs. I’ve been making my own since 2009. DSC00684

My house hummed with the fragrance of Magical Bathtime as I hand blended my ingredients and added healing essential oils. Bath bombs are abundant in the shops but I wanted to create some that not only smelled fabulous but did you good too, making skin feel luxurious and soft.

Tuesday is a dancing day, lunchtime and evening so I take writing into town with me and sit in the Mulberry Bush with a mug of green tea between lessons. This week numbers were down in the lunchtime class but they worked so hard! The two hour evening class focussed on dancing in groups and chorus, one hour slow followed by another of fast…even I had heavy legs for the drive home! Love my ladies. I’m a lucky teacher.

Wednesday is a writing day and this week I had four short stories under construction that needed editing but the first thing I noticed when I turned on my laptop was a new review for my novel Destiny of Angels…what a great way to start the day! http://www.amazon.com/review/R2F1U45755VIJ6/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm

I edited two stories and submitted them both to magazines…I’ve had three accepted since I started my plan (see https://wendysteele.com/2015/11/09/sharing-my-story/ ), two for online mags and one for an anthology.

Thursday began with a regular private dance lesson which I love to teach. Dancers seeking private lessons are keen, dedicated and embrace the opportunity to improve…bliss for any teacher. Shopping next, making good use of the petrol it costs me to get to town and I frequent a variety of shops, small and large, spreading my limited pennies as best I can. I add items to my trolley for the local food bank and the animal shelter.

Today is Friday, often a ‘writing day’ but I’ve a host of other things to fit in as tomorrow is the Christmas Fayre at Lampeter University and I’m sharing a stall with Hayley (aka Haloquin/The Ringmaster) and her amazing Goblin Circus. I’ll be signing novels and novellas and selling my pixie coats for the first time. I’ve bought pixie coats fair trade from a friend who lives in India, for seven years and thought I would share them with the lovely folk of Wales.

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I can only fit the short length on my rail but hope they make a colourful spectacle at the fayre and I’ll have a range of the long length with me.

If you’re interested in purchasing any of my books, you can find them all listed here:

http://www.amazon.com/Wendy-Steele/e/B007VZ1P06/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Wendy-Steele/e/B007VZ1P06/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1365459567&sr=1-2-ent

For more info on the pixie coats, you can contact me here or PM me on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/wendy.steele.311

Full moon blessings and a magical weekend to you all.