16 Dec 2014

Going Off-Piste and Getting Dramatic

When you’re pursuing a goal it’s important to focus and press on hard towards it.  But sometimes going slightly off-piste on the journey can also be valuable. Unsurprisingly, my ADD tendencies are very happy with this approach, as is my contrary nature!  In order to improve my Young Adult writing, I could just pursue opportunities and courses related to YA.  However, that’s not always the best way to move forward….

02 Dec 2014

The Waiting Game

Waiting.  When people talk about the skills you need as a writer, the ability to wait well is never mentioned. I HATE waiting.  Like really hate it.  There aren’t many things in life I hate.  Liquorice is the only other one that comes to mind. *shudder* Waiting in queues is a particular nightmare.  I can feel my life slipping away when I’m standing there.  And I have an uncanny ability…

25 Nov 2014

Finally, the Tale of my Self-Diagnosed Attention Deficit Disorder!

I love personality quizzes.  They’re fun and although most aren't scientifically sound, they can be quite enlightening. The most serious one I’ve done is Belbin’s Team Roles.  How liberating it was to discover that I wasn’t supposed to be great at ALL those functions!  I can’t remember exactly what I did come out as (Monitor Evaluator and Co-ordinator probably), but I know that I definitely wasn’t  a Completer Finisher.  The…

18 Nov 2014

Beta-Readers and the Feedback Balancing Act

As soon as you tell people that you’ve finished the first draft of a manuscript, their inevitable question is “when can I read it?”.  The truthful answer – which always seems to surprise them – is “when it’s published” which still won't be for months/years.  Most people seem to think that as soon as a book is written, it’s ready. If only that were true!  The editing process almost always takes…

11 Nov 2014

Take A Break If You Want To Create

Holidays are usually the highlight of my year.  That’s not to suggest my life in between holidays is anything less than interesting, fun and challenging (in a good way!), but holidays are awesome. No matter what you can afford in terms of time or money, holidays – breaks from “normality” – are incredibly important.  Even just the act of getting on a train or plane and going anywhere is like…

27 Oct 2014

The Magic of Books – Inspiring and Instructing

“What an astonishing thing a book is. It's a flat object made from a tree with flexible parts on which are imprinted lots of funny dark squiggles. But one glance at it and you're inside the mind of another person, maybe somebody dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, an author is speaking clearly and silently inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human…

20 Oct 2014

10,000 Hours To Expert

Expert (adjective): Having a great deal of knowledge or skill in a particular area. When I first started writing I had this idea, like a lot of other people no doubt, that I needed to be specially gifted to be a writer.  In order to succeed, an innate talent was required that, with a little nurturing, could be set free to wow the world.  When I began to give writing a…

14 Oct 2014

To Be or Not To Be – Mel Green or Mufinella Khong

When I submitted the Winchester competition article that I posted two weeks ago, I had to enter the competition under a pseudonym/pen name.  Fortunately a recent discussion with a friend meant I wasn’t at a complete loss as to how to choose one.  She’d suggested combining your name with a colour, preferably beginning with the same letter – e.g. Mel Magenta or Mel Maroon – or by pairing the name of…

06 Oct 2014

Gagging The Inner Critic

The Inner Critic is a nasty, picky, vindictive bully.  It’s that voice of criticism and disapproval in your head that slows you down or paralyses you when you’re thinking about doing something new and risky.  It’s such a recognised and major part of people’s psyches – especially those of creative people – that there are numerous articles and books about it, and you can go on courses to help you…

29 Sep 2014

Writing A Winner

When I scrolled through the list of competitions at the Winchester Writers’ Festival earlier this year, I never imagined for a minute that I’d find myself entering the Feature Article one.  For a start there were two children’s fiction categories that I could have entered B4 (codename) into, with very little effort.  More importantly, perhaps, was the fact that I hadn’t written a “professional” article before, although I suppose I…