Category Archives: Blog

Posts on my writing, what inspires me, fun facts and fiction lists

What Inspires Me to Write?

The beautiful glowing tones of the leaves, showy and shimmery before they make way for the icy winter are what I look forward to.

It is well and truly into autumn now and I must say that as a writer I find the season especially inspiring. The beautiful glowing tones of the leaves, showy and shimmery before they make way for the icy winter are what I look forward to. I wanted to share a list of several things that inspire me to write.

People and places

I admit to being a keen observer because I enjoy watching life around me. Strangely enough, because I enjoy bearing witness to mundanity, this helps me as an author of Literary Fiction. My genre isn’t about racy plotlines and exaggerated drama. In fact in this article I wrote, I discuss the fly on the wall perspective of the genre. Something as simple as watching someone call after someone who has dropped their wallet, or watching a person purchase something for themselves, no matter how simple can make you think in a writerly way.

Food

I used to be a major foodie. I’m not sure what’s going on at the moment but I can never quite seem to get around to eating dessert these days. Nonetheless, the experience of food to me is quite significant and I enjoy inserting this into my narratives. I write more about this here. You can get lost in the texture of your food, it can spur on memories and give you something to look forward to. If it doesn’t inspire an idea, at best it can inspire some useful writing exercises!

Music

Music is my first love. Writing was always there but came much later as something that I felt capable of doing. I don’t actually incorporate music into my writing sessions which probably sounds strange given my love of music. But that’s the thing, I love it so much that music wins every time! With that said, I find it much easier to use music as a resource for prompting and writing exercises.

As you can probably see, it doesn’t take much to inspire me to write. In fact, the more boring the detail and subtle the nuance, the more likely I am to actually pick up on it it’s a good thing I don’t try to write action packed stories!

Writers, bloggers, creatives what inspires you to write?

Let me know in the comment section!

Editing Tips to Keep You Motivated

As most writers will know, it’s inevitable that at times, our motivation levels come to a standstill.

Motivation is a key issue that affects writers. Many of us get ideas and set about crafting them into a work in progress.

 I’ll sheepishly put my hand up and admit that whilst I brainstorm and loosely knit my ideas together before a project, I am not a diligent planner. Instead of creating pages and pages of neat plans and diagrams and character profiles, I definitely get straight to mucking in. I like to think of my process as a plate of spaghetti and meatballs- it’s somewhat messy- but I like it that way because I have a lot of strands and meat to draw from at all different angles when I’m writing instead of sticking to a storyline plan.

It’s all great when momentum builds but as most writers will know, it’s inevitable that at times, our motivation levels come to a standstill. I wanted to share with you about how I recently remedied this with one of my works of fiction.

My protagonist was invited to an event at a bar (for the umpteenth time in the story) and I was wondering how I could muster up the enthusiasm to create yet another bar scene. Especially when my protagonist was hesitant about going in the first place. I didn’t blame her, I, the writer was sick of her going to the bar and the prospect actually made me lose my motivation to write for several days, so I put my project down.

Then a solution popped up in my head, a very simple no-brainer that I would encourage all writers to employ. I ditched the bar scene entirely! Consequently, I felt an instant weight off my shoulders. Sometimes certain scenes are very necessary, however when we plan to execute them in unoriginal or unimaginative ways it can make us feel demotivated to write them. If this is the case, DITCH the scene- but allude to it instead like I did- you can do this in a number of ways. I call this pre-emptive editing and it helps you to get over the demotivation hurdle.

3 Editing Tips to Motivate you

Tip One

Create an inner monologue with the character reflecting on or thinking back to the scene. Here you can add as much or little detail as you like depending on what works to drive the storyline forward.  

Tip Two

Enrol characters in conversation about said scene and have fun with what details they offer up about it. You can insert humour, tension, excitement- whatever emotions are relevant.

Tip Three

If you are writing in the third person, employ an omniscient voice to fill in the gaps about what happened. This could take up just one paragraph instead of a whole scene (you know, the one you were dreading writing in the first place?)

This works best using the past perfect form of the verb, for example:

Evan had spent the best part of an hour strolling around the palladium before he spotted Lina canoodling with another man. She had been leaning against him, one open palm resting on his shoulder as they watched the sunset.

So in effect, you cut out the scene that you were dreading writing in real time and find a way to allude to it authentically, instead.

For those of you who are stuck in a rut with a particular scene, I hope that this inspires you to adjust it in a way that motivates you to write.

Non-fiction writers- have you ever taken a U-turn when writing a piece? How did you go about doing this and were you happy with the end results?

Let me know in the comments below!

Blogger Recognition Award

S.S. Mitchell has been nominated for the Mystery Blogger Award!

I was delighted when Nin Chronicles put me forward for this nomination! She was previously nominated for her contribution to her own thought provoking blog on diverse topics, from parenting and philosophy to poetry. Thank you Nin Chronicles for considering me! It is a wonderful acknowledgement.

About The Award:

This award is given to bloggers by the bloggers, who, in turn, pass it on to more bloggers. The Award promotes community and shows us just how far one little thing can go as each nominee shares the love further.

Rules:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and add a link to their site.
  • Write a post on your site displaying the award.
  • Share why you started your blog.
  • Share two pieces of advice for the new bloggers.
  • Nominate and notify 11-15 other bloggers.

Why I Blog:

I blog because I am passionate about the craft of writing. Writing comes easily to me and what better way to document this than via a blog! I am a Fiction and Non-Creative Fiction writer and I love to share aspects of my writing process. My blog articles are mostly inspired by what’s going on in my writer’s life. It consists of things that I just can’t wait to write down and share with others in the hope that it might help them out with their own writing craft.

My advice to other bloggers:

Enjoy the process, always focus on content that interests you and keeps you motivated rather than current trends.

Keep going! It takes commitment and time but remember why you are doing this and use it to motivate yourself.

I would like to nominate:

yamteq.com For insightful information on working remotely and professional practice.

glowsteady.co.uk A consistent blog with mouth watering plant based recipes and in-depth reviews on the latest beauty products.

ellieslondon.wordpress.com For tasty treats, bucket lists and lashings of culture.


beautyobsesseduk.com With this aesthetically pleasing blog, you can see the effort and care taken to create quality beauty content.

whatsinmywonderland.com A Wonderfully presented book blog which makes you want to click into each square to find out what she’s been reading. A great introduction to new books.


nineteenthharmony.com Thought provoking critiques of socio- cultural forms and politics.

I really enjoy looking at how others present their blogs and subsequently showcase their passions. I am really pleased to be included in the Mystery Blogger Award Nominations and to be supporting other bloggers in the process.

Happy blogging everyone!


How Toni Morrison’s works Inspired me to Write

Her rich narratives inspired me to write with depth and without constraint.

When I recently saw Toni Morrison trending on google my stomach flipped. How likely was it that she was trending because she had broken the internet with a controversial picture or been involved in some tasteless topical scandal or a public spat with a peer? Highly unlikely. Toni Morrison was a Nobel prize winning writer who stood on the platform of her integrity to inspire others and scatter her gems of wisdom among us literary types. So when I saw her trending, I thought the worse and sadly I was right. Her recent passing has really saddened me, not only because she was arguably one of the greatest writers whoever lived, but because stumbling on her work as a child is what inspired me to write. It might sound odd but for the longest time I always considered it a privilege that my favourite author was still living and breathing while I was.

An Early Introduction

My introduction to her work came through a copy of the novel Paradise which I found laying around one of the spare rooms in my grandmother’s house. At my young age, a lot of the sentence structures and dense metaphors were beyond me. I was unfamiliar with words which read like art. My first encounter with how she wove her words together so abstractly intrigued me and I hoped to one day access her stories.

I was second time lucky when the motion picture of Beloved was released. A part slave narrative about a woman named Sethe who (now freed) is haunted by the child she sacrificed in her infancy. Sethe lives with her surviving daughter Denver When a mystery woman named Beloved appears out of nowhere and wreaks havoc on their household. Oprah Winfrey bought the rights to the novel and  starred alongside Danny Glover and Thandie Newton in the 1998 motion picture. I was captivated by it and it soon became one of my favourite films. Of course, the novel was even better.

A Life’s Worth of Writing

Toni Morrison did with words, what I hadn’t thought possible. She wove intricate portraits that humanised the suffering of a historically oppressed people. She brought the narratives alive that compelled people of all backgrounds to sit, up, take notice and empathise. Moreover, she inspired me to gather my experiences and spill them onto blank pages through one of her most memorable quotes:

“If there is a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”

I absolutely adore this quote. It’s nurturing and yet earnest about the need for us writers (arguably the biggest procrastinators) to be proactive in creating the art that we want to consume instead of waiting for what may never appear. She did exactly this with her own work and thank God she did! I can’t imagine a world without her stories in it. Morrison juxtaposed the traumas of slavery with the infinite possibilities of newfound freedom in Beloved, she liberated her characters without minimising their suffering.

In The Bluest Eye, which I discussed in this previous post, she holds up many mirrors which enable us to see how little black girls view themselves both internally and externally, how their beauty and worth is viewed both within and beyond their own communities and the external factors which help to either shape their strong sense of self-worth (Claudia McTeer) or lack thereof (Pecola Breedlove).

Her works serve as historical artefacts; fictional ethnographies that speak to the very real socio-historical experiences of black women and yet can engage everyone. Her stories are many things at once: harrowing, brutal, awakening, educational, honest, beautiful. I’m just grateful that she inspired me to pick up something that I love- painting pictures with words. And for that I am truly grateful.

Have you ever read anything by Toni Morrison? If not, which writer’s work has inspired you the most? Let me know in the comments below!

Being a Writer in a Heatwave is Hard

Extreme weather is bound to have an effect on your writing sessions…

Being an author is hard work. You only have to eavesdrop on the conversations of writers to get my gist. You will hear soundbites such as writer’s block, lack of motivation, I’ve just discovered I hate my protagonist etc. It can really be a labour of love but I believe that getting through all of those emotions and the practical debris of the craft is what really makes a writer. You get to show what you’re made of. There is a huge factor that makes writing hard and that we sometimes can’t control and that thing my friends, is life.

In my last article I spoke about creating the perfect writing environment. Sometimes however, the elements have ideas of their own. The UK has recently been in the midst of a heatwave (as has the rest of Europe)- at its’ peak hitting temperatures as high as 38 degrees. You can imagine that at that sweltering point, opening windows and operating fans have had zero impact on me creating my perfect writing environment. You know things are bad when you’re sitting still and the weather decides on your behalf that no matter what, you will wilt like an ice cream. In short, my writing has suffered somewhat but I have to be okay with that because I am human.

Good intentions, not so great outcomes

Sometimes no matter how hard you try, your writing plans conspire to go south.  I started my week as I meant to go on despite the furnace-like temperatures and aimed to transfer that same motivation to my work. However, this heat has made me feel physically faint and exhausted during the nights when I would usually be writing and so I have had no choice but to listen to my body and give it a bit of a break.

I am somewhat of an organic writer and that works for me, however if this UK heatwave returns, I will need a bit of reinforcement in order to push ahead. I will propose two tactics to my usually organic writing process:

Word count

I will enforce a minimum wordcount on myself. You don’t do this? I hear you say- The answer is not really. I write when I am inspired and enthused and when I am not, I stop. That way you stop Writer’s block dead in its tracks as I discussed in this previous article. I definitely do check how many words I have written after a session though as I find it useful to know.

Write notes ahead

Sometimes feeling unmotivated to write doesn’t mean that you should stop writing altogether. Why not write up some notes that will keep you ahead of the game in the next session? My manuscripts are full of incoherent paragraphs containing disjointed sentences and singular words. They act as a guide to my next scenes and thought they would look illegible to anyone else, they act as a beacon for my storylines. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve woken up really pleased with myself because I have more insight into where my project is going. Being able to see the light at the end of the tunnel is a huge incentive for us writers.

So, when the going gets tough, what tactics would you propose to keep yourself going?

Let me know in the comments below!

Create the Perfect Writing Environment Now

You’ve overcome your writer’s block. Now it’s time to create the perfect writing space.

Not all writing sessions are made equal.

In my last article I discussed how to combat writers block. What could possibly go wrong once you’re full of ideas and sit down to write? Our writing environment comes to mind. Creating the perfect writing space makes room for a more productive writing session. Lately I’ve been thinking about what I call writing variables and how they affect our output. The variables I’m going to discuss are those of the physical variety and since we are sensory beings, this affects more of us writerly types than you might think. If I received a pound coin for each writer I’ve heard complaining about not being able to sit down to a session, I would have had a five-course meal at Nobu already. This is why we need to consider creating an ideal writing environment before we even sit down.

Here are some of the variables you may want to consider and adjust before you take up your next writing session.

Room Temperature and air quality

Pollen: An air ioniser or purifier acts to get rid of dust, pollen and cigarette smoke fumes.

If there’s one thing that puts me off writing, it’s a hot and dusty room with the sun spilling into it. I might be bringing back memories of your double Geography lesson and I really don’t mean to, however could air quality be making you retreat away from your next chapter or article? I’m a hay fever sufferer and now that the summer is here, I am definitely finding it physically harder to sit through writing sessions with the same zest that I usually have. It’s like I can’t win at the moment: if I keep a window shut, I’m boiling hot and can’t focus but if I leave it open, I’m inviting the pollen in. If I leave the window shut and the fan on then I’m dehydrating myself from the inside out. Sigh. Get it? It’s up to me to find the right balance so that I can focus on my best writing rather than the forces of nature.

How I usually avoid this is to leave a window slightly ajar for fresh air but to cover it with a sheer curtain to act as a barrier for the excessive bright light as well as pollen. An air ioniser or purifier acts to get rid of dust, pollen and cigarette smoke fumes. Likewise, a humidifier works wonders to alleviate dry skin and alleviate coughs and stuffy noses. If you’re a writer who is serious about your craft, it may well be worth investing in creating the perfect writing environment for yourself.  

Are you hungry or thirsty? Too full even?

I now find it somewhat distracting to eat sugary foods during the process. This has taught me that writing ritual preferences can definitely shift with time…

I’m ever evolving when it comes to my writing and eating co-schedule. Being a night writer who works into the wee morning hours, what works for me has dramatically changed. It’s very rare that I can withstand writing on an empty rumbling stomach. However, while I used to find it mandatory to have a chocolate bar nearby, I now find it somewhat distracting to eat sugary foods during the process. This has taught me that writing ritual preferences can definitely shift with time and that you must respond accordingly.

Writing on an empty stomach only keeps your mind wondering off to that tasty treat in the cupboard. Yet being belly-poppingly full can make you lethargic and unproductive as well. Being proactive here would be to find your sweet spot beforehand to ensure you are not high on sugar and low on energy.

Are you alert? Can you hear me?

The bottom line is if you’re tired, the last thing you are going to want to do is write. I’m absolutely exhausted, it’s time to get writing– said no writer ever.

The con to being a night writer is the fact that sometimes I do get very tired. I have found myself jolting my head up at the screen after having nodded off for a few moments. I hate that feeling because the disorientation is a far cry from the focus needed to complete a writing session. The bottom line is if you’re tired, the last thing you are going to want to do is write. I’m absolutely exhausted, it’s time to get writing– said no writer ever.

Are you physically comfortable?

I admit to being a slight hypocrite on this one because when I get into the swing of one of my projects, nothing can stop or interrupt me. In fact, one writing session was spent working on my novel on a full bladder. Primarily, the ideas were flowing so freely that I didn’t want to miss out on anything. I stayed like that for probably an hour or more- but I would never recommend that. Authors can be the biggest procrastinators and that goes for a lot of writers in general so having a comfortable writing environment to keep you writing is very important.

Feeling physically uncomfortable can be used as yet another excuse to put down the pen or laptop so why make space for that outcome? I would advise that you prep meticulously before writing to avoid this- take that loo break, itch that scratch, cut that pesky hangnail, tidy your writing space- any silly thing that could take away from your full, devoted attention on your project.

I find that manipulating my writing space definitely makes for a better experience which fosters enjoyment in my craft. It allows me to seamlessly zoom into my projects in comfort. As a writer you need to learn what variables do and don’t work for you so that you can increase productivity and get the best out of your writing sessions.

How are you going to adjust your writing environment next time? Let me know in the comments below.  

Five Actions to Take When Writer’s Block Takes Hold

Any writer can attest to the fact that writer’s block is a tortuous predicament.

No writer ever wants it to happen to them but the truth is that if you are human, writer’s block is inevitable! The good news is that you don’t have to torture yourself by staying within its clutches. willing it to go away or metaphorically banging your head against the wall isn’t necessary- I promise. Back in March I wrote an article about how I find writing inspiration. The practices I mention can be used as back up tools when the dreaded writer’s block strikes. Any writer can attest to the fact that writer’s block is a tortuous predicament. that’s why it helps to step away sometimes and refuse to play ball. Step away? I hear you say. I can assure you I am not mincing my words with this specific solution to a writer’s universal dilemma. Here are my five suggestions for actions to take when writer’s block looms and dims your bright ideas.

Step Away!

When the thinking cogs aren’t working, never force them. Doing so merely adds to the feeling of frustration and helplessness at being unable to move forward.  It’s time to step away and reach for inspiration somewhere other than the crevices of your mind.

Go out for a walk and observe the weather and the smells carried by the breeze or the still air. Spot the signs of life as you walk past homes; something as simple as the whiff of laundry detergent or the aromatic spices of a homemade curry could spark an idea and set your writing wheels back into motion.

Have an Experience

Make a marked effort to experience something new: this is the fun part. You can be as adventurous or as in the box as you want. Been meaning to visit a different part of your city or refurbished establishment? A restaurant serving food you’ve never tried? Go! Drink in the sights and flavours, inhale life around you- feel the ambience.

On the contrary it could be something as simple as tasting that new Macchiato fusion you’ve been meaning to try. The flavours could strike a chord and catalyse a new idea- perhaps the sweetness reminds you of an indulgent childhood treat which could lead you to think about the associated emotions…think about what content you could conjure up from that single experience. Testing new waters in any capacity can stimulate new thoughts and thus ideas in the process.

Release Some Endorphins Through Exercise

Endorphins are the ‘happy hormones’ released after aerobic exercise. They lead to the onset of a positive feeling in the body that boosts energy, lifts the mood and can lower symptoms linked to mild depression and anxiety. It can also improve sleep.

Now think about the alleviation of all of these symptoms and the potential they have to hit a variable that could be leading to your writer’s block- Perhaps the stresses of life are clouding your creativity or tiredness is impacting your ability to conjure up or process new ideas. Raising your serotonin levels through exercise could potentially offer improvement in these areas. Even a slight shift in your mood could change your approach towards your craft during a writing session.

Read a Book

What better way to push Writer’s block to the side than to read the work of someone else who successfully beat it? They got through writer’s block and so will you once you give yourself the opportunity to step back, take stock and reup on your ideas.

Make Random Lists

Seriously. The more random, the better. List ideas could be anything from top ten desserts to five of your happiest moments to worst songs to dance to. These ideas might help you strike gold for your next article or scene/chapter outline. You could use the tiniest component from a list to help you develop your next piece of content. Forming multiple lists may help you to strike gold and even if they inspire nothing the first time around, you may go back and find that your next piece of content was staring at you the whole time- from that random list.

What do you do to help lift writer’s block and what action from this list are you going to try the next time it strikes? Let me know in the comments below.

Amazing Things Happened When I Read My Old Fanfiction!

Fanfiction: there is a great amount of freedom in writing whatever the hell you want to, without the constraints of genre conventions…

Believe it or not I started writing fanfiction by accident when I was about 13-14 years old. In fact, at the time I didn’t even know what it was. I went to a friend’s house and she started reading a fanfiction story she had written about her favourite boyband at the time and conveniently inserted herself into the narrative. I found it to be a genius concept; I was boy crazy, I was also fixated with a string of male celebrities who I never stopped sounding off about to anyone who would listen. So what happened when it suddenly occurred to me that I could write all of this stuff down? I ran away with it and created my own world where I lived at the centre.

So guess what I ran into recently after rustling through my old papers? Yep. My whole preteen fanfiction collection written on lose bits of lined paper, carefully folded together in my Graphic Products folder from about a century ago. Am I glad to be such a nerdy pedant who keeps this stuff? You bet, because I had lots of fun going through my fanfiction. Here is what I learned about myself and my writing.

Don’t you know the world revolves around me?

My writing encapsulated a preteen world where EVERYTHING revolved around me. As someone who wears motherly cardigans and sensible trousers on the school run, I found endless entertainment value in the girly glamour of my narratives. I seemed to wear an awful lot of spaghetti straps, string bikinis and ‘boob tubes’ which were popular at the time.  More notable was the constant gaze of others on me. Though it wasn’t explicitly stated, I appeared to dabble in performing as I sang at an awards ceremony as mouths opened in awe as I ‘moved swiftly and stylishly to the music.’ I couldn’t imagine writing myself into such an indulgent narrative now but that’s the beauty of unabashed youth. You say whatever you want to say and not what is necessarily best to drive a story plotline forward.

I am so delicate I just might break

Feminism? Don’t be silly- I need boys to fawn over me all day, every day. Their attention means absolutely everything. This is what my old fan fiction tells me about my younger self and I think that is completely fine.  My concept of the role of a woman hadn’t been defined yet and there is nothing wrong with that at all. It is very interesting however, to see how old-fashioned notions of how women should act and be perceived permeated my work. I hadn’t quite navigated the concept of female empowerment and overzealously concocted an ongoing storyline of a damsel in distress whom a number of suitors where trying to court. I often fled scenes in floods of tears at the littlest slight and once even ‘tripped over a small rock’ only for the fall to be broken by my celebrity crush. Ah, those preteen days of crushes and daydreaming…

I used fanfiction as proactive escapism

At thirteen I hadn’t yet discovered my narrative voice or how to empower a protagonist. In fact, I probably didn’t know what a protagonist was. I didn’t know about the conventional lines of crafting good writing, so I blurred them. My fanfiction was driven around my pre-teen boy crazy existence and I created a fictional place where I was at the centre of it. There is a great amount of freedom in writing whatever the hell you want to, without the constraints of genre conventions. I had no consideration for character integrity and general regard for the writing craft. All of that went out of the window and it made for extremely entertaining writing. I was writing for myself and myself only. This is why I look back at my fanfiction so fondly. It is still so exciting to read the work of someone who was unafraid and uninhibited by the writing craft.

Fanfiction as therapeutic

The beauty of fanfiction is that it feels therapeutic to write what feels good as opposed to what is good for the story. Through fanfiction I got to set my teenage angst aside and create a fun, girly world which reflected my interests at the time and for that I am truly grateful.

What do you think of fan fiction? Have you ever read or written any? Let me know in the comments below.

Finding Writing Inspiration in your Everyday Emotions

Writers! Can you think back to a time when someone really disappointed you or elicited a strong emotion? Weave that into your work.

As a writer you have the advantage of finding inspiration in your everyday emotions. These emotions can be the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow or the lemonade in the evening, after a day of sucking on bitter lemons. Only If you know how to manipulate them. Nobody likes to feel like garbage but let’s be real, life is full of challenges and pivots and we will be tested. Find comfort in this one true fact: those negative emotions can act as the pieces of meat that tie the soup of your story line together.

Here are two ways in which you can turn negative emotions into inspiration for your fiction writing:

It can fuel a plotline

Remember that rude shop assistant you encountered the other day? The one who glared at you when you asked where the hummus was? They have the potential to be a fine resource of inspiration. I can see you shaking your head but seriously, hear me out. What about that commuter who knocked into you on Tuesday morning? If none of these scenarios ring a bell, think back to a time when someone really disappointed you or elicited a strong emotion? Gather your thoughts and squeeze that lemonade because you’re about to add a spoonful of authenticity to your work in progress.

Consider the following:

How did the scenario make you feel?

What is the physical description of the person in question?

Step outside of the scenario and consider or imagine (if you don’t know them) what type of person they normally are. Could they have been really stressed out or do you think this behaviour is a part of their normal personality?

What was the setting like? Was it crowded and claustrophobic or spacious? What was the lighting like?

Writing it all down and adding to your inventory

Now that you have a bank of inspiration from your experience/s sentences, begin to jot down notes and words.

Do you have a character in mind that you can project a similar emotion onto in order to push your storyline forward?

Did they feel the emotion from somebody else or did they elicit it?

What was their subsequent reaction?

If you’re unsure, begin to plot down possibilities. You don’t need to have a clear outcome from these exercises. They are merely designed to provide a source of information which you can draw from at any time.

Forcing your character into action

Now take yourself out of the scenario and transfer it to a prospective character. You can have a character in mind or create one. Remember, this doesn’t have to be a main character at all.

Think about what triggers their emotions? Is it the same factors which trigger yours? If not how are they different?

Think about where your character can go with this. Brainstorm the possibilities for embedding this into scenes or storylines. It could be a minor part of one scene or could be a major conflict which creates the story arch. It is all dependent on what you gain from this exercise of digging from past conflicts.

Turning reality into fiction

It takes a box of odds and ends to embellish a work in progress. Taking the good with the bad ensures that you’re collecting resources to draw from at all times. So how will you react to an unsavoury situation next time? Jot it down and think about how you can transfer it to your work in some small way. You can even file it away for future use if it doesn’t fit into your existing work in progress. Is there a situation that you can think of which could inspire your current work? Tell me in the comments below!

Is there ever an ideal place to read?

I had a pang of bookworm withdrawal and wanted to find a place to read when I made a visit to the Sussex coast of Brighton last week. The British weather was abundantly generous at 22 degrees, so you can say it was at its absolute best. And the fish and chips were on point- I personally cannot go to the seaside without having fish and chips! I had the quintessentially British seaside experience minus purchasing seaside rock. I don’t really do sweets anymore, especially the type that stick to my teeth. As a child the downside to going to Brighton used to be that the beach largely contained pebbles instead of sand. Last week I remembered why that detail irked me so much- they’re agony to walk on! Especially when your feet are half numbed by the freezing sea. Funnily enough, hot coals came to mind as I struggled back up the incline away from the tide.

The desire to read could spring up anywhere

As I returned to our spot, on the uncomfortable pebbles, I had a pang of book lust. Despite the thousands of other visitors, all packed around me like sardines on the beach and the pebbles indenting my behind, I suddenly craved a nice read. Of course, it was hardly the time or place for it and the idea flounced out of my head as quick as it came. This leads me to ask the question, where is the best place to read a book?

A beach would seem an ideal place for a bookworm to devour a juicy read but the chances of that go down when the circumstances are like those I just described. Replace pebbles with sand, make the beach slightly more remote- but with a resort behind it for those all-inclusive cocktails and then we’re talking bookworm real-estate!

It’s variables that make a good reading space not a specific location

Of course, there are more obvious locations for reading, like duh- the library. This however, would depend on how yours is equipped. Libraries can be beautiful grand places that you can get lost in with twists and turns and winding staircases, I think I may be venturing into the world of bookworm porn here. When you find a library like the one I’ve just described, it’s easy to spend ages roaming the aisles to find a book and then spend hours getting lost in it. On the contrary, there are those libraries which leave a lot to be desired and leave you itching to get your book and leave.

Which leads me to my next consideration for reading – in transit. Whether on the daily commute or en route to a getaway via plane, reading while travelling can be a way to mute the activity around you and immerse yourself in a world of your choice. Of course, this is dependent on the quality of your carriage. For example, the London commute on a packed tube train confronted by the stench of underarm and looking up into somebody’s crotch when trying to decipher which station you’re at isn’t quite as relaxing as downtime on a long-haul flight. If you’re going to be pedantic about it like I am you could say that it’s not about where you read but about the variables and conditions of that place at the time. A beach could be idyllic but not if, as I described earlier, the features of it don’t necessarily permit comfort. Unwittingly, a long wait at an airport could provide relief to an individual experiencing book withdrawal.

If we must be specific and I do think it’s necessary, my ideal place to read would be on a warm summer’s Friday night. It would be in a freshly laundered bed, in equally laundered nightclothes with a juicy Literary Fiction novel. Oh, and I would be wrapped around that book like a lover so it has to be a paperback.

What is your ideal reading space? Leave a comment below!