Quick Tips #4: Dialogue

Dialogue is one of the trickiest things to get right. It requires a good ear, and the ability to make speech sound natural even though it is probably the most carefully constructed, "artificial" component of any fictional work. What I mean: Counterintuitively, dialogue in fiction should not mimic everyday speech. Humans say a lot of…

Quick Tips #2: Write Small

It's tempting to think you have to "write big" about big issues. It's much more powerful, however, to write quietly; to whisper the most profound things. Even better, to "get out of the way" and let those things whisper their power all by themselves. Often what we leave out - or what we gently brush past…

A Novel Contract

Yesterday I signed a publishing contract with New Zealand Publisher Cloud Ink Press. My debut novel will be launched in February 2022. A friend asked me how I felt (which I thought was rather lovely - most people offered their congratulations, which was fantastic and expected, but this friend, perhaps aware that signing a publishing…

The Pantser and The Second Act Sag (Or, more things I have learnt writing a novel)

I've finished my first novel, and plans are underway to publish it. As I bask in the afterglow (AKA the thank-feck-that's-over, Netflix-saturated, crap-magazine-reading malaise), I've been reflecting on the novel-writing process and what more it has taught me (You may also want to read my earlier post, Ten things I have learnt writing a novel).…

Wrestling the Octopus: how to avoid writing a novel

At a certain point, a novel-in-progress starts to get a tad unwieldy. When you begin, you have a blank screen and the boundless enthusiasm of a puppy. After a few months you have a mountain of scrap paper scrawled with half-finished paragraphs and synopsis drafts, screeds of ideas jotted down and pinned all over the walls in your office,…