Posts Tagged ‘whodunnit’

This week I have been doing too much, and not enough.

There have been a lot of things going on – appointments, extra meetings at work, extra hours at work, reading a script for the drama group and so on – and writing has taken a little bit of a back seat.

It’s frustrating, but just because the words haven’t quite hit the page it doesn’t mean I haven’t been planning – it’s important for me to remember that!

I have mapped out logistically how to take what I picked up from the crime writing convention and apply it to the whodunnit. I have a new storyline because one of the key things I realised as I sat in that audience was that a police procedural is not my style.

Now, that’s a bit of a worry, because I wrote a story wrapped around a police officer. But with some tweaks, I can make it effective as a more angsty/psychological story which is more about perception and not entirely about reality…

It became really clear as I listened to police officers and ex police officers, and civilians who are authorised to go out in uniform in police cars, that it’s not the route I want to take. They are experts and can bring years of experience to their work, they can use the language, the systems, without fear of getting a major detail wrong.

I can’t do that, and I am not in a position to give up work to go around chasing gangs in a police car any time soon, so my best bet, and the one I think will work better, is to work with what I know: people.

At last, a degree in Sociology might have a tangible benefit!

There are resources, of course – but one thing I know from research (yay Sociology again!) is that there’s nothing better than doing your own: only you will know exactly what it is you are looking for.  This isn’t science, it is about people in potentially dangerous situations responding based on their own experience and belief system.  If I only needed a few details to pin it together, I could ask one of my lovely contacts for help.  However, there’s a lot more than that to do, and I have to make it work for me.

All this sounds like another head-hitting-wall moment but it really isn’t, because a) I realised what I can bring to my writing from my own background and b) the whodunnit was never meant to be anything more than an exercise in twisting a tale – the fact I have now seen its possibilities is completely unexpected and quite marvellous!

I am going to leave it there today, on what I truly think is a positive point. Next week I have to get back into sending out my work but for now I’m focussing on the fact that I am working, even when my pen hasn’t really touched my paper.

Happy writing,

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At last, and many months after originally planned, I have completed the first draft of the whodunnit.  Hurrah, huzzah, yee haw and other cheering celebratory words!

Following a final push this evening to get the last 5000 or so words done, I feel like there should be a confetti cannon and party poppers, but I’m going to settle for a sleep…

I’ll let it settle now, and for the next few weeks I’ll concentrate on new poetry and re-reading the Family Tree novel to see if anything pokes me in the face as being annoying, out of character, melodramatic etc so I can revise it if required.  Then, it’s decision time on that.

For now though, I am ridiculously tired and need to turn my brain into the off position. Tomorrow will be a writing free day and then…

And then, I’ll start all over again.

Happy writing,



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Despite a very busy end to 2015, and a couple of cinema trips to start off 2016, I have got to grips with the whodunnit. I reckon I’ll be finished this week coming, in fact.

I also had a great idea for my next book…

I don’t know if I should go wandering into more books when I have accepted that poetry is probably the most enjoyable writing I can do, and I have a number of part-completed novels sitting around waiting for love or a decent send-off.  But this is an amalgamation of a number of ideas, with pre-existing characters.  It’s a follow-on to my Family Tree novel, the one I may well be self-publishing this year.  That gives me the characters, the structure of the novel, the background stories and so on. It really feels possible, and if nothing else I was to get a document outlining all the key ideas and scenes so I can use it in the future if I want to do so.

Sequels do seem all the rage at the moment, don’t they?  There are whole sets of books being made into films, and films that are part of a franchise are particularly in the news right now.

Which takes me onto the cinema.  One of the films I saw was Star Wars: The Force Awakens and as someone not overly excited by the original trilogy, and very unexcited about the prequel trilogy, I was not entirely sure it was worth seeing this.  But it was enjoyable, and without spoiling anything, I liked to see where some of the original characters went next.

The other film was actually a recorded live theatre performance of The Winter’s Tale.  I studied the play way back in my school days and it’s not my favourite Shakespeare by any stretch of the imagination, but it came to life on screen, being performed as designed, not read by a bunch of teenage schoolgirls.  I appreciated it far more than I did as a student!  My only complaint was that it was a lot more money than a normal cinema ticket, and our seats were rubbish – not ones I would have chosen at a real theatre!

Still, it’s all inspirational – seeing worlds expand, seeing words come alive when performed, seeing someone bring an Elizabethan play into a Victorian setting and make it real for a 21st century audience – these are the things that make me want to create.  They make me want to write, to explore, to explain the world in its multitudinous different ways.

It is this inspiration that gives me a push when I need it – no writer can rely on inspiration entirely, but if I can feel inspired to build on what I have done, it helps get me through to the finish line. It awakens my fingers, my mind, even if it is unrelated to the story I am telling.

So here’s to a finish line that I can see coming up in the next few days, and to a week fuelled by the writer within.

Here’s to 2016.

Happy writing,



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So this is how Christmas week went:

21 December: work/out
22 December: work/out
23 December: work/out/wrapping
Christmas Eve: work/friends over/out
Christmas day: out
Boxing Day: out
27 December: stayed in pyjamas/did some writing.

I’m not complaining, it was a lovely week – but the whodunnit didn’t get much attention.  Even in the gaps I was too tired to get on with it to any great extent, and generally read instead.

My planned writing in the car was not super-successful either, although I did get a bit done.

Happily I got a chunk completed on the 27th, even if I spent much of the day in what felt like suspended animation. Well, that may be an exaggeration, but you get the idea!

I’m not going to worry though. Tomorrow is another day, as Scarlett O’Hara would say, and it’s one where I don’t have to go out if I don’t want to, and certainly not for long if I do!

So tomorrow I will carry on and just keep writing. That’s all anyone can do when they want to get the words from their head onto a page after all…

Just keep writing,

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As this week has been one of the busiest I can remember for quite some while, I am actually quite pleased to say I got some writing done!  I will do a little more once I’ve posted this, but it’s good to keep going.  I need to make more use of those 10 minute breaks here and there so am working mostly on my phone which is a little slower than on the computer but I can at least carry it around everywhere.  I have a few car journeys coming up where the phone will be the focus – I’m lucky my husband is happy to drive 🙂

This week, I also joined twitter – something I haven’t done in my personal life but thought would be good for the blog (with a couple of cheeky follows for dance inspiration…).

I set up a Facebook page linked to the blog some while ago but I deleted it after a few weeks as it was not really valuable and required too much attention. Having had a few chats with some of my writer friends I decided it would be sensible to link a twitter to this site instead – I can’t always share everything I would like to as I don’t have the time, but on twitter it will be as quick as a click, to retweet things that are useful or interesting, and I can again do that from my phone.

I said I needed to make technology work for me, months ago – and now I am actually putting that technology to good use!

If you’re on there, come and find me by using the link on the sidebar…

I know this is short but I’m going to leave it there for today so I can get back to work on the whodunnit – the more I get done today, the better for next week’s post 😉

Happy writing,




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This is going to be a short post as I have a lot to sort out tonight.  It’s been that kind of week, actually – bits going on all over the place, and everything seemingly last-minute.  It’s as though everything just catches up with me when I’m not concentrating!

I guess that some of you will have had the same week – even if not this week.  So here’s a quick look at what’s been happening, without any of the extraneous talking I normally do!

  • The whodunnit is progressing nicely – I’d prefer a little more speed but at least it’s moving onwards
  • The new plan is as done as it’s going to be – I know where I need to put my energies now
  • I got some reading done – big books are a bind and after this one I’m going for something quick and breezy
  • I’ve been busy at work – my new role is fun but quite demanding
  • I have become obsessed with Strictly Come Dancing once again – it’s my annual tv love-in and we’re even planning our Halloween party around watching it!
  • It’s less than 10 weeks until Christmas!!! (I just added this one for fun :-))

And, as we all have busy weeks that sometimes feel like they’re getting away from us, here’s a quote from Marty Rubin:

In the midst of a busy life don’t forget to live

Happy writing,



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You know how last week I said I’d be ok with the whodunnit timeframe if I got the three interviews done this week? Well…

I am behind, of course. I’d normally try to catch up over the weekend but I’ve barely had any time to myself this one. It’s been good – things ticked off in the house; time with my parents and my husband’s parents; a few hours helping out at my friend’s charity event and so on. Still, I am behind and getting a little irritated with myself for not planning my time better.

Tomorrow is a bank holiday here so I will spend most of it writing. I can already say with near-certainty there will be no book this week, and I will have to finish the first draft of the whodunnit before I can get on with the reading and catch up with that!

I did manage to get some proofreading done for my friend but it was a bit of a thankless task – I was too slow for her and she’s decided not to have a proofread!  Still, I can cross it off in good conscience and say no if she asks again.

So now it’s a case of using the next 10 days to their absolute best and getting this story concluded.  I don’t much fancy spending my time in Germany writing it, and assuming it’s complete, I will load up the kindle (and my bag) with books to get me back on track.  I’ll be spending a lot of time in a car so I might as well make the most of it!

I just want to stop feeling like I’m controlled by one of these:

Time Lord

I’m going to leave it for tonight – there’s another weather warning in place and I can hear the thunder rolling already so no doubt we’ll lose power soon!

Until next time – happy writing!



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I have got myself a little overwhelmed this week, with too many things to do and not enough time to do it all.  It’s been fun but also busy, tiring and not quite as productive as I would have hoped.

This is a little bit like my to do pile, at the moment (in fact, technically this is part of my to do pile!):

The to do pile

So let’s start with the writing, shall we.  Well, I got the timesheet  out and this week I dropped 2 hours – Friday and Saturday – so I’m going into next week with a challenge to make that up.  I don’t know if I will do it, looking at my diary for next week – but I’m very conscious that I have 17 days to get the first draft of the whodunnit completed so I really do need to get on.   In terms of the storyline, I am on track – I have 3 interviews, a repeat, a reveal and the end point, so if I can get the 3 interviews done this week, the repeat and reveal next week, and the end point plus any mop-up in the 3 days of the week after, I’ll be ok!!

I also need to dig out a couple of my poems and pass them on to a writer for a second opinion; but he is awaiting my feedback on his work so I need to prepare that first!  I promised it about 4 weeks ago so I must get that done by Wednesday at the latest.

In the non-writing, I have to get to grips with the proofing for my friend, which I have set some time aside for tomorrow, and work out some time to go through a project proposal of another member of the writing group.

But they are for next week, and in the meantime I really should be getting the most out of this one.   After all, there’s 2 hours left of it!

And finally – as you know, I gave up on the 100 novels list a few weeks ago, more due to time that anything else.  So here is the full list and I hope you find something new and interesting to try from this list, as I did.  As to the next step – a more diverse list, perhaps – there’s an opportunity to get involved if you like.  One book I would have liked to see, but would never have appeared, is The Silk Road by Jeanne Larsen – a book I have mentioned more than once on here because of the impact it had on me.  It has influenced my thinking on mythology, opened my eyes to the way language is used differently in different cultures, given me new and interesting poetic forms to try.  I loved it as a teenager, and as an adult writer I have absorbed lessons from it that have shifted my perspective – and I still love it!

So there you have it, folks – a week of doing, adding to the to do list, and planning for the next phase.  Lots more still to do, but now I just want to go and read my favourite book!!

Happy writing,



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I am back from my Welsh retreat, and it didn’t exactly go to plan…

Retreat Mountain

Despite adding a good 10,000 words to the whodunnit, I am still a long distance from the finishing line.  I was genuinely surprised to see how little movement those words gave me in the storyline.

I was seriously fed up after three days of writing and no sense of closing the story, but for my own peace of mind I tried to look on the bright side – if I don’t I will ultimately just put my pen down and walk away from my writing, and that can’t be an option.

So I shifted my perspective instead.  It took a bit of effort and a glass or two of wine but I got there:

I have a proper plan showing story development; I am 10,000 words further along than I was, and they are purposeful words, not just space-fillers; I managed to enjoy the beautiful Welsh countryside and really have a mental time-out every day I was away, which was absolutely necessary.  I got to be artistic with pencils, and creative with poetry, as well as work on the story – this gave me a chance to reconsider elements and re-write paragraphs that weren’t working as I intended.  I got to spend quality time being peaceful with my husband, without the blare of the tv or the interruptions of work.

I also accepted that this is a growing story – from short story to novella, and from short form novella to long form.  Possibly even a novel, by the time I’m through.  The storyline carried me onwards, and is almost setting its own parameters.

Having hit the wall on this story a few times having it flow naturally was something of a relief and I’m not going to regret it.  When this whodunnit came into my mind, it was a way to work through a problem I had in another story, getting the twists to work effectively. However, I’ve become much more wedded to this story, and am being much more tenacious about completing it, than I was the originator.  Reading a few crime novels along the way has been invaluable, and has really opened my eyes to the potential in this genre, which is one I never previously cared for as a reader.

Now it is time to regroup and identify what needs to be done to get this story finished. As of tomorrow, the timesheet comes back into play as the key tool to carve out time to write, with a pragmatic and realistic target of about 1 hour per day.

I have a family event in Germany in a few weeks time so I will aim, once more, to be close to the conclusion by the time I go away.  If I set enough targets, I’ll hit one eventually!

I am going to stop there because this is already a long post and I want to go back to the whodunnit for a little more time before I get myself ready for a return to the office.   After all, I might not be on retreat any more but that is no reason not to retreat into my work!

Happy writing






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This week I haven’t looked at the whodunnit as I’ve been really busy with lots of things outside of work, and it’s likely that next week will be the same – instead I’ve been working on some poetry and indulging in an alternative creative outlet that is a little more sociable!

The problem is that once I’ve gone off on a tangent, whatever the reason, I tend to find it a bit tricky working my way back.  I was chatting with someone yesterday about how long we’d known each other (14 years) and how quickly time passes, and I do sometimes feel as though the spinning of the earth causes a bit of a breeze around me.  I feel how fleeting each moment is and watch then sink away, like grains of sand in an egg-timer.

Rather than watch them go behind me I’m going to reinstate my writing target of 3000 words this week and get the final push in progress.

Of course we all know that time passes, but we still think we have ages to get things done.  Well, I know from very personal experience that time isn’t always on our side so I do want to get the things on paper that are in my mind.  I just have to balance that with enjoying what I can at the same time.

In other news – very briefly this week, as I still have a lot to do tonight.  After last week’s post, I thought I should reinstate my peace post on a monthly basis so look out for those; I also thought I should work on more poetry on that theme for my listening lunch events.  I have started on something tangentially related but I want more.  I thought perhaps you could give me some ideas – maybe a peace quote you love, or an ambassador for peace I can research.  I want to make the poem speak to people in a very personal way so I’d love your input.

I know we’re a couple of weeks behind on the 100 novels list but I’ll pick that up next time!

Happy writing,



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