Today I’m sharing a little poetry and a guest blog post I wrote for Debbie Young on my love for Enid Blyton boarding school stories.
I’m a recent poetry convert. In the last weeks and months, I’ve been drawn to reading and writing poetry (Kathleen Raine, Yeats, Robin Robertson, Marissa Davis). Poetry writing has been a welcome and liberating change from my usual novella/novel writing. I’m also pairing my words with images and here is my latest dabbling ‘Shelter Feather’, inspired by Robert Macfarlane‘s Word of the Day tweets.
On to school stories…I was a bookish child – yes I know, hard to believe – and I especially loved boarding school stories. Debbie Young asked me to review (as an adult) one of my favourite boarding school books and consider how these stories have influenced my writing. My Favourite School Stories.
Ordinarily, Sandra’s courses are run face-to-face out of Dundee but due to the COVID-19 crisis, the course has moved online. Which is brilliant for me on the other side of the world, because now I can participate.
Each week, Sandra circulates materials on a folklore theme with prompts for creative projects. The themes to date have included water, trees and family stories.
Rather than writing novels or novellas (which is my usual comfy place), I’ve been playing with visuals and poetry.
In addition to the prompts, we have a weekly Zoom where the group discusses folklore and creativity. I’ve been blown away by the stories and creativity of my course-mates and look forward to the call each week.
It’s with an element of sadness that I announce the end of Write Through The Roof podcast.
After almost three years and 76 episodes, it’s time to do something new. But I’m really going to miss great conversations with interesting writers and having the opportunity to selfishly ask my writing heroes the questions I want to be answered.
So what I have learned about writing over the 76 interviews?
There is no right way to write
From meticulous spreadsheets of Oscar de Muriel to the pantsing of Rebecca Tope and everything in between, there is no right way to plot your novel.
Some write every day but many more wish they could. However, others see the definite need for rests to replenish their creative well. But discipline is the key and to finish what you start.
Take all writing advice with a pinch of salt.
Trusting yourself. You don’t have to write like other people.
Cherrypick techniques but develop your own style and process.
Do you writeevery day? I wish!
ROSALIE MORALES KEARNS
Don’t bore the reader. Don’t annoy the reader. Don’t confuse the reader.
Writers are generous and lovely people
Coffee runs in our veins
Writers like to read ‘like a fat kid at the
Thanks for the quote, Angela Slatter but all the writers I
spoke to love to read. The most popular inspiring authors were Stephen King,
Jane Austen, Neil Gaiman, Daphne du Maurier, Shirley Jackson, Angela Carter and
Most writers are life-long learners
Aside from the amazing Karen Rose Smith with 100 romance
novels under her belt and a comfortable writing process, most of the writers I
spoke with were trying something new with each book and continually trying to
perfect their process.
So all things come to an end but I’d like to thank all the writers I spoke with!
Today’s music recommendations are all about the synths. Instrumental of course, because this is music for writing.
These artists aren’t necessarily soundtrack composers (although sometimes they are) but their electronic music creates a special dark atmospheric mood.
S U R V I V E
S U R V I V E is a dark synth group from Texas and two of the members are well known for creating the ‘Stranger Things’ TV series soundtrack. Their music reminds me of 80s horror films with a touch of early Depeche Mode.
Pentagram Home Video
I know very little about this band but their music and soundtracks create a sombre yet eerie backdrop for my writing.
Now Cryo Chamber is not an artist but a record label focusing on dark ambient music. Their YouTube channel features a whole bunch of curated playlists, releases and mixes for atmospheric writing or sleep.
If you’d like to listen to all my recommendations in one place, head to the Spotify playlist.
Most of the time I need music for writing. And the right kind of music. Like books and stories, I’ve always had a passion for music.
This is a new series where I’ll be sharing what I’m listening to.
Today is dark and spooky music for dark and spooky moods.
Here are three artists to inspire your dark and spooky writing.
Lebanon Hanover is a German-British goth electric duo. Think New Order with Nico. Great music for taphophiles and recovering goths.
Bohren and der Club of Gore
Bohren and der Club of Gore are slow, languid, dark and jazzy. Known as ‘doom jazz’, this is reminiscent of smoky clubs, noir with a touch of Twin Peaks.
‘Horror-synth’ is another musical genre I gravitate towards when writing horror or general dark stuff. And John Carpenter is the grand-daddy of them all. His synth soundtracks create the perfect sense of dread.
I hope you enjoy these atmosphere-creating tunes.
If you’re writing something dark and spooky, what music do you listen to?
Edit: I’ve created a Spotify playlist featuring the artists above.
I’m delighted to reveal the cover for my next novel – Women of Wasps and War – the Sting of Injustice.
Women of Wasps and War is a grim feminist historical fantasy inspired by a true story.
Women of Wasps and War will be released by mid-June 2019. If you’d like to keep up with the latest news, including pre-order links and a chance for a free Advance Reading Copy (ARC), make sure you join my mailing list.
Women of Wasps and War
Agata, the Duchess of Ambrovna, was never meant to take the throne.
In a land where men
rule, her sole purpose was to smile and curtsey.
However, when war
left her land leaderless, the Fatherhood religion begrudgingly allowed a first;
a woman to rule.
Now the war is over and the men have returned more arrogant and cruel than ever, and the Duchess is shoved back into a life of needlework and silence.
But with her new
thirst for justice, Agata is reluctant to allow her country to return to its
Without her position of power, Agata and her circle of women look to the taboo wisdom of the Wasp Women for answers. But this ancient knowledge comes with consequences, and with death and treachery on the horizon, Agata must decide whether it is worth the risk.
Women of Wasps and War is a grim, gripping tale of power and politics, and the heart-breaking struggle between love and honour.
Welcome to Write Through The Roof, the podcast for writers who want to improve their craft.
Episode 39 with Alexandra Sokoloff – thriller author & screenwriter
“You are directing a movie onto the page.”
Episode 39 – Alexandra Sokoloff – Show Notes
Good and evil and what good people can do
Screenwriters have to be plotters. Journey from impro to screenwriting
Exploration of violence against women using a female serial killer
Using screenwriting techniques to become better authors
Multi-task while appearing to have a social life
Taking your favourite movies and working out what the classic movies are doing: Silence of the Lambs, Jaws, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Casablanca, When Harry Met Sally, The Hunger Games, The Wizard of Oz
Editors want a movie in their head
Shirley Jackson, Daphne du Maurier, Denise Mina, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Mo Hayder, Tana French, Val McDermid
Huntress/FBI series – to be read in order – like a binge watch TV experience
Hunger Moon is an unhappy read for Trump supporters
“If you’re going to talk about good and evil, you need to talk about people and what people do.”
“I do this with a total agenda of changing rape culture.”