I can’t quite believe July has been and gone (where is the year disappearing to?!). Before I share my final round up post for week 4 (and a bit) of the #writeupjuly challenge I want to give a huge shout out to the lovely Emily Morgan of Write Up for hosting it. It’s been a brilliant challenge to take part in and I’ve discovered some fabulous neW accounts to follow on Instagram, along with meeting lots of wonderful writers. It’s the only Instagram challenge I have responded to every prompt for which really says something for how engaging it was. It’s also helped me think about my writing on more depth and in new ways, and some of the comments I’ve had in posts have been really encouraging. I can’t wait for more Write Up challenges in the future.
The challenge – #writeupjuly – gave writers the chance to introduce themselves and their current works in progress to the Instagram writing community and to engage with other writers and generally get to know one another. Emily is one of my absolute favourite Instagram people – her account is beautiful and inspiring and she’s super friendly – and her Write Up blog is a great place to go for writing advice, tips and tools. Do go and give her a follow, subscribe to her blog and email newsletter and show her some love.
Without further ado, here’s my final round up:
Day 22 – Archetypes
Day 23 – Teaser Tuesday
Sum up your story’s premise in a single sentence:Mairead Kelly is isolated by grief and fear but when a mysterious book opens the doorway to a hidden world she begins to realise that connection with other people could save more than her sanity.
Day 24 – Evil plans
How do I like to plot my stories? Honest answer? I don’t. I’m a total panther when it comes to writing but I would really like to explore some plotting methods to see if I can change that a little bit. I love using discovery writing to uncover my plots as I go but I’m aware that this can leave me with gaping holes or a story that just isn’t always very well thought out. With my current WIP, I discover write the entire first draft but I’m essentially treating that draft as a massive brain dump and I now want to take the good bits from that discover process and properly plot my story. It’s daunting but exciting and I’m looking forward to trying different methods to see what works for me.
Day 25 – Bad guys closing in
In my current scene, there is a lurking shadow. An unknown threat. It hovers on the periphery of my MC’s day-to-day happenings, watching, waiting. It’s giving her that hairs standing up on the back of your neck feeling when you’re sure you’re being watched but can’t identify the watcher.
Day 26 – The Opposition
The villain in my WIP is a shadowy character. Literally. It’s one of the weakest parts of my story at the moment and needs much more rounding out because I can’t seem to settle on what feels right. What I do know is that they feed on fear and use it to weaponise the hidden world against my MC. But the specifics are still a work in progress.
Day 27 – Walk away
If my MC were to walk away from the plot now, she would remain isolated, she would never discover the truth of her grandfather’s history and the shadow of the hidden world would invade our own.
Day 28 – Hit the beat
This is the first #writeupjuly post that I genuinely can’t directly respond to because I have not yet read Save the Cat! I thought about doing a quick Google search to find out what the beats are and try and guess but I want to read the book properly. So instead I’m sharing a snapshot of my writing library! My favourites are Wonderbook (for prompts, character development and world-building), Bird by Bird (for relatable anecdotes on writing and life, along with plenty of wisdom), and Read This If You Want To Be a Great Writer (for a broad selection of methods, key writing elements and accompanying examples). I’ve only just started Writing Down The Bones but I’ve enjoyed the first few pages. I definitely want to add Save The Cat and Stephen King’s On Writing to this collection.
Day 29 – Early inspiration
Like with most things in my life, the people who supported me in the early days of my writing were my parents. From being tiny, they would sit patiently with me through hours of handwriting and spelling practice as I mastered the technical basics and read my childish flights of fancy painstakingly written on sugar paper and littered with entertaining errors. To this day, my dad is nearly always the first to read and like my blog posts and often sends me a text to tell me what he liked about it or what it made him think or wonder, and my mum reads the drafts of my poems and short stories (and even the opening chapters of my novel). They are beyond supportive, my cheerleaders, my gospel choir and even though they come at everything with a *slight* bias, I know I can also count on them for honest feedback and constructive criticism where needed. They also introduced me to the many of the writers who have inspired me: from Enid Blyton to JK Rowling and Jostein Gaarder to Brandon Sanderson.
They helped make me the person – and the writer – I am today.
Day 30 – Insta love
It’s time for some author love. There are SO many authors who I love and admire – both for their work and for the generally awesome people that they are.
Brandon Sanderson’s writing blows me away – his world building is so rich and his characters so compelling. The Mistborn and Stormlight series are firm favourites that I will reread over and over.
I am forever grateful to Elizabeth Gilbert for her beautiful work and unparalleled wisdom. The Signature of All Things has some of the most stunning prose I’ve ever read and Big Magic taught me so much about fear and creativity, and will remain my go-to for comfort and inspiration. If I were to have a guru, it would be Liz Gilbert, for sure!
This list would be incomplete without Erin Morgenstern whose utterly magical novel, The Night Circus, completely swept me away and – no matter how many times I reread it – never fails to make me forget that I’m reading at all! Les Cirque Des Reves may be my all time favourite literary place and this book is the most immersive fiction I’ve ever read. I adore it. I’ve devoured the awesome micro fictions posted on her blog and wait with baited breath for The Starless Sea later this year! Erin also happens to be completely lovely.
Day 31 – Cheerleaders
I’m fortunate to have a lot of people in my life who have cheered me on in my writing. My parents are still incredibly supportive but they have been joined in their cheering by my incredible hubby, Dave, my friends Jodie, Kelly and Joel, as well as some awesome Instagram buddies @pipedreamswriting and @wonderpigiste – not to mention all my lovely colleagues from my previous job and my besties Het and Rachel who continue to encourage me (even when they’re not entirely sure what on Earth it is that I’m doing!). I love you all and am so grateful for your support.
And there you have it. Challenge complete.
Happy August, friends!