I’ve had asthma since my teens, nearly forty years now. It lurks, ready at the lack of a coat to remind me of how it’s compromised my respiratory system. A mild cold in December mutated into a chest infection that hung around like an oblivious, unwelcome guest for nearly a month. Needless to say, I’m […]
Breaks and Pauses
…And the blackbird’s tune, And May, and June! – De Gustibus, Robert Browning I’ve added a lot of tags to this post; my four weeks away from writing and blogging generated quite a few thoughts and ideas, as well as […]
Begin at The Beginning -Does My Novel Need a Prologue?
I’ve been thinking about beginnings a lot, since, well, the beginning of this new year. I’m currently reviewing my manuscript for And The Buntings Flew, having put it away for a few months; that distance allowed me to clean up what I’ve written to date, and forge on with the story. I’ve now got 35,000 […]
March ’18 Roundup – Bruges, Website Makeover, Short Stories and Nano Probes
I posted in January about the snow hanging around like an impervious, unwelcome house guest; this week we’ve just seen the back of the latest batch! Some gloomy forecasters predict the UK will have a white Easter; I choose to ignore these pessimists (with fingers crossed). It has been an unseasonably cold late winter and […]
June Roundup: flash fiction published and revisiting the draft of my first novel: it does get better!
May and June have been busy, momentous even, and I’ve struggled to find time to write and update the blog. I did, however, snatch the time for a quick trip to the seaside; we are pretty much in the centre of the landmass of England, and the coast is a long drive in every direction, […]
Photo Inspiration for “The Bondage of The Soil”
“Progress is not an illusion; it happens, but it is slow and invariably disappointing.” – George Orwell (All photos © Margaret McGoverne 2017) So, dear reader, I’ve published my very first work of fiction and the truth of the Orwell quote above has hit me hard. Writing the story is only the first step; I’m […]
Happy New Year, And May Your Creative Endeavours Ever Increase!
I’ve been working on a Christmas post for the last few weeks – I didn’t finish it off in time (waste not, want not, it’s saved in my drafts and may be recycled for Christmas 2017), but I’ve been thinking about the essence of what I was trying to say in that post. 2016 was a […]
My Research Trip to Belfast for “And The Buntings Flew”
I’ve just returned from a three-day break to Northern Ireland; the trip was definitely a mix of pleasure and writing research – the first thing I did after checking in at the wonderful Europa Hotel (the most bombed hotel in Europe) was to head for the Belfast Central Library Newspaper archive. And The Buntings Flew, the […]
8 Foods of Ulster featured in “And The Buntings Flew”
I recently read a great article in the Guardian Food in Books series by blogger Kate at The Little Library Cafe; – you can read the latest article here. Kate writes about the food that features in some of her favourite books, and she often recreates recipes for foods as described in such classics as To […]
Banshees, Birds and Synchronicity in the Creative Process
I try to ensure I always have the means of making a note close to hand; Evernote on my phone and tablet, a notebook and pen in my bag, a voice record option on my phone. Post-it note pads everywhere. You never know when a great idea will spring to mind! But sometimes circumstances prevent me […]
Robert Harris Goodreads Q&A January ’16
Would an enormously clever and talented, but relatively humble orator like Cicero rise to the top echelons of government today, or as in the time of the Roman republic, would that require huge financial backing? Has much changed?
What I Read in 2015 and My 2016 Reading Challenge
Firstly, I’d like to belatedly wish my readers and fellow bloggers a very happy, healthy, successful and productive New Year! I read a great post today by Donna at a little bird tweets about reading lists for this year and last; I decided that I need a similar challenge for 2016, so here’s my list of what I did […]
My 2015 Writing Review (and plans for 2016!)
When I was younger, I heartily disliked New Year’s Eve; for my mother, it was a time of looking back and rehashing old tragedies, old regrets. She cried without fail, and to younger me this was painful and put a real pall over the end of the year. But I’ve learned that like Janus, the Roman […]
Are Ebooks changing the way we read and write novels?
As far back as I can recall, I’ve had an immoderate appetite for two things; sweets, and reading. One of my favourite childhood pastimes was to combine both; lying on my bed, or in the park, or lolling on the sofa with a large dog-eared paperback and a bag of American hard-gums, was my idea […]
Sowing the Seeds: What Being a Gardener Has Taught Me About Writing
“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant. (Robert Louis Stevenson) It’s not an original idea, just a homely little blog post, but I keep thinking about how becoming a gardener who can actually grow things is a useful metaphor for how I’m becoming a writer who […]
“When I write a novel I’m writing about my own life; I’m writing a biography almost, always. And to make it look like a novel I either have a murder or a death at the end” (Beryl Bainbridge) That’s it, I’ve clocked up 25,900 words as at the end of last night, which is just […]
Novels That Explore Growing Up in Northern Ireland During The Troubles
I’m currently writing up chapter six of my novel, And The Buntings Flew, and its taking a long time; too long. I plan to end the chapter with the first major plot development, but I’m stuck on a descriptive section; something about what I was writing was bothering me, making progress slow. I’ve had to undertake quite a bit of research for this chapter, including remapping […]
And it started with “And”
““And it stoned me”“(Van Morrison, 1970) The title of my novel in progress is And The Buntings Flew. It’s a title I agonised over for a long time, so I’m not surprised when some people ask me, why does a self-confessed Grammar Prig have as the first word in the title of her first book, such a […]
How Low Can You Go? Novels, Novellas and The Renaissance in Short and Micro Fiction
“It had to mean something. And then I meant something, too. Yes, smaller than the smallest, I meant something, too. To God, there is no zero. I still exist!” (The Shrinking Man) I’m starting to flex my writing muscles now! As well as working on my novel, And The Buntings Flew, the past few months […]
My Name Is? Character and Place Names in Literary Fiction
I was introduced early on to the importance of names in literary fiction, being a young fan of Dickens – nearly all of Dickens’ character names feel relevant, even if we can’t place our feelings about some of them. Compeyson, Magwitch, Pumblechook, Orlick – these names are all from one novel, Great Expectations. Other memorable […]