Love the feedback. Good, 'bad', indifferent - it will all add to your development as a writer. Sometimes it's hard to accept open criticism, and I certainly would not advise putting up with anything personal or nasty. Be thankful that people are actually reading what you wrote and taking the time to connect.
With Christmas around the corner, we're encouraging parents, families and anyone buying a gift for a child or young person to give the gift of a diary. You'll be giving them a platform to express themselves and the tools to become a better writer, which will help them now and long in to the future. And you never know - your child might just produce the next Diary of a Wimpy Kid!
Clever plots are fine, but it's the characters that bring a story to life. It's the characters that we get emotionally involved with, and which we are likely to remember most when the story's over. So how do you create characters that are memorable, feel like real people, and who stand out not just from those in similar stories but from their fellow cast members in the world they inhabit?
With the women's weeklies collectively publishing dozens of stories every week, they provide a ready market for any aspiring fiction writer to get in print and earn decent fees while writing about whatever subjects turn them on. Writing for the womags isn't an easy option, however. They have exacting standards.
It makes me feel slightly uneasy, that in 2016 I can still find myself pondering the issue of balancing writing with motherhood - perhaps I should discuss writing and parenthood, as I'm sure there are many father's out there doing a similar juggling act. However, that is not my reality, so I'm going to address the issues I have encountered during the writing and publication of my first novel, Russian Redemption.
For many years I believed that I wasn't a very confident person. This was mainly based on the idea that I had of what confidence was. From school onwards we are taught that to be confident is to be the child that always puts their hand up in class, the one that volunteers to read the next chapter out loud in English lesson, or takes the lead in group activities.
One of the few things I have done right (eventually) was managing to get a deal with Harper Collins and having my debut novel "The Darkest Hour" published in the USA and UK. Finally, I did something right. Except I didn't. I made a ton of mistakes as a debut author... so I thought I would list them here...
So, please, indulge me as I hitherto invent a new genre of literary criticism and thrust it upon your unwitting and uninterested eyes. I call it a "pre-review review". I hear your teeth grind as you call me a "wally" and slap the back of your own neck in the hope you'll hit that "off-button" sweet-spot. Why not simply call it a "preview", like a sensible person?
It's almost impossible to be really happy with something you've done yourself. But does the script best represent your writing? Has it got passion? Are any boring, overwritten bits definitely gone? Have you had enough feedback and done enough re-writes to be confident that this is your best attempt?
As feverish NaNoWriMo writers across the globe step back from their overheated keyboards - some with 50,000 words in the bag and others with rather less - how do they keep writing come December when there's no deadline to hit?
Perhaps it was being put deep under by the anaesthesia, for I am told it really is a little like dying. Well the closest one comes to dying without actually... dying; when you are sedated enough for them to cut into you. Maybe it was that which dropped me deep into myself, enough to touch the stuff that really mattered. The debris hidden behind decades of conditioning shot to the top.