Romance writers are often reluctant to talk about formula, for fear of cheapening the genre or making something creative sound mechanical. There is, however, a cast iron formula used by every one of them, from the best to the worst, and which will never let you down whether you're writing a magazine story, a Mills and Boon novella or a full length novel....
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.
I think it's about time the mainstream bookshelves reflected the mix and diversity that actually exists in society. I think it's time that diverse characters, with racially diverse backgrounds and parentage and histories, finally found their way onto our contemporary bookshelves in the 'main' sections.
If you want to try blogging, set up a blog. If you want to journal, journal. If you want to submit something to a magazine without much writing experience, do it! If you want to spend the next few years writing a book, do that. You don't need to be published to be a writer and you don't need to have been published in order to get published.
Life post-overdose had a different intensity to it - I couldn't run from my struggle anymore. I couldn't keep stuff shoved down and carry on regardless. I couldn't neglect my needs because saving myself after overdosing (I called the ambulance) was cementing a promise to myself - I was going to do this.
People moaning about trash news really bores me. We need it. Yeah, I said it. Journalism needs it too. I'm also convinced that a lot of you people that moan about it secretly love it, especially that particular kind of prick that pretends not to know who anyone in Made In Chelsea is. You know who they are, I know you know, you know you know, just admit it
I've never considered myself 'intuitive' in any way - until the Myers-Briggs personality test told me I am in fact, far more intuitive than I reckoned. Up until then, intuition suggested someone who acts on instinct, and gets it right every time. I would consider myself way more cautious, and definitely a fact-checker - as well as an over-thinker.
There are a lot of bloggers, some that I am lucky enough to consider friends, that can write so beautifully about the issues of every day life, offer guidance and counsel, and sometimes persuade us all to take good hard looks at ourselves and the society that we live in, and to those people - I congratulate and solute you, and will continue to read your words in awe of your fabulousness and way with words, but I cannot do it. It's not for me. After all, what's so wrong with being commercial anyway?
I'm hitting Australia at the weekend for a 3-week trip, travelling around Melbourne, Adelaide, Cape Tribulation, Whitsunday and with a final night in Brisbane. There was absolutely no way I could head to the other side of the world for an adventure and not use this opportunity to scatter postcards as I go.
For a second, I simply stared at Muhammad Ali before remembering to blink and then breathe. I looked around thinking perhaps he was trying to get someone else's attention, but it was so quiet at the time that the only other people in the store were grouped across by the till. Then Ali, one of the world's most celebrated living legends, beckoned me closer.