Saturday, 8 November 2014

My latest articles in December's Writing Magazine

It's early days, I know, but the December issue of Writing Magazine is already on the street. And if you buy nothing else, you should at least get yourself a copy to read over the festive period and gee up your writing buds.

My 'Beginners' page is called 'Layer it On', and is all about building your story gradually with layers of detail. Rather like a form of editing, it means going back and reading over what you've written, but instead of merely correcting typos, look for where you can improve what you've got.

This not only helps with adding depth and colour to your writing, be it characters, dialogue or scenes and so forth, but it's a belter for quietly building the word count (and I don't mean with padding).

As an aside, I think I started doing this a long time ago, mainly to improve what I'd done (naturally), but because I found attaining the word count to be the most depressing part of the whole business of writing; thinking I'd written XYZ thousands of words, I'd discover I'd done half that.

But when I came to the editing bit, I found putting stuff right, while losing some words, actually increased the total because I was focussing more on improving the quality rather than the quantity.

Sum total: a big increase in both.

The other (and much more important) part of December's issue is my profile of author Marion Grace Woolley, whose gothic novel 'Those Rosy Hours at Mazandaran' comes out in February.

Marion has a fascinating background working in Kigali, Rwanda, and proves that it's possible to write anywhere and far from home if you have the real writing urge.



  1. Of course I love this. It is exactly how I write and we do tend to appreciate that which affirms us! :-) My first drafts are typically 'telling the story' (I know, I know, but wait).
    This could be considered a VERY detailed 'outline'. I see it more as a skeleton upon which I add the layers that bring the SHOW to life! The nervous system--show emotion, the muscles--show strength, the blood--show passion, the tendons--hold it all together, the flesh and skin wrap up the loose ends. Thanks for the opportunity to articulate the process. :-) SD Saxon aka Ellys Phox

    1. Hi, Sylvia. Thank you for your comment. You're correct - the first write is a skeleton for adding flesh and colour. Somebody famous once said 'Tell the story'. What they meant (I believe) was get it down on paper... then add to it and edit, edit, edit. You can't always see where it's going until you have the nub of it there to read.

  2. Interesting... I came here bc MGW told me to (big fan!), and I find an interesting take on one of the editing rounds that some of us do... I'm only on my second round of editing, mind, but this time around, this round of detail fit in after "What Big Plot Holes Am I Missing?" and before "Line Editing/ Verisimilitude Check" Good to know other authors consider this a round of its own as well!

    1. Hi, Margaret. That MGW gets around, doesn't she? I regard every bit of work after the initial 'throw-down' of words as an edit; it adds to, improves and polishes (hopefully), and in the process, rarely loses words but increases them. Some writers number their work in drafts; I basically write, then edit... and edit. Each to their own.