RSS

Category Archives: novels

Today’s online writing groups’ poetry and story exercises: 29th Nov 2016

*** If you enjoy these prompts, or are looking to improve your writing or submit a manuscript, do take a look at my seven online courses… six currently half price (coupon codes on the online courses page) and one FREE!, and / or my Writer’s Block Workbooks… my best-selling eBooks – now available in eBook and paperback format!

Every weekday I post a set of poetry prompts on poetrywritinggroup.wordpress.com and a set of story prompts on the scriptnovel and short story blogs. As you’ll see by the heading numbers, you may have missed a few but the links are listed on the relevant group’s Exercises page so you can always find them there. So here are your poetry and short story exercises…

Poetry Writing Exercises 1009: Tuesday 29th November

Here are your four poetry exercises for today. If you enjoy these prompts, do take a look at my online courses… six are currently half price (when using the coupon codes on my main blog’s online courses page) and another is FREE!

Time yourself for 15 minutes per exercise, having a break in between each one or move on to the next.  When you’ve finished, do pop over to this blog’s Facebook Group and let everyone know how you got on.

1009-tag-934233Below are the four – you can do them in any order.

  1. Keywords: acrylic, spot, think, once, waterproof
  2. Random: your name isn’t there
  3. Picture: what does this inspire?
  4. Tuesday Title: The Dutch Friend

Have fun, and if you would like to, do paste your writing in the comment boxes below so we can see how you got on! Remember though that it counts as being published so don’t post anything that you would want to submit elsewhere (where they require unpublished material).

See below for explanations of the prompts, they do vary…

  • Sentence starts = what it says on the tin. You can use it at the beginning of the poem or include it later, and being poetry it doesn’t have to be exact – just be inspired by it.
  • Keywords = the words have to appear in the poem but can be in any order and can be lengthened (e.g. clap to clapping).
  • Single-word prompt = sometimes all it takes is one word to spawn an idea. Sometimes it easy, sometimes hard but invariably fun.
  • Mixed bag = an object, a location, a colour.
  • Picture prompts = nothing other than a picture. What does it conjure up?
  • Title = The title for your piece.
  • Haiku poem= 5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables
  • Random = whatever takes my fancy!

*

Story Writing Exercises 1013: Tuesday 29 November

Here are your four story exercises for today. If you enjoy these prompts (or are looking to improve your writing or submit a manuscript), do take a look at my online courses… six are currently half price (when using coupon codes) and the other is FREE!

Read the rest of this entry »

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 29, 2016 in ideas, novels, poetry, short stories, writing

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

FREEBIE ALERT! My new quirky mystery novella After Jessica is FREE today 27 Nov!

after-jessica-cover-front-smallHello everyone. I’m delighted that my new quirky crime mystery novella After Jessica is FREE today, 27 Nov via http://mybook.to/AfterJessica.

Jessica is an ordinary girl who comes across extraordinary circumstances and pays for them with her life. As well as identifying her body, her brother Simon then has to wind up her affairs but gets more than he bargains for. Who is Alexis, and why are Veronica and Daniel searching for her? Why is there a roll of cash in Jessica’s house, and what’s the connection between Simon’s sister and Alexis?

***

Extract: 

He slammed both hands on the emergency brake and the train jolted, slowing nowhere near as quickly as he was pleading it to. He could hear shouting from the carriage behind him, but was too busy concentrating on what, or who, was in front of him to pay any attention. His first thought was another clueless animal, but as he got nearer, he realised it was a car and something inside it was moving.

As the two machines grew nearer, he could smell burning rubber and saw the smoke as the car’s tyres made contact with the edges of the track. As he stared at the inevitable, he knew nothing he or the car driver did would be enough to avoid the impact.

He stared at the driver facing him. He could see her hands gripping the steering wheel. She’d screwed her eyes shut, seemingly knowing her fate, but he guessed by her right shoulder dancing forwards and backwards that she was still trying the pedals.

Then to his surprise, she stilled and opened her eyes, staring straight at him. When they were just a few feet apart, she mouthed something which looked like “sorry” but he couldn’t be sure.

As metal hit metal, it was the highest pitch noise he had ever heard. Expecting the inevitable grinding sound, he remembered afterwards being shocked that it sounded like a beautiful violin. Of course, there was nothing beautiful about what had happened but instead of being afraid, he was calm. As calm as the woman he’d been face to face with; the woman with green eyes.

He wasn’t sure why he’d smiled and she’d done the same, just before mouthing that one final word.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 27, 2016 in ebooks, novels, writing

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Guest post: Putting Words In Their Mouths – How I Write Dialogue by Kristen Bailey

Today’s guest blog post, on the topic of dialogue, is brought to you by novelist and short story author Kristen Bailey.

Putting Words In Their Mouths – How I Write Dialogue

kristenWhen I was little, I was always slightly in awe of the cinema. I was a child of the eighties, when films were always a big event and I spent many hours with my sister and brother watching films over and over again until the video tapes sometimes snapped. It didn’t stop there, we would re-enact them, and commit a vast repertoire of classic lines to memory. I would like to say I’ve matured a lot since then, but still now Sunday lunch will be spent with the three of us quoting entire scenes from films that no-one else has seen, to the despair of my parents who wonder where they went wrong raising us…

It’s why I often think I’m obsessed with dialogue when I write. It’s the part of writing I actually love the most as it gives my characters life and purpose. By rights, this means I should probably be a screenwriter but instead I write contemporary women’s fiction where dialogue always features heavily and which often has to have an acerbic comedy edge to it. Does this mean my work is brimming with one-liners and jokes? Not really, and especially when it comes to dialogue. Few people speak like stand-up comedians and I know immediately if I’ve forced a joke in my dialogue as it will feel unnatural on reading it aloud. A lot of comedy is actually in the delivery and the situation, but it’s also not always explicit. It can be observational or paired with the reaction of someone’s inner thoughts. An editor once gave me the good advice to limit the amount of swearing I used in dialogue too. Saying ‘f***’ a lot can be amusing but can be jarring to read in print. It’s far funnier to be inventive instead: consider the usual ‘f****** hell!’ and how a replacement like ‘mother of arsebiscuits!’ is more memorable yet equally as impactful.

In both my novels, Souper Mum and Second Helpings, I also gave myself the challenge of tackling a variety of dialects; Tommy McCoy is a Mockney TV chef, Jools’ husband, Matt is Scottish, his mother Italian, Cam is American and Remy, Luella’s husband is French. Why not just ensure all my characters are from South London? Well, where would be the fun in that! I think it’s a tribute to my background and line of work. I’ve always loved, listening to the way that people talk; the intonation, the rhythm, the dialect that sets any one speaker apart from another. I trained and worked as a teacher of English as a foreign language so have always been fine tuned into listening to people’s accents but it’s also something I grew up with having a Singaporean mother and Guyanese father. Of course, authenticity is key here, so when writing dialogue in dialect I always read it aloud. My husband knows this better than most as he often wanders into a darkened room confused as to why I’m doing bad impressions of Shrek…

Inspiration to write dialogue can come from different sources too. I am admittedly a bit nosy and a great eavesdropper, nothing gives me greater joy than being sat on a crowded train and being inspired by two drunk people having a conversation about nothing. Because sometimes conversations have no purpose, their credibility is in their normality. In Second Helpings especially, there are scenes between Matt and Jools littered with incomplete sentences and a conversational ‘shorthand’ that is often evident between couples who have lived with each other for so long that they implicitly know what the other is talking about. In these scenes, economy is key: the prose takes over but I annotate the action with periods of comfortable silence too.

However, I’m still a TV/film addict too. I believe some of the best writing today is on television, and hearing dialogue being read out, as it should, can give you such great clues into how people really speak. Orange is The New Black has some of the best one-liners I’ve ever heard, the dialogue is not only slick but the comedy comes with how quick they spew out those lines, one on top of the other. For comedy inspiration, I always go back to shows like New Girl, Sex and the City, Modern Family and anything by Graham Linehan.

Read the rest of this entry »

 
5 Comments

Posted by on November 26, 2016 in articles, ebooks, novels, short stories, tips, writing

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Today’s online writing groups’ poetry and story exercises: 25th Nov 2016

*** If you enjoy these prompts, or are looking to improve your writing or submit a manuscript, do take a look at my seven online courses… six currently half price (coupon codes on the online courses page) and one FREE!, and / or my Writer’s Block Workbooks… my best-selling eBooks – now available in eBook and paperback format!

Every weekday I post a set of poetry prompts on poetrywritinggroup.wordpress.com and a set of story prompts on the scriptnovel and short story blogs. As you’ll see by the heading numbers, you may have missed a few but the links are listed on the relevant group’s Exercises page so you can always find them there. So here are your poetry and short story exercises…

Poetry Writing Exercises 1007: Friday 25th November

Here are your four poetry exercises for today. If you enjoy these prompts, do take a look at my online courses… six are currently half price (when using the coupon codes on my main blog’s online courses page) and another is FREE!

Time yourself for 15 minutes per exercise, having a break in between each one or move on to the next.  When you’ve finished, do pop over to this blog’s Facebook Group and let everyone know how you got on.

1007-spider-97622Below are the four – you can do them in any order.

  1. Keywords: milkshake, produce, proud, Olympics, second
  2. Random: what did you do last night
  3. Picture: what does this inspire?
  4. One-word prompt: train

Have fun, and if you would like to, do paste your writing in the comment boxes below so we can see how you got on! Remember though that it counts as being published so don’t post anything that you would want to submit elsewhere (where they require unpublished material).

See below for explanations of the prompts, they do vary…

  • Sentence starts = what it says on the tin. You can use it at the beginning of the poem or include it later, and being poetry it doesn’t have to be exact – just be inspired by it.
  • Keywords = the words have to appear in the poem but can be in any order and can be lengthened (e.g. clap to clapping).
  • Single-word prompt = sometimes all it takes is one word to spawn an idea. Sometimes it easy, sometimes hard but invariably fun.
  • Mixed bag = an object, a location, a colour.
  • Picture prompts = nothing other than a picture. What does it conjure up?
  • Title = The title for your piece.
  • Haiku poem= 5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables
  • Random = whatever takes my fancy!

*

Story Writing Exercises 1011: Friday 25 November

Here are your four story exercises for today. If you enjoy these prompts (or are looking to improve your writing or submit a manuscript), do take a look at my online courses… six are currently half price (when using coupon codes) and the other is FREE!

Read the rest of this entry »

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 25, 2016 in ideas, novels, poetry, short stories, writing

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Today’s online writing groups’ poetry and story exercises: 24th Nov 2016

*** If you enjoy these prompts, or are looking to improve your writing or submit a manuscript, do take a look at my seven online courses… six currently half price (coupon codes on the online courses page) and one FREE!, and / or my Writer’s Block Workbooks… my best-selling eBooks – now available in eBook and paperback format!

Every weekday I post a set of poetry prompts on poetrywritinggroup.wordpress.com and a set of story prompts on the scriptnovel and short story blogs. As you’ll see by the heading numbers, you may have missed a few but the links are listed on the relevant group’s Exercises page so you can always find them there. So here are your poetry and short story exercises…

Poetry Writing Exercises 1006: Thursday 24th November

Here are your four poetry exercises for today. If you enjoy these prompts, do take a look at my online courses… six are currently half price (when using the coupon codes on my main blog’s online courses page) and another is FREE!

Time yourself for 15 minutes per exercise, having a break in between each one or move on to the next.  When you’ve finished, do pop over to this blog’s Facebook Group and let everyone know how you got on.

1006-spaceman-38293Below are the four – you can do them in any order.

  1. Keywords: better, butter, adventure, block, Jenna
  2. Random: leaving out the Ts
  3. Picture: what does this inspire?
  4. Thursday Title: See You On Thursday

Have fun, and if you would like to, do paste your writing in the comment boxes below so we can see how you got on! Remember though that it counts as being published so don’t post anything that you would want to submit elsewhere (where they require unpublished material).

See below for explanations of the prompts, they do vary…

  • Sentence starts = what it says on the tin. You can use it at the beginning of the poem or include it later, and being poetry it doesn’t have to be exact – just be inspired by it.
  • Keywords = the words have to appear in the poem but can be in any order and can be lengthened (e.g. clap to clapping).
  • Single-word prompt = sometimes all it takes is one word to spawn an idea. Sometimes it easy, sometimes hard but invariably fun.
  • Mixed bag = an object, a location, a colour.
  • Picture prompts = nothing other than a picture. What does it conjure up?
  • Title = The title for your piece.
  • Haiku poem= 5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables
  • Random = whatever takes my fancy!

*

Story Writing Exercises 1010: Thursday 24 November

Here are your four story exercises for today. If you enjoy these prompts (or are looking to improve your writing or submit a manuscript), do take a look at my online courses… six are currently half price (when using coupon codes) and the other is FREE!

Read the rest of this entry »

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 24, 2016 in ideas, novels, poetry, short stories, writing

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Today’s online writing groups’ poetry and story exercises: 23rd Nov 2016

*** If you enjoy these prompts, or are looking to improve your writing or submit a manuscript, do take a look at my seven online courses… six currently half price (coupon codes on the online courses page) and one FREE!, and / or my Writer’s Block Workbooks… my best-selling eBooks – now available in eBook and paperback format!

Every weekday I post a set of poetry prompts on poetrywritinggroup.wordpress.com and a set of story prompts on the scriptnovel and short story blogs. As you’ll see by the heading numbers, you may have missed a few but the links are listed on the relevant group’s Exercises page so you can always find them there. So here are your poetry and short story exercises…

Poetry Writing Exercises 1005: Wednesday 23rd November

Here are your four poetry exercises for today. If you enjoy these prompts, do take a look at my online courses… six are currently half price (when using the coupon codes on my main blog’s online courses page) and another is FREE!

Time yourself for 15 minutes per exercise, having a break in between each one or move on to the next.  When you’ve finished, do pop over to this blog’s Facebook Group and let everyone know how you got on.

1005-snow-footprints-898198Below are the four – you can do them in any order.

  1. Keywords: Britain, Doug, daughter, grammar, appalling
  2. Random: looking around the room
  3. Picture: what does this inspire?
  4. Sentence start: His other child was…

Have fun, and if you would like to, do paste your writing in the comment boxes below so we can see how you got on! Remember though that it counts as being published so don’t post anything that you would want to submit elsewhere (where they require unpublished material).

See below for explanations of the prompts, they do vary…

  • Sentence starts = what it says on the tin. You can use it at the beginning of the poem or include it later, and being poetry it doesn’t have to be exact – just be inspired by it.
  • Keywords = the words have to appear in the poem but can be in any order and can be lengthened (e.g. clap to clapping).
  • Single-word prompt = sometimes all it takes is one word to spawn an idea. Sometimes it easy, sometimes hard but invariably fun.
  • Mixed bag = an object, a location, a colour.
  • Picture prompts = nothing other than a picture. What does it conjure up?
  • Title = The title for your piece.
  • Haiku poem= 5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables
  • Random = whatever takes my fancy!

*

Story Writing Exercises 1009: Wednesday 23 November

Here are your four story exercises for today. If you enjoy these prompts (or are looking to improve your writing or submit a manuscript), do take a look at my online courses… six are currently half price (when using coupon codes) and the other is FREE!

Read the rest of this entry »

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 23, 2016 in ideas, novels, poetry, short stories, writing

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

My new Northamptonshire crime novella eBook ‘Hitman Sam’ is free today!

hitman-sam-cover-front-smallHello everyone. I’m delighted that my crime lad lit novella Hitman Sam – about a trainee hitman – is FREE today Wednesday 23 Nov via http://mybook.to/HitmanSam (this links to your Amazon shop)

Blurb: Newly-redundant software designer Sam Simpson is looking for a new adventure – a cryptic advert in his local paper gives him that, and more. With two women vying for his affection, going behind their backs isn’t the smartest things he’s ever done.

See https://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/books-mine/novels/hitman-sam for more details.

If you’ve missed this offer, then it’s only 99c / 99p to download anyway.🙂

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 23, 2016 in ebooks, novels, short stories, writing

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,