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Members, Meetings and…How to Write. Tags: member meetings how to write books

Once again, the blog took me by surprise – how does that happen? It’s on my calendar? So what to write?

I’ve had the wonderful Angela visiting this week. We will be putting her back on the plane today, but hopefully we will see her again. If the pleasure of my company doesn’t pull her back to Spain, then I’m sure the lure of Gencianna, my mare might do the job. Here at Writers Abroad, we all have writing as a common love, but it’s wonderful to find we have other things to share (especially if those things relate to horses.)

We also had the pleasure of lunch with Chris and her husband Rod, which was lovely (and to be repeated shortly.)

I had a great week. We talked about writing (not as much as we probably should have – and I’m sad—okay not very sad—to say I did not get my writing goals for the week done) and discussed some of my favourite how to write books. I’m personally a huge fan of how to write books, though I in no way follow any one method. I just find that they stimulate my brain into thinking along new pathways.

So I thought I’d list my five favourites—these are a little slanted toward structure as that’s what we’ve been discussing the most. I know not everyone likes to plot their novels, but I find a study of structure can also help you at the editing stage. So you have your first draft, you read it though and it’s great…mostly. There’s just something niggling that’s not quite right. Then identifying the beats of your novel (or searching for them and not finding them anywhere) can really help pinpoint problems and make the story stronger. So here goes…

Larry Brook’s Story Engineering – this is probably my favourite at the moment. There is so much information and the structure makes almost perfect sense to me (And I love the way he gives the protagonist a name in each of the four parts; the Orphan, The Wanderer, the Warrior and the Martyr.)

The Writers Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers by Christopher Vogler – this is based on the heroes Journey and “explores the powerful relationship between mythology and storytelling”. It’s fascinating even if you don’t write.

Save The Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need by Blake Snyder. This is actually for screen writing, but works equally well for novels, particularly thriller/mystery types.

Romancing the Beat: Story Structure for Romance Novels (How to Write Kissing Books Book 1) by Gwen Hayes – for anyone trying to write romance. This is short and sweet and totally nails it!

And finally, Techniques of the Selling Writer by Dwight V Swain. This isn’t just structure, it’s everything, and is one of the best books on writing I’ve ever read. It was also first published in 1965 which makes it almost as old as me and shows that fundamentals do not change.

So that's my current five favourite how to write books. Can you let me know your personal favourite (I recently got an Amazon voucher for my birthday) and I can maybe try a few new ones?

This Week April 24th. 2017
Category: Site News

I have to post tonight as I will be out from early morning.

Monday Muse

Inspiration will be provided by Dianne.


Nicola will provide this week's blog.

April/May Opportunities

Still time to enter a few competitions under the April challenge - closing dates end of April, May, June, and a monthly.

New suggestions from Sue:

Sue will be kicking off the Poetry Project on Friday 28th. Here's a link she posted for poetry opportunities:

Also, she has begun judging the Hysteria Poetry competition. You have until August 31st. to enter this one.

Works in Progress

Take a look at Richard's 'Medication: Has the Moment Arrived?'

The Meeting Room

Formal Chat notes to be posted by Lesley.

The Notice Board

Nigel has posted Time Around the World to aid us in getting our time zones correct.

Jo and Simon have begun their travels from Italy. Their destination is Gibraltar but not before meeting Nicola and Chris N at Balerma, Almeria on Friday next.

A warm welcome to our new member, Richard.

The Bragging Stool

Bieke has done two poetry readings:

Guelph Spoken Aloud Event:

In the Soil Artist Festival:

Member Meet

Vanessa, Lesley, and Nigel enjoyed a get together in Villefranche-de-Ruergue, SW France on the 18th.

Nicola and Rob hosted lunch for Chris and Rod, and house guest Angela, in their traditional cortijo in the mountains of Granada Province. It was an amazing afternoon.

Formal chat: Sunday, May 21st. 2017 at 11 a.m. CEST with Vanessa in the chair.


This Week on Writers Abroad 17th April
Category: Site News

Happy Easter Monday to everyone!

Monday Muse: Vanessa has posted some seasonal and travel-inspired prompts for us to get out teeth into this week. She recently visited Paris in the springtime. Hey, I feel a song/poem/story coming on.

Blog: Sue has written about an issue that can plague the best of writers, self-doubt. What do we need to do in order to write that winning story? Change our style, chop up our sentences, throw in an errant Oxford comma? These are some of the questions Sue mulls over. Also, more controversially, the trolling of a cancer sufferer is a storyline in Coronation Street which has got a lot of people up in arms; should writers exploit this kind of suffering or has a line been crossed?

Bragging Stool: WA members have got four stories in Ad Hoc (it's starting to look like a coup). Sue with story, The Gown; Chris, Stag Undone; Crilly, Freedom and yours truly, Revenge Served Hot. There's still time to hop over and cast your vote; http:// It's Sue's 61st week in Ad Hoc and she has also supplied an evocative illustration for one of the winning stories! Sue is keeping the BS hot with third price in the Morgan Bailey's 100 word competition. Absolutely no reason for self-doubt!

April Challenge: Still plenty of opportunities in our April Challenge and Alyson has posted a picture-inspired story for critiquing. She would love to hear your comments and of course there is still time to post your own challenges. So cast aside the self-doubt (and Easter eggs and hot-cross buns) and let rip!

An exciting week ahead as I prepare to fly to Spain tomorrow for some wonderful days of writing, horse-riding and getting to know fellow WA member, Nicola! Now, let's see if I can jam my riding helmet and type writer into my carry on...

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Break Out
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Deadly Pursuit
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The Calling
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