Blog Entries
This week 29th May 2017
Category: Site News

First of all – thank you, Jo for the great new look to the site. I love it—I hope everyone else does as well.

Issue 6 of the magazine is now live and looks fabulous. Thank you to everyone who has contributed and worked on the editing, formatting, proof-reading… Now, get the word out wherever you can.


Lesley will be doing the blog this week (but I’m going to post this now, before I get my usual reminder from Jo!)

Bragging Stool

Quite busy on the bragging stool this week.

Both Beike and Sue had poems in ArtAscent. Beike’s – “Lapanto 2016” and Sue “Reading a Poem Before Breakfast.” Congratulations!

A total of five members made it to ad hoc this week, including Sue for her 66th consecutive week – wow! Others were: Chris, Crilly, Laura and Angela. Congratulations to you all.

Crilly wrote an 81 word piece, “Conversations” for Chris Fielden’s 81 word writing challenge and it’s up on the site. Fabulous, Crilly! Lesley also had a story on the site, “Tycoon Tommy” and got some lovely feedback. We should all remember feedback is much appreciated.

Laura came joint 3rd in Morgen Bailey's 100-word competition with 'Farewell'. The theme was 'fool'. Congratulations Laura.


Alyson, has provided some fabulous muses (love the upside down stripy lady!) So go get inspired.

The poetry project is in full swing under Sue’s guidance. Lot’s going on there if you want to take part.

And finally, Jo has started a thread in the forum, Our Writing Vision, three questions to get us all thinking about our future as writers, where we want to go and how the group can help us get there. These questions will also be incorporated in the new member questionnaire. 

That's it, I think. Hope everyone has a fabulous writing week.

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 - 20th February 2017
Category: Site News

Last night, I stuck a bright pink sticker on my computer saying - THIS WEEK – to remind me to do this. Somehow it totally failed to impinge on my consciousness. But better late than never…

It’s a cold wintry day here in Spain. But the almond blossom is out and there are narcissus in the garden, so signs that (hopefully) spring is not too far away.

On a personal note – I have a book on sale this week and a Bookbub featured ad on Thursday (yay – I love Bookbub!) and I have a new release next Monday – Falling for the Bad Girl, book 1 in a new Brazen series, so you’ll probably see me around (trying) to drum up some trade in various places.

The Blog this week is from Beike and she’s talking about widening her horizons. She’s sharing her experiences taking courses in creative writing from the University of Iowa’s MOOC program and how it has opened up new opportunities for her.

The Monday Muses today come from Alyson with some great word and visual prompts. And there are already a few muses to go read (but then Alyson was early, as opposed to me, who’s late!)

The Bragging stool has been a little quiet but huge congratulations to Sue, who this week celebrates 52 weeks on Ad Hoc. Without a break. Yay! And congratulations to Laura also on Ad Hoc this week.

Challenges – there’s still time to post in the February challenge, just pop over to the forum and check out what’s there. Or go crit one of the challenges already posted (my next stop!)

And finally, the next Formal meeting is next Sunday, 26th February at 4PM and will be chaired by Maggie. See you there.


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The House at Zaronza
tagged: writers, abroad, vanessa, couchman, historical, and fiction
Love is All You Need: Ten tales of love from The Sophie King Prize
tagged: writers, abroad, sophie, king, prize, alyson, and hillbourne
Out of Control
tagged: writers, abroad, nina, croft, members, and publications
The Duke's Shadow
tagged: the, duke-s, shadow, louise, charles, debut, and novel
Foreign & Far Away
tagged: writers, abroad, amanda, hodkinson, books, charity, anthology, 2013...
Losing Control
tagged: writers, abroad, nina, and croft
tagged: nina, croft, writes, and abroad
Conversations with S. Teri O'Type
tagged: writers, abroad, christopher, and allen
Break Out
tagged: writers, abroad, ninca, and croft
Deadly Pursuit
tagged: writers, abroad, nina, and croft
The Calling
tagged: writers, abroad, nina, and croft
Big Book of New Short Horror
tagged: featuring, wa, member, alyson, and hillbourne
Tiger of Talmare
tagged: writers, abroad, nina, and croft
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