Monday, 3 March 2014

A penmonkey evaluates...

Chuck Wendig has thrown out another challenge, for folks who see themselves as writers to say where they 'are' at the moment. He's posted six questions, which I'll be answering here in full and over on his comments in a shortened form...

It is good to stop and take stock every now and again. Everything in life's like that, really, not just writing.I reckon it's like climbing a mountain to get to the top; you don't realise how far you've got until you take a break and look down on the patchwork quilt of fields and the toy towns below you. Same goes for how long I can manage in a Zumba session without getting breathless(all of it now, thank goodness) complicated my knitting patterns are (very, sometimes)...and how well I think my writing's going.

So here goes:

1. What is your greatest strength or skill as a writer?

Hmm...Not sure that I have one that stands out way beyond all others, but I'd probably have to pick dialogue. It's something I enjoy very much, and I'm learning how to use it more and more effectively.

2. What's your greatest weakness as a writer?

Hard to define, but 'lack of sparkle' - that special something that makes my writing stand out for the professionals in the biz. I have grappled with this for some time and feel I'm at a crossroads, where I have to accept the way I DO write rather than the way I can't. Even if that means I never get an agent or a 'proper' publishing deal.

3. How many books/projects have you finished and what have you done with them?

Short stories...Current status is one competition runner-up (due to be published with other winners and runner-uppers this year), six donated to charity anthologies which have all been published, one collection of children's stories (Granny Rainbow) due to be launched on the 15th March. Two other short stories written and ready to be submitted to a twisted fairytale anthology. Not bad.

Novels...1. StarMark got me an agent and was offered to publishers but no luck. MS is currently on my Kindle to read if I'm feeling nostalgic. 2. Rurik lost me the agent, and although deemed to be of publishable standard would not sell well, according to other industry bods. Currently waiting for me to decide whether to shelve him or self-pub. 3. Ani is my WIP, but I haven't written anything for her for months while I concentrate on Granny Rainbow.

So yes - I do see projects through, even if some have taken me a month of Sundays and haven't ended up where I'd hoped they would.

4. Best writing advice anyone's given you?

The writing exercise in Les Edgerton's book, which helped me to recognise how my natural, non-writerly writing voice works - the one I use to write letters and emails etc - and how I can use that effectively when writing. Not really advice...but it was very helpful.

Apart from that...'Just finish the damn book!'

5. Worst advice anyone's given you?

Agents are the ones who know about books - listen to them.

Up to a point, true - but I've also discovered that my own gut is pretty good to listen to, too. Even when it's telling me the opposite to the professionals...I have been proved right in a few instances.

6. A piece of advice I'd give to other writers?

Write how you can - not how you can't. And keep learning.

Well, that's where I am at the about you?


  1. I would also say, Katherine, that one of your greatest skills is evoking a sense of place, and especially in fantasy writing, evoking a place that I can only imagine through reading your imaginings....iyswim :-)

    1. D'you think so? Thanks, Mandy. Without blowing my own trumpet, there are other things I know I do well too - but I'd still have to put dialogue at the top of the list...only just!