Sunday, 15 January 2017

Blogging a Novel

So, is blogging a novel a good idea, or does the whole process make you want to eat far too many cakes and drink lots of Prosecco?

Mmm, I know. It’s a bit late to ask that now I’ve started blogging Phototime.

But, I have ‘now’ done a bit of research on whether it’s a good or a bad idea, and came across some mixed thoughts on the subject.

Some say that a publisher/agent won’t look at your novel if you've posted the whole manuscript on the internet, as, the fact of the matter is, it will be considered previously published. Yay, I’m a published novelist, at last! I guess that could potentially cause a problem, if you want to send your novel out there. You could be narrowing your chances of an agent or publisher considering it.

Others suggest it’s a great idea for new novelists to test the water by blogging their novel. If the new novelist’s words get a good response from readers, or the writer gets a million hits each chapter - it could well peak an agent’s interest.

Also, readers may make suggestions as the chapters go up on the blog, letting the writer know why it’s working for them, or why it isn’t – that kind of thing.

If people like the writer’s style, they may be interested in reading more of their work. And that agent or publisher I mentioned earlier may see the writer making a success of novel-blogging, and get in touch.

And what about TheMartian by Andy Weir and Wife in the North? by Judith O'Reilly.  I know they weren’t novels being blogged exactly, but they’ve got to be seen as a positive when blogging our writing.

So, thankfully, I’m not yet regretting blogging Phototime. Although I am, predictably, feeling a bit jittery – the worry bubbles are rising. But I’m determined to do this. Oh yes I am!

And I guess time will tell if blogging a novel is a wise thing to do, for me.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

PHOTOTIME by AJ Brittany

So my getting-a-novel-published record hasn't been that great. It's really, really hard 'out there' if you are a wanna-be-one-day novelist, isn't it?

That's why I've decided to blog my novel, Phototime on a cozy, shiny-new blog, that I've set up HERE - and you are SO welcome to visit.  

I completed Phototime…a comedy, fantasy, that I had so much fun writing, in early 2016. It was lucky enough to be seen by two publishers, who said nice things about it. 

But sadly it never happened. My balloon of hope burst, and I felt pretty deflated, I can tell you. 

So, I had two choices, going forward, I could either throw in the novel-writing-towel, or attempt to write another one. 

OK, so, clearly a masochist, I opened up a word-doc and in six weeks of non-stop writing, I completed the first draft of a suspense novel in July last year.Time will tell if it was worth the pain.
But, in the meantime, Phototime has been calling to me from inside my laptop, asking to be published (no, I’m not mad - it really has). 

Trouble is, and you can call me chicken if you like, I haven’t got the courage to self-publish on Kindle. How do you ever know if your book is ready for such a leap? 

So I’m putting the whole book, a chapter a week, on my shiny new Phototime blog - simply because I don't want to leave it doing nothing on my hard-drive. And hopefully, it will be a fun experience. Well I keep telling myself it will be, and that I won't collapse into an anxiety-filled heap.

The first chapter is already up *gulps*, and I’ll put a taster on here each time I publish a new chapter.

I’m quaking at the thought of it, and have got everything crossed that if you decide to pop over (thank you so much if you do), and that you enjoy it. 

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Short story inspiration

Happy 2017 everyone.

So, it’s another brand new year.  And, like many of you, I always feel it’s a time for new beginnings. So here I am, AGAIN, attempting to be a good blogger, but this time I feel more determined than ever. 

Oh yes, I do!

Sadly, I haven’t written much since then end of October. The well of inspiration dried up on me, as the ill-health of loved ones took over all my thoughts. 

But I’m determined to get those creative juices flowing again.

But how do you do that?  How do you become inspired?  What triggers a story? How, when our heads are empty of ideas, do we create a short story?

Answers on a postcard please.

In the past, I’ve found inspiration from stories based on real-life. Like a story I have coming up in The People’s Friend that was based on an incident that happened to my father when he was an evacuee in World War II.  I took that incident, and created a fictional world around it, but all the time imagined my dad as a cheeky little boy of nine, as the main character. 

Other times, I’ve heard someone, often a child, say something very funny, and used that to kick-start a story.

Pictures are great triggers. 
This smashing illustration by Ruth Blair was sent to me by The People’s Friend, and I was asked to write a story to fit it.  The story didn’t come instantly, but I kept looking at the picture, and eventually it started to fall into place. It appeared in a December 2016 issue of The Friend.

So, the thing is, I should be able to do it again. But I’ve been struggling.

But then, as I was sorting through some old postcards to scan for my local history blog, one postcard, dated June  29th 1929, caught my attention.

It was of a local river, and I turned it over to see a message addressed to a Miss Parrot.

Dear Poll,
I am having a grand time here, hope you are the same...
This place is very pretty.  I went here the other day. The weather is nice, but very windy. I am writing postcards with no hat on. Simply lovely.
With love,
Bill Brightman.

My mind started whizzing.  Was Poll her real name, or a nickname because of her surname?  Was Bill a friend?  Did he love her?  Did she love him?  Why wasn’t she with him?  Had he got dark hair? Twinkly blue eyes?  Why had he sat by the river? Was he an artist? A successful one? Who else was he sending postcards to?  Did Polly Parrot wonder that too?  Did they end up together, and live happily ever after, or was Bill a bit of a cad?

So I now have my inspiration, and a story itching to be written. I just hope I can get it down.

And I think I just need to try to remember that when that well dries up, inspiration is everywhere.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016


So it’s 2016, and I only posted once on my blog in 2015.  I’m not going to say I’m an awful blogger – because you already know that.

But all that is about to change!  Yes, I know, I’ve said that before too.

But this time, it’s different. I have a plan. Oh, yes! And I’ve convinced myself that if I brag here that about it, I will stick to it.  That's the theory anyway.

The said plan is to blog regularly about what I’ve learned about being a writer over the last six years: the ups and the downs of writing for women’s magazines, editing tips and things that have really helped me along the way to improve my writing.

I hope to interview writers too. So if you fancy chatting with me here, and having a cup of cyber-tea, do whiz over an email at and I’ll send you some questions. 

I hope to share wee reviews on books I’ve loved too.

And I’ll be sharing my writing journey going forward - which is exactly why I set the blog up in 2009. 

And talking of my writing journey, I’m still writing short stories, and loving it! One of the highlights of 2015 was seeing my murder mystery serial published in The People’s Friend. The artwork was amazing!

Also, I’ve recently completed two novels, cor blimey!  The first with the very lovely Karen Clarke under the pen name Clare Ryan!   A psychological thriller called Shadow Sisters.  The second, Phototime - a new-adult novel – which is called this rather trendy genre name because the main character is 23.

We have everything crossed for both novels, obviously, and the rather mysterious Clare Ryan is already cracking on with her next thriller. More news on both novels to follow...  

Wishing you all a happy, healthy and successful 2016.

Amanda X