Fillers, photographs and the Queen’s Silver Jubilee: My Writing Process


Thanks to Kate Blackadder for inviting me to follow on in the My Writing Process blog tour. Kate’s lovely blog Kate Writes and Reads can be found here:

Kate Writes and Reads

Like Kate, I’ve been asked to feature this tour before, but writing is such an interesting and changing landscape, and Kate is so persuasive, I could only agree.

What am I working on?

I need to be a little circumspect here because although I am writing a new novel, it’s a piece that I intend to enter into a competition. Maybe I can tell you about something non-fiction I have in mind.

I’ve contributed lots of short stuff over a period to a lovely Scottish interest magazine called Scottish Memories. It’s full of interesting stuff about things their readers might remember. I’ve written about bus trips, a new car and where I was for the Queen’s Silver jubilee – up a mountain, since you ask. It had as much water as you can see here, but it wasn’t anything like as warm. 100_4022

So I thought, I might try a piece for them about how history books and historical works inspire and inform my writing. I’ll let you know how I get on. If you’ve got an album full of family photographs, you might find an outlet there, too.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Well, I bet your family photo album also contains lots of brides with bouquets of lilies and hugely trailing swathes of fern. The trick is to make it appealingly different. I’ve found the editor appreciates a slight slant on the stuff asked for. Yes, huge numbers of folk went to street parties to mark various Royal Jubilees, but how many of us went up a mountain, on Harris? That’s what I try to offer her, a wee bit of quirkiness that’s still a possibility.

Why do I write what I do?

Any novelist will tell you that the whole is made up of myriad little bits. Writing workshops frequently offer a ‘picture starter’ and I find them so helpful. Finding an evocative picture in my collection is a great jumping off point and it’s lovely to craft a wee piece and send it off.

It’s also true that we all like a bit of success. A novel takes a long time to write and a long time to produce, so it keeps the spirits up to have a few successes along the way, however short.

My Writing Process 

When it comes to short stuff, I often find the editor’s request is a sufficient trigger. What was I doing on Jubilee night, was enough to start a hunt for photos I knew I had. Equally, seeing a particular photograph can prompt a memory. I then write free-flowing. No editing until the ‘story’ is down. Once it’s encapsulated, I go over it and tailor it to both the question and the photograph while never forgetting the market.

I’ve been neglecting short stuff a bit recently, but writing about it has reminded me.

This is where I should list another three folks to carry forward the tour, but instead why don’t I suggest a few ‘filler’ opportunities for you to try. come back and tell Novels Now whether you were successful.

Scottish Memories a monthly magazine of Scottish nostalgia.

Best of British also nostalgia but covers the whole of the UK

The Oldie is a monthly that contains a lot of humour and satire. They have many freelance opportunities and less of a need for photographs. Mariah’s Marriage amazon US Mariah’s Marriage UK Bella’s Betrothal US Bella’s Betrothal UK


12 thoughts on “Fillers, photographs and the Queen’s Silver Jubilee: My Writing Process

  1. I’ve never really tried non-fiction for magazines, though I do science writing. Do you find it difficult (as I do) to switch between your ‘fiction head’ and your ‘non-fiction head’?


  2. Hi Anne – do you ever struggle to keep fiction and non-fiction separate? Sometimes I get very confused between my ‘fiction head’ and my non-fiction one.


    • Yes, I think that happens quite easily if you’re submerged in the book you’re writing or reading. It’s also the case that filler writing relies a bit on fictionalising what actually happened. As we all know, real life can be a little pedestrian in the re-telling. (Hope the ed isn’t reading this too closely.) Anne


  3. I wanted a farming picture to put on my blog the other week and had to get one online despite the fact that I was brought up on a farm. If you looked at most family albums you’d think all we did was go to weddings and birthday parties or on holiday; there’s none of the day to day. Maybe we should be taking pictures of someone sitting at their computer, or emptying the dishwasher …?


    • Hi Kate, this lovely observation had gone into spam. It’s so true that we don’t rate the photo of day-to-day labour or the clothes we wear to perform the work. On the other hand, my work space is so untidy I’d be blushing in a black and white snap. Anne


  4. Interesting post, Anne. I’ve written lots of newsletter articles over the years for various organizations, but haven’t tried my hand at a non-fiction for magazines. I confess to wanting to write something for MORE magazine. It’s for women 40 and over. Seems like I should have some wisdom to share. LOL I’ve been doing a #100happydays post on FB and have used my own pictures for the post. It’s been fun. Continued good luck with your writing.


    • Hi Marsha, Yes, fun. I think that’s part of the good feeling I get from writing short. You can create it, edit it and publish it before going grey! I’ve seen many of your #100happydays posts. It looks like a lot of fun. Anne


  5. Thank you for a very interesting post Anne.How fascinating that you write both novels and non- fiction articles. I wish every success for both. I don’t think I would dare venture into writing for magazines. I keep all my ‘non-fiction’ skills for writing my school reports!


  6. Hi Anne, enjoyed your post on your writing process. I too write non-fiction, well, not at the moment. I wrote articles for RV magazines until the recession shut them all down. So I decided to try my hand at writing fiction. Now I am leaning toward more articles for publications. The money’s better too! Good luck with your fiction WIP.


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