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


My Writing Process and a seasonal giveaway

Greek Lady, Sicilian Temple

Greek Lady, Sicilian Temple

I’ve been invited to join the My Writing Process blog tour by fellow Scot, Jane Riddell. Jane blogs at and is the author of Water’s Edge published by Thornberry Press.

Thank you, Jane.

Jane also invited our friend and fellow Edinburgh Writers’ club member, Kate Blackadder. Kate will be sharing her Writing Process over on Kate Writes and

My Writing Process

Qu: What am I working on at the moment?

Ans: I’m working on Daisy’s Dilemma, another historical romance which is again set in London, 1822. It continues the stories of two of the characters from my debut romance, Mariah’s Marriage, and includes a lot of visiting Scots relatives. I enjoyed my sojourn in 1826 Edinburgh so much, I was reluctant to write another book without any Scots voices. As a reading writer I’ve always been keen to continue creating the stories of the characters after the end. Of course with some books you’re glad to let go, but with a few I’ve put the light out and left the final chapter until the next day because I didn’t want it to end. Anne of Green Gables is one such and a couple of the Harry Potters. Daisy’s story was just waiting to be told, but she’s playing up and truly, why should that surprise me?

Qu: How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Ans: It’s dialogue rich because I wrote plays for many years and love to hear the snap of crafted dialogue. It also has an underlying theme concerning the position and treatment of women that will provide a darker background to the wonderful escapism of the classic Regency.

Qu: Why do I write what I do?

Ans: It’s very much what I enjoy reading. I also enjoy reading non-fiction which makes research delightful.

Qu: How does my writing process work?

Ans: Gosh! I suppose I have an idea of my heroine and I will visualise her in a situation with her hero. I also have a strong notion of places and have successfully written short stuff from the inspiration of photographs in my personal collection taken at historic houses. I write until I clearly hear the voices of the two principals and their major supporters and plotting falls into place. Often. Sometimes. Maybe my editor wouldn’t necessarily agree…

Bella’s Betrothal Mariah’s Marriage

I hope you’ll leave a comment about your own writing process, or anything raised here. There’s a lovely calendar of Edinburgh for one commenter who will be chosen at random from all the comments received by midnight (UK time) on 5th January.

Coming up next on 6th January 2014 will be:

Jane Jackson

Jane blogs on her website at

Jane says: I’ve been making up stories since I could talk. 29 books published, nos 30 and 31 due out in 2014. Writing historical romance enables me to combine my passion for history and my love of Cornwall.

Sherry Gloag

When best-selling author Sherry Gloag is not writing you may find her knee deep in dust. Selenite dust. The crystal she handcrafts unique items and ideal, personalised gifts from… or walking or gardening. All are occupations that allow her mind to cogitate on her plots, plans and characters of her next book.