Measuring Progress

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I’m a big lover of goals and targets. Maybe it’s because I was a teacher. Maybe it’s because I never really untethered myself from perpetual studenthood. But whatever the reason, I find setting myself a target is a big help when I sit down to write.

On Saturday I wanted to write a chapter and a half. And I managed it, hurrah! A chapter and a half doesn’t really sound like a lot, in my head. But 5180 words does. If I’d told myself  I had to write 5000 words, I’d’ve flown into the night, laughing.

I like to think that if I achieve my ‘Graham-Target’ (1000 words a day, as set down in stone for me by the late Graham Joyce in one of our tutorials), I can have a biscuit. I usually aim for 3000 words a chapter, but I’m not religious about it. I mentioned the word count for the day on Twitter, and suddenly realised that my way of working in chapters (something I know a friend from my MA does as well), is not especially popular.

So, along came a highly scientific study to find out how people measure their writing. And here are the results:

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Character Design

IMG_8545.JPGConcept art for ‘Key’ from The Scrap Yard

I love character-driven stories. I love characters. Imaginary people that come *this* close to taking on a life on their own? It’s practically witchcraft. But how important is nailing down their appearance, history and family tree before you start?

For me, it’s very important (not necessarily in Tolkien-esq who begat whom format), because until I know everything about my character, I don’t feel confident enough to write their story.

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Twisted Tongues Five


I attended and did a reading at the excellent Twisted Tongues 5 Event on the 31 March. I was there as part of the Restless Minds team, and three of us (myself, Kristian Elliott and Clare Stevens) were reading.


My reading was an extract from a current work-in-progress. Working title: Hold Your Breath:

…it wasn’t until Mister Revell pointed out the gills in the creature’s throat that I realised what it really was. I was disappointed, and had to admit to the kitchen boys that we didn’t really have a dead woman taxidermied at the foot of the stairs, after all…IMG_8400.JPGIt was an excellent night of fiction and poetry, and I was very pleased we scribblers from Restless Minds were able to contribute! Thank you to everyone who packed-out the upper floor of the venue, and listened with enthusiasm!

My next reading is at Five Leaves Bookshop on the 29th April in Nottingham City Centre. I’m really looking forward to this one, too, and it’d be great to see you there!