21 September 2018
The big news this month is that Usborne are happy with my new book - the one about the squirrel. I'm thrilled as it means no major rewrites are needed - just a few tweaks. I plotted it carefully with a step outline that I adapted as I went along so, by the time I'd finished the first draft, all the strands of the story wove together well and came to a satisfactory end. That's the method I explain in Plots and Plotting, and I love it because it's so effective and so flexible.
Once I've done those tweaks, I'll be able to start the second book which is inspired by the greedy cat who used to live next door to us. And once that's done, I'll be able to concentrate on Scenes and Sentences which I'm really keen to write.
Sometimes inspiration strikes in peculiar ways. I recently started writing a children's book where one of the main characters was a shy hedgehog and another more minor one was a squirrel. But the squirrel has turned out quite differently from how I expected and has now taken over the story, pushing the hedgehog out completly. It's great when a story starts to come alive like that, but it's hard on the hedgehog. Maybe she'll fit in another story eventually, but she may be even more shy after such a blow to her self-esteem.
1 August 2108
Sorry about the long gap in news postings. Life's been busy, and the hot weather has tempted me to spend time at the beach when I should be working. (That's one of the bonuses of living so close to the sea.)
AMY WILD - ANIMAL TALKER
I've been commissioned to write two more books about Amy and her friends so I've been rereading the previous eight books to remind me of all the characters. I've also been busy working out the plots for the new books using sticky notes and numbered lists on Word as I describe in Plots and Plotting. I've now started the actual writing ready to hand in the finished story at the end of this month. I can't let you know what's going to happen but I've got two new characters - a hedgehog and a squirrel.
PLOTS AND PLOTTING
Sales of Plots and Plotting are very encouraging and I've had some lovely feedback from readers, including a professor of creative writing. If you'd like to read a sample about writing subplots, you can find it here. (Opens in new window.)
If you've enjoy reading one of my books, please consider putting a review on Amazon or any other book site to help other people discover it. If you've not written a review before, you'll find some hints and tips in this article.
WRITING TO MUSIC
When I'm writing, I usually have music playing as that shuts out other distracting sounds and helps me focus. At the moment, I'm writing to the soundtrack music of Doctor Who. David Tennant is my favourite doctor. It'll be interesting to see what the new one is like - switching to a woman is a big change.
The sun is shining so I should be able to lie peacefully in the garden listening to the birds. But I can't because a man is currently demolishing our old pond with a mechanical digger. It's part of a huge revamp that's going to leave us with a garden that's easier to run and with more space for playing badminton. I'm sure it's all going to be worth it in the end, but currently I'm glad to get away from the noise and mess by hiding in my office and writing.
PLOTS AND PLOTTING
The print edition of Plots and Plotting is now on sale at Amazon and hopefully available to order from other bookshops.
It's taken ages to get the cover right because colours on screen often look different on paper. That's because screens use a colour system called RGB but printers use one called CMYK and they don't always end up with the same result.
I've added a new article about the dangers of riding on windy days to the horse-lovers section of my website. You can read it here. I hope you enjoy it.
The EU's new data protection laws (called GDPR) come into effect on 25 May. These look a bit scary, but I think that they will be good for us all in the long run because we should have less trouble from people misusing our personal information. However, in the short run, people like me who run mailing lists have to make sure that we comply with the new rules. That's not too difficult, but it's made me look really hard at the whole idea of having a mailing list as it means that only a limited number of people can read my newsletters.
I've decided that I would use my time better by doing regular updates to this website that anyone can see. So I've taken the sign-up form off my site and made all the free stuff available to anyone without signing up - a situation that I feel more comfortable about. If you want to know what's happening on the site and with my books, just pop into this page from time to time. You can also follow me on Twitter - @dianakimpton - where I tweet about new articles on the site and post writing tips.
My big excitement this month has been the publication of Plots and Plotting. It's taken ages to write, but I'm pleased with the result and I've had some lovely feedback from people who have read it so far. Now I've got to do some publicity for it and get started with my next projects. One is to write two more Amy Wild - Animal Talker books. The other is to write a sequel to Plots and Plotting that's going to be called Scenes and Sentences. So it looks as if I'm going to have a busy year ahead.
I've been busy this month rewriting Plots and Plotting. Several other writers have read it through for me and given me feedback that I've incorporated into the final draft. The last stage in the writing process is to have it checked by a professional copy editor who picks up all the little details that I miss because I'm so used to what it says: things like spelling, punctuation and consistency. Getting my book back from the copy editor always feels like getting homework back from my English teacher at school.
This month's big news is the redesign of this site. I hope you like it. As you can see, I have replaced my blog with this news page which I'll use to keep you up-to-date with what I'm doing. Any articles I write are now divided by topic and appear in the appropriate sections: my horsey articles are in For Horse-lovers, my articles on writing and publishing in For Writers and my articles on other topics in the Other Writing section. (That doesn't mean they are not suitable for children, it's just that they are aimed at teens and adults so younger readers may not find them very interesting.)