So, I am live blogging from writer Sophie King's writing workshop. She's telling us how to find our (blogging) voice. She used to be a journalist and wrote about bringing up children for most of her writing life, for Family Matters magazine. When it came to writing novels, she found writing multi-character novels did it for her, weaving lives together. She's written five novels to date and she's just dropped in that she did this as a single mother. Damn, I want some of what she's having...
On the subject of blogging and not rambling i.e making your blog stand out from the crowd she suggests we think about the following:
1) What makes you different? What's your point of difference?
2) Make each blog post a cliffhanger, leave 'em wanting more!
3) Give your blog room to grow, change you blog name if necessary and link back
4) Set yourself a new challenge - give your blog a pep-up! Climb a mountain (Sophie's suggestion, not mine), start running, join a belly dancing class, write about a move abroad...
5)!Find the secret you! Write as if you are that person. Brilliant! Right now, I am about six foot, skinny and wearing to-die-for lingerie (said with French accent). Actually she's got a really good point.
6) What really makes you cross? Go on, rant away people! We all LOVE a rant. Check out Kat at 3 Bedroom Bungalow for Dear So and So...
7) Set your own style. Think about the language you use. Experiment. Go without punctuation (love this one, two fingers to my old english teacher! Actually, I loved Mr Stubbs...). Write from someone else's viewpoint (cat, child, iPhone).
8) Join up with a writing buddy - bounce off each other, kick ideas around, drink wine (ok, the last one was mine).
9) Write rhymes/poems - I do know a limerick, but it is too rude to live-blog.
10) Think of a catchy title. Like, er, say...Knackered Mothers' Wine Club! Oh, it's been done. Bugger. You could use a title for a section of your blog, rather than a whole new blog.
11) Write under a different name - Sophie is really Jane Bidder. Sophie King is her novel name. Mine is Louise Palace, using the middle name/first street you lived in rule. Might have to re-think that.
12) Be funny! Write down the funny stuff your kids do/say. There's no such thing as laughing too much. Unless you slightly wee. If you see her, ask Penny (The Alexander Residence) why she didn't let her daughter go to the moon. So unfair, Penny.
So, now we're doing a writing exercise, we've teamed up with the person next to us and I am with Kirsten. She's hit gold. She is about to start a blog about her son who has autism and the blog will be called We Need To Talk About Jack. Brilliant, Kirsten, I can't wait to read it. Another team have come up with a 'Let's Be Honest' section in their blog, a place to just spill the beans. Love it.
Another exercise is writing a post with the title: I Wish I Hadn't...here's a selection:
I wish I hadn't had children sometimes but then again, if I hadn't I wouldn't have laughed so much.
I wish I hadn't decided to change my baby as the plane was landing.
I wish I hadn't shouted at my kids so much because now they shout at me.
So, parting shots from Sophie:
- If you are currently trying to write a novel consider switching genres. Try historical, crime, sci-fi (mine would be a disaster, I've never even seen a Star Wars film). Get what she means though, the pure romantic novel is a very over-crowded market.
- Write for a few minutes every day without thinking. Shit, she's just asked us to do it now. OK, here goes. Hope the kids are OK. Hope my husband is back from his work trip. Hope lunch is soon. Sorry, mine not very good. Others reading theirs out now are MUCH more interesting.
- Write a haunting teasing first line e.g. It wasn't until she got out of bed until she remembered...' then see where you go.
- Do something adventurous to bring out your adventurous side
- If pace of your writing flags, change tack
- Start at the beginning, write chronologically
Sophie's latest book is 'The Wedding Party'.