Friday, 29 May 2009


Long time, no post - too much going on! I have in my absence, however, come up with titles for the sequel and 3rd book (yes, I'm now planning a trilogy!) and so I shall reveal them here:

Family Portrait
Snap Shot
Camera Shy.

More updates soon!

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Quick Update

Okay, so I have finished my first round of edits on Family Portrait! Basically, I read through the whole thing, making sure it made sense, changing words that seemed wrong and fixing punctuation/grammar/typing errors. It's now with a couple of 'beta' readers - some who I know in real life and some which I don't - and so I will let you know what they say! For now, I will let it rest for a while, perhaps using my time to study...or start a new book. I wonder which idea will win.. =]

Now, it's nearly 2am, I probably should go to sleep! Before I do, just a quick link - check out the Teens Writing for Teens (TWFT) blog, that I am now a part of =]

Monday, 18 May 2009

Name changes and good news!

Ok, so since the extracts were posted on here, there have been some major changes in Family Portrait - and that's because I decided the names just didn't work. Having begun editing, I decided that the names weren't quite right, and so now the main character is called Imogen. Hopefully this won't be too confusing when I next post an extract!

Now, the goods news: L has emailed me, and he liked it!! I thought I'd post the email here for you, because, hey, I'm happy!

Dear Becky

Just to let you know that I have read your Chapter 1 and am very impressed with the verve and vitality of the writing. You have a voice, which is the absolutely essential component of writing talent - the rest can be learned. I liked your story because it appeals so strongly to the heart, and does not let up in that respect. I imagine the ongoing story will reveal the domestic and family environment history that Imogen and Abby have lost, as well as showing how the two evolve in their relationship with Ella's new adoptive family [with all its crossflows and undercurrents]. I have the impression of a book which tells of a tragedy and explores the courage and spirit of a teenage girl/young woman who has yet to come to terms with what has happened. A see-sawing perhaps between two family environments - the one lost, the other found, and the search for a point of balance. There is bags of room here for development, and there seems to be a strong gestalt. You should definitely have faith in your writing.

With best wishes

He also put a PS saying he'd be happy to read some more, so I'm planning on printing off the next couple of chapters for him when I go back to school after study leave.

Right, off to edit some more now - 15 chapters to go!

Friday, 15 May 2009

He liked it!

So, I gave the first two chapters of my manuscript to the professor guy - from here on known as 'L', because I have a feeling his surname begins with an L - and then wandered over to a different table in the library in order to do some revision. About five minutes later he came over, and said he'd only read the first couple of paragraphs but that he loved the opening and thought I had a really great voice! So, I was very pleased, and got back to my revision with a smile.

Then, about five minutes after that, he came over again, and asked me for my email address so that he could email me some feedback. I gave it to him, and then he came over again and asked whether it was based on my life. I said no, it's purely fictional, and he said that that was even more impressive, as it seemed so realistic and plausible that he thought it was! Eek!

Saw him again today, as I was in school for an exam, and he said that he hadn't got round to reading the rest yet - he assured me it wasn't that it was unimportant, he was just very busy - but that he was going to read it over the weekend and give me some feedback. So I'm looking forward to what he has to say!

On other book news, a friend of the family heard I'd written a book, and begged to be able to read it - so I'm sending him chapters as I edit them. He's loving it too, which is really positive, as he's definitely not the target audience, and said I paint a very vivid picture, and he can't wait to find out what happens next. It's great to know that people don't just think it's rubbish!

The editing's going well - having someone badgering me for chapters is really useful - and I should have it ready for some beta readers ready soon! 14/38 chapters edited so far! I'll update as soon as I hear back from L :)

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Interesting Development!

I was sat in my school library the other day and, surprisingly, I wasn't revising. No, I was discussing the recent edits I've made to 'Family Portrait' with a friend J, who has been reading and editing it for me. We were discussing the idea of introducing a prologue (something a nice Twiftie on Absolute Write suggested!) when a man interrupted us.

This man is (I think) a Professor, but all I know about him is that he comes into our school to work with years 9-11 on English skills, in one-to-one sessions. I also had heard that he'd been published, but thought nothing of it. So, he interrupts us because he'd heard what I'd said, and asked "have you written a book?" so I said yes, and he asked some more questions (it's title, genre, how long it is, etc.) Then he said he was always very impressed at young people who manage to finish a book. Then he asked if I was at that sixth form, and I said yes, and he said he'd love to have a look at some of my novel and give me some feedback! So, I got on with my work, thinking that it would be great to get some feedback from someone who works in English and has been published - although more than a little scary!

Then, as I got up to leave, he said "I'm here again on Thursday, if you want to give me the first few pages I'd love to take a look. And I have a lot of friends and contacts who are agents, so I could really help you out." !!!! So, I'm giving it to him tomorrow - I've been editing it manically, so here's hoping he likes it and wants to help me! :)

Friday, 8 May 2009

Extract Central!

I've been doing some editing today, so I decided it was time for another extract. This is from a scene where the main character's adopted uncle gets married. The relationships between everyone are a little confusing when you haven't read the whole book, but hopefully you'll enjoy this little excerpt anyway!

The flashing of bulbs began, and then there was no stopping them: the bride and groom; a group shot with the bridesmaids and the best man; all the kids together; the newly-weds with the kids; parents of the bride and groom; all the family together, in what was essentially a family portrait. Millie and William were central, all the children in front of them. Ella, Mary-Ann and Sara stood to one side, Aaron and Naseem to the other. Everyone in the portrait had the surname Kingsley – one of the only characteristics you could apply to all ten of them!

And, here is the blurb I've written, to give you a general idea of the book!

Two very different families are about to collide, and no-one knows what the consequences are going to be. Mary-Ann Mendora has a past shrouded in mystery, and she couldn’t be less suited to the sweet, squeaky-clean Ella Kingsley and her family if she tried. As she tries to make the best of her new life, will her past return to haunt her, and ruin the life she’s beginning to build? And will discover that the Kingsleys aren’t all quite as squeaky-clean as they appear? One thing’s for sure – the Mendoras’ and Kingsleys’ lives will never be quite the same again…

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Motivation for Editing

So, it's been a busy week - exams, revision and homework are, very rudely, encroaching on my writing time! I think it's a positive I finished my first draft before the exams started, however - there is less of a pull to edit than there is to keep writing! I have some shiny new ideas, but I'm trying to just outline them briefly and then ignore them, as I need - and want - to get editing.

So, I've bought three A5 ring binders. I type on A5 (don't know why, I just prefer it!) I have several friends who want to read 'Family Portrait', and when they do, I plan on printing off three copies - hence the ringbinders. Hopefully having them sat there will force me to edit, as I will not be letting anyone read the first draft until I've edited it!

Now, I have some free lessons tomorrow: revision, or editing? I'm afraid of which I may choose!

Friday, 1 May 2009


Okay, it's late and I should be asleep as I have work early tomorrow, but I had to post... I've finished! The first draft of Family Portrait is now complete =] I am very very happy - it's been a long time! I will probably be too hyped to sleep, but oh well!

I have done a word count of everything I've written for this book, and it's ended up at over 91,000 words. However, I decided tonight that a section I wrote just didn't quite work, and ruined the book a bit, and so the first version now stands at around 86,000 words. But I already have a sequel planned out, so all the cut bits will most porbably end up in there.

Right, I must sleep. Just had to post it!

90,000 words!

Well, last night I hit 90,000 words in my novel. It's getting to be a pretty long Young Adult novel! A friend of mine who looks through it all for me and checks for any obvious errors is banning me from going over 95k, but I think I should be alright - only two chapters left to write, I reckon! Very close to tying up the loose ends now (well, not all of them, as I've already started planning a sequel!) and I'm quite excited that I will have finished writing a book - even if it needs to be seriously edited and revised!

Tonight I plan to work on it more, and so you never know, I may be posting here pretty soon saying the first draft is done. When I get into it, I tend to go pretty mad! I've been keeping a daily word count, and realised that I have written 10,000 words in the last nine days. A ninth of my book in nine days! It's probably good I go through periods of writing quite a bit, because then I also go through periods of having no time at all to write - although, with exams coming up, this should really be one of those times! Still, it seems like the home stretch now...I sort of want to get to the end of the first draft!

I will do a synopsis of the story in a blog post soon, but for now, I'm going to post another little excerpt:

Before Joshua had even seen it coming, Devon was responding to the attempted punch - and his was certainly more successful.

Two sisters gasped. Two brothers fought. Two mothers exited their homes and looked on in horror, as the two boys who were clearly no strangers to fighting continued to pummel, dodge and taunt one another. Over their shouts, and Mary-Ann and Mae’s worried calls, no-one heard Cecilia muttering to herself, before turning her back on the fight and walking back to the house, intent on phoning the police.

“I told you no good would come from hanging around with Kingsley scum.”