Five Online Tools to Help You Plan Your Novel

Looking for software to help you plan and prepare your novel, see my latest article…

https://dawnnelson-46858.medium.com/five-online-tools-to-help-you-plan-your-novel-982aed39a1dd?sk=bd80da180858b32f06bcdecb756104f2

Two videos, The Nevers and flexing my writing fingers

Hi, how are you all? Hope you’re well. Today, I’ve got a couple of videos to share with you. The first is just an awkward hello from me. Here it is…

That’s my very messy study in the background. I have loads of books and loads of bookcases, those behind me are a fraction of what I’ve got. It’s a bit of an addiction I’m afraid.

The second video is a wee advert for me and my books. What do you think?

I made it on a site called Boosted by Lightricks. I had a lot of fun doing it and plan to do many more. You have been warned!

Right, so what have you been up to over the past week or so? I’ve been really busy doing a few training and business development sessions. Plus, I also set down a plan which involves getting up earlier so I can write 1500 words of my latest novel. The aim was to get up at 6am and was supposed to start today. What time did I get up at? It was 7am. I must have hit snooze several times. Sigh. Anyway, tomorrow I plant to rise earlier.

The Nevers

Have you seen the new Joss Whedon series, The Nevers? It’s showing on HBO, stars a number of well-known and not-so-well-known British actors and is very good. I was hooked from the start. Disclaimer: I should point out that I am a huge Joss Whedon fan and loved Firefly, Buffy Vampire Slayer and Angel. God love them, but the kids have been indoctrinated into Joss Whedon’s genius from very early on and are also fans of his works. Anyway, please give The Nevers a look, it’s good.

Sex in the City

Apart from that, I’ve been binge watching Sex in the City. I was an avid fan of it in the 90s and early noughties, and hadn’t seen it since it finished (apart from the two films). I’d forgotten how funny it was. I watched it and was back in my 20s again. It was heaven. I love being nostalgic and Sex in the City brought it all back. I’ve completely finished the tv series and am now going to watch the two films. I never thought they were as good, but we’ll see.

My writing

Okay, the important stuff now. My writing. I’ve done very little lately so busy am I with my social media/PR work plus I had to do my end of module assignment for my uni course. That is now finished, so I have no excuses for not writing. Flexing my writing fingers as I type.

General Life

It’s been great lately. I’ve managed to see a few friends and relatives over the last three or four weeks. It’s been such a long time since we got together, it was fantastic to just be together. Scotland is hopefully coming out of this pandemic. However, the Indian variant of Covid is on these shores, there are cases here and I’m worried we’re looking at another lockdown. Fingers crossed that isn’t the case.

Right, I am going to finish up here and say goodnight. Am away to watch more of the The Nevers. Till next time.

Dawnxx

 

The Unsinkable Mary Patten

One hundred and seventy-five years ago a pregnant teenager took command of her husband’s ship, sailed around Cape Horn and made history.

Nineteen-year-old Mary Patten did it all for 56 days whilst fighting off a mutiny, nursing her seriously ill husband and battling stormy seas.

She, her crew and her husband made it back to San Francisco with no lives lost and the cargo and ship complete.

Mary Patten.

Find out more about this remarkable young woman on Medium: The Unsinkable Mary Patten. One hundred and seventy-five years ago… | by Dawn Nelson | May, 2021 | Medium

There’s also my article on a short history of the British seaside:A short history of the British seaside | by Dawn Nelson | Medium

If you like what you read, please give me a clap – click the icon at the bottom of the article. Thank you.

 

How to Start Writing Fiction

Here’s an article I put up on Medium yesterday and it got such a good response, I decided to share it with you here…

Writing is something that many people aspire to do. I don’t know how many times people have said to me, once they’ve found out I’m a writer, that they want to write a book.

But actually starting a book and, more importantly, finishing it are a whole different ball game.

Let’s get this over with first – if you think writing a book is easy, stop reading now. Even the simplest children’s book takes time and effort. Writing is hard work. So, if you’d much rather play your Xbox or watch tv, cheerio.

Right, everyone still here who actually wants to write? Let us begin.

I once taught writing for children at Glasgow University and I always loved the enthusiasm my students had for the subject. I told taught them many things, so of which I’m going to share today.

Note: this article is about all kinds of writing, not just for children, so please don’t leave.

Right, on to the good bit: getting started.

The first question anyone ever asks me is are you rich? For the sake of full disclosure, I should tell you I am not rich and never have been. The second question is: where do you get your ideas from? My answer: anywhere and everywhere.

I find getting ideas for stories easy. They are born through reading, through people watching, through things I’ve seen on television. I can be drifting off to sleep and suddenly an idea will pop into my head. They come more easily if I’m bored and my mind starts to wander.

I jot down the idea in a notebook or in my cell phone, and tuck it away for a later date when I can revisit it.

Here are other suggestions for gaining ideas for stories:

  1. Ask yourself ‘what if…?’ – What if that person were actually a time traveller? What if my next-door neighbour was a spy? What if my pet could talk?
  2. Take a scenario and give it a twist. Write down a regular sentence such as: The man walked down the street and met his mother. Now give it a twist: The spaceman walked down the gangway and met an elephant. It doesn’t have to be that silly, but should give you a little mind boost that will trigger other ideas.
  3. Look at street names or car number plates and create a character from it. Then ask yourself: who is this person, what do they do and what is their story?
  4. Cut some images out of a magazine or download and print them. Put them together and create a story from what you see. It could be an alpaca at the beach with an ice-cream seller or a tramp with a glamorous film star at a fast-food restaurant.
  5. Go to an outside space and people watch. Jot down their descriptions and what they are doing. Give them a name and a job. Start to work out who they are and what they are doing with their lives.

Hopefully, this has given you a little boost and you’ll start writing some amazing. Remember: in order to be a great writer, you should read, read and read some more. Read everything and anything. Read the greats and the not-so-greats…only then will you be able to recognise amazing writing and be able to produce some yourself.

I’m planning to do more of these short articles on writing, so keep an eye out.


Back to this week and there’s not much to update.  I was supposed to see a friend on Saturday afternoon, but it was so blustery here in the west coast of Scotland that we had to cancel. I just don’t find sitting out in a wet and freezing cold garden appealing.

Book update – am back planning the second of my Sisters of Sin books. I hope to start writing it next week. The first book, Greed, is currently with beta readers and I’m awaiting their views. * gnaws at nails nervously *

Reading – still on Babylon Berlin and it’s really good. The tv series has added a lot of back story to Gereon and Charlotte that is not in the book, but that’s okay. Still loving it.

TV – today I expect to finish all 11 series of Shameless and I feel bereft already. It was a wonderful series full of mad capers and I’ve loved it. Sigh.

Right, that’s it for this week. Till next time,

Dawn xx

Jeezo! I haven’t sat still

Well, it’s been a crazy kind of time in Nelson Towers lately. Since we’ve been easing out of lockdown in Scotland, my social life has rocketed. I’ve been able to see family (in the garden and in unseasonably warm weather, thank goodness) and friends. The friends part was last weekend when I went for a drink round to our local pub with my friend from next door and a couple of others. Then on Sunday, I joined two others for a socially distanced lunch in La Lanterna (great food btw) in the west-end of Glasgow and had a Zoom call that night with two women I’ve known since school (one I’ve known since I was four, the other since I was about 13).  It was busy, it was mad, but it was great. It killed me that I couldn’t hug anyone, but it was still so nice to actually be around people again.

So how’s your week been? What have you been up to? Are you guys finally getting back some normality in your lives? I hope so. Terrible news about India. My heart goes out to them. I’m afraid we’ll continue to see people dying from Coronavirus for some time yet.

Line of Duty

Anyway, let us move on to better things. Firstly, what was that last episode of Line of Duty all about? It just all felt so flat. I was one of the many disappointed fans. I can get that they were trying something different, but I don’t think it worked. Never mind, the rest of the series were amazing.

I also watched Shadow and Bone. I ‘ve never read the books, they are aimed at children (although that never puts me off, some children’s novels are amazing) and they were brought out well after I completed my childhood! 🙂 However, I did watch the series on Netflix and really enjoyed it. The first episode was a little meh for me, but I stuck with it and am glad I did. Ben Barnes (who as Prince Caspian in The Chronicles of Narnia) is still gorgeous and did a great job, as did the rest of the cast. I don’t want to go into it too much as I don’t want to spoil anything, but it is good.

Talking of good, anyone know when Carnival Row’s second series is coming out? I’ve now watched it about five times (something I rarely do) and I just love it.

Some of the cast from Shameless series 1.

Other tv I’ve been watching includes the UK (and better version) version of Shameless. I’m coming close the the end. There are 11 series and I’m halfway through series 10, and I’ve loved every minute of it. It’s funny, quirky, dirty and a damned good watch.

Reading – currently on my bed stand is still Babylon Berlin by Volker Kutscher. It is similar but different to the tv series (pictured), but very very good. I am halfway through it and thoroughly enjoying it.

What else have I been up to? Well, I’m continuing to write the script and I currently have a novel with beta readers. I’m a bit nervous about the latter, I really hope they enjoy it. Won’t be long till they’re back with their comments. Gulp. No matter how many books I write or how long I do this, I’m still worried that no-one will like my books. It’s the curse of the writer, I’m afraid!

Right, that’s me for this week. I’m actually focussing this entire week on my end of module assignment for my uni degree. But I’ve taken a break and snuck out to chat to you for a bit. Back to the grind.

Til next time,

Dawn xx

Two books down and Volker Kutscher

Hi everyone! How are you? Hope you’re all well. How’s your week been? Well, I’ve got a couple of exciting things to share.

Firstly, I finally finished editing my Sisters of Sin novel. It’s called Greed and is romantic suspense story about a female assassin. As it’s part of a series, it won’t be published until early next year, but I’ll keep you posted. I have another one to write – about an assassin code-named Envy – for the series and plan to start on it next week.

Secondly, my Paisley book is finished and, as part of it, I’m just about to draft up a short graphic novel depicting one of the historical facts from the book. Once I have some images to show you, I’ll do that. The illustrations are being done by my very good friend and fab illustrator, Mandy Sinclair.

It’s so nice to have some good news to share. Something different from the norm. It still feels like Groundhog Day, but at least now I’ve had my first vaccination, I can see a tiny speck of light at the end of the tunnel!

On to TV and film. Well, I have just finished binge watching Call the Midwife and thoroughly enjoyed it, although Barbara’s demise did leave me in tears. The thing I like about this series is that it’s gentle, you don’t have to concentrate too hard to enjoy it, and the styles and music are fantastic. It’s one of my guilty pleasures and I can’t wait for the new series which starts very soon.

On to books, I’ve been trying to read, but I’ve been so busy lately that I’m shattered by the time I crawl into bed and switch the light out. I normally go up at 9pm and read for a while, but I’ve been going up at the same time and going to sleep.   I’ve had a couple of extra clients for my business plus I had to complete an assignment for university, so that’s probably why.

I have got a book to start which is Babylon Berlin by Volker Kutscher. I really LOVE LOVE LOVE the tv series, so wanted to read the books. Got the first one to start and I can’t wait.

I’m also reading Bruce Block’s ‘The Visual Story’ which is about creating the visual structure of film, tv and digital media. It’s useful to know this stuff for my scriptwriting, but it should also feed into my novel writing and maybe even other parts of my working life. Only just started it and am hooked already.

Right, so you are up-to-date on everything at the moment. I’m sorry I’ve not had much to tell you. It’s so difficult to be exciting about writing when most of it is hard slog. However, I’m getting there with my novels and have already started planning my next series – a steampunk, fantasy set in Victorian Glasgow. I’ll tell you more about that in the future, it’s way too early just now.

Til next time,

Dawn xxx

Resident Alien is my new favourite tv show

My new favourite tv show Resident Alien.

Do you ever have one of those weeks where no matter what you do you are always playing catch up with yourself? This week is one of those. And I hate it. I love it when you plan out your day or week (in my case) and it all gets done. However, my inability to get up early (ie at 7am) means I have been chasing my tail all week. Sigh. Never mind.

So, how has your week been? Hope it’s been a good one. I’ve been struggling to keep positive this week. I’m so fed up being stuck in. I yearn to go into Glasgow and meet a friend for lunch. It is a little thing, but I miss it. In saying that, I am extremely lucky. No-one in my family has been seriously ill with Coronavirus, no-one has died. I should be counting my blessings, but it is hard to keep on going.

However, I will. Onwards and upwards as they say.

This week, I have mostly been scriptwriting. I honestly thought this script would be done by now, but it’s nowhere near finished. It’s complicated. And exciting. And funny. And I really hope it gets made one day. If it never gets made, I’ve still learned a lot. I’ve learned more about storytelling, about not overwriting, about cinematic techniques. And it’s been really good fun. I’ll be back into it later today.

I’m still editing my Sisters of Sin book. I hope to have that finished for beta readers next week. In fact, I’m saying it now. I’m going to make sure it’s finished by Saturday next week. Not tomorrow, but a week away. Shit, I now have a deadline to keep.

I’ve finished binge watching Line of Duty and feel bereft. Really enjoyed it. But, oh joy, a new series starts soon.

Have you been watching Resident Alien? It’s on Sky 1 in the UK. It is brilliant. So funny. Really recommend it. It’s about an alien, played brilliantly by Alan Tudyk, who crash lands on Earth. He has to piece together his ship and find his weapon with which he’s been tasked to destroy the Earth with. However, those pesky humans keep coming into contact with him. He likes them. He’s getting emotions.  He’s having relationships with them.  Watch it, it’s brilliant especially the dialogue he has with young Max (Jason Maybaum) and his bestie, Sahar (Gracelyn Awad Rinke). TV perfection.

Right, that’s me for this week. Until next time,

Dawnxx

 

How Good is Line of Duty and Acting (Very Badly)

So, I’ve been channelling my inner actress this week as myself and my compadres work on our script.  We’ve been doing this for nearly a year now, but because of the complicated storyline it’s taken us this long to get this far. We’ve got a fair amount of work still to do, but we are getting there with the story. Anyway, part of our process is reading out the script as we work. That way we can pick up on any issues such as words and phrases that don’t sit well. Some of our characters are non-British which means attempts are made to do the accents. However, none of us are trained actors so the results are often hilarious. Can I just say I cannot do an Australian accent. Not. At. All.

So, how’s your week been? Same old same old? Just like everyone else. I really hope that we can get back to normal soon. I’m sure I’m echoing a lot of people when I say I just don’t think I can do another year of this lockdown. I understand why I have to do it and I stick to the rules, but I want to spend time with family and friends.

Anyway, the biggest event of the past couple of weeks is that I took my son for an eye test. We live in a village, so I took him to one of the nearby town’s for it. It was the highlight of the week, I’m afraid to say. 🙂

Another highlight – and I don’t know why I’ve taken so long to do this – is I’ve finally gotten round to watching Line of Duty. OH. MY. GOD. It’s so gooooooood. So well written, directed, acted, everything. The beat points are perfect, the storylines race along and the twist and turns are inspired. Can I just say Keeley Hawes (who I have mentioned before and I am a bit of a fan of) is brilliant in series two and three. Creepy, but brilliant. Martin Compston (local boy), Vicky McLure (loved her in This is England), Adrian Dunbar and Craig Parkinson are great in it. I loved the character of Dot – he was so sneaky and slimy, but outwardly nice. Yep, I am chastising myself for leaving it so long to watch it. On the other hand, I am desperately trying to binge watch all the series before the new one begins – next week I think. Woohoooo!

So, what else have I been doing? I’ve edited up to and including chapter 14 of my Sisters of Sin novel. That should be finished by the end of next week and going off to Beta readers to read. BTW if anyone wants to be a beta reader for me and the rest of the authors doing this series, drop me an email: dawn@danelsonauthor.com     We’d love to get more people involved.

Reading – I haven’t managed to do a lot of that recently. Been concentrating on getting my uni course work done, so reading for pleasure has taken a bit of a back burner. However, I aim to get back to that soon.

Right, that’s me for now. I will check in again very soon. Til next time.

Dawn x