Writing Quirks and Must Haves

Until I thought about it I hadn’t realised that I do have a few ‘writing quirks’. Amazing what you figure out when you are forced to examine your process.

To start off with, I always need a good pen- my favourites is a LAMY Ballpoint – a gift from my dear friend Kim.

Because I am so easily distracted by emails, the Facebook and the Twitter, I prefer to go through them before I start writing, otherwise it will just bug me and mess with my concentration.

Part of my routine is to chat with my 2 writing buddies Patti and Cassie- we chat several times a day every day on Skype- have word wars and sometimes do butt-kicking duty

I must have my chap-stick right beside my keyboard; I hate having to get up and go look for it. – No, I’m not lazy, just focused!
A bottle of water- absolutely necessary. Gotta rehydrate people! Well, to be honest if I don’t have the bottle right in front of me, I will forget to drink water too- yup, its that bad!

I usually make my lunch when I prepare the family lunches every morning. So it’s all wrapped and ready to eat when lunchtime comes around. If I have to do more than unwrap and chew then I get annoyed and might not eat lunch at all- which is definitely a bad thing.

A pair of fingerless gloves in winter.

Writing music- During the day, when the house is empty I write without music, unless the neighbours are yelling or annoying me with their own loud music or screaming kids. Then I use my music to drown them out. Once my girls are home, and because my ‘study’ is located in my lounge, I drown out extraneous sounds by sticking my earphones in my ears. Of course, when I am writing an intensive action or emotional scene I listen to Linkin Park or Daughtry or Melody Gardot- whatever suits the scene.

Editing music –  When I am editing, my music preference is different. When I first started writing I used to listen to a playlist of all the Coldplay CD’s I owned. Now, for some reason, I always use that CD to edit to. It’s calming, and not intrusive enough to mess with my concentration while I edit.

I don’t snack while I write, amazing ideas come to me in the shower and I have an aversion to my treadmill which happens to occupy space in my study and which I just happen to not use on a daily basis. And that’s it as far as I can think of.


My Reading Addiction Blog Tour started 2nd July 2012 and goes through to 27th July 2012. Below are the blog stops that I have and will make – please drop by and join in the conversation :)

July 2 – Words I Write Crazy – Review/Excerpt
July 4 – Reader Girls – Review/Excerpt
July 5 – Cozie Corner – Review/Giveaway
July 5 – Embrace a Book – Review/Giveaway
July 6 – Nick’s Book Blog – Review/Interview
July 9 – Oh For The Love of Books – Review/Giveaway/Guest Post
July 11 – A Dream Within a Dream – Review/Giveaway
July 12 – Understanding Shae’s Story – Review/Giveaway
July 13 – Lisa is a Bookworm – Review/Giveaway/Excerpt
July 15 – Passionate Book Diva’s – Review
July 15 – Some of my Favourite Books – Review/Interview and Giveaway
July 16 – Nazish Reads – Review/Giveaway
July 16 – Book-A-Holic – Review/Giveaway/Excerpt
July 17 – For the Love of Film and Novels – Review/Giveaway/Excerpt
July 18 – The Solitary Bookworm – Review/Excerpt
July 19 – Living Life: Hannah Style – Review/Giveaway/Excerpt
July 20 – Natasja’s Book Blog – Review/Excerpt
July 23 – Readers Confession – Review/Giveaway/Excerpt
July 23 – A Case of Reading Insomnia – Review/Giveaway/Guest Post
July 24 – Paulette’s Papers – Review/Giveaway/Excerpt
July 24 – Waiting on Sunday to Drown – Review/Giveaway/Guest Post
July 25 – Bookishly Devoted – Review
July 26 – The Book Faery – Review/Giveaway/Excerpt
July 27 – TE Garden of Books – Review/Giveaway

Dead Radiance Playlist

Many storytellers use music to inspire their creativity, to support character development through the writing process, to set the mood of a scene allowing the right words to flow. On the other side of the coin are the readers who love to put music to the books they read, to imagine which song would be best for each heartbreak and each triumph their favourite characters experience.

I love to write to music. And I hate to write to music. It pretty much depends on the scene and my mood and probably even the moon – who knows! I use music when I feel the scene or the character needs a bit of backup. I only ever NEED music when I’m in dire need of drowning out the usual household cacophony – that’s when LP at full volume works wonders.
So, here it is:


1. Iridescent – Linkin Park

2. Bring Me To Life – Evanescence ft Linkin Park

3. Open up your eyes – Daughtry

4. Just a Kiss – Lady Antebellum

5. No ones listening – The Feelers

6. Hometown GloryAdele

7. My immortal – Evanescence

8. Weak and the wounded – The Feelers

9. No more sorrow – Linkin Park

10. Burning in the skies – Linkin Park

11. Trying to get by – The Feelers

A Writer’s Symphony



When next you visit the seaside, take a seat upon the soft grainy shore, close your eyes and pay close attention to the music of the waves. In all its raw and natural beauty, the sea produces a pure and timeless music that lulls and calms while still creating the intrinsic drama of nature at its finest.


A small wave kisses the shore, tentative and light – the bloom of a butterfly’s kiss. A second follows, stronger, more courageous, reaching salty fingers further up the sandy beach, then retreating. A teasing, sensual liquid dance. A third follows, thrusting, stronger, more urgent as it crashes, white-flecked upon the shore spitting foam and grasping at the grains for purchase. It too retreats unsuccesffully. A soft roar pulls your eyes to the ocean. A wave crests out at sea, as if at last hearing the plight of the smaller, weaker waves. It rolls in, gathering its strength, tumbling into itself, rising higher, tipped with seafoam as if bearing a brace of pure white weapons. It races in, overtaking the tiny wavelets ripping them apart in its wake. It thrusts onto the sand, higher, further than any of its liquid siblings. The roar that grips your heart and tenses your muscles ends in a crashing sputtering splash, before it too inevitably retreats, swallowing the smaller waves as it leaves, satisfied it had revealed its prowess.


Every scene should be like these cresting waves on the seashore. A little tentative dance leading up to a crescendo of emotion, and then satisfaction and resolution. The reader must move upon these waves, be taken for this ride unconscious of the intention of the writer. The reader must be transported emotionally to experience the push and pull of your words as you build on their emotional investment, feeding it until you have them wrapped within the skeins of the world you have woven around them as they read. Some writers are blessed with the ability to unconsciously create such moving, poetic prose. Other writers learn the art. Either way the result is the same. A reader transported into the world you have built within your novel, to meet the characters and live the experience of your words.


How does a writer create such scenes? How do you structure your sentences, paragraphs and chapters to ensure you have this same lyrical movement within them?


Sentence length is the first place to begin. Short sentences increase dramatic effect, pulling the reader in with bated breath. Longer sentences allow the emotional attachment to ebb, drawing the reader away to take a breath, allowing the supsense to heighten.


Within the sentence again is word length, similar to sentence length in intention to either draw the reader in or allow them to relax and come back for more. Using both these techniques with words and sentences creates an endless possibility in terms of drawing emotion from the reader because remember both you and your reader have made a commitment to each other- the writer agrees to weave the spell and the reader agrees to be spellbound.


With sentences, their construction also contracts or releases tension. Sentences beginnings and endings, the rise and fall as the sentence is read is vital to the reader. Remember that even silent readers ‘hear’ the rise and fall. Not paying attention to the music of your words results in a disjointed feel to the writing- like trying to sing Somewhere over the Rainbow to the music from the Bohemian Rhapsody.


Essentially every scene and every chapter also includes rising action, climax and denoument. The result is a suspenseful tale throughout, a novel that grips the reader chapter by chapter, until they are surprised when they read the words ‘The End’.


Do you write to the music in your head? Do you follow a writing plan or does your lyrical prose come naturally? Do you believe that the musicality of your writing matters at all?