Monthly Archives: September 2012

So You Think You Can Write!

To all of you entering SYRTYCW can I wish you tons of luck? Thinking of you. It takes guts to enter competitions…


I’ve just submitted my final REVS for my third MS for Riva and this is what I’ve learnt from my editor and would like to share with you re what they are looking for….maybe it will help with your submission to SYTYCW. (If you think I’m being intefering and bossy…sorry!)


  • Conflict! Make it real, make it tough, make it count! Why is loving this person the worst thing they can do? Make your protags suffer, baby!
  • Your opening scene. Yank the reader into the story…a conversation is a really good way to do this. 
  • Dialogue vs description. If you can explain motivations in conversation rather than an internal monologue…do it. Try and avoid long paragraphs of internal monologue. Editors/readers love dialogue and it keeps them flipping the page!

  • Focus on the hero and heroine and don’t let secondery characters much space.

 And belive in yourself…and if you don’t come anywhere don’t stress and don’t give up. (I came….drum roll , please…absolute NOWHERE in last years New Voices!) It isn’t the end of the road, it’s just not your road.


 Lots of luck






My little ephiphany…

I was standing in my local library the other day, surrounded− obviously!− by books and I was scanning the shelves as I normally, mentally skipping over books…not my thing, not in the mood for sci-fi, looking for a good thriller, or a make-me-laugh romance…

Suddenly the thought hit me that I’m a published author as well. That, like me there was an author behind every one of these books, someone who has poured their heart and soul and hours and hours of their time into producing their book. Someone who loves and cries and bleeds to get their words onto the page…and I’m dismissing their work because it’s not my thing.

I felt like I had to sit down and take a pill…

My point? I realised that, somewhere in the world− and in your own town and amongst your own friends− there will always be people who will dismiss your work, say it’s not their thing, say it’s not worth wasting their time on…and you what? I’m actually ok with that…

I don’t expect everybody to love my books, that’s egotistical and frankly crazy. And it’s ok for me not to read vampire books (because I don’t get them) or war stories (I lived through a war, I don’t need to read about it) because reading is my form of escape, my time out, my pleasure.

But I do believe, as Robertson Davies said that “It is dangerous to condemn stories as junk which satisfy the deep hunger of millions of people. These books are not literary art, but a great deal of what is acclaimed as literary art in our time offers no comfort or fulfilment to anybody.’”

I utterly respect the authors of vampire books and war stories and every other type of book out there because I now know− comprehensively− what it took to get their books on the shelves, in bookstores and in libraries and on the internet as e- books. I know how much sheer, damned hard work it takes…

I really hope you like− hell, I hope you love my books. I hope they make you smile and laugh and let you escape for a couple of hours…but if they are not your ‘thing’ that’s ok, too.

I just wish you happy reading, whatever you are reading….

Joss xxx