Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Why do we write what we write?

I’m one of those individuals who likes to know what makes people tick.  And when you look at my somewhat varied CV, I suppose it’s no wonder.  From working in an office, to managing a training & advice centre; from teaching in Further Education, to being an outreach worker for Women’s Aid; indeed, I’ve even done a stint in a Bookies, although admittedly this role didn’t last too long, on account of me not having a clue what I was doing. 

But what all these jobs do have in common is the fact that they all involve dealing with a wide range of people on some level or another.  And I have to say thanks to my inbuilt curiosity, I find how people interact with both each other and their surroundings somewhat more than fascinating. 

Yes, I’m definitely one of life’s people watchers.  To the point that I can become so engrossed in someone else’s conversation that I don’t actually realise they’ve, by now, stopped talking.  And having long since noticed my interest in their exchange, they are, in fact, now staring straight back at me!  Then there’s the lone individual sat in the corner of a restaurant, for whom after five minutes of observations I’ve managed to come up with an entire life story, past, present and future – none of it particularly true, of course, but most certainly very believable. 

Hence, in answer to the title question, it’s pretty evident that people are what inspire me to put pen to paper.  Ordinary people like you and I, living their ordinary lives.  Until something happens to turn all that ordinariness right on its head and so the story begins... 

But for others, the muse could’ve crept in from some entirely different arena.   After all, some Authors might have an issue so close to their heart and feel not only is it important to get their message out, but that their writing is the most effective way of doing so.   Whereas other Authors are fantastic ideas people, coming up with plot after plot, ready to be developed into full blown stories...

So, with all this in mind I’m now I’m going to ask all of you 'Why do you write what you write?'    

A perfectly reasonable question, wouldn’t you say, coming from a woman who likes to know what it is that makes people tick!

Sunday, 15 January 2012

A taste of what's to come...

It's fair to say that 2011 was something of a busy year in the Tullett household - both physically and emotionally. 

My oldest son upped sticks and moved to China and my youngest son got married; my husband continued to work his socks off in support of my journey into the world of novel writing and having completed my very first novel, I sought to get my book published.  Of course, once this happened there was all the marketing and PR stuff to contend with; after all, readers need to know a book is actually out there for their reading pleasure. 

However, amidst all this I've also been continuing to write.  And I thought now would be a good time to share just a little taste of my work in progress...

So, for those of you who've been kind enough to read Going Underground, I hope you can recognise not just my voice, but some of the humour and quirkiness I love to bring to my work.  And for those of you new to my writing, I hope you enjoy x

“Well that’s it!” I announced, having just landed at Mum and Dad’s house for our customary Sunday lunch gathering.  “My life as I know it is officially over!”
Of course, I should’ve known better.  But being daft enough to expect at least a modicum of sympathy from within the bosom of my family, it was somewhat disappointing to find none actually forthcoming.  In fact, even before I could take my coat off Mum was in the process of thrusting a mass of cutlery my way, whilst pointing me in the direction of the dining room table before disappearing off back into the kitchen.  Then again, with a clan like ours to feed and water, I did suppose she needed all the help she could get – especially as most members of our family prefer a more observational role when it comes to mucking in with the household chores.
            “Oh yes,” I continued.  “My dreams have finally been crushed once and for all...”
            I began laying the table, begrudgingly squeezing behind an already seated Dad.  A man clearly more concerned about his belly’s grumblings than those of his beloved offspring.
            “Leaving me no choice but to think about joining a Convent,” I carried on, regardless. “Where I shall, no doubt, remain for the rest of my days.”
            “Things didn’t go too well then?” asked Mum, suddenly re-appearing with a stack of plates and following me around, eager to get the task at hand done and dusted.
             Not that I minded her hurrying me along in my moment of distress.  After all, everyone knew it paid dividends to have everything organised and in place before Brother No.1, Steve, and his wife Jill arrived – with their not so adorable kids in tow.  Although to be fair it wasn’t so much my rather sullen, fifteen year old niece who was cause for concern, ‘texting, tweeting Tammy’ as I liked to refer to her; but more my yet to be diagnosed ADHD suffering little nephews, eight year old twins, Luke and Johnny.
            “The trouble with you, Lydia,” Dad joined in – although just to clarify, by that I mean with the conversation and not the workload.  “Is you’re far too picky.”  He folded his arms as if he’d just imparted some piece of crucial advice.
            Obviously a Father who wants nothing but the best for his one and only daughter, I sarcastically noted.  Although at the same time I did have to acknowledge he wasn’t exactly the first person to suggest I might be setting my sights a little higher than was good for me.
            “Too ugly, you mean,” corrected Pete, brother No.2, as he appeared in the doorway.
            Not particularly the wisest of words to come out of his mouth, I considered; especially when I still had a couple of knives in my hand.  And believe you me, as I watched him take his seat at the table not only was I sorely tempted to use them, but once again, I found myself appreciating why his long suffering girlfriend had finally decided to kick him to the kerb, sending both him and his belongings back home to Mummy.


Monday, 9 January 2012

Like a Child in a Sweet Shop...

Being Northerners, my hubby and I don't get down to London very often.  And when we do, it's fair to say our visits are always work related.  So whilst I was in the UK we decided to treat ourselves and head down to enjoy all the delights our capital city has to offer - well as many as we could fit in, that is, considering we were, in fact, doing all our sightseeing on foot.

Our pavement pounding began at Tower Bridge and we headed down the Embankment, snapping photos of the London Eye, the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben and Trafalger Square along the way.  We soaked up the atmosphere of Picadilly Circus and strolled up the Mall towards Buckingham Palace; and we even managed to dodge our way down Oxford Street for a spot of shopping - just like the thousands of other visitors, all hell bent on making the most of the sales.

However, although my other half was doing a great impression of a Japanese tourist, all the while click clicking away on his camera as he was, none of the above seemed to capture his interest in quite the same way as a little, unassuming establishment located just off Carnaby Street.

Oh yes, talk about a child in a sweet shop!

Not that I am, of course. 

Naturally, I'm referring to Sherry's, the focal point for many a Mod over the years and frequented by a number of Robert's favourite bands and musicians.  And as I watched him animatedly chat with


Bubbles about Paul Weller and The Jam, Madness and The Specials and so on, as he browsed the wares on offer I could see that, for him at least, it was like Christmas morning all over again.  Of course, by now I was worried we were going to have to take out a small mortgage, on account of him wanting to buy near enough everything going.  But much to my relief he settled on just couple of things for our equally dedicated sons, which was much better than him clearing the shelves and rails altogether... 

Me, I'm more of a mini girl, myself.  So imagine how thrilled I was when we spotted this rather fine example:

Especially when the chap standing next to it informed us it was in perfect working order - I could've driven it away there and then!

If like me and Robert you like Mods and Minis, you might like to know Amazon's Going Underground Kindle sale price has been extended and it will now be available at the reduced rate through to the end of January!

Happy reading, everyone x


Monday, 2 January 2012

Paying it forward...

Welcome to my very first blog post of 2012, everyone.  And what better way to start the New Year than by paying it forward? 

Of course, as a writer, the best way for me to do this is to pass on some writerly advice; the three top tips that were given to me when I began my own journey into the world of writing - tips that I still bear in  mind to this day. 

So for all you new writers out there I hope you find these pointers as useful as I did... and for those of you who've heard it all before, please feel free to comment with your own pieces of advice and thanks in advance.

So, here goes:

1. Write about what you know

This is a phrase experienced authors often say to those starting out.  After all, for any budding writer, with so much to learn and develop already, choosing a setting that's familiar certainly makes sense.

I mean, who knows the comings and goings of a Police station more than someone who actually works there?  And having the heads up on the types of characters that inhabit it, a knowledge of the legal jargon and even the banter taking place within, well this doesn't just give a new writer's writing an automatic credibility, it allows the author to concentrate more on honing their craft, as opposed to having to do loads of research. 

Of course, with this example it's easy to assume I'm talking about a murder/mystery or detective story here, but remember love and horror stories etc could just as easily unfold in a setting like this, in much the same way as they could any other.

2. Make every word count

Every word a writer writes has to either develop character, move the story forward in some way or better still, do both at the same time.  Something new writers often struggle to get to grips with.

So again, let me give you an example:

Before Mrs. Housewife set about the cleaning the bathroom, she put the bottle of bleach to her nose and took a moment to enjoy the smell of its contents.

Now obviously Mrs. Housewife is an extremely houseproud woman - a commendable characteristic in anyone's book (excuse the pun).  But if the author is simply telling us this because the poor woman just likes the smell of bleach and that's that, then such words shouldn't really be included.  

However, if it's later revealed that Mrs. Housewife is, in fact, suffering from OCD, a condition that threatens to destroy both her life and her relationships if she doesn't eventually seek help, then they most definitely should. Similarly, if we ultimately discover that Mrs. Housewife is, in fact, some serial husband killer who likes to poison her victims with household products, then once again, it's a good characteristic to include.

3. Read your competition

Obviously best selling books are best sellers for a reason.  And reading our competition can help us fathom out what that reason is. 

Of course, I'm not suggesting new writers do this in order to copy, imitate or plagarise in any way, but the technical skills these authors use may well teach us a thing or two - skills that once identified, we can then incorporate into our own work.

So in this instance, it not just a case of reading per se, it's more a case of disecting; working out how the author's characters are developed, when the subtle reveals are coming into the play, looking at the book's pacing and breaking down the various plot points etc...

And whilst this might feel more like something done in an English Literature class at school, it's definitely worth the effort considering we become all the better writers for it.