My Novelling Journey – a story in 3 acts-part 2

ACT TWO – Confrontation

Typically the longest of all three sections: Act Two usually comprises the second and third quarters of the story.


The protagonist gets to know their new surroundings and starts to understand the challenges that lay before them. 

2012: Using both NaNoWriMo and 100k100days, I start to think about the stories that I want to write. I’m excited by this new decision, and over the next few years, I create more and better stories. But at the back of my mind, there’s a niggling thought – I’m just working hard to create more and more wasted words.

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My Novelling Journey – a story in 3 acts

ACT ONE – The Setup

Act One is all about setting the stage: readers should get an idea of who your protagonist is, what their everyday life is like, and what’s important to them.


2003: I stepped down from a very stressful and time-consuming job as a director of a medium-sized company, and became a computer technician in primary schools. As a by-product of this, I now had the time and ‘head space’ to be able to seriously think about my writing again. I had dabbled in the years before, but my prime focus was on developing my career and earning money

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New Year – sort of

Hello. Yes, I know I’m late for *your* New Year, but March is my New Year.

Let me explain. Where we live there is a stipulation that we need to spend the month of February away. It’s no big deal, and we knew before we moved here. It’s a chance to step away from the office, to think about the bigger picture, and what we are doing and what we should be doing.

The great thing is: when we come back on March 1st, it’s like a new start. The weather’s starting to be a bit more spring-like, we have refreshed our existing ideas and created a whole load of new ones. More to come on that later in the year.

For the moment, I’m concentrating on the launch of the EFFICIENT NOVELIST course. Yes, it’s finally coming to fruition. Forty-two modules, nearly an hour and a half of videos, four free ebook downloads, 209 voiceovers and 223 graphics, charts and slides. There’s a lot in this. Finally, the modules are all complete, and they have been uploaded to the course website. Still to do? Uploading the downloadable worksheets, uploading the free ebooks. And begin the marketing campaign.

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2022 Non Resolutions

Long time readers will know that I don’t like RESOLUTIONS. There’s too much focus on one day in the year, and there’s too much looking back on a previous year with regret, with a false determination to DO BETTER next year.
And it’s all too easy for the resolutions to fall flat.
Like: “This year, I’m going to lose x weight”. It’s a focussed target, which might appear to be good, but it’s a digital target. You will either succeed, or you will do the ‘F’ word – FAIL. And failure is a destructive state of mind.
We don’t like destructive things – we only like constructive things. So my resolutions are NOT resolutions – they’re aims, or goals. If I don’t reach those goals, I’m not going to beat myself up about it, because as you will have seen if you’ve read my ‘looking back‘ post, there’s still a lot to celebrate.
So let’s get started.

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It’s been another year, hasn’t it? Crikey. And we still seem to be no further forward with the epidemic in the UK, with indecision in our government and both anxiety and obstinacy present in our communities at the same time. Weird times.

Anyway, let’s move into the roundup of my year.

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Who’s the story for? Writing inside-out, or outside-in?

I had a thought the other day. And I discussed it with my partner, Anita Belli.

Because when we start writing, outside school and college, we write for ourselves. We want to write the stories which are burning inside us, we want to highlight the themes and issues that drive us.

And, sometimes, we dream of becoming great authors.

After a while, our big dreams and high ideals become somewhat tempered by reality. No one’s interested in our novel.

What? Are they stupid? Don’t they realise how brilliant this is?

But all the time, we’re writing from the inside out. This is our story, dammit!

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Writing – literary or genre?

There is a question all writers should confront at some point during their writing life:

What sort of writer do I want to be?

Because, of course, there are a number of different types of writer. Perhaps the question should be: “What do I want from my writing life?”

Believe it or not, this is something nearly all writers fail to ask themselves. I know, we all start off writing as a bit of a hobby. Most of the population can physically write, putting letters together to form words, and words together to form sentences. That’s a basic function many can handle.

But writing seriously? Learning how to write productively, and with a purpose and with an intention to gain an audience?


To align with this blog’s title, one of the choices fiction writers should make is: do we want to write genre or literary fiction?

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Location research

I’m not a researcher. I’m not big on spending hours talking to people, interviewing them even, learning about them, their jobs, their private lives, the places they live and work. I do know authors who are researchers, and they love spending time learning stuff.

Nope. Not me.

But this week, I travelled about an hour away from home to look at a small village that I might use for a new series of cosy mysteries.

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I want to talk about creativity. It concerns one of the most asked questions of authors – where do you get your ideas from? I know it sounds like a cliché, but so many non-authors want to know how we can ‘come up with’ such devious, exciting and intricate plots for our novels.

And I think we all have a slightly different answer. “I get my best ideas when I’m in the shower / out walking / drunk on a Saturday night”; “some of my most well-received novels have been based on dreams / nightmares / the result of imbibing vast quantities of psychedelic drugs”; or the asinine “I don’t know, really – they just come to me when I’m sitting in my garden writing studio listening to the sounds of nature”.

Some of these may be true, but it’s not my version of truth.

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