Sunday, 21 February 2021

Writing a Novel

Three years ago I set out to write a novel and, last autumn, I succeeded in producing the first draft of 70,000 words. 

I wanted to write a magical reality novel based around the farm in Worcestershire where I spent the first eight or so years of my life. It’s place to which I have been drawn back to explore, lockdowns permitting, and write about the landscape and wildlife there within a quirky tale of magic and rural life. 

There was much wrong with it, but there was also some good - not least the sense of completion of a long journey of development. My wife and daughter, who are both avid readers, were more than happy to rip it to shreds and give praise in equal measure.

The main problem, or one of them, was the abundance of ideas - too many. My aim was to write what excited and interested me which was too much and the plot needed more work.

The novel might be better reworked into a series of short stories, then I could develop the themes different ways and not get lost in the deep depths of 70,000 words. It also might be better for me to write it in the first person. This would force me to confront the challenge of writing with more emotional attachment which wasn’t part of my writing style.

I will go back to the drawing board and completely restructure my plot lines and clarify the magical world in which it is set. I enjoyed creating a long text, but I found myself easily getting lost in the bulk of it, particularly as I have other things in life that need my attention or which stimulate me creatively. 

My aim is to write about what interests me and I have no publishing goal to work towards - it is the experience that counts. Formal publishing can take years with little, if any, financial reward and self-publishing would need me do do all the promotion. I’ll think about it and see what feels right to do.

Thursday, 18 February 2021


Now the weather has warmed up a little it is time to begin planning what to do in the garden this year.


Monday, 15 February 2021

Sunlit Oaks


Quick sketch made whilst out for a walk today of sunlight in an oak wood near Lilley, Hertfordshire. The bright green mosses covering the trees beautifully backlit by warm sunshine. Procreate on iPad, 29 minutes.

Sunday, 14 February 2021

Liquitex Acrylic Gouache Paints


I asked for some Liquitex Acrylic Gouache paints for my birthday and have been pleased with the results. The colours are bright and suit my way of working well. I have never got on with normal acrylic paints, these are far easier to use - good consistency, good opaqueness and remind me of working with the acrylic inks I used to use back in the good old days.

I've been exploring using Affinity Photo as a painting app. The afternoon tea picture was drawn very quickly as an initial ‘getting the know’ the app. The catkins and bramble leaves were seen in a hedgerow yesterday and created a good challenge in putting the app to a more detailed test. If I didn’t have Procreate I am sure I would use it more but Procreate has the edge.