Monday, 20 October 2014

Survive and Thrive: JANZ Syndrome

I decided to take part in the Survive and Thrive Bloghop put on by Stephen Tremp, Michael Di Gesu, Diane Wolfe, and Alex Cavanaugh. 

While researching a character in one of my books, I discovered a disease called JANZ syndrome, otherwise known as Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy (JME), a fairly common form of idiopathic generalized epilepsy, representing 5-10% of all epilepsies. 

What are the symptoms of Janz? 

(1) myoclonic jerks on awakening usually of the limbs like arms or legs, this will cause some sufferers to knock over things like juice or coffee. 
(2) GTCS generalized tonic-clonic seizures, occurring usually after a series of myoclonic jerks. Also called grand mal seizures. 
(3) typical absences seizures.

What to do if someone is having a seizure:
  • move them away from anything that could cause injury, such as a busy road or hot cooker
  • cushion their head if they're on the ground
  • loosen any tight clothing around their neck, such as a collar or tie, to aid breathing
  • when their convulsions stop, turn them so that they're lying on their side
  • stay with them and talk to them calmly until they have recovered
  • note the time the seizure starts and finishes
DO NOT put anything in their mouth, including your fingers. They may bite their tongue, but this will heal. Putting an object in their mouth could cause more damage.

If you want to see a video from a Janz sufferer, please watch the video below:

If you want to donate to the Epilepsy Foundation, click the link below:

Monday, 29 September 2014

Don't Love Your Characters Too Much

It's so easy to fall in love with your characters.

You're forced to study their lives. To understand why they like what they like, love what they love, hate what they hate. Spend enough time with them and you will fall in love, even the minor characters.

Why is that a bad thing?

Sometimes it's not. Sometimes it can give your story depth and intrigue.

But sometimes it can cause problems.

(a) it can change your plot, sometimes for the worst - especially if you've written half the book and weren't planning the novel to go a certain way
(b) minor characters can changed to major characters - especially in a love story, the character you meant one character to love might not be the one they end up with

Have you ever fallen in love with a character so much that you changed the plot or made the minor character a major character?
Do you think your characters should be able to change the plot?

Photo credit: minifig / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Writing & Wellness: Dealing with Stress, Self-Doubt and Snacking

Today I'm visiting an awesome website where I talk about how I deal with stress, self-doubt and snacking. 

Monday, 22 September 2014

Underrated Treasure: Bo Bruce

I don't really like to participate in blogfests but I really wanted to share a musical artists that I like:

Bo Bruce

About the artist:

  • Appeared on The Voice UK (Series One) and came in second.
  • Her voice reminds me of The Cranberries.
  • She's titled: Lady Catherine Anna Brudenell-Bruce
  • Her webpage: Bo Bruce 

Check out the other participants in the blogfest:

Monday, 8 September 2014

Have Fun and Win a Free Copy of my Book!

Type a sentence or two based on the photo above and you could win one copy (of five) of my latest mystery novel! What could be easier than that? Go to Carol Kilgore's webpage and check out her contest.

Click here:

Also, Mason Canyon did an awesome review of my book. You can see the review here.

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Writing with Scrivener Quick Tip: Using Word Count To Keep Motivated

Writers are always looking for ways to keep motivated. I find smaller word count goals are effective.

I used to have my session target set at 1000 but watching the bar go from red to yellow to green was so slow and depressing. Especially at the beginning of each session.

So, I did an experiment, I set the word count to 100. It took me 4 minutes to complete, and I type painfully slow. Sometimes I would be writing an exciting paragraph or two and the word count would be at 210 before I noticed.  If you do the math, 1000 words can be written in less than an hour.

How do you keep motivated when it comes to word count?

Monday, 25 August 2014

Are Your Characters Making You Insane or Inventive?

Two articles in the Guardian this week about voices and creativity, and the recent death of Robin Williams, made me think of the worlds inside my head. (If you want, you can read the articles yourself, here and here.) 

The first article discussed the voices Virginia Woolf heard and how it made her feel:

"I feel I have gone too far this time to come back again. It is just as it was the first time, I am always hearing voices, and I know I shant get over it now … I have fought against it, but I can't any longer, Virginia."

That was something she wrote to her sister just before she killed herself. She would write a novel to quell the voices and as soon as she was finished, a new set a voices came. She couldn't deal with it anymore. 

The woman was a literary genius but the voices made her insane.

The second article talked about the characters and voices heard by the great Charles Dickens. For him, the characters were so real, it was as if he was just overhearing what the characters were saying and writing it down.

Dickens wrote to his friend John Forster: "when I sit down to my book, some beneficent power shows it all to me, and tempts me to be interested, and I don't invent it – really do not – but see it, and write it down".

Dickens took those voices, accepted them and created like mad. His novels are proof that the characters inside the writer's head are sometimes so real we just stand back, watch and record.

Not every writer deals with the characters or voices in the same way. Perhaps some writers don't hear the characters speak to them at all. But, it should make us think. 

How do the voices come to you? Do they sometimes make you insane or foster your creativity?


Photo credit: pvillarrubia / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

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