I’ve joined Peter M. Ball’s Sunday Circle to help keep my writing on track. Follow along here or join in the fun over at Peter’s blog, Man Versus Bear.

What am I working on this week?

A bit of work on short stories at the start of the week. Earlier this year I cut a scene from a horror novel I’m working on because it wasn’t working for the story anymore but I saw merit in it  as a stand alone short story. This week was the first time I’ve had a chance to look at it. The bulk of the story is there but it needs some context and some work to add depth to the characters so the reader can understand what is happening. I’ll chip away at it over the coming weeks and hopefully it will come together.

During the weekend my focus has been on the young adult rewrite. I got through the transitional phase faster than anticipated and yesterday began writing some new opening chapters. I went to Shut Up and Write yesterday and it always surprises me how I can sit down in a room full of other people and the words just fall out of my head and onto the blank screen. I’m becoming convinced that being surrounded by other people involved in the same creative activity builds creative energy. I wish I could do it more often than once a month.

What’s inspiring me this week?

I’ve almost finished Cally Black’s debut young adult novel In the Dark Spaces, which won the 2015 Ampersand Prize. It is amazing. Original, raw, heartfelt, this is a novel which pulls no punches and delivers on every level. I’ve got a couple more chapters to go so unless she falters at the end (which I highly doubt) this is a 5 star novel. I’ll post a review on this blog sometime this week, with any luck.

The world she creates is completely alien and at the same time absolutely familiar. Her characterisation is impeccable, with a narrator whose wholly original voice pulls the reader into the world and holds them there with every sentence. So much work has gone into this novel, and it shows. If it doesn’t pull off at least one Aurealis Award next year, I’ll be gobsmacked.

What action do I really need to take?

To slow down and not rush through my writing. I  can be a bit slapdash at times so while working through my current rewrite I am trying to pay close attention to all the details, and make sure the core of the narrative is clear in every paragraph.