Zodiac #AtoZchallenge

I’ve been thinking of characters.  How I describe them, what I use to work out what they’re like and what their traits are.  One thing I don’t use, yet, is signs of the zodiac, probably because I don’t know enough about them.  For my last post in the challenge I wanted to try something different.  Here’s some horoscope notes for the zodiac signs using a tarot reading, not conventional I know but it’s all I can muster until I learn to read the stars.

Disclaimer: this is only for fun, I am not a professional Astrologist or Tarot reader.

21 April – 21 May Taurus:  Work features high and you put a lot of energy into learning your trade and passing it on, providing you with prosperity which you generously share.  You are going through a period of life changes, transformation is possible if questions are asked and decisions made.

22 May – 21 June Gemini:  Beauty abounds, it is a fertile time for nurturing and spiritual awareness is heightened.  You are busy and active, possibly involving a change in location.

22 June – 22 July Cancer:  Incredibly skilled and knowledgeable, you support others lovingly yet something’s been blocking you.  Facing your fears, you’re using your skills to get past this.

23 July – 23 August Leo:  You’ve been through a tough phase, you’re breaking free and overcoming gossip.  Now is the time for a significant life event.

24 August – 22 September Virgo:  You are happy spending much time alone in your garden.  You have a critical decision to make which can change your life’s path, have you given up too soon?

23 September – 23 October Libra:  Major changes are influencing you.  You let go of old ways and embrace the love in your life though there may be legal issues to be dealt with.

24 October – 22 November Scorpio:  Unexpected problems have you juggling your way through life.  The way ahead looks steadier with a new project going well.

23 November – 21 December Sagittarius:  Are you avoiding your own needs?  This may be blocking your inspiration.  You’re about to make a decision which will catapult you into a new life.

22 December – 20 January Capricorn: Your home is full of love and contentment.  Is someone being too self-possessed whilst another is providing all the security and home comforts?

21 January – 18 February Aquarius:  Are you following your own path to your detriment?  Have things taken a turn for the worse?  As a new opportunity appears you can follow a better path.

19 February – 20 March Pisces:  Time with childhood friends leads to nostalgic memories.  As you start a new project keep a balance in your life.

21 March – 20 April Aries:  Stand up for all the hard work you’ve put in and try to avoid conflict with others.  Love is overflowing around you right now.


That was fun to do and I might use it for one of my characters.  What do you use to help you with characterisation?  What sign of the zodiac are you and do you work out what your characters zodiac signs are?

My AtoZchallenge posts have mainly been about insecurities around my attempts to write and edit novels.  The current novels in edit are ‘Bags’, ‘Holiday stories’ and ‘Dream Gardener’ with many more desperate to emerge and take their chances in life.

You have encouraged me not to worry about genre, my writing style or anything else.  Many thanks, your comments have provided humour, warmth and comfort, I hope you have received something in return.

This blog might go a bit quiet now.. Much love, Lynne xx


Yellow car #AtoZchallenge

Did you read my C? No? Well it was about Chekhov’s gun.  A yellow car in my novel ‘Holiday Stories’ is a Chekhov’s gun.  We make lots of assumptions all of the time.  Can I stop this post there?  No?  What do I mean?

At the beginning of the story a car nearly knocks over our main character as he cycles to work in Cambridgeshire.  The rest of the novel is based in Yorkshire, surely that car had no relevance or did it?  Of course it did!  It’s a Chekhov’s gun remember.  If it’s not relevant to the plot later on remove it, unless you’re writing a different style to me and you want red herrings along the way.  Mine aren’t mystery or crime so I don’t need red herrings, although, I might have completely misread my genre. I know, don’t get hung up on genre. You keep telling me that.

Yellow car

Here’s where we start to say goodbye, only one more day and another years AtoZ’s will be over.  Beginning to miss you already, unless you’re the driver of that Yellow car and you’ll reappear later in my story.

My AtoZchallenge posts are sometimes about places and items in my novels ‘Bags’, ‘Holiday stories’ and ‘Dream Gardener’ or writing tips or, occasionally, tenuous links to both…

Xeriscape #AtoZchallenge

Xeriscape is a type of gardening which means the garden needs little additional watering.

I’d never heard of this before I was researching what my X could be but think I could add it to some of the discussions in ‘Dream Gardener’ I’m sure one of Elizabeth’s garden designs would be of the Xeriscape variety.  Hmm.. that might get readers grabbing the dictionary.  Something I don’t want any of my novels to do.


Thanks for visiting.  Yes this is an ultra short X, we needed it after that W but don’t worry, I’m building up again to a fun finale.. (Practicing variety of paragraphs..) 

Don’t feel you need to leave a comment today but please come back for Z..  My AtoZchallenge posts are usually about my writing..

Wake up and smell the coffee #AtoZchallenge

Writing’s a skill, one I’m struggling with.  Hopefully I’ve done everything I need to.

Storyline – check

Characters – check

Able to write? – maybe

Able to edit – getting there

Enough things to distract me – check  oops..

There’s a tip I learnt many years ago when wanting to write about anything, I remember it as the 5 W’s and a H.  Who, what, where, when, why & how, know that about your topic and you can write anything.

If you’ve been alongside me for any of this month’s challenge, you’ll know I have a few insecurities and worries about my writing.  What was that?  Surely not!  Tee hee..  OK more than a few, I thought this challenge was about the research I needed to do before I could carry on editing my draft novels.  As usual, it was about something much deeper, I’ve learnt more about myself and my skills while writing my AtoZ’s.

So you want to write a novel, well I jumped in, as usual, without checking what my skills were, what was needed and if I could do any novel justice.  When I realised I needed to understand more about story outlines, what on earth was a protagonist, I searched writing tips online, absorbed them through my skin, then tried to see if I followed them, put myself on a writing course that scared me, joined a critique group, ok, founded a critique group with some mates and realising the amount of research needed for said draft novels, set to write an AtoZ on my novels’ research.  (Practicing my elongation of sentences.. I’d usually frown at a 2 liner.. Yeah, I’ve still not worked out where to put apostrope’s..)

Have I done all my research during this month?  No, what my AtoZ’s have been about is me, my insecurities and finding my way amongst many others who are walking the same path.  That’s my nod to wake up and smell the coffee, clichés.  What I’ve realised this month is that my writing is so simple, so basic, so short sentences, few clichés, lots of emotion, hardly any adverbs, some verbs.   Everything most writers try to remove from their writing I need to add.  Make some of my sentences longer, add in some description, throw in a cliché here and there.  And that’s ok!

Wake up and smell the coffee

I’ve been feeling inadequate because I couldn’t talk in the same language as some other writers but I didn’t need to.  I write from the heart, I’m a pantser and years of writing for the media has reduced my writing style to short and snappy, that’s who I am.  With many stories to tell, I’m finally learning how to turn them into novels and that’s great!

We’re nearly at Z and I’ve woken up.  Phew!  Hand me that coffee.  I’m in need here, I’ve got 3 novels to edit and more to write!

My AtoZchallenge posts are about writing my novels.  The current titles that I’m writing about are ‘Bags’, ‘Holiday stories’ and ‘Dream Gardener’.

Visual violet Viola #AtoZchallenge

The birds have been able to drink without me breaking the ice all week and the muddy grass is now covered with shades of blue, pink, yellow and violet.  I need to get better at describing things like seasons and the viola in my garden was roped in to help.

Something I need to work on when I’m editing is the senses.  I visualise the story and try to write what I see, but I’m not sure how well I then spell that out for others to hear.  A recent writing workshop I attended reminded me to check I had all the senses covered not least because we all take in information differently.  What’s your preference?  Do you know?  Do you prefer to see, hear, smell, touch or taste things?

Visual violet viola

Visual violet Viola called for a short post preparing you for my marathon W.  As we get towards the end of AtoZ’s there’s still lots of variety.

My AtoZchallenge posts are about writing, parts of my novels or some research I need to do for them.  I’m not allowing myself to write about anything other than topics linked to the books, my books.  The current titles that I’m writing about are ‘Bags’, ‘Holiday stories’ and ‘Dream Gardener’.

Underestimated & Unfinished #AtoZchallenge

The theme of my AtoZ has really been about my unfinished novels!  I’ve covered some uniqueness I have in using fairy cake cases for keeping notes on and I’ve even addressed how I struggle with writing about undressing..

What’s bugging me is that ultimately my novels are unfinished, for a variety of reasons.  The enthusiasm wanes, the interest is lacking and as I get to the end of this AtoZchallenge I realise I will have no more excuses and now the whole world knows I’m putting off finishing the unfinishable.. is that even a word?

unfinished sketch

Will I do AtoZ again?  Not until at least one of these novels is un-unfinished..

No guesses what I underestimated.  Not only how tough I’d find this challenge compared to last year but also how hard it would be to knock my words into shape.  I Overestimated how hard it would be to get the words down and convinced myself I’d be able to edit easily.  ‘Better to edit a draft, than to write it’ is my usual mantra.  When it comes to my novels, that mantra needs a change of view.

Whilst I’d read, written and edited a lot, I hadn’t edited novels and hadn’t learnt all the tricks of the trade.  I feel that I’m now more knowledgeable and am learning all the time.  Because of the way I write, very fast over a few weeks, it’s hard graft when you get to the edit.

What have you underestimated and what do you still have unfinished?

My AtoZchallenge posts are about writing, parts of my novels or some research I need to do for them.  I’m not allowing myself to write about anything other than topics linked to the books, my books. The current titles that I’m writing about are ‘Bags’, ‘Holiday stories’ and ‘Dream Gardener’.

Trains and titles.. #AtoZchallenge

This is a bit of a sidetrack.. see what I did there?  None of my novels have a train in them.. oops yes they do.. nearly forgot.  In ‘Bags’ there was a part of the story where it was getting a bit slow so I took them on a journey.  The whole family got on a train.  It happened that they lived on the east so travelled on the East coast rail track which took them to Kings Cross and from there a short walk across the road takes you to the Eurostar.  Before I knew it they were in Paris for a weekend.

Writing about trips which included train travel allowed me to indulge myself.  I love trains and travelling on trains, can’t help it, don’t know where it came from.  Colleagues have recently given me a notebook to keep train numbers in.. ooh shiny!  You’ll be very pleased to hear I’ve resisted.. mainly because my memory’s not what is was and I can’t remember the number of the engines I like most.. oops did I say that out aloud?  Drat.. on to titles.. quickly!

trains titles

Guaranteed first question, when a non-writer finds out I’m writing a novel, will be what’s it called?  That always stumped me! How do I know what it’s called, it’s not finished and I’ve not had to think about that yet.  I would be embarrassed and start explaining what it was about, what the overall story involved and some of the characters.  The title?  Do we have titles to our lives?  No.  Why should my characters and their lives have titles?  When I tell a friend a story, something that’s happened to me, does it need a title?

Eventually I gave in and realised that if the title is important to others I needed to make it important to me.  My novels needed titles.  Now when I’m asked I can reply, “The current books I’m editing are ‘Bags’, ‘Holiday Stories’ and ‘Dream Gardener’”. What do people ask you when they find out you write novels? When do you get the title?

My AtoZchallenge posts are about writing, parts of my novels or some research I need to do for them. I’m not allowing myself to write about anything other than topics linked to the books, my books.

Shiny Sunshine #AtoZchallenge

My S post went through a few drafts before I realised that I need Shiny Sunshine!

Possible topics included sunrise/sunset, Solicitor, sensible, seasons, sassy, strictly, sunshine, soundtrack, sketches, stations and shiny.  If I knew how to add sound without breaching copyright I’d have tried to do a soundtrack.  Music is very important when it comes to my novels, although they might not have any mentioned, while writing them I hear music which would fit with the soundtracks when they find their way onto the shiny screen.

Weather, also features though I’m not sure if I ever say what the weather’s up to but I’m very aware of it as I write and the seasons, which bring their different traditions and events, feature heavily in all the novels I’ve drafted so far.  ‘I don’t do descriptions’ is a saying I’ve heard myself repeat and I need to rethink and be more open to adding description where it’s called for.  I’ve added shiny in here as ‘ooh shiny’ is a saying I can relate to.  When I know I should be editing even the cleaning becomes a shiny, more interesting thing to do.

sunset sea

This sketch looks like it was trying to become a sunset (sorry, not my best sketch of my AtoZ’s..).  It’s been a long hibernation this winter, as I write this the sun is shining and the shiny thing to do is head for the sea, particularly since my sketch shows that I’ve forgotten what it looks like!  Hmm.. Have I really not used the seaside as a location in any of my novels yet?  Must do something about that, it will, of course, need research to remind myself what it’s like taking in the suns rays…

If there’s no posts after this one you’ll know where I am..

My AtoZchallenge posts are about writing, parts of my novels or some research I need to do for them.  I’m not allowing myself to write about anything other than topics linked to the books, my books.  The current titles that I’m writing about are ‘Bags’, ‘Holiday stories’ and ‘Dream Gardener’.

Raunchy, Romantic relationships? Don’t get your hopes up.. #AtoZchallenge

Want Raunchy or romance? Better read another writer..
My dream was to write romantic comedy, that would be turned into romcom films, which I’d then watch in the cinema, that I’d hire for the private screening with my girly friends.  Yes, I have a vivid imagination.

Once the first novels were written, I realised there wasn’t much romance in them (see K as I struggle to write love scenes..) and there wasn’t much humour.  Oops.. I’ve since tried not to get hung up on genre and enjoy the writing process after all this is my hobby.  It’s not like I’m trying to make a living out of writing.  Yeah, sure there’s the dream but I know that’s never going to happen so I’ll keep on writing, practicing and maybe work out how to bring a bit more romance in and make if funny…

Raunchy relationships

What I do write is relationships, family relationships and interactions between many different friendships.  Genre?  I’ve no idea these days and will keep going because I have to and want to see how these relationships develop what the characters do when faced with different family situations and where the stories takes me.

Raunchy romantic relationships, I doubt I can offer those, family/friends relationships and resolutions there will be.

My AtoZchallenge posts are about writing, parts of my novels or some research I need to do for them. I’m not allowing myself to write about anything other than topics linked to the books, my books. The current titles that I’m writing about are ‘Bags’, ‘Holiday stories’ and ‘Dream Gardener’.

Quantity vs Quality #AtoZchallenge

How many words?  50k.  You know I used to think that was a novel.  I now know that’s a mini version.  My last draft was 73k and there’s still a few chapters not written.  Where my writing’s concerned I’ve worked out I can write forever.  I have no problem with getting words out with quantity but are they quality?

My lack of grammar and basic understanding of the English language is proving that my quantity of words in my novels are not quality.  There is much still to learn though I do not want to write literature.  I want to write for people like me, someone who likes to pick up a good read and get through it without needing a dictionary, wondering what on earth the authors trying to say, without the floury extravagance or indulgence of knowledge seeped in history and language. See what I tried to do there? I’ll never write quality and I’m aiming for quantity in an easy reading style.

Quality vs Quantity

Some people are critical of writers who have a simpler writing style, they may not be considered classics but quantities of people want to read them and enjoy them.  I’m not expecting quantities of people to read my novels so maybe I’m going for quantity in writing and quality of readers, I want a few who, like me, prefer easy reading family stories to pick up my novels, lose themselves for a few hours, feel refreshed and ready to get on with life.

My AtoZchallenge posts are about writing, parts of my novels or some research I need to do for them. I’m not allowing myself to write about anything other than topics linked to the books, my books. The current titles that I’m writing about are ‘Bags’, ‘Holiday stories’ and ‘Dream Gardener’.