Friday 30 April 2021

Another Guide To Ruth: A Happy Draft

 Another Guide To Ruth

I've been attempting to write the third instalment in the Beginner's Guide series for a long time. I'd written five whole drafts previously, but I was never happy with them and I'd stopped working on the book while I concentrated on writing other books. And then, a few weeks ago, I was inspired to give it another go.

A Beginner's Guide, Book 3

I'd been working on the paperback of the first in the series, A Beginner's Guide To Salad, and revisiting the characters made me want to get that third book right and continue with Ruth's story. So I started thinking about her and her friends and trying to work out why I wasn't happy with all those drafts and I realised it was because it felt forced. I was shoehorning stories in to fit the theme, changing the POV when it didn't and shoehorning those characters in to fit it instead. And it just wasn't working. But what if I changed the theme? Tweaked it a bit?

I went back to the very beginning and replotted the book with the new theme in mind. And it worked! It no longer felt forced. It felt natural, as though this is where the characters were supposed to be. And so I started Draft Six.

I've loved catching up with Ruth and her friends and finding out where they are now and what they're up to, and I'm so pleased with the draft I've just finished. Draft Six is The One. It isn't publishable - far from it - but it is the draft I'll be working on from now on. I won't be ditching it and starting again. This is it and I can't describe how relieved I am to finally have a draft I'm happy with after all this time.

I'll be diving straight back in to edit the book next week as I don't want to lose the momentum I've built up. I don't want to lose it and end up blogging about Draft Nineteen a few more years down the line...

Friday 23 April 2021

A Quick Catch Up

It's been a couple of months since we've had a catch up. I'd love to hear what you've been up to - do let us know in the comments! Here's what I've been up to over the past few weeks...

What Have You Been Working On?

I've been busy working on three different writing projects:

1. I released the paperback of A Beginner's Guide To Salad
2. I finished the second draft of Book 12
3. I re-plotted the third book in the Beginner's Guide series and started Draft 6 (!)

I'm really happy with Draft 6 of the Beginner's Guide Book 3 (thankfully!) and I'm inching towards The End.

A Beginner's Guide Book 3

What Are You Reading?

I've read some brilliant books over the past few weeks:

If You Could See Me Now by Keris Stainton, The Escape by Clare Harvey, The Family Holiday by Elizabeth Noble & Perfect Ten by Jacqueline Ward

If You Could See Me Now by Keris Stainton
The Escape by Clare Harvey
The Family Holiday by Elizabeth Noble
Perfect Ten by Jacqueline Ward
Would Like To Meet by Rachel Winters

The Ice Cream Girls and All My Lies Are True by Dorothy Koomson, Would Like To Meet by Rachel Winters and The Glittering Hour by Iona Grey

I read and loved The Ice Cream Girls a few years ago, and I wanted to re-read it before I read the follow-up, All My Lies Are True.

I'm currently reading The Glittering Hour by Iona Grey.

What Have You Been Watching?

Like millions of others, I've been watching Line of Duty, and I'm desperate to know what happened at the end of last week's episode! I also gobbled up Behind Her Eyes on Netflix, which I'd been looking forward to after LOVING the book.

I've also been watching the new BBC gameshow, I Can See Your Voice, which I thought would be absolute trash from the trailer but... I like it. It's fun, and we need a lot more fun in our lives right now.

I've also welcomed the return of Call The Midwife and The Great British Sewing Bee with open arms, and I've been catching up on some dramas I recorded recently: Finding Alice, McDonald & Dodds, Too Close, and had my heart broken by It's a Sin.

What have you been Instagramming?

Instagram Grid

Books, birthdays, tea, gardening stuff and Luna.

You can find me on Instagram here

So that's what I've been up to lately, but what about you? What have you been reading or watching? And have you had your Covid jab? (I haven't yet, but fingers crossed it won't be too much longer)

Friday 16 April 2021

Another Guide To Ruth: Five POVs


Another Guide To Ruth: POVs

I'm writing the sixth draft of the third instalment of the Beginner's Guide series, and things are - finally - going well in a way that the previous drafts never did.

My Beginner's Guide books have three points-of-view: in A Beginner's Guide To Salad we had Ruth, Billy and Jared's POV, and in A Beginner's Guide To Saying I Do we had Ruth, Trina and Erin's POVs. I knew I was going to go with Ruth's POV again for Book 3 (how could I not?) but the other two presented a problem.

Over the five previous drafts, I wrote the book with the POVs of:


But it didn't feel right, and sometimes it even felt forced, like I was shoehorning characters into storylines to fit the theme. I didn't want to give up on the book, but it wasn't working. The book had been put aside for a long time, but I gave it another shot, and this time I seem to have hit on the right combination of POV with the right storylines and I'm now over halfway through Draft Six.

And which combo of POV did I go with?


Ruth, Quinn and Richard

I'll be honest, I was surprised by the Richard POV, but I'm loving writing his sections, mainly because we get to see more of his dad, Kelvin. If you've read the Beginner's Guide books, you'll know Kelvin isn't the most pleasant of men (he's horrible, in fact) but that makes him a lot of fun to write. I may have taken it too far though, because I found myself writing another scene with him wearing just his underpants. Sorry, I don't know what's wrong with me.

Friday 9 April 2021

Another Guide To Ruth

Another Guide To Ruth

There was always supposed to be a third instalment in the Beginner's Guide series; I'd even written the first draft of the book by the time A Beginner's Guide To Saying I Do was published. But I wasn't happy with the draft. I wasn't happy with the next one, or the one after that. And by the time I'd pushed Draft Five aside, I was thoroughly fed up. I knew Ruth's story wasn't finished yet, but I couldn't seem to get it right.

There were other books published during this time. Four of them, in fact. But I kept thinking about Ruth and the next stage of her life. And when I started working on the paperback of the first book, A Beginner's Guide To Salad, a few months ago, it reignited the need to explore Ruth's story.

A Beginner's Guide To Salad paperbacks

There was something in those five drafts, so I started to pick through them, taking out the bits I was happy with, and even the bits I wasn't quite sure about but could tinker with. And I started to re-plot the book. There's always three POV in the full-length Beginner's Guide books, and I'd tried several combinations over the five drafts. But this time, during the re-plotting, I shifted the theme a little bit and something clicked. The three POV I'd been looking for were there. I'd already tried one of them before, but their story had felt forced, shoe-horned in to fit the theme. But now it was perfect!

A Beginner's Guide Book 3

The book has been re-plotted and I'm about halfway through Draft Six. And I'm loving being back in Ruth's world. I've known Ruth since 2013 so it really is like being reunited with an old friend. Draft Six won't be the final draft, but it will be the draft that I move forward with and work on until the book is ready to be published.