Tag: wyl menmuir

Continually learning…

Occasionally I’m lucky enough to have the time to dive into a quick little writing refresher course. Not only are these a great opportunity to find out how different writers approach writing, but you inevitably pick up a few tricks or techniques from each individual giving the course, and often from your fellow attendees.

Since I completed my MA, I’ve had the privilege of attending courses by Wyl Menmuir and Francesco Dimitri for Novel Writing  – because I love the way they both write. Jane Pugh for playwriting, and John Yorke (twice) for scriptwriting – because he is the king of structure especially if you are writing for TV.

My latest course is with independent publisher Indie Novella, overseen by author Damien Mosley (The Bookseller Rising Star 2023) and Literary Agent Laetitia Rutherford from Watson Little. And I’m using the course as I’ve done in the past to flush out an idea that may or may not turn out to be a novel or film. In this case, I’m working on a crime drama called The Lost Van Gogh, which is a bit like a heist movie, but so much more. Anyway, taking part in the course has freed me up to go to town with my protagonist – for which I was rewarded with some fab feedback from Indie Novella Editor Gina Adams

Your character has a unique way of expressing herself, with a very distinct style to the way you have written her, Sam. We get an immediate sense of what she is like, and also how she is likely to appear to other people. I really like the idea that your character identifies the waitress as odd, whilst she has a reaction verging on sexual to the food she has been given! We can really imagine the dynamic between the character and the waitress here as if we are sitting at a table nearby watching it unfold…

I’m not sure I meant to divulge my love of food so blatantly, but reading it back I can see how – delicately teased with whipped ricotta, burnt butter, and smoked almonds – which was gorgeous enough to successfully soothe my broken ego – could be read as slightly erotic, whoops!

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Is it just me?

It’s been a great summer. The weather has been amazing. I’ve been sea swimming more than any other year and I’ve caught up with loads of friends we haven’t since pre-lockdown days. I am feeling a tad guilty though, as it seems as soon as the good weather starts all motivation for editing my current novel or finishing the two scripts which lie dormant on my laptop, stops.

I just can’t write when the sun’s out!

To justify this I read, lounge in the sun and feast on at least a book a week – sometimes more!
I’m feeling bloated with mixed genres after swallowing whole This Time Tomorrow by Emma Straub: The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Deesha Philyaw: Baltimore Boys by Joël Dicker and Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens (pre-film thank god!)

I gorged on Bex Hogan’s YA trilogy Viper, Venom and Vulture, one after the other like I was at a medieval banquet, then fantasised about jam and cream from the Orchard Tea Rooms as I fittingly read The Great Lover by Jill Dawson, while housekeeping in Cambridge.

Now back home in the South West, I’ve immersed myself in Wyl Menmuir’s fantastic The Draw of the Sea. And find I’ve ordered a fresh batch of recommendations to further feed my non-writing habit…
Golden Hill by Francis Spufford: The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan: Cloud Street by Tim Winton and The Miniaturist
by Jessie Burton.

I shouldn’t say it,  but I hope it rains soon!


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In Dark Places – the launch

Unfortunately, I was in Yorkshire and couldn’t attend the launch of the book I have recently project managed with Wyl Menmuir. The fireside event to publicise its release was hosted at the South West Outdoor Festival on September 9th. Reasonably well attended, the launch was a success and some of my team published a great write up of their weekend…

…A small group of students and tutors from Falmouth University headed for the rocky hills of Cheddar Gorge, to the South West Outdoor Festival, for the final push of a year-long publishing project in collaboration with Wyl Menmuir and The National Trust.

Our first task was setting up the banner for the book launch. A few giggles escaped our puzzled faces as we battled the raging wind, which threatened the stability of our tent. It took us a while, but with patience and strategically tied ropes, we finally secured the banner in place. Job done for the night, we snuggled up in our sleeping bags ready for the launch the following day.

After coffee and breakfast, and we were on the move, taking turns manning the book tent, spreading the word about our fireside ghost story reading that night, and worrying whether the rain would ruin our lovely evening or not. But the weather kept with us, and not long after seven, the fireside was packed.
Against a beautiful display of the sun seeping into the hills, Wyl read out an excerpt from  In Dark Places. Adults and children alike were drawn in by his lively reading, and the story came to life before our eyes, animating the flames.

by Holly Cara Farr and Adriana Ciontea


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