How things have changed since I wrote the first “About”. I have submitted my PhD which includes a novel about a character with early onset dementia and a short thesis on how malignant positioning occurs in fiction about people with dementia as well as in life. I now have a date for my Viva and am excited and terrified as usual.

I’m teaching creative writing in the Edinburgh Adult Education Programme and did a term’s teaching at Newcastle University.

I meet up regularly with other Edinburgh writers and encourage them online when needed. They encourage me as well.

I have two lovely lodgers.

My decluttering is not successful.

I have started to cook again.


Hah! 20000 words? Walk in the park. More like a stagger in the jungle as it turned out. So that opus which got me my MA is on the back burner just now  while I juggle teaching in Edinburgh, commuting to Newcastle University for my PhD in Creative Writing and occasional forays into the Scottish Borders to see the Treasure (my wise and elderly mum) and the Joy (my older sister).

I’m writing a novel and researching possible correlations between communicaton strategies of people with early onset dementia and narrative used by Facebook members. Watch this space.


Here’s the deal. I have to write 20,000 words (polished and  publishable) by 12 August 2010. In fact I want to write 80,000 words because that gives me a full length book. I have already written a synopsis but the plot has been trashed although the concept is apparently marketable. It is quite difficult to write anything in these circumstances as I have lost confidence in the project. I am trying to write separate scenes based on the concept and I’m hoping that in the execution I will get a better idea of a plausible plot. Any helpful comments will be much appreciated along the way!

How do I write a synopsis for a thriller/treasure hunt?

How do I know which bits of the mystery to reveal to whom and when?

How do I keep up the suspense?

How do I balance action with description?

5 thoughts on “About

  1. Ah, such weighty questions…

    * I think that writing a synopsis for a thriller/treasure hunt is the same as writing one for any other genre: it’s about summarising the story in a way that engages the reader i.e present tense, strong verbs, liposuctioning (love that term) every word that doesn’t earn its keep. And making it clear what happens when and to whom.

    * revealing what and when: tricky. The key is, I think, to tease the reader, keep him/her waiting, having a cliffhanger at the end of chapters, so that they’re itching to find out what happens, but starting the following chapter with a different scene, so they have to wait for longer. I use tables so that I can remember who knows what when

    * points above should help address issue of suspense, plus of course there are opportunities for suspense/tension in dialogue non-sequiturs and other forms of subtext

    * balancing action with description: two helpful points I’ve read are: description should be spaced out so that story doesn’t read like a travelogue or advertisement for a holiday resort and the character should interact in some way with his/her surroundings or have some reaction to them e.g what impact on them does the weather have, the discordant noise of a digger, the smell of curry from a nearby Indian restaurant, the lonely street?

    Hope this is helpful.

  2. Pingback: Dementia as a gift? | Creating life with words - Inspiration, love and truth

  3. Pingback: Malignant Positioning and dementia #DAM2015 Day 22 | Creating life with words: Inspiration, love and truth

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