Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

My Book News & Advocate for the Writing Community ©

Author Toolbox Blog Hop – Creating A Writing Session

July 16, 2020

Nano Blog and Social Media Hop2

We all want the time and space to write more. Life gets in the way a lot of the time, but if you make some ‘writing’ time within our normal life, it can be done.

person writing on notebook

Photo by Julia M Cameron on

Firstly, it seems obvious but set a goal for your writing session. Do you know what your objective is? Are you brainstorming, creating a character description, outlining a plot, starting a new project or completing one?

Secondly, prepare for what you will be writing, do your homework for locations, period etc. Brainstorm ideas before you start, make notes. Create a inspiration list and find images for your story’s setting and characters. Make up a board, either physical or digital that you can have in front of you as you write.

TIP: Don’t be too ridge, let the story flow – it doesn’t always go to plan! But that’s the joy of writing.

 Thirdly, gauge how committed you are to this piece of writing? Are you excited to start or is it feeling like a chore? If the latter, try something new or another project.

TIP: Use word or picture prompts to ignite your Muse to get you started and in a writing mood.

Also make sure you are in a good writing spot. Have you minimized distractions? Do you need quiet or music, a cafe or library setting. Or is your home space best for you or will there be too many interruptions?

Decide on how long you will write for. Don’t make the session too long or it will dampen your enthusiasm. Ensure you have breaks for refreshments, to stretch or even go for a walk.

Once you have these elements in place check your clock and set the timer. Don’t look at it constantly – just write. Lose yourself in the narrative. Enjoy the process. Don’t edit as you write – let the process flow. Let your imagination expand.

TIP: Don’t edit or revise – just write.

I like to sit in my living room with my laptop on a little table – in the warmer months, I can look out at the lawn and watch the birds & bunnies and in the cold months, I enjoy the fireplace. When we go on road trips, I usually sit at the desk or on the bed with my little table.

 Where is your ‘go to’ writing spot?

What are you working on currently?

Good Writing and Story Structure in TV programs…

May 2, 2014


We all have our favorite TV series, whether current or past but what makes them appeal to us? The writing has to be excellent with a strong plot line and characters we can love. I admit I’m behind the times in watching Breaking Bad (my main evening pursuit is writing!) but I was persuaded to watch one episode and got hooked. Rather than empathizing with Skylar, the mother figure, protecting her children, I really loved Walt and disliked the wife. This seems to be a common feeling among the audience and one that surprised the writer and producer.

See this link for interesting facts about the series:

When I thought about Walt, I remembered that I loved J.R. Ewing not the sappy Bobby! Do we love a villain above a goody two shoes? Obviously, the style and writing of these two programs is vastly different but both had bad boys that were the main characters. An alternative is Dr. Who, always the hero of the story, no matter how he is portrayed in his numerous guises.


Writers have come and gone in many long running series, but keep to the main characteristics (most of the time!) so we continue to love our favorite characters. We become engaged in their ‘lives’ and miss them, as if they were real when the series ends or is discontinued. Take for example my impatience to watch the last season of Dexter. I know it is the final one but I miss the character a lot.

Another series I found was Weeds, which is, to my mind, a tongue in cheek story line. It is obviously unrealistic as drug runners are not as accomodating as the one’s encountered during Nancy’s naive pot supplying antics. It leaves many questions unanswered in why a surburb housewife would be able to do what Nancy does and for the most part get away with it. If you view the episodes light-heartedly and as a piece of fun then it is enjoyable.

Which TV series do you find compelling – past or current?

What makes them your favorite?

Fun Day Prompt:

Write a scene using your favorite character from a series you love or loved.





Pernoctation Sufferers Unite…

November 6, 2013

Pernoctation – definition: insomnia


Let’s have a show of hands, who’s not sleeping now we are into NaNo? Are the ideas coming thick and fast making sleep impossible? Or have they stalled, again making sleep difficult?

It is bizarre how both situations result in the same problem – sleeplessness. Let’s take them one at a time. Our mind becomes crowded with characters, plot lines and new stories often, it is a writer’s curse or blessing, depending on how you view it and at what time. Imagine you are just falling asleep and a story idea pops into your head. It is your best conception yet. You now have a choice – go to sleep hoping you remember it the next morning or you get up and write it down, knowing in your heart of hearts it will evaporate during the night.

The second situation is much more troubling. You have begun a narrative and it is flowing really well. You feel happy in its direction. Then suddenly you hit a stumbling block. These emerge in numerous ways, such as the character is not true to themselves, the plot crumbles, the perceived direction and outcome twist into something you are unsure of. What is the cure for this most dire condition? Actually, it could be a good night’s sleep – if you can stop your mind from worrying about the story.

We need to have the ability to shut off and relax. Our sub conscious can overcome the problem much better than our conscious mind, which is polluted with constant ‘what if’ and ‘maybe’ questions. Take a long hot bath or go for a walk or read a book in a different genre. Turn off the worry in whatever way you can. Step back and let the story mend itself in your mind.

I sympathize with insomnia sufferers because I have been there on many occasions for various reasons. Use your awake time constructively if you can. I wish you all a good day and a good night.

Do you have a cure or trick to get to sleep?

Do You Supersede One Story for Another..?

July 9, 2013

Supersede – definition: 1) to be set aside ; replace 2) to take the place of in a position of power, authority

images (4)

It is a writers bane to have numerous ideas clamoring inside our heads. Scribbled notes, outlines and partial stories populate our space, whether in our minds or a physical ‘filing’ system of some sort. These ideas tend to reveal themselves when we are in the midst of another project. Why is that? If we are lucky we can jot down the details and carry on but sometimes the new idea will not take second place.

We then have to make the decision whether the new idea should supersede the current work in progress or find a way to ‘ignore’ it’s incessant chatter. Sometimes after writing a simple story arc we are left in peace. However, other times no matter how much we try to disregard the formulating idea it wears us down.

This  phenomenon is not confined to new ideas, however. How many of you have been ‘reminded’ of an older project out of the blue? The project may have been set aside for a number of reasons and quite suddenly the answer to the problem becomes clear. A plot line reveals itself or a character is perfectly defined. With renewed enthusiasm  we return, excited to have found the answer after what can be weeks or even months.

Can you share an instance you experienced?

Blog at