I am beginning to redraft my novel which is due to be handed in as part of my MA in September. I feel so fortunate this time around because with Widows’ Row I was on my own for the writing part, and now I have an amazing critique group and some great advice from my tutors. It is very helpful to have professional readers to reflect back what they hear in my story, kind of like having therapy for my novel. Last week I had an appointment with local playwright, Damian Gorman, who is currently writer in residence at the MAC. We went through a piece from my story that was giving me problems and I tried to explain what I thought the problem was; ‘It’s just… boring. It’s too… Is it too preachy?’ He replied, ‘Yes. It’s like a bad Thought For The Day.’

The best therapists will tell it like it is!

Damian’s advice was pretty simple- don’t forget about the story. Tell the story. Let the story out. That probably seems obvious to a lot of people but it’s the thing I find most difficult to do as I get carried away with what I want to say and what I want people to hear. I end up forgetting the most important thing- the story.

Today I went for a walk in Tollymore again. I can’t tell you the smell of it but, if you go, don’t go on a very sunny day. Go when it’s been raining a bit, or maybe when it’s still raining a fine mist as you walk. It’s so beautiful. I took the red path and then, as I always do, I got a bit lost because I veered off it a bit. This is the forest, the story of the forest;


And then I came across this; words carved into a huge stone:


And I thought, ‘You had me at STOP.’


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