The First Rejection


What was your first ever rejection?

I can remember mine perfectly. I won’t say it’s etched into my memory, because that would be a lie. It doesn’t dwell in my mind or my brain. It was cut into the soft, unsuspecting flesh of my heart. When I reach inside for the moment, I feel the jagged ridges of scar tissue beneath my fingers.

“But, I don’t understand… Why would anyone want to read this?” Continue reading


Homecoming Queen – My First Shortlisted Story



After six posts dedicated exclusively to writing advice, I was starting to feel like ‘Lucy Goacher’ had no place in ‘Lucy Goacher’s Blog’ – so I’m reclaiming it. I’ll still be posting my usual weekly/monthly advice guides with Scrabble piece headers, but with extra posts a couple of times a week to document my experiences, accomplishments, and setbacks as an aspiring novelist.

And the first of these, my friends, is an accomplishment!

Amid querying and subbing my mystery novel BEYOND THE CALL OF BEAUTY to agents both in the UK and the US, I had a go at the Mash Stories flash fiction competition. And I got shortlisted! Not bad for someone who sucks at short fiction, eh? Continue reading

Said, Said Quietly, Whispered – Know Your Dialogue Tags

Dialogue Tags

Pick up any novel from your bookshelf and flick through it. What do you see on the pages? Indentations; gaps; short, sharp sentences; one-word responses; speech marks.


Books aren’t just 300 pages of description and storytelling – they’re built on conversation.

A single scene of dialogue between characters can achieve almost anything. It can show us a relationship, reveal some backstory, reinforce the plot, tug at the heartstrings, and even save the day. I said in my previous post on character description that plot is shown through the action taken by the characters – well, that all-important action often comes in the form of dialogue. So don’t mess it up.

There’s plenty to discuss in terms of improving your characters’ dialogue – realism, slang, accent, syntax – but, for a lot of writers and critics, there’s one key issue that can make or break your story: dialogue tags.

So grab your quotation marks, pull up a speech bubble, and let’s do this.

Continue reading