How To Write A Novel in 37 Easy Steps*

  1. Announce to the world that you are going to Write A Book.
  2. Think of a title.
  3. Do nothing for approximately seven years.
  4. Move to Orlando, Florida and spend eighteen months working in Disneyworld.
  5. Write a book about it.
  6. Find an agent who is interested in said Disney book but cannot represent you on the strength of it due to there being only about 23 people in the whole world who’d be interested in reading it and even less in buying it.
  7. Tell agent you are already writing a novel. This is a big fat lie.
  8. Spend a few Saturday afternoons scribbling down some ideas.
  9. Write three chapters and a plot synopsis really, really quickly and before you can edit them, run to the post office (literally, run) and send them to the agent.
  10. Decide you can’t write the novel because your soul-destroying job is slowly but surely sucking all the life force out of your blackening soul and if you don’t do something about it soon your heart will be a empty abyss of abandoned dreams, bitterness and contempt. Continue reading

Happy Birthday Buzz

Today is Buzz Aldrin’s birthday.

If you don’t know who Buzz Aldrin is, well…[Catherine tries to resist the urge to tell you to leave her site and close the door after you, thanks] Okay. I’ll be nice: he’s the second guy to walk on the Moon. In July 1969 he and Neil Armstrong flew their Lunar Module Eagle the sixty nautical miles to the surface of the Moon and then Buzz waited while Neil got out and took that historic first step.

NASA Astronaut Buzz Aldrin on the Moon, July 1969. Image courtesy of NASA.

Continue reading

Apparently I Have Won Something

It was just your average Friday night in the Howard household. After a long day of edits I was splayed on the sofa semi-comatose waiting to see who would be the latest Z-lister to get kicked out of the Celebrity Big Brother house when I heard a strange vibration: my iPhone telling me I had new mail.

As soon as I saw the subject heading – ‘You’re the Adventure Category Winner …’ I knew what this was: the first bit of tangible proof that I could do this thing, that I could actually write. Only six months after starting to take this thing VERY SERIOUSLY I have something to put on my Writer CV.

Let me explain. People have always commented on my writing abilities – English teachers, employers, aunts who get me to write complaint letters to restaurants after they’ve had a bad experience – but what does that mean? Nothing, in short. I can’t very well send an agent a letter saying, ‘My aunt and my English teacher says I have a way with words and so I’m submitting my novel Deluded like a Reality TV Star for your consideration…’ In school I enjoyed some success as a student journalist, but that newspaper basically printed everything they were sent, and I got to go to Paris for a European Youth Press conference because I sent in a lot of stuff and they printed them all. I’ve been back and forth with an agent for a couple of years now and some of the feedback she’s given me has kept me going through my darkest, doubt-filled nights, but I don’t have a book deal. Continue reading

Read the First Chapter of Mousetrapped

Read the first chapter of my book Mousetrapped: A Year and A Bit in Orlando, Florida, available for your reading pleasure (or pain – we’ll see) in March 2010.

Roy, Minnie and me on Main Street, USA


Read the first chapter of Mousetrapped