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Jo Emmerson

Jo Emmerson

Happily living in London with my girlfriend & my cat.

Turns out, I am a writer! Working on my 1st novel, with help from this course and fellow learners.

Location london


  • Jo Emmerson made a comment

    Thanks everyone for your encouragement and support, it's been great working alongside all of you brilliant and inspiring people! I've just signed up on where there is a great online writing community, if anyone wants to come say hi and see how my book is coming along/continue sharing your work - best of luck and remember to enjoy!

  • I came across this today - some fantastic, encouraging tips from some of my favourite authors

  • oh, i'm with you there Wendy!

  • Dougie Dudgeon - thanks so much! I wondered if I'd laid it on a bit thick with this story, and your feedback has confirmed that! And you were right - this is (hopefully) part of a longer story, so character description and her background would be developed - but again I wondered how well it would stand up on its own. Your feedback is really helpful, thank you! :)

  • i don't know if what I've submitted will be enough to interest people and make them want to read on. its not really a stand alone story, but part of a bigger story I've been working on. I don't know if, without the background info I have about the character, this is going to read as quite boring. we'll see!

  • before I do the thing we're meant to be doing - was anyone else annoyed that we couldn't actually use the formatting guidance we were given?

  • ooh! exciting! and really sad. I may have to start the course again next week ;)

  • hehe, yeah, not with these two! but I know what you mean, i was looking back at my note book yesterday at a character I'd been describing and realised that I could build them and the scene into a different character/project I'm working on :)

  • love that idea Linda! :)

  • Hi Lois, thanks so much for your feedback! This was just a writing exercise, where the task was initially to write my facebook entry for 2019, and I was just messing about with some ideas - there's no character here, just me putting words on a page - so you are absolutely spot on - I am telling and there's no individual to be having an experience as such!...

  • ooh, I'm done early! so.... I think I'll start looking at my book, working out which scenes I fancy writing in the next few weeks!

  • if something's not working in my writing, I'd always want to know, as long as the reader is being honest and not just rude or malicious with feedback - and that doesn't strike me as your style Eric. We all like to know what works, of course, but in order to get better, we need to know which bits we can, well, get better at!

  • how enthusiastic is 'too enthusiastic' exactly :/ If i love a piece of writing I would say so - is that wrong? I agree with all the other guidance, but that's just a bit weird frankly.

    that said, I look forward to giving and receiving feedback. I love seeing the work other people have poured themselves into, and seeing their imaginations in action, and if I...

  • totally stealing your list, thanks :)

  • i was told to write something that you would want to read, and write with your audience in mind. Even if your audience is just you :)

  • Jo Emmerson made a comment

    i liked this quote, it seemed appropriate:
    "You might not write well every day, but you can always edit a bad page. You can't edit a blank page."― Jodi Picoult

  • I just did that E, and I think it has brought my story to life a bit - it certainly made me realise that there were some things I'd put in which were unnecessary, whilst other explanations were missing. good luck with your edit :)

  • ah, i think i met your characters yesterday! Look forward to reading your story Charly :)

  • soooooooo interesting! I was thinking about some of the books I've enjoyed most and they are usually 1st person. The story I've been working on is a scene from the book I am drafting, and I'd been resisting using 1st person as I have several character's stories to tell - but I have just rewritten my scene in 1st person and it feels so much more engaging. I'm...

  • Charly and Kate, I hope you guys manage to get something down on paper without too much trauma or stress

  • glad it wasn't just me!

  • Jo Emmerson made a comment

    Some stunning imagery in this, and I am definitely drawn to anything in 1st person narrative - I suspect it's because I was too busy looking at the structure and techniques, but I did get a little bit lost when the narrator started talking it being 'as bas as jail' for Violet - my immediate reaction was to puzzle over why it was Violet who was deserving of...

  • I had to get quite stern with myself, and there were a few bits which I really liked which just weren't necessary to the story at this point, so I have saved them to see if I can use them later on :)

  • yep, I will need to re-read bits of the last book I read to see what the author did that was so compelling - there was no way I was going to break the magic to get my red pen out and start analysing once I was engaged in the story, but I would now really love to go back and have another look at a couple of random chapters, armed with this list, and see what I...

  • what a great list! I've copied into my note book, so that I can refer back to it next time i get to read anything :)

  • that is an extreme version of over-editing Charly!

  • I have pretty much finished my piece - needing feedback on whether it works overall before I do any more editing on it. So, because I felt I needed to keep up the habit of writing, I have been playing around with this today, if anyone fancies a quick read!

  • you have created something - that's never worthless. xx

  • if it helps, I had to cut about 600 words from mine, and it is MUCH better for the edit! :)

  • I'm the same Bonnie, but I fear I may have gotten into a nasty habit of giving too much description, having just realised that in 1000 words of my story, nothing actually happens! :/

  • I'm reasonably happy with my story, though I don't know if that's just because I know the bigger plot that it is part of - I don;t know if it will stand up as a piece of work on its own though, I'm hoping i've not fallen into the traps i dislike in other writing!

  • Oh lord, me too. Again, thank goodness for the film. LOTR film trilogy is my all time favourite (had to insist on a visit to Hobbiton during our recent trip to NZ!) My love of the Hobbit firmly cemented,after reading it several times back to back, through playing the game on my ZX Spectrum! :)

  • I was the same with the Book Thief, Bex. Almost didn't bother with it, but I was so glad I did!

  • I loved Curious Incident too Kenneth. If you get a chance to see the stage production I would recommend it very highly.

  • I so wanted to be love the Game Of Thrones books, but the cast of a million characters was one of the things that put me off - thank heavens for the TV series!

  • big fan of Neil Gaiman :)

  • Loving this exercise - so many books I now want to read. Diana Gabaldon is added to my growing list :)

  • yes, yes, 1 million times yes. And he is (was) so clever at weaving in cultural, religious and philosophical references without bashing the reader over the head with them. And funny too. Very sadly missed. Did you read the Long Earth series?

  • Didn't love: 'The Paper Magician' by Charlie N. Holmberg. (SPOILER ALERT)
    On the face of it, this sounded like my kind of book - people with interesting magical gifts, set in London, sure, why not! However, I felt that the main character was unlikable. She was a spoilt brat with a chip on her shoulder. There was a cringeworthy romance shoehorned in as though...

  • Liked: 'Fool's Assassin (Fitz and the Fool, Book 1).
    I love Robin Hobb as an author, and this is the first book in a new trilogy by her - it felt like going home, and I was instantly transported back into the world she had created for her lead character, Fitz. Hobb uses a first person narrative, telling the story alternatively from the point of view of Fitz...

  • I am suitably inspired to try the Murakami book, thanks Peter :)

  • I am going to struggle a bit with this, because as a rule, I don't read books that I don't enjoy! If I'm not gripped after the first 20-30 pages, I will put it down and walk away, because life is just too short.

    However, I have LOTS of books I'll happily review that I have loved!

    I suppose I'll have to find one of those I put down and go back, have a...

  • just cut over 600 words using these tips and now have a less 'waffly' story!

  • Interesting! I'd been almost avoiding reading at the minutes because I don't want to accidentally plagiarise anything! And I'm still not great at reading as a writer - I get too absorbed in books to have time to stop and wonder how the author created a character or set a scene etc.

    I think one thing I will do thought is to try some new genres. Fantasy...

  • Ah, yes. I do know why she's like she is. She's still pretty terrifying though!

  • Nice! It would be easy to slide into 'geek scientist' stereotypes I guess, sounds like you've made him.a good rounded character!

  • copied and pasted into my notes - I'm a horror for this, so thank for the tips!

  • I have three possible characters each from completely different stories. hmmm. its like picking your favourite child. i'm going to be in trouble with the other two if I don't give them the same treatment. I see my blog getting some updates next week!

  • Yeah, as I was asking her the questions about who she was, there was a complete lack of empathy. She had no friends or loved ones. She had raised a son who has been killed, and her only focus is now on punishing g the person who took something that belonged to her. It's a bit scary!

  • Yeah, I can see it coming - I'm going to have to find a local writing club I think - it's been (and still is, not over yet!) so lovely having all the support and conversation with everyone on here :)

  • Hmmm. I thought I'd got this sorted, that I was going to use the character I developed this week - but she has gone all shy, and in the mean time, a character from my novel has resurfaced after being silent for a month, and now I'm working on a scene with her, but it is a scene I had already started writing, so now I need to add these elements in to it!

  • mine is around her having the feeling of absolute control and total disdain for everyone around her, but having had a taste of unconditional love - and having had that ripped away from her - she finds herself craving that comfort and closeness. Is she too stuck in her habits and attitudes to be able to make a basic human connection?

  • I have come to realise that my character is basically a psychopath. I found out what her dilemma is though, and had a vague idea of *what* she was, but couldn't see how to make a story work for her - until I asked her about her son, and now we have it, I have a rough idea of where she is from and what her story is. Thank goodness for that, because I do NOT...

  • * Can you find examples of the characters’ interpersonal/cultural aspects?
    they grew up together, she was the 'forbidden fruit' of his childhood, and now as an adult, he thinks maybe she was the 'one that got away'
    'i carried you like a cannon ball inside'
    interesting that they kiss, without the actual kiss ever being mentioned, just the build up and the...

  • A bit jumbled I'm afraid, I'm jotting this down as I read!

    * Does he use any of the methods described by Novakovich – in combination or on their own?
    * Can you find examples of the characters’ physical/biological aspects?
    'healthy' 'blood flowed back into his finger tips' - the sense of his fingers hovering over the name in the printed phone book, they...

  • Hehe! Glad you enjoyed Betty!

  • I'm not a big fan of the summary technique, feel like it leaves too much of a gap between me and the character, both as a reader and a writer.

    ** just had to go back and have a look at some of my writing to see if I made that last comment up!***

    I think it will be interesting this week to have a play about with different ways of interacting with and...

  • I love this kind of exercise, and use these kinds of lists a lot when working with my characters - I've been putting together one for the character I developed on a previous assignment on here, and have started to include 'what if' questions as I'm working through the list. It's made for some interesting discoveries. I also realised that I dont know much about...

  • yes, me too!

  • If it helps at all - when I use one of these lists, it's not to create a brand new character, there's no way I could do that! It's usually someone i've already been thinking about, and probably someone i've written about a little bit, so I have gotten to know them a bit first, then i will start asking them some of these questions, and see how their responses...

  • oh fantastic! I just finished my psych degree with the OU, so you have my sympathy and respect. It's not an easy way to study, and transcription is a pain! good luck with it :)

  • you don't have to use all the questions- and some are the same asked in a different way - but some might be useful to help get under a character's skin :)

  • I'm glad you like it! pick and choose which bits might be of use, there's no rule that says you have to answer every question for every character :)

  • glad to hear it Erica xx

  • yes! (i HATED Frankenstein!) I read Ursule Le Guin at school, had forgotten all about her, thank you :)

    and Jean Ure too!