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After a winter break...

Hello February peeps! Above is a pic of me in St John's College, Cambridge... one of my favourite spots...
 
It is nice to see the snowdrops and the early daffodils, knowing Spring is just around the corner. Even if it is a bit windy today! After a Winter break in newsletters, I’m excited to be bringing some terrific writer interviews to you in the next few weeks. Watch this space!
 
In the meantime, I wanted to share with my readers the news that following 'A Christmas Mystery' being set in Oxford, this next Cambridge Murder Mystery is now set very much in the central streets and university life of Cambridge. 

Also, for the first time - with my next Cambridge Murder Mystery - I shall be writing the first, and probably second draft by hand! This is Book 5, so I am breaking with quite a habit of using the laptop. My old laptop even has worn out keys after the years of use.


I wondered if this might be of interest to readers in case it is possible to detect the difference when the final book is finished. I know other writers use a mix of tools to deliver their tomes, scholarly or otherwise. I did wonder just how rare it is to write by hand these days. I have been plotting and planning in notebooks now since just before Christmas, and I must say that I'm really enjoying it.

Above is a pretty notebook bought for me, which I am currently using. 

When I started, I couldn’t resist seeing who else out there uses pen and paper (at least for first drafts). I was quite surprised by just how many shun the computer at an early creative stage. J.K. Rowling, Stephen King, Quentin Tarantino, Kazuo Ishiguro, John Le Carre to name some. British novelist Lee Rourke, another pen user, writes a nice piece about writing by hand in The Guardian. And, best seller James Patterson writes about using pencil and legal pad (link here ) and says how it is nice to be free of gadgets and just being able to steal away.
 
It's early days for me, but some of the benefits I’m told include: no distractions from the internet; worrying about spell checking later thereby allowing more time for creative plotting and writing; being more free to write whatever you like knowing no one else will read it; the ability to ignore word and page count and be truly free not to be beholden to daily targets; improved handwriting, enjoying the tactile process of writing, and finally being able to adopt a more comfortable position while writing, not hunched over a screen.  I will certainly see how it goes... 
I have had some lovely gifts of notebooks and shall be using them to write in. Another couple above. A family member has warned me not to lose them...

The main reason I’m picking up the pen is to protect my eyes. I fear all the staring at the computer screen over the years has not been good for them. I don’t think I’m alone. I understand that a lot of the strain is caused by a reduction in blinking while working on a computer. Apparently, blinking up to a third less than normal, which can dry eyes. So, I hope I blink more when I write with a pen. We shall see! I guess if I have a tip to new writers, it is make sure you are blinking when using a screen. Be aware of it. Blinking is good!
 
So far, plotting out the book, I have been using pencils. But, I've now started to write the first draft on an A4 green coloured lined paper with Hi-Tec Point rollerball pens, as I find there is no required pressure to make a mark. I guess the best way to write is such an individual choice. Whatever works. 
I love this little gadget I bought recently, which wraps around my neck and the light beams on my lap. It means I can write (or draw) anywhere, and am not stuck by a room light.

As for Book 5 of the Cambridge Murder Mysteries, as I mentioned briefly above, Professor Elizabeth Green will be back in Cambridge and her old haunts. And she has the gang back with her. After getting through Christmas without her beloved Gerald, she faces a challenging Winter. Sometimes, life is just too tough. For Elizabeth, things are mounting up. Will her friends and family step in to help? More on Book 5 later this year! 

My next newsletter will have an interview with a writer, and I hope you enjoy when it comes soon.

Wishing you all a great week, and don’t forget to check me out on Instagram - link below - if you’ve found me on Twitter, as I’m starting to spend as much time there and post my photographs of Cambridge regularly. Unlike Twitter, they don't disappear after eight minutes, so can be more easily viewed again and enjoyed.
 
Love,
Charlot x
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If you would like to read archived newsletters with interviews on other writers, actors and artists, please view the archive button top left once you open this newsletter in a browser.
 
Copyright © 2020 Charlot King. Published by Beautiful Day Cambridge Ltd. All rights reserved.

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