Paula Writes

Paula Puddephatt – Author

Distorted Perceptions: My Novel — November 11, 2019

Distorted Perceptions: My Novel


I’m currently revising my WIP, Distorted Perceptions – so time to start discussing the forthcoming novel.

Distorted Perceptions, in its original form, was a novel which I began at the age of eighteen. I wrote it, on and off, in extremely difficult circumstances, until finally forced to give up, when I became severely depressed, at twenty-six. I’d almost completed my first draft, at the time.

For many subsequent years, I worked on other writing projects, and was prolific as a poet, but Distorted Perceptions has never left my heart.

I started to write it again in recent years, but from scratch, since I could only find parts of the original synopsis, which had pages missing, and none of my previous manuscripts or notes. Anything that is worded as it was before, would literally have to be some part of the novel that I remembered, having read it over so many times. The opening paragraph is, I believe, close to the original.

I retained most of the original plot, although for many parts, had to go by memory alone for the details. I changed a few aspects, which in itself, presented issues. Still more alterations occurred, as I wrote – some of which were major. I did try to stay as true as I could to what I felt, in my heart, my eighteen- to twenty-six-year-old self would have intended, since I do see it as her story, first and foremost. However, the ending changed drastically.

There are strong autobiographical elements, but it is by no means an autobiography or memoir, and should not be read as such. However, I have used the novel as therapy, and it has helped me to work through many of the painful events in my own life.

The novel doesn’t fit neatly into any genre or category. This is perhaps appropriate, as I have never fitted in, either. Coming soon – my novel, Distorted Perceptions.

The story is dedicated to all who have believed in and supported me. You know who you are.

Writing Projects – and a Lack of Blog Posts — October 2, 2019

Writing Projects – and a Lack of Blog Posts


So, what’s happening with the Paula Writes blog?


Why the lack of recent posts?

The answer is: various reasons. I’m struggling with some extremely stressful issues, in my life outside writing.

With regard to writing, I’m at the revision stage with my novel, Distorted Perceptions. More on this, in due course.

I’ve self-published some short writing craft books: Links below. All Ebooks are free, and print books are £3.00 each.

I had problems with my Instagram app, but it seems to be resolved – touch wood. But I have been finding it difficult to keep up with posting on social media in general – and yes, I’ve also been blogging considerably less.

Hopefully, I’ll find more time and energy for both blogging and social media, in the future. There’s only so much I can do, however – especially with ongoing health issues.

Paula Writes is still very much alive, but posts will probably not be as frequent as they used to be.


Creating Believable Characters – Paperback

Creating Believable Characters – Paperback, alternative version

Creating Believable Characters – Ebook on Lulu

Creating Believable Characters – Ebook on Obooko

Settings and Atmosphere – Ebook on Lulu

Settings and Atmosphere in Your Fiction – Ebook on Obooko


If you enjoy my writing craft posts, did you catch my most recent, about themes in fiction?


Check out Colourful Darkness, my recent poetry Ebook, which is a free download.

Please also note that Creating Believable Characters is now available in paperback on Amazon.

Why Your Story’s Theme Matters — August 16, 2019

Why Your Story’s Theme Matters


Your story’s theme is not the same as its plot.

Theme is the deeper meaning, the underlying message, behind your story, and much more Universal.

In three of Jane Austen’s novels, the themes are right there in the titles: “Pride and Prejudice”, “Persuasion”, and “Sense and Sensibility”.

When attempting to define your own themes, think in terms of a phrase, or sentence. Maybe two sentences, but rarely more.

Theme isn’t reserved for Literary Fiction, or any particular genre.

Ideally, theme should be identifiable in any story we create.

Sometimes, our own themes will be obvious to us, but at other times, not at all. We tend to bury the deeper meaning, and may find it difficult to pinpoint.

Whilst it’s possible to tell a great story without specifically considering the theme, it does help to know the intentions, reason, and purpose, behind what we’re doing, as writers.

What compels us to complete a particular novel? What, ultimately, are we hoping to achieve through our works in progress?

Theme is essential, because it’s what makes your work special. Unique.

A plot is a series of connected events.

Characters are of central importance, because they are the people aspect, and the particular people experiencing the events in question.

But, to tie the whole together, there’s going to be a why.

Why should readers be following these specific people, as they go through these specific life events?

What can the reader expect to gain from reading your work?

What will they learn, on an emotional, or even spiritual, level, that can be applied beyond the limited scope of the story world?


These are some brief thoughts, on the subject of theme in stories. Hopefully, this will help you, as you begin to consider and explore your own themes.


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People Watching as a Fiction Writer — July 13, 2019

People Watching as a Fiction Writer


In a recent post, I discussed the subject of basing characters on real people.

In general, I wouldn’t suggest basing your characters entirely upon people you know in real life. However, being inspired by actual people, and incorporating some of their personality traits into your characters, is fine.

If done well, this can make your fictional people significantly more believable and interesting.

But here’s the thing: Strangers can provide as much, or more, inspiration, than people you know.

People watching: It can help.

As long as you manage to people watch without appearing to be some sort of crazy stalker, that is.

The fact that you don’t know someone forces you to invent almost everything behind what you see on the surface.

But a snippet of conversation, or an interesting personality trait of any kind, can provide the spark your imagination requires.

And that’s what, as writers, we’re always searching for: sparks. These are the added ingredients that can elevate an okay character to a good character – or, better still, a good character to a great one.


So, stay alert. People watch to your heart’s content.

And hopefully, you will find some ideas that will assist you, as you develop your characters, and create more characters, in the future.


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Recommended Writing Blogs: Personal Favourites — June 19, 2019

Recommended Writing Blogs: Personal Favourites


This post is intended to be a resource for writers out there, looking for advice on writing craft, publishing, author platforms, inspiration and motivation, and any other aspects of being a writer.

Paula Writes is one site that covers writing related topics, but it’s important to find as many great sources of information and guidance as possible, to help you on your writing journey.

I am able to personally recommend all of the following sites. I will update this post, on an ongoing basis.


The Creative Penn


Standout Books


Mixtus Media


Just Writerly Things


Write Good Books


Joanne Writes Books


Abbie Emmons


Emalie Jacobs


A Well Told Story




Helping Writers Become Authors


Online Writing Tips



I would suggest saving this post to favourites, or to one of your Pinterest boards, for future reference, as I will add more sites to the list, over time.

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Characters and the Role of Pets — May 22, 2019

Characters and the Role of Pets


Does your MC have any pets?

How about your other characters, starting with major characters? If not, why not? And did they ever have pets?

And let’s be as specific as possible.

Two dogs, yes. But try two Labradors. Okay, one Black Labrador, and one Chocolate. Names?

Dog people. Cat people. Someone with a house full of parrots. The fact is that animals are important in many of our lives.

A pet can even become, effectively, another character.

At any rate, the relationships between our fictional people and their pets can speak volumes. It can help from a character development point of view.

If your MC has a pet rabbit and you yourself never have, research pet rabbits, as if you were planning to buy one yourself.

It might not seem necessary, if the rabbit doesn’t actually play a significant role in your story, but knowing such details about aspects of the character’s daily life does matter.

The more effort you put into these areas, the more you will ultimately connect, and come to understand, your protagonist, and other main (and even minor) characters.

In conclusion then, do take the time to consider pets.

This seemingly small tip is one that can actually make a significant different, if you’ve created characters, but they feel somewhat distant, or like cardboard cut-out archetypes.

Pets can give characters the edge, and transform them from names, ages, and traits, into actual people: people readers can believe in, and care about.

Basing Characters on Real People: Okay or Not? — May 21, 2019

Basing Characters on Real People: Okay or Not?


Characters need to feel like real people. They need to be believable and relatable.

But feeling like a real person, and actually being based upon somebody real, are not the same thing.

Even if we don’t consciously set out to base our characters on actual people, it tends to happen that they contain elements of ourselves, and of others we know. Ideas must arise from somewhere, after all.

Sometimes, the sources are more obvious to us than they might be on other occasions. I personally feel that there are elements of myself in each of my characters. But, of course, elements of other people do find themselves into some of the characters, also.

When it comes to including other people, who really exist, in your fiction, you obviously have to be careful about libel, and ethical issues. But these aren’t the only potential hazards.

In truth, real people don’t tend to make great characters, for a few reasons.

We don’t, and can’t, thoroughly know people in real life, however close, and therefore, can’t entirely understand their motives. For this reason alone, we can’t effectively use real people in fiction, and would probably end up resorting to invention, to some degree.

The ideal solution is generally to mix it up.

Some of our own traits can blend with others from people we know, and then we can add a few more elements, from pure imagination. You know how things blur together in dreams? Reality and fiction intertwine, and the result can potentially be fascinating.


I wouldn’t, in conclusion, recommend basing any character, in all aspects, on one specific real person, in a work of fiction.

And I certainly don’t suggest doing what I used to, in some of my childhood stories: making a character name start with the same initial letter as the person the character is modelled upon – or using another name you strongly associate with the person, such as a middle name. Not good. For tips on choosing character names, take a look at my post on that subject.

Sometimes, incidentally, strangers can prove more inspirational than people we actually know. I suggest reading my post about the benefits of people watching for writers, in which I talk about exactly this.


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Blogging and Social Media: Why I’m Disillusioned — May 18, 2019

Blogging and Social Media: Why I’m Disillusioned


Before I discuss the problems I’m experiencing with blogging and social media, it’s important to mention that I’m also going through much more serious health and life problems, and have been at rock bottom.

This makes anything else that much more difficult to deal with, including the issues with my blog and social media – in particular, a technical issue relating to Pinterest.

I’ve had this blog since July 2017, and have a very small, but appreciative, following.

With a few notable exceptions, my family and friends are extremely unsupportive, when it comes to my writing. They don’t support my blog, or what I do on social media. It’s hurtful, but it is what it is.

But it does mean that I’m almost entirely reliant upon building an audience online. When I finally release my WIP and other books – here’s hoping – I certainly can’t rely upon any of the usual “guaranteed sales”. You know the jokes about only selling to your mum, nan, and brother? In my case, definitely laughable.

Still, other writers, in the history of time, have succeeded without support, and I’m determined to keep going, anyway. I believe in what I’m trying to achieve, through my various writing projects, and won’t give up that easily.

In terms of social media sites, the truth is, I’ve often felt that I’ve been spinning the wheels.

And lately, I’ve been struggling to do even that.

Some, such as Twitter and Instagram, have strong, positive writing communities, but in truth, they drive relatively little traffic to my blog. Not that that is by any means the only reason to participate in social media networks, of course – but, let’s face it, it’s a consideration.

Pinterest has been my favourite social media site, for some time now – whether you choose to classify it as a social media network or a search engine, given that it has definite features of both.

Pinterest tends to be positive, inspirational, and fun, and it’s definitely known, in the blogging community, as one of the best sites, from the point of view of increasing website views.

But a couple of days ago, Pinterest incorrectly marked my website as spam.

After searching around online, I finally managed to come up with an actual email address for Pinterest, which was easier to use than the website contact forms, with categories that seemed not to entirely fit my precise difficulties.

My account, in other respects, is still – touch wood – functioning fine. But I can’t Pin anything from my website, or attach a link from the site to any Pin, and neither can anyone else. Any of my Pins already in the system lead to error messages, stating that my website is spam.

Well, look around. This is a small blog, focusing primarily upon writing craft and related subjects. The content definitely isn’t spam. There aren’t ads or affiliate links, spammy or otherwise.


I’m hoping that the issue will be resolved soon, but it’s really set me back. I don’t have the heart to keep posting on social media, in general. It’s difficult to keep going with my WIP and other projects. I’m not giving up, but do feel seriously discouraged.

If you would like to support me, please share this, or any of my other posts, on social media – although you won’t be able to do so on Pinterest, until the issue is (hopefully) resolved.


My most popular posts include: my Character Names post, and How To Create Believable Friendships in Your Fiction.


23 May 2019 addition: My Pinterest related issue was resolved, a few days ago. 

Whilst I’ve no specific reason to believe I did anything to cause the problem, I’m currently taking a very moderate approach to Pinning – not more than a single Repin of any of my own Pins.

I’ve stopped posting on group boards, at least for a while. I’m not entirely sure what can trigger Pinterest’s spam alerts, and it isn’t worth the risk, in my opinion. But I might change my mind, in the future.

I’m also working out how to manage my social media more effectively, and spend less time spinning those wheels.  

Believe in Yourself and Your Dreams: Images — April 21, 2019

Believe in Yourself and Your Dreams: Images


Believe in Yourself and Your Dreams: Graphics

Following on from my recent posts, which feature inspirational writing quotes, and quotes specific to poetry, this post will contain a selection of images for my central message: Believe in yourself and your dreams.

Please also see my related post, discussing the importance of this message, and my How To Believe post.

Keep believing, always.















Stay inspired.


Many more Believe in Yourself and Your Dreams – and other – images can be seen, on a regular basis, on my social media accounts. Follow me on: Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

I also have a Believe in Yourself and Your Dreams blog, exclusively for sharing these images, which I encourage you to visit.

Believe in Yourself and Your Dreams images on You Tube


Inspirational Quotes About Poetry — April 17, 2019

Inspirational Quotes About Poetry


If you’re looking for quotes about poetry, this post is a good place to start.

I recently made a post, to which I shall continue to add, in which I shared some of my favourite writing quotes.

However, I felt that this post could potentially become very long and confusing.

So, I’m experimenting here with the idea of being more specific in a post, about which particular type of writing quotes. This should make it easier for visitors to find the precise quotes to meet their needs.

For even more writing quotes, follow me on: Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

My posts, How To Write Poetry and The Relevance of Modern Poetry, might be of interest.

“Poetry is my deepest health.” – Sylvia Plath



“Poems are moments’ monuments.” – Sylvia Plath



“Poetry is an echo, asking a shadow to dance.” – Carl Sandburg


“A poem is never finished, only abandoned.” – Paul Valery


“If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can ever warm me, I know that is poetry.” – Emily Dickinson


“Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought, and the thought has found words.” – Robert Frost


“Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood.” – T. S. Eliot


“Poetry is language at its most distilled and most powerful.” – Rita Dove


“I would define, in brief, the poetry of words, as the rhythmical creation of beauty.” – Edgar Allan Poe


“A poet is, before anything else, a person who is passionately in love with language.” – W. H. Auden



If you enjoyed, and felt inspired by, these quotes about poetry, and are a fan of Pinterest, I encourage you to Pin any of these quote images.

Alternatively, I would appreciate shares on any of your favourite social media sites. It really does help me out. Thank you.

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