Paula Writes

Paula Puddephatt – Author

From Chapter Thirty-Four – Distorted Perceptions (WIP) — February 4, 2020

From Chapter Thirty-Four – Distorted Perceptions (WIP)

paula-novelpaula-writerKeeping in mind that I’m veggie (although not vegan) myself…Made this fun to write. April 2020 Update: Distorted Perceptions has been published.

From Distorted Perceptions, Novel Extract

Background: Lucy and her younger sister, Sarah, have gone for a meal at Cynthia Jackson’s. Cynthia’s daughter, Hannah, is married to Lucy and Sarah’s brother, Danny. Hannah’s brother, Phil, is in town, and Danny and Hannah are trying to encourage a Lucy/Phil romance.  


   “I’ve made vegetable curry,” said Cynthia. “I hope that’s fine with you all. What with Hannah being vegetarian, and Phil vegan, I thought it best to make something we could all enjoy. I’m as sure as I can be that everything’s vegan.”

   Okay – so, as if his sister being veggie wasn’t enough, Phil Jackson had to take just bloody awkward to new heights, and insist upon being vegan.

   “I’d love to be vegetarian or vegan,” said Sarah. “I’ve often thought of it.”

   I rolled my eyes. “You have? You surprise me, Sarah. I can’t see you giving up your McDonald’s – hamburger or milkshake.”

   “I hardly ever have McDonald’s any more.” My sister was blushing. I had to be right about this: Sarah liked Phil.

   Well, he was an improvement on Farooq, at any rate.

   Trouble was, Phil wasn’t looking at Sarah. He couldn’t take his eyes off me. And Danny and Hannah, for their part, couldn’t stop looking hopefully, from one of us to the other. They clearly had their hearts set on a Phil and Lucy romance.

   “Veggie curry is fine, Cynthia,” I said.

More about the forthcoming novel

Details of recent short story and poetry publications


12 April 2020 – brief update about my novel’s publication, and general circumstances


Writing Romance and Women’s Fiction; Modern Historical and Contemporary — January 30, 2020

Writing Romance and Women’s Fiction; Modern Historical and Contemporary


paula-writerI’m currently revising my novel, Distorted Perceptions.

This story doesn’t exactly fit easily into any genre or category. It’s also a Modern Historical, set primarily in the 1980s.

I don’t always know where/how to “position” my work, which I can deal with, but it can also become frustrating.

I don’t feel that my fiction has a “literary” style, but will describe it as General/Literary, where this seems to be the most appropriate option. This doesn’t feel entirely accurate. More of a compromise, I suppose.

I’ve always resisted writing genre fiction.

My reading has fluctuated wildly, and I’ve not consistently read a favourite genre, or type of fiction.

But lately, I’ve found much of the Horror and darker Crime, that I used to love, as a reader, much too triggering. So, I’m focusing upon reading Romance, along with some Women’s Fiction and classics.

Even though I wrote a blog post called Writing Romance (Even When You Don’t), I’m currently experimenting. I’m hoping to develop the Romance and Women’s Fiction side of my writing.

I’m also open to writing Contemporary, as well as Modern Historical.

And I would like to explore different story lengths.

My current WIP is 84k, as it stands. I’ve written a very limited number of short stories, most of which I would describe as flash fiction, although some are over 1k, and that technically makes them shorter short stories, but not quite flash fiction. At any rate, not by some definitions.

I would actually like to work on slightly longer short stories, and possibly novellas. At this point, that appeals to me. I honestly don’t want to write another 84k novel in a hurry, once I’m done with Distorted Perceptions.

I definitely hope to blog more, once Distorted Perceptions is complete.

I’ve missed it. But I’ve not been able to do it all, especially taking into account various ongoing health and life issues. That’s just the reality of the situation.


Keep believing. More from the Paula Writes blog soon, I hope.


Writing Romance (Even When You Don’t) — March 22, 2018

Writing Romance (Even When You Don’t)

paula-writes-an-imageI can’t advise on writing category Romance, because I don’t.

However, relationships in general, are central to all good fiction. This is by no means restricted to romantic relationships, but definitely includes them. For advice on writing about friendship in your fiction, I would suggest reading my post on that subject.

It’s worth noting that many of the most popular love stories, such as “Wuthering Heights” and “Gone With The Wind”, don’t come under category Romance. They’re love stories, but not Romance, because they don’t have happy endings.

Character development is so important, and your romantic story aspects or subplots should ideally be approached, with character arcs in mind.

One reason why stories of forbidden love are so enduringly popular is because, when done well, they provide an excellent opportunity to explore human psychology. They push characters to their limits, in so many ways.

Consider character backstory.

Past experience, when it comes to relationships, will be influential – such as, if your MC’s parents, siblings or close friends, have been through divorces or separations.

And, of course, you will need to know about the character’s own relationship history.

You will also need to know all of this for the MC’s love interest. And for any other couples, in the story.

Character flaws are essential – for providing conflict and interest, and creating characters, to whom readers can actually relate.

For example, maybe your protagonist, love interest or both, are prone to jealousy and insecurity. It’s easy to imagine how this could lead to potential drama.

Suspense and tension are important in romance, as much so as in other aspects of your plot.

There need to be sufficient obstacles, preventing a couple from being together – or, else, where is the story?

Romance is not erotica.

Whether or not to include sex scenes is an individual decision, but if the sex, and not the emotion, is the primary focus, then it isn’t romance. And entirely different rules and boundaries apply.

So, love triangles.

Yes, they’re a cliché, but they can and do work. It’s a case of ensuring that character development is thorough, and that the plot, as a whole, contains original elements.

Use them with caution, but don’t feel that they must be avoided, at all costs. This simply isn’t true.

Instalove – also known as, love at first sight.

This is definitely a cliché, and extremely difficult to write successfully. Instalust, which one or more partner initially believes to be love, is considerably more realistic.

Look at it this way. Can you imagine meeting a complete stranger at the local store, and instantly knowing that you were destined to be together eternally, and make babies? And what are the odds that both of you would feel it, and somehow have this connection, out of the blue?

The chances of seeing someone you were simply attracted to, and exchanging looks, that could potentially lead to more, if you happened to bump into each other again, multiple times? That is instant mutual attraction, and love can eventually develop from the initial spark. To me, that isn’t unrealistic – and it also isn’t instalove.


I hope that these tips help you to create believable romantic relationships, even if, like myself, you don’t write category Romance.


More recent thoughts and feelings about Romance and Women’s Fiction

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