Guest Post: The Art of Note-making by Jackie Kabler

Today I am delighted to welcome author Jackie Kabler to the blog. Jackie is about to publish her debut novel The Dead Dog Day. To celebrate her upcoming publication day, Jackie has stopped by to share a bit how a big part of her writing process goes. The Dead Dog Day is out the 22nd, so don't miss it! Jackie, all yours: 

The art of note-making

When I started writing my debut novel, The Dead Dog Day, I was very rigid about how and where I did my plotting and planning. It was always at my desk at home, on my laptop. But as time has passed, I find that plot ideas come to me in the strangest of places, and if I don't write them down immediately, they can often disappear, never to return.

Hence, I've now got lots of ways of making sure I never forget a useful idea. I live in Gloucestershire and work in London, which means around a two and a half hour drive each way. Imagine how one's mind can wander during those long hours in the car! But obviously, I can't make physical notes when driving, and the voice memo feature on my phone involves lots of fiddling about which isn't safe when you're behind the wheel. So, last Christmas when a friend asked me what gift I wanted, to her surprise I asked for an old fashioned dictaphone. It now sits in the cup holder of my car, within easy reach. One press of a button and I can easily dictate whole pages if I want to - it's brilliant! 

I do a lot of running and power walking and that's another time when ideas often pop into my head. Being outdoors, on my own, in beautiful surroundings (I often pound along the towpath of the Gloucester-Sharpness canal, which is just gorgeous and near where I live), means my mind is free to roam, and I'm often surprised at how much "writing" I can get done. But again, it's not practical to bring pen and paper, so this time it's the notepad on my mobile phone. Every now and again I'll stop for a breather and tap a few ideas in. When I get home, the first thing I do is copy the notes onto my laptop. I don't have much spare time so it's great to feel that I've done my workout and some work at the same time!

The same thing often happens when I'm out shopping, or even on a night out. Somebody will say something, or I'll see something happening across the room, and it will spark an idea. For example, I was once in an Indian restaurant and couldn't help overhearing the conversation on the table next to me, where it soon became clear that the two people chatting were police officers, rather indiscreetly discussing a current court case! Some very interesting notes were made that night...

I've even been known to grab a pen and scribble notes on my hand or arm, in desperation! This has happened once or twice when I'm on air (I'm a television presenter on QVC), so if you're ever watching me on TV and wonder what on earth that writing is on my arm, now you know.

It's very early days as an author for me, but I suppose one thing I've learned is that you're never off duty. As a writer, inspiration can strike at the strangest and most inconvenient times. And when it does, you'd better be ready. 

About the Author: 

Jackie Kabler worked as a newspaper reporter and then in television news for twenty years, including nearly a decade on GMTV. She later appeared on BBC and ITV news, presented a property show for Sky, hosted sports shows on Setanta Sports News and worked as a media trainer for the Armed Forces. She is now a presenter on shopping channel QVC and her first novel, The Dead Dog Day, is now available for pre-order on Amazon ahead of its release on 22nd October. 

Get The Dead Dog Day on Amazon UK

Find Jackie on Facebook -
And on Twitter - @jackiekabler 
And on her website -

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