It’s GUTGAA time! I beg the patience and forgiveness of all regular readers, for last week I signed on to Gear Up To Get An Agent. This is a merry online cavalcade of bloggers who band together to crit each other’s writing and generally jolly one another up in preparation for the submission of work to the dreaded literary agencies.

To that end this blog will be welcoming new faces with a brief “meet and greet” get-to-know-you post. Rest assured that if you’re a fellow GUTGAA and you’re reading this, I’m probably reading your own greeting post too *sinister stare*

So, the brief bio. A more cynical version of this can be found in my “About” section above. I’m a 20-year-old Edinburgh University history student who fancies himself a writer someday. I’ve had a bunch of short stories published here and there for, well, pretty much nothing. I’ve got one 100,000 word novel done and dusted and waiting to be launched at a long AgentQuery list of, well, agents. It’s a 17th century historical fiction with the working title Covenanted, and aye, like me it’s set in Scotland.

As for the pre-set GUTGAA greeting questions –

-Where do you write?

At a desk, via PC or laptop (usually the latter). Said desk is in my bedroom in my student flat down in Edinburgh. Not the most intriguing answer I know, but what were you expecting? The dungeon of my brooding Scottish castle? That’s only during summer break when I’m back home up in the Highlands.

-Quick. Go to your writing space, sit down and look to your left. What is the first thing you see?

The above painting, William III Landing at Brixham, Torbay, 5 November 1688. I really like history, okay? And no, I admit it’s not the actual original painting, just a badly googled copy. It does however go well with Cromwell at the Storming of Basing House on the wall opposite.

-Favorite time to write?

In the morning. Writing isn’t a voluntary thing for me, it’s an absolute craving. If I don’t get it out of my system as soon as I wake up it’ll be plaguing me for the rest of the day like unfinished homework, only this is homework I actually enjoy doing.

-Drink of choice while writing?

Well since I write with the dawn it’s normally cereal that’s getting chugged as the keyboard receives its morning hammering (my GOD that sounded dirty. Seriously, that wasn’t my intention!).

-When writing , do you listen to music or do you need complete silence?

I wish I was one of those people who could be inspired by music whilst writing, but I just can’t do it. It distracts me almost as much as a good internet connection. I love it for getting in the mood though.

-What was your inspiration for your latest manuscript and where did you find it?

A number of events led to the birth of my latest manuscript, though they all stem from my love of history. I initially discovered a small publisher located near me in Edinburgh at a book festival, and fancied writing something Edinburgh-based and historical which they would enjoy. I’ve always had a love for the 17th century, and I was covering it at University that semester. I began digging around for good stories set during that period, and happened upon my main protagonist (a real life heroine who’s life I’ve fictionalised). All this combined to create the inspiration for Covenanted.

-What’s your most valuable writing tip?

I’ll give you two for the price of one – read and write. Oh God, I didn’t did I? Oh yes I did! I know you’ve heard those two again and again and again. I know that it’s boring. But guess what, you’re hearing that advice again and again BECAUSE IT’S TRUE. Just read and write s**tloads and you’ll succeed! Tarnashion recruit, it ain’t rocket science! Unless it’s a novel including a rocket scientist, in which case you’re going to have to do a bit of research into rocket science to make it sound authentic. Good luck with that. And good luck with the rest of GUTGAA! See you around.



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44 responses to “GUTGAA

  1. I’d love to read an Edinburgh-based historical! 🙂 I visited there when I was a teenager, but it’s been a while. I love your city, though. See you around for GUTGAA!

  2. Nice to meet another historical writer! My big thing is the 20th century, but I do enjoy reading about earlier centuries.

  3. Historical is awesome, & I’m impressed with anyone who can do the research necessary!

    And you’re right – the advice is oldschool because it’s solid. Good luck with the contest & with querying in general!

  4. Love your introduction (and thank you for heading over before the Meet and Greet even started!). I have a novel set in Inverness, because that’s where my family is from, but I don’t know that much about Edinburgh. I’m really excited to get to know more about you and your project 🙂 Good luck with GUTGAA!

    • Wow that’s awesome, I’m from Inverness (well, just a bit north, but it’s my home city)! Edinburgh is my adopted home at Uni, but they’ve both got great histories. Where can I find out more about your novel? And good luck to you too 😀

      • Now THAT’S awesome! When I get around to re-writing it someday I’ll have to pick your brain for all sorts of Inverness-y things. The basic gist of it is that an American girl goes to manage a radiochemistry lab in Inverness, and she starts seeing mythical creatures (never Nessie though – that would be too obvious). The creatures start attacking her, so she’s trying to get help from a mythology professor (because why would you go to a psychiatrist if you know a mythology professor with a manor on Loch Ness? That story would be boring! ;P). In the end she chases off the monsters and falls in love with a Scottish boy, awwwww.

        My family still owns a little park outside of Inverness (I think it’s on the south shore of the Loch?): If you know any Beans/Bayns/Bains, tell them their cousin in the States says hi 😉

      • That story sounds brilliant, I’d love to get my hands on it! Is it fully completed or still a work in progress? Yup, Inverness born and bred though I can’t remember the last time I visited the Loch! And well done for steering clear of Nessy, we’ve got enough cool mythical beasties you can use without her 😉

      • Still a work in progress. I wrote the first draft for NaNo a few years back, and tried to edit it but Nameless got in the way and hasn’t let me go since 😉

        There are definitely some cool mythical beasties out there. I’ve got brownies and kelpies and a phooka (and Ly Erg (sp?) which isn’t really a beastie, but definitely a faerie-type creature) in the book, as well as a manticore (not scottish, I know). And a few other things thrown in for fun. Phooka, the kelpie, and the manticore are the biggest players in the book.

      • Yay, Nano, I’ve done that two years running now, hopefully go again this November. Those are some nice/nasty beasties you’ve got, if you need something more sinister we’ve also got our own banshee type monster, the Bean Sith (shame on Star Wars for stealing our evil names!).

      • I told you those weren’t all the beasties >;)

  5. Hello Robbie!! Enjoy GUTGAA! 🙂

  6. I need to get a new laptop soon because this one is ready to die. But I love writing on laptops so much! Very nice to meet you. 🙂

  7. You have stop saying “boring” when you answer the questions, because your answers (and you) are very very funny! And great inspiration for your work, love the title.

  8. Love historical fiction. Bernard Cornwell mostly, but I also enjoy other genres. Nice to meet you. I hope you have fun with GUTGAA.

  9. I wish I knew more about history than I did, because there’s so much to be learned and SO MANY story ideas lingering in the past!

  10. You might make reading history fun. I’ve never heard anyone pull off “whilst”. Anyway, good luck with GUTGAA and see you around!

  11. You have an awesome voice in your writing. This post was fun to read. Funny how you compared writing to homework. For me, there never was any sort of guilt at all about not doing homework, but missing writing time was a whole different story.

    • Aw, thanks. I know right? I always think working for yourself from home as a writer is far harder than having a daytime job, because when you’re normal job is done you can go home and forget it, but writing is with you 24/7. What are you even doing commenting here, you should be away writing! 😉 Have a great GUTGAA!

  12. Fun answers! I don’t think your writing tip will ever go out of style. Nice to *meet* you.

  13. Hey Robbie!

    Just dropping by to say nice to meet you! I loved reading about the inspiration for your novel. I too like to dip into both history and mythology when I feel like I need some inspiration for a MC or theme.

    Cheers and have fun during #GUTGAA!


  14. You had me at ‘merry online cavalcade’. The rest of your posts are beautifully written, too. 🙂 Just followed you on twitter and I’m looking forward to more posts. Happy GUTGAA!

  15. “My GOD that sounded dirty!” ROFL!!!! I actually could hear you saying that…and I don’t even know what you sound like!! I’m still laughing. I am starting to become convinced that 93% of us GUTGAAn’s are just pathetic folk who can twist anything into something sexual. (maybe from spending too much time staring at a computer screen???) Yup. I am. And I used a very specific formula to come up with the 93% for those wondering. 😉

    Nice to meet you!

    • Haha, I think we have a kindred spirit! My friend went through the first short story I ever published and turned every sentence she could into a sexual innuendo – it wasn’t hard for her (see what I did there… oh God it’s happening again…). HAVE A GREAT GUTGAA 😀

  16. Oooh, Edinburgh, a lovely city! I bought a pair of Doc Martens there, a, ahem, longish time ago. I think history is sexy, so there 😉 The seventeenth century makes an apperance in one of my books too. Good luck with GUTGAA, sounds like a decent excuse for missing homework if you ask me. Which you didn’t, but please feel free to direct any annoyed professors my way and I will be happy to tell them. You don’t play bagpipes by any chance do you? (I need a good photo of someone doing that for my blog – inspiration page for another novel).

    • History IS sexy, spread the love 😉 Actually I do play the pipes, and I’m from the Highlands, and I have red hair AND I love haggis. I’m not quite a walking stereotype though – I’m half English, and to Scots my accent sounds English (and to the English it sounds Scottish, ah canny win). I could see if I can rustle up a piping photo, I’ve not touched them in a while (they may sound good but they’re hellish to play). Meanwhile, have a great GUTGAA 😀

  17. Robbie,

    Nice to meet you. Admirable, your wit in your answers to the GUTGAA questions. Historical writers acquire followers like a cult following. Best of luck with your writing endeavors.


    Don #138

  18. Hello Robbie, thanks for stopping by my blog. I’m following yours now (British Writers Unite) 🙂 Your book definitely sounds like something I would read (historical novel+Scotland+17th C., YES PLEASE). Best of luck with it and enjoy GUTGAA!

  19. I spent a year at the University of Edinburgh quite a while ago now. Love that place and I’m ashamed to say I’ve never made it back since. Gotta change that.

  20. Your post made me giggle a lot. I dig your humor and your voice! 🙂 Good luck with GUTGAA!

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