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  • Holly Brunnbauer

The Wrap-Up: December 2023

Hey, lovely!

Another year done & dusted.

Is anyone sad it's over? Meee!

2023 is the year I got my sh*t together. Well, mostly. A few behind-the-scenes hiccups, but I figure it's like that tree falling in the woods saying—if nobody saw it, did it happen?

I'll recap in another post, but for now, keep reading to find out how this lil' stay-at-home writer tackled December.

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The Wrap-Up: December | Holly - Stay-at-home writer


My laptop screen with the words THE END on it.


Draft 1

Last month, I pledged to write 40k-ish words to finish the first draft of my new novel by the end of the year.

So, did I?

Bishhh, please. Of course I did. Do you know me at all? If I set a goal (and declare it publicly) I have to achieve it. My Virgoness won't let me give up. Never, ever, ever. It's a blessing and a curse.

Anyways, the story is out of my head and on the page. All 92,856 words.

Is it perfect? Nope. That's what editing is for. I'll pick that scab next year and bring you along for the bloody ride.

In the meantime, enjoy the first line of the blurb:

They say salt water is the cure for anything. If that's true, Goldie Monroe needs an ocean to fix her love life.

You like?


Resource rec: Alice Sudlow blog post - What is a scene?

Blog Post: What Is a Scene? The Ultimate Guide to Write and Edit Amazing Scenes

Alice Sudlow | Editor

"Great stories are made up of great scenes." ~ Alice Sudlow

So true, Alice. So. True.

If you struggle with scene structure or have received feedback like, "Pretty writing but um nothing is really happening", I implore you to read this blog post: What is a scene?

It's deep, people. Just the way I like it. I don't mean that in a rude way, you filthy animal. It's a comprehensive breakdown of all the elements required to make a scene earn its place in the story. If certain things don't happen, the scene needs tweaking or to be cut, cut, cut.

You can also have Alice explain all this to you on her poddy: The Next Draft.


All I want for Chris-mas - Elouise Tynan, Stephanie Hazeltine, Alison Middleton & Emma Mugglestone


Is it even Christmas unless you have a spicy holiday novel in your stocking?

Just so we're clear, the answer's no.

If you got robbed, now's the time to buy yourself a belated Chrissy gift.

The Spicy Girls (El, Steph, Ali & Em) have done it again. ALL I WANT FOR CHRIS-MAS is a collection of sizzling stories inspired by a particular Hollywood hunk. For legal reasons, I can't say who, but we all know which Chris they're referring to.

This anthology is tropetastic. I'm talking, grumpy/sunshine, age gap, friends-to-lovers and let's not forget the cowboys (oh hello, Nick, you big stud, you).

It's the perfect holiday read. Go on, treat yourself!


Stay-at-home writer, Holly Brunnbauer, out and about in December

The silly season was well and truly upon us.

School finished and kindergarten came to an end—forever. My little guy ain't so little anymore.

We caught up with friends for a round of festive mini-golf. It's totally a thing.

We also pitted our kids against our friend's children in a gingerbread house competition. Not quite as brutal as the Hunger Games, but it had its moments.

No one cried or had a tanty during Santa photos. Big win!

Christmas day was lovely and low-key. Just the way I like it. Old St Nick was kind enough to bring us a waffle maker. Maybe next year he'll remember the Thermomix.

I donated Plasma, which is like giving blood but helps in other mysterious ways. If you're in need of alone time and free snacks, I highly recommend.

I ended the year in my happy place, doing what I love most—a thigh-chaffing hike through the forest. Ahhh ...


If I can pry myself away from leftovers and board games, I'll share my reflection on the year that was. Stay tuned.


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