Tools of the Trade…

I’m back to writing by hand to get myself out of a little writing slump. 

It’s not that I’m no longer enjoying the story, have lost my way with it or don’t want to write it, it’s just that getting the things in my head down on paper using a pen and notepad seems easier than sitting at the laptop typing away.

I’ve been thinking about the LWL series as it stands – 2 complete novels down and one that’s 3/4 of the way through. I saw a blog post on a news site a few days ago that quite honestly echoes the first scene in LWL1 and I think that’s given me a bit of a jolt, which is translating to being nervous about finishing.

I’ve heard life can mimic art but it’s the first time it’s happened to me with something I’ve written – something only a few agencies and publishers and critique partners have read – and I don’t like the feeling. I kind of feel threatened, pressured, like I need to hurry up and find a way to get these stories out into the big wide world before they’ve all been done by someone else.

(The publishers sent nice rejection emails, by the way; the agent hasn’t replied at all so guessing that’s a no.)

Deep breaths, I suppose, and onwards and upwards as the saying goes.

In other, less depressing thoughts, I’m reading The Hygge Holiday by Rosie Blake and absolutely loving it. Sweet and funny – I’m in love with the parrot – I’m 60% of the way through according to my Kindle and I don’t want it to end!

August already?

I don’t know how that happened, to be honest, and I don’t know how my plan to keep writing on this blog on a regular basis fell so far by the wayside!

Hello, to anyone out there!

We’re officially over halfway through the year now so it’s time to have a little look back on all the writing and reading goals I’d set myself at the beginning of the year.

Reading wise, I’m on target to hit the 30 books I set myself on my Goodreads challenge – I’m two books ahead, in fact, which is a bit of a surprise. (Nearly three, as I’m midway through reading Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones – it’s very good, especially if you grew up with Labyrinth as your go-to film of choice for those rainy weekends as a kid like me!)

I recently finished reading Big Sexy Love by Kirsty Greenwood, which I utterly adored and would recommend to anyone and everyone. You can read my review of it on GoodReads here if you so wish to do so. It’s my favourite book of the year so far, and I think will still have a place in my all time top ten by the end of it, too. Other books I’ve read and thoroughly enjoyed are the last two books (for now) in Ilona Andrew’s Hidden Legacy series, which

Other books I’ve read and thoroughly enjoyed are the last two books (for now) in Ilona Andrew’s Hidden Legacy series, which is right up there in terms of favourite urban fantasy universes.

Writing wise, I’m around 1/3 of the way through book three of my contemporary romance/romantic comedy series. I say romance, but really the relationships that really matter in each of the stories is that of the female characters. It’s a series about friendship, and how having good friends can get you through life’s little obstacles that come at you unexpectedly where love/work/families are concerned. I’m enjoying it, more so now I’ve tweaked a few things so writing it is more of a dream than a struggle. (That said, I’m still looking forward to writing book four most of all – the characters in that one are already vying for attention in my head!)

And the above brings me to the question I really want to ask other writers out there. I’ve got two of the four books done and dusted but for some reason, I’m really reluctant to start sending them off to publishers until the whole series is done. The story doesn’t feel finished yet even though each book can be read quite happily as a standalone, I think because in my mind I know there’s more to come.

Writers, how do you know when you’re ready to send your book baby into the world of agents and publishers? And is it still the goal to get a publishing deal the traditional way or is indie publishing the way forward?

Feel free to get in touch and let me know your thoughts – I’d love to speak to you! x

March Madness…! (Book Recs)

Though, to be fair, it’s not just March that’s been crazy – most of February was the same.

I’ve done a lot of writing, a lot of editing, exchanged novels with a lovely fellow writer met through a critique group, and done a lot of reading.

As in, I’m 33% of my Goodreads book challenge for this year. Hopefully that means I’ll be able to beat it.

Recently read books are the reason I thought I’d make a blog post, because I wanted to recommend them in as many places as I could.

Continue reading “March Madness…! (Book Recs)”

Reading vs Writing

“The biggest mistake people make in life is not trying to make a living at doing what they most enjoy.”Malcolm Forbes

I’m trying, believe me.

The writing goes on. So does, I admit, the reading.

Average word count per day as it stands: 559(.28)
Words written YTD: 11, 745.

Reading, though, is proving a distraction. I had a conversation with a writer friend about the pros and cons of reading versus writing:

She’s of the mindset that reading is something that writers shouldn’t do too often for fear of it influencing their work/taking away from the time they actually spend writing.

I agree that reading can detract from your writing time so you’ve got to be careful – maybe use it as a treat – but I don’t think it influences your work as a writer, or at least in a negative way.

Reading can be a useful tool for a writer. Not only can you see examples of the various writing styles that are out there but if you find a genre you love reading, maybe it’s worth trying to write in that genre, even if it’s not one you’ve considered before. (I read everything hence I try writing everything. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.)

Point of view, too, is also something writers can learn through the medium of reading. I used to say I’d never enjoy reading first person so would never try writing it; recently, I’ve found myself reading more first person than third person and I’m really enjoying it – I’m even considering trying my hand at writing from a first person perspective (once the LWL series is done and dusted, because if there’s something else I’ve learned recently, it’s that I can’t have more than one story project on the go without my brain getting all befuddled.)

Thoughts from any fellow writers out there?

Do you find reading a help or a hindrance when it comes to writing?

Let me know!

NaNoWriMo is a bust.

… Because I’ve successfully read three novels during the course of this month, plus Gilmore Girls.

Because, hello, Gilmore Girls. It was the show of my not-so-youth, (I’m about the same age as Rory Gilmore, go figure), and it was a TV show that served as a sort of bonding experience between me and some of my closest friends, one of which is no longer with us and the others who aren’t as close as they used to be. (Which, if you’ve seen it, are you Team Jess? Logan? Dean? Paul?!)

Kind of sad. But never mind. That’s this thing called life for you.

The books I’ve been busy procrastinating with reading are the two Ilona Andrews ‘Edge’ series books I’ve mentioned beforehand and another random novel I had on my Kindle.

Now, I really enjoyed the ‘Edge’ series books, as expected, but the third book… I don’t know. I’m not going to list the title or author, just say it wasn’t quite as expected. To be honest, I don’t know if I enjoyed it or not.

There was this whole subplot set in the future – parts of the book were written in the past, too, but I got those – that seemed to me it’d been added as an afterthought, and amended at the instruction of someone other than the author.

The future scenes were interspersed between the rest of it, conversations between the lead character and her future child (a son, we learn towards the end of the story.) They don’t seem to be in any sort of chronological order and seem to be just kind of thrown in there to ensure a happy ending. In fact, I can almost imagine the below conversation taking place:

Author: There! It’s all done! What do you think?
Editor/Publisher: It’s great! Well, there’s this one thing..
A: What thing?
E/P: It needs a little something more, you know? It’s not really a happy ending.
A: But it is happy! She’s on her own and she realised she just needs to be confident in who she is to be happy!
E/P: Yeah, no, I get that but.. Maybe there needs to be a kid?
A: A kid?
E/P: Yeah! Yeah, do some future scenes. Her and the kid. Make her a mother and she’ll be happy.
A: But she’s never eluded to the fact she likes kids, let alone wants one..?
E/P: Hmm, you’re right. Hey, how about we add a scene in the present time where she’s thinking about kids? She can see someone with them and think that hey, yes, that’s something she wants someday? Then hey presto, in the future, she’s a mum and she’s happy!
A: Um. Okay. I guess. [Obediently adds said scene, and writes dialogue-only conversations between mother and child, though eludes to the fact mother is on her own with child but is okay because a man does not equal everything.] There! What do you think?
E/P: Excellent! Brilliant! Love the kid… But…
A: But…?
E/P: It’s not very happy ending-ish, is it?
A: What do you mean? She has a home, a job, a child? She’s happy.
E/P: She doesn’t have a husband, though, does she? You had the kid ask where Daddy is but didn’t answer, just kind of avoided it?
A: Well, yes. Because she doesn’t need a man to make her whole. You see, that was the point of relationships X, Y and Z. To prove being in a relationship might be what’s expected of women these days but it doesn’t necessary lead to happiness.
E/P: Yeah, yeah. We get that. Girl power, feminism. All that jazz. But… you know… it’s not very happy. A happy marriage would make her happy.
A: But I’ve not mentioned anywhere that she’s married…?
E/P: No. No, but you did mention Bloke P in a scene once. Maybe throw his name into a couple more scenes, the ones where she’s back home and he could be on her mind? Then have him be the dad?
A: … Okay?
E/P: And have the last two sentences… The bedtime story. It can end with the mum telling the kid that she has to go because Daddy’s home. That would work.
A: [Resigned sigh] Okay.

And that basically sums up what went through my head when I finished the story. It didn’t feel like a natural end, nor like the one the author spent so long building up towards.

So there we go. Part of the reason my NaNoWriMo project currently stands at a measly 23065 words instead of the 40+ it should be right about now. And now I’ve spent ten minutes writing 700+ words on this blog, I’ll get back to the actual novel I’m supposed to be writing on.

Happy Thanksgiving to those of you in the US, Happy Gilmore Girls Day to those of you everywhere who enjoy the series!

(And Happy NaNoWriMo end is in sight to those who’ve successfully kept with it this month!)