Category Archives: Writing – General

‘Carry On’ and ‘Fangirl’ by Rainbow Rowell

FangirlFangirl by Rainbow Rowell

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I remember reading a review of this by Becky at Blog of a Bookaholic and I quite liked the idea of the story. When I stood in WHSmith waiting to fly out to Florida in the summer, looking for another book to complete my 3 for 2 offer, I saw this and thought ‘why not’?

And then, I carried it to the US and back without reading it and placed it into the dreaded bedside table, where it ultimately became part of my challenge to clear out that book eating piece of furniture.

I really enjoyed Fangirl, not always for the storyline, which sometimes was a bit slow for me – but I loved Cather (although I wished she’d gone for Cath and Erin for the twins over Cather and Wren – it just reminded me of the word catheter, which isn’t a great connection to make). I think Rowell wrote a very believable story about an introverted character’s experience of going to university and particularly the thought-processes of a writer. There were things that Cath says in the book, which I can only assume link about to how Rowell feels about writing herself – and they could have been thoughts from my own head.

So, it wasn’t really the ‘fangirl’ elements of Fangirl I liked the most – it was reading about a writer, writing about what they read. The correlation between reading and writing, along with the experience of being a writer, was what I loved about this book. Probably not what was aimed at, or what most people will like about it, but that was what did it for me.

So, that brings us to…

Carry OnCarry On by Rainbow Rowell

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

DNF @ pg 145

I really hate not finishing books, but I was just finding this too hard to get into.

I really liked the Simon snippets in Fangirl and loved that book overall, but this just hasn’t worked for me. I think if it was written as the ‘proper’ Simon Snow book, i.e. like Harry Potter, I would have found it easier to engage with the story and characters – but as it is written in the style of fanfic, there was just too much implied knowledge needed for me to enjoy this.

So, sorry, just not for me.

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‘Thinking’

I found this today, typed onto a piece of paper and pushed between some books on a dusty shelf I was clearing out. It feels familiar to me, like I wrote it… but at the same time I can’t actually remember specifically writing this.

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Can you picture it?

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Yes. But, can you hear it, touch it, taste it and smell it…?

It’s one of the biggest difficulties I’ve found in learning to write a book: slowing myself down in sharing the story, so that the reader can really come into the scene and be a part of everything that’s happening. We’re always being told to ‘show,  not tell’, aren’t we?

Even now I find it tricky to get this right. No one in the real world goes into every new room and smells it, touches and looks at every tiny detail – if they did, they wouldn’t venture very far in life! A lot of these things happen automatically and unconsciously – you wouldn’t want your characters to behave unrealistically and wander through every scene like Sherlock Holmes (well, unless they are a Sherlock Holmes-esque character I suppose). But, at the same time, there has to be depth, texture and realism in the worlds you build inside your books – otherwise they are a very empty place for your characters to exist.

In general, I tend to find that when I’m writing, I see the scenes like moments in a movie: I get the dialogue and the action sequences, the overall arch of the story and then I fill in the rest. Sometimes, I naturally must be working through a scene more slowly the first time I write, as the character will pick up some of these sensory textures and I don’t even remember writing them. Other times, when I’m doing a final edit, I’ll find myself with the questions on a jotter next to me, to remind myself: what does it smell like, what does the food taste like, how do things feel against the skin of my characters?

It doesn’t have to be every paragraph or even every page I don’t think, just a dash here, some detail there. A little like the camera zooming into close up on my scene for a few seconds, before expanding to a wider shot where the main action happens. I suppose I think of these elements like seasoning: some passages need strong flavours – lots of herbs and spices – to bring it to life; others need very little because the dialogue and action gives you everything you need. Over seasoning your writing would be as bad as it being too bland.

If you’re looking for more tips on ways to ‘season’ your writing, there’s a couple of good articles here for you to delve into:

Use All Five Senses to Enrich Your Writing

The Write Practice – Unlocking Your Senses

 

 

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Cirque de la Nuit – Book Trailer Release

It’s nearly time – Cirque de la Nuit will be out soon! In the meantime, whilst I’m busy editing and polishing the final draft, I’m very excited to release the Book Trailer today, to give you a taster of what is to come 🙂

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January 31, 2016 · 10:41 am

Sunday Write-Up – August 2015

Sunday Write Up HeaderIt’s back for the Bank Holiday weekend – the Aside from Writing Sunday write-up event. Today’s five words are:

idea     why     stupid     handsome     hello

Hmmm… now what to do with these…?

 

The cabin was in darkness as I trundled up the bouncing track that led to the front door. In the fast-falling twilight everything was shadows and hiding places for psycho killers.

Why had I thought that a weekend, alone, in a remote lakeside cabin was a good idea?

Oh, I remember. It was going to be a weekend of alone-time, space to get on with some productive writing…I was normally more of a glass-of-wine-with-Game-of-Thrones-box-set kind of girl; safe and sound well away from the grisly north and creepy white walkers, in the comfort of my own home. I was not outdoorsy at all. Sigh.

I turned off the engine, but left the headlights on, so that I could still see the front door of the little building. “How old are you?” I shook my head at myself, but made no move to shut off the lights. I felt a lot like a little girl who wants to keep the landing light on outside her bedroom door, to pretend that she’s not afraid of the dark.

With the keys in my hand, I looked around the shadowy clearing once more then got out of the car. I scurried to the porch and ducked close to the door, fumbling with the keys. A big part of me was wishing that I had some kind of handsome, Jon Snow man-shield with me, just in case there were any rogue monsters hanging around.

When I got the door unlocked, it creaked open – of course it would have to. I patted down most of the wall inside, without having some unseen creature grab my hand and finally found the light switch. ON.

I smiled – and blinked a bit – in the brightness. Whew. Everything looked a lot better now. The inside of the cabin was just as it had been on Trip Advisor: bright red, squashy sofas; lots of wood and walls lined with shelves of books. The wood burner in the corner was already laid, ready to light and as I peeped towards the kitchen area I could make out the ‘welcome box’ of goodies I’d added to my booking. A cup of tea was definitely in order.

Turning back towards the car I was about to head out to grab my bags, when my mobile rang in my pocket. I pulled it out and saw PRIVATE flashing up on the screen. It was probably work – might as well answer it before I get properly into relaxation mode.

Hello?”

There was silence on the other end of the line. Only the light hissing noise of an open connection – no sounds, no voice.

“Hello?” I asked again, pronouncing the word carefully, as if it were possible I had been misunderstood the first time. More silence and then an ominous click.

“Hello. We have made a number of calls to you regarding a non-fault accident you had recently – ”

I punched the red button on my mobile, disconnecting the call. Bloody leeches! Why do I get so many of these stupid calls, anyway?

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Sunday Write-Up ‘Outlanders’

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Aside From Writing’s Sunday Write up!

http://asidefromwriting.com/2015/06/28/sunday-write-up-june-2015/

Using the words: alone growing slowly life beautiful

(A bit of a cheat this time, I’ve only had chance to write a paragraph, but it does fit in nicely to a scene in a current WIP Outlanders, so that’s why I’m happy to leave it so short!)

 

    I woke early. It was cold and as I opened my eyes to the world around me I could see my breath floating slowly on the chilly air. For a few shorts moments I didn’t move or wake properly. Vaguely, I was aware of heat behind me: Zach in his own sleeping bag. Other than that, I was alone. Like a tired child, I snuggled deeper into my warm cocoon, hoping to hide from the morning for a few more minutes. With sleepy eyes I looked out at the dark carpet of leaves and soil we’d slept on last night, the small circle of trees and bushes disguising our make-shift camp and the silver-green morning light glimmering through the leaves above. It was beautiful, full of life and things moving and growing, right before me it seemed. It felt like you could lie here forever, never moving or speaking again, with life taking over you nonetheless. Nature reclaimed everything: the buildings and ruins of the world I’d spent the last few days walking through…and me. Nature had brought me back, when I thought nothing could. It moved forwards endlessly, just as time did, and showed you that everything could change.

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Why You Want to Be Findable on Social Media

Just came across this excellent post from Veronica Bale about Twitter, for writers or anyone who is looking to raise their profile using social media. From working on Aside from Writing and running events like the Indie Author Month, I can agree that some authors make it really difficult to link up with them on social media, through not providing their details, or having ‘sharing’ buttons on their posts. It’s like anything in life, the easier you make it for someone to do, the more likely they are to do it.

Are you making these mistakes and missing the opportunities to have people help you raise your profile? Possibly, so check out the post and make some changes to how you operate on social media. There are also links in the post to a couple of other excellent posts on effective tweeting and info sharing…

Veronica Bale

Findability ( … if that’s not a word, I’m making it one).

As an author, you’re an entrepreneur. That goes double (or triple, or exponential, even) if you’re a self-published author. The success or failure of your career is directly related to the effort you put in to make yourself visible to potential readers.

Never miss an opportunity for attribution

We all know that social media is one of the best ways to increase your visibility. But simply having a Twitter account, or a blog, or a Facebook page, or all three and more, is wasted effort if you are not making yourself findable. What do I mean by that? Well, for example …

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