Tag Archives: novels

2016 Books of The Year

2015 saw me read a disgraceful three books. There was no way in literary heaven I was going to read just three books in 2016.

So this year I decided to set myself a challenge. The Goodreads challenge. I have a small child more commonly known as the Terror Tot, so I knew reading time would be limited. I figured reading one book a month would be better than just three over the year. So that’s what I set my challenge as.

12 books, 12 months.

But I’m pleased to say I smashed that goal into teeny tiny words like smithereens. I read 32 books.

So here’s my summary of the best books of 2016, including recommendations, my challenge for 2017 and the number of books are set myself to read next year. Continue reading

Master The Outline – 12 Methods For Plotters & Pantsers – Part I

OutlineingIf you cut my wrist, I’d bleed pantser all over you. Which, for anyone that knows me in real life, is about as ironic as you can get. I’m hyper organised. I have lists of lists and spreadsheets to make even the hardiest of geeks weep. I’m so extreme my wife has to schedule in time for spontaneity.

Which is why, when I first started writing, I knew without hesitation I was a plotter. Except that I really wasn’t. I tried to plot my way through to finishing a novel and I couldn’t.

Plotting led to me drowning myself in cliches: balled up scraps of paper littered my living room, my laptop screen lay barer than the sahara and enough empty coffee cups loitered on my table to waken even the most exhausted mother. I was blocked.

In the end I threw my rigid-frigid-plotting rule book in the fuck it bucket and NaNo’d the shit out of November 2014. Victory was mine. I finished off the manuscript triumphant. I was a fucking writer at last. The arrogance did not last. After a 3 month break I picked up the manuscript and nearly paper machè myself a coffin out of it. It was worse than finding a maggot in your apple.

Right there. That was the moment I knew then I had to find a way to prevent myself from ever having to re-write anything again.

So I have amassed X different methods to outlining and made suggestions as to how you can use them as a pantser. A few too many for one post – so as is becoming a habit lately, I’ve split them over more than one post. Continue reading

3 Things You Need To Create The Perfect Gothic Story With @Icysedgwick

Gothic TalesOver the next month or so I am trying to finish my book so I can do the underwear eating exercise of handing my book baby to beta readers, *gulp*. I wanted to keep to two posts a week, but couldn’t with all the extra writing. So a few lovely friends have offered to step in and take the reigns for some of the posts. Be nice, play gentle and happy clappy rounds of applause please.

Today the lovely Icy Sedgwick, who came to the Bloggers Bash 2016 is talking to us about an area of her expertise: gothic stories. Icy is studying a PhD in film studies looking at space in haunted houses, so she really does know a thing or two about this.

If you want to know some neat little tricks to perfecting gothic tales, check out Icy’s tips below: Continue reading

Understanding YA, NA and MG – A Writers Bible

YA NA MGOne of the most salient memories I have from childhood, was the desire to grow up. I was like the opposite of Peter Pan. I couldn’t get old fast enough.

Sixteen was this magical creature where suddenly I would be grown up and allowed to do lots of things. I’d be a ‘real’ teenager. Sixteen came and went, and then eighteen arrived and before I blinked I was twenty-one. By the time I was twenty-five, I realised I’d made a heinous fucking mistake.

Adulthood is the equivalent of being slapped daily with a decomposing Kipper infested with rabies. My life was filled with a suburban nightmare, bills, a work monotony that could make paint drying seem like the Oscars and a side order of fuck my life.

Peter Pan syndrome rapidly kicked in. I wanted to be a child forever. I rebelled against the rules, had a bit of a break down, got very fucking drunk, had my skin inked and then bitch slapped the sense back in. I had to tell myself:

That magical envelope was not going to fly down my chimney and whisk me off to wizarding school, neither would Edward Cullen fall in love with me and make me immortal, and sadly, I had neither angel nor demon blood, so I wasn’t a shadow hunter either.

I spiralled into an intensely primal binge fest of YA fiction and TV series and then I had an epiphany. If I wrote it, I could live it.

But understanding the differences between Middle Grade (MG), Young Adult (YA) and New Adult (NA) fiction is easier said than done. Continue reading

Everything You Need To Know BEFORE You Start To Edit

Before EditingI finished the first draft of my novel in August last year. I was B.U.Z.Z.I.N.G I’d finally done what I said I’d do – write a book… Ok, I finished a draft.

I listened to the advice you gave on what I should do next, which was… Nothing – Lock the manuscript in a dark cupboard and throw away the key for months. I did. Sort of. I may have peaked at the first few chapters.

That was a mistake.

It was of course, total shit. More than shit, I wouldn’t have wiped my butt cheeks with it. Seriously. I may have cried, ok, I didn’t cry. But I did shed some tears on the inside. All those months of sweat and tapping, for what? A massive steaming pile of turd. A twitch formed on my eyelid as a heady mix of panic and fear set in. How was I ever going to rectify this mess? I hated editing. I can’t do detail and didn’t know a comma from a bloody apostrophe. So how I was ever going to be a writer? I was blocked. Big Time.

Then, I had a realisation. Continue reading

10 Reasons Why Being A Writer is Like Being A Parent

Today is my son’s 2nd birthday. Even though I’ve written this in advance, trust me when I say, I cannot believe that two years has passed. Time has always seemed to fly by, but its at moments like this that I really get shocked at just how much has slipped through my fingers without me being mindful. I look at him with his curls bouncing under 3 feet of body, yeah – he’s already over half my height!  I still wonder where on earth he came from, and how he can have been inside my tummy and yet, in two short years, talks and giggles and poops like a machine!

It got me thinking about just how similar being a parent is to being a writer. Here’s why: Continue reading

Where Are All The LGBT Characters?

Where Are All The LGBT Characters?

Can anyone tell me a blockbuster famous novel they have read with a main character that was either gay or lesbian? Don’t worry, I’ll wait whilst you scratch your head to think… still haven’t thought of one? No. Me neither. Anyone else got an issue with that? Because I really do. Continue reading

Evoking Memories – A Writers Must

Evoking Memories - A Writers Must Have ToolI spoke a little about evoking memories recently in my post: 5 Reasons Why Writers Should Be Secret Agents. But I wanted to delve a little deeper into the science behind how senses and in particular smell can evoke memories, why it can be so powerful and more importantly, why writers need to exploit the use of smell in their work.

Do you have a smell, or ‘thing’ that makes you recall an incident or memory vividly? If so what is it? Let me know in the comments. Is it a sound? Or smell? Or maybe the feel of a certain fabric? Continue reading

Interview With Author Kevin Morris

This week we have Kevin Morris, who takes the honour of being the last formal author interview, next week we may have a guest interview running along these lines, but for now, this brings an end to the author interviews. I want to thank everyone who took the time to participate and share their world wisdom with me. I have learnt loads from you all. I am still open to the occasional guest blogs/posts, but I am putting a pause on these author interviews temporarily whilst I focus on getting novels written. Without further  ado, I welcome Kevin.

You can find him on his website and amazon. Continue reading

Adultland Excerpt

Adultland NEWAli, sets a weekly writing challenge, I try to participate where I can, although the days of me doing several challenges each week has dwindled. But this week I did participate. Partly because her challenge focused on an area of weakness for me. If you haven’t ever taken part you should. Check out her latest purple prose challenge.

I am not great at descriptive writing, drawing images and creating flowery writing, so I decided to have a go on part of the latest bit of Adultland. It’s at 14K and 8 chapters in, although I suspect by the time this goes live, it will be 9 or 10 chapters in. Below is an excerpt from the end of chapter 8. I have tried to tweak it to fit Ali’s challenge of ‘purple prose’ she did say no dialogue….I cheated, but then I never was one to follow the rules! Continue reading