Saturday 30 June 2012

Blog Awards

Several people have been generous enough to give me blog awards recently *blinks in surprise* thank you very very much for them! It is very kind!

The Last Book I Loved: Dads, Geeks & Blue Haired Freaks by ElliePhillips

The Last Book I Loved: Dads, Geeks & Blue Haired Freaks by Ellie Phillips.

Sadie Nathanson is freaked when she receives a card from her Dad for her birthday, because she has no idea who her Dad is: he was a sperm donor. She suspects the card to be a nasty joke from her ex best friend but decides to find her Dad anyway using the internet and her own wiles.

The story zips along with plenty of surprises and laughter, and quite a few hairstyles too! The voice of the main character is excellent, I really felt for Sadie and and rooted for her during her search. Her family were a hoot and I’d love to see more of them.

I thought this was a recently interesting topic to cover in a teen novel, and not one I’ve seen before. More and more children come into this world under different circumstances and live in different family units so it was nice to see a book cover this sensitively while not being preachy; it’s very much a fun, fast-paced read with an interesting heroine.

I recommend it, and I hope we see more of Sadie and her family.

Check it out on Amazon Uk here and the author Ellie Phillips blogs here

Now you rec me the last book you loved!

Monday 25 June 2012

Please Answer: How/Why Do You Blog?

As a relatively new blogger, I’m curious about why people blog, and how they choose to do it. 

Is it for yourself? Is it primarily to connect with people? Do you blog to a particular timetable or set restrictions on yourself?

I’m come up with a few wee questions, and if anybody could please bear to answer them, that would be great as I'd love to get to know the reasons behind all of your blogging!

Feel free to reply in your own blog, and link to the post in the comments. If you do this, do go read anybody else’s reply too! But if you reply with the answers in the comments too that would be great!

1. Why did you start a blog? (To record my thoughts for myself, to connect with others, because I fancied it...)
2. Do you seek out followers/people to follow, and how do you do that if so? Do you look for particular ‘types’ of people?
3. Do you set rules around your blogging? (Specific timetable, topic, I always follow back, etc).
4. Do you take part in any groups or ‘meme’s if that’s the right term? Eg YA Highway Road Trip Wednesday or insecure-writers-support-group ? Any to recommend? Any topics you’d like covered by similar?

That’s it! Lastly:

Is there any sort of ‘meet and greet’ that goes on among the writing/book blogging community for the sole purpose of meeting others, that I don’t know about?!

I will answer the above now briefly so as not to make this post too long:
1. I started a blog to record what I'd learned about writing so far, to share it, and connect with other fab writers and learn from them and make some friends!
2. I have followed people I found in forums, or in the comments of posts I liked, who entered the same competition. I'm keen to meet people ;)
3. I try and blog mostly about writing, and I want to post twice a week on specific days, though life is already getting in the way!
4. I took part in Road Trip Wed, I missed IWSG last month and just learned about it so will take part next time!

Tuesday 19 June 2012

AW June Blog Chain: Weird Worlds....

This is for the Absolute Write June 2012 blog chain. The topic is 'Weird Worlds'.

Monday 18 June 2012

Brainstorming: How Do You Do It?

The trouble with having Shiny New Ideas is that they then require brainstorming into more than just an idea. Or a glimmer of an idea, as they usually begin for me.

For me getting from idea to draft usually works like this:

- Have Idea for Story or a Character, but usually a Story idea based on a 'What If?' question or a situation
- Toss idea around in my head for quite some time, thinking about it but probably writing nothing down, except maybe a note to remind me of it (like LIVE UNDERWATER or CLONES or what have you.)
- Think about Inciting Incident to happen to character or more likely, what character I am going to put into the situation I have thought of, and how she/he would react. Try to work it to a very rough outline.
- Write a bit of it, maybe a chapter or so.
- At some point, I run this by others - either the initial idea, if I have trouble getting it further, or the first pieces of writing, so I can get some help/feedback.
- Plot it Out
- Write a Draft

How do you go about it?
Do you start with a character, or a plot?
Do you brainstorm with others at the first stage, or not tell anyone?

I have had lots of ideas lately but cannot work a single one up even into that rough outline stage which is becoming frustrating. I
would love to know how you go about it. I would also love to know - how many ideas do you dismiss and never become more than ideas? Do you keep them for later?

Wednesday 13 June 2012

Perfect Writing Retreat (YA Highway) & Which Authors would you have over?

YA Highway's Road Trip Wednesday is a 'Blog Carnival' where a weekly question is posted that begs to be answered. In the comments you get everyone's take on it!

This week RTW asks what your perfect writing retreat would be.

Mine would be a big country house - think Downton Abbey - or a castle like this one:

(That's from a holiday to Scotland, if anyone's interested, it's a very lovely hotel and that's my holiday snap!)

I'd take my writing group and we could all stay in different rooms, meet up to critique when we'd like or keep to ourselves writing if we wanted.

I'd have guest authors come and do a talk every day to inspire us. I'd want the YA writers who currently inspire me, like Beth Revis or Lauren Oliver, as well as authors who inspired me through my life generally in my writing like F Scott Fitzgerald. Possibly I wouldn't be able to get J.D.Salinger to come, but George Orwell might and Ray Bradbury would be a cert.

The question is: would we all come away with some sort of Princess / Royal / Medieval story if we stayed somewhere like this?

I am interested, btw, whether anyone has been on a retreat? Did you focus while you were there? What helps you focus at home? At home or on a retreat I'd need:

  • Quiet (Can't work to music)
  • Snacks
  • To limit Facebook/Blog Time
  • To set agreed 'writing time' with myself.

I may not have a castle, but I'll try the rest tonight! Which authors would you have over? Where would you go on a retreat?

Tuesday 12 June 2012

Blog awards/About Me - Tell me about you!

The lovely Kat nominated me for the Versatile Blogger award here, which is v. lovely and makes me all warm and happy and smiley, so thank you Kat and everyone should go visit her as she is very versatile herself!

I am new to this and how it all works, but it’s nice to feel so welcomed. I will at a later point nominate others for the award to fulfil that part.

After the 'Read More' 7 facts about me...

Thursday 7 June 2012

Shiny New Idea Syndrome

Shiny New Idea Syndrome should be a medically recognised condition. I am working on a draft, possibly editing it. All has been going well when suddenly a Shiny New Idea grips me. A flash of inspiration strikes and I can’t get rid of it. I turn this idea over in my head all the time. I think about it when out running, in the shower, on the tube. I can’t work on my current idea because I am so distracted by this one. I start to plan the novel out in my head, and I become forced to sit and write the first chapter, just to stop the nagging voices. 

Yes I realise I sound like a crazy person when I say that. It takes over. The current MS gets forgotten.

The positives of this are:

  • I am not writing to a publisher’s deadline. It doesn’t matter that my current MS gets put aside for SNI. 
  • This may be the idea which gets me published.
  • The current MS may simply need a break. I can return to it with fresh eyes later.

The dangers of course are:

  • I may never finish anything. This Shiny New Idea will become a current MS, and I’ll be distracted from it by another SNI.
  • My poor unloved manuscript. Lots of work has gone into it, it was a Shiny New Idea once, and now it’s languishing, sad and alone, in a drawer.
  • Sometimes the shine wears off a SNI and underneath is a dull worn idea, less original than the current MS.

The best option? Work on both I say! 

I am currently editing a manuscript so it’s a good time for a Shiny New Idea to grip. I can spend time honing lines on my current MS, and then have a break and write a new bit of the SNI.

Any thoughts about what to do when a SNI grips, and does anybody else have this problem?

Monday 4 June 2012

Redundant Extra Inessential Words

I don't know how these redundant, extra, inessential words creep into my first drafts. 

They must do it when I'm not looking, the unnecessary that, so, or just. They crawl into place and settle into my sentences. I am aware I overuse them yet there they are when I complete my first draft, smiling up at me, saying ha, can't get rid of me!

Only I can. I can cut them as I edit. 

Some words are redundant because they aren't taking an active part in the sentence. They can be lost and the meaning stays the same. Tautology. Overworked modifiers, especially weak intensifiers.

Some are redundant through my own overuse. I use 'know' a lot. My characters are always 'knowing' something. I should be a) using another word or b) showing rather than telling their knowledge.

Here are my personal Top 10 Redundant words:


Honourable mentions to:

Please say I am not the only one? Any additions to my list above?