Blog 42: Writing All The Unsaid Things.

The wonderful thing about writing is that you can write anything, including all those things that you really want to say but are too afraid to. Writers are commonly described as introverts, and I would tend to agree since I lean towards the introvert end of the spectrum myself. During my school years I was painfully quiet, every parent’s evening my teachers would praise my work and grades and then they would say the dreaded ‘but’ word, usually followed by something like read more »

Blog 41: Total Originality Is Probably Impossible.

A friend once told me that they had an idea for a book that they wanted to write. When I asked why they weren’t writing it, they listed a number of excuses, but one stuck out to me in particular. They wanted their idea to be completely new and original, and they didn’t want to write something that wasn’t. Now I was puzzled by this, the idea of creating a completely original story is something that I think many authors would love to and dream about achieving, but I don’t feel that this is a realistic possibility. read more »

Blog 40: Why You Should Invest In An Editor.

“The funny thing about writing is that whether you’re doing it well or you’re doing it poorly, it looks the exact same. That is actually one of the main ways that writing is different from ballet dancing.” – John Green

If you’re an indie author and either have, or are considering self-publishing, then let me borrow a few minutes of your time to tell you why I think investing in a good editor is important.

I’ve read many books over the years and I’m by no means an expert in the field of writing, but I have noticed reoccurring patterns and feelings. Particularly feelings of disappointment and confusion when a book I’ve been reading has fallen flat or the characters have just acted bizarrely for no apparent reason, and yes I have fallen into this trap too.

As a writer and author, I know how difficult it is to come up with compelling, yet realistic ideas that make sense for your story. When I was writing my first published book Anomaly, which I rewrote dozens of times with the help of a couple of editors, I found that in later rewrites my mind had become so saturated with my story that I could no longer decide whether my writing and ideas were good, or if they were just plain terrible. I experienced feelings of panic and anxiety for weeks and months, even after I finished the book and it went off for publication. In fact, the earliest versions of Anomaly bear very little resemblance to what I eventually wrote and published in 2016. read more »

Blog 37: On The Importance Of Words.

When I was in high school and studying English Literature, we read books like ‘Of Mice And Men’ and ‘An Inspector Calls’. One day that I remember clearly, a student asked the English teacher why we were bothering to study the sentences in such detail. This student was sure that writers would not and did not plan every single sentence they wrote. They thought that if a writer chose to write that the curtains were blue then they simply were blue and that it was not a subtle attempt at drawing out feelings of sadness from the reader. My teacher didn’t have a reply at the time, but after writing a book, reading hundreds of other books and many years later, I do have a reply. read more »

Blog 31: Working in a Second Hand Bookshop

I have recently read George Orwell’s essay ‘Bookshop Memories’ – the cynic in me was delighted. I’ve been working in a second hand bookshop part-time for the past couple of months and even though I haven’t come across all the types of customers Orwell describes, it’s safe to say I had little trouble imagining them.

I can understand honestly Orwell’s frustrations, but I think his account is somewhat unfair and not quite so accurate nowadays, though I guess time may change my mind. I do believe that you have to be a certain kind of person to enjoy working with books, and although I’d struggle to describe that type of person, even to myself, I can tell you what type of person it most definitely isn’t. read more »

Blog 28: An Interview with ‘The Brunswick Saga Series’ Author E. K. Barnes

e-k-barnesQ1) In one or two sentences, how would you describe your Brunswick Saga series to someone who hasn’t read any of your work?

The Brunswick Saga series follows the lives of six siblings following the death and neglect of a parent. Each book in the series mainly focuses on one of the six and their struggles as time goes on.

Q2) How long did it take for you to finish and publish your recent work?

It took a little over a year and a half to write and publish the second book of the series (A Sister’s Imposition), which was released in March 2016.

Q3) Have you always wanted to write and when did you first discover that you wanted to write?

read more »

Blog 27: An Overnight Stay in Wigtown

wigtown

Admittedly my trip to Wigtown was booked rather last minute dot com. I had been meaning to visit Scotland’s National Book Town for some time, but between searching for properties and moving out, I hadn’t gotten around to it. Then there came a two week lull where all the agreements had been signed but my new flat was left waiting for broadband. Since my work is all home-based and requires the internet, there was little I could do, so I decided that this was the perfect time to book an overnight trip to Wigtown.

I went online, searched for places to stay in Wigtown, and quickly found a great priced room available for one night at the Hillcrest House B&B. My goal in Wigtown was to be nosy, get a general feel for the place, and go around all the book shops and dig the owners’ brains for any tips and advice for anyone who is thinking about setting up a book shop for the first time. (I also personally aimed to buy a book from every book shop in the town.)

Now for those of you who don’t know, Wigtown is a little town in the Dumfries and Galloway region in the Southwest of Scotland. It has a population of around 1,000 people and is home to several, independent, second-hand book shops. Now this may not seem like a lot at first glance, but it means there’s one book shop or book café for every 100 residents. To put this into perspective, Edinburgh would probably read more »

Blog 24: If you can’t write, then READ instead.

Sometimes writers just don’t feel like writing. We’re all human at the end of the day and sometimes we are busy but often we have times where we lack motivation. I’ve spent the last couple of days distracted by other things in my life and unable to write a word. Even writing this blog has been difficult. I’ve been umming and ahhing about what topic to cover and how to give old topics a new spin, but my brain wouldn’t work and I was getting nowhere with it. Then it struck me, ironically I thought to myself ‘why don’t I write about not writing?’ I dug into my old topics and decided to take the advice I had already written in other blogs, if you can’t write, then READ instead.

Some people would probably groan at the very idea of reading a book. Unlike listening to the latest chart songs, books require hours of dedication and in our busy world some would say that they simply do not have enough time. However, not all books are epic fantasy novels with hundreds of sequels and prequels, there are short stories out there too.

Why am I championing reading? read more »

Blog 23: Inspiring Authors

There have been a number of authors who have inspired me over the years and some of them I have only discovered recently. Whether they have made me laugh, cry, or just hooked me into buying more of their work, there are just some books that you will talk about and remember forever.

Unfortunately I don’t have the time to write about all the authors who have inspired me right now, so I’ll save them for future blogs. However, I have noticed a certain trend that crops up amongst some of my favourite books. If the author’s writing style or ideas are quirky, funny, clever and/or unusual, then it will most likely snag my attention. With that knowledge in mind, I couldn’t resist writing about these three particular gentlemen… read more »

Blog 22: Reactions Make Stories Believable!

Emotions

Have you ever read a book where a character does or says something that seems to be completely bizarre? I don’t mean a plot-twist, I mean when a character literally does not follow ‘normal human behaviour’ causing the story to lose its believability and you, as the reader, end up questioning what planet the author was living on when they wrote their book? Unfortunately this seems to happen from time to time and it can cause readers to lose interest in, or give up on, a book entirely.

As much as every person is unique and reacts differently to different situations, and of course you will always have the anomalies (or rather the few that don’t behave like the majority), sometimes characters react in ways that you just cannot fathom, and when this happens your brain will point out everything that it views as flaws. Sometimes this is down to the individual reader but often it is the author’s fault, whether it be poor writing, or poor structural editing, or a seemingly lack of understanding in basic human reactions. Sometimes authors write sentences, paragraphs and even chapters that your brain just cannot get on board with. Before I go further, it is important to point out here that not everyone will enjoy or understand a particular book, everyone has different tastes, and even the famous authors receive bad reviews. read more »