Sunday, 31 May 2009

The Sixth Best Piece of Writing Advice I've Ever Received

Yesterday I wrote about the five best pieces of writing advice I've ever received. Afterwards I realised that there is a sixth piece of writing advice which I should mention.
  • Write Every Day.
Again this is a piece of advice I've received from many places, and it's a good one.

And yet it's not a rule I'm always good at following. I usually write at least a couple of hundred words in a day. I have numerous tricks that I have previously posted about for fitting in time to write when I'm busy. But sometimes - like yesterday - I fail to write at all. In this case it was because I was spring cleaning all day, and then too tired in the evening. The result - my momentum is gone and I need to regain it this evening. Missing one day is problematic, but missing two might turn into a habit, and I don't want that.

So even though I've been cleaning again all day, I'm tired and I have to get up at 6am tomorrow for work, nonetheless I will write at least 250 words before I sleep tonight.

Hopefully that will be enough to get the ball rolling again.

Saturday, 30 May 2009

The Five Best Pieces of Writing Advice I've Ever Received

Writing books and websites are full of advice - some of it good, some of it not so good. Over the years I've found the best pieces of advice are - quite naturally - repeated again and again. So I thought I'd gather up the five best pieces to pass on via this blog.

  1. If you catch an adjective, kill it. Mark Twain (not in person obviously). It's one of those show not tell pieces of advice. Adjectives are a form of telling and as such should usually be avoided.
  2. Resist the urge to explain. As phrased in "Self-Editing for Fiction Writers" which I reviewed here. Again explaining is telling, and worse your readers aren't stupid. If you feel the need to explain what's happening either you're doing it wrong (you shouldn't need to explain) or you're underestimating your readers which will annoy them.
  3. Lock up your inner editor. Write when you write. Edit when you edit. NaNoWriMo. It's kind of the entire reason for NaNo. If you start second guessing yourself and editing before you've finished you'll never finish. If I had a pound for every time I've been caught out by this one I'd be rich. No matter how bad you think your first draft is (and it probably is) finish it before you edit it.
  4. Dialogue in fiction should capture the essence of speech without its confusion. This is my own way of phrasing advice I've got from many places. People don't talk in proper grammar, so you shouldn't feel contrained to write dialogue that way. However if you stop and listen to a conversation sometime it's full of missing bits, interruptions, ums and ahs, and other confusions that would make a written dialogue unreadable. Therefore dialogue in fiction needs to seem natural without being natural. It's all about balance.
  5. All writing rules are guidelines. Also from "Self-Editing for Fiction Writers". Any rule of writing - no matter how good - will not apply in every case and half the trick is knowing when to ignore the rules.
I hope you find these pieces of advice as useful as I have.

Friday, 29 May 2009

Fiction Book Review - The Dracula Tape

Note: This is a version of a review I have previously posted elsewhere. Should you find a review of this book anywhere on the net under the name Shutsumon or Firebird157 they're me.


The Dracula Tape by Fred Saberhagen is a book with the power to make me go WOOT. Well it's got vampires in it which helps. But more importantly this is a bloody good book!

Back when I first read it in 2000 I wrote the following review on Amazon.

"This is a gem in my opinion. The case for the defense as it were and in places it truely tears the prosecution (Dracula by Bram Stoker of course :-)) to shreds. In others the defense case has it's own weaknesses but I suspect this was deliberately done by Saberhagen. There are three sides to every story, your side, my side and the truth inbetween. So now we have two sides... will we ever have the third? Well not until the Dracula tape goes out of Copyright I guess :-). That's the one problem the dracula tape, it does quote large chunks of Dracula verbatim, then again it never claims to do otherwise. This is not a book that could have been written while the original was still in copyright. Then again we have our imaginations... don't we."

I stick by this even now nine years later. (Though hopefully with better punctuation and without the missing words). This book is still a gem.

It's no spoiler to say that this novel consists of Dracula telling his version of the events of "Dracula" by Bram Stoker to the descendents of Jonathan and Mina Harker while they tape it. That's just the starting point for a very interesting sideways look at "Dracula".

Saberhagen's novel is in many ways a deconstruction of Stoker's most famous work. It gleefully points out all the plot holes in "Dracula". Plot holes that when considered at length make Stoker's storyline a real mess. I will say no more, because if I describe the plot holes there's no point in reading Saberhagen's classy tale.

It's these plot holes that allow Saberhagen to have Dracula make a compelling -- if occasionally rocky -- case in his own defense.

The book is actually the first in a series but I have only read the original book.

My verdict: Classy, witty and very imaginative. This is definately a novel I recommend to anyone and everyone.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

The Dreaded Fight Scene

(edit - 22/6/08 - if you found this post while searching for help writing fight scenes, you may find the post I wrote today about writing fight scenes more useful than this post.)

I've hit the climatic scene in "The Opening". It's a scene that contains some combat and I dislike writing fight scenes. Actually that's an understatement. I hate writing them. Combat is a weakness in my writing. It always feels stilted and somehow off to me.

Nothing - not even a raving plot disaster - creates writer's block in me like a fight scene. But I will not grind to a halt for six months because I don't feel competent. It's got to be done and it's got to be done by tomorrow night, because I won't have much writing time at the weekend as I'm doing the much needed Spring Clean.

Why - you may wonder - does she write stories with fight scenes in them if she hates writing them? Simply because the kind of story I like to write often demands them. I like this story. I even like this scene. I just don't like the process of getting it down on paper.

Having said that the fight scene in "Moonlight and Memories" turned out surprisingly well once I finally wrote it. So maybe I'm imaginining things.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Writing Book Review - First Draft in 30 Days

Some writing books tell you exactly what they do on the cover.

Some don't.

"First Draft in 30 Days: A Novel Writer's System for Building a Complete and Cohesive Manuscript" by Karen Wiesnar is the latter I'm afraid. This is not a book about writing your first draft. It's a book describing an Outlining method.

Admittedly it is a very detailed outlining method which the author claims can function as a first draft, but it's still an outline.

Having said that it's not a bad Outlining method. I'd really like to use it sometime because it seems like it could be very useful. Unfortunately, just like with the Snowflaking method, I find the 30 Day time period a bit disconcerting. (Okay I'm impatient and want my Outline now when I outline). For people who want to try a really deep and detailed Outline this method could be really good. She does a very good job of explaining and illustrating her method using works by famous authors as examples.

And this book has a lot of added value as well. The section on research is useful, and the worksheets at the back are excellent - as well as the ones needed for her outlining method there are also character capsule sheets (which I use all the time because they're just that good), setting capsules, dialogue specific sheets (where you define any dialogue quirks a character has).

All in all this is one of those books you need to thumb through before you decide if you want to buy it. It's about one of those that's about the author's method. It works for them, but it might not work for you. You only want to buy it if it's useful.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Is it Writer's Block if You're Still Writing?

I've hit one of those points with "The Opening" where everything has slowed right down but hasn't yet stopped. I'm hoping I can break through without it ever stopping because until yesterday evening everything was going fine.

The issue is with one particular scene which wasn't in the original outline, but which it became apparent I needed it. Unfortunately in the words of William Blake it's a case of “the road to excess leads to the palace of wisdom...for we never know what is enough until we know what is more than enough.” By which I mean, yes, now there's rather too much information in that scene - and a good chunk of it is world relevant but not really story relevant. Would that be accidental worldbuilding? That would be kind of appropriate given the subject of yesterday's blog.

Logically I know I can revamp the scene correctly in the rewrite but my brain is saying "What the heck is this and why have we written it?" Well mostly it sort of just happened. I guess this was stuff about the story world which my brain needed to get out on paper for future reference. Best of all the stuff that I got down so unexpectedly gels perfectly with what I already knew about this particular world, which shows how coherent it is in my mind. I'm happy about that. Now I just need to make it plausible to other people, because it does tend towards the weird.

Anyway as a result of this - um - writer's bottleneck (it's not a block it's a temporary constriction of flow) I didn't reach 5,000 words yesterday and I'm still lagging behind today. But I will persevere and finish this by the weekend. Even if it kills me (metaphorically speaking anyway).

Monday, 25 May 2009

About Worldbuilding

I love worldbuilding. I don't always take the most systematic approach to it, but I love developing worlds in my head. I think I've been doing it since I was a little girl. In fact I've probably created more fantasy worlds than I've ever written stories in. I create worlds in my head for fun, and them some of them generate plot bunnies. Fortunately I'm pretty good at remembering details and making sure new additions to the setting gel with what I've come up with previously. Coherency is important in worldbuilding.

When I do start trying to create a world using a more systematic method I tend to end up a little frustrated. Most worldbuilding methods seem to assume you already have a story in mind and start asking questions about mood and things. I tend to get mood for my stories from the setting rather than the other way round. I guess that's my fault for being all topsy turvy in the way I do things.

It gets more interesting when you're writing Contemporary Fantasy and similar. If your fantasy is set in the real world (or more accurately an approximation there of) then you'd think there's not a lot of worldbuilding to be done. Hum - wrong. You may not have to create Britain (or wherever you're setting your story) but if you have speculative elements you need to work out how they fit in. Secret cabals of psychic, werewolves, wizards, vampires, purple people eaters or whatever need coherent explanations of their subcultures and explanations of how they remain secret. Now these may never make it into the story (just like research and backstory you include only as much as is needed) but they are necessary so you know what's going on.

The Links:

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Writing Progress Report and Plans

I've now written over 3,000 words towards "The Opening" and I don't think I'm quite halfway through it. I guess that means it's another Novelette. I'm sure I'll write even more this evening so I've decided to try and reach 5,000 words by the end of tomorrow. That would make my target of finishing the first draft by the end of the week very achievable.

But you know how I mentioned that my outlines are loose enough that my characters can still surprise me? Well it happened again this afternoon. I was writing a scene with the secondary POV character and he reacted in a way I didn't expect, but which fitted his character far better than what I had intended. It doesn't actually change the plot (except I may have to add another scene) but it does change his part in the plot, makes him a deeper character, and - I think - makes things more interesting.

Speaking of Outlining - I haven't actually started on any of the outlines I'm planning yet, but I am intending to use the Outline Your Novel In Thirty Minutes method to start the Outline of "The King's Head" either tonight or tomorrow. And I found some nifty assorted colour notecards while I was in town yesterday that will allow me to assign each POV character a colour when Notecarding.

If I can keep to my goals I should be able to get quite a bit more done before I go back to work on Tuesday.

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Getting out to write

I like getting out of the house to write. As I said on Thursday sometimes getting out of my normal writing places spurs my creativity. It certainly did today when as planned I went to a coffee shop and wrote while having lunch. I only wrote a couple of hundred words before I had to leave and go and do my shopping but it was nice.

Other places I like to get out of the house to write in include on a bench in the local park when it's warm and sunny. Since this weekend is supposed to be a good one I may try that tomorrow. I've done some of my best writing in that park.

I'm trying to reach 2,000 words towards "The Opening" by the end of today and since I've already got to 1,600 I think I have a good chance of making that target. I hope I do, I'd hate to fall behind the targets I've given myself.

Now, in the interests of research I'm off to Google Dragon Sightings for there might be Dragons.

Friday, 22 May 2009

Fiction Book Review - The Weirdstone of Brisingamen by Alan Garner

Note - This review is a version of the review I posted on Amazon UK back in 2006. (I have also posted versions in a couple of other places since this one of my favourite novels. Should you find a review of this book anywhere on the net under the name Shutsumon or Firebird157 they're me)


The Weirdstone of Brisingamen by Alan Garner

From early on in the Harry Potter Craze it struck me as strange that people spoke about how 'dark' JKR's novels were. I even heard one person say on TV that he was surprised his children enjoyed such dark books and that she had obviously discovered that kids liked things adults previously had not suspected.

To which I say. "Eh? What? That's not dark."

To be fair I was thinking this before the last three books. Those are definately dark but I would still say Alan Garner's Children's novels are in general darker. The ending of "Elidor" (possibly my least favourite Garner novel with the exception of the non-children's novel "Red Shift" which I utterly loathe) still raises goosebumps when I read it and "The Owl Service" is creepy as all hell. Then there are "The Alderley Tales" this is the collective name for two of his Children's novels "The Weirdstone of Brisingamen" and "The Moon of Gomrath". Today, as I'm sure you gathered, I'm dealing with the first of these.

Weirdstone was first published in 1960 according the copyright notice at the front of my copy and has been in print pretty much ever since -- which was no small achievement in the days before Print on Demand. I first read it the early 1980s and I remember being very impressed by it. I was always heavily into Fantasy due to it being my mother's reading genre of choice. She read Lord of the Rings to me when was 7 or 8 years old and so began my search for other decent fantasy works (because - to be blunt - most of the fantasy novels out there are sheer crap) and on the shelves of Primary School's library I found Weirdstone and borrowed it.

The novel tells the story of how the modern fallout of a century's old theft draws teenage brother and sister Colin and Susan inexorably into the otherworld and forces them to play a key part in the battle. Much to the distress of the wizard Cadellin Silverbrow who just wishes them to be safe and cannot initially figure out why the forces of darkness are apparently targetting them.

But this is no simple tale of good and evil or perhaps more correctly it is not just a simple tale of good and evil. Good and Evil are certainly there and recognisable but they exist at the extremes and most everybody else exists inbetween. There are times when you feel you would like to hit some of the forces of Light over the head with something large and heavy and tell them to stop being such assholes. And unlike in JKR's rather flat characterisations you are meant not to like these characters. (Note - while this is true of Weirdstone it is even truer of the sequel Moon which I will review another time.)

One of the notable things about Weirdstone is that it doesn't start in media res as they say. It takes its time and establishes the character and position of Colin and Susan before the obvious fantasy elements finally appear in Chapter Three. Yet Chapters One and Two are both oddly compelling. The very first scene of the two children in a train compartment on their way to their new home is beautiful in its mundanity -- especially when compared to what lies ahead of the children at Alderley Edge -- because anyone who has ever made a train journey will know exactly what Garner means when he says "And within three minutes they were both poised on the edge of their seats, case in hand and mackintosh over one arm, caught, like every traveller before or since, in that limbo of journey's end, when there is nothing to do and no time to relax. Those last miles were the longest of all." This is perhaps something that can be put down to its age. These days they say that you have to put the body on page one or you won't interest the readers. Maybe they are right but I would point out once again that Garner's books are still in print so they are obviously still finding readers.

In closing there is a Mythical quality to Weirdstone that probably comes from the fact that Garner uses real myth and folklore as the basis of his novel and I heartily recommend it to any fan of fantasy novels who reads this little review. A truely great fantasy gem.

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Fitting in time to write

As I noted in my first post I have no intention of blogging about everyday life except in reguards to how it effects my writing. This post is about just that subject.

Modern life is hectic. I'm single but I still seem to spend half the time chasing my own tail. I work - as my profile says - full time in an office job, I grow my own veg (or try to), I have a dog who needs feeding and walking and similar, I have friends both online and in the analogue world (I will not call it real since the net is real too) and sometimes in the midst of this I have to sleep. There's always 'stuff' demanding attention, so when do I find the time to write?

The answer is deceptively simple. During the week I write in five or ten minute spurts when I have a moment. I don't drive, so I write on the bus to and from work. I write in the canteen at work on breaks and lunch. I even scrawl down some words between bath and bed.

Then of course there are weekends and the day off. There's still stuff demanding my attention on non-work days, but nothing that drags me out of the house for 12 hours (that includes travel time I work a ten hour day) so I'm able to fit in more writing if I put my mind to it. Writing is something I do because I enjoy it, so I can usually find time to do some at least. It's payday tomorrow and I need to go to town on Saturday to do the shop, so I may detour to Costa with my trusty pad and pen and write while munching and slurping. I can't do it often - more's the pity - but I find a change of scenery does wonders for my creativity. The three day weekend approaches and I want to be well on the way to finishing the first draft of the "The Opening" by the time I go back to work on Tuesday morning.

Where do I stand with it now? Well as of getting home today I'd written just over 900 words and I intend to make it to over 1,000 words of story written before bed.

The moral of this story - if you can't set aside a block of time to write carry a pad and pen and write when you can.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Writing Book Review - Self-Editing for Fiction Writers

There are three kinds of writing books.

  • Those that try to tell you how to get published. These books generally claim to have found the magic formula to get publishers to accept your book. The problem with this - as the blog entry I linked in my previous post pointed out - is that there is no magic formula.
  • Then there are those that try to tell you how to write in the first place. They tend to be a formula the writer found worked for them to get the words out and therefore assume will work for everyone. They won't but they will work for some people and at the very least they give insight into the creative process.
  • Then there are those that assume you have a functiomal first draft, but that being a first draft it's rather crappy and you want to make it better. These tend to be the most useful kind - in my opinion anyway.
"Self-Editing for Fiction Writers second edition" by Renni Browne and Dave King is the third kind of writing book. And in my opinion it is possibly the best of its ilk. The authors are not fiction writers but professional editors. They know their business and it shows. And when I say they are editors I don't mean copy-editors or proofreaders. The cover nothwithstanding this is not a book about grammar and spelling. It's a book about rewriting and I really, really like it.

The book opens with a chapter on "Show and Tell" which not only gives the best explanation of this fraught and confusing subject I've ever read, but also explains when it's not just okay but better to tell rather than show. This sets the pattern for the rest of the book. They give you the guidelines but also advise you that sometimes it's fine to break the rules they set out.

One of my favourite things about this book is that at the end of each of chapter there are exercises. They give passages containing the problems they've highlighted in the chapter and you get to edit it. Their answers are in the back of the book, but they also say no two people will edit a passage exactly the same way. Practice makes perfect and this book gives you practice before you unleash yourself on your own writing.

There are other books and websites where you can get some or all of this advice, but I have yet to see one that is as comprehensive and comprehensible in its explanations as this one. It's a book to keep and re-read regularly.

Very highly recommended.

Writing - a labour of love

It's my day off so I was mooching round the blogosphere looking for interesting blogs to read between bouts of writing and other stuff.

Anyway I came across the following blog post about "Writing for the Story", which I found interesting and relevant. So I thought I'd share it with you. I think Jennifer St. Clair is right to say that it's too easy to get caught up in the bottom line and writing to sell. We'd all just be better writing what we love because we love it. It's certainly why I write.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

The Pains of Getting Started

Getting started is always the hard bit. I sit there with my Outline, a blank sheet of paper and a pen, and try to make the story appear on the paper. There are few things more intimidating than a blank piece of paper I have to fill with something halfway coherent.

And that first sentence is so important. I need to start the story to get rid of the sea of whiteness but I also need to make that first sentence a good one. While any part of a story including the first line can be rewritten in the edits it's still important to at least get the idea of a hook into that first line. I usually make three or four false starts with any story before I actually manage to start writing.

Once I have ink on paper and the first paragraph or two written it gets easier and writing speeds up. But I have another problem with first drafts - I'm painfully aware how badly I'm writing. I once asked a friend why my first drafts were so bad they made me cringe. She said 'because they're first drafts'. Another friend expressed the same sentiment last night when I was bewailing how badly I was writing to them. They're right of course. With a few exceptions all writers write terrible first drafts - and the ones who don't are rarer than the ones who think they don't. Elegance and flow comes in the rewrite - hopefully anyway.

The reason I mention all this is because I've been battling to start "The Opening" since Sunday and it's taken until today to really get started. I finally have the first two to three hundred words written. I haven't counted them but I know roughly how many words I write in the space I've filled. It's a slow start but should pick up momentum over the next few days and with the bank holiday weekend ahead I'm hoping I can get the first draft written and typed in by the end of May and start on the Outlines I want to have done by the end of June. The sooner it's written the sooner it can be left to brew before I embark on the rewrite.

So there's a brief summary of where my writing projects stand as of today. :-)

Monday, 18 May 2009

About Outlining

I never used to outline my stories. I've always liked writing by the seat of my pants and not knowing where I'm going to end up. Trouble is I usually ended up nowhere, hopelessly confused or up the creek without a paddle.

Eventually I realised that if I was ever going to finish a story I was going to have outline at least the basics of the plot.

The thing was I didn't have the faintest idea how to write an Outline and, to be honest, a lot of writing books gloss over that bit. I tried writing my story in the present tense in a page or two of A4, which was what most of them seemed to suggest. It just didn't work for me. I tried writing single paragraph summaries of each chapter - that was a little better, but not good enough.

So I threw myself on the mercy of the Internet and consulted the great oracle Google. What I found was that there are a great many ways of outlining and while all of them suited some writers none of them suited every writer.

Yay! I wasn't a failure I just needed to find the right method or methods. So I set out to try and find a method of outlining that suited me - and in the end I did. More than one actually.

It's probably significant that all the stories I have finished have been the ones I outlined. I've come to think of outlining as important this last couple of years.

Having said that I don't write super-tight outlines even now. There'a lot of wiggle room and the characters still slip the leash and surprise me sometimes. That's part of the fun for me though. What they don't do is suddenly throw up roadblocks to story progression that rival mount Everest any more.

However I'm not going to sit here and tell you how I outline, it's someone elses method and they deserve the credit. So without further ado here is a list of links to helpful sites about Outlining methods - not all of these methods worked for me, but that doesn't mean they won't work for you.

  • Notecarding - This is absolutely my favourite method of outlining - and it works just as well with postit notes on a wall as it does with notecards on the carpet. :-)
  • Outline Your Novel In Thirty Minutes - I like this one too. I use it for outlining more character driven stories and you really can get a basic outline writen in thirty minutes to an hour.
  • Snowflaking - I've never actually been able to pull this one off. I like it in theory, but somehow I never quite get it to work. It's a good method though and a lot of people swear by it. I'm going to give it another go when I outline my Nano 2009 novel in September.
  • It's Just a Phase - To be honest I don't really get on with this one, but it works for its creator and a lot of other people. It's just matter of taste and it might be more to your taste than it is mine.
  • Novel Outlining 101 - This looks like a form of the chapter summarising method to me. As I said it'd never really worked for me, but again it works for a lot of people. And I love the way the creator actually demonstrated it by outlining her post first.
Five links. That's probably more than enough to get you started. Hope you found this post helpful.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

So where am I at?

So where am I at with this writing game?

Well my first completed novel first draft is sitting on my hard drive and a flash drive (backup backup I'm never losing a load of what I've written again). It'll likely stay there untouched for another couple of months and then it will be hit with the edit stick.

At the moment I'm trying to get to grips with the art and science of short story writing. I've never been very good at short story writing - they always grow out of control - so it's time to get to grips with that.

Just this weekend I finally finished the second draft of a werewolf short story "Moonlight and Memories" (terrible working title that I can't seem to come up with an alternative to) that's been in the offing for ages. Well at 7,742 words it's more of a novelette but it's one of the shortest things I've ever written and hopefully I can shave a bit more off it in the next edit.

Today I'm looking at an outline for a futuristic fantasy short story/novelette I outlined ages ago and trying to work up a head of steam to start writing it. Starting is the hardest bit I find. I hate staring at blank paper. It's called "The Opening" and it's very very weird.

I'm also at various stages of brewing up outlines for three other short stories.

  • "The King's Head" is a ghost story that's been in my head for a while and just needs a little push to come out onto paper in outline form at least. The title refers to the pub where it is set not a decapitated monarch.
  • "Healing the Sunbird" is a full blown fantasy but very vague as yet. I know the set up and have an idea of the ending but I'm not sure how I'm getting from A to B yet.
  • "There Might be Dragons" is - hum - a slightly historical contemporary fantasy mystery set in a very exclusive boarding school in the 1970s. And it actually does involve a dragon and a nosey cryptozoologist, but no magic. At least not that is referred to as magic - I am not getting into the Psi as magic (where magic means unscientific) debate. It's natural in my world the real world doesn't count. There certainly no Harry Potter ripping off here trust me. (And I wouldn't even be worried if I hadn't mentioned the words Boarding School). Anyway this one needs a lot of research. I know sweet FA about Boarding Schools beyond Enid Blyton, and I doubt that's a good source.
It's mid-May now and I intend to have at least finished the first draft of "The Opening" and outlined the other three by the end of June.

So that's basically where I'm at for now.

New writing blog - introduction

I deleted the old one because it wasn't working the way I hoped. Mostly because my priorities changed. I'm no longer concentrating on just one project, so I thought a more generalised writing blog was called for.

So what will you find here?

  1. General stuff about my writing projects. What I'm writing and how the projects are going and if I ever manage to get anything published. *laughs*
  2. Reviews of writing books I've read.
  3. Discussion of how I write and prepare for writing along with links to websites I've found useful. *Caveat - I'm not published, so please don't imagine I'm some sort of guru. I'm not, but amateurs can I have useful input too.)
  4. Reviews of novels I've read and (usually) liked. I add the like because I'll only review books I manage to finish and I generally only finish books I like (though there is one exception in the next few weeks). This is not to say I'll splurge at you about books I like. I can be rather hard on them even though I like them. Nothing and no one is perfect (though my first planned review is for one of my favourite novels of all time - The Weirdstone of Brisingham). My reviews will often be expansions of my Amazon reviews of the novels in question.
What won't you find here?

  1. Stuff about everyday life unless it impinges on my writing or I haven't blogged for a while and I stick up an explanatory post.
  2. Stuff about my adventures in growing my own veg (I'm making another blog for that)
  3. Stuff generally not related to reading or writing.
I have to say that I'm notoriously bad at updating my blogs regularly, but I am going to try and do better with this one.