A belated writing progress update – eight months later

Hi gang,

On this blog I used to do writing progress updates, and enough has been happening recently that I thought it was about time to dust off the old blog and give you an update.

This series is specifically about a speculative, un-contracted manuscript I’m writing under the codename #ghosthouse. You can read parts one and two first, if you wish, which cover January 2016 – December 2016.

So, I haven’t done much work on the story recently. I’ve spent the last four months writing my next contracted book for Walker, #lowrie, on a really tight deadline. It was challenging to write a first draft so fact (the first draft of ghost house took a year, from start to finish) but I’m really proud that I did it in three months. While I’m a bit nervous that my edits will be quite large, I’m overall very happy with the result. It was such a fast and intense drafting process that I didn’t really blog about it, but I might do a discussion post about it when I get my structural edit notes, if that’s something people are interested in.

But now that book is done and with my editors, I can take another look at ghost house!

I sent the first draft to my agent in December, and I haven’t looked at the manuscript since then – eight months ago. Because it’s been so long since I looked at it, and because the reaction to it has been quite muted so far,  I’d kind of accepted that it wasn’t going anywhere. I was kind of thinking that while it was a good writing opportunity, it probably wasn’t going to be published. Walker had said they’d prefer my books to be science fiction, so it didn’t seem like it would fit with them, and I love Walker a lot, so wasn’t really prepared to consider going elsewhere with it.

However, my agent recently read it and said that she really liked it, and thought it was very cinematic, warm and funny. She thought that with some edits we’d have no problem finding a home for it – and she’s really excited to work on it. Hurrah! The manuscript (and this blog series) has been resurrected from the ashes.

She gave me some changes to make, which I’m going to go over in general terms, to show you the kind of things authors might do with their agent before the book gets anywhere near a publisher.

My agent already gave me feedback on the partial 30,000 word manuscript, which I edited with her notes. So technically, this is the second set of edits for this book, even though it’s only the first draft.

She recommended that one of the minor points of view be promoted to a dual protagonist, and become more of a main character. She also wanted me to increase the stakes from the very beginning and make it clear what the dangers and risks of things going wrong are. She wanted a critical scene at the end to be foreshadowed more strongly, so it doesn’t come out of nowhere, and asked for the characters’ individual goals clearer.

So there’s quite a lot to do there – but none of it is really plot things. It’s more about building up the intensity of what’s already there – making subtle things clearer, and trying to make the readers feel the things for the characters which I do, as the author.

I’m really excited to dive back into this book and work on it again. I think the long break will really help in getting a fresh perspective on it – and it’s going to make it so much stronger.

This book was the most fun and enjoyable writing experience I’ve ever had, so I can’t wait to spend more time with my silly ghosts. It was more challenging than anything I’d ever written before too, because it has an ensemble cast who are all point of view characters, and the plot is very complicated and character-driven.

I learnt so much writing it (which is why it took nearly a year!) and it really pushed me as a writer. It has a lot of flaws, but in the eight months since I wrote it, one manuscript later, I think I’ve developed enough as a writer to tackle them and make this the book it is in my head.

My aim as a writer is to always be pushing myself to write new and more difficult things. I don’t want to write lots of similar books in my comfort zone. I want every book to feel like this one did – like I need to work harder and harder to become skilled enough to create the book  I can envision. I’m not quite there yet, but I’m working on it.

This book could so easily have ended up disappearing into a drawer – it nearly was – and I’m so, so glad it has come back out into the light. I can’t wait to get started!

I’m going to be working on it quite slowly, as the priority for the next few months is going to be editing #lowrie for release in 2018. There might not be another update on this book until 2018, depending on how much time I find to work on it. Once I’ve made the changes suggested above, I’ll update you on the next part of the process – getting it published!

In other news:

I’m still offering editorial critiques at the introductory prices here.

I’m thrilled to bits with this stunning SFX magazine review of #theloneliestgirl.
They’ve basically given me the best 25th birthday present ever. 😍
‘Black Mirror-esque’ is truly a blurb to die for.


The Loneliest Girl was also the bestselling title at YALC this year, where it sold out in a few hours (twice!). I am so grateful & overwhelmed & crying a bit. I’ve had the best weekend of my life! Thank you, thank you, thank you, every single one of you at YALC. Here’s some pics of the event:

I finally received the lovely US hardback of The Next Together!

My events schedule is filling up! Over the next few months I’m coming to Edinburgh, Bath, Dublin and LOTS more Northern cities to be announced. I’m so excited to meet more of you!

There’s also been some cool fan stuff come out already:

Moodboard by abookin6pictures

Romy inspired candle by @bookwormcandles (buy here)

Some videos which have gone up recently:

Author Q&A with Alice Oseman

July reads

And that’s (probably) all for now, folks! If you want more #content, you can subscribe to my newsletter here.


New service – editorial critiques

I’m very excited to announce a project I’ve been working on for a while now – I’m going to be offering editorial services.

I’ve been doing this for years for my friends and I really enjoy it and want to do more!

If you have a story you’re working on, and would like some VERY friendly and kind feedback, then get in touch.
There’s no pressure & I’ll be very nice. My experience, testimonials & packages are on my website.

This is an introductory rate which will increase when I’ve been running for a while. So if this is something you’re interested in but aren’t quite ready, let me know and we can book you in for a few months off!

More information here: https://laurenejames.co.uk/editorial-services/

Free novella! 🎉🎉 – Can Clove & Ella raid a castle under siege?

So who would like to see more of Clove and Ella? What about Clove and Ella pulling off a heist? And revealing why Ella was really in Carlisle? THEN I’VE GOT SOME GOOD NEWS 4 U BUDDIES.

As of right now, you can read a free novella by me on Amazon Kindle, or any other eBook retailer, which includes not just one but ALL OF THOSE THINGS.

Kate and Matt got their own short story in Another Together, so I had to give Clove and Ella one too! It’s about Clove and Ella pulling off a heist in 1745. It’s pretty fun.

Here’s some more information. Enjoy!

anotherbeginningA short story set in the world of Lauren James’ Next Together series.

Featuring the much-loved protagonists Clove and Ella, Another Beginning is a companion story to The Last Beginning, set during the siege of Carlisle in 1745.

“Elenore Walker, ancient literature thief. It makes an odd sort of sense, actually,” Clove said.

Clove is working as a maid in the Finchley household while she spies on Katherine Finchley and Matthew Galloway. But her mission is briefly interrupted when fellow maid Ella persuades her to help steal a valuable historical document from the main defence in the city – the castle. The two girls embark on a risky adventure involving scaling castle walls and hiding in the most unlikely of places!

A fast-paced and fun read, perfect for Lauren James’s existing fans, and readers who enjoy historical fiction and romance.

Includes the first chapter of Lauren James’s third novel, The Loneliest Girl in the Universe.

Goodreads | Amazon Kindle | First chapter

Subscribe to my newsletter to find out about other bonus content about my characters.

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A beginner’s guide to space fashion

I’ve also been obsessed with assembling the best space-themed outfit I can, ready for my events about The Loneliest Girl in the Universe. Here’s what I’ve got so far:


If you come across any other glorious space fashion, please send it my way…I’m gonna need a full wardrobe. #authorontour