Books I want to read in ’19

Last year I chose some books I wanted to read in 2018. I managed to read a lot of them, except a few which haven’t been released yet, and are included below, and The Surface Breaks, Binti 3 and Barbed Wire Heart (I haven’t bought them yet – doing that asap).

I feel like there’s lots of books that should be on this list that I don’t know about, so – what am I missing?!

Previously: 15 books I want to read in ’15 | 16 books I want to read in ’16 | 17 books I wanted to read in ’17 | Books I Want to Read in 2018


The Paper & Hearts Society by Lucy Powrie

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I’ve been pals with Lucy for like a million years now (she gave me some baby guinea pigs, hence winning my loyalty for life) so I’m as proud as anything that her first book is coming out. It sounds just like my thing so: I’M READY.

Tabby Brown is tired of trying to fit in with her classmates. She doesn’t want to go to parties at the weekend – in fact, she would much rather snuggle up on the sofa with her favourite book. It’s like she hasn’t found her people…

That is until she moves to a new town where a book club, The Paper & Hearts Society, is recruiting. Tabby might just be in luck. Enough of her old “friends” who only talk to her when they need something. It’s time for Quidditch themed fancy dress parties, games like “shut up and Shakespeare” … and LOTS of chocolate.

Fierce Fragile Hearts by Sara Barnard

Sara is finally releasing the sequel to her debut that we’ve all been waiting for. I’m really interested to see what these characters have been up to, and what they do next.39354084

Fierce Fragile Hearts is the stunning companion novel to Sara Barnard’s YA bestseller Beautiful Broken Things. It is about leaving the past behind, the friends who form your future, and learning to find love, in all its forms.

Two years after a downward spiral took her as low as you can possibly go, Suzanne is starting again. Again. She’s back in Brighton, the only place she felt she belonged, back with her best friends Caddy and Rosie. But they’re about to leave for university. When your friends have been your light in the darkness, what happens when you’re the one left behind?

 

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Stormsong by C.L. Polk

I loved Witchmark, a magical gay love story in the style of The Watchmaker of Filigree Street. It was action-packed and plot twisty while retaining a very dreamy, comforting, whimsical feel. Basically: all of my favourite tropes. I’m really excited to see where the sequel goes.

Magical cabals, otherworldly avengers, and impossible love affairs conspire to create a book that refuses to be put down.

Dame Grace Hensley helped her brother Miles undo the atrocity that stained her nation, but now she has to deal with the consequences. With the power out in the dead of winter and an uncontrollable sequence of winter storms on the horizon, Aeland faces disaster. Grace has the vision to guide her parents to safety, but a hostile queen and a ring of rogue mages stand in the way of her plans. There’s revolution in the air, and any spark could light the powder. What’s worse, upstart photojournalist Avia Jessup draws ever closer to secrets that could topple the nation,and closer to Grace’s heart.

Can Aeland be saved without bloodshed? Or will Kingston die in flames, and Grace along with it?

Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid40554141

By the author of one of my favourite books of the year, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, which is about old Hollywood royalty, publicity manoeuvring & more scandals than you can wave an Oscar at.

Everyone knows Daisy Jones & The Six, but nobody knows the reason behind their split at the absolute height of their popularity . . . until now.

Daisy is a girl coming of age in L.A. in the late sixties, sneaking into clubs on the Sunset Strip, sleeping with rock stars, and dreaming of singing at the Whisky a Go Go. The sex and drugs are thrilling, but it’s the rock and roll she loves most. By the time she’s twenty, her voice is getting noticed, and she has the kind of heedless beauty that makes people do crazy things.

Also getting noticed is The Six, a band led by the brooding Billy Dunne. On the eve of their first tour, his girlfriend Camila finds out she’s pregnant, and with the pressure of impending fatherhood and fame, Billy goes a little wild on the road.

Daisy and Billy cross paths when a producer realizes that the key to supercharged success is to put the two together. What happens next will become the stuff of legend. The making of that legend is chronicled in this riveting and unforgettable novel, written as an oral history of one of the biggest bands of the seventies. 

The True Queen by Zen Cho27818782

Another one that was on my 2018 TBR list too, this series is the perfect mix of the magical regency London of Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, Georgette Heyer’s shamelessly trope-filled romances, and the charm and relationship dynamics of Sabriel. The whole book make me squirm with delight – from the UNICORNS to GIANT FURIOUS MERMAIDS to the CLOUD FLYING – I’m really excited to see what goes on in the sequel.

In the follow-up to the “delightful” Regency fantasy novel (NPR.org) Sorcerer to the Crown, a young woman with no memories of her past finds herself embroiled in dangerous politics in England and the land of the fae. 

When sisters Muna and Sakti wake up on the peaceful beach of the island of Janda Baik, they can’t remember anything, except that they are bound as only sisters can be. They have been cursed by an unknown enchanter, and slowly Sakti starts to fade away. The only hope of saving her is to go to distant Britain, where the Sorceress Royal has established an academy to train women in magic.

If Muna is to save her sister, she must learn to navigate high society, and trick the English magicians into believing she is a magical prodigy. As she’s drawn into their intrigues, she must uncover the secrets of her past, and journey into a world with more magic than she had ever dreamed.

Famous in a Small Town by Emma Mills35526663

I’ve read the first draft of this, and it was so sweet and heartwarming and cute (just like all of Emma’s books – PLEASE read them if you haven’t already). I’m really excited to revisit these characters in the final version.

For Sophie, small-town life has never felt small. She has the Yum Yum Shoppe, with its famous fourteen flavors of ice cream; her beloved marching band, the pride and joy of Acadia High (even if the football team disagrees); and her four best friends, loving and infuriating, wonderfully weird and all she could ever ask for.

Then August moves in next door. A quiet guy with a magnetic smile, August seems determined to keep everyone at arm’s length. Sophie in particular. Country stars, revenge plots, and a few fake kisses (along with some excellent real ones) await Sophie in this hilarious, heartfelt story.

81DgL6mImkL.jpgOn the Come Up by Angie Thomas

The Hate U Give took the world by storm last year, and I know this is going to do the same. Really thrilled that we’re getting another Angie Thomas book!

Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. As the daughter of an underground hip hop legend who died right before he hit big, Bri’s got massive shoes to fill. But when her first song goes viral for all the wrong reasons, Bri finds herself at the centre of controversy and portrayed by the media as more menace than MC. And with an eviction notice staring her family down, Bri no longer just wants to make it – she has to. Even if it means becoming the very thing the public has made her out to be.

 



A few without covers yet:

York: The Clockwork Ghost by Laura Ruby

A sequel to an excellent middle grade steampunk-y romp around NYC.

Pepperharrow (The Watchmaker of Filigree Street #2) by Natasha Pulley

The next book follows on from Watchmaker. Thaniel and Mori go to Japan, apparently for Thaniel’s health, but he soon realizes that Mori has plenty of other, stranger reasons. Katsu is back, by the way, with a wheel.

Six Jacks by E. Lockhart

An exploration of romantic passion but in a very surreal way, set on an empty college campus.

And some without even titles:

Murder Most Unladylike Mysteries #8 by Robin Stevens

OBVIOUSLY

YA novel 4 by Alice Oseman

I’ve read a bit of this already and it’s going to be so gooood.

The Goblin Emperor #2 by Katherine Addison

Tor.com has announced a sequel to The Goblin Emperor. It is not a direct sequel, but takes place during Maia’s reign.

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Adult books for fans of YA

Maggie Stiefvater recently posted about YA as a genre:

I did a poll last year on my readers’ ages. I got 10k responses. Overwhelmingly they were 18 and up, with the vast majority in the 18-35 range. From a professional writer’s side of the table, I write stories that will please my existing reader base, and my readers are aging. They began reading me in high school and kept reading me. So I age up, up, up — until one could argue I’ve been writing adult books for years now.

But also, I write for me. Stories that intrigue me. Stories that are about questions I’m grappling with, or situations I’ve lived through, or themes I want to live with for a year. And I’m getting older. I began publishing YA when I was 25.

That means I was processing my young adult years. I wrote for myself, which is to say, I was also writing for other young people. However, as I get older, if I still write for myself, without considering my audience . . . I keep writing for the person I am processing.

If I want to write for teens, I will need to add in a conscious filter to be sure I’m writing a YA story. Because otherwise, guess who loves my books? 18-35 year olds. SHOCKING

YA is no longer an age range, it’s a philosophy, it’s a promise of a certain kind of character-driven story, and that’s why readers come to it no matter what age they are. We [need to] find another way to label them so we understand that these books embody that immediate, close POV, progressive, genre-combining power that draws readers to YA now, without taking teen shelfspace.

I say this at every event I do these days: YA is changing! It’s not fiction for teenagers anymore, because older people read it too. There needs to be a distinction between ‘teen’ and ‘YA’ fiction. We’re in a place where books get criticised for having characters who ‘act like children’, in a book for children, about children, because there are so many books about early-twenties characters in the YA section, that it skews what the genre should be.

A significant subset of YA books are in that genre because there’s no other category where young writers can publish the kinds of books they want to write, without calling it YA. This is really frustrating, because it limits the type of books I can write.

I write characters, not age-ranges. I would write the same protagonist in the same way if they were 17 or 21 – because I’m writing a character who I want to write and read about, who I can relate to, who experiences the world in the way that a 26-year-old like me does now. But there’s currently an upper limit on the age I can give that character, because if they were a few years old, what genre would it be – adult sci-fi? That’s not where my readers are. That’s not where readers who are looking for the kind of books that I am writing are going.

In ten years, will I be writing YA? I think I’ll be writing the same kind of books, but they won’t be called YA anymore. There will be a new category that makes more sense of the chaotic jumble of books being marketed at some nebulous demographic none of us quite understand. The genre is in huge flux right now, which is incredibly exciting from a writing perspective – we’re shaping the literary landscape into what we want it to be.

I don’t have an answer to this – I just wanted to share some of my thoughts here, and Maggie’s, who consistently tweets about this in a thoughtful way that makes me think. Maggie also mentioned some books she loves which are adult but embody the tone of what we currently think of as YA genre (….for now.)

Another observation: I’ve actually read two adult novels in the past year’s time that are classified as adult and felt like YA (philosophically, tonally. They were All the Birds in the Sky, by and The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by . They belong roundly in adult, but I think they’re also what adult YA readers are looking for when they come to YA. I think . . .

This was a huge eye-opening moment for me, because a few of these are my favourite books, and this is why I love them. So I thought I’d share some other books which feel like YA, but are shelved as Adult fiction (but I hugely recommend The Watchmaker of Filigree Street too.)

Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers – Becky Chambers never fail to make my heart brim with love for humans and her wonderful visions of aliens. Her books always offer such unique and optimistic looks on difficult issues like gender, social equality, racism and hope. I wouldn’t mind living in her future, which isn’t something I say often about science fiction.

The Gloaming by Kirsty Logan – Magic and fairy tales, families and death, stone and water and bones. The writing is so poetic and easy to read, and I swallowed it up.

Havemercy by Jaida Jones and Danielle Bennett – A fantasy world of mechanic dragons and their hyper-masculine riders, and the magicians they team up with. Delicious indulgent fun.

Glamourist Histories series by Mary Robinette Kowal  – Magical regency romp around the world with magic and science and the boundary between the two.

A Conspiracy of Truths by Alexandra Rowland – An old man is trapped in prison, accused of witchcraft. An old man who has spent his life learning how to tell stories, and manipulate perceptions. An old man who will do anything to get free. An old man, who single-handedley manages to take down an entire government from a prison cell…..

Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho – This is the perfect mix of the magical regency London of Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, Georgette Heyer’s shamelessly trope-filled romances, and the charm and relationship dynamics of Sabriel. The whole book make me squirm with delight – from the UNICORNS to GIANT FURIOUS MERMAIDS to the CLOUD FLYING. Just – I want to tell you about every scene, because every scene is a delight. If you’re looking for more diverse fantasy, then this is the place to look.

Do you agree that there’s such a thing as ‘YA style’ adult fiction? What books do you think fit that tone? (Because I want to read them all.)

Carnegie nomination for The Loneliest Girl in the Universe!

Carnegie

I’m absolutely chuffed to bits that The Loneliest Girl in the Universe is nominated for the 2019 Carnegie medal! I’ve been reading the medal-winning books my whole life, so this feels very surreal and lovely. It’s made even more special because it was nominated by librarians – I love you all and the work you do. Thank you so much, from the bottom of my heart. Longlist is announced in February, so keep your fingers and toes crossed for me….

Also, I made a lil Venn diagram to show what my next book is going to be about. It zooms off to the printers this week, and I’m going to be waiting by the front door for my first copy to arrive.

venn diagram

In honour of NaNoWriMo: how to start a novel

I happen to be planning my eighth book this week (one I don’t imagine I’ll start writing for six months, but I like to give myself a good run up) so I thought seeing as I’m starting this new project completely from scratch and it’s NaNoWriMo I’d talk a bit about what I do in each step and keep you up to date on my progress.

I start with a bullet point list on my phone that I update whenever I have an idea connected to the book, whether that’s a character or line or plot point. This can be going on for months before I do anything with it.

Then when I’m ready to start working on it I’ll transfer it to a Word document and try to build it into a description of what happens. At this point I just write down absolutely every idea I have connected to the story, because once it’s out of my head I start coming up with the next part.

I then force it into some sort of outline – really roughly at this point, with placeholders like: “and then something really dramatic happens to [x] that makes Natalie really mad at John”.

I’ll also do some character building here, but not, like sophisticated character building. Just pop culture reference points. More like “john is the ravenclaw and talks like stiles from teen wolf. Natalie is the hufflepuff and is a Lady.” At this point I just need very big picture descriptions because I don’t want to pin down the characters before I start – I want it to be flexible so it can go in whatever direction the plot needs.

I keep adding absolutely anything I think of to this planning document, shaping it into a more formal outline as I go. Anything like dialogue ideas or jokes goes in comments on the document, so I can send a clean version to my agent when the outline is done.

Right now, I’m halfway through writing my outline. Its in full sentences and has a very complete beginning, a vague middle and an end point I need to get to. Over the next few days while I work on other projects (doing the last proofread of The Quiet before it goes to print, doing an event at Clexacon) I’m going to add as many bullet point ideas to my list as I can, so I can build the outline out more when I come back to it. Then I’ll get started on writing the first chapter. After that, it’s over to my agent – if she doesn’t like it, I go back to the drawing board.

Now on the nano website because I like having a record of what I’m working on each year: https://nanowrimo.org/participants/flossiepots/novels

and on Tumblr: http://laurenjames.tumblr.com/tagged/earth

10 graphic novels recommendations

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The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage: The (Mostly) True Story of the First Computer by Sydney Padua

Meet Victorian London’s most dynamic duo: Charles Babbage, the unrealized inventor of the computer, and his accomplice, Ada, Countess of Lovelace, the peculiar proto-programmer and daughter of Lord Byron.

Lovelace and Babbage have completely captured my heart. I can’t remember the last time I loved characters more. They have such a great male/female friendship, and they are both oddball and fun and I just – I love them so much. If I ever get access to a time machine, my new answer to what I would do with it is: GO AND HANG OUT WITH LOVELACE AND BABBAGE.

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Runaways by Brian K. Vaughan and Rainbow Rowell

Meet Alex, Karolina, Gert, Chase, Molly and Nico – a group of teens whose lives are about to take an unexpected turn…

This is the teen superheroes comic you’ve always wanted. The original run was written a few years ago, and has since been rebooted by YA superstar Rainbow Rowell. If you want a long, angst-filled read, this series is a great way to get into comics for a YA reader. Then read Fangirl.

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Heartstopper by Alice Oseman

This UK based contemporary romance between two secondary school boys is beautifully drawn and written, and ties into the YA novel Solitaire. Meet Charlie and Nick, and fall in love.

 

 

The Sandman by Neil Gaiman

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A wizard attempting to capture Death to bargain for eternal life traps her younger brother Dream instead. After his escape, Dream goes on a quest for his lost objects of power.

This is the series that got me into graphic novels. It’s very long, and I distinctly remember the desperate search over a few years to track them all down in my local library system. It follows a group of immortal siblings, centred around Dream (the ‘sandman’), as well as his goth sister Death. It features cameos from Shakespeare and others. It captures the nineties perfectly, and I promise it will keep you hooked until the very end.

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Giant Days by John Allison

Going off to university is always a time of change and growth, but for Esther, Susan, and Daisy, things are about to get a little weird.

Set at a British university, this series about the adventures of three girls is one of the most perfectly English things you can imagine. It also now has an excellent tie-in novel by UK YA superstar Non Pratt!

 

Saga by Brian K. Vaughan

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Saga is the sweeping tale of one young family fighting to find their place in the worlds.

This name might be familiar, as Brian K. Vaughan wrote Runaways, above. You can’t get far in the world of graphic novels without reading one of his works, as he’s the creator of some of the most original work out there today. Saga is an inventive, hugely ambitious science fiction, well, saga, told from the point of view of a baby throughout her entire childhood. There are bar fights, heists, prison break-outs, spaceship speed races, western gunfights and giant monsters. It truly has everything, and I love it.

 

28587971The One Hundred Nights of Hero by Isabel Greenberg

In the tradition of The Arabian Nights, a beautifully illustrated tapestry of folk tales and myths about the secret legacy of female storytellers in an imagined medieval world.

Mythical, beautiful, romantic and feminist, there’s really no one else like Greenberg in the UK making graphic novels. Each one is work of art that can be read over and over, just for the pictures. But the story is pretty excellent too.

 

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

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Nimona is an impulsive young shapeshifter with a knack for villainy. Lord Ballister Blackheart is a villain with a vendetta. As sidekick and supervillain, Nimona and Lord Blackheart are about to wreak some serious havoc.

This is a graphic novel, about a shapeshifting girl who forces an Evil Villain to let her be his sidekick. He is a grouchy, one-armed villain with a tragic backstory, and she slowly melts his heart and makes him kind-of happy again. With great diversity, and the strongest of strong female leads (with the best hair), this is a wonder to read.

 

Scott Pilgrim by Bryan Lee O’Malley29800

Scott Pilgrim’s life is totally sweet. He’s 23 years old, he’s in a rockband, he’s “between jobs” and he’s dating a cute high school girl. Nothing could possibly go wrong, unless a seriously mind-blowing, dangerously fashionable, rollerblading delivery girl named Ramona Flowers starts cruising through his dreams and sailing by him at parties.

Funny, slick, silly and supernatural, this comic which inspired the film is a cult classic. It kick-started a lot of the trends in current graphic novels, and it’s really worth a read for that alone – but it’s also a great story in its own right.

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On A Sunbeam by Tillie Walden

Throughout the deepest reaches of space, a crew rebuilds beautiful and broken-down structures, painstakingly putting the past together.

The most beautifully drawn, imaginative graphic novel about space travel. Every page of this was just absolutely stunning, especially the fish spaceships.

A statistical analysis of the science of writing

I finished drafting my seventh novel this week! It’s crazy to me that I’ve written so many books. In a lot of ways, I still feel like I’m only just finding my feet as a writer. The process of writing a book is really mysterious to me, so I wanted to talk about the process of getting a first draft on paper.

I’ve been using a website called mywriteclub for a few years now, long enough to have gathered data on how I wrote three complete novel drafts. The first was a book about ghosts in 2016, which took a full year:

ghost

As you can see, this was a very complicated and drawn out process, as I edited it halfway through drafting (HUGE MISTAKE), taking out 20,000 words and really slowing me down.

The second book I kept a record of was The Quiet at the End of the World in 2017, which took 6 months:

the quiet

This one was a lot more simple, with no editing happening during the writing process (phew!). The third was my current Untitled Project, which took 7 months:

mywriteclub

Again, quite straightforward, but with a very long break in the middle while I did other projects (and also accidentally wrote another novel, which I didn’t use mywriteclub to track – I wrote it too fast, with about 45k written in a fortnight. I know, ridiculous, and definitely an outlier for my writing process).

From these graphs, I can see that I write novels of a pretty consistently length of 70,000 words. I always take at least one break somewhere in the middle (to do edits on a different book), usually for around a month. After I’ve taken a break, I always write a bit faster than before I paused, because my brain has had a chance to decide what comes next. I average around 2500 words a day during sprint times. I usually sprint for a week at that speed before slowing down again. I write a lot in spring, and much less during the summer.

While these graphs are all really different, the books actually always take a similar amount of writing days to complete. My seventh book took around 30 full writing days, as a very rough estimate. Ghost book took 33 days, and The Quiet took 31 days. Those are the days I was increasing my word count, not including the ones where I was plotting the book (or staring at the screen and not making any progress, which happens a lot).

If I’m working ten hours a day, that means each book takes at least 330 hours. According to Microsoft Word, my total editing time on book 7 was 21,000 minutes (350 hours), though I’m not sure how accurate this is, as I’m sure I changed documents a few times, and wrote scenes in other places before pasting them in.

editing time

So, it takes me at least 400 hours to draft a novel. Which is a scary figure to know. Because this book is under contract (i.e. it sold before I started writing it), technically, I could work out my hourly rate. This book will probably take another month to edit, if not longer – say another 400 hours. Then I’ll be promoting and publicising it, online and in person. All of which is unpaid, so the time taken has to be taken account in the earnings from the sale of the book. So – do I make minimum wage from writing a novel, based on the guaranteed income I currently know about? (Assuming it doesn’t ever sell out its advance and make any royalties –  AKA, the worst case scenario.) I think I do. Just.

The fact that I am unsure on that is a very worrying thing, as a full time author. This job is a risk, in a lot of ways. But the fact that even when I’m under contract, I’m still not sure if I’m doing work that will earn me a living wage, shows that some things need to change for authors to have sustainable incomes. An author still puts the same amount of work in, regardless of whether the book is a success or not.

Every writer writes at a different rate. Someone else might write the same novel as me in twice as long, or half the time. Does that change how much they should receive as an advance? Should this vary as they gain more experience and become faster writers? How could such a thing be calculated?

I don’t have any answers to this, I’m just trying to analyse the data I’ve been collecting about my writing over the last few years. Here’s what I know: I work as fast as I can. I have deadlines, and I am very efficient with my time, and at this point in my career, it takes me at least 1000 hours to develop a novel ready for publication, as a very low estimate.

As it supposedly takes 10,000 hours to get good at something, that means that after 7 books I still have a long way to go. I’m very interested to see where these figures change when I reach that point.

Also: I’m sure there are more accurate ways to track the time it takes to write a novel (I think Scrivener can do this?) but, honestly? I think it would stress me out to know a more exact figure that this. Part of the creative process is not knowing how things are going to work out. If I was comparing my drafting to a timeline of the last book I wrote, I think I’d go a little mad!

In other news: I have some upcoming events –

November 3rd-4th: Clexacon, Novotel London West – Tickets here

November 10th: SFX Con 2 at Foyles Charing Cross, London – ‘Tech Wars’ panel with Peter F Hamilton, Richard Morgan, Pat Cadigan and James Smythe. Tickets here

The Quiet at the End of the World comes out in five months, in March! Here’s one of my favourite scenes, of Lowrie having breakfast with her parents and their dogs, Victoria and Albert. It makes me smile even though I’ve read it a hundred times:

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There are now enamel pins and art prints in my etsy shop.

I’ve started a fortnightly books & baking newsletter.

Teachers! I still have a few slots open for events in World Book Day week – which in 2019 falls on the release week for The Quiet at the End of the World! If you’d like your class to help me celebrate, email me.

I’ve given a lot of interviews over the last few years on different blogs, so here is a complete collection of all my answers.

 

 

How to solve ~~writers block~~

Today I am going to talk about some things you can try if you feel like you can’t write.

1) Put your draft on your kindle/print it out, and read it all the way though as a book. Ignore grammar and spelling and just LIVE in your world. Make notes of ideas as you go along.

2) Find some books & films with a similar style to your book, and watch them as a fan. Make notes of the things you LOVE about them & analyse why – why did you choose to write this story? Go back to the roots of your reading self and add more of those things you love to your book

3) Do a deep dive in your characters & write some fanfiction about them. Ignore your plot, ignore your world. Take your characters & just write a scene where they’re hanging out together. Make them fight. Make them kiss. Make them banter. Just get to know them & have fun with it. You might not use the scenes, but keep them at the end of your manuscript anyway. There might be a time in the future where you find a scene they’ll be perfect in. And if not, it will be great for making you ENJOY writing again, if you’re lost.

4) Expand your world. Choose a question from this long list that is somehow tangentially related to your story (e.g. if you’re writing a dystopian where they need to overthrow the government, decide how a political election would work in your world).

5) Make a moodboard or playlist or drawing. Pick out the features you think a future reader will like the most. Add more of them. Try and see your writing from the perspective of your biggest fan.

6) Skip ahead. If you’re stuck, there’s no reason to force yourself to finish a scene before you move on. Write the ones you’ve had in your head that you’re excited to write. Any word count is progress, even if by the time you fill in the gaps it needs rewriting completely

7) Brainstorm new scenes. Don’t try and write them! Just make a list of snippets of dialogue, creepy/funny/tense moments that could bring a scene to life, endearing character traits for side characters, good names.

8) Write something in a different format. If you can’t make progress with prose, write a diary entry, letter, script, social media, text conversation, TV show, fic. It will flex your brain and add something refreshing to the manuscript – it might even give you ideas for new plots

This list has mainly been for MYSELF, because I have to finish this book and I am having the worst time getting my brain in gear. When it’s your job, you have to write even when you don’t want to. These things all help me just DO IT.