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On Writing: Heart vs Soul Books

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I had a discussion the other day with a darling CP of mine, all about the concept of Heart and Soul projects.

Dividing books into categories isn’t exactly new, I know. Even Neil Gaiman has said he feels his books have genders. But my stories seem to stem from one of two places: Heart or Soul.

The first book I ever wrote was a Soul book — it had to be, since I spent 10 years of my life writing it — but the one after was a Heart book. I didn’t love it any less, but it didn’t take a piece of me. It was almost MUCH quicker to write! It didn’t require me to bleed into the pages, or encompass my every bit of being. It took me half an hour to outline it, and then about 12 months to write it, on and off.

Soul books drag me into their depths and refuse to let me out til I’ve written them. Even when I get the idea they haunt me, giving me slivers of information at random moments. I could be eating my dinner, suddenly be gripped by a plot solution, and have to find some paper to write it down (this happened recently).

It’s not that I didn’t enjoy writing or reading the Heart Books any less! Heart books tend to be an important story, one I want to read as much as I want to write. I knew that particular Heart books could live happily on shelves and in reader’s hands. It’s just different in feeling as I’m writing them.

Soul books, of which I am currently writing two, require a bit more from me. I usually dwell over their concept for 6-12 months. They require deeper concentration, twistier plots, settings and characters and dialogue which, if you held it up to anyone to view, would be an accurate preview of what I’m made of. Yes it might be dark, and twisty, but it can also be bright, humorous, alluring.

Not that I’m saying I’m the most alluring person when I’m nibbling my 20th jaffa cake and sobbing over edits, but you get the idea.

I find it easier to put the ideas I have into these two camps because then I know what to reserve more of: time or energy. Heart books require more time than energy, as I can force myself to sit down and write them even if I feel a bit tired.

With Soul Books, they require a lot of both.

It can also prepare me for the content–am I about to write a dashing adventure with themes and emotions that mean a lot to me? Or am I about to write something seeped in atmosphere and character that I simply can’t stop thinking about?

I’ve had Heart books which made me cry. The ending of the last one still gets me. It means so much to be able to read the end of the MC’s journey.

I’ve had Soul books which I laugh at and absolutely enjoy writing. The current WIP brings me joy with one character and the absolute one liners he delivers, and the friendships thrill me.

But they will always be different. One side will always be that touch more personal, and scoop out a slice of my soul to bare to the world.

In short: my Heart books tend to be lighter – my Soul books tend to be deeper.

Do you have any way of categorising your stories? I’d love to know!


 

In need of critique? Proofreading? Editing? I offer various packages over at Cover to Cover. Simply email for more info, and to reserve your place 🙂 

 

Top 5 Wednesday

Books to Give Scorpios as Gifts – Top 5 Wednesday

Create a recommendations guide for a person. Be creative with this. It can be simple such as “books for parents”, more elaborate like “books for Ravenclaws”, or expert level like “books for -insert your favorite fictional character here-“. You can even take out the category completely and have all 5 be suggestions for different types of people!

I’m actually going to do a video on this, and recommend books for ALL the zodiac, but I couldn’t pass up this chance to advise what sort of books to buy my fellow Scorpios

Nevernight

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mmmmmm what a delicious meal this book was.

Scorpios are always said to be great spies or assassins, because we can keep secrets and be manipulative when we want to be. Jury’s out as to whether that’s true (ahem) but this book has secrets, manipulation, assassins, spies, love, sex, blood, murder, and a main character who has GOT to be a Scorpio somewhere. A girl driven by revenge? Yah. That’ll be it.

BONUS: Written by a Scorpio

City of Ghosts

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For the younger Scorpios in your life, perhaps a dash of ghostly whimsy? This book brings Edinburgh to life and gives younger-me a sense of envy, because I would have loved this when I was littler. Spookiness and ghosts, yes please.

Language of Thorns

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Scorpios are known to be into the occult and also folklore, history, that sort of thing. So this should satisfy the deep fairytale, folklore, grimm’s tales need within your typical Scorpio friends. Lush writing and illustrations make this unforgettable.

This Savage Song

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A book where one character’s a monster, another is a monster hunter, and bad deeds generate dark entities? MUSIC? Yah, this should be at the top of a Scorpio’s wishlist.

The Raven Boys 

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Psychics, bad boys, questionable forests and a deeply atmospheric blend of trouble warms my dark little Scorpio heart. Also no kissing because you’ll kill him? So twisted. Yesss.

BONUS: Written by a Scorpio

Honourable mentions:

Coldest Girl in Coldtown ¦ The Poppy War ¦ Stalking Jack the Ripper

 

Top 5 Wednesday

Bookish Wish List – Top 5 Wednesday

— If you celebrate a gift-giving holiday this time of year, or even if you don’t, talk about the books or bookish items you have on your wish list!

I’m only just getting my Christmas lights up and things, so this will hopefully help me get in the holiday spirit! While I’m not going all-out with requests for presents, because I like to keep things simple for everyone (plus give me a box of incense and I’m fine) this list was fun to think about.

Some of them I’ve had on my list for ages. Onwards!

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I love custom funko pops, especially this Mia Corvere one! I’ve always wanted a Captain America one, and even though he’s not technically “book” related, I still want a Pop.

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I’ve wanted to read this all year, so I’ve requested it from the mother bear for Crimbles. It’s been so hyped up and I’ve been dying to get my hands on it.

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So Book and Nook is closing down its candles on the 17th December, and it’s my FAVOURITE candle shop ever. I absolutely adore it. I’m gonna sob. I will do my best to restrain my purchase of all of the candles left, but I would encourage you to check her out.

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what could be better than relaxing with a book and a cup of tea beneath the fairy lights, sitting on a book-themed cushion?!

Nothing. Nothing is better.

Another item I’ve been watching on my lists for a year now – this piece of art is something I want for my writing den / office / room whenever I manage to get or make one. I love the colours, the quote, the style. Just adore it.

Reviews

THE ILLUMINAE SERIES – Review!

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*dance dance dance*

*twirl*

*sob a bit*

*dance*

I haven’t felt so in love with a series in a long time.

Books? Yes. Series? Not so much.

Each book in this trilogy delivered so much heart, drama, tension and depth that I was blown away. I adored the characters, even rooted for an ambiguous AI that seemed intent on killing people for the ‘good of them all’ but seriously. READ THIS SERIES if you haven’t already.

Now that’s out of the way…

ILLUMINAE – 5*

GEMINA – 4.5*

OBSIDIO – 5*

The ONLY reason Gemina got half a point less is because I didn’t connect with the characters of that book as much as I did with Illuminae – Kady and Ezra will forever me by babes.

SO WITHOUT FURTHER ADO – the individual book reviews.

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Characters: I LOVE THEM ALL

Plot: I almost had a heart attack several times

Hangover?: Majorly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This darn book ruined me in the best of ways. I stayed up so late reading it, and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. Every little character is real, making the main cast feel so much more fleshed out and believable. Kady and Ezra are probably two of my favourite characters ever, and I’ve never read a droid so complex as AIDAN before.

Was it grim at times? Yes. Did I cry? Also yes.

Zombie-rage-like-people will always be a fear of mine and I think this played up to that tension expertly.

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Characters: Incredibly strong

Plot: DisGUSTING aliens omg what the hell

Hangover?: Some water will do, re-hydrate me

 

 

 

 

 

 

While Kady and Ezra aren’t in this as much I did enjoy it – Hanna and Nick are fine protagonists but their love story seemed a little bit sloshier somehow. Hanna is no doubt the stronger of the pair, and her arc was very interesting. I love the way these girls are strong as hell but not just in physical aspects but in personality.

Ella is the breakout star in this for me, she’s absolutely sodding amazing. I didn’t NOT enjoy this book I mean it’s 4.5 stars, but it was always going to be hard to live up to Illuminae.

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Characters: BABES

Plot: Twisty twisty

Hangover?: I had to take a break a few times not gonna lie

 

 

 

 

 

 

When you physically place a book down and have to breathe because you know a character is gonna fuck the fuck up, you know you’re safely in a master writer’s hands.

That sort of anxiety usually annoys me to death but I enjoyed it here. I pushed on despite characters making stupid decisions because you could sympathise WHY they were making stupid decisions. And this was the adults!

It all came together beautifully and at one point I worried we would actually lose one of our main four. I know there was an additional couple introduced but I can’t even remember their names now. The other pairs stole my mind and heart and made this a very satisfying ending.

So. SHOULD YOU READ IT? Yes. Do it. Now.

I’ll wait.

Top 5 Wednesday

Characters You’d Want at Friendsgiving – Top 5 Wednesday

— It’s Thanksgiving in the States this month, but Friendsgiving is a celebration that involves not family, but found family. Which characters would you invite to yours?

I don’t celebrate Thanksgiving but I’d celebrate Friendsgiving for sure. I think it’s a nice moment but would ultimately end with arguments, so maybe not,

ANYWAY fictional dinner with my fictional lovelies.

NIKOLAI LANTSOV

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Nikolai. My sweet, darling boy.  He has charisma by the bucketload, he’s funny as hell and the best thing about the Grisha Trilogy. We could swap quips and generally listen to him talk about his swashbuckling.

VICTOR VALE

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I know he’s technically not a ‘nice’ person, and that his super power is to hurt people, but damn if I don’t care about my trash son. He could do with a hearty meal plus he’d probably sit quiet for most of the evening.

KADY GRANT

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Funny, smart, brave, and absolutely the heart of Illuminae series. I really loved reading about her but she deserves a break after all that space shit so have some dinner, my girl, teach me your tech ways and talk about space.

LUNA LOVEGOOD

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Do I even need a reason for her, I mean it’s… it’s Luna. She would have so many things to talk about and she’d bring a calming vibe over proceedings. Maybe even give us some magical lighting.

BILBO BAGGINS

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Let’s face it, my boy knows how to put on a spread. His larder would provide everything PLUS I’d swing it so we could hang around the Shire for the holiday, take in the view. I mean who doesn’t want this view?

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SOLD.

 

Top 5 Wednesday

Books I Want to Read Before 2019 – Top 5 Wednesday

–Our Goodreads goals are quickly closing in. What are you prioritizing for the end of the year?

Ahahaha.

Haha.

Ha.

Let me be honest – I have not met my goal. At all.

As a massive mood reader I wanted to read a book a week but ended up choosing mahoosive books which took me 2 weeks to complete ( not a fast reader ). I also wanted to read 15 classics, ended up reading about 3.

But! I have some books on my TBR that I got recently, and I’m keen to get them done before 2018 closes out so–

CITY OF GHOSTS

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Birthday gift! A short read about spooky girls and a gorgeous cover? VE Schwab? Yes please.

L1FEL1K3

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That’s a pain in the arse to type. I’ve read most of Jay Kristoff’s books this year, and thanks to the lovely Lexi (another birthday gift!) I can now read this one!

BEAR AND THE NIGHTINGALE

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BIRTHDAY GIFT #3! I’ve wanted to read this for so long, and I got it for my birthday recently so I’ll be digging into this in December.

CINDER

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You guessed it… BIRTHDAY GIFT #4. Another one I’ve wanted to read for years. I enjoyed Marissa’s Renegades book and heard lots of good things about this one.

THE CRUEL PRINCE

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I ADORE Holly Black. Not another gift! But borrowed from Lexi. I’ve heard mixed things from this one, you either love it or hate it, but I don’t want to be ignorant to what this is about any longer.

 

 

book tags · Just For Fun

Hocus Pocus Writing Tag!

IT’S ALMOST HALLOWEEN!

Scorpio season, spooky season, the “excuse to watch Halloween movies every day” season.

In honour of the best Halloween movie, HOCUS POCUS, Kim Chance and Destiny Murtaugh have created the Hocus Pocus Writing Tag! Huzzah!

The tag is filled with questions that are all related to Hocus Pocus, and writing combined!

Let’s get into it, shall we sisters?

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THE QUESTIONS

1. Sarah, Mary, & Winifred Sanderson: Being a witch is hard, but so is writing. If you had magical, witchy powers what aspect of writing or what part of the process would you magically skip over?

The second or third drafts.

Don’t get me wrong I love editing – but it’s the progression of “this might work” – “no wait this might work!” that I don’t get along with. I would much prefer to have the shitty first draft then instantly know how to make it refined, polished, and multi-layered without the time-consuming months of in between.

2. Max and Dani: What relationships tend to be at the core of your books? Friends? Family? Romance?

Friends – found, established, unlikely or otherwise – united by the same mission: whether it’s revenge, truth, secrecy, there’s always a friendship at the heart of it. Sometimes it turns romantic, other times it’s just buddies fighting the good fight.

Also unhealthy friendships. In one or two books I wrote, there was an obsessive quality to two friendships, and I like exploring that.

3. Amuck, Amuck, Amuck!: How do you approach the chaos that is drafting? Are you a plotter, a pantster, or a combo of both?

At first I was a pantser. Now I’m a plotser. I tend to have an outline of what I want to write, but when intuition takes me on a certain road, I tend to obey it. It might not work, but on the occasions it DOES work it opens up a hell of a lot more interesting layers and insights into character.

4. I Put a Spell on You: How do you deal with book ideas that want to pull your focus from your main WIP?

Ah. This happens often. Usually I play around with the idea, write it down, throw a few characters, dialogue scenes, pinterest board. I allow myself a day or weekend to play.

THEN I IGNORE IT.

I can’t focus on more than one idea at a time and do the projects real justice, so I tend to mark it in the shiny box and wait until I have the mental capacity to write it.

5. Thackery Binx: Things aren’t always what they seem–Think back to when you first started writing to where you are now. How has your process transformed from then to now?

I took a lot longer back then. I had so many ideas and crammed them all into the same MS. I used to give up editing about draft two, and then figure that was okay. (it was not okay).

Otherwise the process of ideas and ruminating with them generally remains the same. I get feedback a lot more, and I can see my writing improving with every project.

6. My Lucky Rat Tail: Do you have a writing ritual? If not, what are some of your favourite writing tools?

I don’t have a ritual usually. I normally have a drink, usually it’s tea or coffee, and I light a candle before every writing session but that’s just for atmosphere and good scents ^_^

7. Boooooookkk: Favorite Writing Craft Book?

The Emotion Thesaurus! Full of different ways to show and describe people’s feelings without having to write “X is sad”

8. Another Glorious Morning: Do you enjoy writing in the morning? Or do you prefer the evening, like Winnifred?

Winnifred’s my girl, I prefer evening no doubt. Everything I need is done for the day, I don’t have the worry of not doing housework, or having to do something else. It’s just… me. The dark. And my thoughts.

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9. The Black Flame Candle: What’s one of the biggest mistakes you’ve made so far in your writing journey? OR What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned?

Biggest lesson is to get some trusted CP’s because they are INVALUABLE. Also to read more than I write. Devour everything, no matter what genre, just expand my tastes.

10. Billy Butcherson: What’s a trope that most people hate, but you love and would like to see “come back from the dead”?

I love a good hidden identity trope. Like “he was the prince all along!”. It’s not quite dead, but I really enjoy it when it’s done well.

11. Come Little Children: Songs that give you a “hypnotic” focus when writing? I.e., fav songs on your writing playlist.

Firstly – I adore Come Little Children. It’s got the same tone as Once Upon A December for me.

My playlist changes with each project but currently it’s:

Rauha by Lasse Ennersen
You Had To Go And Spoil It by Steven Price
Kill V Maim by Grimes

WHAT ABOUT YOU?! I TAG ANYONE WHO WANTS TO DO THIS! LINK BACK TO YOUR POSTS IN THE COMMENTS, I WANT TO READ!

Many thanks to Kim Chance and  Destiny Murtaugh for the inspiration!

xox