jadewritesbooks · On Writing

Writing Is Hard And Other Obvious Things

When I first say to people that I want to be a writer, it’s met with one of two reactions –

“Oh, cool!”

or

“Nice, you know my friend/my boyfriend/someone I met randomly on the tube one time wrote a book, it’s 270k words but it keeps getting rejected, publishing doesn’t recognize genius”.

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Granted there’s a few “I couldn’t write a book” responses or “I’ve always wanted to write a book” thrown in there, but it’s more the first two options that I experience.

(FYI If you want to be a nice, supportive person, go with the top option. “Oh, cool!” is a safe response to most writers, but if followed by the scariest question of all time — “What’s your book about?” — be prepared for the author to shrivel up and cry rather than actually be able to tell you cohesively what they are writing about.)

The second option is one that many writers get, and it’s often soul-destroying. It insinuates that writing a book is something many people are doing, and doing well, and clearly because they have not got ahead in publishing us poor souls must be wasting our time.

Second Option Responders rarely recognize the sheer amount of hard work that actually goes into a book. The amount of tweets that are out there with the up and down cycle of falling in and then out of love with what you’re writing multiply by the minute. There are gifs, painfully accurate in their portrayal of a writer’s suffering, because if writing books were easy —

* EVERYONE would write one.
* The market would NOT be as competitive as it is today
* We would have way more whinging observations about how Life Is Hard for straight white males with money
* There would be no need for contests like PitchWars or mentoring systems

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I’ve struggled with writing my 4th MS for the past year. I can’t remember when I first started writing it — probably around the time President Grump was inaugurated – but I’m only just finishing the first draft. During this first draft I was finishing up my 3rd MS, entering PitchWars 2017, being mentored in the contest, doing extensive edits, querying, going at it tooth and nail and forcing all thoughts of 4th Book out of my head until finally, around March of this year, I decided to go for it.

It wasn’t as easy as I’d hoped. Even with an outline I struggled to get past scenes I wasn’t interested in writing, or figuring out why I didn’t like this scene here, or switching chapters, or just making my writing not suck. I read books on craft, I watched YouTube videos, I shoved so many nuggets of information into my head I looked like a 20 box at McDonald’s.

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Life got in the way as life often does, with money issues, illnesses, and the pesky inconvenience of having to keep the house in a functioning condition. Distractions were at every turn, a devil when I was actually 100% committed to my writing hour.

I had writing sprints with my darling CP, I focused on getting a word count goal for the day, and then finally – FINALLY – today I reached my 70k word count. I may not be finished, but it is book-shaped, and it has enough words to be considered a novel.

The finish line is in sight – I can see it – and I’m striving towards it. But next time someone tells you writing isn’t hard, or they want to write a book in their spare time, when you’ve buried the instinct of throwing water in their face please ask them why they haven’t written one.

Their answer may be because they haven’t had an idea, but I bet you it’s because “they haven’t found the time”.

Books aren’t made overnight. Books take care, and time, and graft, and sweat, and their fair share of tears. Writing is not easy.

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Be proud of every word you write, because each one is one more than those who’ve never written that book in their head have managed to do, and it’s a step closer towards your goals ❤

 


 

Have an MS you need editing? I can help! I have spots open all summer for developmental edits, query critiques and proofreading. Email me – jadewritesbooks@gmail.com – or visit Cover to Cover Edits for more information on how to reserve your place!

jadewritesbooks · NetGalley · Reviews

THE UPSIDE OF UNREQUITED by Becky Albertalli – REVIEW

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Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love. No matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always have to be careful.

Then a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly’s totally not dying of loneliness—except for the part where she is. Luckily, Cassie’s new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. If Molly can win him over, she’ll get her first kiss and she’ll get her twin back.

There’s only one problem: Molly’s coworker, Reid. He’s a chubby Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him.

Right?

4* –

I was graciously given this as a e-ARC via Netgalley by Penguin Random House UK

Diversity! This book has a lot of it. I loved the fact there were lots of women, lots of religions, LGBTQA+ falling out of the pages, so cool. It’s only the second book I’ve ever read with a tubby protag, too.

So much about Molly resonated with me, it was as though the book reached down into my body, dragged back up the 17-year-old Jade, and made her read it with me. Being an overweight, inexperienced teen is absolutely terrifying and isolating because so much emphasis is placed on hormonal surges and sex it’s overwhelming. If you don’t fit the mould, you feel you’re a failure, and everything Molly believed in this book and worried about, I felt wholeheartedly.

It was like Becky Albertalli had taken a trip back in time to see what I was like as a teenager. And – admittedly – into my early 20’s too. She must have had a checklist.

Serial crusher – check.
Wants a relationship – check
Self-conscious about her weight  – check
Has awesome mom – check
Doubting every boy’s motives – check

Also Middle Earth Reid – hello, tall, curly haired, bespectacled dude with a Middle Earth t-shirt. Molly might not have appreciated it at first but 17 year old me CERTAINLY would have. (I still would, actually.)

I was transported back in time SO MUCH that I had a little cry half way through. The little fat girl inside never really leaves you, but she can heal. This book proved that she still effects me, even to this day, no matter how much I’ve grown. And I felt it absolutely wonderful that Molly wasn’t trying to change the fact she was fat – that wasn’t it – it was just trying to understand why the world around her seemed to ignore tubbier people weren’t as valued.

The main difference was Molly had people to talk to about her fears and I never did (get out those tiny violins!), so it was nice to see that she was able to share in her worries with her sisters and friends. Even though Cassie, at many stages, was a prat. She lost favour with me, and never got it back, really. I liked and understood Will more than I understood Cassie.

I loved some of the one liners and Molly’s internal monologues were laugh out loud funny, but sometimes the writing skipped things I thought might have been better to dig deeper into. My connection to this book probably relied more upon the fact I had lived Molly’s existence – minus the hot and actually interested love interest – so it engrossed me more than perhaps it may have done without that connection.

It’s a good and important book, though, once again, and I thoroughly enjoyed the foray into Molly’s world.

4*!

 

Book Things · books · jadewritesbooks · Just For Fun · Top 5 Wednesday

TOP 5 WEDNESDAY – Books To Get You Out Of A Reading Slump

I joined top 5 Wednesday!

If you’re not sure what it is, it’s a group on Goodreads where avid readers can participate in a top 5 list every Wednesday. Simples.

I’ve seen the lovely Thoughts on Tomes on YouTube do this, so I thought I’d give it a go.

I’m not prepared for BookTube yet. So it’s a blog you’re getting.

Even with some of my favourite books, I didn’t originally find them that easy to get into. Of course once I did get into them, I tore through the pages at speed, but it’s that initial “easy read” simplicity of enjoyment I’m going for in this list.

These are books which have stayed with me simply because they took me out from “pffft. reading.” to “YAY READING!” in a few chapters. Believe it or not I spent a few years refusing to read anything. I don’t know what I was doing, but hey.

These are also books with *actual plot* because I do not read fluffy nonsense that’s about two people hooking up and nothing more. I can’t. If it doesn’t have substance, a plot, characterization etc, I can’t. So there are no select New Adult romances here, for example.

Without further ado, the 5 books ARE-

cover106249-mediumOne of Us Is Lying by Karen McManus
This is a story about 5 kids who have detention together – the swoony baseball star, the wilting flower, the absolute rebel, the intelligent girl, and the slimy dude who has an app posting school secrets every day. In the middle of their punishment, slimy dude dies before everyone’s eyes, meaning the other 4 are suddenly being investigated for his murder and ALL of them have secrets they didn’t want McSlimy to tell.

I had the privilege of reading this via NetGalley, so it’s not out yet, but it’s a seriously encompassing read. It’s fast paced, there’s no convoluted plot where you have to draw diagrams to figure out what the hell is happening, and it keeps you guessing in a good way, not in a “Jesus Christ just tell us!” way. A very easy, but no less accomplished, read. I’ll buy a copy of this once it’s out.

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Angelfall by Susan Ee
Another fast read I started this year with. It’s been out for a while now, I got it for Christmas, and it’s super good. I heard it’s some people’s guilty pleasures – no guilt here. Just pleasure.

Hot angel who doesn’t annoy me (looking at you, Akiva) – check. Rounded female MC who is badass and a realist – check. No instalove?! Awesome. The two supposed-to-be-enemies team up to try and get Penryn’s disabled sister back from evil angels, and the world has gone to shit, and it’s… yeah I’m not able to really explain how awesome the plot is, but hey. Trust me.

I’ve heard as well that the ending grossed some people out – as a person who sped through Exquisite Corpse (clue in the title) by horror / creepy story  author Poppy Brite I have no qualms with gore or grossness or anything like that. Again, easy read writing, but still good, and it wasn’t too cheesy that you’re like “oh come ON that’d never happen”. Cause it’s about evil angels, I mean…. suspend your disbelief.

 

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Harry Potter – Any of them – by JK Rowling
These are undoubtedly the EASIEST reads because I’ve read them about 3 times (apart from the last 2) to get myself back into the reading game. Philosopher’s Stone took me about a week the first time I read it (I was 10 or something, come on) and now it takes me less than an hour. Is it perfect? No. Is it good writing? Yes. World Building? Let me put it this way….

I WANT TO GO TO HOGWARTS WHERE IS MY LETTER?!

And I won’t have any of that “I’m too old for HP!” nonsense. I’m the grand age of twenty-n(mumble) and still love HP. I see the problematic stuff, but it doesn’t take my enjoyment of the beginning of the series where it was all innocent, and so was I. It just seems to get your love of fantasy going again, builds up my reading eyes.

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Six of Crows by QUEEN Leigh Bardugo
QUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEN.

Ok, so if you haven’t heard of this book, where have you been?

Six totally different ragamuffins join together in a bid to steal a professor from the inside of a huge, mightily complex jail, who’s made drug which threatens the Grisha. It’s basically a heist where they have to steal a person from an iron prison, but ALSO get along. Of which, neither seems to be feasible at some points.

I was definitely disillusioned with fantasy, and everything like that, when I took up this book to read. I just wasn’t into anything. Reading, which had once blessed me with escapism, didn’t hold me any more. Enter Six of Crows, and BOOM – I loved Kaz. My devil baby

I could ramble on about this for days, but it’s a mastery of epic writing, plotting, characterisation, REAL DIALOGUE HURRAH and world building that sucked me in and refused to let me out again. READ IT.

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Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
I seem to practically speed-read through anything Rainbow Rowell has written, which is good cause I’m getting Carry On soon. Like, I go to bed early to read and before I know it it’s 3am and I’m 50 pages from finishing so what the hell? Let’s do it.

Fangirl is the story of twins, Cather and Wren, who go to College. It’s the first time Cather has lived apart from Wren, who requested another roommate. Cather is internet famous with her fanfiction of Simon Snow stories, and so follows a rolling read of writing, understanding siblings, absent parents, first loves and AAAALL the wonderousness which appears to be the American College system.

This is such a good read, it’s fun, it’s heartbreaking, it’s good because Cather finds her voice. It’s not an overly-hormonal-angsty read when she gets her anxiety, it’s very natural (in my experience of my own anxiety) and I enjoyed reading it.

Book Things · books · jadewritesbooks · NetGalley

Mid-February Book Round-Up

CURRENTLY READING (both via NetGalley)

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So far – I had to put it down at 26% and have a good cry, because Molly is basically speaking to the 17 year old fat girl still residing inside me.

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So far – it’s very well written and there’s a good ‘mood’ about it but it’s too soon to really get into the characters or see how distinctive they are. I have a feeling this is a ‘grower’.

TO READ:

NetGalley

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I read the first one, it was a very competent novel but some of the shocks didn’t hit me in the feels like I wanted them to. I’ve had a sneaky look and so far, this begins and seems much stronger than the first book.

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I hope this doesn’t really 100% require the first two books to be read, because I didn’t realise this was a third book. It excites me anyway!

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THERE IS SO MUCH LORE. Seriously, there’s like 10 pages on the ebook which describes the history and magic. I  need to be not-alm0st-sleeping when I read this.

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I read the first chapter of this already, to get into it – it was non-stop dialogue. This may become a DNF unless it perks up.

In Print

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MY BABIES. My darling Ronan ❤ Noah ❤ Blue ❤ Gansey ❤ CALLA ❤ I’m so excited I could finally order this. It’ll arrive before ACOL below, so I hope I can read it in time to devour the other one.

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I DON’T WANT IT TO END DON’T MAKE IT END.

Book Things · jadewritesbooks · Just For Fun · positive posts · Reviews · writing

7th annual End of Year Book Survey!

Stumbled across this delightful survey which has been going for 7 years now by Jamie at perpetualpageturner. Check her out!

I thought it’d be a good push for me to resume blogging more regularly by looking back at my year in books and lamenting that I didn’t read more.

Note: The survey is for books you read throughout the year, no matter when they were published, and is not limited to just books that came out in 2016!!

2016 READING STATS

Number Of Books You Read: 22 (must try harder)
Number of Re-Reads: 0
Genre You Read The Most From: Fantasy Continue reading “7th annual End of Year Book Survey!”

Book Things · jadewritesbooks · Just For Fun · Random Musings · writers · writing

New Year’s Resolutions & 2016 Revelations

2016, as many people have lamented, has been a tough year. Struggles from political angles, personal angles, widespread problems, uprisings, civil unrest, media turning a blind eye to bigger issues – very trying year indeed.

It’s no wonder many of my friends have said they haven’t achieved as much as they wanted to this year. And for me it’s the same.

Except I didn’t want to focus on the terrible things which happened this year. I wanted to focus on the joy. I may have had an operation, I may have had to walk away from a stupid man who caused me upset, I may have had to deal with depression and anxiety diagnosis – but there have been moments of pure joy too.

So here is a list of great things which happened this year which is greatly influencing my 2017 goals:

  1. Had my gallbladder whipped out so I could eat pizza and other normal food again
  2. Ma and I beat the man* and may actually get a break for a bit
  3. We also went to Stratford Upon Avon to visit Ma’s birthplace and found the most giant scones ever.
  4. Dear friend Amanda came back over to Eng-a-lund after 4 years and we finally entered the TARDIS!
  5. Discovered four wonderful new female authors, all of whom have actually spoken to me. I did not pee.
  6. Started dancing with Kiah and made a right fool of myself at Salsa. Still can’t bloody waltz.
  7. Jacqui and Arianna had a cute baby and it’s the first time I’ve been excited over spawn.
  8. Saw the gorgeousnesss which is Jack Savoretti perform.
  9. Met Leigh Bardugo & Rainbow Rowell and wanted to join their gang
  10. Finished writing and editing a book which doesn’t seem to be sucking cause people are interested.
  11. Started writing two more books, neither of which seem to be sucking either (yet).
  12. I discovered Eddie Redmayne and his cuteness.
  13. Girly lunch with the ladies! (2017 needs to be full of those ok?)
  14. Captain America: Civil War didn’t piss me off too much. ❤ Bucky ❤
  15. Realised a lot about myself and how strong I am, but also where my lines are drawn when it comes to other people’s bullshit.

*not literally, though I was tempted

All in all while 2016 was confusing, emotional, disruptive, annoying, and riddled with health concerns, those little moments made it worthwhile and memorable for the right reasons too.

So what do I want to achieve in 2017?

  • I want to read 30+ books. This year I managed 22, and after a definite writing slump previously I am hankering for more books after this busy reading year!
  • Write more. Sounds simple but really isn’t. I want to finish two of the books I started, as well as create more blog posts and continue my fan fiction of Sherlock as well as the Channillo series I unceremoniously abandoned when I became ill.
  • More girly lunches!
  • Start and continue yoga, weekly if not daily. My body needs it.
  • Review every single book.

It seems simple when I put it in bulletpoints, but I know it’s going to be challenging. Life usually gets in the way but I will be fiercely protective over writing days.

A full review of my 2016 in books will be up shortly. In the mean time I’d love to know what others have in store for their own versions of 2017!

Friends · jadewritesbooks · Random Musings · writers · Writing Advice · Writing Method

Stuff. From my head.

So I recently asked a dear friend of mine for 9+ years, whom I met in a writing group (I say writing group it was actually a supernatural RPG but we hit it off) to read my work in progress. Needless to say she knows me very well and knows my writing damn well also.

Her opinion means a lot to me. She once said she disliked some of my characters not because they were unlikable, but they were so realistically human she automatically hated them. She is an self-confessed misanthrope so I took that as a positive.

She said she would like to read my mind-spew if I wanted her to read it. Of course I do. But as I started sending her the first 9 chapters I felt like I had to explain myself — Continue reading “Stuff. From my head.”

Channillo · Cover Reveal · jadewritesbooks · The Silent Town · writing

Cover Reveal for “The Silent Town”!

Happy New Year one and all!

You might remember I mentioned I am writing a book series for Channillo – a website which promotes the wonderful concept of serialised Books.

I am incredibly excited to announce not only that the first chapter of “The Silent Town” will be released on Friday 8th January, but I have a brand-spanking new sparkly cover I would adore all of you to see!

Continue reading “Cover Reveal for “The Silent Town”!”

Agents · jadewritesbooks · Random Musings · Writing Advice · Writing Method

On Ideas, Agents and Time

I sat down to write yesterday, and brought out my ideas book. I have approximately 27 ideas I’ve physically written down and maybe four or five more locked in the ‘come back later’ vault of my creative mind. I started thinking – and most importantly, writing – my thoughts on having so many ideas. Imaginary questions presented themselves, and below is the result of this stream of consciousness-turned writing advice and support.

  1. Which idea do I write?

All of them.

It may sound a cop-out answer but honestly, you should give every single idea you have a go. You were blessed with the excitement of a eureka moment. Note it down and use it!

Continue reading “On Ideas, Agents and Time”

jade hemming · jadewritesbooks · writing process

Killing Your Darlings (and Other Such Problems)

Unfortunately, there comes a time in a writer’s journey where a piece of writing close to their heart has to be sacrificed for the greater good. Sometimes it’s for the word count, other times it’s simply because it doesn’t fit any more and no matter how much you put smoke and mirrors around it – it’s still there, a bump in the rhythm of your prose, distracting the reader.

You just didn’t want to cut it.

Continue reading “Killing Your Darlings (and Other Such Problems)”