2020 reading challenge – mid-year check in

Well we’re past the half way point of 2020. Congratulations, it’s been quite a year so far.

Like many book lovers I decided to take part in the Goodreads reading challenge. It’s the first year I’ve ever participated with the challenge, I’m slightly ashamed to say that until December, Goodreads wasn’t even on my radar (not sure how I managed to miss it).

I set myself the goal to read 20 books this year. I fully understand that this may seen low for a book blogger and to start off with I was pretty ashamed about it. I’ve seen many bloggers who have 50-70 books as their goal, and then there’s me with a measly 20. However, over the year I’ve began to lessen some of the insecurity of it. At the end of the day I’m dyslexic and have Irlens… I can’t exactly read fast.

Anyway, with us past the mid year mark now is a good time to reflect on how I’d doing reading and if I’m on track.

Continue reading “2020 reading challenge – mid-year check in”

The villain doesn’t have to die – alternative endings for your book

When it came to outlining my book one of the biggest things I had to consider was how the story was going to end, what would the climax be? This was by far the longest part of the whole outlining process for me and arguably the most difficult. Since the age of 16 I’ve wrote YA, young adult fiction was what I read the most and by default was what I wrote the most of. This age range was fantastic because the reader was older enough to understand heavier topics and as a result there was a whole host of possible endings for you book. However, after studying children’s fiction at university I found myself wanting to write a children’s book and this presented me with a few unexpected challenges.

When you write for a different age group to the one that you’re in you have to do far more research. At university I got used to writing for adults, the age of those around me. My work became more mature and I had no issues with touching on hard hitting issues like abuse or murder. But as I stated outlining Mirrors and Magic (working title) I quickly realised this had to change. I was now writing for those under the age of ten and I was not going anywhere near those topics in the way I had done in the past.

In a lot of the short stories I’d drafted that followed the tradition hero’s journey (just like Mirrors and Magic will), I killed off the antagonist at the end and usually at the hands of the hero. But when it came to the ending of Mirrors and Magic, I wasn’t jumping at the idea of having my hero killing off the villain. I’m writing a children’s book with a protagonist who is under ten years old. I can’t say I feel comfortable with a child becoming a killer.

I appreciate that what I’m writing is fiction, so it doesn’t have to play into real world values, but as a writer of children’s fiction I wanted to explore other options and consider there being another ending. As well as it feeling slightly morally wrong, I felt that jumping straight for the hero kills the villain was a bit lazy, it was the easiest option (by the way, there’s nothing wrong with this ending I’m not criticising people who kill off the antagonist of their book. I just felt that I would only be choosing it because it required the less amount of thought for my book). So, I began to explore alternative endings where the villain didn’t have to die, and this lead me down a bit of a rabbit hole I want to share with you all today.

Continue reading “The villain doesn’t have to die – alternative endings for your book”

Sleeping giants – book review

Wanting a fresh read with a unique structure and exciting twists and turns? Of course you do! This past week I’ve been reading Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel, it’s a gripping science fiction and thriller read.

The basic outline of the plot (spoiler free!) is that parts of a giant entity have been discovered all around the world after being dormant for thousands of years. This opens up the questions of where did this thing come from? Why was it found separated all over the planet? And most importantly, is the human race ready for what is to come? To start to answer these questions a team is put together by a mysterious character who is the puppet master of the whole operation.

Sleeping giants is written in a structure unlike anything I’ve come across before. The whole book is templated off something that would quite easily resemble a top secret file. Almost all of the book is set out in an interview format between this mystery man and the characters he interacts with. This creates a refreshing and unique reading experience.

World building is kept to an absolute minimum as you learn everything through character dialogue. I can appreciate that those of you who like to read more complex world building may be slightly put off by the idea of this however, I’d really recommend you give this book a chance. You won’t be spoon fed anything and this creates the opportunity for your imagination to run wild.

The book itself is about 320 pages long, so it’s a decent sized read and is book one of the Themis files what is made up of three books. Although it is worth mentioning there are some bonus texts that fit into the series. These aren’t novels, they are more works of flash fiction.

Continue reading “Sleeping giants – book review”

What I’ve been reading

The volume of books I’ve been reading has been increasing month by month. Now that I’m writing my own book, I’ve found I’m consuming texts faster than ever before. At University we’re encouraged that we should be reading more than we’re writing, something that I was a bit skeptical of at the start, but now I agree with them totally. The more texts I’m reading the better and more confident my own work is becoming.

So today I thought I’d give you a glimpse into some of the books I’ve been reading this year. I use a Kindle for my reading so all of the photos have been sourced from Goodreads. Let me know if you’ve read any of these books and what your thoughts are of them, I’d love to hear what you guys think of them. As always, if you have any book recommendations then please do let me know and I’ll check them out. At the moment I’m loving the non-fiction genre but we’re encouraged to read widely so I’ll take a chance on most book. Continue reading “What I’ve been reading”