Saturday, 25 November 2017

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe

I was lucky enough to pick up an early copy of the Loneliest Girl at YALC and I am SO pleased that I did - it is phenomenal.

Romy Silvers is the loneliest girl in the universe - until she finds out that another ship has just launched from Earth, one that's traveling fast enough to catch up with her.

I'm actually not going to say any more than that about the plot, because I think the less you know going into this, the more exciting you'll find the book. The Loneliest Girl is a gripping page turner that kept me guessing to the end - I made some big assumptions at the start of this novel which turned out to be completely wrong, and made watching the story unfold even more exhilarating. 

I felt Romy's loneliness quite keenly - this probably isn't a book to read when you're home alone, and is best saving for when you're with other people, otherwise it might bring you down a bit. The novel is character driven and Romy is a fantastic character to follow.

My mind was boggled by the message dates. James says at the end that she kept a spreadsheet to work them all out, and I think that shows just how detailed and brilliant the sci-fi elements of this novel are. Setting is so crucial to the plot of this novel and it's a while since I've read a book where that's the case - possibly not since Way Down Dark.

Everyone should read The Loneliest Girl - it is definitely one of the best books I have read this year. 

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Faber Writing Academy: Plot

I meant to post this months ago, but it somehow got stuck in my drafts!

This summer, I took part in Faber Academy's Plot writing course, which is one of the mini, two month long online courses Faber offers. At £120 per course, Faber's mini courses are considerably cheaper than the longer, more intensive courses offered by Faber, Curtis Brown Creative and The Writer's Academy.

I decided to sign up for this course after reading a few articles on why people often forget to treat writing as a hobby, so feel guilty spending money on it. If I was into cycling, I wouldn't think twice about spending birthday money on a bike, or new kit. If I was a musician, I'd happily pay for instruments, lessons and sheet music. But for some reason I've always been reluctant to spend money on my writing. I'm trying to rectify this (and change my entire mindset on my approach to my writing) by investing in a few books on writing, a Mslexia subscription and this Faber course. 

I really enjoyed this course and it was a lot of fun to take part in, but you do get what you pay for. Feedback is provided by other members of the course (you can pay extra for tutor feedback) and you're mostly left to your own devices. Some of the participants didn't feedback on anyone else's work, which was a shame as I found leaving feedback was a really useful process and I loved seeing everyone's unique and talented responses to the tasks set. 

I thought the resources were brilliant and I picked up some really useful tips and tricks, which I'm using on my current WIP. I think taking the course has helped with my writing process and also stopped me panicking about some of the aspects of my writing I worried about previously. I've also been able to join an alumni forum to keep in contact with some of the people I met on the course. The daily email updates I get from the forum serve as a great motivator to keep writing.

Faber offers mini courses on character, research and setting for the same price. It's also worth pointing out that CBC now offer some great scholarships for people who would like to apply to one of their courses but can't afford them. You can find out more about them here

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Shift Zine

Argh! It's been so long since I posted anything. I don't know what happened - I have around ten posts saved in my draft which I haven't finished and scheduled for some crazy reason. Expect a deluge in the run-up to Christmas!

My most exciting writing news at the moment is that I had a short story published in the October issue of Shift Zine! You can read it here - it's a (very) short story about a vampire discussing his self-control issues (which he absolutely does not have). I had a lot of fun writing it and was so incredibly excited when I heard it was being published. I really hope you enjoy reading it. And after you do, make sure you check out the brilliant reviews and interviews, as well as two amazing short stories by Gemma Varnom and Brianna Henderson.