Review: WRITING WITHOUT RULES by Jeff Somers

As a Reider – a commenter on (literary agent extraordinaire) Janet Reid’s blog – I was fortunate enough to hear about this book, WRITING WITHOUT RULES by Jeff Somers.

Now, I’ve read numbers of titles on ‘how to write and sell your book’, ranging from Stephen King’s ON WRITING to Chuck Wendig’s THE KICK-ASS WRITER. These particular two have stood out to me as the two ends of a spectrum, and many, many, MANY other titles within that spectrum have inspired me and encouraged me in my whole ‘get-your-butt-in-your-chair-and-get-your-novel-finished’ aspirations.

Not since reading Catherine Deveny’s USE YOUR WORDS though, have I read a more down-to-earth ‘just write, and finish what you write’ philosophy espoused so clearly. And it’s exactly what I (in my current “I can’t do this” frame of mind) needed to hear. And the footnotes! Hilarious!

Jeff’s wit sparkles, and I laughed aloud throughout each of the 20 chapters. The first ten chapters – on writing – were more applicable to me than the second – on selling – however now I’m in the winding down chapters, drafting Book 6 of a 7 book series, I can see that the latter half of his book may indeed become more important to me in the (hopefully not too distant) future.

As Jeff Somers is a client of Janet Reid’s, and as I am an unashamed Reider familiar with her take on literary agenting, it was not only a pleasing confirmation to note that her own views are firmly held by her client, but that the ‘inside jokes’ he made, were ones I am also (partly) familiar with. I smiled, I laughed, I took copious notes, and the fact that emblazoned across the back cover demanded that I:

STOP WHAT YOU’RE DOING AND WRITE!

YES, YOU: WRITE!

made me smile every time I picked it up. [Because even though the blurb insisted I write, the premise behind actually being able to read the hard-cover book I’d been given for my birthday (thanks, Mum!) was that I needed to stop what I was doing – even if my current activity were writing – if I was to read the book!]

But it was worth it. Worth missing out on the writing time. Because it’s a great book. And it you’re an unpublished writer – or even a published one, come to that – you’d find this a good read. And if you missed clicking on that link at the top, it’s here again now if you wanted to buy it directly from Jeff Somers’ blog.

And have a great week, dear Reader!

– KRidwyn

 

 

Sipping from the saucer #27

I work at a Christian school. The pastor of the church which established our school has a saying: β€œThe LORD has blessed me so much, my cup is overflowing (taken from Psalm 23) and I’m sipping from the saucer.”

I like the visual, so I’m using it here, in this month-long blogging challenge focusing on the blessings God has poured out on me.

And now, blessing #27: the books Mum ordered for my birthday – which arrived in time for her to bring when she came to stay on Monday just gone πŸ™‚

I’m partway through WRITING WITHOUT RULES by Jeff Somers – laughing my way through, more accurately. It’s a great read, and I’m learning about the writing craft at the same time, so a twofer and I like that πŸ™‚

And what with the holidays officially starting this afternoon, and my (meant to be) being on minimal movement in an upright position… having a second brand new book to look forward to is a wonderful thing!

Here’s wishing you a blessed day too, dear Reader!

— KRidwyn

Failing Challenges…

So I’m pretty up for a challenge, no matter the occasion. (Not sure what that says about me, but oh well…)

So at the end of 2016, when I completed my Goodreads challenge (2 books a week, meaning 104 books in the challenge, and I read 107) – I thought to myself, “No sweat! Let’s try for 3 books a week in 2017!”

Dumb move.

Really, really dumb.

I went back to full time teaching in January – but decided to not take that fact into account.

Whoops!

So here I am now, Monday the 11th of December, and there’s 20 days left to get the remainder of my challenge books read. 156 books in the challenge. 63 books read. Leaving 93 books to go.

Yup. That’s doable. Between 4-5 books per day…

Perhaps…

Wish me luck, dear Reader! (At least I’ve got access to well over a hundred Middle Grade books I’ve never read…)

And have a great week!

– KRidwyn

T is for ‘tepefy’

‘Tepefy’ is a verb, which means ‘to make or become tepid or lukewarm’.

And it’s a transitive verb, which means it can’t exist by itself but needs a noun to complete the action, just like ‘kick’ (the ball), ‘paint’ (the portrait) or ‘clean’ (the kitchen – ha!). So you’d ‘tepefy’ the bathwater on a frozen winter’s morning.

And its related noun is ‘tepefaction’. Which makes sense, when you think about it.

We need this word in more regular use in everyday life, don’t we.

Yes? Because the word ‘warm’, which seems to have replaced it, both as the transitive verb and as its related noun, seems too simple. Too quick, too easy.

Yes?

Any takers? Anyone out there agree with me? Yes? Anyone? Going… going…

gone.

Ergo, the disappearance of so many words…

Here’s to your day, dear Reader.

— KRidwyn

On New Year’s resolutions…

I posted a few weeks back about one of my 2016 resolutions: to read through the Bible throughout the course of the year.

Well, I did that πŸ˜€

 

I must admit, it’s been a few years *cough decades* since I’ve actually kept a New Year’s resolution, so I shan’t be brave and recount my 2017 resolutions here for you now.

I’m just going to share one of my favourite images with you all: fireworks over the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Every New Year’s Eve, I wake up the kids at 11.50pm and we watch Sydney’s fireworks on TV. We love it. I love the hope that comes with the new year, the thoughts of the journey ahead with all its innumerable possibilities. The world is our oyster, and all that jazz.

Here’s hoping that the resolutions you make are ones you can keep too, dear reader!

And Happy New Year πŸ˜€

KRidwyn

CC image courtesy miquitos on Flickr

Challenge completed!

It’s that time of year again; Christmas ends, we brave the end-of-year shopping frenzy, and we reflect on the past 12 months with a mixture of pride and regret. Some of us make plans for 2017; think up some resolutions for the New Year.

That was me, twelve months ago.

I decided that I needed to read through the Bible in 2017. I worked it out: if I could read four chapters every day, I’d make it, with a couple of weeks or so to spare.

I even drove myself to the Christian bookstore that’s kind of close-ish, wandered the aisles, and bought myself a brand new Bible, which I started reading on January 1st.

The challenge went well until around March, where I missed a few days. Routines changed, and I broke the four-chapters-a-day record I was keeping with myself. I picked up the reading again as soon as I could, and read a few chapters extra for a while, just to ensure that I’d still make it by December 31st.

And guess what? I did it!

(Although to be fair, the title of the blogpost was probably a bit of a spoiler for how the challenge went. Whoops! My bad…)

I finished last week. No, not all chapters were read from my shiny new Bible, but the vast majority of them were. It’s funny, that thing about routines. When they change, and you get a new routine, and it works better than the old routine did? But then you feel guilty because of how you’d committed to the old routine or whatever?

Anyway, I read quite a few of the New Testament letters on my Bible app on my phone, where I’d read a chapter in between reps. It worked, so why not?! And I’d often quickly read them again in my ‘new’ Bible when I got home, or the following day, anyway. I liked the versatility of my phone, but the solid feeling of the physical Bible in my hands even more πŸ™‚

But no matter how it happened, it did. I started in Genesis and finished in Revelation… and I’m thinking about doing it again in 2018. Not in the same order though. Not back-to-front order either. I’m not sure what order yet; but I have the rest of December to figure it out.

Anyway, here’s wishing you a very merry Christmas season, wherever you are, and have a wonderful week this week!

Yours,

KRidwyn

CC image courtesy One Day Closer on Flickr

My take on the latest, greatest picture book…

I was given a stack of Picture Books recently, asked to read them, and give my opinion. Smiling, I agreed. Who doesn’t like picture books?

And although there were a couple that I recommended the library in question *not* purchase, one of the books in particular hit me as not only extremely well-written (and illustrated, of course) but with a clear message, subtle yet necessary, and BRILLIANTLY executed.

I don’t review books often – not because I don’t read (my 2016 Goodreads challenge is sitting steady on 77 books completed, of the 104 I set myself) – but because I don’t want to embarrass myself again with a recommendation for a book I’ve fallen in love with… which I later find out to be pretty much a blatant rip-off of an earlier novel which I’d never read. [This situation occurred earlier this year, and boy! was I mad when I discovered the original…]

But back to the picture book: my latest, greatest, most favourite of all picture books that I discovered this week is: THE FABULOUS FRIEND MACHINE by Nick Bland.

screen-shot-2016-10-19-at-9-06-21-pm

Yes, that’s a chicken, looking at an iPad. No, I won’t give away any more than that.

If you’ve read this book already, you’re smiling right now; I know. Me too.

If you *haven’t* read it – go find yourself a copy and READ IT NOW. You won’t regret it, I promise. In fact, if you’re like me, you’ll probably say to yourself after, ‘I know people who need to read this book’. And you’ll tell them. The way I’m telling you.

Please, please, please, if you know of any parents, or teachers, or librarians, please let them know about this book. I can’t stress enough how much they’ll love it. Try it, and see. Bet you I’m right!

And, as always, have a lovely week πŸ™‚

— KRidwyn

#blogjune wrap-up

I’m pinching myself. It’s July 4th already? Where on earth is this year getting itself to?

I have this funny feeling that it’s flying faster than normal because I’ve completed both #AprilAtoZ and #blogjune this year. And while I’m extremely happy that my tally for both was ‘KRidwyn 1, challenge zip’ – I’m also starting to recognise exactly how much time they are taking up! Not that I mind; I find externalising the more sane of my thoughts quite enjoyable. Hindsight, though, makes it easier to realise: if I spend my time blogging, then I’m not spending it doing the other activities which I could be doing. It all comes down to choices, really. Priorities.

And that was exactly why I found choosing 30 titles for my self-imposed #blogjune theme so difficult. What novels should I choose, over other novels? Why include A but not B, C, or D? (Just to clarify, A, B, C and D aren’t actually titles of books, but representations thereof. Although that sparks an idea. Perhaps I could write novels with these titles?! LOL… but I digress…) And therein lay my quandary. I had originally thought ‘Cool! Just post photos of the books on my bookshelves! That’ll be fast!’ But then when it came down to it: there are SO MANY more novels not on my bookshelves – for a myriad of reasons – which I love and wanted to include; in addition, how to cull the list to just thirty; and on top of that, to explain why I had included it… well, writing the blogposts took longer than I’d anticipated. That’s okay. Lesson learned. Perhaps.

And what about all those titles that I wanted to include but couldn’t? There were so many. Perhaps I could examine those next year? (But by then, I’ll have read twelve month’s more books…) Dilemma. Horns of, even. This will require more thought.

In the meantime, back we go to blogging weekly. Happy Independence Day, if that’s your thing – and have a brilliant week!

— KRidwyn

30 must-read books – #30

And today’s post marks Day 30 of my ’30 must-read books’ for #blogjune 2016. My last one!

#bj30

And what a novel to round out my list. Controversial both when it was first published in 1932, and still, this novel raises issues that sit uncomfortably with readers. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. As I wrote yesterday, books that challenge us to think about, to adjust, or to be more firmly convicted in our own beliefs – I’m all for that.

As I tell my cherubs continually, KNOW what you believe. Don’t just follow the crowd because it’s easy. Be true to YOU. And the only way *that* can happen is if you know who you are, and what you believe.

Thus Aldous Huxley’sΒ Brave New World makes it into my list of ’30 must-reads’. And my question to you, dear reader, is this: would it make your list? Why / why not?

For those of you who’ve followed my #blogjune journey this year – THANK YOU! I’ve enjoyed sharing my faves with you – and especially enjoyed your comments / suggestions / recommendations!!!

And have an incredible day today πŸ˜€

— KRidwyn

 

30 must-read books – #29

I remember being an angst-filled teen. Who doesn’t, right?

In hindsight though, it was pretty cruisy. I was fed, clothed, dry. I was educated – well! – and had people in my life who cared about me. The values and beliefs that I challenged, I didn’t challenge too far, because I was happy in them and they sat comfortably with me.

#bj29

Ursula Le Guin’sΒ The Left Hand of Darkness took me aback, forced me to re-examine my opinions on gender and sex. It was, for me, the first time that I realised that a novel could do that, could stretch my mind in ways hitherto unforeseen.

What power there lies between the covers of a book!

And you, dear reader? What book first stretched your mind?

And, as always, have a fantabulous day!

— KRidwyn