Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

My Book News & Advocate for the Writing Community ©

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – How Do You Choose Which Book To Read Next?

November 24, 2020
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I finished Eeny Meeny in record time, it was one of those books you couldn’t put down. Hence my review:

Absolutely riveting! I didn’t see the culprit coming. Well written and structured. A fast paced, who done it. A real page turner.

I have moved onto another detective book, to continue my detective/crime research. It is The Secret Place by Tana French. Her style is completely different to M.J. Arlidge that’s for sure.

As always I still have a good pile of books on my TBR pile as you can see above. I’m unsure which one I will choose when I finish Tana’s novel.

Do you have a system to your TBR pile? Is it alphabetically, by genre or just what catches your eye first? Or do you lay them out, mixed them up and pick one, making it a surprise?

I would love to know your method.

In the meantime, at the time of writing, I am almost at the NaNoWriMo goal of 50,000 words. As I write this morning, I am at a tantalizing word count of 48352, so today I will reach the goal but certainly not the end of the novel. That will take at least another 20,000 words.

Please feel free to ask me about my novels, my writing process, how I create my imaginary worlds and characters. Or anything regarding the books of mine you have read. I am always happy to answer questions.

Wordsmith’s Collective Thursday – 10 Tips To Overcome Being Disheartened With Your Writing

November 18, 2020
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We have all felt disheartened as writers. It can manifest itself in a variety of forms. Lack of impetus, illness, stress, unrealistic comparisons, self expectations or stumbling over a particular section in a writing project. Some call it writers block. In truth it is just life.

Firstly, don’t beat yourself up, you are not alone. Every writer, whether novice or any of the top 100 authors, have doubts about what they are writing. We question ourselves – is it good enough, over and over. This can only spiral us downward into self-doubt. There are ways to give yourself a pick you up. I hope these help.

1. Focus on enjoying telling your stories. Do it to the best of your ability.

2. Remember you are building an inventory of your writing but also learning your craft.

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3. Lessen your expectations, don’t be so hard on yourself. Yes, we all want a certain quality to our work, but with patience it will come. There is no quick fix.

4. Don’t compare another writer’s finished work against your in process drafts. You have no idea how many changes they made.

5. Remember you get to rule over your own creative process. You choose, shape, mold, and create whatever you want.

6, Your words will, in time, sway minds, move hearts, and touch the lives of dozens of people you will never meet in person.

7. Your words, your stories are your legacy.

8. Do not take rejection personally. Think of it as a learning tool.

9. Take a long-term view of your writing career – no-one is ever an overnight success.

10. Participate in supportive writer groups. Share your work with encouraging friends.

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What have you found works for you when you are feeling disheartened?

Wordsmith’s Collective Thursday – Schedule Writing Time

November 12, 2020
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A lot of us are in the midst of writing new (or completing old) projects for the challenging NaNoWriMo month. Some find it too challenging, others a great way to write to a deadline, while others utilize the month for beginning or finishing a project. No matter why you participate, the structure gives us all a commitment to write at least 1667 words a day.

Obviously, there are other commitments – work, home & family – but making time to write is a bonus. We have the ‘excuse’ that we must write in order to achieve the goal of 50,000 words. Once our family understands your need for this writing time, why not carry it on after November?

With a full month of specified ‘writing time’ becoming the ‘norm’ for those around you, why drop it after November. If the family can accommodate you for one month, why not twelve?

Writing is our passion. We need to write. So make the time to do it. Wake up earlier, go to bed later, write while waiting for children’s activities to finish or write a scene in a small notebook in your purse waiting at appointments. There are always opportunities to allow your Muse to create. You may have to be creative in how we work it out, but it is worth investing in your writing time. It is a writing commitment.

What strange places have you written in?

Do you schedule writing time?

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – Benefits of Reading During COVID19

November 2, 2020
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As we come to terms with the increases in COVID19 cases, a resurgence that was inevitable unfortunately. We can still find solace in reading stories. Our choices can be a variety depending on our state of mind. These are some of the benefits of reading.

Reading as an escape – we can forget the ‘real’ world and ‘live’ in a fantasy, a thriller, a romance. Or we can plunge into a ‘end of world’ tale, that is far worse than what we are experiencing. It is personal choice.

Reading helps you sleep better – to be immersed in a story – preferably with no backlight to activate our brains – the act of reading settles our mind, gives us focus on a make believe world. It also rests our minds and contributes to a relaxation that enables us to sleep.

Reading makes us more compassionate to others as well as ourselves. A new perspective on the world makes us empathetic and give us new understanding of those around us. Perception of how others react to the social situation increases our awareness.

Reading for stress relief – to have our minds concentrating on something other than the constant flood of ‘news’, we are able to physically and mentally relax. This in turn has a physical consequence of lowering our blood pressure and heart rate and reducing the ‘fear’ hormone.

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What have you found to be your genre of choice during COVID19?

As I am participating in National Novel Writing Month my reading time will be reduced. However, I am enjoying this novel. It is a clever device to inform the reader of the consequences of current decisions in the ‘management’ of water sources. Set in the future by way of diary entries, we come to see what may happen.

I also bought a couple of books that will be research for my NaNo project, which is a detective trilogy.

Author Toolbox Blog Hop – Tips on Writing a Book Series

October 22, 2020
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This particular subject is close to my heart as I begin a detective series. As a free flow/panster writer, I always let the characters take charge. However, now, I have to plan a plot arc across three books. So let’s see what is required for a book series.

Firstly, know what makes writing a series different. A series has a multi-novel continuity with longer-term, series wide developments. The ending of one book should also be the hook for the following book and there should be a central conflict and tense that sustains interest. Create a compelling title for the series and each book in the series.

Secondly, there should be subplots that propel each book forward to the larger or main conflict. These subplots create smaller rises and falls in the story tension. This allows each book to have its own self-contained struggle and opportunity for growth of the characters.

You need to create a compelling central conflict for the series but also have secondary obstacles to the main characters path, with additional complications that delay the main resolution. Also move your characters through multiple settings with distinctive interests, surprises and challenges. In short, create a fictional world readers want to return to.

To aid your series ensure you outline the series in advance, enabling you to understand how each book relates to another. Establish your central characters early, however reveal their backstories gradually so your readers become engaged in their lives. Give them faults, show how their environment affects them and decide how they will change from book to book. You can also change the cast of your characters as the series continues.

Make sure you give each book in the series a strong central event. Remember that each book should stand on its own to a degree. A reader should be able to start with book four and not find the story so bewildering that they’re completely lost. To make each novel in your series work well as a standalone work – have a strong central event and image for each book and create a secondary conflict and partial resolution for each novel. This can be by your characters acquiring a skill, conviction or strategy. With the introduction of tension with uncertainty and unknowns the reader will want to know what comes next.

Plan in advance.

Provide a resolution of part of the narrative at the end of each story but carry elements over to the next book.

Maintain an overarching plot and character arcs. Give your characters time to develop over the series.

Maintain consistency with backstories, attributes, settings and plot from the previous books. Keep a record of details and timelines so you can reference it as you write.

Weave reminders into each novel to a lesser degree.

Do you have any tips you can share in regard to writing a book series?

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