Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

My Book News & Advocate for the Writing Community ©

Wordsmith’s Collective Thursday – In the Writing Saddle Again

January 13, 2022
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It feels good to be back in the writing saddle again after a break after National Novel Writing Month and the Christmas & New Year’s celebrations. Leaving a manuscript for a while helps refresh our brains (and Muse). Obviously, we do not need to return to the frantic writing style of November, thank goodness! With a sizable word count from the challenge, we can now relax back into the story.

There are a couple of options we can take. Firstly, to continue where we left off or to go back to read the text and make changes or plunge into editing. We all have a specific target for our NaNoWriMo manuscripts. Some will be filed way for another time, others completed before the editing process, while others may be subject to a full revision. Whichever, method you use, it is always a personal choice once we see the work of November.

My second book in my detective trilogy – The Tainted Search, took an unexpected twist during November, so I am keen to follow the story line to see where it takes me and my characters. I did know one of the characters was the cause of the procedural mistake, but until NaNoWriMo not the method of how he was found out and by whom. It has created an unlikely alliance.

What are you doing with your NaNoWriMo manuscript?

Care to share the genre, story line, plot?

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – A New Year’s Reading Challenge

January 4, 2022
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I use the Goodreads annual reading challenge to track the books I read and review each year. Sometimes I hit the target, other times I exceed it. This year I began with a novella, To Rome, With Love by D.P. Rosano, which was a Christmas gift. I am now onto my next read The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker.

I have set my challenge for 20 books this year.

Do you set a target for your books?

What are you currently reading?

What was your favorite book of 2021?

I enjoyed If It Bleeds and Billy Summers both by Stephen King – as you all know I love his story telling expertise. These books were very different in genre, but both equally compelling. The other book that rates on my long list is The Library of Lost and Found by Phaedra Patrick. It was a delightful tale of self discovery and mystery.

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Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – Choosing A Book to Read

December 7, 2021
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As readers the greatest gift we can receive are books or gift cards to buy books! It was by chance that I received two bookstore gift cards and as a veracious reader was, of course delighted. Then comes the problem – which books do I buy? With so many to choose from with multiple shelves packed with all manner of titles, authors, and genres, we have a couple of options. We can choose a favorite author, a specific genre or try something new.

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As you know by now, I love stories with a reincarnation theme. I wrote my novel The Twesome Loop I like it so much! The bookstore helper, I encountered, was able to guide me to two books when I described the type of story I was looking for reincarnation. She recommended The Midnight Library and The Golem and the Jinni. I am currently reading the former and love the characters and the central idea of the story. It allows the author to explore many options for her character. I’ll stop there so I don’t spoilt it for you, if you choose to read it.

As I like to support local, I also went to a wonderful bookstore called The Sherwood Park Bookworm. I know the owner and she helped me find a couple of books with another topic I wanted to delve into: bookstore tales. There is something special about delving into our secret (sometimes not so secret wish) to own a bookstore. As we read these narratives we imagine ourselves within that environment. To be surrounded with books all day – what a treat that would be. Two more books were added to my cache. As you can see from the image below. These are all wonderful additions to my TBR pile.

What does your current TBR pile look like? What are the titles? How did you choose the books?

Wordsmith’s Collective Thursday – Surviving and Thriving in NaNoWriMo

November 25, 2021
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As we enter the last week of NaNoWriMo, I thought I would share my experience of the challenge and share some tips.

National Novel Writing month is a crazy experience, whether it is your first attempt or one of many. We all tend to become rather manic as we write to our daily goal of 1667 words (or more if possible). I remember my first NaNoWriMo was back in 2009. At the time my writing experience was minimal, and my longest piece of writing was maybe three paragraphs long, substantially less than fifty thousand words.

The panic I felt at the mind-blowing word count and the deadline date made me completely obsessed. I would race home from work to write, threw the easiest meals together for my family and ignored household chores, for the most part. This was my focus. Now, after twelve years of the challenge, I have become more relaxed knowing I am capable of writing at least 1667 words in an evening. My average daily word count fluctuates between 1700 and 1900 words this year. That is not to say I do not experience some anxiety; I just know how to handle the challenge better now. As with everything – practice makes perfect, or in this case ‘bum in seat’ makes an achievable word count.

Here are a few tips I found worked for me:

  1. Cultivate your story idea before NaNo starts. It may be a character, a location or even a whole scene that propels you into the story.
  2. Jot down notes for plot, character names & personalities, anything that you see being included in your narrative.
  3. Find a time and a quiet place to write that works for you and your family. Designate a time, if that helps.
  4. Don’t make excuses – write first then watch TV or scroll social media.
  5. Use unexpected spare/free time to write, even if it’s only a paragraph. Every word counts.
  6. Try writing bursts – time yourself to write a certain number of words in an allocated amount of time.
  7. Aim to write over the daily word count of 1667 this helps you stay ahead. So, any unforeseen circumstances are not so drastic to your end goal.
  8. Let the words flow – leave editing and revision for later.
  9. Use the word count tracker on the website, it helps you stay on goal.
  10. Mark or highlight a sentence if fact checking is required. This stops you going down internet rabbit holes.
  11. Believe in yourself, your story and your success.
  12. Celebrate the smaller victories – hitting a sprint goal, writing a smashing paragraph, learning a new word.
  13. Make sure you rest, exercise and eat.
  14. Enjoy the process of immersing yourself into creating a world of your imagination.
  15. Even if you don’t achieve 50,000 words you have managed to write a fair amount – that is success. Remember this challenge is only the beginning of your narrative’s journey. The editing and revisions come later.

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – The Creation of Life in Slake Patch (Speculative fiction)

November 16, 2021
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I was excited to be the Author of the Day on Many Books talking about Life in Slake Patch, my speculative fiction novel. You can read about how the story was created, a glimpse at the characters and the extended time it took to write the story. Here:

If I did not answer a question you would like to ask, please put it in the comments and I will happily reply.

Happy reading and take care.

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