Sunday, 23 April 2017

Book recommendations for World Book Day


For anyone who doesn't know, World Book Day is a global celebration of reading, authors, and books, recognized in over 100 countries worldwide.

I thought I'd mark the occasion by listing a few books I've particularly enjoyed in the last few months.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. (YA contemporary) I've been very slow in getting around to reading this, but I really enjoyed it. What I particularly liked was that it was a story about a normal girl, but within that there were sections of her fanfic and the story she based her fanfic on. I liked that it was a normal everyday story and that it was a fantasy story all in one.
My Naughty Little Sister series by Dorothy Edwards, illustrated by Shirley Hughes. (Childrens contemporary-ish!) I've loved this series since I was a little girl. The stories are about a little girl and the mischief she gets up to with her friend Bad Harry. They're short and very sweet, lovely for bedtime stories or for a bit of nostalgia if, like me, you read them when you were younger.

Murder for Christmas by Francis Duncan. (Adult crime) Amateur detective Mordecai Tremaine is a relatively new discovery for me. He's a bit like a male Miss Marple - a little bit fluffy, gentile, old fashioned and romantic, and set in the same time period. There are only a handful of books in the series, but they're all wonderfully engaging. The stories are all different but the clues are all there if the reader wants to try to track down the killer before Tremaine.

If you're interested in finding more posts about World Book Day, look for the #LovetoRead hashtag on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Finally the writing resumes!

Since having a baby just over a month ago my writing has very much taken a back seat, but this week - finally! - I've managed to get a short story completed. It may get submitted or it may just sit on my computer as a reminder that I can write and be a mother!

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Trying Scrivener

For the longest time I've written my stories in Word. It suits me, just bashing out words in a word processor, but it can be awkward when I go back to edit and I need to find a certain part, or want to move chapters and so on. I got a trial of Scrivener a few years ago and quite enjoyed it, so I decided to take the plunge and buy the full version. I'm hoping it will help me be more organised and make my editing easier.
I'll post a review in a few weeks once I've had a chance to use all the features!

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Making diversity realistic

A lot has been said in the last few months about diversity in books. I'm all for it - but only if it's realistic.

Let me explain. In the area I live, 99% of people are white. The majority of those are English or Welsh, with a healthy number of Poles as well. Of the non-whites, there are a couple of Vietnamese families, a few Indian families, one or two Chinese families, and one or two black people. If I was to write a story set in my home town with several non-white characters then to people who knew the area, it wouldn't ring true, and it would detract from the story. Similarly, if I was to set my story in London and only had one or two non-white characters, then it would also not feel right.

The key is to be realistic with your demographics. If you do a quick search for demographics you can find all sorts of stats for the place you're writing about, but mostly it's just a case of common sense.

It's a similar case for including LGBTQ characters - if your story is set in a gay nightclub, chances are most of your characters will be LGBTQ, but if it's not then you don't want to include so many that it's unbelievable.

Of course, there are occasions when you may need to go against the demographics, for example, using current affairs, your story may be about Syrian refugees coming to a small English town and trying to settle in. In that story your main characters will be Syrian, and the people they may ask for help may also be non-white.