I write a lot of posts about problems with book drafts. But isn’t it just as important to look at the positive? If we listed the qualities of a brilliant read, what would they be? (Plus, I think we need a feelgood post.)
So, as I sit here on Sunday morning in London with an hour to get this post out of my head and into the grey matter of the blogosphere, this is the list I’ve come up with. I hope you’ll storm your brains and join in at the end.
Deft use of details
A writer needs to give a lot of details to evoke the setting, time period (if it’s not contemporary), distinguishing features of the characters, points about the weather. A skilful storyteller will smuggle a lot of these in as part of the action. A historical period might be evoked by showing a character…
From her vantage point on the balcony of the restaurant she watched as the surfers chased the foamy surf. The midday sun beat down fiercely, endless white sands stretching out towards clear blue sea and skies. They looked like seals, determined to catch that elusive big wave. It was their life long mission, their reason for existing.
‘Is this seat taken?’ a voice spoke as a woman in a brightly patterned dress smiled down at her. Chelsea nodded; yes, taking in a whiff of gardenias from her perfume. She placed her bag on the empty chair and sighed with annoyance. Where was he? His tardiness was starting to annoy her.
She looked around the restaurant. It was starting to fill as the lunchtime rush rapidly approached. It was such a popular spot, built on a rocky outcrop on the shoreline, right next to Elephant Rock. Tourists and locals alike flocked to munch on succulent prawns washed down with light beer and a fabulous view.
Today was no exception.
Sipping her stilled water, her thoughts turned to her absent companion: Luke. They had known each other since high school, losing touch after graduation. Then she had bumped into him at a party, an informal school reunion. They’d barely spoken to each other over the Bunsen burners and dusty literature books, but ten years later things were different. They both loved the beach, fishing and boating on the water, late night classic movies and discovering new restaurants dotted along the coast.
It had been an exciting twelve months.
That’s why the last few weeks had been a bit of a mystery. Luke had started to look detached whilst on their dates, as if he wanted to be somewhere else. He barely listened to her and was constantly late, that was when he bothered to show up at all. There were always feeble excuses; car wouldn’t start, or the traffic was fierce on the highway. Just the other night he told her that his boss had wanted him to fetch supplies in the city, but she sensed that it was not the whole truth.
What was going on?
Someone burst into laughter at the table behind her. She turned her head slightly, glancing at a young family eating lunch with an older couple. Chelsea felt a pull at her heart strings, remembering her own idyllic childhood on the farm in New South Wales. She had chosen to live here, hadn’t she? It was not just because Luke had taken a position as manager of the construction firm? She loved her job in the kindergarten, and her surroundings were breathtaking. A seed of insecurity formed in her mind, a cloud hanging over her, spoiling the perfection of the afternoon. Everyone seemed to be relaxed and animated whilst she felt dark and broody, and alone.
She glanced at her watch. Luke was now a full half an hour late. Maybe this was her cue…did he want to finish with her?
Just then a voice shouted up from the beach. A figure stood by the sandy shore, and she recognised Luke’s muscular physique. He seemed to be knee deep in the water, the waves splashing over him as he waved his arms around frantically and pointed upwards.
The girl on the next table cried out, looking out at the blue horizon.
‘Look up at the plane in the sky. That’s so romantic!’
Chelsea tried to focus on what Luke was trying to say. The waves crashed onto the rocks behind him, making his words distorted. He was smiling, waving, pointing at the sky.
She grinned with delight, clapping her hands over her mouth as she read the banner. Luke ran up the restaurant steps towards her, as the families looked on. The aircraft droned past, trailing the banner behind it, flapping in the sea breezes.
Chelsea – I love you. Will you marry me? – Luke XXX
According to The Huffington Post, (taken from The National Book Review, Oct, 2016) ebook sales are declining, while the printed book sales are steady.
In response to this, here’s 5 valid reasons why we should keep encouraging printed books and keeping this industry alive amongst so much technology.📚
1. Pages! Comforting, soft to touch, smelling lovely and new (or gorgeously old). To compare, ebooks are like reading an ATM machine.
2. You get to keep them! Printed books can add/enhance any collection, and look so cool on a book shelf (especially with an awesome book cover).
3. You can share them. How much bettet to make new friends than through exchanging books? They bring communities together, and can keep friendships thriving. Also, how much more social is a Book Club?
4. Printed books are a physical reminder of good times. How awesome is it to find a favorite book from your childhood amd delve back into those memories – just like a well liked song.
5. Lastly, and from a writer’s point of view, print book publishers are fairer to writers than the ebook version of their work. Publishers give less % royalties to ebooks which makes it that much harder to earn a living
I thought writing a novel was the hard part. I thought endless drafting and editing and proofreading involved the most work when it came to being a writer.
I was wrong. My debut novel has been on sale for a little less than a month, and I came to the conclusion very early on in its release that writing it was the easy (and far more enjoyable) part. Why? you ask.
Marketing. Marketing is a hard and seemingly endless process. Why is it so hard?
Temperatures have reached epic proportions on the Gold Coast. People are rushing down to the beaches along the coast, trying to find some relief from the heat.
We decided to head more inland, to the Currumbin Rock Pools. A big mistake. Every man and his dog (literally!) had decided to use the pools. People jostled in the shallow waters, drinking beer and jumping off the ledges above. Dogs played ‘fetch’ with their owners, splashing and running across the rocky ledges, while a gang of youths blasted hip hop music and lolled around in brightly coloured towels.
We drove on…..and found a sweet eco friendly cafe which served delicious coffees and sticky date puddings with ice cream.
Byron bay is the most easterly point of mainland Australia. It is a mecca for backpackers and tourists from all over the world. It is very hard to spot an Aussie accent amongst the South American,French, Eastern Europe and British voices relaxing at street side cafes and bars nestled along the seaside streets. Street art adorns most side streets, giving it an eclectic feel, a hippie vibe that is less noticeable in the southern beaches of Sydney.
It is also one of my favourite spots to visit in New South Wales. Take all your troubles and pack them away as you enter a different vibe in Byron. You get the impression that life is to be enjoyed and should be bohemian and chilled. Take an hour to browse the tiedyed colourful t shirts in the many boutiques, jostling for space with crystal shops and upmarket galleries. The smell of incense is everywhere, filling the mind and creating a wacky ambience, where long flowing dresses rule and bare feet are a part of the mood. Peace for all.
It’s daggoned hard to write scenes. Crafting a novel is hard work. There is no easy short-cut or fast lane to the finish line. My respect for those that are brave enough to attempt a novel knows no bounds. Anyone with the fortitude to complete their novel, can do it; but steer clear of anyone […]