Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Five Day Novel by Scott King

I heard about this book from the Rocking Self Publishing podcast (available on iTunes, Overcast and other apps, so definitely go listen to this episode/subscribe) when the author was interviewed about how he wrote Ameriguns in 5 days. This is from pre-writing (prepping for the story) to line editing.

While the podcast has the basics of the book, I decided to grab a copy because I was interested in learning more about the process.

Personally, I think first time writers/aspiring writers will benefit the most from this book. Scott King takes the reader through the entire writing process, from the preparation to the rewriting in an easy to understand and non-intimidating style. He has a list of 'assignments' for each day (each stage of writing) which can be used as stepping stones/checklists.

I found lots of gems throughout this book. From the pitch to the three act structure and how to 'fix' characters, I'm pretty sure that I'll be going back to this book as each stage of writing ends. Sure, it's not the most detailed of books, but it provides a good overview and a good starting point for authors.

And if you're wondering how useful his advice is, I checked out his book on Amazon and it has more reviews (and a good average) and a better sales rank than me so he's definitely doing something right (although to be honest it'd be pretty easy to do better than me so you have no excuse not to write and publish/submit to agents).

While I'm not going to be writing a novel in a month, it might be a fun challenge to try and squeeze his process into NaNoWriMo. It does mean that I would have to be more of a planner than I currently am, but I would have a lot of time to prepare.

If you need an encouraging, practical book to get you to start writing, I highly recommend this book. The price is reasonable too - I got it for 299 yen, which is much lower than many other writing books that I've seen. If you're unsure whether you want to get it, give the episode where he's on a listen first.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Teaser Tuesday - The Woman Who Had Two Navels and Tales of the Tropical Gothic by Nick Joaquin

Hey everyone!

I'm reading a book of short stories now which is awesome because:

- I only have short bursts of reading time (during lunch break, a few minutes before I leave for work, etc) so this is perfect for reading but not being late, and
- It's by a Filipino author and I've been wanting to read more South East Asian fiction so this is perfect!

I'm really, really enjoying it, although enjoying may be a bad word because these tales are very dark. But they are very intense and make me feel a lot more than I expected from short stories.

My teaser:
"The bells continue pealing throughout the enchanted hour and break into a really glorious uproar as St. Sylvestre rises to bestow the final benediction. But when the clocks strike one o'clock, the bells instantly fall mute, the thundering music breaks off, the heavenly companies vanish - and in the cathedral, so lately glorious with lights and banners and solemn ceremonies, there is suddenly only the silence, only the chilly darkness of the empty naves; and at the alter, the single light burning before the Body of God."
What about you? What are you reading?
How to participate in Teaser Tuesday:  
•Grab your current read 
• Open to a random page 
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page 
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!) 
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! 

Friday, June 16, 2017

At Betram's Hotel by Agatha Christie

I liked the previous Miss Marple book that I read so much I immediately borrowed another!

At Bertram's Hotel takes place in London, where Miss Marple is on holiday. The main 'mystery' for most of the book is the disappearance of a clergyman, who is later found alive (but concussed). There is a murder, but it happens towards the end.

I've gotta say, the twist in this story is a lot more incredible than it is in The Body in the Library. But, it was set up well by Chief-Inspector Davy/Father and I definitely bought it.

Speaking of Chief-Inspector Davy/Father, I found him to be a very interesting character! I hope that he'll be a recurring character, a la Hastings. He's a very solid policeman, with both good instincts and thorough work. Plus the ability to listen to Miss Marple.

Miss Marple definitely played a smaller role here, since she wasn't unofficially involved in the case. But she does overhear a lot of interesting things and her and Chief-Inspector Davy joining forces is a formidable thing to see. I didn't see as much reference to her home village, though, because she spent more time wandering through memory lane.

Which brings us to Betram's Hotel, which is as much a character as anyone else. Betram's Hotel is one of those places that manage to recreate the past perfectly, from their service to their food (I am now curious as to what 'real muffins' taste like). It was fun reading about Miss Marple's stay in Betram's Hotel, and I did want to stay there.

I'm starting to regret staying away from Miss Marple for so long. The two books that I've read so far have been really fun reads, and it is with some reluctance* that I stop the series (for a while) and continue with other books on my TBR list.

*ok, I kid. I'm really enjoying this book about the Internet I'm reading and I think I can finish it soon.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

The Body in the Library by Agatha Christie

If I'm not wrong, this is my first Miss Marple (I'm more of a Poirot fan) and I found that I really enjoyed it! The Body in the Library is a version on an old mystery trope. In this case, the owners of said library (Colonel and Mrs. Bantry) don't recognise the platinum blond lying dead on the floor. Recognising the implications of this, Mrs. Bantry asks Miss Marple to help solve the case.

The police (who have allowed Miss Marple to join them, even if they aren't enthusiastic about it) quickly find out that the body belongs to Ruby, a dancer at a hotel. And then they find a second body, that of a school girl.

The mystery was easy to read and I finished it very quickly. Miss Marple's style of connecting crimes to things she's seen in her village was pretty interesting and I found that I rather enjoyed her prattling along about the various people she's met.

The twist at the end was also one that I didn't see coming, and I thought it was very clever the way that everything was connected. You don't have the pistol that subsequently gets neglected problem (can't remember the proper name for this, sorry).

I also really liked the supporting cast of characters. In particular, I really liked Mrs. Bantry. On the surface, she seems to enjoy the murder a bit too much, like a regular gossipy housewife, but she is also very considerate towards her husband and I really liked how she did her best to protect him the way she knew how.

As someone who is a Christie fan, I am so happy that I liked reading this! I've more or less finished the Poirot series, and I don't really like Tommy and Tuppence (and there aren't many books for that series anyway) so I'm looking forward to reading more Miss Marple mysteries.