I’m going to share an embarrassing secret, but you have to promise not to judge.
Recently I made the discovery that my laptop sits comfortably on the front of my treadmill. And you know what that means?
Yep. I can binge-watch YouTube while I run.
Sometimes I watch educational videos about nutrition, philosophy, culture, or literature, but my usual binge watch is much more low-brow and embarrassing.
I’ll share it with you, but you have to promise not to judge me.
*takes a deep breath*
Continue reading “My embarrassing secret that might help with your writing”
Given his upbringing, Harry Potter wouldn’t have been a nice, well-adjusted kid. He would have been a nightmare. But that would have made a very different story.
Let me see if I’ve got this right.
We have Harry Potter, a kid who between the ages of 1 and 11 lived in a house with parental figures who hated, neglected, and emotionally abused him, and a sibling figure who bullied him.
I’m pretty sure he never got any love or affection at home.
He slept locked in a cupboard, for goodness sake.
We see no evidence he had any friends at school*, and, knowing kids, he probably got bullied for always wearing cast-off clothes that were too big for him.
* Okay, I haven’t read the books in years, so I’m mostly going by the movies. That still counts.
Continue reading “The problem with Harry Potter and why it doesn’t matter”
When I’m editing, I use an emotional Geiger counter to tell which parts of my story are working. It often helps. Here’s how it can go wrong.
This is not a post of writing advice, because I don’t do those. This is a post of writing observation. They’re different. Trust me.
I read books first and foremost for the emotions they evoke: wonder, awe, hope, joy, dismay, despair, and all the other good ones.
Similarly, I write with the intention of evoking such emotions in the reader. The hard question is how do I know when I’ve succeeded.
Writers with a lot of craft knowledge and experience probably just know. I expect they don’t need to read their draft to know how the reader will react emotionally at each point.
Me? I’m not quite there yet.
Continue reading “How emotions can help with your editing or lead you astray”
I read ten self-help books and took away various insights, some of which are helpful. I summarise the helpful ones and the others here.
At their best, self-helps books are amazing because they literally teach you how to help yourself, and inspire you to do so. Want to become a millionaire by sitting on your couch playing video games? There will be a self-help book for that.
However, some self-help books would have been better if they’d remained blog posts, and some should never have been written at all.
I forget most of what I read in most self-help books, maybe because it isn’t relevant to me, or maybe because I’m too busy trying to put Princess on a diet without starving Runs from Jeans.
A year later I might remember one main point, and I’m fine with that. It was probably the most important point.
Today I’m going to share some of these main points.
Continue reading “Ten self-help books I read so you don’t have to”
I tweeted recently about something an author had done that made me feel cheated. My tweet went viral and the author’s behaviour received near-universal condemnation. So if you don’t want to infuriate your readers, don’t do what he did.
A few days ago I finished the book I was reading and trawled through my kindle for something new to read. I happen to have *cough cough* pages of books I’ve bought or downloaded free and haven’t quite got around to reading, so I knew I’d find something.
Sure enough, I came across a book I didn’t recall buying. The cover was attractive enough as a black-and-white thumbnail, and the first half sentence of blurb that my kindle displays was intriguing.
A post-apocalyptic world. Zombies. Yep, that sounded like some good light entertainment.
I began to read.
Continue reading “Authors, whatever you do, don’t do this”