Tag Archives | laini taylor

NANOWRIMO jealousy

revision supplies, bright stationery and writer toys

Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

I have a Twitter friend who is also revising her novel & we’ve been watching wistfully, noses pressed against the window, while others get to do The Fun Part, aka NANOWRIMO, aka just writing with abandon & making new things every day & getting to hit tangible word count goals, fingers flying & beams beaming and sentences running on, long and lovely like this one, because they don’t have to be well behaved & polished yet, la la just do it la.

Revision & editing, on the other hand, are slow and laborious chores, & neither of us have faith that what we’re working on is going to be worth it.

We’ve swapped some DMs to be mutually supportive, & today I’m taking my reply public, in case any others in Edit Land find it useful. And so I can get my daily dose of procrastination before I open Scrivener…

Yes, Twitter Friend, there is an argument for giving a misbehaving novel a cut-off point, by which time it must behave or be abandoned. But I have a Maggie Stiefvater quote pinned above my desk which says that the ones who make it are the ones who keep going:

…even if they know that this novel is not the one that will be good enough to get published, because they know that practice is the only way to get to the one that will be good enough to be published

I’ve kept going on this damn novel because I think the experience of finishing it, with all its knots & tangles, will teach me something valuable, even if no one ever reads it but me.

But, hey, I don’t know what you’re working on & it’s also true that Laini Taylor only wrote Daughter of Smoke and Bone when she gave up on the Sci Fi project she was supposed to be finishing instead. I don’t want stoicism to stop us writing our own DOSABs!

Yes, Twitter Friend, I do have editing/revising resources I use. They are Holly Lisle’s How To Revise Your Novel, the questionnaire in Donald Maass’s Breakout Novel Workbook, & the section on edits in Rachel Aaron’s 2k to 10k.

Holly’s course is massive & takes months, It’s also marvellous, but I suspect you don’t want to dwell that long on your project so check out the others if you haven’t yet – Rachel’s is fastest, Maass’s is medium.

A mix of these methods has left me with a Revision To Do list in Excel, full of promises that if I ‘just’ do those things (make X younger, foreshadow Y, make the flea market a cafe), this novel will be better.

I’ve spent too long trying to figure out which thing on the list to do next. Which one will be the cleverest, the most sensible, the one I with the smallest rubiks cube effect, where one scene is now perfect but it’s made a knock-on mess of all the other ones. Which action will make me happiest, fastest?

It’s become an excuse that freezes me. So I’m just going to pick one. Here it is:

Block out the moves & drama & consequences of the very last scene. What precise ways does the threat manifest, and how exactly is it defeated? Then I can foreshadow that in the previous scenes.

The other thing I’m going to do is *actually write* version 2 of the scene. I’ve been leaving a lot of notes for Future Me about what to do to improve things. But I haven’t been doing those things, just imagining how good/bad (depending on my self esteem weather-vane) the eventual scene will be when I do. Time to do more writing than planning, Rhian.

Has writing this post been procrastination? Kinda. Is it wonderful to get to start & finish & share something, even just an imperfect 500 word blog post? YUP!

Comments { 0 }

Summer stories: fantasy and science fiction podcasts

girl on a hazy sunny day needs a fantasy or science fiction podcast to listen to

It’s never too hot to read.

But it *is* hellmouth hot here in the UK right now. What’s a slightly sweaty, story-starved girl to do?

Sure, you could lug a book to the park. Will there be room in your bag, though, once you’ve packed your your sun hat, water & Chocolate Salted Caramel Booja Booja ice-cream?

(My hardback of Strange The Dreamer by Laini Taylor is making sad-eyes at me right now. “Why won’t you read me? I’m so pretty! And you can bet I’m full of beautiful words!” Because you’re too big, my darling, and I am too lazy to carry you around when my slim kindle has lots of tiny books in it (plus I know you’ll slay me with your perfect sentences and some brand new flavour of heartache, damn you Taylor).)

Sure, you could take your kindle/ipad to the beach. Get ready to knock the screen up to full brightness, though, & watch out for seagulls who’ll think it’s a yummy snack to swoop on.

OR: just lie back on your picnic blanket, in your sunglasses and high SPF, & let someone tell you stories instead? Keep your hands free for making daisy-chains & holding elegant parasols.

Here are 3 podcasts** to listen to from your lawn, and a bonus playlist of songs I associate with being hot. I wish it was a cool relaxing beach-chill mix you could impress your smooth friends with while eating sophisticated gelato, sorry, but blasting noisy 90s alt guitar bands while dunking chips in mayonnaise is more authentically me.

Happy summering!

My three top fantasy and science fiction short story podcasts

  1. Lightspeed I’ve probably mentioned this one before, right? Four new fantasy or science fiction short stories every month. Always fabulously narrated. You can listen to all the stories from year one as an audiobook, too.
  2. Starship Sofa Short SF stories, genre chat & the finest example of a Geordie accent you’ll ever hear. Tony’s enthusiasm always cheers me up, and the stories are top notch.
  3. Far-fetched Fables A fantasy slanted sister show to Starship Sofa. Both shows are part of the District of Wonders stable, who have a patreon set up to fund paying their writers & narrators, aka paying people for the new worlds, characters and stories we love. Definitely something to support!

My noisy summery playlist

*I’m averaging at least two tubs a week right now. What? Vegan means good for you, right? 😉

** I use the free Overcast app to listen to podcasts, because it links to Twitter and tells you what your friends there are listening to. It’s got ‘smart speed’ and ‘voice boost’ settings which improve how shows sound, too. iphone/ipad only, though).

Comments { 0 }

Advent Thanksgiving: Daughter of Smoke and Bone

daughter of smoke and bone laini taylor coverMy Advent Thanksgiving series is a series of posts about stuff I liked in 2011. Music, books, tv, games, handsome gentlemen – you get the idea.

This one’s  a no-brainer. If you haven’t already seen my gushing review of this for the BFS, click here to read it.

When I started doing book reviews it was because I thought it would be cool – I’d just joined the British Fantasy Society, and when they tweeted that they needed more reviewers it seemed an ideal way to get involved. Plus, hey, free books!  I was right, it is cool, and perhaps book reviewing should get it’s own Advent Door as it’s definitely made 2011 fun. I’ve discovered new writers and read great books I might not have found out about otherwise, often before they were published. It’s connected me to other reviewers with similar tastes, and now I review for Slacker Heroes too.  It’s hard to believe that this time last year I didn’t have a blog and hadn’t ever reviewed a book (except out loud, ranting, raving or recommending to my friends).

But when I offered to get involved with reviews there was another factor, apart from coolness and book-greed. Hope. I knew that Laini Taylor and Stacia Kane (two of my favourite writers) both had new books out soon. I didn’t expect it to work out, but I crossed my fingers and squinted my eyes up and hoped I might get to read one of them early. I was willing to risk reading bad books by other people if it meant I was in with a chance of getting one of theirs. I didn’t think I actually would, but you gotta hope, right?

daughter of smoke and bone laini taylor fan art

But I did! Hope works, people! The reviews person at the BFS had approximately 90 seconds grace between sending out the ‘Would anyone like to review ‘Daughter of Smoke and Bone‘ and getting a shrieking, capitalised response from me, begging for the review copy. Which I got. W00t!

I then panicked that the book might not be as good as I hoped, that my high expectations would sour it, and I left the book on my table for a while. I worried. Then finally I began, and loved it. Phew. I still want more Dreamdark books, and I miss Magpie and her band of crows. But Karou and the warring angels were a sumptuous substitute for the sequel to Silksinger (ooh, so many Esses) and now I have two Laini Taylor series to recommend. Marvellous.

(Just need someone from Harper Collins to send me an ARC of Sacrificial Magic now… #cheeky).

Here’s a great trailer for the book, and another link to my review.

Comments { 0 }

Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor



Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini TaylorReviewed for the British Fantasy Society

Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor

September 2011, Hodder & Stoughton

I demand that two laws are immediately passed.

1) more books set in Prague

2) more books by Laini Taylor. Read this ,& you will understand.

With its secretive streets and tall spired towers, the Czech city perfectly suits this gothic, fairytale romance. The pages burst with art and romance, legend and tragedy, they swirl with fog and with teeth.

Secret portals that cross the globe in a flash. Real angels on the Charles Bridge. This book could not have been set anywhere else, or written by anyone else.

Read the full review here

Comments { 0 }