Tuesday, 29 July 2014

The Fall of Us and CampNaNoWriMo

As most of you know, I'm addicted to NaNoWriMo and for the past three years I have participated in writing 50,000 words in November and I have won! In 2011 it was ZA which is available on Amazon's Kindle for only 77p if you love a good zombie novel.
Then in 2012 it was I Dare You which was shortlisted for the Sony Young Movellist of the Year competition!

And last year it was Just a Pair of Abominations which I blogged about in detail as I was writing it.

So I've been thinking of my next story for about a year now and it came to June and I still hadn't made a move to write it. I needed a push, and that push was CampNaNoWriMo.

CampNaNoWriMo is like NaNoWriMo but a lot more lenient. You set your own word goal and it doesn't have to be a novel but of course mine is. So on July 1st I found myself writing 1,000 words a day to reach my 30,000 word count goal by the 31st of July, but more importantly, I'd have the bulk of a novel by the end of July and before my birthday in September I will have finished book number nine, well on track for my goal of having written ten books in my five years writing.

The first week of Camp I was quite happy sitting there writing away but just like its November counterpart, CampNaNoWriMo threw me week two which was a hard slog and it seemed to take forever for me to do my words. But then week three, beloved week three, came along and I was on fire again.  On the 26th of July I reached my 30,000 word goal and won CampNaNoWriMo. Winning wasn't the important part for me this time, falling in love with my story was and that definitely happened.

I'm more excited about my novel, 30,000 words in than I was at the very beginning and that's amazing. Now's about the time to tell you all about it.

'The Fall of Us' follows thirteen year old Tye and Eeli who have left their childhood home in search of their dreams.  

Here's what I wrote for the blurb on Movellas: Enter the world of Tye.  The Fall has devastated much of the world as we know it but Tye knows nothing else.  He and his best friend Eeli are ready to leave their home as soon as they reach thirteen years so that they can be off on their own and be who they want to be and do what they want to do.  At last.

Tye and Eeli could never have imagined how dangerous the real world was going to be.

I first thought up the characters of Tye and Eeli in August last year and between then and now I've been working out what exactly happened in my apocalypse and how the world would work. Once I figured that out the rest seemed to come easy, but in a random order. There's a lot of people for them to meet and a lot of places for them to explore. I've never written an adventure story like this before and I'm loving it. But as usual, I know too much about everyone's backstory (saying that, I can never know too much about my characters) and the hardest part is deciding what to include and what to leave out.

While you wait for me to finish this story, here's about half of what exists so far

I'll leave you with a quote from my protagonist:

"It’s wrong. The feelin of bein the happiest you’ve ever bin an the saddest you’ve ever bin all at once. I’ve never had a feelin like it. Bittersweet, Nat called it. I reckon there’s never bin a more perfect word." - Tye, The Fall of Us

Molly Looby
Author/Wrimo/Editor/Ghostwriter/Blogger/Reviewer/Movellian/ZA Ready
Contact me if you have any questions about books or writing or anything here: molly.looby@hotmail.com 

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Heaven - Christoph Marzi

A Spoiler Free Bit About The Book

David, a runaway from Cardiff desperately trying to find his way in the world stumbles across Heaven, a girl who's heart has just been cut out. Together they must discover what is really going on with Heaven and the man pursuing her, trying to finish what he started.

My Review

At the beginning, I really enjoyed this book. I found it easy to read big chunks of it at once as the information was given in such a way that I could take it in. However, as I read on, I got increasingly more bored of the characters and their plot line and didn't really want to pick the book up. Once I did, I read quite a lot but I didn't feel motivated to pick it up. It was also way too long. It felt like it took me forever to read. I would just look at my bookshelf and all the wonderful books there waiting to be read but I was stuck with 'Heaven'.

Saying this, however, it was a great decision to have David as the narrator rather than Heaven because it made it much more mysterious, even though the book was really about her. It makes a change from all the female protagonists I've read about recently.

There was also a line I loved that I feel was put there solely for other authors to read: "he'd never known how the stories would end when he began them - but who did?".

However, to counter this, there was the most redundant sentence I've ever read: "Then, after a pause that was neither long nor short".  I mean, what is the point of that? What's wrong with just saying "Then, after a pause"? Or maybe just take the sentence out all together. I just wasted valuable seconds of my life on that sentence. More so in fact because I had to share it with my house it was so ridiculous and now I'm sharing it with you.

I haven't had this problem for a long time but there were also far too many adverbs all over the place. E.g. "she asked bluntly" which was a completely superfluous phrase as the dialogue made it very clear she was being blunt. I just cannot get over how many published authors get away with using so many pointless adverbs. It drives me mad.

Another problem I had with 'Heaven' which I've never had before was the information about London streets. Every time David moved from street to street we were told about it. Which street he was on, which way he turned, which tube station he was in and which tube station he ended up at and on which line. It was far too much. And the descriptions of London seemed to go on forever. There were three separate descriptions of Canary Wharf even though I know exactly what it looks like. I looked it up and it turns out that Marzi is German which explain all the description but the street names, really? Does it matter where he is and where he's turning. No. It does not.

There was nothing particularly special about this story or the writing itself. Nothing about it took my breath away.


Plot - 7/10 - It was a bit weird

Way Plot Was Pursued - 7/10 - the chapters were too long and the explanation took a long time coming

Characters - 7/10 - I grew bored of them and didn't care about what happened to them

Style - 6/10 - there were a few nice phrases in there

Pace - 6/10 - the whole thing lasted too long

Would I recommend it? - No. There was nothing special about this book at all.

Would I look up the author? -No, for the same reason.

'Heaven' was just too long and non-spectacular.

Molly Looby
Author / Editor / Ghostwriter / Blogger / Reviewer / Wrimo / Movellian / ZA Ready
Contact me about books, writing, and all things awesome here: molly.looby@hotmail.com

Saturday, 19 July 2014

The Symbol, The Dream

So it's been a while since I wrote a blog post about me, hi! I thought this was too important not to share.

This week I quit my part time job to throw myself into writing full time.

Yes, I know!  I couldn't be more excited!  Now I can't wait to get up in the morning and I'm smiling and I'm happy.

I wrote about my freelance ghostwriting job a few posts back - quite a few if I remember rightly. And now I've got a freelance editing job too! I worked out that if I did more ghostwriting and editing - as much as I can - I will make more money than at my part time job. Millie's Cookies if anyone was wondering.

So as of this time next week I'll be living the dream! I'll no longer come home sweaty, smelling like cookies and hot and bothered. I won't have to listen to customers who have five brain cells. I won't have to clean an entire shop ever again.

Instead I'll be here, at my laptop, where I want to be at all hours.

And, even better, now I won't be so exhausted and I'll be able to write my own novels more, because I'll already be in the writing zone. I'll be in it all day! 

Everything's turning out okay. Five years of writing has done me good and as I suspected, no matter what my teachers told me, I didn't need a degree to do what I love. After only a few days of writing I knew that was what I wanted to do. It just took a while to become reality. But I'm okay with waiting. I waited for this and I'll wait for a publishing contract.

But never am I in any doubt. It's coming. I can almost feel it.

Wait, there's more. Just to make this occasion even more special, on the day I handed in my notice at Millie's I also booked my tattoo. They happened to have an opening the next day which I took. It was meant to be.

So here it is, the symbol I've been thinking about for two years now. The symbol of my writing. The symbol of my dreams.

A huge thanks to James Terry, my ever amazing cover designer for the design. I could never have done anything half that beautiful. And also to Immortal Ink in Chelmsford who made the whole thing a wonderful experience.

I'm ready for anything now. Bring it on.

Molly Looby
Author / Ghostwriter / Editor

Saturday, 5 July 2014

To An Author

To An Author,

I know what you're thinking, I'm not an author. Well, that's strictly true, but it won't be much longer. Soon something will happen, and the drive to tell a story will be so great that you'll want nothing more. You'll create diagrams and pages upon pages of notes to stay ahead of yourself, to tame the beast in your head you didn't even realise existed until you let it out.

Before you even know it, you will have written your first novel.

Well, that's what it was like for me, fellow author. The first novel was a rocket I struggled to hold on to the desire to get it all down was so great. It was the single greatest experience I'd ever had.

Which leads to more.

Without even thinking much about it, a new idea will be forming in your head and characters will be strolling around like your head's a London street. But don't be afraid, be amazed. The strange workings of your mind could be genius. Learn to write everything down, even if it doesn't seem relevant. Knowing your complicated brain is important. Believe me.

So you continue to write, and let me tell you, you adore every minute of it, perhaps more now because now you've realised this is exactly what you want to do. Now your actions have meaning because now you see yourself as an author. Before it was just child's play, seeing if you had the stamina for a whole story. Now you're writing something much more complicated. This book is going to change you as an author.

They all do.

During the writing of every novel, you realise what you were doing wrong last time. You learn new rules about grammar and punctuation you didn't even know existed, and you try and learn the difference between 'affect' and 'effect' but just end up writing which is which in your note book for when you need to double check.

Around here the editor in your head wakes up and tries to gain  your attention. If you're anything like me, fellow author, you'll just bat it away, doing the most minimal of editing to quiet the noise. You'll just make it technically correct. I hate to tell you that you have a lot to learn.

But that doesn't matter, it doesn't take long for your editor to explode out of you. All of a sudden, you're cutting whole paragraphs and yes, fellow author, you did just cut an entire chapter. Well done! You don't tell yourself that enough and you should.

Your inner editor is quite like your inner author because neither can leave you once they've shown themselves.

Now you understand how to write and perfect a story. Now you feel indestructible. You try agents again. You dread it. Of course you do. These people are the next step in getting you your dream, getting published. But don't be naive, fellow author, they're not the only ones. You need an editor in a publishing house interested and then a team of people have to back it. Then you'll have to edit according to them, and you'll stress about cover design, and what you're trying to achieve, and at some point you might think back to that enthusiastic writer you were before and how you wish it was that simple again.

Publishing a book doesn't make you an author, writing a book does. I can't stress that enough. Already, fellow author, you're living your dream. Forget the big publishers for now, they'll come around. After all, the people who get published are the people too stupid to give up.

You're one of those wonderful people and you will live your dream. And you're okay with waiting. And you'll never stop writing.

That's what makes you an author.

So listen to criticism if it's constructive and let everyone share their ideas with you. Listen, watch, and learn. And most importantly of all, never stop writing.

One day, fellow author, one day, we will rule the world.

Your Future Writer.

Molly Looby
Became an author five years ago today.