How to make your Characters talk to you…

It sounds weird, doesn’t it?.

How can your own characters, which your mind gave birth too, which you clothed and brought up and made them in to this person you “want” them to be, not talk to you..

Quite easily I’ll have you know – I think most writers will agree – that ometimes the sassy little things will sit there and mope and you feel like you can’t do anything about it…

Sometimes those things you love so much will lead you in to a writing block, but the best way to fight that is to just write more…

This is just one of the way’s of many to make them talk to you a little bit more, and in my experience, is the easiest thing to do, but it will differ for everyone.

I think the best way to learn about a character is to write about them, but I don’t mean as in, write about their role in your story, I mean, as in, write about what they did before the story started. Most of the time, you’ll know the story of their lives, the few things that happened before, things that necessarily aren’t important to what they are doing right now, but I think that to properly grapple on to how your characters came to be the person they are now, you need to take time out of your WIP and write about the things that made them who they are. Almost like a short story or a piece of flash fiction. It doesn’t need to be highly edited, or a master piece in anyway, it can just be something you keep for yourself, or, if you want, release it in to ‘The World’ as an extra little tidbit in to ‘Your World’.

For example, one of my secondary characters, Ryan, had a run-in with a Knight he used to squire with. I knew a joust was involved with their final separation, that it was the day he found his horse Bezel and Bezel almost got killed, but I didn’t know the extent of it all – like the emotions and the thoughts my character would have had, or, the hatred he had for the Knight until I wrote about it. I know the Knight changed him for the worst, but there’s always a little part of him that kept him good. Mostly.

My fingers did the work – sometimes they write things I never know are going to happen until they do – and I think Ryan helped me to tell the story that truly showed himself for who he was, or who he wanted to be, even though, it didn’t really work out that way; but every day, this man surprises me and keeps going forward.

It was the story that told me why the two of them weren’t close anymore, the reason why he didn’t look up to him, and the story that also, surprisingly, lead to his family name being redeemed to the King, something I didn’t plan until I wrote about it, but fitted in so perfectly I couldn’t not put it in.

I learnt much more than I thought I would, and I’ve noticed that it sort of bleeds in to the book I’m writing without having to add all those extra words in. It may never get put in to the series at all, but I think that the more you know about the people in your book, the more it comes across in your writing without actually writing it (How it works, I don’t know, but it does).

There are obviously other ways to do this. For example, you could write a letter to your characters (you can find examples of them over here at M.A. Ryan, readtolivetowrite, Uninspiredwriters and even on my own blog here), you could do an interview with your character (I recently found Library of Erana, and it has so many interesting character interviews, it’s insane, here’s a link to her character interview tag). And obviously, you could write a whole new novel or even novella about them.

Look at Cassandra Clare. She’s got several series from the Shadowhunter world, each of them adding another layer of depth and information to a world many people can’t get enough off.

Another way is obviously the Pottemore route. Pottermore has allowed J.K. Rowling to release a whole host of short stories and extra info about the Wizarding World, and to this day, she keeps adding to the world that has inspired hundreds of millions of people! (Happy Birthday Jo and Harry <3)

Obviously, some of us aren’t in that situation yet where we are published. We don’t have that sort of platform, but if you want it to get out there, if you have a world full of little stories you want people to know about, but can’t really justify adding the extra so many words to your main novel; or have more worlds waiting to be written about, so can’t always justify writing more books, blogs and websites are so easily accessible nowadays that you could post the short stories on them as you write them, and, so many years down the line, when your book is published and readers are looking for those little extras, they’ll come across the little gems (or Easter eggs) you planted years before.

I think the worst thing about this is finding the balance between the worlds your writing about now, and the worlds you may still have waiting in the wings, waiting for their time to shine, but I think it’s all about finding a balance and realising when each world needs to finally end (If I ever figure that one out, I’ll make sure to tell you)!


I know this post is a little later in the day than I would normally like, but I tried to write it last night in time for this morning, but my mind didn’t want to form the right sentences for it.

You see, yesterday, I read over a short story that I posted a couple months ago – about Ryan and his joust – and it just reminded me of how important it is to write about them, to write about how they became them. If you fancy a read, you can find it here. It’s not perfect in any way, but it was fun to do, and that’s the whole point of writing – that even though it’s stressful and makes you want to tear your hair out, it’s still FUN!?!

What methods do you use to make your characters talk to you? I’d love to hear about them 🙂

And until next time guys,

Just keep writing…

Jade x

A Touch of This, a Touch of That’ – Spells and Remedies Unboxing

BookBoxClubs July 2017

This is my third bookboxclub and what a box it was! I was very excited by what the literaryomnivore was going to produce and I am so happy with what I received (its already up on the wall)!

So, lets get in to this, inspired by books like the raven boys

A beautiful material bunting with a spells and remedies theme by the Literary Omnisore, as well as 10% off my next purchase!

It is beautifully made, so soft and already hanging on my ball with my own ‘bookish’ bunting.

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Next, I noticed this fragranced soap from Just Fribble, inspired by The Raven Cycle (which should be in my TBR pyle really, but then, so should a lot of things). It smells beautiful and I’m definitely going to use it when I need some zen time in the bath! It also has a pretty cool quote on the packaging too (I’m one of these people that will probably hang that on my wall too when it’s done with). It’s also exclusive to the bookboxclub, which makes it even better. You can check out what else – make here though!

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Next was this little bookish reflective mirror from Moon Kestrel, and that little bit of personalisation there too!

The next was a BOOKMARK!!!! I keep seeing these beautiful bookmarks all over instagram, and now, I finally own one! This was designed by Holly Grace Illustration!

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This month, there was also some Hocus Pocus tea from the Bluebird Tea Company! I’m not a lover of tea, but I’m gonna try it and report back to you with my findings!

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This month, there was also some different type of book promotion! Aswell as a bookmark from the book After the Fire by Will Hill (which I got the arc of in last months box), there was also sample chapters of  S.T.A.G.S and It Only Happens in the Movies! Another two I’ll probably have to add to my TBR pyle – not yet though, because my book buying ban doesn’t finish until the end of the month!

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And now, on to the book!

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The disappearance by Emily Bain Murphy! A shimmering and magical adventure set in a strange town called Sterling where people are slowly and literally losing their senses. The author couldn’t decide between Mr.Darcy, and to help her in a zombie apocalypse, I think I would take  out of those three though!

And that was all for this months bookboxclub! Next month is Fearless Females, and it’s going to include the hardback version of a book that isn’t out yet! I think I may have guessed what it is, but we will have to wait and see!

Time Travelling with a Hamster by Ross Welford (Book Review)

I enjoyed it, but not in the way I thought I would!

This was a complete cover buy! I needed a second book to make up my 2 for ÂŁ7 deal and the words ‘with a hamster’ drew me in straight away.

It is the debut novel by Ross Welford, published in 2015! I’ve tried not to include obvious spoilers, but even though this is a childrens book, as an adult, you can delve much deeper.

 The author also published another book called ‘What not to do if you turn invisible’ in 2016! And my crazy hamster lady self comes out a little at the end, and I’m sorry!

On to the review!

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Time Travelling with a Hamster follows 12-year-old Al and his pet hamster – Alan Shearer – as they travel back in time to prevent his dad from dying. They travel back to when his dad was 12 to stop the accident that would eventually lead to his dads death years later, except, it doesn’t go as planned.

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It is marketed as a middle grade book, but it’s not this whimsical adventure you expect it to be. It’s very dark at times and I think, in places, it borders on being adult fiction instead. I enjoyed it in a way, but not in the way I thought I would. It also felt like sometimes, the narrator wasn’t a twelve year old boy, like Albert wasn’t sure if he was a kid or an adult whilst he told us the story. There are references to him telling the story after his grand adventure has taken place though, so maybe he is writing from a slightly older perspective, but we never actually know.

However, what I liked about it was the way it explained time travel in simpler terms, which I think was done tremendously. I liked how it was even made to sound slightly technical, which made me think I was far smarter than I am! I also enjoyed the shorter chapters! I think that helps to break it up a lot more, and make you think, yeah, I can read a bit more before I need to sleep. But, it also felt like a bit of it was drawn out, especially at the beginning. It almost made it hard to get in to, but once I got down to the whole time travelling bit, I couldn’t put it down.

The book is also full of wonderfully fascinating characters which are all three-dimensional, which I think the author pulled off flawlessly. I did have a few tears here and there, I’ll admit, but I think it just shows that the author really got the feel of the book spot on.

However, I think the one thing that did disappoint me the most was the reason I bought it for – Alan Shearer – the hamster, felt more like an add-on just to attract attention, an afterthought (literally) at times, and I felt a little bit betrayed.

There was also another thing that bothered me in this book, but I guess, looking from an adults perspective; looking in to this young boys adventure, I have a completely different view to that of a kid, and a child is much less likely too think the way I do.

This is to do with the pressure put on a twelve-year-old to go back in time and save his dad! After reading it, I just felt like his dad was being a douche – which is the nice way to put it – and perhaps he should have been more concerned with getting his son to understand grief and loss and change, and not thinking of how to bring himself back to life.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s one person in this world that I would do anything to bring back to life, there’s probably somebody you would do anything to get back, but I think, in these circumstances, it’s more important to learn how to cope, how to change and adapt, and all that; instead of going on a terrifying and dangerous mission to alter the past and hope you don’t end up erased from history.

Then again, Al is only twelve, he misses his dad terribly, his life isn’t all that great and I guess, this and his nievity is sort of abused by his own dad in a way.

Although, this theme bothered me, it didn’t make me not like the book. It was really good book – if you take away the whimsical title and the cover and just read it as it is – and it was an interesting read. It was drawn out at some points, especially at the beginning (I thought I was never going to finish it), but it does look at all those themes that are important for kids to look at, like loss and grief and change, and even second-families.

As a children’s read, I can’t say much, but I think I would have really enjoyed this book as a kid because I wouldn’t have looked at the overall picture, I would have just thought about Albert going on this adventure in a time machine and trying to bring his dad back to life! As an adult read, I would recommend it, but just be prepared for it to not be as you expect.

Also, perhaps if you’re going to include a hamster in your book for kids, it should be advised that you probably shouldn’t take your hamster on such an adventure, because, they will probably die. And, you should do a bit more research on hamster and know slightly more about them before they become a part of your title. This is my crazy hamster lady side coming out, but the book was still good! You should still read it!

Rating: 4/5

Ross Welford PFD

Ross Welford’s WordPress

Read more reviews on Goodreads

I guess if I had to go on a time travelling adventure, I would not take Mouse! He screams sometimes and I don’t think he’d be a good partner in crime!

Writing: A Letter To My Protagonist

I got a lot of things to apologise for…

I saw that Readtolivetowrite did this because of M.A.Ryan and I wanted to give it a go!

I actually have two main protagonists in my current WIP, but I decided to write it to the one who started it all off for me. I’ll probably do a second one for Aran because it’s nice to be able to explain yourself, and apologise for all the lovely and horrible things you do them! I recommend that everyone does this! It was so fun! And if you do, please tag me so I can see them!

So, here goes!

Dear Lauryn

Before anything else, I just want to get one thing clear. I love you, even if the rest of the world won’t, and I don’t mean the one your in. I think readers are going to find you a bit annoying, we won’t know for sure just yet, and I hope they love you as much as I do, but with whats to come, let’s not bank on it. Anyway, you were the first character to pop in to my head and the one I’ll always love the most.

You are not anywhere near the heroine of the story, but your not the damsel in distress either, you are the girl in between. And, from the start, I knew you felt helpless, sad, scared, betrayed, and you still do now, but after all I’ve thrown at you, you still manage to hang on. Your so good at finding them little pieces of happiness, or meaning, and I admire that about you.

Whatever I put you through, just know that it’s done for a reason. I need to see as much as ‘she’ does – even though you don’t know who ‘she’ is yet – if you can do this. Will you be able to fight something your going to lose, will you be able to keep going when everyone else leaves you?

I think you can. And I think that despite the comfy life you had, the one without any problems (except the ones the outside world never saw), the one fit for a Princess, that in the end, you might find the adventure I give you a bit more fulfilling than the life you might have had.

There is much more to come, many more trials, heart ache, death, loss, murder, fire. It’s all coming for you, but just try and hold on to yourself, to your friends, to the people that matter, because in the end, they may be the only ones that can save you. Although, you’ll have to do a lot of saving yourself before that moment comes to pass.

I know it’s easier said then done, and I left you sad, broken and unable to forget the list you created in your head. But keep that list Lauryn, wear the names of those you failed and make armour out of it, make it so they mattered. It doesn’t have to be just yet. I know it’s still raw; but you have to show your gratitude to the people who gave their lives to save yours.

I won’t take everything from you, I can promise that, but I don’t know if you will ever forgive me for the things I do.

Your life isn’t going to get any easier, but I think you can find a way to be happy, to keep going when you feel like it’s all lost. I believe in you, and I always will!

A bit of advice though. There’s no point going through life holding grudges on those who did you wrong. There’s no point worrying about the past because you can’t change it. There’s no point worrying about the future because it hasn’t happened yet. You need to live in the here and now, and give chances to those who may have been swayed by something they truly believe in…

Good luck Lauryn…

Love your biggest fan,

Jade

Wonder by R. J. Palacio (Book Review)

A childrens/middle grade debut novel by book jacket designer R.J.Palacio will have you crying one minute and laughing the next. This novel is warm, up-lifting and accessible to all ages! It seriously might be one of my favourite books of the year!

Beautifully written, Wonder follows the coming-of-age story of Auggie Pullman, a young boy with a facial deformity that makes him look a bit different to everyone else. Following his big step in to fifth grade, after being home schooled by his over-protective parents, Auggie is the inspirational young man that doesn’t let anything get to him!

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He’s just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face!

The book shows us the pulls and pushes of our society, and the problems that even the youngest of us can go through! Bullies litter the playground, but there are some out there that are willing to accept Auggie as he is, and with their help, perhaps he’ll get to the end of the school year without dropping out.

Friendship, kindness and acceptance are just three of the lessons in this book, perfect for all ages; young, old and in between. It’s short chapters make it so accessible to everyone, and so easy to read and want to read more. It’s hard to put down, easily a one-sitter if you have the time, and a perfect read for the summer.

So if you’re looking for something heartwarming, inspirational and extraordinary, look no further than Auggie Pullman. The true wonder of the world.

You can find R.J. Palacio’s website here

Goodreads

Find the book trailer below!

And the movie trailer below! I don’t know how similar it will be to the book, I can already see a few changes here and there, but it still gives off that heart-warming and up-lifting vibe that the book gave me, so it can’t be all that bad! And I believe it comes out in the UK at lest, in December and not November!

 

 

The Perfect Cookie for the Sitter-Downers (PEANUT BUTTER COOKIE RECIPE)

I’m not a big lover of peanut butter, but these cookies are absolutely amazing! 

I found the recipe when wanting cookies, but not having any butter or oil! They just turned out to also be great for the sit-downers of the world! With some low fat peanut butter, they are considered Skinny Cookies.

Take away the chocolate – uhm – and they’d be even ‘skinnier cookies’, but the chocolate is obviously the best thing!

What you need is as follows:

  • 200g golden caster sugar/soft brown sugar/demerara sugar (used all, taste good)
  • 200g peanut butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 100g flour
  • 100g oats
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking powder/soda
  • 125g chocolate (chopped, drops, whatever)
  • Or raisins or whatever else you want instead of the chocolate! 

Firstly, preheat your oven to gas mark 4/180C.

Then, mix your sugar and peanut butter! Its best to do this with a blender or electric whisk, but if your not worried about a bit of graft, you can mix it yourself, just make sure its blended well! 

Now, add in your two eggs one at a time and it should turn nice and smooth! Add in your vanilla essence at this point and mix it in well!

Now, prepare your dry ingredients – flour, oats, baking powder and cinnamon and mix the two together! It get’s really stiff at this point so it’s probably best if you add in the chocolate at the same time as all your other dry ingredients so the mixing of it is a little easier! I didn’t, but just used my hands to knead the chocolate in at the end and it turned out the same!

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This is when you make sure you take a little taste to make sure it’s up to standard before you put in on a baking tray and in to the oven. Or just eat it all raw… Because everyone does that right?

If you still want to bake it, line a baking tray and scoop up little balls (I used a ice cream scoop) and push them down in to cookie shapes.

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Now, put them in the oven for 15 minutes and leave them to cool for about 15 minutes, turning them over to let the underside air out after ten.

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Use a spatula or cake slice to slide them off the baking paper once they’ve cooled a bit and transfer to a wire rack.

Lastly, make sure your cat(or dog, or hamster) doesn’t try to eat them and eat them yourselves!

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They taste amazing and are perfect for the office workers, the writers, the editors, the readers and just about everyone really!

Remember guys!

Just keep writing,  with cookies at your side!

One Of Us Is Lying by Karen. M. McManus (Book Review)

One Of Us Is Lying is the mystery YA/Coming-of-age debut novel by the author Karen. M. McManus, and was June’s featured read in the Bookboxclub! (Find the unboxings here). It also made the New York Bestsellers list on the 28th June!

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One of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide.

Following the Bayview four, during detention – Simon, Bayviews school gossip – is murdered; and a jock, a geek, a princess and the schools resident bad boy are all under suspicion, but which one of them are lying? All of them have secrets, secrets that could ‘ruin’ their lives, secrets that should have died along with Simon, but they haven’t.

A mystery thriller with all the suspense added, One Of Us Is Lying is both original and creative, and a different take on your usual who-done-it scenarios. It just grips you – even if you figure out the killer early – until the very end – easily a one-sitting book (if you don’t have to go to work that is).

I’ve not read many, if any crime/mystery novels, but I do enjoy TV shows like Lethal Weapon, Death in Paradise, Person of Interest, Sherlock Holmes and all the other sorts, so I’m quite good at putting things together, and if you’re clever enough, you will figure it out, but this book is more than just a mystery novel!

I really got a 13 Reasons Why vibe from it whilst reading it – a book I still have mixed feelings on –  I don’t know why, but I think if you liked that book, you’ll really enjoy this one. Karen managed to make the characters feel so real, so fleshed out, and so hindered by every day life, and worried about small things that shouldn’t really matter, but I feel like it just made it that more authentic.

There are some problems with it, but it’s too spoilery to explain, and there not problems, more like ‘negative views’ on certain things, but when your reading this, you just have to remember that kids nowadays are absolutely terrified of being ridiculed, of being different and teenagers and kids can be so much more worse than adults, it may not be the best to publicize, but it’s what really happens! It’s relateable, even if the whole thing does sound very cliche at first!

Overall, it changed my mind on crime novels, and I think I won’t be adversed to adding some to my tbr pyle! Karen. M. McManus is surely going to be full of great things and I can’t wait to be there for her next book, which is a YA thriller, hopefully coming out in 2018!

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My Rating – 4.5/5

Goodreads

Karens Website


Featured photo found on TheFandom.com

End photo from the publisher – Penguin