Monthly Archives: October 2015

Writing Bites #1

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Writing tips can be invaluable. From something as big as how to structure a writing routine, to something as small as when and when not to use an exclamation point.

I use tips I’ve picked up along the years every day, and am always interested to find new ones.

I decided to start posting a tip (Bite) for writing two or three times a week. If you’re interested in reading more, or if they’re helpful, please let me know in a comment and I’ll keep posting them. All of these tips might work for you or only one or two of them might. But I’ve tried hundreds of different things over the years, and many of them have helped me improve as a writer.

Maybe a few of them can help someone else. If you’ve got a tip of your own, drop it in a comment and I’ll feature it in a future Writing Bites post.


Writing Bite #1

Stop writing at a point you know you can start writing from again.

By this, I mean perhaps in the middle of an action sequence or a conversation. Even mid-sentence. That way, when you come to start writing again, after a couple of hours, or the next day or a week later, you know you can get straight back into it.

Finishing at the end of a chapter, if I haven’t plotted what’s going to happen next, I sometimes get stuck. But by leaving off at a point where I know what’s going to happen next, I don’t get stuck.


Has anyone else used this tip before? Or do you have another way to ensure you can pick up easily where you left off? Let me know in a comment. And it will be interesting to hear if anyone tries this Bite out and finds it works for them…

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Top Ten Tuesday (Halloween) – Top Ten Fictional Fighters of Evil

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish


1 – Skulduggery Pleasant (Skulduggery Pleasant)

Along with Stephanie Edgley and a big cast of other characters, Skulduggery fights monsters and villains (often more than a few) in each of the nine Skulduggery books. He also has to fight his own evil.

2 – Celaena Sardothien (Throne of Glass)

She fights a corrupt king, friends turned enemies, and creatures as well as a growing darkness than threatens her entire world.

3 – Tom Ward (The Wardstone Chronicles/Last Apprentice)

Each of the books in the Wardstone Chronicles/Last Apprentice series is packed with monsters for Tom Ward to fight. But his greatest enemy is the Fiend. He’s helped by his master and trainer Gregory and the witch Alice.

4 – Anthony Lockwood (Lockwood & Co.)

Anthony Lockwood isn’t the main character in the Lockwood & Co. books. Lucy Carlye narrates them, and along with George Cubbins, they help Lockwood take down malevolent ghosts.

5 – Darrow (Red Rising)

Like Katniss Everdeen, Darrow fights a corrupt government, but aims to do it from within. I’ve read Red Rising, but haven’t got around to Golden Son yet.

6 – Harry Potter (Harry Potter)

One of the most famous evil fighters in fiction, Harry Potter has been battling Voldemort since he was a baby. But he also faces off against dementors, death eaters, evil teachers and his own dark connection to Voldemort throughout the seven book series.

7 – Percy Jackson (Percy Jackson and the Olympians)

Percy Jackson fights monsters and creatures and gods all the way through the original series, and finally faces off against the leader of the titans Cronus. He is helped by his father Poseideon and other gods, as well as his fellow demi-gods and best friends Annabeth and Grover.

8 – Tyrion Lannister (A Song of Ice and Fire)

Tyrion Lannister is a hero and an anti-hero. He tries to do good, fighting his father and his sister as well as many other enemies. He does it all while still being funny.

9 – Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games)

Katniss faces enemies in the games, twice, all while fighting against a corrupt government and President Snow too.

10 – Lyra Belacqua (His Dark Materials)

In the first book, Lyra fights Miss Coulter and the Gobblers, before the sequels introduce a corrupt government, The Magisterium, and finally larger evil forces that involve angels and god. I wasn’t a big fan of the last book, but the series is still epic and Lyra is a tough heroine.


Do you have a favourite fighter of evil, or know a few I haven’t included here? Leave links to your TTT list in a comment below so I can check them out…

Top Ten Tuesday – Top Ten Book Wishes

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish


Top Ten book wishes…

1 – For there to be a book/novel series version of the Marvel Cinematic Universe

There are comics and a couple of novels, but it would be cool to have original novels like there are movies for each character and novels were the Avengers meet up. Or it doesn’t have to be Marvel, just a good superhero series–Steelheart is the closest I’ve read so far.

2 – For J.K. Rowling to write more Potter books

She said she was writing an encyclopedia, which turned out to be Pottermore, but I want to read more books set in the Wizarding World–about Harry, or other characters, sequels or prequels. Or if she doesn’t want to write more Potter books, then at least another fantasy book.

3 – For Hogwarts to be a real place

This one doesn’t need an explanation.

4 – To meet Stephen King

King is my favourite writer, so it would be wicked to ask him questions about his writing process.

5 – For Jurassic Park to be a real place

A working Jurassic Park–not the one with escaped dinosaurs and screaming. But after two failed parks, this probably wouldn’t happen–even if dinosaurs could be brought back.

6 – To have a home library

Or a house that is a library–shelves of books lining every room.

7 – For Lee Child to write a stand-alone thriller or for Suzanne Collins to write more YA books

I couldn’t decide between these two. I’m a big fan of the Jack Reacher books but it would be cool to see what else Child could write. Suzanne Collins hasn’t written a YA book since Mockingjay, so it would be interesting to see what other book or series she comes up with.

8 – For Skulduggery Pleasant to be adapted into a movie

A movie has been in development for a long time, but Landy said the script was terrible and nothing seems to be moving forward. The Skulduggery books would make epic movies and it’d be cool to see how they created Skulduggery himself.

9 – To visit Middle Earth

Like #3, this one doesn’t need much explanation.

10 – To own a signed copy of a Potter book

They’re rare and expensive to buy, and Rowling doesn’t do much signing any more.

(Cheat) 11 – A book deal

I’ve wanted to be published since I understood what publishing was, and got one step closer with signing with a literary agent earlier this year. Hopefully I’ll be able to get a few steps closer soon.


Does anyone else have a similar wish, or a completely different one? Leave a link to your TTT in a comment below so I can check them out.

Book Blogger Memory Tag

Thanks to Erika in Bookventureland for tagging everyone. 

For this tag you have to answer the questions without using Google or Goodreads, or any other source but your own memory. 


Name a book written by an author called Michael

Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton. One of my favourite books of all time, and my favourite movie of all time.

Name a book with a dragon on the cover

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. The fourth book is in my top 3 favourite of the series. The dragon on the cover is the Hungarian Horntail Harry faces in the first trial of the Tri-Wizard tournament.

Name a book about a character called George

I can’t think of a book I’ve read with a main character called George Cubbins, but Lockwood & Co. has a character who is part of the main trio called George. His first appearance is in the first book, The Screaming Staircase.

Name a book written by an author with the surname Smith

Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith. I’ve only read half of this book, but I saw the movie and never got around the reading the second half.

Name a book set in Australia

Skulduggery Pleasant Mortal Coil is only briefly set in Australia, but it was the only book I could think of.

Name a book with the name of a month in the title

The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy. I have watched the movie, but haven’t read the book.

Name a book with a knife on the cover

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. They are more like swords, but I couldn’t think of a book I’d read recently with a knife on the cover.

Name a book with the word ‘one’ in the title

One Shot by Lee Child.

Name a book with an eponymous title

Probably the most famous of eponymous titles, The Harry Potter series.

Name a book turned into a movie

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling. There are a two dozen more I could have answered with, but this is the book to movie adaption I’m most looking forward to. The books isn’t a story, so it will be cool to see how they make a trilogy out of less than 100 pages of creature descriptions. If I was choosing the book I’d read most recently that has been turned into a film, it would be Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children–I hope the movie is better than the book.


If you want to give this tag a shot, then you’re tagged. Drop a link to your tag in a comment below so I can check them out…

Top Ten Tuesday – Top Ten Two Authors Who Should Assemble To Write A Book Together

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish


1 – George R.R. Martin and Joe Abercrombie

Both these authors write epic, gritty high fantasy. Both write great characters, too, so it would be cool to see how epic a world and story they could create working together.

2 – Derek Landy and Rick Riordan

Skulduggery Pleasant (Landy) and Rick Riordan (Percy Jackson) both have a wicked sense of humor and write cool characters and plots. Writing a book together would be awesome, but it would be cool to see the characters from Skulduggery team up with Percy Jackson for a Marvel-Universe-style mash up.

3 – Stephen King and Lee Child

Stephen King writes awesome plots and characters, and Child just writes awesome. A thriller written by them could be action-packed, twisted and gripping.

4 – Derek Landy and Eoin Colfer

I haven’t read any of the Artemis Fowl books, but I know Colfer has a wicked sense of humor like Landy. These two could invent something cool.

5 – Ransom Riggs and Stephen King

I’m halfway through Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and, after all the hype, I’m a bit disappointed. It should be tightly plotted and scary, but it’s plodding along at just a decent pace. The concept and idea of Miss Peregrine’s are wicked, but Riggs doesn’t seem to use them to their full potential. With King writing with him, Miss Peregrine’s could have been as creepy and gripping as it should have been.

6 – Pierce Brown and James Dashner

Both write gripping plots and world-build well; a book by them both would be interesting.

7 – Jonathan Stroud and Rick Riordan

Lockwood & Co. meets Percy Jackson could be like another Marvel-Universe-mashup. A plot idea could be all the souls from Hades being unleashed and Lockwood and Co. have to team up with Percy and the rest of the demigods. Or something original by them writing together would be action-packed and funny.

8 – J.K. Rowling and Phillip Pullman

Rowling and Pullman both wrote complex plots in Potter and His Dark Materials, so seeing what they could write together would be epic.

9 – Michael Grant and Rick Yancey

Both these authors write stories with plenty of action and plot twists, a book by both could be like a smart Michael Bay movie.

10 – Sarah J. Maas and Pierce Brown

Throne of Glass (without the heavy romance) meets Red Rising. Not much else to say, save epic.


Anyone else think any of these team-ups would be cool? Or is there one author you would have teamed with someone different? Feel free to drop a comment, and leave a link to your TTT…

Top Ten Tuesday – Top Ten YA Tropes That I Want To Read Less Of

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish


1 – Too much romance not enough plot

More and more YA books these days focus so much on the romance that there is barely any plot. The story hinges around the love between two or more characters and nothing else. I hate romance more than most. I’d rather have a solid, twisty plot.

2 – Too much teen angst and talking about feelings (in the first person present tense)

What happened to good old third person past tense, or first person past tense? I’m a fan of first person present when it’s done right–it can pull you into the action. But sometimes it doesn’t work. And a lot of YA books these days are first person, and the main character talks too much about their feelings, and worries too much: Divergent, Red Queen.

3 – A corrupt government

Since The Hunger Games, a lot of YA books have the government or whoever is in charge as corrupt. It would be interesting to see a YA novel where the government are the good guys.

4 – A rebel or resistance force

Like the corrupt government, there is often a rebel force fighting against them.

5 – Love Triangles

I don’t like romance, don’t like love triangle either. They bog down the plot.

6 – A dystopian world

There are so many dystopian worlds that it’s hard to write an original one now, so most of the time they have something, or several things, in common with a world from another book. No water, no trees, desert, flooded etc.

7 – A main character made to be the face of a resistance (links to #4)

A lot of YA books, too many, have main characters like Katniss Everdeen, an unsuspecting hero/heroine who is forced into being the face of the resistance and fight against the corrupt government.

8 – The main character has memory loss

A lot of main characters wake up at the beginning of the book with no or few memories (Maze Runner).

9 – The main character is an assassin

Since Throne of Glass, a lot of books recently released, or being released soon have female assassins out for revenge as the main character.

10 – The main character has lost their parents, family etc.

It worked in the Potter books, because Harry was fueled by those he lost, but it gets old if almost every character in YA fiction is orphaned or separated from their family or their family is murdered.


Is anyone else tired of any of the tropes above, or have any other tropes they want to see less of, or even more of, in YA fiction? Feel free to leave a comment and a link to your TTT if you have one…

How I Read Book Tag

How I Read…


Erika, of Erika in Bookventureland, tagged anyone who wanted to give this Tag a shot. So I thought I would. Head over to Erika’s blog to check out her original post. 

How do you find out about new books to read?

I used to search for similar books to whatever I was reading, but now I use Goodreads and it does it for you. I also keep track of several authors and when they’re new books are being released.

How did you get into reading?

I’ve been reading ever since I can remember, and probably before that. My earliest memories of stories are my grandad telling me them. It’s probably his fault I read and write so much.

How has your taste in books changed since you got older?

I used to only read fantasy, middle-grade and young-adult. But now I read pretty much everything save romance and non-fiction. I still read fantasy, but it’s less middle grade more young adult and adult now. I read a lot of crime/detective fiction and thrillers too.

How often do you buy books?

Pretty often. 1-3 a week. I don’t own, probably never will own, a Kindle, so I buy print books. Mostly second hand, but if it’s one my favourite authors and they have a new book out, I’ll pre-order it or buy it brand new.

How did you get into book reviewing?

When I started using Goodreads a few years ago.

How do you react when you don’t like the end of a book?

Half pissed, half indifferent. Being a writer I understand that creating the perfect ending to make everyone, including the writer, happy is a tough task.

How often do you sneak peek at an ending to see if there is a happy ending?

Never have. I like books to be unpredictable until the end, and I can like an ending if it’s happy or not as long as it’s a solid ending that does justice to everything that came before it.


Thanks to Erica for tagging everyone. I’ll do the same. Drop a link in the comment below, it’ll be cool to see how everyone else reads…

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