Friday, 24 April 2015

Coffee and Books

My latte and bag of Lush goodies
Today was a good day. The sun was shining. My children were at school. I had some boring chores to run in my home town (Chester) but once those were over, I had a couple of hours to myself to walk around the city.

I did a spot of window shopping, popped into Lush (bath bombs for me and my children) and then headed back to my car. On the way, I discovered a new cafe. Well, it's new to me anyway, the Cinderbox Coffee Shop.

There was the usual choice of hot and cold drinks, cakes and some friendly, polite staff - all that you would expect in a coffee shop. There was also this.

Photo courtesy of Cinderbox Coffee Shop

This is the coffee shop's book swap corner. The writing on the wall reads,

to take one away,
you must...
leave one to stay.

So not only have I discovered a lovely new place to sup my favourite hot brew, but I can also drop off a (read) book and pick up a new one, for free (well, the cost of a latte). Genius.

I think this is a wonderful idea - coffee and books all in one. I wish more coffee shops/cafes/tea shops did this. With the number of libraries and bookshops being closed down in the UK, the ability to get a new read whilst enjoying a coffee has to be a good idea.

Thanks, Cinderbox Coffee Shop for making my day even better.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Tuesday Choice Words

Tension in a book can, literally, have you perched on the edge of your seat. Will they, won't they? Will they get there in time? Will the secret be revealed? I've had to put novels down in the past to have a rest from the onslaught of that story's tension.

Elizabeth Spann Craig has written a wonderful article on just this, Tension & Pacing in Your Fiction. It's well worth a read. Have a look.

Monday, 20 April 2015

The Dangers of Comparison

Image courtesy of  Yves Geissb├╝hler
During the month of April, I'm taking part in Camp Nanowrimo to give myself a boost in rewriting my novel. My target is to write 30,000 words.

Most Novembers, I take part in the main NaNoWriMo word sprint of 50,000 words in a month. I've never managed the full 50,000 words but I've always completed a massive chunk of text.

The problem with taking part in a group writing sprint like either of these events is that you might start to compare yourself to the other people taking part. During NaNoWriMo, every year, there are individuals who not only complete the 50,000 words in November but exceed that wordcount, or perhaps they reach the 50k by the middle of the month.

The same is true of Camp Nanowrimo. I look at the wordcounts of others taking part and become discouraged because I'm not keeping up with them. How have they managed twice my wordcount? How do they have the time to take part in lengthy discussions online when I'm manically juggling my life to fit writing in with everything else?

Whenever we compare any aspect of our life, be that our writing word count, the holidays we can afford to take, or the way we look, we run the risk of belittling our own experience and endeavours.

Some of those writers who overtake me in my wordcount don't have children to spend time on. Some are near children themselves, teenage students writing late into the night. Some are parents but their children have long since grown up and left home. There are all kind of  ways that our lives and daily routines differ.

It's a cliche, I know, but comparing ourselves to other writers is like comparing an apple and a pear. They can both do the same job of providing a tasty snack but there is no denying that they're different.

It's time we stopped comparing ourselves to others in our field (and equally on social media and in our lives) and started just appreciating ourselves for who we are. Instead of looking at how much better we perceive someone else to be, concentrate on how great we are. We can only ever be ourselves. Why not make that a wonderful place to be?

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Tuesday Choice Words

One of the major changes to my novel, post assessment, is to examine who is telling the story. Originally the story jumped between numerous characters, whittling down to one character only by the one third point. Now, the story is told by only two characters. I wish I'd read Nathan Bransford's article 4 tips for handling multiple perspectives in a  third person narrative before I'd started writing.

Have a great week.

Monday, 13 April 2015

Something Useful for 2015 - Exercise No. 12

I have always been drawn to bridges. Like doors and windows, bridges form a threshold between one place and another. Thresholds are where the magic happens, where one thing becomes another, or maybe where one can be both things at the same time.

I live close to Chester in England. I live in Wales though. On my normal route into Chester, I pass underneath a railway bridge. This bridge marks the threshold between the two countries. The air doesn't look any different on either side. The road doesn't change material and yet I know that I'm crossing a threshold when I walk under that bridge. Magic is happening.

Tell me about your bridge. Is it a real bridge or an imagined one? Is it a footbridge, like the one pictured, or a car bridge, or perhaps a railway bridge? What does your bridge mean to you?