2018? Hardly Seems It

Greetings, friends. Yes, I am here and I am alive and if you’re reading this, then so are you! We’ve made it, through the battleground that was 2017 and we’ve come out on the other side. My maintenance of this blog has been VERY BAD so far, as you can probably work out for yourselves, not least because my last post was in May. Even I didn’t realise how long ago it was, and I am supposed to be maintaining the stupid thing.

So anyway, my failures aside, I am going to make myself a promise for 2018. I promise that I will, to the very best of my ability, make a post here once a month and more if I can possibly manage it. I don’t yet know what those posts will consist of – I have some thinking to do about all of my written endeavours in general – but they will exist. Maybe. I hope.

Let’s see what happens then, and remember that we don’t have to beat ourselves up about things because there is always another day!

This doesn’t count as January’s post, so I’ll be back to check in with you guys sometime before the end of the month!

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A Piece of Advice

In February, I attended a workshop run by the poet Annie Freud. She set us an exercise where we considered a piece of advice that we had been given, and had to write a poem about it. Mine turned into a kind of weird freeverse, but I ended up quite liking it. So here it is – ‘A Piece of Advice (Or That Time My Mum Set Me Up For Life)’

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4 YA Books for People Who “Don’t Read YA”

I’m back, finally, with that YA recommendations article that I promised so long ago! I’ve had the list waiting, staring at me from my desk as I finished up the last few weeks of my semester. It strikes me again that I’ve read so many books I wouldn’t have even thought of touching before last September, and I feel like I am a better person for it.

Young Adult fiction as a whole is booming, read by more adults than actual young people, but there is still a strong contingent of people who think that YA is lacking somehow, and dismiss it out of hand before they’ve even tried to read some. With this list, I am aiming to show those people that although they think that they know YA, the spread of genre and topic is so wide that they cannot possibly pass judgement until they’ve tried some.

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Discworld Discussions: Wintersmith

‘Wintersmith’, the third in the Tiffany Aching story arc, is one of the few books in this series that I have no recollection of from the first time I read it. With some of them, such as ‘Interesting Times’, I understood why as soon as I started reading again – they are far from the most exciting in the series. With ‘Wintersmith’ though, I don’t know why I didn’t remember it because it is in no way a weak link. As a Tiffany book, it more than stands up to comparison with the first two, and it also holds its own against most of the Discworlds in general.

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5 Children’s Books You Should Be Reading

Since I started studying for my Masters in Writing for Children, my eyes have been opened to the wonderful world of children’s books and all that I have been missing out on over the years. Since September, aside from Terry Pratchett, 90% of what I have read is a book marketed at children or young adults and, let me tell you, I don’t feel like my reading experience has been left lacking at all.

I’ve discovered some amazing new authors, re-discovered some old favourites and generally had a lovely time, which I want to share with all of you now. A word of warning; once you get over yourself, as I did, and embrace children’s fiction, you might find you don’t have a lot of time for anything else. This article will focus on middle grade books (aimed at 8-12 year olds) and the next one will be all about YA.

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4 Fantasy Books That Needed To Be Movies Yesterday

I am one of the first people to be sceptical about books being made into films (see my other general rantings) but I also am usually willing to give things a chance, especially when I really love the book and also if I like the look of the world building. Fantasy books are, of course, the best sources of this kind of thing and here’s a few of my favourites that haven’t made the leap to the big screen yet.

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Discworld Discussions – Thud!

It’s been a while since we’ve hung out with Sam Vimes and the Watch, a whole four books ago in ‘Night Watch’. I wonder if the perfection of ‘Night Watch’ made it hard to move their stories on, because what do you do when you’ve written a book so good and then have to write the next one? We haven’t been entirely Watch-less in that time; Vimes made a brief appearance in ‘Monstrous Regiment’ and ‘Going Postal’, as did Carrot and Angua, but they’ve been little more than cameos. I think giving these characters that breathing space has done them good, because here they’re back and it certainly feels like ‘Night Watch’ has had time to settle.

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Things That Amuse Me #1

Hey, remember that time I was in a lecture about sonnets and got bored listening so I wrote a sonnet about sonnets? I’m not sure I’ve ever been more pretentious in my whole life. Sonnet fans, I apologise. You will be pleased to know it is technically correct, as far as sonnets go 😀 

“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”

That’s just how these things are supposed to start,

And if I learn the rules then I can play,

And write sonnets that will break your heart

 

Fourteen lines and a strict rhyming scheme,

A skill the old masters’ couldn’t keep quiet,

The sonnet, so perfect, so simple, so lean,

Beloved verse of Shakespeare and Wyatt

 

But I do not find the sonnet enough,

Enough to tell you that you are my light,

That I will be here when life seems too rough,

That I will follow you into the night

 

So let lovesick masters write with hearts in shatters,

You know I love you, and that’s what really matters

Discworld Discussions – Going Postal

In one of those helpful coincidences that have followed me through this endeavour, I finished reading Going Postal on the day that the BBC aired their docudrama ‘Back In Black’, celebrating the life of Sir Terry in all of its glory. This is a coincidence because this documentary is an example of a name living on, a man not forgotten, and that happens to also be one of the themes addressed in Going Postal.

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