Wednesday, 20 August 2014

What's Up Wednesday

Hi everyone! Wednesday is here! Hello, Hump Day! :D

Come and join in at Jaime and Erin's blogs.

What I'm Reading

I have officially read my 50 books for 2014, so now I'm just going to keep going and see how many I read in total.

Book number 50 was The Return of the Discontinued Man, the fifth in the Burton and Swinburne series.  It was a lot of fun. I really enjoy this series and really recommend it.

Then I spent some quality time with Mr Jack Reacher again.  I really enjoyed The Enemy. It was set in 1990 and had a nice subplot with Reacher's mother and brother.  The main mystery was pretty good, too, even though I guessed some of it pretty early on.  I like the character because he's a real antihero.  Looking forward to reading the next one soon.  I like to break the Reacher books up with others.  Something tells me I won't catch up with the series until 2015 :P I didn't realise how many books there are, and a new one just came out. Wow.

After that, I read some sci-fi recommended to me by my brother. Check out the sheer 90sness of the cover!


My brother warned me it would be a fairly nasty book, and he wasn't wrong.  Huuuuuge trigger warnings necessary. It was a hard read, but it was short and compelling.

Now I'm reading No Harm Can Come To A Good Man... which is an intense book. The author, James Smythe, certainly specialises in dark, dark stories. 

What I'm Writing

28k into the rewrite :D I'm really excited for Sunday when I go to the marathon writing session.  Here's hoping it proves super productive.

What Else I'm Up To

Unfortunately, I was the victim of bank card fraud this week. Someone cloned my bank card and attempted to use it in NYC.  My bank declined the attempt, contacted me and we sorted it all out, but UGH. UGH! It's such a horrible feeling.

Entered Pitch Wars, too. Good luck, fellow potential mentees :D

What Inspires Me

My.

Bed.

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.

Monday, 18 August 2014

Miss Cole's Tea Time - Clipper Breakfast Tea

Aaah, Clipper Tea.  This is another favourite.  It's got such a relaxing taste, but there's a nice little kick at the end of each sip, so it's equally invigorating! And I love how eye-catching their boxes are.  Clipper makes a great everyday brand.  And they have loads of great teas to choose from! Knowing I have so many more blends of theirs to explore is quite exciting :D


This is a breakfast tea in a tea bag and I love to have a cup on the weekends when I can get up and get straight to writing.  When you're in the flow of a first draft, tea-related distractions can get in the way.  Making tea with teabags makes is less fiddly than using leaves, and a good brand like Clipper means you won't lose out on taste.  It's faster, too, although I recommend brewing for a minimum of one minute so you can get a real taste of the tea. 

Friday, 15 August 2014

The Writing Lifestyle - Notebooks

Writers and notebooks go together.  I like to have one per project, as well as one for blogging purposes, one for my character bank, one for general idea hoarding and others awaiting their turn to be put to use.

I've gathered quite a few over the years, and they make a nice, decorative addition to my writing space.

My used ones live on a shelf to the right of my desk.  A handful of these contain the first drafts of Resistance, others hold short stories from my old writing class, some have ideas I began and haven't quite finished yet, and at least one dates back to my teens.

I've had the bear since birth and the dragon since 1993

The notebooks waiting to be used live in my brilliant IKEA trolley, along with the files I use to carry pages when I'm editing.


Some I've bought myself, others have been thoughtful and perfect gifts over the years.  All of them culminate in a collection of wonderful words I hope you will all get to read someday... Well, the more polished versions of them anyway ;)

Do you have a notebook collection? Where do you keep them all?

Thursday, 14 August 2014

What Are The Rules?

On one of the panels at YALC, talk turned to setting the rules of your fantasy world, rules that must not ever be broken.  I can't, off the top of my head, come up with a book that broke its own rules (probably because if I've ever read one, it annoyed me so badly I've blocked all recollection of it), but breaking the rules of your own fictional world is likely to upset a few readers.  It'd be like having a character in a straight contemporary novel solve the main problem of the story by suddenly and inexplicably learning to fly.

Rules are so important if you have any kind of future technology or magic system in your novel.  Like, say you're writing time travel. Whatever device you use, whether it be as close to reality as sci-fi will allow, or some kind of magic-based fantasy time travel, it's got to make sense in its own context.  For example, in the 2009 Star Trek film, time travel creates an entirely new universe, whereas in Back to the Future, the idea is Marty changes the past and travels back to his own, albeit altered, future. (I know this is disputed because what did happen to that second Marty the first Marty witnesses going back in time at the end of the film, but go with me here!) Stuff like time travel gets complicated quickly, so however you're going to write it, you've got to be very sure about how the system works. 

"88 miles per hour!!!!!!!"

Yes, fellow pantsers, even we need to know how every single rule of our fictional worlds.
How do you create and keep track of the rules of your fictional world? I highly recommend keeping a list in a very visible place at all times, so you can glance at it whenever you need to. Writing it down helps you to remember the little details, too.  Also, as strange as this might sound KEEP IT SIMPLE... or at least as simple as it can possibly be.  I don't mean skip out on writing the details, rather don't over complicate the rules to begin with. 

So, whatever world you've created and rules it requires, make sure you know them better than anyone else.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

What's Up Wednesday- Cole is Short Edition

Oh, Wednesday, we meet again :D Time to join in Erin and Jaime's What's Up Wednesday post ^_^

What I'm Reading

Finished reading The Waking Engine.  What a book! I really enjoyed it. It was soooo weird, and took some following, but if you like your fantasy a bit unusual, this is the story for you. I'll sum up the central premise: What if when you die, you don't actually die, and move onto another universe instead? And if that's not enough to tempt you, check out the beautiful cover.

Now I am onto my 50th book of the year! And how perfect that the new Burton and Swinburne book came out in time!!! So far I am LOVING it.  I'll get to that huge pile of books you gave me, Jaffa, promise :D Juuuuuust not right now :P

What I'm Writing

18k into that rewrite :D

What Else I'm Up To

I did see Guardians of the Galaxy and I didn't really like it.  I didn't hate it. I just feel very blah about it.  Oh well! I did chuckle at the post-credits scene though. And Rocket was fun.  Other than, just blah. The Internet's hype didn't work for me.

I also finished rewatching the amazing anime series that is Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood.  If you like anime and haven't seen it, you owe it to yourselves to watch it.  It is so good.  I also realised it's been ten years since I watched the first version, which is kinda terrifying ^^; I really need to finish collecting the manga... except when I went to the shop to buy it yesterday, someone had put it on the top shelf...


WHO ARE YOU CALLING AN ULTRA SUPER HYPER CHIBI!?!

What Inspires Me

London. I had to go up for work yesterday (children on tubes, what an adventure!), and I always feel such a good buzz when I go up to the city.  I'm so lucky to live so close, because as much as I love London, I'm not sure I could leave Brighton...


Have a great week!

Monday, 11 August 2014

Miss Cole's Tea Reviews: Kent and Sussex Breakfast Tea

For the next couple of weeks, I'm going to review a range of breakfast teas, because what could be a better start to your writing day?

This week, I'm covering the light, tasty and perfectly priced Kent and Sussex English Breakfast blend.  From the first sip, it's a soothing, warming blend that will get you ready for your day.  Because this is the thing about tea.  You drink it because it's relaxing, and this blend will clear your mind, ready for a good day of writing.  If you're feeling stressed about the upcoming day, here's the perfect tea to settle your mind.  It's one of those take a sip and go "aaaaaaah" teas ;)


A little goes a long way with this blend.  It has large leaves, so you don't need a lot to make yourself a lovely cup of tea.  Brew for at least four minutes, have yourself something good for breakfast, and plan out your morning writing as you enjoy this delicious blend.

Friday, 8 August 2014

The Writing Lifestyle - Music

I probably sound like a broken record at this point, but music is one of the greatest ways to get inspired.  Listening to music isn't a passive experience; great music will take you on a journey.  This post is going to be more about using music, rather than sharing any particular piece.

Most of the music I use to write with comes from soundtracks.  I collect them because I know they're a great way to connect to emotions.  Sometimes I'll just listen to the soundtrack itself as I write, especially when I'm in first draft mode and pantsing my way along.  Other times, when I know there's a particular scene with a clear emotional level I need to reach, I'll create a playlist with a blend of music that's just right.

This is the tip of Cole's Soundtrack Iceburg...

The main thing I listen for with music I want to write with is its ability to carry my imagination off, whether I want it to go or not :P When I build playlists for particular ideas, or just playlists I know I can daydream to, I try and keep the music flowing well, so one piece leads seamlessly into another to keep the mood going.  Let's say I'm writing a really fast paced action scene in which something really terrible is going to happen to one of my characters.  I might start with something upbeat, to signify the characters totally think they've got this, that they can't be beaten:


But then...


:O Tragedy strikes!


I love combining soundtracks to suit my stories or my daydreaming... and I have got a lot of playlists.  I tend to use songs with lyrics as character themes. Ed from Colony has one of my favourite David Bowie songs as her theme tune ;)

Music is a huge part of my writing life.  It's the reason I started playing the violin, too.  I love music, so why not make some myself? One day, maybe I'll write soundtracks to my own books!

How does music inform your way of writing?