Monday 28 May 2012

A blogging break!

I usually aim to write a blog post once a week but it's been a bit hectic lately.

On 17th May I went to The Romantic Novelists' Association's Summer Party - link to photo gallery on the RNA website here (I'm in the photo second from last). There are more links to photos and blog posts on my Facebook page-click here.

This was a great night as always and I really enjoyed catching up with RNA friends I've met through Twitter, Facebook and blogs.

On 24th May I went to the launch of Liz Fenwick's novel, The Cornish House. This was a lovely evening at Waterstones in High Street Kensington. Click here to see photos etc on Liz's blog.

For the next few weeks I need to focus on completing my submission for the Romantic Novelist Association's New Writers' Scheme. I feel privileged to be on this scheme and I'll be submitting the manuscript of my novel, 'The Grandson' (may be changing the title soon).

I find it difficult to focus on writing/editing at the same time as blogging, so the posts (and comments on other blogs) may be a bit here and there for the next few weeks.

Thanks to everyone who reads and comments on my blog and I hope to be back before long...

Monday 14 May 2012

Does downloading samples change the way we read?

Before owning a Kindle (a Christmas present) I of course went about buying books in a different way.

I've always liked browsing bookshops, big chains and local ones. I was disappointed when Borders in Kingston, Surrey closed down. I used to spend ages (and too much money) in there.

Since October when I set up this blog and joined Twitter, I've discovered authors whose books I may not have noticed in a bookshop.

I read two books on Kindle recently which I'd seen mentioned on Twitter. These are The Last Summer by Judith Kinghorn and The Apothecary's Daughter by Charlotte Betts. I enjoyed both of them immensely. I wrote a review (my first) on Amazon for The Last Summer (click here).

I've recommended both to a couple of friends who like reading. They hadn't heard of either of these books but are likely to buy them on my recommendation. If I'd bought the paperbacks I would have lent them these. Does this mean e-readers are good for sales?-a subject for another blog post...

I have a pile of books by my bed (TBR pile) which I've started and abandoned. Some of these were hand-picked from the tables in Waterstones or from the Bestsellers in Sainsbury's (it takes too long to do a food shop now my local Sainsbury's has a book and DVD section). A few weeks ago, I noticed the 'Send sample now' button on Amazon when about to buy a Kindle book (probably ages after everyone else). Because of the TBR pile by my bed, I read samples of the two aforementioned books before buying them. As I enjoyed these books so much, I wish I'd bought the paperback versions instead of downloading the e-book so I could put them on the bookcase.

I wonder whether downloading samples to e-readers will change the market. Although this option allows a reader to be more cautious when buying books, could authors sell more books this way?

Do you download a sample before buying the rest of the book (and then which version)?

Have you downloaded e-books which you wish you'd bought in paperback/ hardback?

So many questions! I'd be interested to read your comments on anything related to this post.

An old post on a related subject.

Monday 7 May 2012

What are your characters thinking?

I recently watched the film, 'I Don't Know How She Does It', based on Allison Pearson's novel (which I haven't read) and starring Sarah Jessica Parker (SJP). SJP's voice was used as a narrator and several of the characters, including SJP talked directly to the camera. This made the film seem like a documentary and I found it difficult to get lost in the story.

In films a character's thoughts are usually shown by their actions or through a confidante. Occasionally a first or third person narrator reveals a character's thoughts, which can ruin a film for me. I find Woody Allen gets away with it some of the time, although I prefer a narrator (ideally third person) to an actor speaking to the camera.

In early critiques of my novel, 'The Grandson' (a few years ago in writing classes), other writers used to say 'I want to know more of what Jessica's thinking'. Jessica is the heroine in my novel. Although I knew what she was thinking when writing earlier drafts, I didn't include as many of her thoughts as I needed to.

I wonder why a reader wants to know what a point of view character is thinking. Is it because this makes a reader feel closer to that character so they identify with them?

There's the question of how to get a character's thoughts into a novel effectively. I'm editing 'The Grandson' at the moment and my next step is to highlight Jessica's thoughts throughout the manuscript. I want to ensure that there's a balance throughout the novel, that I haven't included thoughts which are obvious to the reader (this is easy to do around dialogue) and that her thoughts don't contradict each other.

Do you need to remind yourself to include a point of view character's thoughts? Or do you have any other comments?