Friday, 30 September 2011

Dry Spell

I seem to be trapped in some kind of writing drought. I start things, then decide the idea is rubbish and abandon it. It's been months since I've had the kind of spark that makes me go YES! I WILL DIE IF I DON'T WRITE THIS STORY NOW!

So how do you fix a dry spell, writing or otherwise? I wish I knew. But here are a few things I've tried in the past, and they've worked, so I'm hoping they'll work again!

Take a break. Just forgetting about it for a few hours, or days, or even weeks could be just the thing.

Stop putting so much pressure on yourself to do it. Nothing kills enthusiasm quicker than feeling like you have to do something or else.

Try something completely new. Instead of trying to generate the same kind/genre/style of ideas, try doing something completely different. So if you write YA, try writing a fluffy romance for a few days and see what happens.

Just push through. If taking a break doesn't work, maybe just sitting down and making yourself write will. Who knows what a bit of forced scribbling will inspire? (This is always my last resort. Forcing myself just seems to take a lot of pleasure out of it, though it does pay off if I find a shiny new idea I can latch on to!)

Remember why you do it. I write because I love to. Because I need to. And sometimes, in the throes of deadlines and revisions and businessy things like getting a disaster-prone website up and running, I forget that. If you step back and remember why you do something, maybe you'll also remember something even simpler: if you love it so much, you’ll do it again. It'll always come back.

Any other tips or suggestions? How do you deal with a dry spell?

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Am I missing something?

There are certain Great Books out there. Books that people, as a collective, have deemed Great and thrust into the classical limelight and will forever call Great. Some of them are Great Expectations, Pride and Prejudice, Midnight's Children, The Catcher in the Rye, The Great Gatsby (see how even some of the titles have the word in them?!), and The Lord of the Rings.

Now here's something I don't often admit. I don't like any of them.

Honestly. Pride and Prejudice? Just about okay (though I like the film and TV adaptations). The Catcher in the Rye? Unimpressed. The Lord of the Rings? I could tell you every detail of the movies (the extended DVD versions too!) but I've never been able to read more than a few pages of the actual books.

So I kind of wonder now if I'm missing something. If there's some spark there I haven't gotten. Or maybe I'm just classically defunct.

How about you? Any classical pet peeves? Any Great Book hates you'd confess to?

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Worst Movies Blogfest

Tomorrow is the Worst Movies Ever Blogfest, hosted by the awesome Alex J. Cavanaugh. I thought I'd post mine early because I'm going to be out and busy all of tomorrow. Thanks for stopping by - pop over to Alex's blog to find a list of the other entries!

So I'm supposed to pick the ten worst movies I have ever seen and have a good ol' rant about them. I thought this would be easy. I have had my fair share of red-faced bitching sessions after seeing a particularly godawful piece of would-be film. And yet, now that I'm trying to think of the worst ones, I'm coming up blank. Typical. So I won't make it to ten (sorry, Alex!) but here are a few of my top choices-

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
I'm not comparing this to the book. Or anything like that. Purely as a movie, standing on its own two feet, this was appalling. I thought Bella came off as an indecisive, spoiled and altogether shameless hussy (in what way is it ever acceptable to agree to marry one man, then start passionately kissing another bloke in front of your fiance? Hmm?), Jacob's penchant for toplessness grew old fast, and I just wanted to break Edward's face because he should have told Bella to take a hike the moment she started being such a t***.

And all this might have been bearable if the other characters had a chance to be anything but puppets in the background, but sadly, no. Clearly someone decided K-Stew, R-Patz and T-Laut(?) were it. Gah.

Bride Wars
Oh my word. I liked the trailer. I thought I'd like this. Alas. None of the characters were likeable. I thought everyone needed a smack. And the whole premise - best friends falling out because of a double-booked wedding - ended up being a lot less funny because it was hard to care about any story involving friends so close and so loving, they're willing to ruin and sabotage the other's wedding day. I did laugh. At how bad this was. And if I'm going to get really rant-y, I'll also add that this movie insults women - and brides.

Epic Movie
I know this is supposed to be a spoof, and bad-in-a-good-way and all that, but no. Just no. It's bad in a bad way. It burned away at least three good layers of my brain. And I actually like Kal Penn and Jayma Mays. Usually.

I Am Number Four
Mr Main Character needed to be beaten with a broomstick. And I could have broken a limb falling through the plot holes.

Star Wars Episode II: The Attack of the Clones
along with Star Wars Episode I and Star Wars Episode III
Now I'm not some sort of desperate, do-or-die fan of the first/original movies. I won't clobber you if you dare to say nasty things about them. In fact, I will even admit there are a few things lacking in the original trilogy (dialogue that doesn't make you cringe, for a start). But holy Heathcliff, the prequels don't even deserve to be associated with the good Star Wars name. They are painful. In over six hours of cinematic footage, I can only think of five good things-

1. Ewan McGregor
2. Yoda
3. Everyone's favourite pair of droids
4. Chewbacca's brief appearance
5. and the fact that Padme, the annoying imbecile, dies. Yeah, sorry if I spoiled that for you. You don't want to watch it anyway.

And my list of the not-good things? Long. Starting with 1. Hayden Christensen.

Well. I got to five (seven if you count all three of the Star Wars prequels). Halfway there, at least!

What would be on your list?

Friday, 16 September 2011

(Another) New Title! BUT THIS TIME IT'S FINAL!

I know it wasn't very long ago that I told you that the official title of my book, out next year, would be A TORRENT OF LIGHT. Well, sometimes titles change. Even official ones. Several people at my publishers' felt that the old title didn't say enough about the book and they know this business far better than I do... so as much as I loved and will miss TORRENT, I'm very happy to say we have an even more brand new and sparkly title - and this one is it.


Yay! It thrills me every time. THE LOST GIRL, by me. Keep your gogglers peeled for it, bloggy-friends.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Watching Willow Websplash!

Today is the official launch day of Talli Roland's second novel Watching Willow Watts - and she's hosting a fun 'If I Could Be Anyone, I'd Be...' websplash to celebrate! If you have a minute do pop over to her blog and celebrate with her, if you haven't already!

Here's a little bit about Willow's story-

For Willow Watts, life has settled into a predictably dull routine: days behind the counter at her father's antique shop and nights watching TV, as the pension-aged residents of Britain's Ugliest Village bed down for yet another early night. But everything changes when a YouTube video of Willow's epically embarrassing Marilyn Monroe impersonation gets millions of hits after a viewer spots Marilyn's ghostly image in a frame. 

Instantly, Willow's town is overrun with fans flocking to see the 'new Marilyn'. Egged on by the villagers -- whose shops and businesses are cashing in -- Willow embraces her new identity, dying her hair platinum and ramming herself full of cakes to achieve Marilyn's legendary curves. 

But when a former flame returns seeking the old Willow, Willow must decide: can she risk her stardom and her village's newfound fortune on love, or is being Marilyn her ticket to happiness? 

You can buy the Kindle edition on Amazon UK here or Amazon US here. 

I'm halfway through the book right now and loving it - honestly, it's so fun! - so GO! GO CHECK IT OUT! Inhale. Exhale. I'm calm. Don't worry. 

And on to the websplash... 

I can't think of anyone I'd want to be! At least not permanently. But if I could be anyone just for a day, I'd be Kurt Cobain.

Yeah, weird choice, right? I mean he was a boy, for a start. Which I am not. And he didn't exactly have the happiest life either. But I find him pretty darn fascinating anyway. I love music but have no musical talent, so I am always in awe of it - and I think I would have liked to spend a day in Kurt Cobain's head. Just to see where those songs came from; or how it felt to have calloused fingers and a desperate itch to play. Maybe I'd be happy being any musician for a day - I'd love to be Adele! - but I'm choosing Kurt for this websplash. 

That's my pick! Who's yours? 

If you're interested in taking a look at other bloggers' choices, Talli has a list up here. Happy mid-week, everyone!

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Thank You

Just a quick stop today. News: my book has just been put into copyediting, which is so scary and amazing all at once! Also, just a reminder about the 300 Followers Contest: to be eligible to win, you have to comment on the actual contest post, otherwise I won't know you want to be entered even if you are following me.

But what I really wanted to do today is welcome all my new followers! And a huge thank you to all of you, old and new. For stopping by the blog, for putting my contest button in your sidebars, for blogging/Tweeting about it, just generally for all your incredible support. You're fantastic!

Friday, 9 September 2011

I'd be lost without it...

In all my time trawling through baby forums, I've noticed an incredibly popular topic: new mothers asking other mothers what their most useful baby buy was. And because Writer-Sangu never really goes away, I started to think about writing tools.

What's the most useful writing 'thing' you've ever bought?

It can be anything - a notebook, a pen, an app, whatever. I'm just terribly curious! And I know some of my readers aren't writers, so anything that helps you be creative counts.

Mine's a totally boring answer. My laptop.

See? Isn't it pretty?

I honestly would not know how to cope without my laptop. I make all my notes with pens and pencils and notebooks and scraps of paper, but I can't write whole scenes - let alone a whole book! - by hand. And typing on an iPad or phone just doesn't work as well for me. And I like being able to quickly minimize a screen and Google something I need to know!

Besides, without my laptop, how else would I store and organize all my files/drafts like this?

So what's your favourite writing buy?

Monday, 5 September 2011

"Any, like, crime?"

Today is Rachael Harrie's First Campaigner Challenge (do pop over to the link to check out the list of posts!). I really wanted to join in but my mind has gone totally blank and I literally cannot - cannot - think of a single thing to write for it! Sigh.

In fact, I am so brain-dead today, all I can think of is a new installment in the saga of The Things People Say When Sangu Tells Them She's a Writer. You know, like this one.

So this happened at the airport a couple of weeks ago, when I came back to the UK after my trip to Bangalore.

OFFICIAL [looks at Sangu's passport]: So what do you do, miss?

SANGU: I'm a writer.

OFFICIAL [perks up no end]: Really? A writer! What kind of stuff do you write?

SANGU: Books. Novels, I mean. Fiction. Books. Fiction books. [VOICE INSIDE MY HEAD: smooth. Very smooth.]

OFFICIAL: Wow! Any, like, crime?

SANGU: Erm, no. I write teen fiction. Young adult.

OFFICIAL [totally crestfallen]: Damn. I'd have asked for your autograph if you wrote crime.

SANGU [laughs the whole way home]

Friday, 2 September 2011

The 300 Followers Contest!

A couple of days ago this blog got its 200th follower! Yay! Huge thanks to all of you, you can't imagine how much I appreciate it. But I'm going to show you. Yes! A contest! A kind of help-me-get-to-300-followers contest!

  With prizes.

So here's how it's going to work. If this blog gets to 300+ followers by the 30th of November, I will pick three winners and give away one of the following prizes to each of them-

a query critique
a 20-page manuscript critique
a £10 Amazon UK voucher (or a $15 Amazon US voucher if you don't shop on the UK site)
a box of homemade cupcakes*

*okay, I should probably mention I am not the best baker in the world, and I don't actually know how feasible posting a box cupcakes is, so maybe only pick this one if you're really not tempted by the others...

How to enter-

1. Become a follower, unless you already are.
2. Comment on this post. Please make sure you include an email address in your comment!
3. Pop the contest button in your sidebar/blog, linking it back to this post.

That's it! You don't have to write a post or tweet about it, but it would be very lovely if you did. It would really help me get the word out.

(And, of course, if more people find out about it and want to join in, the more likely it is that I'll get to my goal by the end of November!)

The prizes will be given away to three randomly chosen winners if I get to 300+ followers by that date. If we get there and you win, all you'd have to do is pick the prize you want and email me letting me know your choice!

Once again, thank you to everyone who got me to 200. You're the best.

Happy Friday!