I fucking LOVE books

Talking about the love of books. With a lot of swearing.

Archive for the tag “writing”

Mookychick (wisely) publishes my article


I wrote about surviving the ice age over at mookychick, a feminism, humour and lifestyle blog. Check it out.

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The perfect writer’s cat.


My cat Anne is curled up on my lap, purring gently. Occasionally she looks up at me with wide, orange eyes and I feel like the most awesome person in the world.

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Short Stories


You should buy and read short story magazines. For lots of reasons.

The selfish reason first – I write short stories. The more people who buy and read short story magazines, the more money these magazines have for acquiring work and the more likely they are to buy mine.

But here’s the other reasons. Short stories are, perhaps, the best way to get into reading fiction. People who feel unsure about reading books will find that the shorter lengths (as few as 100 words, sometimes!) are less opressive.  Because they’re short, people can read them in a few spare minutes in their busy days.

Short story magazines are cheap. Usually cheaper than a book for dozens of seperate stories!

And they’re complete stories, with characters and a plot arc and all the things you love from TV and video-games, but there’s no unnecessary extras. Just the story.

Short story magazines cover all genres and interests. Upset that there aren’t enough fairy-tale retellings in the bookstores? There’ll be a magazine you can read.

As for why you should pay for them? Well, there are plenty of brilliant free ones out there, it’s true (I suggest popping over to 101 fiction for good, very short pieces, and not just because a story of mine will be going up there soon) but the competition for writers to get into the paying market is fierce. Which means you get the best of the best. The brilliant ones.

So, you’ll be supporting the careers of writers, ensuring hard working creatives get paid, and enjoying yourself at the same time. Win win!

Some of my favourites:

Apex

Shimmer

Penumbra

Arcane

Arcadia

Beneath Ceaseless Skies

Podcastle

Scheherezades Bequest
Most of these publish spec fic, as that’s what I like to read and write. Some publish literary or have a small niche.

If you want to read short stories and don’t know where to start, a good place to look is duotrope. It exists mainly as a way for writers to keep track of submissions, but you can search it for specific genres and sub-genres, and you may well find a magazine you like that way.

You are not entitled.


No matter how hard you work or how good you think your work is, you are not entitled to representation or a publishing contract. This is a business, not a sponge-bath for your ego. If an agent doesn’t think they can sell your work, or a publisher doesn’t think they can make money on it, they will reject it. Accept that.

You are certainly not allowed to assault a literary agent because your work is rejected, and if you have any sympathy with the man assaulting her you are a shitty human being and you can unfollow me right fucking now.

Cross-posted on my other blogs to boost signal.

Only tangentially related to books


In that I am also, obviously, a writer. Perhaps it’s a thing. When you love reading and books so much, perhaps it’s natural that you want to write, bring some of that joy you felt to another person.

I NEED TO STOP GOING OFF TOPIC SO FUCKING MUCH.

Ahem.

I am a writer, as yet unpublished by anything more than a few non-paying webzines and the like (you can see my published works up there). This is fine! I’m at the start of my career. Now, one thing I don’t want this blog to be is yet-another-unpublished-writer-talking-about-writing blog. There’s only room for a few of those, and they are dull, so I promise to keep writing chatter down to a minimum (though I will tell you when I get published things and the like).

But what I would like to do is occasionally- very occassionally – post some of my shorter works that I don’t think I can find a market for on this blog. These will be things I like that, for one reason or another, I don’t think I can get published by someone else. You will not be getting my shitty rough drafts, but it’ll be something else for you to read other than my self-indulgent writing about books.

Also, it’s a way fro you to tell me what I suck at, and for me to practice my skills, and perhaps a way for me to see where I can improve. Also, if I have a schedule (1 a week/fortnight/month) I’ll get more into writing regularly as I should.

Do you like the idea? Would you keep reading, or go away?

Wide Reading (makes you a better writer)


First things first, apologies for radio silence. It was easter bank holiday weekend and I spent it getting drunk and going to funfairs. I may love books and reading, but it doesn’t stop me being a bit of a party girl.

I want to talk about one of the negative aspects of reading a lot. They do exist!

They exist because not every book in the world can be a mind-expanding piece of glorious literature. That’s fine! Sometimes all you want is a bit of brain candy, especially if you’re having a hard time of it lately. And bear in mind, this is not a literary/genre thing, there are beautiful, soul enriching books among even the most poorly treated bits of genre fiction just as there are dire, emotionally mean and beige works among literary.

As I said, there is nothing wrong with these books. There is nothing wrong with reading something just for entertainment. The problem comes if you JUST read these books. It’s why I say a wide reading habit is the best thing you can do… it tests your beliefs and makes you think about different things, which has the effect of broadening your horizons. But if you ONLY read one type of stuff, ONLY read generic, brain candy books, you’ll do as much damage to your thinking as a diet of pure sugar would do to your body.

But why? Surely any kind of reading is good?

Well, yes and no, and if you’re someone who doesn’t really read (freak) then reading even imaginatively narrow and poorly written stuff is a start. But, in an ideal world, you would be increasing your reading habits to include things NOT in the favoured genre. Why? Because narrow reading= narrow mind.

Certain genres of books have their tropes – techniques they use to tell the story. The best examples of genres use these tropes well, abandon out dated or unpleasant ones, or outright subvert expected tropes. The average merely use those tropes competently. The poor, however, use them with no subtlety, and it often leads to unpleasant attitudes going unchallenged by the work. For example, thrillers often have a tendency to treat women like set dressing. They’re victims or seductresses, there for the man to win.  If you only read that one genre, you won’t have any opposing points of view to offset that. This can lead to problems. For example, recent controversies about racism and rape apologism in some Urban Fantasy books.

It becomes more important to read widely if you are a writer. It’s only through reading widely you can develop taste – by which I mean the ability to tell when a type of writing is bad or good –  and if you only stick to one genre of fiction, you artifically restrict your writing ability. Sure, you should read a lot of books in your chosen genre (and there’s a hell of a lot of sci-fi and fantasy on my shelves) but you should also read outside it. For your readers sake, if not for yours.

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