Last year I was lucky enough to stumble upon a website that you probably know called Goodreads. I have no idea how I missed this great site for so long but once I found it I was completely hooked. For those of you who have yet to experience the delights of Goodreads I’ll explain a little about it here.
When you sign up you will be asked questions about the kind of books you like to read and your lifestyle etc. Once you have done this you will see on the homepage recommendations based on the answers you gave. This is great because you will find books on the genres you love that you had forgotten about or have read and want to read again or brand new books that you just have to read. You get to rate the books and compile your own lists of those you have read, those you want to read and the book you are currently reading. Sounds good so far but not amazing? Ah there’s more.
You can join forums to chat about anything literature related, you can vote for books in Goodreads polls. You can answer quiz questions about books, authors or film adaptations and you can even make your own quizzes, challenge your friends and other like minded readers.
There are two things about Goodreads that I really love. The first is my author page. Once you become a published writer you can set yourself up as an author member with your own page, links to your books and a blog if you wish. You can also link this to your Twitter and Facebook accounts thus improving your writing profile. Once you do this you will find more and more requests to be your friend. Unlike FB you don’t update statuses or talk about your personal life this is purely about reading so your ‘friends’ will be following your literary life, seeing what you are reading, commenting on your books reviews etc etc. Goodreads is used by well known authors too so you never know you may find that you have Stephen King or Phillipa Gregory taking an interest in you.
The second thing I love about this site is the challenges you can set yourself. I personally do the yearly book challenge where you have to nominate the number of books you will read in a year. Last year I said I would read 73 and I managed 75. This year I have challenged myself to read 80. This is great for me because I have such a massive bucket list of books I want to read, I find myself making time to read so I don’t fall behind on my challenge. It keeps up with you and tells you what percentage you have left to go or if you are falling behind too.
So to sum up. Goodreads is great. A definite favourite you should add to your task-bar.
Here is a link and don’t forget to look me up and ask to be my friend.
Look forward to seeing you there.
Characters. Now there’s a descriptive word. When someone is described as a character it usually means that they are lively and unpredictable. Well my characters are just that. As they are created by me they tend to act like me. That doesn’t mean that every character I create is a 40 something English female with 4 sons and 2 dogs, it just means that they are temperamental, just like me. And just like me they don’t always want to fit into the story lines that I give them. We even fight over this occasionally and it can get messy, with me threatening to delete them altogether. Then I invariably storm off in a huff and later decide to play it their way.
One such example is my new character, Warren. He is supposed to be the sex-god in my new novella which I was originally writing as a paranormal erotica. Sadly, Warren didn’t want me to watch him having sex with my heroine (what a cheek!). He was far too private. We argued and argued for almost a week and no writing got done. Warren was telling me that the story line just wasn’t working and reluctantly I had to admit he was right. He is now much happier that I am leaving him at the bedroom door to seduce the lady without spectators. So I am now writing a paranormal romance and feeling much happier with it.
However, that brings me to the question, should you always listen to your characters? On this I am sure we could debate. A well known author friend of mine told me that she wanted one of her characters to feature in the next book of a trilogy, but in her words “he wouldn’t come out to play”. She had to rethink the story line a little but she tells me it is all the better for leaving him out.
Conversely I have had a character completely switch on me. In my story “Chuckles” which you can find in the anthology “Here Be Clowns” my protagonist was originally written as a victim of Chuckles. She played the part of the damsel in distress very well but once I had finished my first draft I decided I wanted her to have a meatier role. I rewrote her part and ‘boom’ the story was complete and accepted rather quickly.
I think that debating with your characters is a big part of the creative process. It certainly is for me. It means that my creations have life, personalities, opinions and direction and that must mean I am on the right track to creating something worth reading. I’ll leave that for you to decide and I’ll keep you posted on Warren.
So as we all know J K Rowling has brought out a new book to be released at the end of the month. It has been long awaited and reviews will definitely be varied. The Casual Vacancy is Rowling’s first foray into the word of writing for adults and it has been rumored that she is trying to move as far away from ‘Harry Potter’ as she can. Personally I think that is a bad move as it’s Mr Potter who has made her what she is today.
I still don’t know whether I am going to read the book. I think I probably will because I do like to have an opinion and I will then be able to see which reviewers are just jumping on the ‘I Hate JK’ bandwagon.
In the meantime here the first review you will probably read and to be honest it is not bad.
Oh PS – I’m VERY disappointed in the cover. It’s horrible and boring and even though you shouldn’t judge a book etc etc it doesn’t inspire me in the slightest.