We are literally this close to welcoming baby Broome number four into our house, so forgive the short introduction to this week’s newsletter.
In fact, the only thing I want to tell you is that next week I’m going to try something a little different. Aforementioned baby will be here by then, so instead of the usual list of links, I’m going to ask a question and invite you to answer.
How the hell will that work?
Well – I’m going to use the exciting discussion thread feature that comes with Substack. You’ll receive an email as usual and inside will be my question and a link for you to follow and leave a reply.
Worst case scenario: you ignore it and we never speak of this again. Best case scenario: you all reply and we end up having a lovely discussion about books while getting to know each another a little better.
This is the question.
What’s the best book you’ve read in 2019?
I know my answer, so I’ll be adding my two-penneth to the discussion next week. Ideally, we’ll end up with lots of fantastic book recommendations that will make excellent holiday gifts (or even better, gift requests). I’ll collect them up and send them as a complete list in a future newsletter.
Okay. That’s it for now. Baby time for me.
Enjoy the list of literary lushness below.
Links of the week
Every issue I collect and share the best advice, apps and other shenanigans that I find on my internet travels. If you like these, you’ll like The Daily Unslush too.
Honestly, if you want to put together a quick website, I’m yet to find a better tool than Carrd. Whether you want to promote an event, create a book landing page or set up a coming soon thingy, it’s the absolute business. The Pro version starts at just $9 a month too. Total bargain.
Two example sites of my own on Carrd:
Oh! Just noticed they have a Black Friday deal going on too, Just enter this code at checkout and apparently you get 50% off: BF2019FTW
While I’m at it, Screenpeek is what I used to make the mockup image for the Carrd link above. I also use Shotsnapp to make similar images too.
When I was in the thick of writing A is for Angelica, I decided to stop reading. It felt necessary to make sure I maintained the voice of the novel without accidentally wandering off into the voice of whatever book I might have been reading at the time. This is a great piece on reading while writing in the ace Ask an Author newsletter – it contains some good practical suggestions if this is something you struggle with too.
I think I link to this article from 2007 at least once every year. It’s by screenwriter John August and packed full of good advice for writers of all kinds. This is my favourite bit:
The question is not, “What could happen?” or “What should happen?” It is only, “What needs to happen?” If you wrote an outline, this is the time to look at it. If you didn’t, just come up one or two sentences that explain what absolutely must happen in the scene.
I like this so much I have the words ‘What needs to happen?’ written on a Post it note above my desk. It reminds me (and you, perhaps) to focus on the essential part of what you’re writing and then build around it. Before anything make sure what needs to happen actually does happen.
This is a short and sweet blog post about starting a writing group. There’s some useful practical ideas in there that might help you if it’s something you’re thinking about doing. You might want to check out the other writing resources on the New Writing North website while you’re there.
Obviously, this is published on the Patreon blog and so it’s heavy on the – well – Patreon references. However, in terms ideas for building a business around your art or creative pursuit, you can’t go wrong. You just need to build yourself an audience. That’s the tricky bit. Seriously.
You may or may not know that in my actual job as a copywriter and content designer sort, I’m a big fan of writing in plain English. This list of alternative words is indeed very handy if you want to cut out all the jargon and speak to people directly.
A couple of weeks ago, I shared some writing advice taken from Lydia Davis’ new collection of essays. I then saw the book itself in Waterstones and decided to bag myself a copy, along with The Heartland by my writer pal, Nathan Filer. I’m looking forward to getting stuck in once I finally finish The Testaments.
How to be helpful
If like most right-thinking folk you enjoy this newsletter, there are three specific things you can do to help. Subscribe now if you haven’t already. Share it with someone else. Or click/tap the little ❤️ icon right there at the bottom.
Tweets of the week
First time reader?
If you are new to me and this newsletter, please feel free to join us and subscribe to get future correspondence right in your inbox. You can read a short bio on my website, where you can also find out more about my debut novel.