Tidy Desk, Tidy Mind?

tidy desk, tidy mindOn Wednesday, I tidied my desk and sorted all of the stuff and got rid of about two bags worth of old paper, notebooks and just about anything else. When I sat down that night, I felt the power of being tidy and clean and being able to get on with my writing instead of having to be downstairs because the messiness was driving me bananas.

I sit now, looking at my globe beside me (which finally fits instead of being relegated to the windowsill where it’s no good to anyone) and wonder if a tidy desk really does mean a tidy mind. Some people, like the famous photo of Albert Einstein, apparently work best under the messiest desk around.

So, which one is right? Albert Einstein said:

If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, what, then, is an empty desk a sign of?

To an extent, I agree. I think if you have an empty desk, you might run low on inspiration (the strangest things inspire me, which is why I have a collection of oddments surrounding me at nearly all times when I’m at home, even a stone, a lolly pop and a bunny garden ornament with a knitted hat. And that’s just me taking 3 seconds to glance around). But, a cluttered desk means you might be too frazzled to do anything productive anyway, like me.

In circumstances like this, I like the philosophy of, “Whatever floats your boat.” But you should be proud to show that boat off to other people, which is why I wasn’t happy with my cluttered desk, and I tidied it before we had any guests over. Now, someone could sit down and type away at my computer and I’d be very happy!

What’s your desk like? Cluttered, tidy, a bit of both? A tidy clutter, perhaps? Do you even have a desk, or prefer to work in a cafe or at work? 

Ages ago, I was talking to Herminia at aspiringwriter22 and said I’d post some photos of my desk, so here you are!

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Still looks kinda cluttered, but, believe me, this is an improvement. Notice the bunny XD

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Guest Post: And Now For Something Completely Different by Jake Baugh

gp; jake baughAnd Now For Something Completely Different (but somehow the same (Well kinda (ish (OK so not really (But this is all beside the point (brace yourselves for a wall of end brackets))))))

Movies.

I’m gonna talk about movies.

Hannah: IT’S A BLOG ABOUT BOOKS.

Jake: But…

Hannah: NO EXCEPTIONS.

Jake: Fiiiiine.

I’m gonna talk about books.

And their movie adaptations. Boom.

Checkmate Hannah.

I’m getting sidetracked. It’s a common theme. You’ll get used to it. Honest.

So, I’m a big reader of books. Unlike Hannah I have read all of the books on my overcrowded shelf, but one thing that gotten a little on my nerves is movie adaptations of books. On paper all seems fine. You take the thrill of a book’s fast paced action sequences, or the thoughtful ponderings of a deep character, or whatever the hell 50 Shades is, and present them in a format that opens them up to the wider audiences. And for a while all was fine. The Harry Potter books really set the standard for a good adaptation, mixing JK’s enticing storylines with new talent and old favourites, and really creating the basis for the first official internet fandom. Then Peter Jackson started the Lord Of The Rings grinder churning (all could of been solved easily if the eagles weren’t so lazy #justsaying), and all was good. Book adaptations began to get a hold. And sink in, badly. As anyone whose read my blog will know (so just Hannah) I really believe there’s a problem with originality in content of any form nowadays. And it is nowhere more prominent than in book adaptations. Suddenly the whole industry went, ‘Hey, this is a thing, that works!’ and joined the book-vie craze.

Let’s use an analogy.

In the beginning there was Michael Chricton (Jurassic Park). And he had a bakery. Which sold bakewells. And they were great bakewells. So great that people only remembered the bakewells and not Chricton himself. (Until a week ago I didn’t realise that Park was adapted from a book).

Fast forward thirty years. JK Rowling (Harry Potter) opens a bakery. And starts selling good quality apple pies for a good price. Then Peter Jackson (LOTR) opens up down the road and begins selling really big Chelsea buns, which are hard to get into but once you do they’re great and last forever. And all is well and good, the two get along, as they’re not baking the same stuff. Anthony Horowitz (Alex Rider) comes along and sets up selling tarts but goes bankrupt because they don’t quite capture the magic of the recipe (James Bond). Rick Riordan (Percy Jackson) comes careering into town on his mobile bakery van selling some cookies but gets moving again pretty quickly because no one likes them compared to the original cookies (The Books).

Then Stephanie Meyer (Twilight) sets up shop. And sells apple pies with a soggy bottom (Terrible Books). But everyone abandons ship from JK to go to Stephanie because they’re cheaper. Apart from the ones who have a taste in pies who stick with JK, because they appreciate proper pie making (you can tell I just love Twilight) And both bakery customers get really angry at each other (The “Fandom Wars”). Meanwhile Percy Jackson has run out of pastry (the end of the LOTR saga) and his shop closes indefinitely. Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games) begins selling Cherry Pies, which taste great with Apple Pies and so the customers of JK and Meyer also begins shopping there. Then all manner of shops begin setting up and selling various pastries of all descriptions. and so the market becomes oversaturated. Jackson returns with even more pastry (The Hobbit) but he’s stretched the pastry thin due to his lack of it so the buns don’t hold together so well (stretching one book into three films) also he’s putting some herb on top that no one likes (the romance between Kili and that random Elf chick). Rick Riordan swings back into town and tries again but still no one likes his food. Then E.L James (50 Shades) comes along and steals Meyer’s already bad recipe, but tries to make it her own by making the apple pies shaped like a man’s privates and nothing to do with apple at all (turning a Twilight fan fic into a book).

So it’s all going to hell. JK’s done but the customers want more so she’s desperately making a new recipe which might work (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them), E.L James’s business is throbbing (bad choice of word) with success, Meyer has ended her business by accidentally putting chilli in her last few pies (the terrible ending of the Twilight saga), Chricton’s bakery is back up and running (Jurassic World), but it’s run by someone else, who still does a pretty good job, and Marvel (comics count) is down the road as the figurative equivalent of Tesco, pumping out goods and booming,  whilst DC is looking a bit like Lidl; all of its employees are depressed (DC refuses to do anything fun or even interesting in their movies).

So that’s a random rambling recap of the Book-Movie distribution and why I shouldn’t be allowed to guest blog.


As the more astute of you may have guessed, I’m the same Jake that has started to crop up on Hannah’s other blog like a stinging nettle that only mildly irritates you and gets in the way instead of actually stinging. Being her boyfriend I’m afraid to say you’ll be seeing more of that figurative weed popping up on her blogs… [Note from me, Hannah: I think he’s more like a puppy: keeps coming back even if you pry them away with food but secretly you love them being there anyway.]

So if you liked whatever that was come check out my blog where I rant about things, review things and generally attempt to annotate my life with a little classic British self-depreciating comedy.

Tarrah.


Want to have a chance to guest blog? Click here!

Book Discussion: Bookstagram (or, taking lots and lots of photos of books)

bd; bookstagramBooks are everywhere. (In my room, that means literally, too. I’m not even joking, they keep popping up. There MUST be another dimension in here SOMEWHERE. Ahem.) Joking aside, I mean everywhere. In the shops, free from kind people, sold by charity to raise money, in schools, and basically anywhere you go there will be some sort of bookish thing. And that includes the internet. Obviously, there are online shops like one of my personal favourites, The Book Depository, but also on social media… including Instagram.

If you go onto Instagram and search #books, you’ll find that there are 13,015,734 posts. Or, there were at 21:27 on the 29th July 2015, anyway. #bookstagram brings up a, in comparison, measly 1,364,405. Y’know, I’d say that was a pretty big community.

Most of these hashtags are attached to arty photos of books, sometimes with the inspiration of a “booktag” which are passed around by members of the community (for example, this morning I was tagged to do #bookandstuffie, so I took a picture of Anna and the French Kiss with my cat hot bag). Some books are then picked up by the followers of these people, bought and read, and therefore the bookstagram community can be a fantastic way for authors to get their names out.

Many bookstagrammers do giveaways too, sometimes with enormous amounts (there’s one circulating at the moment for a value of $150!). Other giveaways, like the one I’m planning for the end of the week, are for things like bookmarks and postcards.

Do I love being a member of bookstagram? YES. Are you kidding me?! I’ve already made new internet friends and I’ve gotten a penpal in, what, four days?! FOUR DAYS?! AND, I basically get to take pictures and post about books all the time. Man, that is freaking awesome. 

Instagram doesn’t have to just be about books of course. If you don’t want to take your own pictures, you can always just follow others (that’s what I did before I became too frustrated about not posting my own, so I joined). Or you can have a “personal” account and just post the occasional bookish picture. That’s the beauty about it: there’s no right or wrong way to do it.

Do you have an Instagram account? Is it a “bookstagram” account? Do you like Instagram or should it burn in hell with the likes of Twitter? I’d love to hear from you! 

And, uh, if you fancy following me you can find me at…

27/07/15

Hi everyone! I hope you’re all well?!

So what happened with me last week… I joined bookstagram for one! You can find my profile here. It’s a lovely community and I’m having great fun taking photos of books and talking to people about them. (PS – I’m going to do a giveaway on there soon if you want to check it out and give it a follow! ;) )

I’m also getting better at driving and my next task is, apparently, to conquer roundabouts! …which, quite frankly, sounds terrifying when I only got the hang of the clutch/accelerator thing yesterday.

Other than that I’m still looking for guest bloggers, so if you’re interested visit the page/post on my blog! 

Have a lovely week everyone!

Book Review: Percy Jackson and the Greek Gods by Rick Riordan

TITLE: Percy Jackson and the Greek Gods (originally Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods)
AUTHOR: Rick Riordan
PUBLISHER: Puffin Books (branch of Penguin)
YEAR OF PUBLICATION: 2014
NUMBER OF PAGES: 404 (not an error)
PRICE: £12.99 (hardback)
ISBN: 9780141355412
GOODREADS
PERSONAL SOURCE: Bought from Waterstones
RATING: 5/5


“Heartwarming, how the Olympian family got along.”

I can always rely on Percy Jackson to make me smile, even if the book isn’t a novel, but a “handbook” of the Greek Gods and Goddesses. Each god or goddess of the 12 Olympian gods + two (Hades and Hestia, who don’t have seats in the council but are still major gods) has their own chapter, and the Titans, who ruled the world before the Grecian gods, have their own chapter at the beginning.

One thing you need to know about the Greek myths is that they are just that: myths, and that means there are quite a lot of different variations of the same myth, so Riordan just picked his favourite, I guess.

I love Rick Riordan’s storytelling skills, the humour, the POVs, the… EVERYTHING. These books are just incredible and I honestly don’t care how many of these books will come out from this universe, I will read them all. Eventually. (I think there are 3 short stories and one demigod diaries I have yet to read.)

I mean:

“His big claim to fame was that the Golden Fleece – that magical sheepskin rug I’m related to – ended up in his kingdom, which made the place immune to disease, invasion, stock-market crashes, visits from Justin Bieber and pretty much any other natural disaster.” – I’m currently studying the Argonautica and that makes this about 10x more hilarious.

I love Greek myths and I love Percy Jackson so this book was a 5 star win-win for me. (And the morals are just great, man. Great.) (And these myths are gruesome but this is fine to read to your kids. Probably. I guess it depends on how freaked out they get at daddies eating their children. Which seems to happen a lot, to be quite frank. (Haha, inside Percy Jackson jokes! I make myself laugh.))

Guest Post: Top Clichés in Writing by Jenny Benton

gp; jenny bentonMost of the time clichés in writing can be annoying and almost feel like a let down, even betrayal, for the reader. One of the most hated ones is, “it was all a dream,” thus explaining away the entire plot and making it pointless and the reader feeling cheated of a proper ending. However, there are some good clichés in writing, which are (to me at least) still entertaining, even if they are overused.

Bad guy turning out to be a main character’s father or mother.

Can be a little predictable, and most of the time we suspect it, however there can be times in writing where it comes as a complete shock, and to be caught out by a not uncommon troupe creates a lot of respect from reader to writer. If it’s pulled off well, this can be a very effective and intriguing cliché. I guess it would be quite different if you put a less immediate relative as the villain:

“You mean to say… he’s my…” she asked with trepidation.

“Yes. He is your second cousin twice removed.” He nodded solemnly, and she gasped.

“It cannot be!”

Bad guys sneering and being sarcastic.

Who doesn’t love an antagonist that you’d quite like to punch if you met them in real life? These antagonists usually swagger in unexpectedly, or are found leaning against a wall, eating an apple mockingly. They will have some snarky comment about whatever the main character has just been discussing, which is bound to cause at least a little drama. You can find one of these antagonists in almost every novel, and most of them are quite fun to read, even if you do want to slap them occasionally.

Brooding characters.

These characters have a mysterious past, and nobody is allowed to get too close to them – you wouldn’t understand.

They’re usually met in a busy location, but they stand out from the chattering crowd as the dark and mysterious loner in the corner. Of course, it’s always the one curious onlooker (normally the main character) who asks about them (Lord of the Rings springs to mind here). It would be funny if the brooding character ended up being no relation to the plot.

“Who’s that?” he asked, noticing the man in the hooded cloak in the corner, hunched into his chair, a hand around his tankard as he watched the candle sink lower in front of him.

“Oh that?” the barman asked, noting where he was looking. “That’s just Dave. He thinks he’ll get girls to be interested in him if he’s mysterious and brooding. I keep telling him it’s not going to work.”

Main characters turning evil.

Like the parent turning out to be the master villain, this has been done a lot, but again, when done well, it does work very well, and can even send shivers down the readers spine. To see a character who you’ve grown to love change utterly

into a killing machine is quite something. Sometimes you just want to say: “That was terrifying – do it again!”

Colours

Sometimes describing eyes, hair colour, landscape etcetera can be hard, especially trying to come up with a new and impressive. Sometimes it’s best to stick to the classics, though many find these annoying. Personally I rather like them, even if they are a bit used. I suppose the familiarity with the phrase is something that’s good at evoking emotions in readers.

“Eyes were sea green,”

“Red roses,”

“Midnight black.”


My name is Jenny, I write a range of fiction novels, but I particularly like writing mysteries, fantasy novels and adventure novels. This is my first piece of work that’s online (though I have been doing a colab fanfic with this fab blogger), and so I hope you like it.


Visit this page for an opportunity to guest blog yourself!

Book Discussion: Too Many Books?

bd;too many booksAh, the woes of a reader: the fact that there are simply too many books in the world, and just not enough time to read them and still have a life. Another woe of a reader, though, is that we constantly buy new books, even if they’re not going to be read!

I am terrible for this. Most of the books on my shelf are unread, and I keep buying new books, either because they’re pretty or because I really want to read them. And then I read them… but the ones on the shelf I already have haven’t been read! It’s dreadful.

I would estimate that around a million books are published a year. A MILLION!! Say maybe 1000 are books I would “love”, and I average about 3 days per book, that would take me… about 3000 days or 8.2 years (assuming there’s no leap years). Gosh. That’s… actually, that’s astounding.

Obviously there might be a terrible year for books, or a really good year for books, so it could be more or less. But, depressingly, that’s basically saying you’re not going to be able to read all of the awesome books in the world.

So the question is: do we slow the production of new books, or simply accept that there are way too many books in the world and no one’s going to be able to read all of them?

What I would suggest, though? At least read all of the ones on your shelves!

What do you think? 


PS: DYK, the Japanese word ‘tsundoku’ means ‘buying a load of books and then not getting round to reading them’. SourceI think this word is basically my life…

20/07/15

200715Hi everyone!

It’s Monday, or Moonday as Teen Wolf fans call it. I watched the first 3 seasons and then just didn’t watch any more. It’s a funny show, though….aaaaand I’m getting off topic again. Ahem.

So, this week I’ve got more time than planned but I doubt I’ll do much which will be productive. Although I do have a new novel idea, so I might flesh it out a bit and see if I want to carry on with it (it’s FANTASY, people! DRAGONS! SWORDS! SHIELDS! FIRE!). (I swear I haven’t had that much sugar. Okay, maybe a little.)

Anyway, I’m not feeling 100% at the moment (I’ve had two blood tests in the past week, I mean, how is that even possible?!) but hopefully I’ll be better by next week. I hope you’re all well!

I’m still looking for a guest blogger for this week! Just email sprinkledwithwords[at]hotmail[dot]com to apply or visit this page! 

Have a nice week everyone! Enjoy it :)

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

TITLE: We Were Liars
AUTHOR: E. Lockhart
PUBLISHER: Hot Key Books
YEAR OF PUBLICATION: 2014
NUMBER OF PAGES: 227
PRICE: £7.99 (currently on sale at Amazon!)
ISBN: 9781471403989
GOODREADS
PERSONAL SOURCE: Bought from Warwick University book shop
RATING: 5/5


We are the Liars. We are beautiful, privileged and live a life of carefree luxury. We are cracked and broken.

A story of love and romance. A tale of tragedy.

Which are lies? Which is truth? You decide.

People tell you that, when you read this book, to go in “blind”; that is, don’t read any reviews, spoilers, or flick through the book. So… this review isn’t going to be like any others I’ve done before (I think, I’ve done quite a lot so I forget. And I’m forgetful anyway, which doesn’t help).

WHY YOU SHOULD READ WE WERE LIARS:

  • It’s happy and fluffy and light.
    (I lied… although the romance is so perfect and so not perfect and ugh. My feels.)
  • It’s short so you can stay up all night reading it.
    Which, dear mother if you are reading this, I totally did not do…
  • The characters are amazingly complex.
    This makes it constantly interesting.
  • The plot is amazingly twisty and turny and just UGH
    PLEASE JUST READ THIS BOOK AND PLACATE MY MIND.
  • JUST READ IT. NOW.
  • What if I ask nicely?

The twists in this book are just amazing and by the end of it I literally had my mouth hanging open (I remember finishing it: I ignored my friends for the whole bus ride and tried my hardest not to cry as I finished 60+ pages just as we rolled into college…).

This book definitely lived up to my expectations (which were high, given how many people had posted about it everywhere saying how awesome it was) and I really, really enjoyed it. (Hence: it got 5/5 stars.)

Now: pretty pretty please will you read it?

Deadlines: WHOOSH!

deadlines; whoosh!As Douglas Adams once said: “I love deadlines. I love the whooshing sound they make as they go by.” (The Salmon of Doubt)

I am terrible at writing to deadlines (unless it’s college work), and I’m even terrible at being in the right place at the right time. It kind of sucks when I am selling commissioned stories and writing for a blog, which I do once a month (although due to exams I haven’t over the last couple; I am working on an article at the moment, though), and sometimes, admittedly, I do struggle a bit (or, a lot).

I’ve recently gotten better keeping to dates and remembering stuff by using my iPhone’s calender to record what I’m doing, and when. Sometimes reminders help me, but I often forget to actually put them into my phone, and I’ve actually gotten pretty good at ignoring them.

But one thing does work, and that’s remembering what I’m doing and how it’s going to help me. No one is going to employ you if you turn up late to work every day, are they? No one’s going to buy your writing if you don’t deliver it on time, either!

That’s what I want you, dear reader, to take away from this: ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS deliver your work when you say you will! Word of mouth might seem like something people shrug at and don’t take seriously, and perhaps this is true for mediocre work. However, if something is really good or really bad, it tends to get around quickly. You want to be in the former category: that’s really good. Deliver on time, and it’s only when you’re a seriously renowned author that you can put your own deadlines on your work. I mean, c’mon, that’ll be awesome!

So, all in all: deliver on time, even early if you can. Be prompt in responses to work messages too. But don’t lose the quality of your work, which is something you’re going to have to compromise on. Quality, or speed? I say, settle for both. Take half of your “writing” time to write, and half to edit; then you’ll have something which works pretty well, and delivers pretty well too.