Options

Some more detail about my editing services

I genuinely love working with other writers to help them make their writing stronger. I have worked with writers who have penned several books or just one, those who are agented and those who are dreaming of being on shelves, those who have polished their manuscript for years and those who want me to look at a first draft. A fun part of my job is that I get to help writers at so many different stages, whenever it is most helpful for them.

I want to tell you a bit more about my different editing options since it can be hard to know exactly what you’re getting when you ask for an editing service. I would always say to be careful and ask lots of questions if you’re unsure. I am in the lovely position if having many clients who are delighted with the feedback they receive, but if you’re unsure what that feedback would look back and you want a bit more information before diving in, hopefully this will help you.

OPTION ONE – FULL MANUSCRIPT REPORT

I will read your manuscript and write a detailed report about the things I think are working, any areas that need strengthening, and the things that need to be cut or changed. This report is generally about one page per 10,000 words, and normally concentrates on the following:

  • Plot – this is an overview of your story. Does everything that happens make sense? Is too much or too little happening? Do the things that happen tie in with the emotional journey of your main character? Is there too much telling, rather than showing? Could you make your start or end more dramatic? Are there too many sub-plots distracting from the main story?
  • Pacing – this is often combined with the plot section, since they are so closely linked. I will pinpoint those places in your novel when something happens far too quickly so understanding and emotional resonance is lost. I will give ideas for tightening sections that are too long and lack tension
  • Character – I will spend most of my time detailing the strengths and weaknesses of your main character, but will also include anything of note about your antagonist and supporting characters. Has your main character got agency – do they make things happen in the story or are they being pushed about by the action? How relatable and sympathetic are they? Do I understand their choices and reactions? Is there anything that needs fleshing out or are we being told too much? What do they look like, and are there any conscious choices you could be making to step towards diversity and away from stereotypes? Here, I will often talk about the voice of your novel – is the tone and vocabulary consistent throughout and fitting for your genre and main character?
  • Setting – this is particularly important in fantasy or sci-fi novels, when there is a lot of world building involved. Are you being too detailed or too light-touch? Is there any info dumping? With other genres, I will be thinking about how well you describe where your main character lives/plays out the story. If it is in a well-known area or city, have you taken advantage of chances to work this place into your story?
  • Technical – I do not pretend to be a copy editor or proof reader, but I will let you know of any grammatical or sentence structure issues I spot. Are you overusing any words or techniques? Are you formatting speech properly or overusing exclamation marks?

Although my reports follow this general structure, they are all truly bespoke to each story and writer. Before I begin reading, I will ask if there are any areas you would particularly like me to focus on. This can be a shaky beginning, letting you know if the twist at the end works, or checking that your writing fits your chosen audience. And the report would be quite different if you send me non-fiction. I would be looking for a strong voice and a narrative that flows, but I would also want to make sure that you have fully explained your premise and that each chapter compounds and expands on this until we reach a satisfying conclusion.

These reports are always littered with suggestions and hints to help you make a start on any weaker areas of your story. My hope is that my feedback will help not only this story shine, but your writing in general. And I am always available for questions after you’ve received your report, whether you just want to use me as a sounding board for new ideas or check you’ve understood one of my comments.

OPTION TWO – LINE-BY-LINE QUERY PACKAGE CRITIQUE

This feedback option focuses on the all-important query package that you will need prepped to send out to agents and publishers. I know personally how tiring and difficult perfecting this can be, and I try to give feedback that is both specific and kind. The advice I give again and again is to listen to the person you’re sending it to! Lots of agencies and publishing houses give great advice on what they want you to include in a query package, so if you’re completely stumped that is a good place to start.

You will receive line-by-line feedback on:

  • Your letter – is it the right length and is all the information relevant? Does your elevator pitch capture interest? Is your plot summary too detailed or too vague? Have you been specific about your hook and what makes your main character interesting? Have you detailed a threat? Have you used up-to-date comparison titles? Have you included all the information like word-count and genre? Is the focus on your story, rather than yourself?
  • Your synopsis – does it make sense? Are there any sub-plots included that could be pruned? Have you established your main character and their setting? Is the threat/conflict clear? Does each plot point flow into the next? Is your climax clear? Is your conclusion satisfying?
  • Your first three chapters – is your first line engaging? Do you introduce your main character quickly and create room for the reader to relate to them? Is the setting clear? Is the dialogue realistic and engaging? Does each chapter leave me wanting more? Does the third chapter end with some reason that agents would have to request more?

Alongside the line-by-line feedback, I will also produce a short report detailing any larger scale triumphs and areas to work on. Your letter might need some restructuring to make sure that it grabs interest, your synopsis might need some characters cut or the central theme made clearer, or your first chapters might need to show more character agency or establish a clearer launch point for the rest of the story.

I hope that this feedback will leave you with the tools you need to query agents and publishers with confidence.

OPTION THREE – DETAILED FULL MANUSCRIPT EDIT

This is a great option if you’ve polished your manuscript to a high standard and want to pinpoint key issues on a page-by-page level. This is also a good option for poetry collections. While I will produce a short report on the same areas listed in option one, I will also highlight specific areas that work well or need tightening. This will help you to make your prose clearer, your dialogue shine, and your characters realistic and relatable.

You can expect 3 to 5 notes per page focusing on your use of language, decisions made about each character’s appearance, and any distracting sub-plots. I will always point out those things that are working really well, but will make sure to also detail any areas that would jolt a reader out of your story. Although this is not a copy-editing or proof-reading service, I will point out any grammatical or technical mistakes that I spot.

To get an idea of my prices and to see what others have had to say about my editing services, head over to my editing services page. Whichever option you decide to go for, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with any questions – just email thebrittonbookgeek@gmail.com

December Reads

December was a slow reading month for me, but my two favourites are well worth checking out 😊

Home Body by Rupi Kaur is a beautiful collection of poetry exploring themes of loss, abuse, and freedom. I read it all in one sitting, and will come back to it again and again. Rupi Kaur’s books are accessible for those who wouldn’t call themselves poetry lovers, and they speak to something deep inside of all of us.

Loveless by Alice Oseman is not only a great story but it carefully details the experience of asexual and aromantic people. If you want to educate yourself about the asexual spectrum but also read a story about friendship, those weird first days of university, and potted ferns, then this is a must-read.

But as always, read them all and we can be chums 😊

To keep up-to-date with my writerly news, editing slots, and courses, sign up for my monthly newsletter 🙂

2020 reads

I planned to read 120 books in 2020. I managed 87. Somehow, despite this being an objective failure, I still feel like I’m winning. Books, though fewer than I’d imagined, provided a refuge and escape this year, and those that follow are my favourites from 2020.

A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik is phenomenal. If you read fantasy, like novels set in magical schools, enjoy sassy main characters, or have a heart, this is the book for you. It tells the story of an underdog fighting for her place in an unforgiving world, and has many light and funny moments that will make you fall in love with a whole band of flawed and selfish people. If you’ve read anything by Naomi Novik before, this takes her writing up to a whole new level (and it was great already!)

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman is an undeniable hit. I feel like everyone and their mum is talking about this book. It is the purest form of a cosy thriller, with a warm cast of characters who will leave you smiling even as they are bumped off and revealed to be murderers. It kept me guessing until the last page and the working out of the mystery was satisfying, without too many details being withheld. I look forward to the next one!

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid is an immersive read. Darting between the minds of a childminder and her employer, this novel carefully displays how very twisted even our best intentions can become. The first scene will grab you and the characters will stay with you for long after you finish reading. If you love character driven novels like those of Elizabeth Strout, this is the book to go for.

Grown Ups is the first Marion Keyes novel I’ve read. I picked it up after listening to her on Elizabeth Day’s How to Fail podcast. Keyes was full of life and compassionate, and I wanted to read the words of someone like that. I was not disappointed. The only thing I am disappointed by is that this novel has received so little critical acclaim. It delves into what it means to be a broken human in community, and it is one I would recommend wholeheartedly.

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy is beautiful. I have it beside my bed to dip into whenever I need a lift. Told through paintings and sparce but well-chosen words, this is a book for people of all ages. It speaks of love, finding meaning, feeling lost, friendship, and so much more. I have given it as a gift to so many people that I am now afraid I will start giving it to people again.

I read Dear Mrs Bird by AJ Pearce at one of the many points this year when things were bleak, and it was exactly what I needed to help me see the brighter side of life. It is funny and sweet, following the stumbling misadventures of a young journalist. Full of bad advice for women that will make you laugh and cringe, this is a great book for when you really want to believe that things can be better but you’re not sure how they will be.

I, Cosmo by Carlie Sorosiak blew me away. It’s told from the point of view of a golden retriever, and I can honestly say that it captures a doggy understanding of the world completely. A great one to read with children, this book will have you laughing and holding back tears as you follow Cosmo’s grand plan to keep his family from falling apart. My favourite parts were his descriptions of eating those things he shouldn’t – he just couldn’t help himself!

I read We Must Be Brave by Frances Liardet as we went into our first lockdown. It was exactly what I needed. Set during the second world war when people were pulling together and caring in any way they could, it made sure I didn’t sink under the grimness of all the uncertainty at the start of 2020. It revolves around the relationship between a mother and her foster child, and the pure love these two feel for one another will keep you engaged until the last page. There were also some great descriptions of food, which had me longing for porridge and freshly baked bread. This is such a warm and engaging read, and I am excited to read another by this talented author.

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides is a true page-turner. A silent woman holds the secrets and her kindly counsellor is trying to get through to her and help her embrace life again, but there is so much more to it than that. I don’t want to ruin this by saying anything more, but I will say that there were several moments that genuinely made me gasp.

As always, read them all and we can be chums, okay?

To keep up-to-date with my writerly news, editing slots, and courses, sign up for my monthly newsletter 🙂

Tough

Get tough… or don’t

I can be downright mean to myself when I don’t meet my writing goals. I don’t sit down when I’d planned to and I tell myself I’m wasting precious time. I don’t manage to edit as many chapters as I wanted to and I feel like I’m desperately behind. The words don’t flow and I get distracted so I tell myself I’m a loser and that I’m never going to get my books in libraries and book shops.

I am so tough on myself. Waiting in the wings, there is a litany of reasons why I should be writing more, why my prose should be cleaner, why I should be an inspiration factory 24/7.

This self-criticism comes, in part, from desperately wanting to be an author. I have wanted this for such a long time and any mis-steps or breaks feel like negative things.

There is another place this toughness feeds itself. Inside, sometimes not buried very deep, is a belief that I am not good enough. If I don’t work hard enough, harder than everyone else, if I don’t create and create and create then I’m not even going to catch up with them. If I don’t give 100% then people will realise I’m a fraud.

So, I push and punish myself. I’m tough on myself and, even though I know sometimes that this isn’t true, I wonder if being this tough helps. I can’t let up, otherwise I’ll let myself down and I won’t ever get that perfect moment of opening a box of proofs.

I do know that it isn’t really helpful. It is good to be disciplined. It is good to set goals and work towards them. It isn’t good to constantly beat myself around the head with everything I’m not doing.

There is so much that we cannot control. We’ve all been rudely reminded of that this year. I can set goals until the cows come home but if something happens that is more important than writing (and a lot of things in life are), then I’m going to ditch writing and run.

One thing we do have control over is how we treat ourselves. For me, this is ongoing and extends to many other areas of my life. But I wonder if instead of punishing and being so damn tough, we could try being kind.

We could be gentle with ourselves when we fall at the first hurdle and have to rewrite a first chapter a million times. We could allow ourselves space when the words aren’t coming. We could treat ourselves as friends rather than enemies.

This kindness is something I honestly struggle to cultivate, evidenced today when I wrote 377 words and felt like a total failure for not hitting the 1000-word mark. But then I take a breath. I remind myself that I am coming to the end of a monumentally crap year. I look at those words I have written and tell myself that any words are better than none. I leave myself be.

This inner kindness to ourselves is important because there is so much toughness waiting for us out in the world. The many agents who reject our manuscripts. The publishers who don’t love our stories enough to take chances on them. The family members who will ask well-meaning but gutting questions that make us feel like we won’t ever measure up.

Writing is rife with rejection and pain, but we can make it a little less tough by being compassionate to ourselves. We have to develop a thick skin, which sometimes feels as soft as a baby’s bum when the rejections roll in, but inside that shell we need to be as soft as possible.

Let’s give ourselves days off. Let’s allow the sentences to flow slowly. Let’s be looser with our time. Let’s eat chocolate and wrap ourselves in blankets and rest.

Writing a novel is a hard enough task anyway and, especially if you want get your stories into the world in some way, the road is rough. Let’s leave the toughness to those things we can’t control, and step forward with gentle hearts.

To keep up-to-date with my writerly news, editing slots, and courses, sign up for my monthly newsletter 🙂

November Reads

I might not have read many books in November BUT I probably read my two favourites of the year!

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman is perfect for those who aren’t into the graphic gore of some crime fiction but who do want a mystery that is going to keep them guessing until the last page. Told from the point of view of a whole cast of lovable and well-fleshed-out characters, this was a page-turner that felt both compelling and cosy. I can’t wait to read the next one!

And as though reading one stonking book wasn’t enough, November also gifted me with what I believe is Naomi Novik’s best fantasy novel yet. A Deadly Education is set in a gruesome school full of young wizards and combines a loveable anti-hero with some of the best discourse on educational disparity that you’re ever likely to find in this genre. The narrator is amusing and somehow, despite the horrible setting, monsters, and other murderous students, this novel will leave you smiling.

As always, read them all and then we can be chums 😊

To keep up-to-date with my writerly news, editing slots, and courses, sign up for my monthly newsletter 🙂

Sustain

Thoughts about writing during this strange time

I keep going through periods of wildly fluctuating productivity with my writing. Or maybe that’s not strictly true. My output might stay the same, but a chapter can take me half an hour to edit or a whole morning. And writing feels easy, the ideas flow, or it feels like I’m carving my way through the sentences with a blunt knife.

Gosh, that sounds dramatic. But I want to be honest. Sometimes writing is shit. Sometimes it is hard and tiring and leaves me feeling like crap.

At the moment, this dragging feeling is more prevalent than it is normally. I don’t know about you, but when lockdown was announced for the first time, my creativity took a major hit. For about a month, I wrote no new words, I struggled to edit, I barely read.

And then things got a bit better. We could see friends again and sit inside to eat cake together. Gradually, my writing mojo came back. Or, it kinda did. It would come to me to unpredictable spurts. One week, I would race through editing ten chapters, and then the next just getting through one chapter a day felt like an unachievable aim.

And I didn’t know how to feel about this. Everything was getting better, right? But it wasn’t, not really. Loads of people were still getting sick, too many people were dying, some suffered with long COVID or worsening health conditions because they couldn’t go to hospital for treatments. All our jobs were sent into flux, some lost, some discounted, some massively changed. I think we all felt lonely. And these weren’t just things happening during the first wave or first lockdown, they are things that continue to happen and, if we are being honest, they will continue to happen for some time to come.

I am going to keep finding work hard, with all the changing rules and customers who don’t seem to understand how to keep two metres distance from me. I am going to keep reading heart-wrenching statistics about all the terrible ways this pandemic is affecting people. I am going to keep stressing out about going into the shop, passing people on narrow paths, whether I have enough pasta and hand gel.

I’m not trying to be pessimistic or pile on to what is already a rubbish situation, but what I am trying to say is this: why on earth would we expect ourselves to function well in these conditions? Why would we expect to hit huge word counts and come up with great ideas and articulate ourselves well? There’s too much going on, and it will keep going on for a while. And I know, for me, something has to give. I can’t keep applying the same pressure I used to in terms of how much writing and creating I expected from myself.

So, I’m trying something new. I’m giving myself permission to sustain.

I’m not going to stop. I had to for a little while, to give my brain time to process all the horribleness going on, but I don’t want to do that again. (By the way, it’s 100% okay if you’re still in that stopping place. We all process things in our own way, and it cannot be rushed.) Instead of pushing myself all the time, which was driving me a bit mad even before the world fell to pieces, I’m slowing it down.

I’m going to keep going, but not at a sprint anymore. Not even at a long-distance run. Writing has become a trek across unhospitable terrain. I’m working is shorter chunks, I’m pausing a lot, my ideas are generating slowly. But I’m coming to realise that this is what making writing sustainable at the moment is all about. I can enjoy the times when, briefly, I find a meadow to skip across but most of the time I’m rock-climbing, so I can’t expect to cover the same distance in the same amount of time.

I will sustain. This has become my battle cry. I will not be broken down. My words will rise. They will just do it a lot slower, they might be a bit rougher, but they will come.

Well done if you are battling your way through NaNoWriMo this year. You’re taking on something I can’t even contemplate doing right now. Equally, please don’t beat yourself if you’ve already fallen behind. Writing a novel in a month is always a hard undertaking, but never more so than this year.

We need to give ourselves permission to have these shit times. We need to go easy on ourselves, to not expect too much from our battered brains. And I say WE because sustaining is the attitude I want to have towards my writing, but I too easily fall back into guilt and berating myself. Every time I find writing hard at the moment, I try to take a breath, to remind myself that it’s okay for it to be hard, that it’s alright to take a bit more time than expected.

I’m going to sustain my writing during this mad period. I’m going to set smaller targets, I’m going to rest regularly, and I’m going to (try to) be kinder to myself.

I hope this resonates with you. I hope you cut yourself some slack and breathe. I hope you sustain yourself and your writing until things become a bit easier, for everyone, again.

To keep up-to-date with my writerly news, editing slots, and courses, sign up for my monthly newsletter 🙂

October reads

What a strange month October was! And what a weird one November will be… If you need some reading inspiration, I read some great books last month 😊

My first fave is Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid. For lovers of Elizabeth Strout and Becky Chambers, this is a must read. The story grips you right from the first scene and doesn’t let go. I love how deeply each character is explored, and the lines between sympathy and revulsion are blurred again and again.

And my second fave is Melt My Heart by Bethany Rutter. Hard-hitting young adult fiction that tackles fat-shaming, anxiety, and coming out, with a mouth-watering backdrop of an ice-cream shack. I am still having cravings.

Read them all and we can be friends, yeah?

To keep up-to-date with my writerly news, editing slots, and courses, sign up for my monthly newsletter 🙂

Start

Why I began writing – the origin story

I always wanted to be a writer.

Books were my refuge when I was small. Authors like Jacqueline Wilson, Roald Dahl, and Jill Murphy were my heroes. My writing tastes diversified as I grew, diving into Malorie Blackman, Louise Rennison, and Jane Austen. I read widely and unstoppably. And I wanted to be the one to create worlds for other people to escape into.

When I was about twelve, I bought an old typewriter at a car-boot sale. It got stuck every time I tried to use the Q and every letter had to be punched out, but I began writing a story about fairies. One fairy had lovely long hair that all the other fairies were super jealous of. I was enjoying myself, while maddening my family with my metallic thumping of words onto the page, but then I made a mistake.

Typing out a story word-for-word a second time wasn’t quite as fun, especially when I made another mistake halfway through. I don’t think I’d even spent an afternoon using the typewriter before I was in tears. It was packed away on top of my wardrobe. I’d thought writing was going to be a fun experience. It was until I hit that little stumbling block. I do wonder sometimes how many more books I would have written by now if I hadn’t been daunted by that first mistake.

I tried writing MANY more times. I’d live in the stories in my head and sometimes the urge to write them down became too overwhelming and I’d grab my laptop and try. I very rarely got past the first page. I’d sit back after an hour to read my efforts and became overwhelmed by how awful it all was. It was only a faint echo of the glory in my head and that wasn’t good enough. I didn’t keep any of my writing. I was so disgusted that it didn’t match up with what I’d imagined that I destroyed all evidence of every attempt.

This was a frustrating time. I knew what I wanted to do but had no idea how to do it. I went to university and studied English Literature, so I learnt about how loads of other people wrote. If anything, I was more intimidated than before. There were creative writing classes available but I didn’t take any of them. I was too scared of writing something and then letting other people read it.

I became resigned. Writing was something I wanted to do but I assumed it was something I’d figure out one day in the future. I got a job at a library and surrounded myself with other people’s stories. I tried not to dwell too much on that fact that I’d never be an author if I carried on like this.

Then my father-in-law died suddenly. He was 56 years old. He went into hospital in the morning and had passed away by the afternoon. John was a wonderful man, and the days and weeks after he died were horrendous.

His death taught me something. Quite childishly, I’d assumed that writing was something I would do when I was older and that I’d have as much time as I wanted to do it. John’s death reminded me that you cannot count on having years in the bank to do that thing you want to do some day. If you want to do something, you’ve got to do it now.

It took several months, but I wanted to try writing again. I felt much clearer about what I’d done wrong the other times I tried to write a book. I ditched the computer and bought some notebooks from Paperchase. I knew I would never throw one of them away (sacrilege!) and they were small enough that I didn’t need to look at anything I’d written, at least not right away. I could turn the page and pretend to myself that everything I’d written was perfect. That’s the illusion I needed to create to be able to write.

I was still a bit stuck. I’d wanted to write for years so I had too many ideas bumping into each other inside my head. I couldn’t decide which one was the BEST, which one was the RIGHT one to work on.

I was reading a lot online at this point about writing, scouring author websites for any advice that would get me started, when I stumbled across Joanne Harris’s website. Two sentences stuck out in her advice for prospective writers:

“Write what you want to write. Don’t write what you think you ought to write (or what other people think you should write).”

Those two little sentences broke something down inside of me. There was no BEST idea, there was no RIGHT idea, there was only the one I WANTED to write.

So I started. 17th January 2014, I wrote the first words of a story that would take me exactly six months to write. This was the story of my heart and, although it is shelved now, it taught me that I can write a book if I want to, I can edit a crappy first draft into something passable, and I can endure a lot of rejection and still come through wanting to chase my dream of being a published author.

If you are a bit like me, you so want to write but are struggling to start, here are some tips:

  1. Identify what isn’t working for you – I had to write that first novel in notebooks because I couldn’t bear to look back at what I had written. You might not have the same problem. Maybe pen and paper is too slow for you. Maybe you need to write in a different room, with music or in silence, in prose or poetry. Try something different and stick with what works.
  2. Let yourself write what you want to – free yourself from an idealised view of the book you want to see on shelves and just write what’s fun. There will come points when writing is a bit more of a slog, but writing down an idea you love should be a very freeing experience. Write what you want and you’ll find yourself falling in love with it over and over again.
  3. Don’t read back – this is my general advice for all first drafts but especially the very first one. I took immense comfort in the knowledge that no writer pens a perfect first draft, but it doesn’t make writing my crappy ones any less painful. If you can, just keep writing through to the end. Then leave it alone for a while. When you come back to it, the reading honestly won’t be so painful.
  4. Try, try, try, and keep trying – that’s all I do. That’s all any writer is ever doing. There is not a point in time when you KNOW how to write. It’s all a muddle. We’re all finding our way. Those who end up in libraries and on bookshelves are those who caught the writing bug and didn’t stop trying.

You could start today. Grab a pretty notebook, sit back in a comfy chair, and write whatever is in your heart.

To keep up-to-date with my writerly news, editing slots, and courses, sign up for my monthly newsletter 🙂

September Reads

Another good reading month! Before I chat about my favourites, I have to give a shout out to Jenny Colgan. Her novels have been an absolute godsend during this weird time. When I feel my anxiety levels creeping up, I grab one of her books from the library and lose myself in jolly tales of baking and stormy weather 😊

Anxious People by Fredrik Backman was glorious. I love all of his writing – full of heart and humanity. This is closer to A Man Called Ove in tone than Beartown, but if you’ve not read anything by him yet then give this a go!

Blood Moon by Lucy Cuthew completely blew me away. Perfect for lovers of YA verse novels, this story about friendships, sex, and internet shaming was impossible to put down. I finished it at least a week ago, and I am still thinking about the intense reality conquered by this beautiful writer. I can’t wait to see what she writes next.

Now, I am not one for negative reviews, but I do want to add a trigger warning to one of the books I read this month. The Midnight Library by Matt Haig is whimsical and kind, but it is based around a woman who decides to commit suicide. This is mentioned throughout the book so if this is something you struggle with, please read in a way that is safe for you.

Read them all and we can be chums, yeah?

To keep up-to-date with my writerly news, editing slots, and courses, sign up for my monthly newsletter 🙂

August Reads

August was a cracking month for reading. I am woefully behind on my challenge to read 120 books this year, which I’m still not quite ready to admit defeat on… BUT I’m loving reading again and I have three great favourites to tell you about.

In A Dream You Saw A Way to Survive by Clementine von Radics is glorious. Even for people who don’t like poetry (and let’s be honest, they just haven’t read the right poem yet) this will draw you in. At times, it feels almost too honest, brutal in the way the words reach into your soul and squish around in there. Ow. I’ve written a much more comprehensive review over on the Eye Flash website.

Random Sh*t Flying Through The Air by Jackson Ford sees the return of reluctant superhuman Teagan and chums. It could totally be read as a standalone and debuts probably one of the most horrifying villains ever. You will find yourself thinking ‘kill the kid’, which is both uncomfortable and entirely justified. This series is great for people who want a fresh take on the whole people-with-powers thing – it’s funny, irreverent, and filled with great food references.

And finally Grown Ups by Marian Keyes. I’ve not read anything by Marian before, but thought I’d give this one a go after being thoroughly endeared to her on Elizabeth Day’s How To Fail Podcast. She made an excellent point about female novelists being portrayed as emotional when they write about families, whereas men will be heralded as writing an insightful epic. Having read Grown Ups, I couldn’t agree more. This story delves into several interconnected lives with such compassion and clarity that it is an eternal shame that it will always be relegated in some minds because it was written by a woman. Why not give it a try and let yourself be impressed?

As always, give them all a read and then we can be chums 😊

To keep up-to-date with my writerly news, editing slots, and courses, sign up for my monthly newsletter 🙂