Idea stolen from Steph Bowe's blog, because I thought the idea was fantastic.
There are a lot of genres and ideas I'd love to work with, and my to-do-list of ideas is a mile long... but here are 7 things I'd love to write:
- Calligraphy. My handwriting is atrocious (and my signature is even worse, urgh), but I'd really like to learn Calligraphy one day.
- Hard Sci-Fi. There are very few women out there writing hard, technical sci-fi (and there are some good discussions about it). I'd love to change that, but a little voice at the back of my head tells me I don't know enough science and math to pull it off. I still plan or writing softer YA sci-fi, though.
- Contemporary YA. My writing always leans towards ordinary, flawed people going through extraordinary events.I'd love to strip out the fantasy aspects and do a contemporary, like something by John Green or David Levithan.
- A very 'British' fantasy or sci-fi. Ala Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett or Douglas Adams. Just something with a strong, British voice (or a strong Scottish voice, either would be good).
- Cyberpunk. This one is on the to-do-list. I love cyberpunk stories, and I've got the techie bones to pull it off, so at some point I definitely expect to write some awesome cyberpunk stories.
- Middle grade (children's) fiction. Another one on the to-do list, I've got a few ideas for children's stories that I'd love to try one day.
- A Memoir. Maybe when I'm older, and my life is interesting enough...
- Songs. I've been writing lyrics for years, and I'm pretty good at it, if I do so say myself. But apart from singing, my musical talent is lacking. If anyone knows an up-and-coming rock band in need of some dark and sarcastic lyrics, give me a bell and I will channel all my years of teenage angst into musical goodness.
What about you, writer-friends? I'd love to hear about what you want to write, so drop me a comment or link me to a blog post!
Book: Wonder by R. J. Palacio
Genre: Fiction/Middle Grade/Children's/Contemporary
I won't describe what I look like. Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse.
August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He's about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you've ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie's just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he's just like them, despite appearances?
When you pick up a book about a primary school kid with an illnesses that’s destroying his face, you’d expect it to be a depressing story. Not quite. Wonder manages to be both heart-breaking and heart-warming at the same time, mixing humour and honesty in a way that puts your emotions through a spin cycle.
I didn’t think I’d be tearing up at a novel for primary school-aged readers, but this book managed that. August is a warm, lovable character, and a huge Star Wars fan – he starts school with a Jedi braid in his hair, removing it only after this painful exchange with a school bully:
"Who's your favorite character?" Julian asked. I started thinking maybe he wasn't so bad.
"What about Darth Sidious?" he said. "Do you like him?"
Maybe no one got the Darth Sidious thing, and maybe Julian didn't mean anything at all. But in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, Darth Sidious's face gets burned up by Sith lightning and becomes totally deformed. His skin gets all shrivelled up and his whole face just kind of melts.
I peeked at Julian and he was looking at me. Yeah, he knew what he was saying.
This story isn’t just about August, either. Auggie’s friends and family all have roles to play in the story, and each viewpoint has a different voice to match it. Wonder could be used as a textbook for great characterisation – it crafts a fantastic villain in school bully Julian while August’s friends and family are all flawed but loveable.
If you’re into children’s or young adult fiction, do yourself a favour and pick up “Wonder”. It’s a fresh, brave concept in the children’s writing world -- and a great story to boot.
A copy of this book was provided for review by Random House.
Genre: Fiction/Young Adult/Childrens/Paranormal/Horror
After the grisly murder of his entire family, a toddler wanders into a graveyard where the ghosts and other supernatural residents agree to raise him as one of their own. Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn't live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead. There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod's family . . .
If you’ve ever read Gaiman’s “American Gods” (and you should) you’ll have an idea of what to expect here. Neil Gaiman is a goldmine of mythology and history, and his knowledge leaks into the pages. Everything is infused with accuracy and research, everything is referencing old gods and famous moments in history. They call it a kids book, but as an adult reader you can get so much more out of all his subtle little nods to history.
The story starts out with each chapter being a self-contained 'snippet' from the main character Nobody's life in the graveyard, following him as he grows up and makes friends with witches, steps through portals into other worlds, and deals with a teacher who might not be all that she seems. Towards the end of the story, all the individual sections start to come together as the man named Jack picks up Nobody's trail once again...
Neil has a real gift with characters. The Graveyard residents are made memorable with only a few lines of text, and they're all so likeable. I didn't even realise how attached I was to these characters, until 2am on Christmas Day rolled around and I was still reading, still desperate to know what happened next and what these poor characters were going to have to go through.
This is a great fantasy novel - an easy, fast-paced read with a lot of depth and appeal to all ages.