NaNoWriMo 2017: Did I Make It?

I could sum up this post in a word and simply say ‘no’, but that wouldn’t make for a very good blog post, would it? So instead I’m going to draw it out and say no in a much more convoluted fashion.

If you don’t already know, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month and it takes place in November each year. You win by writing 50,000 words towards a novel or any other creative writing project during the month.

This month I planned a little in advance. I had characters, a setting, a general plot and I was feeling good. And then on October 29th I chucked it all out the window and decided I didn’t like my idea. So I started afresh and things went well for a while. My novel really picked up momentum and I was enjoying writing fiction like I never have before.

Then my parents visited for a week and it was my birthday and life just in the way a little. At one point I was writing 2,500 words a day just to keep up but I was still falling behind and I just felt totally disillusioned with my plot. By the end of the month I’d managed just short of 24,000 words.

To start with I was a bit upset. I’d wanted to reach 50,000. However, on reflection, I’m really happy with what I achieved. I’ve never written anything like 24,000 words. I don’t think I’ve ever even reached 10,000 words of a novel so really I should be proud of myself.

Along the way I learnt a lot about how hard novel writing is, not to mention all of the editing that was around the corner and I certainly improved my writing by managing to write almost every day. And in the meantime I’ve bene playing around with a few new novel ideas so by the time the next NaNoWriMo comes around, I might have even managed to write more than 50,000 words of something. Who knows.

One thing I’ve definitely gained from this year’s NaNoWriMo is a new found love of fiction writing. Whilst I’ve dabbled in the past, I never thought writing a novel was really possible for me, but now I’m determined to make it a reality.

Did you take part in NaNoWriMo 2017? Let me know in the comments.

Rachel x-x-x

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Book Review: Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell

She was fifteen, her mother’s golden girl.
She had her whole life ahead of her.
And then, in the blink of an eye, Ellie was gone.

Ten years on, Laurel has never given up hope of finding Ellie. And then she meets a charming and charismatic stranger who sweeps her off her feet.

But what really takes her breath away is when she meets his nine-year-old daughter.

Because his daughter is the image of Ellie.

Now all those unanswered questions that have haunted Laurel come flooding back.

Are thrillers getting better or I am just reading the best ones right now? Yet again another thriller that I stormed through in one evenings because I just couldn’t put it down.

I’ve been meaning to read Lisa Jewell’s bestseller ‘I Found You’ for a few months now but just hadn’t got around to it, however when I received a free review copy from Netgalley of ‘Then She Was Gone,’ I was totally ready to converted by Jewell’s thrilling writing.

The story begins like so many other thrillers: a missing girl, a lost mother, and some odd coincidences, yet it ramped up so quickly that I couldn’t imagine where the story was going to take me.

Then She Was Gone is an incredible new novel. Some of the plot twists felt slightly less credible than others but upon further reflection a lot of them are things that crop up in the news from time to time, regardless of how unbelievable they are.

It’s not often that I read a thriller and I feel a little bit of heartbreak with it but Then She Was Gone really made me feel so sad at multiple points and completely creeped out at others. It’s a great novel for any for thriller fans.

What are your favourite recent thriller reads? Let me know in the comments!

Rachel x-x-x

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Book Review: How To Stop Time by Matt Haig

Tom Hazard has a dangerous secret. He may look like an ordinary 41-year-old, but owing to a rare condition, he’s been alive for centuries. From Elizabethan England to Jazz Age Paris, from New York to the South Seas, Tom has seen a lot, and now craves an ordinary life.

Always changing his identity to stay alive, Tom has the perfect cover – working as a history teacher at a London comprehensive. Here he can teach the kids about wars and witch hunts as if he’d never witnessed them first-hand. He can try and tame the past that is fast catching up with him. The only thing Tom mustn’t do is fall in love.

I feel as though I start all book reviews like this, but I wasn’t sure if I was going to enjoy this novel. I absolutely loved both Matt’s Reasons To Stay Alive and his previous fiction book, The Humans, but after reading the first few chapters of How To Stop Time, I felt a little bit like I was reading a historical fiction novel, which really isn’t my thing usually.

But I persevered and I loved it so much.

How to Stop Time in essence is a love story, but it’s also so much more than that. Despite being slightly put off at first by the history content, I ended up learning a lot, especially having my memory jogged about things I’d learnt years ago at school. But the part of the story I loved most was the protagonist, Tom. Flawed yet sweet, Tom had an air of someone who had both lived for hundreds of years and was learning how to do life, just like the rest of us.

The novel felt like an experience more than anything else and it’ll definitely be one that I re-read – which is one of the highest accolades from me because I rarely re-read books. I really, truly did not want this book to end and when it did, it left me with so many thoughts about life, love and the complexities of time.

I have so much more to say about this wonderful novel, but really I just want you to read it and love it as much I do.

How To Stop Time is a beautiful, thought-provoking read that will stay with you long after you’ve turned the final page.

Rachel x-x-x

 

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