Why readers are so important

What is a writer… or more appropriately, a published author without readers? Not nothing, because we can still write for pleasure, but most of us put work out there to be read, not to make lots of money… although that would be nice.

I’m prompted to write this following a wonderful email I received today:

“Is there a follow up to The Serial Dater’s Shopping List? It just ended too fast. I spent all this time getting thru izzys adventures and it was just like you, said okay i reached my word quota gotta STOP now.”

I loved it. My book is just over 100,000 words so no mean feat getting to the end too fast. Some, especially those on Amazon.com didn’t get that far, which makes me really sad as an author.

So if you’ve read a book you’ve enjoyed, especially if it’s mine (you can click on the picture to find out more about this one!), please do leave a review wherever you bought it, and on Goodreads (I have over six times more reviews there than on Amazon – the latest is below), and if you could spare the time to drop the author an email, it really would mean the world to them.

My latest review on Goodreads (as of 8th October)…

“31 days – 31 dates truly sounds exhausting, confusing and exhilarating at the same time. “The Serial Dater’s Shopping List” was a great, lighthearted summer time read. Having done my fair share on online dating I thought I would truly enjoy this book and I was right. Some of Izzy’s dates reminded me of my own which had me laughing and all of her dates had me reconsidering doing online dating again.

I do have to admit that the ending was a little frustrating for me. I felt like while some things were resolved there needed to be a little more context there before ending the story. Too much is left up to the reader’s imagination, which while some like that I do not. In addition, I knew before starting this book that it was a UK title and therefore would reference many British things. However, I was not expecting to be so confused at times but the slang terms Izzy used. All in all though I truly enjoyed this book. Not something that kept me up at night wanting me to read, but it was enjoyable. I received my copy from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.” Thank you, Tiffany!

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Six pm Short Story review no.3 – The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Hello everyone. You may have been expecting the writing prompts around now but they’ve moved to 8am every weekday rather than 6pm. This is to make way for the new daily (ish) slot of the ‘Six pm Short Story’. My day job is editing and critique so I don’t read as much for pleasure as I should. I have therefore set my self the challenge (which I first mentioned on Saturday) to read a story (short story or novella) every day… or at least as often as I can. It doesn’t sound like much but I also plan to up my 1,000 words to the 1,667-word average for NaNoWriMo next month. So I figured if I put it in black and white then I’m more likely to achieve it.

Speaking of black and white, I started with Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s three-story collection ‘The Yellow Wall-Paper‘, working backwards from the third story: Old Water (see Monday’s review) then the middle story: The Rocking Chair (or rather The Rocking-Chair to give its official title) yesterday.

The title story stars with.the first-person narrator and we soon learn she is a tortured soul and how no one around her believes there’s anything wrong. I love inanimate characters and it’s fascinating how much  influence a house has on her.

With her husband away much of the time, the narrator keeps herself to the top-floor nursery, which though light and airy, she finds creepy, as would the reader. The views from the house are so inviting yet she doesn’t leave, nor does her husband want her to do so.

Strip away the flowery writing (and proliferation of exclamation marks) and you have a great story. It could have done with a good edit including the correction of any more to anymore when relating to time rather than quantity. Also, had I been the original editor, I would have suggested name changes as there are only five names mentioned and four of those begin with J: John, Julia, Jennie and Jane. The narrator isn’t mentioned, the other is Cousin Henry.

So for the story: an okay read rated 3/5. And the collection as a whole? Strange. I love strange but this was hard work strange. Interesting reading but not enough to bond me to the author, which is a shame. So an overal 2/5.

Six pm Short Story no.1 – Old Water by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Hello everyone. You may have been expecting the writing prompts around now but they’ve moved to 8am every weekday rather than 6pm. This is to make way for the new daily (ish) slot of the ‘Six pm Short Story’. My day job is editing and critique so I don’t read as much for pleasure as I should. I have therefore set my self the challenge (which I first mentioned on Saturday) to read a story (short story or novella) every day… or at least as often as I can. It doesn’t sound like much but I also plan to up my 1,000 words to the 1,667-word average for NaNoWriMo next month. So I figured if I put it in black and white then I’m more likely to achieve it.

Speaking of black and white, I’ve started with Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s three-story collection ‘The Yellow Wall-Paper‘, working backwards from the third story: Old Water.

At a mere twelve and a half 1/4 A4 (A7) pages, it starts with a quite ‘dark and stormy night’ description and three exclamation marked words in the first paragraph of dialogue… four !s in the first two paragraphs… seven on the first page and five on page two. Rather than read on, it became a ‘Where’s the !’? and the results were:

Page 1 = 7; 2=5; 3=5 (in the same para); 4=2; 5=3; 6=7; 7=2; 8=2; 9=6; 10=8; 11=3; 12=18!; and on the final half page there were 8!

And yes, it bogged down the writing so I was less enthused to read the story but I did and my, does Charlotte love her adverbs. (Page 1, second para: Slowly across the open gold came a still canoem sent swiftly and smoothly on by well-accustomed arms.)

Although it’s not erotic in the slightest, it did remind me of Fifty Shades and considering how famous The Yellow Wallpaper is, I’m surprised that this gushy story has been chosen for this tiny collection.

From a technical point of view, the story switches (mid-scene) from the inital main character, Mrs Osgood, to her daughter Ellen… and back… several times. I skim read from about page three onwards, not good for a story of around 2,000 words. There were no section breaks (blank line then left-justified first paragraph) when there was a gap in time (there were several). Although the story was first published in 1911, the language is Austenesque, who died almost a century earlier. Far too flowery for my liking, Old Water, may appeal to historical fans but it only gets one star from me.

Six pm Short Story review no.2 – The Rocking Chair by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Hello everyone. You may have been expecting the writing prompts around now but they’ve moved to 8am every weekday rather than 6pm. This is to make way for the new daily (ish) slot of the ‘Six pm Short Story’. My day job is editing and critique so I don’t read as much for pleasure as I should. I have therefore set my self the challenge (which I first mentioned on Saturday) to read a story (short story or novella) every day… or at least as often as I can. It doesn’t sound like much but I also plan to up my 1,000 words to the 1,667-word average for NaNoWriMo next month. So I figured if I put it in black and white then I’m more likely to achieve it.

Speaking of black and white, I started with Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s three-story collection ‘The Yellow Wall-Paper‘, working backwards from the third story: Old Water (see yesterday’s review).

Today is the middle story: The Rocking Chair (or rather The Rocking-Chair to give its official title).

Like Old Water, this story stars with description but it is much less flowery and we’re soon pulled into the lives of the narrator Maurice and his friend and colleague Hal. With sinister goings on, their friendship is tested in this short intense story. Althoughthe premise of the story (the elusive girl) is obvious, it’s the journey that captivates. Like yesterday, I was looking forward to the end but to see the conclusion not because I wasn’t enjoying it. The manipulation of the friendship was a triangle in more ways than one. A recommended 4/5 read.

Reading a Story a Day… join me!

Hello everyone. Although my day job is editing, so reading and pulling apart other authors’ novels, I’ve decided… starting from tomorrow… I’m going to read more and plan to read a story (short story or novella) every day… or at least as often as I can whenever I can. It doesn’t sound like much but I also plan to up my 1,000 words to the 1,667-word average for NaNoWriMo next month. So I figured if I put it in black and white then I’m more likely to achieve it.

Speaking of black and white, I’ll be starting with Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s three-story collection ‘The Yellow Wall-Paper‘ and putting a few words about my reads here on my blog. If you’d like to join me and leave comments on each post, please do.

Karen’s book review of Her Last Breath

Sadly, since losing her .wordpress.com address, I’ve been unable to reblog Karen’s posts but can still, clearly, screen print and share them with you. More time consuming but not the end of the (Karen’s!) world.

Her latest review, of Charlie Gallagher’s ‘Her Last Breath’  can be found at https://karensworld-writer.co.uk/2018/09/26/her-last-breath-by-charlie-gallagher-book-review.

Starting… “I am still struck by how absolutely amazing this book is and it is by a local Folkestone writer! Who just happens to be in the police force doing his day job as well.” Read more here.

The Serial Dater’s first reviews

My latest ‘baby’ is only hours old but already some fabulous reviews. I’ll probably bore you rigid with all my gushing, or rather other people’s mild gushing but it makes a change to talk about my writing…

And on Amazon.co.uk:

“A light-hearted and fun read as we follow Izzy through the month of May and her 31 dates. With the dates as the focal point, we as the reader accompany Izzy as she meets an assortment of men in a range of places. Through her column Izzy then reflects on her dates and her month of dating and develops a ‘shopping list’ of dos and don’ts for online dating – hence the title of the book. Within the context of writing her column we get to meet Izzy’s best work friend – Donna a lively character and her boss William as well as observing the general office dynamics. Written entirely in the first person I enjoyed this book a lot, while I struggled to hold in mind the 31 men as individuals this didn’t matter although there were many funny moments along the way. I particularly enjoyed the newspaper column entries where Izzy reflected on how the date had gone and what she had learnt from the experience. These articles bought to mind Carrie Bradshaw (who I love) and I could almost hear the voice of Sarah Jessica Parker as she ‘couldn’t help to wonder’. Make no mistake though, this isn’t Sex and the City – it’s a great story in it’s own right. Izzy as a character was likeable – as a professional journalist she was strong and confident, she took the task in her stride and although some of the men she met can only be described as fools, she was unaffected by knock backs and refused to let the words or behaviours of some of her dates affect her confidence. I found this stance admirable as she engaged in the task assigned to her in a pragmatic manner, committed to enjoy the experience as well as creating a terrific column for the newspaper. Overall a very enjoyable read – short chapters, generally broken down into sections detailing the date, the office and the article, maintained my engagement as a reader. Despite being a ‘light’ read, Izzy’s reflections carried words of wisdom as did her attitude as a strong female character. Recommended reading by me!”

“Laugh out loud is right. It’s a bit of a while since I was last dating, and this book brought it all screaming back to me. And reminded me not to be so petty with my hubs about him leaving pants on the floor and forgetting to put the bins out. After all, he is pretty perfect, and judging by my past dates, I am lucky to have him (and not be out in the dating pool again!). In the first few chapters, sometimes I felt that there was a bit too much detail in the way of information, that did detract from the story to begin with. As the book went on however, the writing flowed a lot better, and I realised that this was clever and quite intentional. The main character, Izzy is a bit set in her routine, and as single people get, used to living her life her way, and this came across in the pages. Once she got into the flow of dating, and the social aspects both good and bad, I felt that the character loosened up a lot more, and this showed in the writing. The idea of the book is refreshing, and smartly written, and the ending was just beautiful. All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable smart novel that should silence the ‘fluffy read’ critics with a well executed zinger of a line. I would definitely swipe right for this one. The book is out today from Bombshell Books, so if you fancy buying it, or reading more about the author, read on!”

“It took a few pages for the book to get going but once it did, I was hooked. Once you get to the dates themselves, it is very funny and probably has situations that you have found yourself in at some point or another! Worth a read and a good book to take on holiday!”

And on Amazon.com:

“I liked the writing style where each chapter was a different date! Throughout the whole book I was hoping for a certain ending, and it did not disappoint. As someone who has participated in online dating, I felt so much of this book was spot-on to real life, and even though it was just an experiment, you felt Good her frustration and happiness she experienced throughout! I will say that 31 dates seemed like a lot as I was reading – probably because I was anxious to see how it was going to end up for Izzy, Donna, Duncan, and William! A good read!” (I chopped off a bit of a spoiler at the start.)