Book Review – The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson #fantasy #bookreview

Guest Review ~ by Lee 

My wife simply cannot believe that in recent weeks I have progressed from an occasional reader. One who mainly reads a Dan Brown or two each year when on holiday to suddenly devouring books. I’ve also gone from having never read a fantasy book to… let’s try The Way of Kings, a Brandon Sanderson behemoth! Actually, I’d never heard of Brandon Sanderson. I found this book quite by accident after watching a YouTube video. So what did I think?

Well, I cannot believe it’s taken me a week of reading every day to complete it! But I couldn’t stop reading it. Yes, the pace is not that fast throughout. But it’s never dull in any way. The character development is excellent, with each of the primary and secondary characters being introduced steadily and built in layers. Brandon doesn’t try to tell you everything about any character too early. The world and its people are also well built. You feel like you understand the cultures and the landscape and even some (that’s been revealed) of the history.

I’ll avoid spoilers, but will add, there are moments where you’re so disappointed with a path the story takes that you look away from the book and say “Seriously!” and there are moments where you’ll punch the air and want to yell “Go on!” like a sports fan cheering their team.

Whether you’ve read fantasy or not, give this book a go, but if you like a glass of wine whilst you read, consider ordering a case.

My rating: Five Stars!

More by Lee ~ Too many authors spoil the story – The problem with audio books

Why everyone needs a book friend #amreading #books

The books we choose to love are intensely personal items.

For every person who loves a book, there will be another who can’t abide it.

How often do you see a book that you thought was brilliant with a single one star review?

Or something you thought so terrible that you could not bear to read another page, but half the reading community thinks it’s the best thing since sliced bread.

It happens all the time.

So when you meet someone, and discover that they love the same books as you…well, that’s the best kind of bookish friendship.

“There is no faster or firmer friendship than those formed between people who love the same books.”

What every writer wants for Christmas #amwriting #books

Well, it’s that time of year again where we start thinking about writerly gifts 🙂

1. Pencils!

Sit down and get Writing! – These pencils are sure to increase your productivity!

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2. Mugs! 

The best literary mugs – you know you want one!

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3. Cushions!

Bibliophile Cushion Designs – bookish cushions and pillows – perfect to throw at anyone who interrupts your reading time!

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4. Kindle Covers!

Kindle case book covers – If you don’t have a real book – fake it! …and pretend you are reading something far more literary than 50 Shades of Grey!

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5. Soap!

Soap for writers block – all you need is a shower and your writers block days are over!

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IF AREA EDITOR READS A POINTLESS TRAINING SESSION ONE MORE TIME

Great points! I think I may have started reading a few of these…and then stopped. 🙂

Fantasy Author's Handbook

With a nod to the Onion

I’m trying not to fly off the handle, but please indulge me, at least at first, in a bit of tough love.

If your current work in progress contains a scene, or worse, a sequence of scenes, in which the young protagonist spends his or her days at sword training or magic training or frickin’ social studies you must immediately highlight all of that text and delete it now, before it does you any actual harm.

And it will do you harm.

By now I hope you know that I’m not big on hard rules—you have to do this, you can never do that—but the obligatory fight training has, for me at least, gone from cliché to actual annoyance. And it’s in at least half the books I read—maybe two thirds.

As far as I can tell, here’s why those scenes are there…

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How to turn ideas into a story #amwriting #writing

As the saying goes, stories don’t just write themselves, which means that you, the writer, need to put some effort into the process if you want those wonderful ideas to become a book.

How do you turn ideas into a story?

And where do you start?

Firstly, you need to start is by writing. Some people talk about world building, or scene setting. Some people talk about characters. Some people start with a plan.

I say, ditch all of the above and just jump straight into writing.

Why?

Because until you jump in you don’t really know where your idea is going to take you. Whether it is a single scene or an epic ending, it doesn’t matter just write it down.

Some people get very fixated on where to start, as if you cannot begin unless you have a firm container in which to place the story.

Writing doesn’t need a container. It just needs a writer and an idea.

When a writer begins writing, something magic happens. They start thinking about what happens before the seed idea, and what happens after…and what happens much later…and what happens much earlier. And before you know it, a rough timeline of events is established.

None of this happens until you begin to write so don’t feel you need a plan, or a character profile, or a fully fleshed out world before you can begin. You will need all of these things, but not right now. Now is for fun, and for playing and testing your idea.

Some of these new ideas will become backstory that may be discarded later on.

Some of the ideas may not fit in with the overall story as you fill in the gaps, and you may discard them too.

Once you have enough ideas, or scenes, you can plan, and flesh out character profiles, and worlds, or locations if need be…but not until you have enough ideas to at least hint at a story.

Ideas do not always become a full story, so don’t feel bad if you try and then find it goes nowhere.

Keep thinking, keep generating and testing ideas. The more you practice writing and using your ideas, the more ideas will come. Eventually one of them will become a story, a real story, a full story.

And that’s when the real writing begins 🙂

What’s your favourite book genre? (Blog reader survey!) #amwriting #amreading

Looking forward to seeing how everyone votes.

You can pick more than one.

Once you vote you can see the results. 🙂

The ‘how to’s’ of world-building

Great world building advice 🙂

Richie Billing

If you’d like more writing tips you can get my eBook, This Craft We Call Writing: Volume One, for free by completing the form below. Inside you’ll find over 150 pages covering everything from dialogue, characterisation, prose and plotting, to writing fight scenes, viewpoint, and much more!


“I propose to speak about fairy-stories, though I am aware that this is a rash adventure. Faërie is a perilous land, and in it are pitfalls for the unwary and dungeons for the overbold.”

J.R.R. Tolkien

We read stories to become lost in new and unexplored worlds, ones filled with possibilities, mysteries, and oddities.  The world in which a story is set is important to any tale, particularly so when it comes to science fiction and fantasy.

This post will first explore the how to’s of world-building, and then the how to’s of revealing your crafted world through the story.

How do…

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If you really want to know yourself, start by writing a book #writing #amwriting

How does writing help you to know yourself? And what does it say about you that you love to write?

Perhaps we reveal ourselves in our character choice, our writing style or genre, or even in the quality of our work.

Is there a depth of compassion in the words that we write?

Or do we demonstrate prowess in a particular topic or skill?

I thought I would take a more generic approach, and look at what we learn about ourselves when we write a book that is unconnected to genre, style or writing capability.

We have stamina

It takes a long time.

We write as often as we can, chipping away a word at a time at a goal that we might not see realised for years.

We have determination

We use our determination to sustain us through the journey.

We pick ourselves up from distractions by our unwavering belief that the story within us must come out.

We are eternal students

We learn all we can about writing, we keep learning, and then we learn some more. 

We are resilient

Set-backs, delays, and real-life can hold up our writerly dreams, but we pick ourselves up, and keep moving forward.

We treat feedback as a gift.

We have a vision

We have a vision for our work and for ourselves as a writer.

Imagination

When we begin there is a blank piece of paper.

We use our imagination and words to create worlds, characters and story.

“If you really want to know yourself, start by writing a book.”

~ Shereen E Feki