Tag Archives: novel

How To Avoid Stigmatising Mental Health In Your Novel

Hi guys and welcome back to my blog. In today’s post I’m going to be talking about how to avoid stigmatising mental health in your novel. Unfortunately, there is a lot of stigma attached to mental illness (and in my opinion made worse by social media) and people seem to be determined to see mental illness in a certain way. Every single person suffering from an illness is completely different, and everyone’s experiences are individual. The portrayal of mental illnesses in popular fiction (books, TV, film etc), if done incorrectly, can make the stigma worse and is damaging to those of us who suffer. Below, I’m going to share some tips to help you portray mental illness in the best way you can..


Although not everyone will feel comfortable sharing their experiences, as long as you are respectful and remain non judgemental some sufferers will be perfectly happy to give you some insight. Talking to actual sufferers of mental illness can be enlightening and give you valuable first hand accounts on what it’s like to live with a condition. This information can enable you to to craft a realistic portrayal of a character suffering from a mental illness.

Side note – remember never use information that enables anyone to be identified. Remove all identifying features, change their histories and/or life experiences so your character is a new person. Lots of writers use bits and pieces from all different kinds of people to create characters, because basing a character too similar to someone in real life can open you up to problems.


Use proper, respected sites to gather your information about the mental illness you are including in your novel. Remember that there are many different symptoms related to mental illnesses and you don’t always have to just use the typical, well known ones in your novel.

Some greats sites include Mind | Childline | Rethink | Beat.


Don’t scrimp on research, and make it a priority to check and double check before the final manuscript is released. Also, take your time when you are developing characters to make sure that every aspect is weaved into the story. Make sure you have accounted for things like possible causes, a detailed history and how it affects their everyday life.


It can be easy to observe mental illness in films/books/tv shows and automatically assume the portrayal is correct or that’s the only way someone with a mental illness presents. Sadly, many fictional portrayals (especially films) can be highly stigmatised and often show sufferers to be dangerous. Also, don’t use information from tabloid newspapers. These articles can be harmful for stigma and often contain incorrect information.


This irritates me because recovery is not something that happens overnight and it’s unlikely to happen without treatment of some sort. These things take time and hard work. Acting like miraculous recovery is the norm may make people believe that that’s how it happens in real life, or that all you have to do is think positive and boom, you’re cured.


Have you written a fiction book including mental illness? Do you have any tips for writers on this topic?

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What’s In My Writer Toolkit? (And Tips On Creating Your Own!)

Hi guys and welcome back to my blog. In today’s post I’m going to be sharing what’s in my writer toolkit and how you can go about making your own. There are many definitions as to what a writer toolkit is but to me it’s anything I need nearby or anything I find helpful when I’m writing. I keep the majority of my items in the above Harry Potter bag one of my close friends got me for Christmas (you can check out her blog here!) Without further ado, here is my writer toolkit..


Novel bible.

This is probably the most important item in my toolkit. If you don’t know what a novel bible is it’s basically a collection of all aspects of your novel – character information, locations, scenes, research etc. It’s so when you’re writing you have all the information at hand. Although there are computer programs that are great for this, I find there’s nothing like good old pen and paper. It also saves having 10 tabs open and getting easily distracted from writing. At the moment I’m currently in the process of trying different things to discover which works best for me as a writer, but for now I am just using an A4 notebook.


Bullet journal.

At the present time I just have one bullet journal for all of my needs – including my personal planning as well as my writing life. I’m in the process of deciding on whether or not I want a separate one just for writing, but for now my one bullet journal always needs to be nearby so I know where I’m up to and what I need to do next.

If you’d like to see inside of my bullet journal you can see my 2019 Bullet Journal post here. 


Scene cards.

It took me a long time to discover the advantages of using index cards for my scenes, but it’s honestly the best way I’ve found to organise my outline. In my toolkit I keep my current novel’s scene cards as well as some spare ones in case I need to add anything in as I go.


Emotion thesaurus.

I’ve had my eye on this book for a while after seeing it recommended in a YouTube video. I struggle a lot with ‘show don’t tell’ especially when it comes to emotions. This book is helping me so much with finding different ways of describing emotions whilst also improving my writing. This should be a staple in all writer’s toolkits!


The Witch’s Journal and The Green Witch.

I am fascinated by anything to do with Witchcraft and the Pagan religion so it’s only natural it creeps into my novels. I was pleased to receive these books for Christmas from my best friend, and I put them straight into my toolkit. They are an amazing reference for writing my current and future novels.


1000 Words To Expand Your Vocabulary.

This was another book I received for Christmas from Channie! As a writer I am fascinated by words and this is a great book for learning new words!


iPad keyboard.

Lastly, I have my iPad keyboard. It’s nothing fancy, just a bog standard Bluetooth keyboard. I do the majority of my writing on my iPad because I find writing on a computer hurts my eyes and because it’s heavy I can’t use it for long periods of time. However, there’s nothing like typing on a keyboard so this was an essential purchase for me.


  • What are some essentials you can’t write without? Maybe it’s things you absolutely must have before you can even start writing. Notebooks, laptop/tablet, pens, novel bibles, scene cards are some ideas.
  • Are there any reference books that you find useful when your writing, or that relate to your current work in progress? For example – my witch’s journal. However, this could also mean dictionaries or thesaurus, or vocabulary books.
  • Are there any books on the craft of writing you like to dip in and out of while writing?
  • Do you like to keep a planner for your writing? Somewhere you write down your goals, deadlines, ideas? Whether that’s a bullet journal, Filofax, page a day diary etc.
  • Anything you use/get inspiration from – favourite books, pictures, music, quotes.


Do you have a writer toolkit? If so, what’s in yours?

December Wrap Up + Goodreads Challenge Final Update

Welcome to my last Blogmas post and final blog post of 2018. Today I’m going to be sharing what I read in December and also wrap up my 2018 Goodreads challenge. 2018 hasn’t been the best reading year for me – in between a massive move and starting 2 modules at university I’ve been busy, too tired or lacking concentration to read as much as I normally do. However, looking back at all the books I’ve read this year I’ve been really lucky to read many amazing books. I’m surprised because I’m not always one to rate 5 stars and as you’ll see I had a lot of 5 star reviews. You’ll notice I don’t have any 1 or 2 stars reads this year and that’s because 9 times out of 10 if I’m not enjoying a book I’ll abandon it. Without further ado, here is my wrap up!


Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas.

I also read the Assassins Blade this year and loved it. I have had this series on my shelf for the longest time and I finally got to read it. I’ve only read the first one and part of the second one so far, before I got distracted with my Christmas books. However, I’m enjoying the series so far and I’m excited to see what happens next.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K Rowling.

So I started my reread this month and once again I have fallen more in love with Harry Potter (who even knew that was possible!). It’s exciting to read and remember all the little things I’ve forgotten.

You can read my review for this book here.

Another post that may interest you is Harry Potter Scenes I Wish Were In The Movies Part 1.

City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab.

This month I decided to try a free trial of Scribd. I love it – and unlike Audible you can listen to as many books as you want in a month for the same price. This was my first book by Victoria Schwab and it’s safe to say that I fell in love with her writing. I’m excited to read all her other books in the new year.

Mr Greedy, Mr Mischief and Mr Happy by Roger Hargreaves.

The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle by Beatrix Potter.

The Tale of Two Bad Mice by Beatrix Potter.

Castle of Doom by Sarina Hossain.

The last few books I read in December were very short. With only 6 hours to go until midnight I was determined I was getting to my goal of 50 books. I have never failed a challenge yet and I wasn’t having it beat me. I crammed in the last 6 books and I did it!


Goal – 50 books.

Final count – 50 books.

5 star book review

  • The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter.
  • The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin by Beatrix Potter.
  • The Tale of Benjamin Bunny by Beatrix Potter.
  • I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore.
  • Mr Bump by Roger Hargreaves.
  • The Power of Six by Pittacus Lore.
  • The Rise of Nine by Pittacus Lore.
  • Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff.
  • The Revenge of Seven by Pittacus Lore.
  • I Know A Secret by Tess Gerritsen.
  • My Real Name Is Hanna by Tara Lynn Masih.
  • We Are Okay by Nina LaCour.
  • Caraval by Stephanie Garber.
  • Legendary by Stephanie Garber.
  • The Assassin and the Healer by Sarah J. Maas.
  • The Quiet You Carry by Nikki Barthelmess.
  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
  • The Doll by J.C Martin.
  • Mr Greedy by Roger Hargreaves.
  • Mr Mischief by Roger Hargreaves.
  • Mr Happy by Roger Hargreaves.
  • The Tale of Mrs Tiggy-Winkle.

4 star book review

  • Night of the Living Dummy by R.L Stine.
  • The Blob That Ate Everyone by R.L Stine.
  • Stalking Jack The Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco.
  • The Fall of Five by Pittacus Lore.
  • The Last Days of Lorien by Pittacus Lore.
  • The Fate of Ten by Pittacus Lore.
  • Blackfin Sky by Kat Ellis.
  • The Assassin and the Pirate Lord by Sarah J. Maas.
  • The Assassin and the Underworld by Sarah J. Maas.
  • The Assassin and the Empire by Sarah J. Maas.
  • The Rain by Virginia Bergin.
  • The Storm by Virginia Bergin.
  • Mirage by Somaiya Daud.
  • City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab.
  • The Tale of Two Bad Mice by Beatrix Potter.

3 star book review

  • The Tailor of Gloucester by Beatrix Potter.
  • A Shiver of Snow and Sky by Lisa Lueddecke.
  • Island by David Almond.
  • It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini.
  • Black Cairn Point by Claire McFall.
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.
  • The Assassin and the Desert by Sarah J. Maas.
  • Seed by Lisa Heathfield.
  • There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins.
  • Immortal Girls by Griffin Stark.
  • Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas.
  • Signal Failure by David Wailing.
  • Castle of Doom by Sarina Hossain.

What have been your favourite books this year? I hope you all have a wonderful and safe New Years Eve. I’ll see you all in the new year!

The Dreaded Reading Slump (And How To Pull Yourself Out!)

We all know the situation – you pick up a book and YOU JUST CAN’T READ! It’s the bane of a readers existence and personally I feel like, in the reader world, there’s nothing worse than a reading slump. I went through so many slumps this year and at times I thought my brain might explode from lack of reading! I’m here today to pick out some of the reasons why slumps happen and also offer some tips to get out of one…


Possible causes..

Too much Netflix!

I can lose hours and hours of time binge watching a new tv show I just discovered. 77 episodes later and I’ll emerge from the shame and realise I haven’t picked up a book in days. This is also happens with YouTube – I watch one video and then fall down the black hole of clicking every video that pops up..

You’ve just finished the best book ever.

The times when nothing will ever compare to the book you’ve just finished and everything else beside it is going to be rubbish. This happened to me with Caraval and Legendary this year, and was responsible for my big slump around July. I sulked because all I wanted to read was the 3rd book in the series and it wasn’t out yet!

You can’t get into the current book you’re reading.

This happens to me a lot. It’s when you don’t connect with the book but you’re too stubborn to move onto another one. It then causes you to lose the oomph to pick up the book and actually read it.

You’ve read too much.

I wish this wasn’t even a thing. This is when your brain basically tells you to stop reading before it explodes. It’s the times when you want to read but your brain doesn’t.


My top tips for getting our a reading slump.

Re-read an old favourite.

For me, it’s Harry Potter. If I’m struggling with a slump I’ll pick up this series. It always reminds me of how exciting I find reading and inspires me to explore other worlds. Plus, I know the story back to front so it doesn’t involve much concentration.

Try an audiobook.

I love audiobooks! They help me get out of a slump if I’m struggling with concentration. The beauty of them is that you don’t have to do anything but listen. I recommend Scribd – they provide audiobooks and ebooks. Unlike Audible which only allows you 1 audiobook per month, you have unlimited use for the entire month for £7.99 (which is the same as audible)

Try short stories.

This is a brilliant trick for reading slumps. Something short and quick to read usually helps me find the joy in reading again.

Don’t try to read.

Sometimes your brain just needs a break so listen to it. Do anything other than reading for a few hours or days and then try again!

Don’t be stubborn and DNF a book you’re not enjoying.

There are too many books in the world to read – that you’ll probably enjoy – to stay hung up on a book you’re not into. It took me a long time to realise this so I’d always force myself to finish every single book I picked up. Don’t do it to yourself – it’s not worth it and you’ll probably miss out on great books with all the time you’ve wasted on trying to finish a book you’re not connecting with.

Try a different genre.

Maybe you’re having what I’d like to call a ‘genre burnout’. If all you ever read is fantasy, then maybe try contemporary. Or if you read sci-fi, then try fantasy and so on.

Head on to Goodreads or Instagram etc.

I do this all the time when I’m in a reading slump because when I see others flying through books, it reminds my brain of how much joy I get from reading. However, air on the side of caution as this could backfire and make your slump worse if you find yourself getting frustrated that you can’t read.


These are just some of the tips I find help me when I’m in a reading slump. What are some top tips that help you get out of a reading slump?

Book Review | Day 21 by Kass Morgan

Title – Day 21.

Author – Kass Morgan.

Publication date – 16th September 2014.

Publisher – Little Brown Books.

Series status – 2nd book in the 100 series.


Synopsis

No one has set foot on Earth in centuries — until now.

It’s been 21 days since the hundred landed on Earth. They’re the only humans to set foot on the planet in centuries…or so they thought. Facing an unknown enemy, Wells attempts to keep the group together. Clarke strikes out for Mount Weather, in search of other Colonists, while Bellamy is determined to rescue his sister, no matter the cost. And back on the ship, Glass faces an unthinkable choice between the love of her life and life itself.

In this pulse-pounding sequel to Kass Morgan’s The 100, secrets are revealed, beliefs are challenged, and relationships are tested. And the hundred will struggle to survive the only way they can — together.


My thought on the book

4 star book review

*Minor spoilers ahead*

Oh my life!! There were so many twists and turns in this book. They just kept coming and coming!

I loved the survival aspect of this book. I thought it was pretty cool when they started to build their own cabins at the beginning. The world building was amazing and I really enjoyed reading about Earth as it is in the book. It kinda made me forget for a while that this book is a work of fiction.

I felt like the characters started to really develop in this book. They all had their own problems and were all determined to sort them out.

I liked how the author showed ya what was happening up on the ship as well as down on Earth.

Back up on the ship, it must have been terrifying to know that the oxygen reserves were running dangerously low and realised you were literally suffocating to death. When Glass realised the air vent was blocked on the other side I felt disheartened for her. Her and Luke had finally gotten back together and for a while it looked like they were going to make it.

I was intrigued by the Earthborn’s and what they wanted, and how they even survived the radiation. There were a lot of surprises in this book – some were obvious, some weren’t but all the same it made the book exciting and fast paced.

I was literally holding my breath the entire time Glass and her mother were fighting their way to the dropships. It was SO tense and then the guard demanded Glass get off so he could take her place. I could feel everyone’s terror as they fought for a space, knowing if they didn’t get a place they were going to die.

Overall, I loved this book. It had lots of surprises however some parts were predictable and I found myself yelling out that I knew something was going to happen.


How you read Day 21? If so, what did you think?

Book Review | Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Title – Harry Potter and the Chamber Of Secrets.

Author – J.K Rowling.

Publication date – 2nd June 1999.

Publisher – Bloomsbury Publishing.

Series status – 2nd book in the Harry Potter series.

(Click here to read my review of the first book). 


Synopsis

‘The Dursleys were so mean and hideous that summer that all Harry Potter wanted was to get back to the Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. But just as he’s packing his bags, Harry receives a warning from a strange, impish creature named Dobby who says that if Harry Potter returns to Hogwarts, disaster will strike.

And strike it does. For in Harry’s second year at Hogwarts, fresh torments and horrors arise, including an outrageously stuck-up new professor, Gilderoy Lockhart, a spirit named Moaning Myrtle who haunts the girls’ bathroom, and the unwanted attentions of Ron Weasley’s younger sister, Ginny.

But each of these seem minor annoyances when the real trouble begins, and someone — or something — starts turning Hogwarts students to stone. Could it be Draco Malfoy, a more poisonous rival than ever? Could it possibly be Hagrid, whose mysterious past is finally told? Or could it be the one everyone at Hogwarts most suspects . . . Harry Potter himself?’

Add to Goodreads.


My thought on the book

“There is a plot, Harry Potter. A plot to make most terrible things happen at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry this year.” – Dobby.

*may contain minor spoilers.*

5 star book review

Going into this book I was surprised with how much I re-learned about the Harry Potter universe. I’ve lost count the amount of times I’ve re-read the series, but I honestly cannot imagine ever getting bored of it.

Aw, Dobby, I love him! He was so cute and protective of Harry. He tried so hard to keep him from harm even if he didn’t do it in the best way possible.

Again, I love all the details I forget about when I haven’t read the books in a while, and the things the films leave out (you can read that post here!). I love how we learn so many new things about Hogwarts and the characters in this book.

I loved visiting the Burrow and reading about all the magical things Harry hasn’t experienced before. It was lovely to find out more about Mr and Mrs Weasley and Ginny too. I loved Mr Weasley’s enthusiasm with everything muggle related like for example a telephone. I’m fascinated by all the entire Wizarding world so a telephone is super boring compared to that. I love Ginny, and I hate how the films hardly feature her and and we don’t get to see the Ginny we know and love from the books.

I really loved how Mr Weasley’s car had a mind of its own and how angry it got with Harry and Ron for making it fly so far. It got so angry it spat them out and drove off into the distance. However, I also loved how it came back in their time of need.

My first impressions of Gilderoy Lockhart was he was so full of himself. He just seemed to get more and more annoying and self-absorbed as the story went on. Sometimes I wanted to reach through the pages and punch him in the face!

I never really noticed all the similarities between Harry and Voldemort when I first read the books. However, over the years I’ve picked up different bits each time I’ve re-read it. They were both brought up by muggles, both stubborn and determined, both orphans. The only difference they didn’t share was that Harry had good in him and had friendship and love around him, something Voldemort would never know because he was so obsessed with power.

I’m excited to get back into the 3rd book and discover more I’ve forgotten! This book series honestly has my whole heart and I don’t know what I ever would have done without it!


Have you read Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets? If so, what did you think of it?

Book Review | The 100 by Kass Morgan.

Title – The 100.

Author – Kass Morgan.

Publication date – 3rd September 2013.

Publisher – Little, Brown and Company.

Series status – 1st book in the 100 series.


Synopsis

‘Ever since a devastating nuclear war, humanity has lived on spaceships far above Earth’s radioactive surface. Now, one hundred juvenile delinquents — considered expendable by society — are being sent on a dangerous mission: to recolonize the planet. It could be their second chance at life…or it could be a suicide mission.

CLARKE was arrested for treason, though she’s haunted by the memory of what she really did. WELLS, the chancellor’s son, came to Earth for the girl he loves — but will she ever forgive him? Reckless BELLAMY fought his way onto the transport pod to protect his sister, the other half of the only pair of siblings in the universe. And GLASS managed to escape back onto the ship, only to find that life there is just as dangerous as she feared it would be on Earth.

Confronted with a savage land and haunted by secrets from their pasts, the hundred must fight to survive. They were never meant to be heroes, but they may be mankind’s last hope.

Add to Goodreads.


My thought on the book

4 star book review

*minor spoilers*

The first chapter of this book really gripped my attention and I thought wow, I’m really going to enjoy this book and that I did!

I’ve read quite a few bad reviews of this book, mainly saying that the TV show is better. I’m probably at an advantage because I haven’t watched the show yet, and maybe that’s why I enjoyed this book more than others. I’m definitely going to read the rest of the series before I watch the show.

I loved Kass Morgan’s writing style! Her writing was super captivating and it made it incredibly easy to whizz through.

My first thoughts of Clarke was that she was a badass! When the 100 went down to Earth I saw a different side to her. When she was caring for the injured people, she was very caring, even to those she didn’t know. She was also super protective over Thalia and I love to see that in a character.

I enjoyed the different point of views as it allowed me to get to know all the main characters. It was interesting reading the flashbacks as they happened, rather than just being told in the story.

I felt like I really connected with Glass as she reminded me a lot of me. I couldn’t believe why she was confined – I should’ve worked it out but I didn’t. When her and Luke were reunited properly I had so many feelings.

I couldn’t stand Wells. I thought his insane jealously was so dangerous. I can’t believe he held Clarke back from saving the only friend he had, yeah maybe he was trying to protect her but she was trying to save her friend!

I like Bellamy – his dedication to protecting his sister was beautiful, and I loved seeing that softer side to him. I also loved Clarke and Bellamy’s relationship and I thought they were so suited although their personalities are quite different.

I did find it rather predictable. Of course they weren’t going to be alone on Earth, that would have made it a rather boring series! However, overall it was a great book and I’m looking forward to reading the next one.


Have you read the 100, if so what did you think about it?