Hey! Welcome to my first blog post. My name is Nathalie Saleeba, I’m an avid reader and I’ve got a Master of Creative Writing. I’m also a single mum of two gorgeous little girls, aged 4 and 3, the first of which will be starting school next year! On average I read a book every ten days but I don’t just read for enjoyment; when I’m reading I’m always identifying effectively applied writing techniques as well as missed opportunities where writers have fallen short on achieving their desired outcome. This includes among others areas such as characterization, evoking targeted responses from the reader, building suspense, and ensuring a novel within a series is also a standalone. Any area that if refined and delivered properly not only contributes to but MAKES a memorable and remarkable story, and as a writer that’s what you want to achieve!
There are plenty of writing courses out there as well as books on the craft (the latter of which I will cover in some of my posts). You don’t need to have completed a course to write, though some are incredibly helpful; all you need is a pen, paper (or a computer, whatever floats your boat) and determination. But to write WELL, you need to understand how writing techniques are applied, and only by reading and training yourself to spot where and how other writers have attempted these techniques will you be able to turn your drive and determination into a well-crafted story. Note that I said ‘attempted’ – this is because as you read you will find instances where the writer has been unsuccessful in delivering the technique, and the more you read the more you will advance your analyses skills and successfully identify these techniques. Stephen King was right on point when he said, ‘if you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.’ I know a lot of writers who say they don’t have time to read, but ‘if you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.’ Yep, that’s another Stephen King quote; you’ll notice as you go that I quote him often and that’s because his skills are evident in his writing.
That’s why I started this blog. Some of my posts will cover books on writing and mentality, and others will discuss and pinpoint examples of writing techniques. My aim is to help you develop a growth mindset and equip you with the tools required to totally smash that manuscript you’re working on AND to encourage you to read on a deeper level. You’ll find a range of genres in my posts, but my top 3 genres are thrillers, horror, and fantasy. It’s ok if those genres aren’t your thing; I’ll provide examples of books in different genres where the author has achieved the technique my post covers on a particular week.
A pretty cool way to up your reading volume is to set yourself a challenge each year. At the beginning of this year I set myself a number of books to read, a modest goal of 24 and at the moment I’m on 34 and cheering! I also set myself an alphabet title challenge, in which I attempt to read books where each title starts with a different letter of the alphabet. With one month to go in 2020 I’m still missing J, K, Q, V, W, X and Z (meanwhile I’ve read 6 books starting with C, 4 starting with M, and 3 starting with T). You can tell I don’t take the alphabet challenge too seriously, but it’s fun to try and it helps you expand your horizons in terms of authors and genres! A spin on the alphabet title challenge is the alphabet author challenge; same deal but instead of book titles you go by the author’s surname. If you’ve got any suggestions of books starting with the letters I’m missing please leave a comment below! I’d also love to hear about any reading challenges that you may undertake, so please get commenting.
I’m so glad to have you here and can’t wait to connect with you next week!