I am SO excited to share with you today my review for the wondrous The Beginner’s Guide To Loneliness by Laura Bambrey and to share with you her top tips for writers. I cannot tell you how excited I was when I heard the news that Laura was going to be a published author and that her debut novel would be out very soon…well, TODAY IS THE DAY! I was super lucky to read an advanced copy and I FELL. IN. LOVE. I absolutely adored this novel from start to finish and it is a complete treat.
Below is the review I wrote for the book very soon after finishing…
The Beginner’s Guide To Loneliness is EVERYTHING I wanted and more. It is a sensitive, heartwarming, beautiful story about one woman and her journey of self-discovery.
Full of warmth, heart, perfectly drawn characters and a well executed plot, TBGTL is a novel that will have you rooting for the main character Tori from the first page and wanting everything for her til the last. Not only do you fall for the main character, you can’t help but become invested in the lives of the secondary characters who support Tori on her journey.
Tori’s fears are dealt with and written about in a compassionate way and the growth and character development of Tori over the book is gorgeous to read. There are also some other equally gorgeous parts to the story (a certain tent-sharing-friend and his dog!) and the end of the book is one big, warm, squishy cuddle and it left me feeling so happy.
I loved this book and I really cannot wait for what Laura writes next!
Ahhhhh, even reading that review makes me want to re-read the book all over again!
Laura has very kindly written some tips for all the budding writers out there and, coming from a published author, she knows her stuff!
Top Tips For Aspiring Writers – What to do when you get stuck!
Hi Laura – thank you so much for having me on your gorgeous blog to celebrate the publication of The Beginner’s Guide to Loneliness! As I’m pretty sure any aspiring author will tell you when they get to this day – it really is a dream come true to see your book baby out there in the world – but what I want to do for a second is look back on those days that were the more…shall we say…temperamental ones? All writers have them I think – you’re barreling along enjoying your characters and story and then BAM – you hit a brick wall. I hope these three top tips help other aspiring writers over the wall!
As soon as words and ideas are lined up neatly inside a computer, I find I lose track of them – it might be something to do with my dyslexia. I simply have to have something more visual in order for a story to come alive and make sense for me. So I go big – I take over a wall and go to town.
Massive mind maps, images from the book, cards representing different chapters – you name it. I have to be able to see the story in front of me. If I can trace it with my eyes, I can often find the gaps I’m struggling with. This also helps with re-ordering scenes, keeping track of characters and all sorts of exciting things. Plus- it’s a lot of fun.
When I get stuck I tend to faff around with tiny details. I fret about the minutia when really there is a bold change that needs to happen. An example from The Beginner’s Guide To Loneliness – and this was before I ever submitted it – was that I got at 50ish% through the first draft. Big brick wall. Huge. The change I needed? The whole thing needed to be in first person. Yes a massive job. Yes, a bold move. But I needed this bold move – not some tiny adjustments. So always look at the big, bold picture when you’re stuck.
Point three is linked to point one- in that it will help you go big… and (shh, don’t tell anyone) it will feed your creative well with a little focused procrastination. Because stationery shopping counts as work for a writer, okay? And sometimes a new block of pastel post-its, the perfect notebook and the mechanical pencil of your dreams really do get the creative juices flowing again.
I’ve also found that having a fiddle around with the look of my word-processing set up made a huge difference to my creativity. I had been working with my document set up in the same format I used when I was in an office job. Big mistake as it got me straight into dull 9-to-5 head space. So for my creative early drafts, I flipped my pages into landscape and wrote with 2 columns and a font my dyslexia doesn’t hate. Hey-presto – it suddenly felt like I was writing a book!
Thank you so much Laura for sharing these tips…any excuse for some new stationery, eh?! Also, the tip about changing font and layout in a word document…that is a VERY good idea. I may just try that…!
Laura Bambrey was born in Dorset but raised in Wales. She’s worked as a trapeze choreographer, sculpture conservator and stilt walker, amongst others, and spent most of her time collecting stories from the people she met along the way. She has spent many years as a book blogger and reviewer of women’s fiction and now lives in Devon with her very own romantic hero and a ridiculously fluffy rabbit named Mop. The Beginner’s Guide to Loneliness is her début novel.