Today it’s my turn on the Motivation Matters blog tour. Writers, this one’s for you!
There is a saying in German: ‘Der Ton macht die Musik’: The tone makes the music. And yes, you’ve guessed it: this review is going to focus on tone above all else.
Even that aside, yes, this little book is a treasure all right. Stuffed with ideas, enough to try a new approach to your writing every single day of the year, it is divided into handy sections and exceptionally easy to navigate. But what sets it apart from other ‘how to’ books and advice on writing I have read (and I have read a lot of those), is that Motivation Matters sounds like a real person. There is a voice here, and a likeable one at that. Wendy Jones, to be precise. The author has done away with any pretence of objectivity or removal in her tone. Instead, she sidles right up to you and nudges you, possibly even forcefully. ‘Try it this way. Come on, give it a go. You’re gonna think I’m mad, but what about giving this new approach a shot?’
Like a little story-sprite on your shoulder, you’ve got company. Throughout the book, the tone ranges from cajoling, encouraging, conversational to occasionally bossy and a little provocative, just to shake us out of our old and tired writing routine. Motivation Matters is a loose celebration of all things which make writing great, and a freedom-pass to kiss all your writing constraints and obligations goodbye to discover something new. Highly recommended! Buy it at https://amzn.to/2NHfutf.
PS. I think most of us would do well not to follow Motivation Matters as a rigid day-by-day plan of what to do. It’s at its best when you flick through its pages once you’re stuck in your writing. You may just happen upon something that catches your eye. 🙂
Award Winning Author Wendy H. Jones lives in Scotland, and her police procedural series featuring Detective Inspector Shona McKenzie, is set in the beautiful city of Dundee, Scotland. Wendy has led a varied and adventurous life. Her love for adventure led to her joining the Royal Navy to undertake nurse training. After six years in the Navy, she joined the Army where she served as an Officer for a further 17 years. This took her all over the world including Europe, the Middle East and the Far East. Much of her spare time is now spent travelling around the UK, and lands much further afield. As well as nursing Wendy also worked for many years in Academia. This led to publication in academic textbooks and journals. Killer’s Countdown is her first novel and the first book in the Shona McKenzie Mystery series. Killer’s Crew won the Books Go Social Book of the Year 2107. There are now six books in this series with Killer’s Crypt being released in August 2017. The Dagger’s Curse is the first book in The Fergus and Flora Mysteries for Young Adults. This book is currently shortlisted for the Woman Alive Magazine Readers Choice Award Book of the Year. She is also a highly successful marketer and she shares her methods in the book, Power Packed Book Marketing.
I am lucky! Since beginning to write a book column in North of Scotland newspapers, I have been sent books! Actual, physical, lovely review copies, all in exchange for an honest opinion.
So I thought I’d round up a few faves from the last month or so. I genuinely enjoyed these. Check them out (if you’re that way minded):
Lily’s Just Fine, due for release July
Lily is a fabulous character. FABULOUS, I say, and exactly what Scotland needs. The author demonstrates very clearly that a small canvas of small town politics and hierarchies (rather than monsters, dragons, disasters and dystopian apocalypses which normally dominate teenage fiction) can be as vivid and memorable as a sweeping saga.
The key to its success is Lily: successful, pretty, confident, irreverent and utterly compelling. The genre might be romance, but there is plenty to occupy readers’ minds here: bigotry, materialism, chronic illness, mental health and school pressures are all explored. Alternating narrators can be predictable, but chapter transitions were handled with fluency and speed, just like thrillingly speedy racket exchanges over a net.
I very much look forward to the next Galloway Girls instalment. And I hope Lily’s voice takes centre-stage again!
Sonny and Me
I can’t think of another book like Sonny and Me. I spent decades teaching teenage boys in Scottish secondary schools and let me tell you: yes, this is how many of them speak, think and behave . Apart from the fact that this is authentic, funny and warm, it gives voice to those who may not always have a voice, certainly not in books. The friendship between the main characters is spot on and propelled me through the book from start to finish. Irreverent and provocative enough to appeal to teenagers, with enough issues /meaty topics to appeal to a more general readership. Fantastic follow up to Mary’s the Name. I’ll certainly be reading whatever Sayers writes next!
The Titanic Detective Agency
This is my favourite Lindsay Littleson book so far.
Even as a child, I had a mild fascination with the Titanic, reading and re-reading contemporary accounts, so it was a welcome surprise that the characters we most care about on the ship are based on real people, with photographs to inspect at the end of the book.
Bertha feels like the kind of kid you want to be friends with: opinionated, interested, charismatic and full of fun. She does, however, feel ‘real’ too, with her impatience with adult talk and church services lasting too long. The greatest strength of this novel is that Bertha’s childlike concerns are front and centre throughout. The horror of the sinking is not brushed over in any way, but the lingering memory of this read is of riddles and mysteries, chases and secrets – in short, of Berth’s concerns.
For any fellow teacher who may be concerned, this is a very sensitively handled account, with Bertha facing up to the horror of the sinking, but experiencing it from a distance in her lifeboat.
The period detail is meticulously researched, the characters utterly compelling and not a word is wasted.
This is the kind of children’s novel that would have got me into reading if I was a kid all over again. 🙂
Happy Valentine’s Day, fellow writers!
I’m in good company then… 128 for me.