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Have You Heard Of ‘Up Lit’?

November 24th, 2017

Last week I commented on the fact that Ian Rankin had been quoted as saying that readers were turning away from grittier topics and looking for something more ‘kind and gentle’. I rather pooh poohed this idea so I was surprised when I read an article in the December issue of Writing Magazine by Margaret James. She was discussing what genres had been popular this year and looking ahead to what editors would be looking for in 2018.

She actually used a term I wasn’t familiar with – ‘up lit’. If I hadn’t seen it in the context of a writing magazine I would probably have thought it was something to do with interior design. I’m familiar with ‘chick lit’ and ‘lad lit’ but this one was new to me. Apparently, it’s optimistic storytelling that is supposed to leave us feeling cheered up rather than depressed. In other words, lots of light at the end of the tunnel. 2018 is tipped as the year of empathy and kindness! Dare I say ‘Bah, humbug’? Read the rest of this entry »

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Spread Your Talent

August 11th, 2016

tennysonsgif4thestate-blogI was reading an interview in the paper last weekend with best-selling author James Patterson. To date he’s sold more than 350 million books – but he was rejected by 31 publishers before his first novel ‘The Thomas Berryman Number’ was published in 1976. So, if you’ve had your fair share of rejections, don’t despair!

When asked what advice he’d give to others he was quoted as saying, “Writers always ask me how they should market their books. My advice is, don’t worry about that. Just start your next book. Just write.”

Sounds good, but I suspect it only really works if you already have a publisher, are earning lots of money for them and you are famous. For us mere mortals, in an age where getting an agent, let alone a publisher, seems nigh on impossible, I don’t really think it works. Publishers are having their promotional budgets cut all the time and the onus to generate self-publicity is falling more and more upon the author. And if you choose to self-publish, you’ve no alternative but to use every means at your disposal to reach the reading public. The thought of sitting at home beavering away at book after book may sound comforting but it’s not going to get a novice writer noticed. Read the rest of this entry »

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Editors Aren’t Always Perfect

January 30th, 2015

writer.com-blogFirst, thanks to Colin for last Friday’s blog. You often hear people who are ‘sniffy’ about genre fiction saying it’s plot driven, whereas literary fiction (usually their preferred reading/writing matter) is character driven. It’s OK for a book or story to be character driven but if those characters don’t provide some forward movement or development (a plot?!) then the reader loses interest pretty fast. Read the rest of this entry »

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Writing for the Young Adult Market

January 9th, 2015

sapphire blue  coverThe success of Twilight, The Hunger Games, Divergent and The Fault In Our Stars, to name just a few has made YA a hugely popular genre, and not just with teens. Many adults enjoy reading YA books too, wanting a more imaginative and emotional read than adult fiction often offers them. You’ve only got to look at the bulging shelves in the YA section of your local bookstore to see how varied this genre is. A lot of the books are the familiar black and red covers of the vampire stories that Twilight made popular, others are dystopian battles in far flung worlds or set in a future time or issue led stories about teenagers coping with cancer or death. Alongside these are romances, contemporary light-hearted satires and humorous dairy accounts of teenage life. Many writers are now wanting to tap into this potentially lucrative market and wondering how to go about it. Read the rest of this entry »

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Writing about what you know in a style that’s ‘you’!

December 5th, 2014

Research is all well and good, and a vital part of preparing a novel, but nothing beats writing about what you know. That knowledge you have about a particular topic is the best tool a writer has. When I first thought about this I almost resigned myself to writing some kind of story regarding the law as I’m trained as a criminal lawyer. But one of the points of writing, for me, is to escape: I wanted a relief from my day job – not to absorb myself in the law even further.


So then I thought about my upbringing – I grew up in a Vicarage as the daughter of a very eccentric vicar and I realised that my whole upbringing in that unusual setting was the perfect fodder for writing, particularly as there were lots of aspects about Vicarage life that were the polar opposite to general expectations. I’ve now published my first novel – ‘Christmas at the Vicarage’ – and I’m already writing a second book on the same theme.


That’s not to say I write exclusively about life in a Vicarage but I’ve tried previously to start novels about subjects I’m not so familiar with and found I could only go so far with them. With a topic I know inside out, there is always material there for me.


Christmas_at_the_Vic_Cover_for_KindleThe same goes for writing in a style that’s ‘you’. It can be tempting, sometimes, to emulate other authors you love and, though my true style has similarities with Rosamunde Pilcher (my favourite writer), I feel I’ve found – over time – a voice and style that’s truly mine. Again, this makes it easier to keep the book’s momentum going and I think readers can really appreciate a voice that’s genuine, too.


So my advice: write about what you know, in a way that’s ‘you,’ and you can’t go too far wrong.


Rebecca Boxall was born in East Sussex in 1977 and currently lives in Jersey with her husband and two children. She read English at the University of Warwick before training as a lawyer and she also studied Creative Writing with The Writer’s Bureau. Her first novel – ‘Christmas at the Vicarage’ – is available in kindle and paperback form on Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Rebecca-Boxall/e/B00OGLLRAG/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1415039239&sr=8-2-ent. She also has a Facebook page – Rebecca Boxall – Writer


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