A Community of Writers

Howling Reviews Emma PetfieldLast weekend I experienced something very surreal for me. I never thought at the age of nineteen I would be attending The Brit Writer’s Awards 2012. I would like to start this blog by saying thank you to everyone involved in the organisation of the event because I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I feel so much gratitude to those that invited me and worked to make the event a success.
I was lucky enough to be granted a behind the scenes look at the event arriving slightly earlier than other guests. I filmed some of the preparation from sound checks to last minute dance practices. It was very fun to see everyone rushing around making sure all the last minute details were fixed and, after a slight reception panic, I found myself meeting all of the guests in turn.
This was a pleasant way to start the event because it eased my nerves and everyone was very lovely to meet.
After this, we were all lead into the dining area and I loved the table settings they were simple with a three piece candle set in the centre that reminded my fondly of Lumière from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. Everything was pristine and beautifully set out. I was actually sat with Maia Walczak another blogger from this site and you can see her account of the night here.
The event began and people from all ages, cultures and continents joined together in celebrating the craft of writing and what it means to write. The development of writers is key and I discovered just how enabling Brit Writers are as a company but also as a community. Everyone was supportive of the winners. I was just upset that I couldn’t hearany of their work. I’m sure i twill be available at some point.
Winners were presented with opportunities as well as recognition, but in my eyes all of the finalists were winners.
This event was mostly a chance for me to connect with other writers and network because it was the first exposure I’ve had to writing as a profession rather than a hobby. I must say that I was thrilled with the diversity of people I had the opportunity to speak to and I look forward to speaking to again.
Writers are often portrayed as solitary souls in previous centuries and I think that writing has become a tighter community in the past few decades. Especially with the innovation of the internet enabling writers to communicate easily across countries.
I also attended my first creative writing workshop today. I was so nervous because I had never had my writing critiqued in front of strangers before. It’s different when you read a comment on a screen, but I’m so glad I did. The nausea subsided when people started discussing my work in a constructive way and I feel that I came away from the workshop feeling confident and inspired to edit and review my work.
That is something that Brit Writers has created for me. A community.

 

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Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone By Laini Taylor

Daughter of smoke and bone laini taylor


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Looking for a wish? Then this book is the exact place to find one.

This book was something I had heard a lot of hype about and was itching to get my hands on so it was only natural that I finished it pretty quickly, because once I picked it up I could hardly put it down. Laini Taylor has created a world where mythical beings take a new perspective and keeping your teeth has never been more important.
So this book follows the life of Karou who was raised by Brimstone a Chimaera and she collects teeth for him in return for wishes. Things become complicated when the Seraphs learn of Brimstone’s existence and before she realises Karou’s life is turned upside down and she has to trust the people she is told to run from. But there are other things that Karou doesn’t know that change her view of the worlds she lives in forever.
I would like to start off my saying that this book was a breath of fresh air because it combined an unusual duo of species that I have never encountered before. Chimaera are beings that have various body parts from several animals. For example, Brimstone has a ram’s head and the legs of a lion. On the other hand Seraphim are similar to angels in so far as that they have wings and they are beings of godly creation. The combination of these characters is really unique and because Karou is of a Chimaera perspective it also challenges the views that people have of angels.
The protagonist Karou is a well-developed character. She has a love of art and languages and, as well as attending art school, she also happens to be an errand girl. With eccentric blue hair, it is easy to tell from the start that she has a unique personality and I would happily spend some time with her at the Poison Kitchen at ‘Pestilence’. She is a dreamer and because of this she is always looking for more from her worlds. She is curious by nature and this leads her into a lot of perilous positions
without realising.
In contrast we are introduced to Akiva a slightly obsessive, stalker Seraph who becomes infatuated with Karou but doesn’t quite know why. The plot thickens significantly when he discovers why she is so important to him and one of my favourite features of the book is the section that introduces us to his past. His character is somewhat dis-likable at the beginning but after this discovery I felt a lot of empathy towards him and genuinely felt sorry for the struggles he faced.

Until next time guys!

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Review: The Dark Heroine: Dinner with a Vampire by Abigail Gibbs

the dark heroine abigail gibbs



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Having come home to see my parents for the weekend I was delighted to find that I had a package waiting for me. I couldn’t remember having ordered anything so I was happily surprised to find that I had been chosen to review “The Dark Heroine: Dinner with a Vampire” by Abigail Gibbs. I can now say that I have a highly regarded respect for the author of this book because she is living the dream. Only being 18 years of age, she is already a published author with a following of several million both on and offline and is also studying at Oxford University. She shows that age is just a number and true talent can spark at any point in life.

With regards to the publication in question, I started reading it at 7:30pm last night and finished it at 4:30am in the morning. I was truly entranced by the lexical whimsy and sarcasm of Violet Lee and her strong feminine character. It has been a while since I have read a vampire novel that has portrayed women as strong and independent. Despite her compromising situation, she stays headstrong and for those who have checked out “Canse12” on Wattpad (Abigail’s pseudonym) then you will know that both Gibbs and Violet are vegetarian. I thought it was interesting to see the author’s personality come through in such a strong component of life and this was really reflected in the character. I would be interested to meet Abigail Gibbs and discuss if any other characters have quirks that are also personal ones.

I was intrigued by the short and snappy chapters; constantly reminding myself that this book was written with a multitude of exams and other school work that a 15 year old has to deal with and being only a half a year older than the author I can empathise with her busy lifestyle. I thought the short chapters complimented the book’s narrative and the second perspective we gain when Kaspar’s point of view is introduced really locks the readers fascination with the unknown about the protagonists.

The plots all weave together neatly towards the climax of the book and leave us open to a multitude of sequels that I am dying to read. With regards to her treatment of Vampire Lore, I think she has created an interesting twist by having some of the traditional expectations but also extending them with a creative touch.

I think this book feels very much like an introduction of what could be a fantastic series and I’m almost bereft at the thought that “Autumn Rose”, book 2 of the series, will not be published til at least next year. I hope to get the chance to review that book too.

Finally, I would like to congratulate Abigail again on doing what I hope to in the future and being able to study all at the same time!

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Review: American Gods by Neil Gaiman

neil gaiman american gods

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This is the first book that’s taken my breath away in a long while. This book conjoined reality with fantasy in a dazzling and frightening manner. This book is awesome. It genuinely fills me with awe. The depth of research and innovation needed to create such a complex and illusive plot is perplexing. I tip my hat to Neil Gaiman and his craftsmanship.

Shadow is a grounded, humble, mucky character. Not mucky in the physical sense but his life is filled with realistic turns and twists which makes his story all that more believable to me. Compared to Wednesday’s mysteriousness that makes him so unbelievable to balance the mind.

At no point did I find myself guessing what would happen next with each page a new surprise took over and a new plot was unveiled. The plots that, despite starting off so loose, were tightly woven by the final part of the book.

I especially loved the chapters that were unrelated to the main plot. The little side stories about other Gods and humans, that weren’t anything to do with the overall book but in a sense provided evidence for all the claims made my Wednesday throughout the book.

A thoroughly delightful read. I would recommend this to anyone looking for an engrossing world to pour themselves into.

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