Blurred Skies

The rain is again falling,

Mixing up most of May.

The summer is coming,

With a much different sway.

As Earth’s climates change,

The weather is less sweet.

Can’t distinguish the seasons,

They don’t present quite so sweet.

Blurring the lines

And gathering new storms,

Making me wonder

What future it dawns.

Give us a chance to refresh out mindset,

Not live with this impact,

With nothing but regret.

Let’s change how we do things,

And consider how we move,

Take trains, buses or bicycles,

And get into a new groove.

Help build us a future

Of conservation and bliss,

We can forge a new attitude,

No longer taking the…..

Writing in Person

A lot of people ask me about writing in the first person and third person. I particularly like when chapters are written from different character’s perspectives but this does not necessarily mean in the first person. I wanted to quickly talk about three different ways of producing narrative that can have slightly different impacts on the readers.

1) The third person.

This old chestnut is used widely and definitely has its place in traditional fiction. There are many novels and short stories that work particularly well when the author is far removed from the action and can observe everything the characters are doing. I call this ‘helicopter mode’ as the writer is remote and can move between locations rapidly, jumping from one event to another without having the limitation of only seeing what the protagonist can see with their own eyes. Harry Potter is written using the third person narrative style.

2) The first person.

I have written a book entirely through the eyes of one character and this can be incredibly effective as any reader can feel like they are inside that character’s mind, going through the plot points and experiencing emotions with that individual. It feels generally more biographical and can be a brilliant way to engage an audience but it has limitations. Unless the main character decides to detail everything the other characters do, you may not always know what else is going on, without having those events seen through one pair of eyes and from one point of view. The Perks of Being a Wallflower is told by one person using a series of letters that he writes. It is a superb book with a clear voice and strong storyline.

There is another way of using the first person comfortably. Each chapter can be told by a different character. In some such stories, often the chapters bounced from one person to another, with extra characters added in at crucial points in the books. Joanne Harris often uses multiple first person chapters to great effect.

3) The third person close.

This intriguing style is used as a compromise between the first and third person and allows the reader to cosy up to a character for a while but does allow the author to flip between characters when needed. You are not inside anybody’s head when you read such stories but the narrative indicates thoughts and feelings. Liane Moriarty used this well in Nine Perfect Strangers where she wrote a chapter about each character but did not use ‘I, we, my’ pronouns. Instead she mentioned in great detail what each person did and thought.

Example: Max had no idea what she was talking about but he nodded generously, ignoring her fowl breath and counting down the seconds until he could get away from her.

Bookish Me

This lockdown I have been working full time, as usual, but when I’ve had a moment at home, I have found myself engrossed in more books than usual. Not visiting friends and relatives or going out to watch shows and eat popcorn at the local cinema has led to me having more disposable time. As a result, my book consumption has been higher than at any time in my life.

So, in an effort to put my recent reading together, I will refer to three intriguing novels that I have just finished reading. These have all been engaging and were very different to one another.

The Last Anniversary (Liane Moriarty)

I don’t know where to start with this unique book set on an island just off the coast of Australia, near Sydney. Steeped in mystery, the island is a tourist attraction that still maintains a profit many years after an event hit the headlines and started to draw in visitors of a curious nature.

Without giving anything away, it is about a family and traditions, a mystery which reaps rewards and dilemmas of conscience. A new member of the family, Sophie, who used to date the grandson of the matriarch, inherits a house on the island and is fully welcomed into the family (well apart from with Vanessa who certainly holds a grudge). She sees the family and their way of life from a new perspective and opens up a range of feelings amongst them.

Sophie is a likeable main character and allows us to look closely at the relationships on the island. The whole island is gearing up for its annual celebration of the mysterious event that made it famous. Everybody is rocked by what turns out to be a very enlightening evening.

Orfeia (Joanne Harris)

This is a story which is enchanting and steeped in mystery as well as fantasy. If you have read ‘A Pocketful of Crows’ or ‘The Blue Salt Road’ then you will already know how satisfying these stories are. It crosses from our world to the world of Dream and the world of Death.

Instead of a child mourning their parents, this story focuses on a mother who lost her daughter. She has visions of her daughter and is challenged to take on the Halloween King after a journey on the peculiar Night Train.

This type of magical story and the relationship it has to mythology is unique, satisfying and totally sucks you in. Joanne has a way with words which is clever, absorbing and heart-warming. The beautiful artwork that complements the text is a tribute to Bonnie Hawkins and her perceptive skills.

Love, Simon (Becky Albertalli)

This was one of those situations involving reading a book after I’d already seen the movie version. It did not in any way disappoint. The novel added so much extra detail and lovely insights into the character’s feelings as well as introducing me to the incredible narrative skills of Becky Albertalli.

Told by a teenage Simon, who is struggling to come to terms with being gay, it really shows a realistic picture of the conflicts going on when deciding whether or not to tell your family and friends about your personal life. The situations include a party where Simon is drunk for the first time and that classic experience of being part of a school play.

The friendships are supportive but small things can create cracks between Leah, Abbey, Simon and Nick. Everybody has their thing; everybody has their anxieties. Simon has to decide how much he will lose or gain by finally taking the chance to be HIMSELF.

I totally recommend all three of these wonderful books. One is a drama, one is magical and the third is a Young Adult story. All are magnificent in their own way.