Saturday, 25 February 2017

REVIEW:: How to Success! A Writer's Guide to Fame and Fortune

How to Success!: A Writer's Guide to Fame and FortuneThis parody self-help book for writers is filled with hilariously misguided tips, factual-looking charts, and other advice that knowingly pokes fun at writerly foibles while still cheering would-be authors on. With this book, struggling writers can find suggestions for effective paragraph shapes, tips on where to find inspiration (in your reflection, in the shapes of gum stuck to the ground, in a consultation with your doctor), thoughtful poses for author photos, pull-out procrastination excuses, and much more. How to Success! is filled with enough almost-helpful advice to keep aspiring writers amused, unblocked, and on their way to literary fame.

Bursting with sarcasm and satire, this is the perfect pocket read for the struggling writer in dire need of a pick-me-up.

I've always loved writing. In primary school, when we were asked to do creative writing pieces, those would always be the samples of my work presented to my parents on Parent's Evening. And, at age 12, I dived into Harry Potter for the first time and decided that I wanted to eventually become an author. Now six years on and many a story idea later, I'm not exactly nearer to seeing my debut in bookstores, but I'm making steps towards ensuring that when I finally do hit "send" on that manuscript, I'll have a little faith in myself: starting with the fact that I've applied to do a part-Creative Writing degree.

But here's the reality: writing is hard. Writing is bloody hard. 

Anyone who desires to write for a living will know this. It's the surging ennui; it's the folder on the laptop labelled "Writing" that has incompleted ideas inside from years ago. It's the feeling that no matter how hard you try, you will never see the day that your work is accepted by people beyond friends and family. And, of course, it's the dreaded writer's block.  In How to Success! A Writer's Guide to Fame and Fortune, Corinne Caputo not only addresses these trials and tribulations, but makes them acceptable, embraces them, and welcomes them into our day to day lives.

It's hard to be jovial about flaws, especially when those of us who pick up this book silently pray that there won't be any in our inevitably error-laced, plot-hole-consumed works, and yet Caputo somehow still does it. I could read this book at a time when I had a complete belief in the inadequacy of my writing, and emerge from the pages thoroughly humoured and ready to get back to work. This is meant to just be a joking book, mocking the rituals of the typical struggling writer, and yet A Writer's Guide to Fame and Fortune makes it feel wholly acceptable to - as a writer - have days where you want to just curl up in a ball under your desk and eat cake. Not only did I resurface from the depths of these pages laughing to the point of hiccups, but I had a newfound knowledge that I'm not the only one who suffers from some of the writerly life problems that I considered too weird beforehand to ever be possessed by someone else.

Brilliant, quick-witted, and not so carefully smothered in dry humour, this is the perfect read for the struggling writer. Need a little faith in your work? Buy this book! Know a friend who has an all-encompassing love for writing? Buy them this book!

Just buy this book. You won't regret it. 

Many thanks to Abrams and Chronicle for sending me How to Success! A Writer's Guide to Fame and Fortune for review. You can buy the book here and here from 28th February 2017.

Monday, 20 February 2017

My Dream Loot Crate

A while ago, Loot Crate popped into my emails, stopping by to say hello and wanting to get in further contact with me. I've heard of Loot Crate and countless other crates and have never seen the appeal...until now. When Loot Crate gave me the opportunity to design my own, as elaborate as I desired, with the possiblity that it could potentially be created, I couldn't refuse. So this is my attempt at creating my own Loot Crate... as mad or boring, my ideas may be.

Hermione's Beaded Bag
Undetectable extension charm or no undetectable extension charm placed on it, either will do... (plus we all know I'm a witch here so I can just cast one myself.) I could really do with Hermione's beaded bag for when I'm travelling and need to carry more than the size of my suitcase allows me, or even for when I need to tidy things away and just need to place them somewhere safe for a while. And of course, wouldn't this be excellent storage for when the bookshelves start overflowing?

Spectre Specs
For the nargles.... our heads are full of them. 

A Pet Mooncalf
So incase you've been living under a rock, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was released in cinemas in November, and I am in love. *coughs* five cinema viewings *coughs*
Some raved about the Niffler, others ranted about Pickett the Bowtruckle. For me though, it was the adorable Mooncalves that were bounding around Newt's suitcase. How could you not want one to love?

Okay, let's be real. Unless we're timelords (spoiler alert: I'm not a Timelord), we cannot possibly fit a TARDIS into a Loot Crate, but for the sake putting literally whatever I desire into this crate, this has to go in. Imagine it: opening a subscription box, expecting the same set up as the month before, and there it is -- your ticket to travel through space and time to absolutely anywhere in history or the future. 

Ron Weasley
Probably breaks about 50 laws against trapping, capturing, and containing fellow humans against their will, but it's true. If I could open a Loot Crate and find Ron Weasley inside, my life would be complete. It's no secret here at Lost in a Library that for the past 6 years, I have been deeply in love with our favourite ginger sidekick. He's kind, awkard, and dons the heart of a lion with such pride. Why wouldn't I want Ron in my Loot Crate? After all, Weasley is Our King isn't he? 

To find out more about Loot Crate, go to their monthly subscriptions page and just try and resist buying one of their amazing boxes!

If you could design your own Loot Crate, what would you add in?

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Lessons Learnt from 2016

1. Political polls are never accurate. Don't trust them. (This is how, when my family were horrified by my opinion, I was bracing myself for the awful moment when the Republicans won the US Election.)

2. I'm never going to be thin, and that's okay. I'm never going a size 10, and that's okay. I am slim, and I am happier with my body than I have ever been before. Some bodies aren't meant to be thin; mine is one of them, and I'm okay with that.

3. If you want a tattoo, regardless of the looks that family member gives and not so quietly says when you say that you want one that you "clearly aren't part of this family then," you get that tattoo. Where the body is a blank canvas, a tattoo is the paint.

4. Never wear dangly earrings if you're going to try clothes on whilst out. No good can come of it.

5. One of the best thing you can do is learn your body's manual. Learn what leads to you feeling a certain way, or what something is a sign of.

6. If an opportunity arises, and you have the means to  take the opportunity,  just do it. So many incredible experiences occured in 2016 just because I said yes.

7. Often it's easier to expect the worst and be pleasantly surprised instead of getting self-assured based on previous positives. It sounds mad but at least it keeps you on your toes.

8. Bravery in the face of Anxiety is always something to be proud of. You are rebelling against everything your mind is wrongfully telling you - that is an achievement, no matter the size.

9. Travelling and getting out of your town/city is an exceptionally good way to clear your head. 

10. Stress is okay, but there comes a point when it's destroying you. Step back, actually take the time to relax, and clear your head. 

11. Use your voice. Say it bold and say it loud, because unless you fight for what you value, nothing changes. If you say it, you spread the message to those whom need to here it.

12. You're a Ravenclaw, then a Gryffindor. As identified by your 3 Pottermore sorting tests. Nevertheless, it's okay to show your Slytherin sometimes - have the determination you need to pull through.

13. If you feel your mental health is getting worse, then recognise the symptoms of what triggers this to happen, and keep that in mind of the future.

14. The friendships you value the most need to be fought for. If you feel the other person doesn't realise that they're drifting, then you need to fight for the friendship to show them how you feel.

15. Don't binge listen to a soundtrack for a film before going to see it. The film may be wonderful, but this previous act will totally take away from the film, dividing the film and it's music into two different entities. 

16. Just because a year is defined and categorised negatively because of world events, that doesn't mean that you can't consider your own year wonderful

What did you learn in 2016?

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Oh, the Places:: London

I've always thought London to be the epitome of adventure. It's that place across the country that offers a realm of rich expeditions. A treasure trove of history and culture. Living in the UK, it feels (and is often true) that everything is in London, which is disappointing. I live on the other side of the country, meaning that most of the events which I'd want to go to are inaccessible, and trips to London are few and far apart. November brought a twist in the tale, with an unexpected invite to the European premiere of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Over the course of five days, a spontaneous excursion to the capitol was planned. 

This is 24 hours in London...

This is merely a slice of London, covering Euston, Kings Cross, and Leicester Square. It's a snapshot of this beautiful and vibrant city which I hope to continue to explore over the near future... at least twice more in 2017 is planned... as you will see in the near future, and once is also planned in 2018. Hopefully with each of these encounters, I'll be able to cover more of this city which I have a burning desire to keep on searching. 

For more on this wild adventure, check out my posts on the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them premiere, my Fantastic Beasts review, and my recap of the incredible year that was 2016.

Oh, the Places is a series of posts in which I recap through photographs my travels, both expected and surprising across countries, cities, and seas. Consider these field notes from a wonderlust-filled student desperate to see more of the world than her small English city.