Title Announcement

I'm very excited about this... My WIP has finally got a title.

It's taken six months! I really wanted it to be a single word, and since I wasn't getting anywhere on my own, I brainstormed some ideas with my boyfriend and flat mate. We tried Switch (too sci-fi), Trade (boring), The Trade (umm.. it happens more than once), Swap (just a really horrible sounding word. Try it.)

But we got there eventually. So, from now on the WIP formally known as "It Started With a Carp" will be called....

*drum roll*


*fireworks* *party poppers* *feel-good music*

Until next time.


Word Cloud

Hi friends,

To celebrate the fact that I've finally nailed the introduction for my (still untitled) WIP, I decided to make a word cloud. 

If you're not familiar with word clouds, you paste text into a box and it analyses the words that come up most frequently, presenting it in a visual "cloud". They can be a handy tool for writers as they quickly point out any excessive repetitions. Thanks to my word cloud, I see I have a tendency to focus on people's eyes and hands. The word "back" is also very large, so I will go through the piece and see if it can be eliminated anywhere. That great big "like" could be a warning sign that I've gone a bit heavy handed on the similes. However, I'm pretty pleased to see that "heart" hasn't made it in there, nor has "say" or any distancing words like "think", "smell" and "see", and that most of the other big words are proper nouns. 

Word clouds are also a neat way to get a "flavour" of the piece. "Water", "ocean", "harbour", "lake" and "church" all make appearances, which makes me confident the world building is stronger than it previously was. The "dialect" is also prevalent. "Ye" (you), "ta" (to), "ma" (my) and "aye" (yes) are all there, all of which enrich the world building. I'm pleased to see that a tiny "witches" has crept in. Although nothing magical happens in the introduction, I've tried to include magical elements as a hint towards future events, so it doesn't come out of the blue or feel jarring.

One word that no longer makes an appearance is "ring". The ring, upon which the whole narrative relies is now absent in the introduction. Though we're often told as YA writers to "jump straight into the action", or "start with the point of change", a lot of books I enjoy don't do this. Instead, I prefer the tension to build up until the "inciting event" hits. The inciting event in my book (i.e. the discovery of the ring) comes after the reader knows exactly what Tripp stands to lose. Hopefully, this will turn out to be the best course of action!

If you fancy getting a world cloud for your own book, I recommend Wordle which is where I created this one.

Happy writing and reading, friends!

-CB Soulsby

First Page Critique

Recently, the first page of my current WIP was picked up for a critique on YA Confidential Blog. The blog is an awesome resource for writers as real teenagers do the critiques. Being someone with a complete lack of access to teenagers this makes the feedback even more valuable for me!

You can see my first page in all its glory and the feedback it received here.

Blog-Hop Questions

Last week my critique partner, Seabrook Leckie, tagged me in a blog-hop post called the Next Big Thing, where writers share some details about their works in progress. I was supposed to do it on Wednesday but I was too busy being excited about my new job. :) For anyone interested in my current book, here are my answers:
1. What is the working title of your book?
Currently untitled. I've been referring to it as "It started with a carp" but this is most definitely not what it will eventually be called!
2. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
On a remote Scottish island, fifteen-year-old Trypper Lawson discovers an enchanted ring with the power to exchange life and death, and has until midnight to offer himself as a sacrifice to a cult of death-worshippers before a curse is put upon the entire island.
3. What genre does your book fall under?
YA fantasy. It might become MG after my revision though, so watch this space!
4. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I don't know. I'm currently reading Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater which is also set on an island and has a fantastical element to it, so I'll go with that!

5. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Three weeks.
6. Where did the idea come from for the book?
Lots of different things! The initial idea came to me after reading Scarlett Thomas' The End of Mr Y, with the idea of people hitch-hiking inside another's brain, mixed with the ability to transfer one "state" to another from Janice Hardy's Healing Wars, mixed with listening to the song An Ode to Billy Joe by Bobbie Gentry too much! The story is completely different to the one I started out with, though. The only thing left from its Billy Joe days are American sounding characters (like Trypp!). I think the island came into it because I've always wanted to write a book set on an island, and it's a combination of Louise's island in Jacob Have I Loved with the sinister elements of Summer Isle in The Wicker Man and the farce of Craggy Island in Father Ted.
7. Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I'll give Nanowrimo the credit for that.
8. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Some lovely Scottish kids.
9. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I'll be seeking representation with this book. I don't think self-publishing would be right for me. I'm not good at self promotion :/
10. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
There's a scene near the end that will blow your mind. At least it blew mine trying to write it...!
Tagged: I don't have anyone to tag. Boo.
RulesAnswer these ten questions about your current WIP on  your blog.
Tag (up to) five other writers/bloggers with their links so we can hop over and meet them.