Put this in your writer’s toolbox.


Structuring your novel


Structure and creativity can co-exist

There are those writers who balk at the very idea of outlining a work of fiction. They feel that structure and creativity cannot co-exist peacefully.  Then there are those writers who fall on the other end of the spectrum. They believe in formulaic structure and are passionate about the rigidity of these frameworks. I prefer to walk a middle line down these two paths of thought, and Weiland shows how easily this balance between structure and creativity can be achieved.

In simple terms, Weiland provides a framework that has proven success, with easy references to a variety of genres and classics for practical examples. Weiland starts with the bigger picture of dissecting the novel as a complete whole, and then delves deeper into the scene and the sequel, and finally, into the basics of sentence construction. There are checklists and questions to keep writers on track and some wonderful creative suggestions to assist with driving stories forward, while ensuring that they remain on track.

As writers, we need to keep honing and improving our crafts. This is one tool that should be in every writer’s toolbox.     

4 of 5 stars to ‘Timebound’ by Rysa Walker

Time bound

Intricate multiple plotlines

Kate’s father says that the little medallion her grandmother gives her is pink, but to Kate, it is a brilliant blue. When she discovers that the medallion is actually a time travel key, it is hard enough to comprehend, but when her entire time-line gets rewritten – without her grandmother, parents or herself, Kate is devastated. She is the only one who can fix the ripple and that means going back to 1893, risking her life and losing the boy she’s fallen in love with.

It’s no small feat to manage a single time-line in a novel, so juggling multiple timelines requires some God-like skill. No fear, Rysa Walker apparently has some God-like qualities – at least in this Chronos world. The story lines are expertly woven and completely believable, right down to the backstory timeline that does and doesn’t exist.

I particularly enjoyed the political and religious themes. So many time travel stories deal with personal issues of characters who think only as far as their own lives, but this one recognizes the power of religion both past and present (and even future). The beginning of the story was a little slow compared to the action-packed time travelling, but I felt that the author has done a good job setting up a sturdy background for an exciting series.

Kate’s character is easy to fall in love with. She’s human, doesn’t always do the right thing and is completely relatable. The mystery and action is nail-biting and the ending tied up nicely, while leaving me with many reasons to click through to Amazon to order the sequel.

4 of 5 stars to ‘Chaysing dreams’ by Jalpa Williby

Chaysing Dreams


Extended timespan

Life is perfect for Tessnia and she breezes through it. Her parents are supportive and school is a showcase for her straight A’s and fantastic athletic ability. The only cloud on her otherwise pin-straight horizon is the strange recurring dream that leaves her quaking in terror, but with her best friends Kylie and Jack at her side, life is a content and orderly adventure. When Tess starts University, she expects no less than the best, but when Chris meets her on the track, she soon learns that there is much more to life than her sheltered past has exposed her to. There is an instant connection between the two, and some conflict too as Chris teaches and challenges Tess to reach her full potential, which is far greater than even she could ever have imagined. But Chris’ life may not be as perfect as Tess’s and she soon finds out that the secrets he harbors may put them both in mortal danger.

Williby has a very short and effective writing style; there are no long sentences or weighty adverbs and adjectives. It lends the story a straight forward, almost diary type of feel that is refreshing. She manages to portray deep emotion without too much introspection and the gradual maturing of her characters over the extended time period is realistic and full-bodied.

It’s hard to put this novel into any one particular genre, because it spans such a long time period in Tess’s life, and there’s so much in it. There’s mystery, love, sex, a touch of paranormal and contemporary, young adult and adult content. There were some really minor grammatical and tense errors, as well as some repetition and some telling instead of showing early on, but once I got deeper into the story, I understood the reason behind this and was swept away in the story. The extended timespan just adds so much more to the perceived perfection of Tess’s life and reinforces the ‘shock’ factor of the ‘not-so-perfect’ happenings.

The premise is an intriguing one, although I feel that more information is necessary, which means that Williby has done her job well and given me a good reason to buy the sequel. The action and the sex scenes were tastefully done, the story was beautifully paced and the characters were endearing. Put this one on your reading list – and while you’re at it, just add the sequels too because this author has such a unique and entertaining writing style.