The story of Henry Applebee is primarily narrated by the man himself, although characters Ariel and Travis do take parts in being protagonists. The timeline of the story switches between past and present. I was unsure of this book at first, until I got the gist of which path the story was going to take. Not that it is predictable. There is a huge build up, you have to wait for it though. I liked the setting of the train station in the present and loved being in Blackpool for the past. This is a story of lost love and once you discover how Henry met this woman and lost her because of his insecurities (and mobile phones hadn’t been invented) it did make my eyes mist over.
Unfortunately, the story lost its way in its conclusion. I felt like the author was trying to repeat what happened to Henry with Ariel and Travis, who all meet on the train. I didn’t feel invested in the other characters as much. The ending is not automatically a happy one, which is realistic.
My final thoughts are I loved (ha) the love story in Finding Henry Applebee. The other parts not so much. It is set partly during World War 2, so if you like reading historical fiction books, I’m sure you will like this. I’m probably going to read this book again and love it.
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I found myself nervous writing reviews for collections of poetry. I must give that context, in terms of my depression and where my confidence is. I found myself reading other people’s reviews and they were like works of art. They could be describing the book in a couple of sentences, saying what they think and making it sound compulsory to read that poetry collection. I mean, I can get in a real funk with my need for perfectionism. It makes me procrastinate and urgh, give up sometimes. Because how on earth do you reach perfectionism? I forget I pretty much write reviews for myself to begin with, to get my thoughts down, to discuss and ask questions. Most of the inspiration felt in reading poetry collections usually prompts my own poetry. I find it easier to be afraid people will tell me I’m wrong about my opinion in a review, than in my writing because I’ll tell them to piss off. Poetry can take up any form and it’s subjective. Not everyone will like what you write. It’s the same with why I gave up writing fiction. If I stray from poem form, I feel uncertain. I think I’m not a fiction writer. When you can learn to be. It isn’t easy. But I can learn about those things I struggle with, like structuring chapters, the story arc and all those other bits with fancy names. Then maybe I can finish that story, which has been 13 years in the making.
This only comes from myself, by the way. I don’t have terrible memories of people criticising my reviews, or my stories. I can remember people not being keen to read my writing. Obviously, I remember teachers at school trying to teach me about putting paragraphs into my writing and how capital letters were important. But I was privileged that I got a lot of what they taught me, I loved reading fact books and encyclopaedia’s, enjoyed spelling tests and treated times tables as if they were Brussel Sprouts and I have always had ideas. My imagination has always been active. In secondary school writing became my outlet for being socially inept, so thankfully I did have my primary school education. Writing is instinctive.
Often the most difficult thing about writing is, well, doing the writing bit. I can dream for days about all kinds of scenarios and characters and lines that I type into a Word document or the drafts of my phone. Then inevitably forgetting about them. This is why writers can have an awful lot of WIPs!
(works in progress)
So how does one begin with the business of writing? Here are some tips.
1. Get comfortable. I get a lot of writers don’t have the luxury of time to write, so whether it’s on the train and you need to put headphones in to zone out the noise around you and get some words on paper while commuting, or in the early hours of the morning, while your partner snores from the bedroom, and you need to wrap a blanket around you because it’s a bit chilly, do it!
2. Writing materials are important too. I don’t know about you, but I loved my smelly glitter pens and stickers as a child. There’s no need to use an old Biro when you have highlighters, fine liners, and fountain pens at your disposal.
3. Drink of choice. Water, squash, or Cola. Whatever. Writing is thirsty work. Enough said.
4. Don’t stop. I mean, obviously if you’re getting cramp in your wrist, or your eyes are aching, take a couple of minutes to stretch/blink, but don’t go and find a distraction. Many times I have gotten up from writing to walk into the kitchen, get a yogurt from the fridge, eat it, put the spoon in the sink, decide I need to do the washing up, then load the washing machine and put that on, and then pick up my phone, get distracted, and start scrolling.
These are my 4 quick tips to beginning that story, or novel, or poem. Let me know in the comments what your tips are for starting out.
I don’t know about you, but I am aiming to get more of my writing published this year. This blog is a (short!) list of literary journals/publications that are accepting writing & art at the moment. Don’t forget to read the guidelines on their website, they can vary from publication to publication!
I downloaded Wish Upon a Shell purely because I loved the cover. I loved the images, the colours, the memories it evoked. The story wasn’t too bad either. It tells the story about a baker, called Julie and her life as the owner of a bakery on a small island in Florida. Alongside her are two friends, who also run their own businesses. They share the struggles of the hard work that goes into running a business that relies on summer tourist season. Reed Newman is the stranger that has come to the island to take time off work. It was a very gentle romance. A well written story, with great characters. Summer at the Comfort Food Café I downloaded a while ago. It was free, so. This story has six weeks of brilliance, it made me laugh and cry in equal measures. It is set near the Jurassic Coast, in Dorset and the whole setting was dreamlike. If I walked into the setting in this story I wouldn’t want to go- home. It sounded perfect. The Comfort Food Café I wish was a real place. Its characters, with their own pasts and stories, were perfect for this story. I liked how grief was a theme and covered loss, loneliness, moving on.
Setting was important in both books. I think a well described setting can make character more real because we can use our imaginations to see ourselves with the characters and it can make reading so much cosier somehow. Like you never want the book to end.