Friday Fiction - Nikki Young Writes

Book review, Here We Lie, Sophie McKenzie

I spent last week in Italy and that meant plenty of relaxing and reading time. My holiday book of choice was Here We Lie, by Sophie McKenzie.

It’s a murder mystery that I would thoroughly recommend as it kept me guessing right until the end. This is one of those stories where you think you know what’s going on. You’re following the same trail protagonist, Emily, as she tries to search for the truth, but at the back of your mind, you’re never quite sure. I think it’s her strong belief about who is to blame that helps to also sow that seed of doubt in the reader’s mind.

Emily is on holiday with her fiancé, his son and daughter, her sister, brother and his boyfriend when tragedy strikes. On returning home, Emily is set on finding out what happened, but in doing so uncovers devastating truths and puts her own life in danger.

It’s always inspiring to read a good story, especially just before you are about to embark on a challenge to write your own. This book is written in the present tense and from Emily’s point of view. The manuscript I’ve been working on is written this way too and it’s encouraging to see how it can work so well. I’ve started a new story, following on from my first one and kept this same tense, but somehow it doesn’t feel right this time. I’m around 10,000 words in and thinking about starting it again. Ouch.

That’s not necessarily the right decision when you’re on a 50,000 word in one month challenge, also known as NaNoWriMo, however, there is no point me battling on if it’s not working. My sole reason for doing this challenge was to get book two up and running and there is no point, I feel, in just writing words for the sake of it, words that will come to nothing at the end of this month.

So, I will have a re-think. Tense is everything when it comes to getting the right story across. Where first person present works well for one story, it doesn’t mean it will work for another. That’s a lesson I’m learning right now and it’s good for me to realise that I need to experiment. Hopefully I will come out of this month with something useful to show for it.

Happy Friday and happy writing!

Friday Fiction - Nikki Young Writes

Comments (8)

  1. Sara (@mumturnedmom) 10th November 2015 at 2:25 pm

    The book sounds intriguing… I will add it to my ever growing reading list 🙂 I think you’re right to take a moment to stop and think about how you’re writing your Nano words… could you change tense going forward without editing what you’ve written (go back at the end of the month and do it) or will it ultimately be easier for flow if you go back and do the edit now? While Nano is a great challenge, it seems that having a workable first draft at the end is more useful, even if you don’t quite meet the 50,000? Hope it’s going well otherwise x

    • Nicola Young 10th November 2015 at 2:50 pm

      I started again, Sara and have nearly 16,000 words down. In theory my total word count for the month is 10,000 more but what’s more important to me is starting a story I’m happy with, not just bunging words down for the sake of it. Third person is working really well.

  2. maddy@writingbubble 11th November 2015 at 10:40 am

    That book sounds good – maybe I’ll read it next! And although it must be frustrating to lose all those NaNo words, you’re right – there’s no point carrying on just for the sake of it and you’re much better off getting down fewer words that you’re happy with instead of more words than you’re not. Glad you had a good holiday! Thanks for linking to #whatImWriting

  3. sophieblovett 11th November 2015 at 7:18 pm

    Sounds like an intriguing book… And I agree with you on the tense thing. So important to get right. Both of my novels so far have been in limited third person (past tense), but the second one has some sections in first person present. I’m loving the immediacy it gives – very tempting to give it a go for a longer piece, but I can imagine it would be tricky to maintain… I hope you’re back on track for your NaNo challenge. At the end of the day it’s not really hitting the 50K that matters though – if you can make a solid start on your next project then that sounds like a win to me! xx

    • Nicola Young 12th November 2015 at 7:26 am

      You’re right and that was my reason for doing it. The challenge really does make me knuckle down to write more and I’m loving it. I’m also enjoying the third person because it feels more relaxing, bit like you suggest, first person can be exhausting because you are constantly in someone’s head.

  4. glasgowdragonfly 12th November 2015 at 2:41 am

    Reading is so important to the creative process, isn’t it. Best way to learn. My favourite genre is first person “stream of consciousness” and find Brett Easton Ellis novels the business for this. Great you’re doing NaNo – can’t wait to hear how go get on. Good luck!

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