Planning a Novel – I’m trying out something new!

The development of my previous five books all followed a similar format – first came the initial idea, then the fabrication of the world and the characters within it, and then a basic outline of the story’s journey. This usually took the form of my thoughts combined with the plot outline on my iPhone notes; which seems ridiculous looking back!

With a new book currently in development, I wanted to try something a little different in preparing myself to write it.

Time and patience is the key to writing an effective novel. The initial planning and development of a story is more important than the writing itself.

My novel latest novel, DECEPTION: A Love of Lies, relied heavily on the characterisation and plot of the story. This is what drove the story. The initial idea was very different to how DECEPTION is now, but the time spent on researching and developing the plot is what made it the big hit it is today.

So, how am I changing my novel planning process?

I’m still embracing my mental plotting, but I’m taking the approach of jotting it down on paper, which is why I’ve got my own book planning notebook now!

Novel Planning Notebook T. J. Blake

As dull as the image is above, this little notebook of mine has book titles, plots, quotes, character profiles and backstories inside it. I’ve separated the various elements of the novel up. The notebook currently contains a book title page, character profile page, character background page, key events page, quotes page, writing inspo page and genre theme page.

With the divided pages, I’m able to jot down my ideas in basic note form. All the ideas I note down aren’t guaranteed to feature in the book when I come to write it, but it allows me to plaster my ideas and let me review it over time when the time arrives for me to start writing and put the plot together.

My character profile and background pages were looking very full to begin with, mostly because the protagonist in this novel was the key to the story; it all started with her (there’s an exclusive for you all!).

What’s your planning process?

I’d love to know what your novel planning process is. If you’ve tried many ways to plan your books and have both terrible and great experiences, I’d love to hear them!

Advertisements

Book Review: “Secrets and Lies” by Lynda Renham

New home, new village, old secrets… and a haunting spirit?

Flora and Adam McIntosh move to the country. It’s a setting they’re not used to, but they absolutely love it, or at least Adam does. Flora isn’t so keen. She’s torn. She can admire the home’s charming quaintness, but she can’t shake off the feeling of a presence in the home.

The proud villagers are welcoming, but they’re also suffocating. Everyone knows everyone. Everyone knows everyone’s business. Everyone’s doors are open, literally, even if you don’t want them to be.

I did enjoy this book. The premise was great. Wherever Flora was, she wasn’t safe. Nowhere was safe for her. This added a lot of mystery and fear of what was going to happen next. The mix of overfamiliar villagers, secrets, Flora’s inquisitiveness, and a haunting spirit made this story addictive.

There were however a few things about the narrative I didn’t enjoy. Reflection and thoughts. Flora has many of them during the story. They were mostly following the line of questioning of: Is it this? Is it that? Could this happen? Or could this? Maybe this person did this. Maybe that person did that. It was a little much. Let the reader think about these questions, not Flora. Or not Flora as regularly as she does throughout the book.

There was also a twist which I DID NOT see coming. But as I reflect (not as much as Flora) on it, I feel the author cheated a little bit here and there to make this twist impossible to guess, which kind of ruins the fun. A character can’t react a certain way to something and then later in the book it’s revealed that same character already knew about it. Unless I’m misunderstanding the scenes, I would say that’s cheat storytelling. I can’t say too much more without giving away this twist (it’s not the big twist). Hopefully those of you who have read it know what I mean.

Overall, a fair 3 star rating. 4 star for the premise itself, brought down by my little doubts. 

Secrets and Lies by Lynda Renham

Get ‘Deception: A Love of Lies’ from Waterstones or WHSmith

This may be old news to some of you because I posted this on my social media, but my latest psychological thriller,  Deception: A Love of Lies, is available to purchase from Waterstones and WHSmith. 

It’s a great achievement, mostly because my previous books did not make it onto WHSmith, but Deception has! 

It’s currently out of stock on WHSmith, but it’s available elsewhere in paperback and eBook. 

Deception T. J. Blake WHSmith
It’s great that it’s listed on WHSmith, and I am trying to speak to the distributor to see if we can get a description added into the book’s product page, as well as get it stocked in stores.

I’ll also admit, it’s quite pricey in WHSmith. However, on Waterstones, it’s available for a cool £7.50. 

Deception T. J. Blake Waterstones
Deception: A Love of Lies – worth the read? 

If you’re wondering whether Deception is worth reading, then you should see the incredible ratings it’s received on Goodreads from readers across the world. 

I love this book – it’s easily my favourite out of my books, and it’s all because of the main character, Billy. I know I’m slightly biased, but I’m confident that if you enjoy a psychological thriller with intricate characters and detailed characterisation, then you’ll enjoy Deception!

Deception A Love of Lies Goodreads
Grab a copy of Deception today by heading over to Waterstones, Amazon or Barnes & Noble, and see what others are saying about Deception on Goodreads

Be careful when looking at reviews, there’s potential for spoilers! 

A Post is Coming! 

Hi everyone! 

I know it’s been a while since I posted – just under a month ago – but there is something coming for you. 

Tomorrow, I will be posting a new article for my blog. It’s an interesting one – it’s a comparative analysis using the narratological theory of mind style. 

I will be explaining mind style for those of you who aren’t aware of the concept, as well as use it to review a very well known and successful book. 

Keep an eye out tomorrow; it may be beneficial to you, especially if you’re an avid writer! 

Deception: A Love of Lies Reviewed!

Sorry it’s been a while again folks, I’ve had quite a busy New Year so far with life and work – but I’m very happy to see Deception continuing to entertain people.

When people read Deception, one key element particularly stands out to them: Characterisation. It’s a theme in this book that is the key to Deception‘s appeal. With an intriguing main character (Billy Allen) and a beautiful, peaceful setting of Lavingsham, this unique story allows us to become part of Billy’s life. 

The paragraph below taken from my reader’s review sums up the book, and will ultimately tell you if my psychological thriller is a book for you. 

It is a compelling read, drawing you into Billy’s house. T. J. Blake knows how to keep you glued to the story, in dire need of finding out who/what Billy really is. Billy and Eve are quite complex, despite the mixed emotions I had about them. The story comprises authentic characters, interesting turns, and has a good flow.

Read the full review nowhttps://mytrainofthoughtson.wordpress.com/2017/01/05/deception-a-love-of-lies-by-t-j-blake/

Deception Psychological Thriller T. J. Blake

2 more 5🌟 reviews for Deception

It’s been a while since I last blogged, but I thought this was definitely worth a quick post – Deception: A Love of Lies has two more 5 star reviews! 

They have been posted on both Amazon US and UK. 

Check them out below!

Deception 5 Star Book Review Amazon
Deception Book Review Amazon
‘So what exactly is Deception about?’ I hear you asking. Take a look at the synopsis below and allow yourself to live the life of avid dog walker, Billy Allen. 

“Through the stark and leafless trees, I see her.

I remember the first day I saw her; an instant attraction. I think she’s beautiful. She has such pensive blue eyes; they remind me of a blue sky right before the sun descends. Every time I see her I want to talk to her, I want to get to know her, and I want to be her friend.

She usually completes the lower woodland walk in six minutes and forty-two seconds; she misses the deeper woodlands and goes home, I believe.

I walk down the road at the same speed as her. She reaches the crossroads at the bottom of the road, looks both ways, and then jogs across into the garden of a house. I stop walking and concentrate on which house is hers.

I can’t stare too long but I am intrigued already, I will come back.”

Deception: A Love of Lies Book Cover
FINALLY – there will be a spotlight feature on another blog Thursday, which will be hosting a giveaway of three eCopies of Deception, so keep an eye out for that in the 1st of December. 

My books Endurance and The Author will also be free to download from Amazon on the 1st of December also! 

The Author Mystery Thriller BookEndurance Dystopian Horror Book T. J. Blake

‘It’s the first time I have encountered using setting observations as characterization.’ – Another 5 star review for Deception

You’re probably asking yourself the question, ‘what exactly can I expect from Deception?’ Well, I can tell you that it’s not your typical thriller novel. I would describe it as an intricately detailed psychological thriller, which will have you following clues and trying to piece the story together; along with trying to understand the behaviour and past of the main character, Billy Allen. 

The latest 5 star review on Amazon and Goodreads, posted by justafarmer4, has given an appreciative nod to the extremely detailed story telling and rare characterisation technique of Deception

This one will keep you wondering from the very beginning.

I don’t often read an entire novel in one sitting, but this one kept me turning pages until 2 a.m.

The story begins with an excruciatingly detailed description of walking in the woods. Extremely, minutely, detailed and I thought, ok, get on with the story already!

Then I realized: this was a most central facet of the main character, Billy. It’s the first time I have encountered using setting observations as characterization. And it’s done brilliantly because Bill’s attention to detailed observation is who he is, how he has let it take over how he views his life, and it is how it ultimately fails him, thus leading to this twisted tragedy.

His “peeping tom” episodes concerned me tremendously, and initially put me off feeling any sympathy whatsoever for Bill, but they were also an important part of the characterization and understanding the hows and whys of his mental state.

His social skills are so depressed that he has difficulty interacting with other people. Fortunately for him, this dreadful inadequacy doesn’t extend to canines. He carries on lengthy discussions with his own dog, who adores him, and he gets on well with other dogs. And the other dogs like him as well, so that was a major point in his favor for me. After all, anyone who really knows dogs understand that dogs are almost infallible when it comes to which humans are trustworthy. Almost always…

Bill isn’t the only “peeping tom”. Other characters made me feel like a ping pong ball as my sympathy for each swung back and forth while they did their own peeking and sneaking around; well, except for one particularly nasty piece of work who enjoyed terrifying everyone else…no sympathy for him, at all, ever. (Boo! Hiss! Hide yer children and dogs from this bully!)

I’ll wrap this up by returning to the topic of excruciating details. The novel is jam-packed with them, which lends extremely well to the constant misdirection. All of the clues are there, hidden in plain sight. Such a cliché for me to say, but it is indeed very close to “not seeing the forest for the trees”.

This has been one of the more difficult reviews for me to write because I’ve tried to avoid including anything remotely resembling a spoiler. Trust me. Any one of the characters could ultimately be revealed as “the one”. I encourage the reader to take up the book and enjoy the ride or, in this case, the walk through the woods.”

This reader has a great reading of Deception,and fully embraced the book for what it stands for. 

Get your copy of Deception either as paperback or on Kindle/eBook now. 

Deception is compared with Gone Girl

Is there a better way to praise a book? I’m extremely pleased to see that my readers are enjoying Deception, with more 4 & 5 star reviews popping up – but a comparison with Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl is really impressive. 


I enjoyed reading this particular review, the reader has clearly enjoyed getting to know the characters and thoroughly enjoys the ‘Deception’ of the story. You can see their full review on Amazon. 

If you want to read a psychological thriller which will have you looking over your shoulder and questioning your loved one, then Deception is for you! 

Get your copy today on Amazon and Smashwords

The positive reviews keep coming for Deception 

Deception: A Love of Lies continues to receive more praise, so what are you waiting for? Start reading it today on Kindle – http://getbook.at/DeceptionTJBlake

5 star review on Amazon.com


4 star on Amazon.co.uk


How can you start a career in writing?

Finding a job and starting your career in any industry is extremely difficult, especially when it comes to the sphere of writing. Due to this seemingly impossible sector to break into, I feel that I should give you an overview of what self-publishing has done for me in terms of my employability.

Finding a job and starting your career in any industry is extremely difficult, especially when it comes to the sphere of writing. Due to this seemingly impossible sector to break into, I feel that I should give you an overview of what self-publishing has done for me in terms of my employability.

Please see my new post How can I start a career in writing? and read about my view on recruitment, the writing sector and how avid writers can build up their writing experience with the assistance of self-publishing.

image1

Something that I have learned from writing and self-publishing is that indie authors stick together – we help each other and as a growing and global community, it’s great to be a part of it. So, I want to help my fellow writers out by spreading my story; which has only just begun. I haven’t achieved everything I want to achieve, I only have just over three years of experience, but I feel I’ve come a long way in those three years, on a personal and professional level.

Feel free to find out more about me by looking through my blog:

About T. J. Blake

Books by T. J. Blake

Why did I choose to self-publish?

UK Author T. J. Blake Releases New Psychological Thriller, Deception: A Love of Lies