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!

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Every author wants to read an in-depth review about their book!

If you ask an author what they want to achieve in their writing career, especially a self-published author like me, they might say “to be published and have my book adapted into a TV series or movie“. I would be lying if I denied that this is my long term objective… but we also quite like the idea of entertaining readers and hopefully receive positive feedback on our work.

Weirdly, this is kind of my review of a review… Book review inception!

I’m pleased to say that my novel “DECEPTION: A Love of Lies” has received a fantastic review from a reader. It’s not just any review, it’s a thorough analysis. The reader has taken the time to delve deep into studying the plot, setting and characterisation of ‘DECEPTION‘.

Deception: A Love of Lies by T. J. Blake

It was written to be a suspenseful psychological thriller riddled with clues and dark turns. So I’m very proud to see that this was well received by this reviewer and that they enjoyed the ‘DECEPTION’ experience!

Some key points I loved from the review:

Blake is a seed-planter all right. He knows when and how to drop clues, or hints. When to add to the uneasy feeling these create. When to allow said seeds to burst into sprouting life with the twist you’ve been expecting from the very beginning…

The book keeps on teasing us, building the suspense, adding in odd details until we’re crying out for the Bad Thing we know must happen, to happen. Even though we have no idea what it’s going to be.

“If you like atmosphere, you’ll get it by the bucket load in this book. Ditto if you like a slow build, mounting tension, having questions you just have to know the answers to.”

“For writers, the book is a great lesson in economy of style, internal conflict, and how to write an unreliable first person narrator – where the story we get is different the one in the main character’s head.”

Read the full review from Damien – https://damienseaman.com/2018/10/02/who-says-you-cant-start-a-book-with-the-weather/

Thank you so much for the review Damien if you’re reading this!

‘Masterful Storytelling. Eery Silence. Emotional. Terrifying.’ A Quiet Place – Film Review

A Quiet Place. An amazing spectacle. Masterful storytelling, eerily quiet – on screen and in the theatre – emotional, raw, terrifying. 

As an Odeon Limitless member, I’m always at a local Odeon. For the amount of films I’ve already seen in 2018, this was the first one which urged me to write this film review. It’s that good!

Let’s get down to my review of A Quiet Place.

Plot

Set in 2020, Earth’s human population has been catastrophically wiped. We’re introduced to the Abbott family. Husband Lee, wife Evelyn, sons Marcus and Beau, and daughter Regan.

The opening scene is the family scavenging for supplies in a store. Bare feet and using sign language. They’re sneaking around for medication and other supplies.

I don’t want to get too deep into the plot (you’ll see why in my review). Minimal awareness of the story will allow you to enjoy this film even more!

Review

This film is being billed as a horror movie, but I think it deserves more credit. It’s not just another typical modern horror. There’s too many of those kind of movies where you can expect a killer or haunting spirit, jumpy moments, people running into danger or falling over. THIS is not one of those horrors. A better description would be that A Quiet Place is a thriller with horror themes.

Key elements of the film

There are so many elements in the first few seconds of the film which foreshadow the narrative. Equally, the film’s title kind of gives away the biggest theme of the film. Quietness.

The opening scene where the Abbotts are scavenging has stuck with me most. Mainly due to the masterful storytelling on show. It allows you to make many observations about the world we’ve been introduced to. There’s an empty food store that has been cleared out of everything, except all of the crisp packets. Such a simple yet powerful touch of storytelling!

Sound is the horror element of this film. Everyone is scared of making any sound, even us watching the film. During the film, I actually diffused a cough. Fed up with people scratching in their bucket of popcorn? Well, no chance of that in this film. You would feel so awkward digging into noisy popcorn.

I’ve been trying to think of a new horror idea of my own for some time. Sound being the fear in this film is brilliant. It’s completely unique. Although there are many films where people try to be quiet in segments when they’re hiding from someone, A Quiet Place uses sound as a fear to the extreme (in a good way). How we associate silence in day-to-day life is completely transformed in A Quiet Place.

The tension created in the film is unbelievable. My fingernails were non-existent by the end of it and my palms were so clammy. There’s not much more to say on the tension, other than YOU WILL FEEL NERVOUS DURING THIS FILM.

Another nice touch is that we’re following a traditional, loving family in a completely untraditional world. But this is what makes this movie so raw and emotional. There’s a clear, underlying love between each of the characters, but every family has their problems. There’s such a strong scene which made me shed a tear. It was such an authentic moment in the film which wasn’t overdone and executed well!

Star Rating: 4.7/5

Although minor, there were a couple of parts where I was a bit confused or I thought were not entirely explained all that well.

One is a scene where Lee lights a fire. We see other fires being lit miles away around him. But what was the point in this? At the time I didn’t really think anything of it. Now thinking back, I’m a bit like, ‘why did they show that?’ Maybe I’m oblivious and it was important to show that there are other people living in this world? I’m not sure, but there’s a scene with an old man that shows there are other people around, so was there really any need for the fire scene?

Anyway, I loved this film. The tension it created, the new fear of sound, the connection and disconnection between the family, the amazing storytelling. Tie it all together and you have a fantastic film!

If you haven’t seen this film, go and see it. You will not regret it!

My Dark Fantasy eBook Alive has a new book cover, and it’s FREE on Amazon!

My dark fantasy eBook, Alive, has a brand new book cover. It’s also free to download from January 12th to the 15th!

Alive’s synopsis:

For nearly a year now I have been living a lie. My husband and two daughters believe that I am dead. No one can know our secret.

New cover for dark fantasy eBook, Alive

I’m really excited to officially reveal the new front cover of my eBook dark fantasy short story, Alive.

Feast your eyes on the new book cover!

Dark fantasy short story Alive T. J. Blake

It’s a massive improvement on the last cover for Alive and truly echoes the darkness, fear and suspense of the story.

This amazing cover wouldn’t have been possible if it wasn’t for the talent of Jordan Baker from The Bakery Creative. Thank you for helping me and well done for doing a fine job!

Dark fantasy short story

Although it may seem biased of me to say, but I love Alive. It may only be a short story, but it’s one I really enjoyed writing and re-reading. I read it recently and it had me on edge.

Here’s what other readers are saying about Alive:

Read the whole book continuously… ‘Alive’ is a dark fantasy. I must say I enjoyed the book very much as I’m addicted to dark fantasy stories. I love his writing style and I’m a happy reader.– Amazon.com

Read this short story whilst I was on holiday in Cyprus and loved it! The afternoon passed by so quickly as I couldn’t put it down, a great little page turner. A creepy story line with a great twist, would highly recommend.– Goodreads

Download Alive for free from Amazon on Kindle from 12th-15th of Jan!

Alive will be free to download on Amazon for the weekend – starting tomorrow the 12th of January, and lasting until Monday the 15th.

Once you’ve read it, I’d love to hear your thoughts, so why not leave a review too!

New Year’s Eve – What’s to come in 2018? The next Endurance & a new Alive eBook cover

Endurance front cover

It’s New Year’s Eve. Do you want to know what I’m doing right now? I’m writing. Finally!

I’m not afraid to admit, I am quite disappointed in myself, mostly because I didn’t nearly spend enough time writing for the year of 2017. I’ve been writing more than ever, but not in terms of writing creatively for my books.

Having changed jobs and started a writing business, my time has been taken up by these two things. I guess that just happens, life gets in the way. Even so, it’s still disappointing!

Something I have found though from my 3 hour writing spree is that I haven’t lost the passion or enjoyment whilst working on the final book of The Endurance Series.

I’ve been working on Endurance 3 since I finished my last book, Deception, back in 2016. And here we are in 2017, on the brink of 2018, still a lot of work to do before the last instalment is released – it’s worth the wait though!

Endurance is coming to an end… or is it?

Screen Shot 2017-12-31 at 15.13.01

The plot and story of the final chapter in the series, Endurance: Recovery, is all planned out. All that is left to do is to write it.

Only 12,500 words into the book so far, and a lot has happened already!

If you enjoyed the fast pace, action and gore in the first two books, then you’re going to love this one too!

I won’t go into too much detail about the characters in this one because there’s potential for spoilers. So we’ll just say this – if you’re hungry for more kick-ass fighting, blood and infected maniacs, keep an eye out for the release of Endurance: Recovery.

It’s the last instalment of The Endurance Series, or is it? You’ll have to wait to find out!

Endurance: Recovery, coming 2018!

New eBook cover for dark fantasy short story, Alive

Back in 2016 I released a short eBook dark fantasy short story called Alive. This is the synopsis:

For nearly a year now I have been living a lie. My husband and two daughters believe that I am dead. No one can know our secret.

2018 will see a new front cover for the dark and chilling short story!

The planning of more stories

I’ve got a catalogue of book ideas to choose from, but I am always looking for new ideas to entertain you all.

Happy New Year Everyone!

I hope you all have a great night tonight seeing in 2018.

I’ll see you on the other side!

DECEPTION is Reduced, ENDURANCE and THE AUTHOR are free on Amazon!

T. J. Blake’s thriller novels, Deception, Endurance and The Author will be available as a promotion on Amazon for eBook and Kindle format.

Apologies for my lack of activity recently here on my T. J. Blake #Author blog, but life has been really hectic!

Free eBooks on Amazon – just to say sorry!

To say sorry for my abandonment, my books ENDURANCE and THE AUTHOR will be free to download from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com for eBook and Kindle Friday – Sunday.

DECEPTION is reduced – limited time only!

Along with my books being free, my psychological thriller, DECEPTION, will be available for 99p/99cents on both Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.

My New Content Writing Business in Surrey is keeping me busy
If you saw my previous blog post about my new writing business, TJ Creative, you will know that this is one of the main reasons for me being a little neglectful recently.

Along with my business, I also secured a new full time job, which is keeping me very busy!

Free and reduced books by T. J. Blake

Back to the point, please take advantage of my books being free and reduced, it's quite rare for my books to be on a promotion.

They will be free and reduced Friday to Sunday!

Head over to Amazon now and grab your e-copies of my books!

Books by T. J. Blake and what’s to come 

My writing journey began with my debut release, Endurance (2013), a gory dystopian horror-thriller novel.


After my fast paced debut came my suspenseful mystery thriller, The Author (2014), which was closely followed by the second gory book of The Endurance Series, Endurance: Apocalypse (2014).


I then took a year gap whilst I finished my last year at university. But as soon as I fnished, I was back and I decided to release a tense dark fantasy short story, Alive (2016).

After Alive, I released my latest novel, Deception: A Love of Lies (2016) – this book has received wonderful reviews from readers across the globe!


I’m always working on new book ideas, my latest includes a brand new horror!

My next book to be released is the last instalment of The Endurance Series – which is currently due for release later this year.

To find out more about my books and what’s to come, take a look at Books by T. J. Blake.

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! 

My 2016 year review and what’s to come! 

Although 2016 has been a terrible year in many ways, it has also been a great year for many. 

Brexit, Trump, celebrity deaths – we all have our reasons for hating 2016, but there are also reasons for people to look back with pride. But the amount of celebrity deaths has been shocking for this year! 

Whether your year has been made by personal achievement, a heartwarming story in the news, or from something as simple as the release of a film, TV show or song, embrace it. 

For me personally, I’ve had a year full of ups and downs, mostly ups, and in terms of my writing it’s been very satisfying. 

Deception: A Love of Lies Goodreads T. J. Blake

My psychological thriller, Deception, has not disappointed. It has received nothing but praise, and has an average rating higher than my other books across Goodreads, Amazon and Barnes & Noble ; which I’m extremely proud of. 

There was also the release of my short dark fantasy story, Alive, which I’m very happy with because just like Deception, it’s a genre I’m not used to. 

For you reading this right now, try something new for next year. If you want to try something new and it’s out your comfort zone, just do it, you have nothing to lose. And who knows, it may pay off! 

Dark Fantasy Alive Book Cover T. J. Blake
Roll on 2017 I say, and roll on the final book of my book series, The Endurance Series, coming in the New Year! 

Happy New Year everyone!

New 5 🌟 review for Deception from a reader in Canada!

Deception has been enjoyed by many readers, mainly in the U.K. and USA, but Deception: A Love of Lies has recently received another 5 star review from a Canadian reader. 

The review does contain spoilers, so I will not be revealing the full review on my blog, but I will tell you some of the main points from the review. 

This reader said that Deception was a thrilling story with a surprise ending. They also said ‘the book had me in it’s grip within the first two chapters‘. 

They concluded the review with ‘The story is not a happy one, rather it is a slice of life as it can sometimes be. If you like a scary story with a real edge, this could be one you should read.

Read Deception: A Love of Lies now! 

Deception T. J. Blake book Canada review