Jennifer Gilby Roberts

Women's Fiction/Chick Lit Author

After Wimbledon Will Be FREE on Amazon 31 Jan and 1 Feb

Two days only!  Get on Amazon.comAmazon.co.uklocal sites

About After Wimbledon

Clashes with the Valentine’s Giveaway, doesn’t it?  Serves me right for arranging my Amazon free days so far in advance.  D’oh!

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Writing Chick Lit

I was rather tickled to come across a link to a two-day course on how to write a chick lit novel.  Sadly it was in Sydney and, as much as I’d love to go back there, there is no chance I’m taking a toddler on a 24 hour plane journey.  It was enough of a trial just by myself.

Anyway, it turns out that you can also buy books on the subject:

The Chick Lit Cookbook: A Guide to Writing Your Novel in 30 Minutes a Day by Alicia de los Reyes

See Jane Write: A Girl’s Guide to Writing Chick Lit by Sarah Mlynowski and Farrin Jacobs

Will Write for Shoes: How to Write a Chick Lit Novel by Cathy Yardley

The Girl’s Guide to Writing Chick Lit by Sarah Mlynowski and Farrin Jacobs

If you are considering writing chick lit, my advice would be to:

* Read (duh)
Particularly the most successful authors, so that you understand what your audience expects.

* Write whatever you want to write
The important thing is to get going, not to worry about what will sell.  Think about that when you’ve proved to yourself that you can complete a novel (or a novella, or a short story – whatever you’re aiming at).

* Don’t obsess about being original
Again, the important thing is to start.  If you convince yourself that you need to redefine the genre on your first go, the chances are you’ll never begin, let alone finish.  It is perfectly okay to start with something in the style of your favourite author.  I wrote The Dr Pepper Prophecies very much in the Sophie Kinsella style, but as I write more I’m starting to find my own.

* “Don’t get it right, get it written”
Advice I received on a writing course, which I have found extremely valuable.  Don’t try to find the perfect words, the perfect opening scene… the perfect anything in fact.  Do a rough draft.  Once you have the whole thing down on paper, then start trying to make it perfect.  (NB be aware that it never will be – and that’s okay).

Anyone else want to share their tips?

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Valentine’s Day Book Giveaway!

Hilary Grossman over at Feeling Beachy is running a Valentine’s Day giveaway with 21 other authors, including yours truly!  There are ebooks and paperbacks up for grabs and each book has a separate draw so you only enter to win the ones you like!  I’m offering 5 ebooks of After Wimbledon as my part.

Entry is via Rafflecopter, by the usual liking and following on social media.  For more details and to enter, go to her blog!  Don’t forget to share the page to let others know about this great giveaway!

Don’t forget, the Kindle Fire HDX Giveaway I’m part of is still running!

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How I Got Started Writing: The Fanfiction Route

I did an interview recently where I was asked about how I got started writing and I said I began writing fanfiction.  This is fiction based on someone else’s work – TV shows, films, book, comics… anything really.  You take the established characters and/or settings and make up your own stories about them.  It’s a really great way to get into writing fiction, for several reasons:

1. You Don’t Have to Do Everything
If you struggle with creating characters or settings, you can borrow existing ones while you work on your ability to plot, write dialogue, describe scenes etc.

2. People Already Care About the Characters
Half the battle is getting readers to care about the world you’ve created.  With fanfiction, they already do.

3. There’s Plenty of Feedback Available
If you are writing in a ‘world’ that’s active (i.e. a book or show that’s popular right now), you can find a lot of other people who are reading fanfics based in it.  I’ve found those on fanfiction.net fabulous at leaving reviews and encouraging each other to keep going with their stories.

4. There’s No Minimum Length
Not only are there no official limits, but, with the settings and characters already established in readers’ minds, there is much more scope for short ‘drabbles’.  Some collections of these are extremely popular.  So if all you can manage right now is the odd 100 words, there’s an audience for that.

Bialar-CraisI actually began by joining a forum.  I got very into a TV show called Farscape, in particular a supporting character by the name of Captain Bialar Crais (for purely artistic reasons, of course ;-)).  I can’t honestly remember how I came to join, but I’m glad I did.  There I met a group of wonderful women, many of whom are still friends today.  I even went out to stay with one in the US (exactly the way you’re not supposed to do with people you meet on the internet).

Many of us wrote stories.  We posted them in the forum and encouraged each other, especially when writer’s block came to call.  Some of them turned into series – in fact one particular series stretched to several novels’ worth of story.  The author later had it bound into a book, in the days before CreateSpace when that meant considerable expense.  She is now a professional writer.

My first fic must have been a few thousand words long.  It was mostly dialogue, with a dramatic plot and not much else to recommend it.  If I read it now, I’m sure I would cringe.  But it was a start.  My fellow forumites found nice things to say about it and so I kept writing.  And got better.

That kind of community is invaluable in encouraging a writer who is still finding their feet.  Your work does not need to be polished to find fans.  I’ve followed stories which were very far from perfect, but still caught my interest.  As long as you have something to offer, you can find some fans to support you while you become a better writer.  And you will, as long as you keep writing.

If you would like to write, but are having trouble getting started, I recommend that you try fanfiction.  Pick a world you love and write something.  Then post it for other fans to read.  Then write another.  Some writers have accidentally written novels just working chapter by chapter.  Some have even written epics…

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10 Sites to Go to for Chick Lit Recommendations

When you want a new chick lit book to read, where do you go?  Straight to Amazon?  Or is there a book reviewer whose tastes you know are pretty close to your own?

If you’d like the latter, but don’t have one, here are some sites to check out:

  1. Best Chick Lit
  2. Chick Lit Reviews & News
  3. Chick Lit Club
  4. Chloe’s Chick Lit Reviews
  5. This Chick Reads
  6. Chick Lit Pad
  7. Fictionella
  8. Chick Lit Central
  9. Chick Lit Café
  10. I Heart Chick Lit

Twitter list

Where do you go for recommendations?

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The Dr Pepper Prophecies Will Be 99c On Amazon 19-20 Jan!

Two day sale only!  Get your copy from Amazon.comAmazon.co.uk and other Amazon sites.

About The Dr Pepper Prophecies

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Lucy on… (Deleted Musings From ‘After Wimbledon’) #2

A few more paragraphs cut from After Wimbledon.

Lucy on… Making Decisions

Showering off later, I debate the pros and cons of staying on the tour and decide I should.  Then I debate the pros and cons of staying with Joe and decide I shouldn’t.

There, that’s decided.

Then I start debating them again and come up with different answers.

How do people make these decisions?  How can I know what the right thing to do is?  I can argue both sides convincingly, so which wins?  If my feelings on two given days are directly opposed, which are the true ones?

Christ, why is life suddenly so complicated?

I run my fingers through my hair and bring a few strands round to look at.  Maybe I should dye it.  Go blond or something.  Or cut it.  After years in a ponytail it deserves a change.  Maybe if I look different, I’ll feel different too.

And maybe I’ll be exactly the same, only with different hair.

Maybe I could go see a psychic and they can tell me what to do.

Except, what if they’re wrong or just making it up?  What if I did what they said and it was all wrong for me?

Still, at least then I’d have someone to blame.

Oh, forget it.

Lucy on… Her Looks

I dry and dress in shorts and a T-shirt and then set about drying my hair.  It really does need cutting.  It grows so fast I blink and I’ve turned into Rapunzel.  Am I the only one who thinks that someone climbing up your hair would really hurt?

The wall is mirrored, so I’ve really got no choice but to look at myself.  Have you ever looked at your reflection and thought, ‘Is that really me?’  Like your inside isn’t quite reflected in your outside?  Maybe it’s just me.

It’s not hard to guess I’m a tennis player, or an athlete anyway.  5’10” in my socks and I’m far from the tallest on the tour.  Slim, but muscular not delicate.  A fusion of power and speed.  Fit and strong.  Always in trainers, hair flattened back.  Makeup rarely touches my skin, sun cream does in abundance.  Round my neck I wear a silver tennis racquet charm – a present from my dad.  Sports watch on my wrist, diamanté stud earrings.  No other jewellery.  I’m no beauty, but on court I don’t care.  There, I belong.  I look the part.

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Have You Been to the KBoards?

The KBoards is a forum specifically for Kindle owners.  You can get troubleshooting ideas, advice and reviews if you’re thinking of getting a different model and also discuss what you’re reading.  It’s a brilliant place to go to help you get the most out of your Kindle.

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Sign Up To Hear About New Releases First!

I’ve got me a mailing list!  Sign up and I’ll email you if I:

  • release a new work
  • make existing work available in a new format (e.g. paperback)
  • make existing work available from a new source.

I won’t share your email address or send you any other messages.

Go to Mail Chimp to sign up!

I’ve also put links in the menu above ‘Home’ and in the footer bar.

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What I’m Working On Now

At the beginning of December, I decided to try and write 1,000 words every day for a month.  I managed it up until Christmas and then things went downhill, but nevertheless my current draft has reached 36,000 words!  I think this work will be a novella rather than a novel, probably around half the length of The Dr Pepper Prophecies and After Wimbledon.  So hopefully I will finish the first draft this month, although a lot of time will be taken up getting our house ready to sell.

So what have I been writing about?  Well, it’s a somewhat more serious piece – I may have to class it as women’s fiction rather than chick lit – and based partly on my own experience.  In January 2012 I became a mother for the first time, to a baby girl who wasn’t due until April.  Cue three months in hospital for her and a whole new world for me.  When I was thinking about what to write next, it kept coming to me that I should write about that.

It may not be my most popular work – although I’ll still endeavour to leave you feeling good – but I want to get it out there.  I’m tempted to liken it to Marian Keyes’ Rachel’s Holiday, in which she used her own experience as an alcoholic to help “normal” people understand what it’s like to be an addict.  I’m reading it at the moment and it’s certainly an education, as well as very enjoyable.  I’d like this work to give people an insight into what it’s like to have a premature baby.  Because – without wishing to scare anyone – it might just happen to someone you know.

Ffion and Tristan Christmas 2013

In case it does: my daughter is now two and, despite being born three months early, there is nothing wrong with her at all (that’s chocolate round her mouth).  And she is by no means exceptional in this.

Here she is at Christmas with her little cousin T, who she was not at all sure about sitting next to.  Very difficult to take a photo of them together, because she kept moving away and when she did he fell over!

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