HANNAH BYRNES

The Story of the Storyteller.

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Welcome to Hannah's blog

 

Hannah's  blog is released every week and features reflections on writing, details of works in progress and character backgrounds and random stories.

By hbthewriter, Mar 26 2017 09:46PM

I got angry with a writer friend this week so much so that I had difficulty bottling it up. It was over the simplest of things but it really got to me. She was talking to someone about taking her driving test. She had failed twice. I heard her sigh and say how she was too old to pass. How the young ones pass first time.


The same woman has the same approach to her writing. Each time she puts a new book out for 99 c ‘I can’t even sell them at that price.’ ‘Oh look, another rejection letter’ or worse she focuses on poor reviews, rather than the positive comments about her work. Her work reflects her attitude. Rather than taking time to put out good quality work she knocks out several books a year, cheap unattractive covers and even worse editing.


I got angry because a couple of years ago, I was making the same damned mistakes and it pains me to see someone else with that destructive thinking I once had about myself.


I admit when it comes to any article about the law of attraction, I can’t resist devouring it in one sitting. Why? Because when you strip back the frills, people whispering whether you know the secret or selling the ancient manifesting rituals that cost $200, I find this principle works for me.


The Law of Attraction works because it is based on the simple philosophy

‘I think, therefore I am.’





On a psychological basis, our behaviour mirrors our beliefs. Our belief systems form patterns, called schemas, which ensure we work consistently with our internal beliefs. We become a self-fulfilling prophecy.


I used this very principle to gain a first-class degree in law which people around me told me I wouldn’t. Every time I sat down to revise, or write an essay, or an exam I would envisage the score and getting emotional when I got my final grade. It became such an integral part of my psyche I got the very score in my finals I had written down: 98%. I have aced every job interview because I have envisaged them offering me the job before I even send my CV. I even used to walk about the area where I now live, point to my apartment and tell myself ‘I am going to live there’ and I do.


When I released my first book, I was exhausted from my personal life. I knew my writing was my key to happiness so was keen to release my work. But it was not ready, it got a cheap cover and I hired an editor I really wished I hadn’t (more on that another time). I did not even set an intention and worse I listened to others about how hard it all is.


About a year into writing, I decided to take it seriously and wrote my intentions clearly. It meant I revised my work and completely re-edited it, got a new cover, and a new brand. As my confidence grows, I am becoming bolder and more authentic in my work. As some of my friends were struggling, I was getting 5* reviews and selling signed copies for 4 x the cover price. I say this not to boast, but to show that it is possible.


Now, I want to be an international bestseller, arranging book-signings at major retailers, and I see myself talking about literature at an all-expenses paid visit to New York comic-con. Further, I have a real passion for film and want to be negotiating a script in Hollywood within 12 months.


In reality, I am a long-way away. But the unconscious mind does not need to be told this. Instead, I focus on my vision before writing and my mind works like magic to make it come true. As a result, I have ideas about book promotion and how to reach my audience, different opportunities have opened up which were not available to me before. Ideas for scripts have just landed in my mind coupled with affordable screen-writing courses to help me get there.

Want to be a bestseller? Imagine you already are and watch what happens.


Remember, we act consistently to our beliefs. Does that feel uncomfortable right now? Fine, imagine how you will feel getting a 5* review, or being featured on a notable blog. Keep that feeling in mind whenever you approach your writing.


The big key to making this happen is to indulge your vision and approach your writing as if it is already happening. You will see outstanding results and be a lot happier too.


As for the people reading this and laughing at my lofty ideals. I have this to say:


Just f**king watch me.



By hbthewriter, Mar 18 2017 05:38PM


Part of developing as a writer is playing around with different writing styles. I was always fascinated by comedic-tragedy (think shakespeare) which has to follow a specific form and style. Anyway, it turns out the combination of my failed attempts at dating over the years and a dark sense of humour provided the rather adult content for this story, which got published! Have a laugh and spot the 80's references! Hx



I was lucky to meet my soul mate when I was a teenager. We were both the awkward outcasts at school, he was the nerd who aced all his classes. I was the goth girl in a country town who thought Nine Inch Nails were found at B & Q. We would debate whether Marvel beat DC, whether the aliens on X files really exist and sometimes we would just sit on a park bench in mutual isolation.


There was one time I turned and looked at him noticing everything from his long dark eyelashes to the speckle of stubble that was starting to form on his chin. His eyes met mine and he leaned forward before whispering softly ‘there is something I have been meaning to ask for a while…’ He seemed nervous, this was it, my heart was about to burst, he would finally confess his love for me. Instead he said:


‘I really fancy Charlotte…do you think you can ask her out for me?’


Charlotte with her red hair, Charlie Red perfume and push up bras was quite the bad girl. She sat next to me in maths and confessed that Jason Noakes, our school’s top athlete, was a hit in the sack as well as field and track. I was quietly elated. Maybe this time my friend will see what he needs was right in front of him. He would be devastated by the news so I decided to soften the blow by wearing a shirt that showed off my budding bosom and a little lipstick which came free with Seventeen.


‘Why do all the girls want to the sporty guys?’ he complained, before pointing out that my top buttons seem to have come undone.


College was no different. There was Louise with the long blond hair and a giggle that made her nose wrinkle. She looked like buttercup from The Princess Bride. My soul mate was smitten, oh how he wanted to be her Westley. ‘Put in a good word for me?’ he said one day. So I travelled the college grounds far and wide for his princess, only to find her ankles aloft, being humperdincked by our very own Dread Pirate Roberts. Dave Roberts to be precise, who rode into college on his motorbike and greasy long hair. Surely this would be a sign to my beloved that his fairy princess was right in front of him. I decided to soften the blow by putting on my prettiest dress and leaving my hair loose, I went round to his house with all our favourite 80’s movies.


‘Why do all the girls like the bad guys?’ he mewled before suggesting I got changed as the heating had broken and I may get cold.


We both started work at the same company, where we met Jennifer. She was the office beauty, sleek brown hair and tanned legs that stretched all the way to the heavens. ‘Oh if only I could speak to her alone’ he would moan, and good friend as I arranged an accidental meeting. It would surely be a disaster. Perhaps this time, he would realise that there was a perfectly decent woman right under his nose, and I would finally get my happily ever after.


Imagine my shock, my horror, when with a beaming smile he announced that Jennifer-long-legs had agreed to a date. After a while I noted that he shunned nights watching Netflix with me for going to trendy bars wearing fashionable clothes with her. Every opinion was, ‘Jennifer says this, or Jennifer says that,’ but plead with him as I might, he was convinced she was the one.


Except one night he arrived at my flat looking dishevelled and broken, he slumps on my sofa tells me that Jennifer has dumped him by text. ‘Why can’t I find a woman who accepts me as I am?’ he bawled. I softened the blow by letting him kick my ass on Dead or Alive 5 and ordered pizza.


I have been taking it slow since then, making sure he knows I am there for him and showering him in affection and compliments.


Tonight we are at our high school reunion. We arrived together but how quickly our schoolmates flocked around him. You see, geek is the new chic. I watch, Becks in hand, as he dances with Camilla. The school bike who has blossomed in all the right places with the assistance of a large overdraft and a Harley Street doctor.


Jason Noakes wanders over. We get talking about how his athletic career was cut short by an ill-timed tackle. He is a personal trainer now, and he is tanned and all bulging muscles under his suit. I barely notice as Jason awkwardly confesses to my cleavage that he has always had a penchant for curvy rock chicks. I am watching Camilla nuzzle the neck of my man, right in front of me, and the familiar cold feeling of disappointment grips my burning heart.


I hear Jason inviting someone to dinner and turn to see his face looking at me expectantly. Could it be this school superstar, the one that all the girls wanted, actually wants to date me? Oh god.


I turn to him and smile sweetly.


‘You are a really nice guy Jason, but…’


A flash of pain crosses Jason’s face as his eyes flicker over to my beloved, before he asks me:


‘Why is it all the girls like geeks?’


I watch my soul mate lean into kiss another woman and reality hits me like a smack in the face. I had never envisaged that fate would introduce me to that magical place where hopes and dreams of love are shattered. A place where I was apparently destined to stay. The Friendzone, the modern day equivalent of Dante’s purgatory.




This was originally featured on the blog for Stand Up Tragedy who do wonderfully bittersweet and funny podcosts and shows.





By hbthewriter, Feb 27 2017 10:37PM

Writing is easily compared to magic.


Why?


Because the ideas, at times, seem to come from nowhere. You can be minding your own business, doing chores or commuting and ‘bam’ an idea just seems to download. It starts as a snapshot of a story and the more you think about it the more it grows, nudging away at your consciousness.


Once you first get into flow of writing, a crazy amount of ideas come to you. Like any other newbie writer, I used to get excited about each and every one of my ideas.


It is this mystical touch of the muse that seems to inspire many a desire in others to write, as many would-be authors sip their cappuccino and wait for their own muse to arrive so they can fulfil that long-held resolution before the year is out.


But today I realised it isn’t magic. Today I decided writing is more like Alchemy.


Alchemy is turning ordinary base metals, rough and ready into gold.


Like an Alchemist notes down their failed experiments, experience has taught me that some ideas have mileage, some don’t. Now I note all my ideas down, a blurb here, a brief dialogue there and return to my work in progress. I also journal my dreams, my memories and my thoughts. This process alone maintains the ‘flow’ that is essential for good writing.


The truth is, the ideas don’t come from nowhere. They are an author’s way of processing quite ordinary things.


So today, a little after 3pm I was doing the ironing and allowing my mind to wander.


I had been feeling raw about a crush of mine not returning my attention. Jealousy rose over a previous princess-like acquaintance who I suspect was more than just a friend for a while. How she and I were total opposites. A joke was made on facebook about how as a practicing witch (yes really) I probably would be promised someone’s first born. The musing over fairytales and what would happen to said child and how the wiccan principles of equality, a respect for nature and intelligence would affect that first-born’s principles. What happened if she fell in love with a prince? What if he rejected her, preferring her younger sister who was raised as a princess? Would she take her place in her kingdom?


It is from this few minutes of turning my rather futile emotions into a story that I arrived upon the idea for a story. The characters and dialogue arrived in such vivid colour that I sat down and plotted the entire story arc in little over an hour. I feel a warm excitement around my heart and belly. I know this one is going to be a success. I can feel it. Today I may have just struck gold.



By hbthewriter, Feb 14 2017 09:45PM

Once upon a time, there was a princess who lived in white marble tower. The tower was heart shaped and let out its rooms to princesses who were waiting for their prince. It makes sense when you think about it, as a prince searching every kingdom in a land far far away would take an age to find his sweetheart. So they put them all in one tower, hoping for the best. Besides, at least they had friends that way and got to practise their social skills. The tower was not surrounded by a moat, or guarded by a dragon. However, Mrs. Briscoe, the concierge, did make sure that all visitors were checked in properly, thank you very much.


It was 14th February, St Valentine’s Day and all the princesses were excitedly running between each others rooms. Lots had received bouquets of sweet smelling roses or handcrafted chocolates. One even received a basket of kittens. Our princess, however, was most pleased when the amazon delivery driver gave her the Neil Gaiman novel she had been eagerly waiting to read.


Valentine’s Day was the day that princes are most likely to drop by to woo their future queens. It sounds romantic, but in fact it gets a bit tedious. Sure enough, just after eleven o’clock, the first prince dropped by. He was a very handsome man and chatted to all the ladies. Finally, after he had spoken to our princess for some time, he drew back her hair from her ear and whispered

“I have the power to remove the curse placed on you by your step mother”

“What curse? Besides I don’t have a step-mother. My parents are still alive and happy together”

He stuttered “Oh I mean the curse placed on you by your parents, afraid that they may lose you”

“No my parents have always been supportive and encouraged me to be independant.”

He looked confused and clearly did not know what to say next.

“You are looking with a girl with low self-esteem and daddy issues aren’t you?” our princess whispered. The Prince nodded.

“Well that’s not me thankfully.”


The second prince dropped by just after lunch. He was famous and serenaded the ladies with his wonderful singing. The women started competing for his attention, flicking their hair and eyeing each other suspiciously. He approached our princess,

“Are you the fairest maiden in the land” he enquired.

“What difference does that make?” she folded her arms across her sequinned dress.

“Only the fairest may become my queen” he replied, apparently undeterred.

“Screw that. My true love will think I am beautiful, regardless of what other people think.”



The third came by, he was rich and mysterious. Our princess quite liked that he understood philosophy and they talked for hours.

“My dear princess” he took her hand gently in his own “I have waited to find someone like you for so very long, I have a castle filled with books, I think you would be very happy there.”

Our princess flushed, had true love arrived at last?

“There is just one condition” he added “you must never leave the castle, and nor can any of your friends or family see you but I promise you will have everything you need.”

She snatched her hand away “Who the hell are you to tell me who I can and cannot see. Get stuffed.”


As each of the princesses announced surprise engagements to men they had just met, our princess grew weary.

“Why do we sit around waiting for princes anyway?” she asked herself.

She wracked her brains for what seemed like 100 years, and paced a thousand miles back and forth across her apartment. She could not think of a single good reason why she should sit waiting.


Our princess decided if she wanted to live happily ever after, she could, on her own terms.So the very next day, that’s exactly what she did.


Share this with all the single princesses you know and love!



By hbthewriter, Jan 8 2017 07:53PM

In 2015 to celebrate the release of my first novel, Altrincham Chamber of Commerce together with local schools and Hale Grill launched a competition aimed at aspiring young writers aged up to 12.


I was asked to judge the competition, where each entry had to be a poem or story about a favourite magical creature. The entries came flooding in.


Whilst I did not know what to expect, I was taken aback by the dark and gruesome nature of these stories. As an adult writer writing for children, it is natural to want to sugar coat our stories. This competition was an eye opener and taught me a lot about my readers. I set to work choosing the best stories. This was hard work, but I looked for originality and workable story arc. After meeting the winners, I edited the stories to really bring them to life and added some of my own. I hope everyone who contributed is proud of the end result.


I have been a long term supporter of Make-A-Wish UK after I tagged along as a teen to meet Take That with my friend, who had been granted a wish. She had multiple disabilities and between hospital and school, she had become alienated. Having her wish granted allowed her to be a normal teenage girl and flirt with her celebrity crush. Make-A-Wish UK relies heavily on donations and tireless work of its volunteers an staff to grant as many wishes as possible, so it seemed fitting that this wonderful little book helps support the charity.


The first edition of the book attracted 5* reviews from Amazon Customers and the Love Reading book blog who described it as "A menagerie of weird and wonderful creatures from the colourful imaginations of children are brought to life in this delightful anthology of dark fairy tales."


I have re-released the book in a pocketbook format which is illustrated by the wonderful Michelle Tolo which you can purchase here, along with the kindle edition.


I am glad to have helped these aspiring writers have their work published, and for it to bring a little magic into the lives children living with life-threatening conditions.


2ndedDCTPkindlecov

"This fast-paced story offers a new thrill around every corner"

 

Love Reading

Hannah's Books

kinbb

"Mesmerising and Amazing.

It transported me to a fantasy land"

 

5* Amazon Review

All Royalties to Make-A-Wish UK