Laura M. Hughes

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Born
in Manchester, The United Kingdom
September 17, 1988

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Steven Erikson, Joe Abercrombie, Terry Pratchett, Mark Lawrence, Raymo ...more

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September 2013

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Laura M. Hughes was born and raised beneath the grey, pigeon-filled skies of northern England. Shortly after turning twelve she experienced a life-changing event: the cinematic release of The Fellowship of the Ring, which smashed through the French windows of her imagination like a fantastical half-brick and let in all sorts of new and exciting ideas.

Laura currently works as a freelance editor and proofreader, and has been known to write for publications such as Fantasy-Faction and Tor.com. When she isn’t absorbed in playing Dragon Age or working on her first novel-in-eternal-progress, you’re most likely to find her trying to convince unsuspecting bystanders to read The Malazan Book of the Fallen. She co-founded The Fantasy Hive in 2017; h
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Laura M. Hughes J.P. Ashman asked me the very same thing a couple of months ago. This is what I told him . . .

I can be easily distracted. Hell, it took me eight…more
J.P. Ashman asked me the very same thing a couple of months ago. This is what I told him . . .

I can be easily distracted. Hell, it took me eight attempts just to finish writing this. There’s a ridiculous amount of stuff in our everyday lives that has been designed to distract us. But I don’t just mean video games, or TV, or social media, or household pets, or shiny things, or passing butterflies, or—where was I?

Not sure. Anyway, I’m easily distracted, and this is a serious obstacle to someone who’s trying to write a novel, i.e. wrangle hordes of protagonists and slot events correctly into overlapping timelines (which sometimes feels as though I’m playing ‘Pin the Tail on the Donkey’). Any time I reach a bit of a creative bump, I find myself heading down to the taskbar and bringing up Facebook. Or Twitter. Or email. Since this totally kills my productivity I have to set myself a realistic limit. Say . . . I’m allowed to check Facebook three more times this evening. Knowing I’ve limited myself makes me think twice about reflexively logging in when the going gets tough, and is really helping me kick the habit of floating around in a pointless cycle of procrastination.

And speaking of the ‘P’ word . . . I frequently waste hours of my life inventing convoluted family histories for obscure characters who I’ll then eliminate from the story altogether the following day. I linger over phrasing (“MUST think of the perfect adjective before I can move on with this sentence!”) and I dither over pithy details like the spelling of characters’ names (“Cailoh? Kailo? Cylo?”). Over time I’ve become much more aware of this, and am gradually forcing myself to change my habits. Can’t think of a word? That’s okay, I’ll just write ‘Something’ and continue with the sentence. Not sure what my character is actually called? Just put [???] instead of their name and come back to it later.

It hardly needs to be said that different things will work for different people. Many writers claim that going for a walk, or a run, or a workout, really helps to get their creative juices flowing. Not for me. Physical exercise just annoys me and throws me completely out of sync, as do noise and other people. On the other hand, a weekend indoors with the curtains closed and a blanket round me is a sure-fire way of helping me to focus; it was a while before I realised that coming home from work in the late afternoon and sitting straight down to type was well-intentioned, but just not working for me. More recently I’ve been setting my wake-up alarm for 5.30am (two hours early) and bashing some words out before work each day: once I’ve showered and breakfasted it’s amazing how switched on my brain is in these early hours! But as I said, the thing that helps me most is when I’m able to dedicate an entire day to just sitting down with my work in progress and taking my own sweet time with it. No deadline, no pressure: just me and my story and all the time in the world. Last weekend I wrote nearly 8,000 words . . . not because I had to, but because I wanted to.

Basically I’m saying that by treating writing as a fun, non-compulsory hobby – an activity that’s impulsive, not scheduled – I enjoy it more, and as a result I’m much more productive. All the advice you see on writing blogs says you have to “treat it like a job”, and that’s fine if you have your own publisher and actual deadlines to meet. But I tried that on more than one occasion (NaNo is a prime example), and you know what? I began to resent writing. Because it had become a chore. Something I had to do. And that, for me, is the key to overcoming writer’s block. Mind gone blank? Motivation fled? That’s fine. I’ll sit back. Close the laptop; make a nice cup of tea, maybe. Put on a fun video game, if I feel like it. And remind myself: I don’t have to write this book. I can just abandon it now, and there’ll be no repercussions whatsoever. No pressure, yeah? Yeah.

And every single time I’ll find myself back at the keyboard within the hour, because I’ve remembered that I really, really want to write it. Yes, it’s essentially using reverse psychology on my own brain. But it works.

(answer first appeared on jpashman.com on 13.3.16.)(less)
Average rating: 4.01 · 371 ratings · 197 reviews · 3 distinct works
Danse Macabre

4.10 avg rating — 179 ratings — published 2015 — 8 editions
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Art of War: Anthology for C...

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4.13 avg rating — 142 ratings — published 2018 — 2 editions
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Lost Lore: A Fantasy Anthology

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3.72 avg rating — 111 ratings — published 2018 — 2 editions
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* Note: these are all the books on Goodreads for this author. To add more, click here.

Ah, 2017. I think most people will agree you’ve been a bit of a bastard all round. (Scroll down for fun stuff.) As far as I’m concerned, it’s been a bit of a tempestuous year for personal and professional reasons. As well as moving house – twice – I struggled through a heavy bout of […]


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The Fifth Season
Laura Hughes is currently reading
by N.K. Jemisin (Goodreads Author)
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California Bones by Greg Van Eekhout
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Lirael by Garth Nix
Lirael (The Old Kingdom, #2)
by Garth Nix (Goodreads Author)
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A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab
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River of Teeth by Sarah Gailey
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Lost Lore by Terrible Ten
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Age of Assassins by R.J.  Barker
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The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
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Threadbare Volume 1 by Andrew Seiple
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Orconomics by J. Zachary Pike
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Carpet Diem by Justin Lee Anderson
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More of Laura's books…
“You say glory, necessity, pride; I say barbarity, greed, arrogance. War is a search for glory, for that particular sense of joy and satisfaction that comes from staking one's life on the outcome of a gamble. The search for a cheap thrill, with a cost too dear for Midas, and on a pretext that, more or less, amounts to 'My neighbour has a thing. I want it.”
Laura M. Hughes, Art of War: Anthology for Charity
tags: war

“All angels are men, all men are crows, and all crows are liars.”
Laura M. Hughes, Danse Macabre

“Continue to fill the underworld, and the ferryman's pockets, and don't even bother trying to wash away the blood of thousands that already stains your hands. Meanwhile, I'll be over here, growing old in comfort, warmed by my home's hearth and my lover's gentle arms.

So, carry on, dear. And when the ships' shadows creep over the horizon, when the chariots thunder across the sand and fire rains down from the sky, ask yourself, which would be the better way to die?”
Laura M. Hughes, Art of War: Anthology for Charity
tags: death, life, war

Topics Mentioning This Author

topics posts views last activity  
Lost Lore Readalong!: Readalong Schedule 6 75 Feb 01, 2018 04:09PM  
“Elodin proved a difficult man to find. He had an office in Hollows, but never seemed to use it. When I visited Ledgers and Lists, I discovered he only taught one class: Unlikely Maths. However, this was less than helpful in tracking him down, as according to the ledger, the time of the class was 'now' and the location was 'everywhere.”
Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind

“Tell me, tutor,' I said. 'Is revenge a science, or an art?”
Mark Lawrence, Prince of Thorns

“Memories are dangerous things. You turn them over and over, until you know every touch and corner, but still you'll find an edge to cut you.”
Mark Lawrence, Prince of Thorns

“Most men have at least one redeeming feature. Finding one for Brother Rike requires a stretch. Is 'big' a redeeming feature?”
Mark Lawrence, Prince of Thorns

“Anyone can love a thing because. That's as easy as putting a penny in your pocket.
But to love something despite. To know the flaws and love them too. That is rare and pure and perfect.”
Patrick Rothfuss, The Wise Man's Fear

417136 Lost Lore Readalong! — 119 members — last activity Mar 09, 2018 05:55AM
This is an open group (so, EVERYONE is invited) for exploring the FREE fantasy anthology, Lost Lore (released on Monday 15th January, don'tchaknow) Th ...more
169010 The Faithful and the Fallen — 573 members — last activity Jun 21, 2017 08:50PM
This is a group for discussing The Faithful and the Fallen series by John Gwynne. We will also be taking part in read alongs at various times in the y ...more
220 Goodreads Librarians Group — 85520 members — last activity 2 minutes ago
A place where all Goodreads members can work together to improve the Goodreads book catalog. Non-librarians are welcome to join the group as well, to ...more
202096 The Signed Page — 239 members — last activity Nov 17, 2017 09:40AM
The Signed Page is an online bookseller established in 2001 that has helped people all over the world acquire signed sci-fi/fantasy books at an afford ...more
41948 Fantasy-Faction.com — 713 members — last activity Jan 01, 2017 01:36AM
Fantasy-Faction is a Fantasy Book Review Site and Forum Community. We review some of the genres leading titles as well as interview authors and post u ...more
636120 The Cool Kids' Fantasy Club — 1053 members — last activity 33 minutes ago
A group to chat about SFF books. Authors and readers welcome. I might post about my books and the Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off too. I plan on makin ...more
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