Laura M. Hughes

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Laura M. Hughes

Goodreads Author


Born
in Manchester, The United Kingdom
September 17, 1988

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Twitter

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

Member Since
September 2013

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Laura M. Hughes was born and raised beneath the grey, pigeon-filled skies of northern England. She currently works as a freelance proofreader, and has also been known to write for publications such as Fantasy-Faction and Tor.com. These days you're most likely to find her playing D&D, painting gaming miniatures, or working on the sequel to her first LitRPG novel, God of Gnomes (published as Demi Harper). She co-founded The Fantasy Hive in 2017; her sanity has been steadily disintegrating ever since. ...more

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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 attem…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)
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* Note: these are all the books on Goodreads for this author. To add more, click here.

Our Stabby Award for HEROES WANTED finally arrived!

Actually, it arrived a couple of months ago. I got all excited about it here on r/Fantasy. And here’s a picture of the award and the anthology in all their glory!


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The Stabby Awards are held annually over on r/Fantasy, and their shiny dagger-trophies are very highly coveted. As the anthology’s main editor and organiser, I was privileged enough to not only have the award sent to me,

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Published on July 13, 2020 04:24
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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
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
tags: death, life, war

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“Tell me, tutor,' I said. 'Is revenge a science, or an art?”
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“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.”
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