Natali Juste Simmonds | Head of Community & Editorial Commissions | Jericho Writers

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Hi! I'm Natali, and I'm Jericho's Head of Community & Editorial Commissions. As N J Simmonds I write speculative fiction and fantasy (The Path Keeper, Son of Secrets, and RNA awards finalist Children of Shadows) as well as manga (all trad published), and I co-write paranormal romance as Caedis Knight (self-published). Repped by the wonderful Amanda Preston at LBA books, my latest novel, Good Girls Die Last, is a dark feminist thriller and I'm working on a bunch of other books across various genres. As if that's not enough, I also lecture on all things creative at various universities and for Raindance Film School.

You can find me on Twitter at @NJSimmondsBooks

Natali Juste Simmonds | Head of Community & Editorial Commissions | Jericho Writers Discussions
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Hi everyone! As the Head of Community you're probably wondering why I've not been on here much latel…

It's Monday fun time, and today's writing prompt is all about fighting (yes, we've all been gossiping about the Oscars today). So how do you write a good fight scene? How do you know what goes where and when? When does a fight scene move your plot and character development forward - and when does it simply bore your readers? And if you're thinking what I'm thinking - yes, all of that applies to sex scenes too!

So your challenge today is to write a short fight scene (no more than 300 words) in whichever genre you want. It can a Bridget Jones-type rom com brawl between two people fighting over the same girl, a serious fantasy sword fight, and intergalactic battle, or perhaps a tussle between two kids at school.

Here's some inspiration from the movies:

And here's one of your blogs to guide you:

You have one week...can't wait to see what you come up with!

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Ah, this sounds really raw and stirring. A bit Angela's Ashes?

Try a title with fewer words, that sum up the urbanity and grittiness. Because it's not commercial/genre fiction, per se, you don't have to be too obvious with the title.

Maybe even a strong line from the book will work, or the name of his company, or what they call themselves. Something that refers to either the theme or something that is said in the book a lot. Ie:

The streets inside of us
The last fight home
Real men

Absolutely. Even when we think we are failing, we are in fact learning...and it will, one day, help take us to the next step!

It certainly does! I've been self-publishing since 2020 (alongside trad) and it's a never-ending cycle of learning new things and not giving up.

This sounds really great, very 'dark book club'. Think about comparative titles such as Little fires Everywhere, or Jodie Picoult books. With this genre you can have longer titles and be a bit more obscure. You can even take a whimsical line from the book or use a well-known phrase. Try and include the word 'Friend' and touch upon the theme.

So something like:
Anything for a friend
Anything for you
A friend like you
Beholden to you

Look at Picoult's book titles for inspiration :)

Hi Karmen, this sounds great.
Because of the genre and themes, I would pick out some key words like RUN, ESCAPE, DEADLY and the fact everyone thinks she's already dead. Also look at title length in this genre, you want it big and bold on the cover so often they're 2-4 words long.

You may want to check these titles don't already exist (although not an issue if they do), but you could have thriller titles like:


Hi Hannah, great to see you on here too! I think it's safe to say that with literary you can be obscure with titles...the more curious the better. With commercial it really has to do what it says on the tin. So, for instance, I had named one of my hip thrillers RED WINDOW, YELLOW DOOR which I think sounded really good. But my agent made me go back and look at comparative titles and I saw a pattern re: thriller titles. So now it's called I SAW YOU FIRST. Bam! You now know what the book is about and what genre it is just by the title. Had it been a contemporary romance, I may have called it THE FIRST TIME I SAW YOU (less threatening). Here is a new blog re: literary vs commercial that may help.

Hi everyone!

You may have seen my pinned message in the Coffee & Cake forum this weekend, but every Monday I will be hosting some fun and games for you all to get your creative sparks flying. In the private Members group you will see my Q&A post about book titles, and in this public feed I will be setting a fun writing prompt.

Today's challenge is a fun one called SHAKE UP SHAKESPEARE!

All you have to do is pick a scene from any Shakespeare play and make it contemporary. Twist it up as much as you want.
- Perhaps Juliet is on the balcony of her council estate flat and Romeo is a posh kid from the boarding school nearby?
- Or maybe the three witches from Macbeth are online fortune tellers?
- Or why not have Othello as a foreign student at Mona's university?

Go for it...I can't wait to see what you come up with. And don't forget to look out for more fun next Mon!

Added a forum 

Hi everyone! As the Head of Community you're probably wondering why I've not been on here much lately...and that's because I've been working hard behind the scenes planning some very exciting developments. But until then, let's have some fun!

Starting next week, I'll be posting inspiration games, writing prompts and even some Q&A sessions. Do comment if you have suggestions of threads you've enjoyed in the past. I only work Mon-Wed, so it won't be every day, but you can also find me over on Twitter at @NJSimmondsbooks  

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Natali Juste Simmonds | Head of Community & Editorial Commissions | Jericho Writers
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